Remember film strips? (If you don’t, you’re probably under 21 and can learn more about them here.) But if you were a kid in the 60s-90s, that film strip projector rolling out was exciting. And they did the job well until something better—first VCRs, then DVDs and computers—came along and made them obsolete. Similarly, digital marketing has changed over the past few years and today some strategies that were popular maybe just five years ago aren’t generating results (and in fact, may be doing the exact opposite) now.
- Adding prospects to your email list that haven’t opted in. This is bad practice not only because there is now much more regulation around this area, such as Europe’s GDPR and the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, but because it doesn’t really work anyway. Email providers have gotten much more aggressive in sorting emails and labeling them as spam. And if it does land in your inbox, how often do you open email from a person or a business you don’t know? Email isn’t the best delivery method for prospecting or brand awareness, people just don’t have time to open everything they get, nor do they trust it and you run the risk of getting black listed on servers or being reported by users as spam. Stick to communicating with current customers and building an organic opt in list. For more information on that, check out this MarketingLand article, “The Psychology Behind Asking Users Their Email Address.” and this post by Neil Patel, “10 Ways to Capture Email Leads without Disturbing Your Visitors.”
- Filling your content with keywords. Using keywords isn’t as critical for SEO as it was just five years ago. Thankfully, due to changes in search engine algorithms copywriters can now refrain from shoving keywords into sentences where they don’t really belong in order to get search engines’ attention. Instead, they can focus on writing content that makes sense and is actually what readers want and need.
- Creating vast quantities of content. Keeping up with the content machine so that your blog, or your social media is constantly featuring something new was a strategy employed by many, but again search engine evolution has rendered it ineffective. Instead, the value is placed on quality content, so it’s better to create fewer, really hard-hitting pieces in a year than more short pieces that offer less depth.
- Gating all of your valuable content. “Gating” content means you require visitors to your website to complete a form sharing their information with you before they can see the content or download the piece. In the early days of content marketing, the idea of giving everything away for free seemed crazy. Marketers at least wanted to get sales leads to show management that their efforts were worth it. While a gated content strategy can serve a purpose gathering leads and probably shouldn’t be eliminated altogether, use it sparingly. Ungated content is better for raising brand awareness and keeps users engaged with you site longer. Often, after you’ve provided some information “for free”, users will ask for a demo or sign up for your mailing list on their own. By requiring that they do so at the start, you run the risk that they’ll immediately leave and find their answers for your competitor, or reduce their trust in your brand because they think they’re just being “sold to”.
- Designing for desktop first and mobile second. Face it. Many of us are phone addicts. On average, Americans spend 3 hours and 15 minutes per day on our phones. We research, we shop and we connect with others on the devices. Most sites get the majority of their traffic from mobile devices. Therefore, it’s important for marketers to think about the mobile experience first when planning and designing content. Create content that is easy to consume on a smaller screen and outside of the home and can be shared with others and ultimately the purchase experience is seamless on a phone.
If you’re using any of these strategies, it’s time to send them the way of the filmstrip. After you’ve retired your old digital marketing strategies, contact glee to build a strategy that works in 2019.
Photo credit: Martine Audet, Instagram: @martine.nyc