8 Dangerous Marketing Tactics You Should Avoid
The Kate Show | Episode 8
Have you noticed the plethora of marketing advice being thrown around on social media? Me too. Some of it is so smart and so brilliant that it makes me proud to count myself among the ranks of "marketer."
But not all advice is sound. In fact, I've seen and heard a few marketing tips lately that have been proven to do more harm than good. I know this because I've either tried these tips myself or because my clients have come running to me for help after trying them.
Let me be clear: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm sure everyone has a reason for imparting specific pieces of advice. However, it is my job to warn you if I see you being (potentially) led astray by the latest marketing ploy.
8 Dangerous Marketing Tactics You Should Avoid
Listen to the episode below or subscribe to The Kate Show on iTunes / Google Play.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Email newsletters for interior designers and home stagers: www.katethesocialite.com/newsletters
Social media posts and captions for home professionals: www.socialitevault.com
Top 30 Instagram Hashtags for Home Pros: www.katethesocialite.com/top-30-hashtags
Professional blog writer for interior designers and home stagers: www.ochreandbeige.com/
#1 | Joining an Instagram Pod: What they are, how they affect your Instagram account, and what you can do instead to grow your following.
An Instagram pod is a group of people who are trying to grow their followings on Instagram by banding together and committing to growing each other's followings. These people will like and comment on each other's photos, often within minutes of being posted.
At face value, Instagram pods work wonders. Your posts will have more likes and comments (due to your loyal pod-members), and you'll start to feel proud of how popular you appear.
...but there is one problem: Instagram isn't fooled.
When Instagram sees the same people liking / commenting on your posts every day, Instagram will not decide to show your post to more people. Instead, it will simply make sure your posts always show up in the feeds of your pod members (because these people have taught Instagram that they really like your content.)
Unless your fellow pod members plan to become your customers, you may want to rethink your strategy. Instagram is built so that it gives priority to meaningful posts, which means that posting just for the sake of posting will result in low interaction rates and leave you feeling tempted to join an Instagram pod (which, in essence, is the same as trading or buying Instagram likes).
You know what they say.... You can't buy love. You have to earn it. Instagram is making sure you prove yourself worthy if you want your posts to be seen.
"But I'm in an Instagram pod, and I'm getting more followers!"
If you are currently in an Instagram pod and your follower count is growing, just know this: Your following will grow the more you post content that your fans actually want to see (no sales, no promos, etc). Your following will also grow the more you socialize on social media.
Additionally, even if your Instagram pod does grow your following, you are doing yourself a disservice. If your content isn't appealing to your existing fans, does it really appeal to the new ones? Are you attracting people who will actually want to do business with you?
What is your end game for Instagram? Do you plan to wildly chase the likes and treats fans like numbers instead of people, or will you commit to authentically engaging with the fans you've gotten organically (aka: on your own)?
If you crave more fans on Instagram, you need to ask yourself why. More fans does not equal more money in your pocket, so why put so much effort into something that has no effect on your bottom line? Instead, commit to knowing who your ideal client is and to posting things that you know they like.
As yourself, "How much in enough? Once all these people start following me, what am I going to do with them?" You have to have a plan in place ahead of time that will ensure you are attracting your ideal client and ensure that you are able to take that ideal client off social media and into your mailing list--where the sales happen. Instagram isn't the end all-be all.
Instead of spending hours a week liking and commenting on your pod members' posts, try sharing their posts. Take a screenshot, crop it as needed, post it to your account, and tag the owners. Be sure to add something nice about them. Doing this will expose them to your audience and will expose you, in turn, to theirs once they repost your content.
#2 | Not Using Instagram Hashtags
I've seen many interior designers and home stagers on Instagram forgoing the use of hashtags. Since hashtags categorize your content and make it easier for people who are interested in #interiordesign or #homestaging to find you, not using 25-30 hashtags per post will truly slow the growth of your Instagram account.
