All of us strive to be better at our jobs.
But unfortunately there’s no shortage of crap advice from marketing ‘Gurus’ out there.
While some bad advice is laughable, some is deceptively convincing and ends up draining time, energy and money, leaving you frustrated.
So without further ado, here are 13 popular B2B marketing tips you should ignore.
1) [Insert Marketing Tactic] is Dead
SEO, Email, Social Media, Guest Blogging, Link Building, Advertising... The list goes on. Clearly these are not all dead. Not a week goes by where there isn't an article claiming some form of marketing is dead. These articles are made to grab your attention and usually promote a solution or new product to replace what has ‘died’.
Don’t rule out any platform that someone has declared ‘dead’, as it could work well for your business.
2) How to Create The Perfect [Insert Blog/Tweet/Post/eGuide/Infographic]
These guides are everywhere recently, and while some of them give good advice that is backed by data, the reality is that there is no perfect blog, Tweet, post, eGuide or website. There is no magic formula to creating a perfect piece of content. If there was, we would all be using it.
Great content achieves its purpose. If your blog post's purpose was to drive small accountancy owners to your website, and it does so, then it's great content. If you created a new eGuide to better convert your blog readers into leads, and it does a great job of that, it's great content.
What works for a random marketer in another industry may not work for you in yours.
3) You Need to be on [Insert Social Media Platform]
You should be on the social media platforms that your personas engage with. If you are a B2B company, then don't start trying to add all of your customers on Snapchat, and send them selfies of yourself at the weekend. If you target a niche market that doesn't use Twitter, then you wouldn’t need to be on there, either. Refocus your efforts on where your prospects are.
You don't need to be everywhere.
4) Great Content Will Promote Itself
Your personas will not engage with your content, if they don't know that it exists. The best content would flounder if it wasn't initially well promoted (established sites with a huge following are an exception to this). There is an internet full of great content that has never been read. And loads of not-so-breathtaking content that has performed well due to the way it's promoted.
5) You Shouldn’t Send Email at [Insert Time] on [Insert Day]
There’s no definitive ‘best time’ to send your emails. Some say not to send anything at the weekend, whereas others say not to send anything first thing on a Monday or last thing on a Friday. While general trends can give you some guidance; your industry, business and audience have unique demands and desires. The only way to find out what timing works best is to test, test and then test some more.
Why not try sending emails at the weekend? Some B2B businesses have found that though this had an adverse effect on opens, their click through rates were higher.
6) You Must Use Automation
While marketing automation is great for more developed businesses, it’s not necessary for the smallest of start-ups. While small you still have the flexibility and scope to make personal communication with prospects at all stages of the buying process. Once you begin to grow and scale then you can start thinking about automation and personalisation.
If you're just starting out, make an effort to personally engage with all your leads. You can learn a lot from them. Great start-ups do things that don't scale.
7) All Paid Advertising is Bad
While it’s best avoiding an over reliance on paid media, there is no shame in using it to raise initial awareness of your content. The extra promotion can vastly improve traffic. Many inbound marketers occasionally use paid ads as a part of their larger strategy. You can read a run-through of how paid channels can work to promote inbound content here.
8) Short/Long Form Content is Best
The short and long form content debate is nothing short of pointless. Short form content is great for mobile and helps to get a point across quickly while long form content increases engagement and triples the average time prospects spend on your site. The more time spent on your site the more committed your prospect is to your content, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
Great marketers produce both long and short form content, so stop worrying about which is unanimously "best". You'll never find an answer. Some people want to read your 10,000 word eGuide, others want to learn what your product does in less than 100 words.
9) Don’t Ever Pay for Marketing Software
While there is lots of great freely available software, the best come with a price tag. It’s much easier to have one paid application that does several tasks, than several free applications that you need to learn, integrate and switch between. If you’re using multiple applications and you feel it’s costing your time, you should consider a marketing platform. While these do carry a cost: the benefits are endless.You can read more about the benefits of using a single marketing platformhere (HubSpot being used in our example).
10) Mobile Optimisation is an Unnecessary Expense
With 70% of decision makers using mobile to look up product or service information, you can’t afford to forget about mobile. Invest in a responsive website which will customise a prospect's browsing experience based on the device they are using.
11) #Use #as #Many # #as #Possible
Excessive hashtagging makes your communication look spammy. It dilutes your message and it’s painful to see. A Salesforce report confirms this by showing that tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than those with 3 or more.
12) Asking for Likes or Retweets Makes You look Needy
The saying ‘you don’t get what you don’t ask for’ has never been so true. Data shows that adding ‘Please ReTweet’ generates 4X more Retweets.
13) Your Site/Call-To-Action/Blog should be [Insert Colour]
While Colour can have a huge impact on conversions, there is no universal golden colour that will make visitors click. Test to see what colours work best on your site and don’t forget to play with placement, spacing, size, copy and font. What worked well for one blogger might not work on your website.
These are just a few of the deceptively convincing bad tips I’ve heard, and there are plenty more that'll cost you a whole heap of time and money going around out there. Next time you hear a one-size-fits-all recommendation, do a few tests. If the results are good, keep the change. If not, then revert back. Never assume that the content you're consuming has all the answers -- there's always exceptions to the rules.