Ever reach into your refrigerator to grab the milk only to realize that it has exceeded its expiration date? You know that if you drink that milk, it won't taste even close to what you had hoped. The same can be said for some outdated digital marketing strategies. You could use the same old techniques, but at the end of the day, the results won’t be what you want and you’ll be disappointed.
Some of the most popular digital marketing trends have reached the end of their shelf life and are well beyond their expiration date. Let’s explore the top five digital marketing strategies that no longer are effective and will be (and should be) phased out by 2018.
1. Drip Campaigns (With No Personalization)
I don’t know about you, but I can spot an automated email from a mile away. On average, I receive about 100 to 200 emails a day. My main goal is to get to the important emails that need a response and immediately delete ones that don’t apply to me or are trying to sell me something through an automated email.
It is almost impossible to send out a series of emails that will apply to a large contact list and expect to see high engagement rates. The old theory for drip campaigns goes something like this: Send your contact list a gated piece of content. Once they open the email, follow up five days later with another email sending them a relevant blog post. In another five days send them another email with even more content; then in another five days ask if they would like a sales call.
How often did people request a sales call? Probably not very often, if ever.
Instead of just blasting them with email after email, send a targeted email personalized with relevant content based on the contact’s demographics, online behavior and recent engagement level. Again, the more personalized the email, the more likely the contact will respond and engage with the email.
2. Long (Text-Heavy) eBooks
For the first time, mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage. That means your online content must be mobile-responsive and easy to read on your smartphone. It also means your digital marketing strategy and content format may need an overhaul. It’s out with the old (long eBooks in PDF format) and in with the new.
What’s next? We’re already starting to see more content in the form of quizzes, surveys, interactive landing pages, video and online animation. This type of content is much easier to digest and will only continue to grow as large, text-heavy eBooks are phased out over time.
3. Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality In Blogs
How many times have you heard, “more is better”? The more content you publish, the more keyword opportunities to rank for SEO, the more traffic you can drive to your website. All of this creates for a better digital marketing strategy, right? This may be only partially true because research is starting to show that the end result will not appeal to your potential buyers.
The internet is saturated with content. Buyers would rather read quality content quickly that applies to their pain points over endless nonsense that may rank better with search engines because of keyword optimization. The key is to focus on one subject matter per blog post and make sure that blog serves a particular purpose, such as driving leads to a gated piece of content or supporting a recent campaign.
4. Overly Complex Lead Scoring Algorithms
After you start to collect leads, inbound marketing best practices call for segmenting those leads based on a lead scoring algorithm. How complex you make this algorithm depends on your project, client or campaign. Lead scoring is assigning a value (or points) to leads based on the information they have provided (via forms) and how they've engaged with your website or ads. Lead scoring is meant to help sales and marketing teams prioritize "hot" leads.
One of the main goals for lead scoring should be to define what a lead looks like for the marketing team and what a lead looks like for the sales team. It is important for both of these teams to agree on these definitions and have clear, ongoing communications to continue to refine these definitions. If the lead scoring algorithm is too complex, the process slows down for both teams and risks losing buy-in from one or both sides.
A simple lead scoring system (perhaps a 1 to 100 score in increments of 10 points) based on demographics and lead behavior avoids too many combinations of point values and eliminates assigning negative point values. This will be in everyone’s best interest and will be easy to follow and update.
5. Overloading on Marketing Automation
People still want to do business with other people, not computers. Marketing automation has made the tasks of marketers much easier, but it also can be a turnoff to the buyer. As part of your revamped digital marketing strategies, you’ll want to provide relevant information to the right contact in a timely matter, but you also don’t want to come across as automated or even creepy. We all know that the data we share on the internet is being collected and analyzed, but it is another thing to be reminded of it by a company we barely recognize.
Marketing automation should be used primarily to help with internal marketing activities and only used sparingly for your outside marketing activities. This will help you avoid damaging your brand and annoying potential customers with common marketing automation mistakes.
Everything has a shelf life, and digital marketing trends are no exception. Marketing is a combination of art and science based on psychological principles tailored to a buyer’s behavior. Marketers need to stay ahead of the current trends and incorporate a digital marketing plan that will reach their buyers and gain their attention.
Sandy Moore, a lead strategic accounts manager, brings 15 years of marketing and advertising experience to Kuno and has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, promotions, public relations and advertising sales.