#3 | Posting Only Photos of Your Own Work
Since you don't have an endless portfolio, and since your followers are well-rounded people with many interests, you do them and yourself a disservice if you post only photos of your own work. Instead, consider reposting content from your colleagues (be sure to tag them) and explore your ideal client's other interests (food, travel, wine, fashion, etc.).
#4 | Posting Polarizing Content
If you are really into politics, you may want to tone it down. Your ideal client doesn't necessarily share your views on everything political, and you don't want to risk repelling them. Unfortunately, being on the wrong side of a political argument can make even the best people look terrible. Do your best to protect your online reputation by posting content that is inspiring, educational or entertaining rather than divisive.
#5 | Growing Your Mailing List
I've heard many "mailing list growth hacks" over the past year, but the scariest one was this: "Go to events and collect business cards. Afterward, go add those people to your mailing list." Yikes!
Not only is this method inauthentic (and very similar to buying a list), it also sets you up for thousands of dollars in spam fines if your message gets "marked as spam" too many times. Here in the U.S., anyone sending mass emails is subject to the jurisdiction of the CAN-SPAM Law. (Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia have their own versions of this.)
Note: This method of collecting email addresses is not illegal, and nor is buying mailing lists, but that doesn't mean they are wise choices for your business. Wouldn't you rather email people who actually want to hear from you versus those you've taken hostage?
Instead, here are 3 great ways you can grow your mailing list:
Become an industry partner with an well-respected organization. You can safely email their membership as long as you treat them with respect and don't slam them with sales pitches. Show up, be helpful, and go the extra mile.
Create a lead magnet (aka: a freebie, giveaway, or opt-in offer) for your website that people can download after inputting their email address. Be sure to share this freebie on social media, as it's an easy way to convert your followers into actual sales leads.
Create an online quiz like, "What is Your Design Style?" and require each user's email address before displaying the results. I suggest that you use Interact for your quiz creation.
#6 | Sending or Not Sending Email Newsletters
If you ever hear someone tell you, "Email marketing is dead," run away! Email marketing is the most underused yet most effective online marketing strategy. Picture this: When you are posting great content on social media and creating real interaction from genuine followers, you are able to share your freebie / lead magnet with them, which puts them in your mailing list. From there, email marketing takes over and begins to nurture your leads, converting them into paying clients through your monthly email newsletter.
#7 | Focusing on Social Media vs. Email List Growth
Many of us have fallen into the trap of believing that we need to focus more on growing our social followings than on growing our mailing lists. Some of us do this because we want to be seen as "influencers," while the rest of us are just caught up in the rat race--posting, commenting, and liking as though our lives depend on it--with little thought given to our mailing list.
There's a really big problem with this mentality... Social media is constantly changing. We have no control over how, when, or why Instagram / Facebook changes the rules. We are living on their land. Our followers are their users. We own nothing.
Instead of putting our heart and soul into a social following that could be gone tomorrow, let's focus on building our email lists. We own them, no algorithm can touch them, and no one can take them away from you.
#8 | SEO Companies
Not every SEO company is bad; ideally, they set out to make sure your business shows up in search results. It sounds like a good thing, right? Unfortunately, hundreds of interior designers and home stagers have a long list of woes regarding their SEO companies. Their concerns range from a lack of results and poor customer service to the high price tag and restrictive contracts.
If you work with a great SEO company who provides trackable proof that they are bringing more leads into your business and improving your bottom line, please let me know. I'd love to refer a ton of business to them.
...but here's what you need to remember: If your website was built with SEO in mind, you blog at least twice a month, and you are active on social media....you don't need an SEO company. Your SEO is impacted by the content you put on your website and the content you post under your business name on social media.
Unless your SEO company is blogging and managing social platforms for you, their primary service is likely keyword monitoring. (I've seen companies charge $300-500 per month just for this.) If you want to rank higher for certain keywords, you need to include those words in your blog and social media posts. No amount of "monitoring" will improve your ranking unless you create the right content. (Plus, you can monitor your own keywords by using Google Analytics.)
How Good is Your Marketing?
Do you find yourself falling into one or more of these marketing booby traps? Would you like to know, once and for all, how good your marketing really is? Take my quiz below to find out: