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The 12 Don'ts of Marketing in 2020

The 12 Don'ts of Marketing in 2020

1. Stop Posting Video Content Without Captions

Video content is becoming increasingly more important for both social media and website landing pages. According to Forbes,  a user spends 88% more time on a webpage if there is video content on it, but this means the video content has to be accessible.

Videos without captions make it difficult for those who are deaf/hard of hearing to view and understand the content, as well as create a barrier for those who come across content while in a sound-sensitive environment, like when you're scrolling through Twitter during class or a work meeting. It is reported that  85% of videos viewed are played without sound, meaning if your messaging is highly reliant on voiceover information or audible information, the target audience isn't being exposed to that content.

2. Don't Neglect the Mobile Device Users

Having a landing page or full website for your brand, product, organization or service is great to provide consumers with more information, content or a call-to-action, but only if they can access it.  Roughly four billion individuals access the internet from a mobile device globally. If your online content is not optimized to fit a mobile screen, you may be missing billions of potential consumers.

Not only will optimizing your website for mobile help engage those who use their cellphone or other devices to view content on the internet, but  mobile compatibility plays a large role in search engine ranking. Google looks at the mobile version of websites for indexing and ranking over the desktop view. Increase your SEO effectiveness by auditing your site's mobile view for the best results in 2020.

3. Stop Ghosting Your Social Media Followers

Content Marketing is more than simply pushing out content; it's about the meaningful engagements that content creates with your followers and the action it prompts them to take. In 2020, make sure your content is prompting action; the post copy is encouraging consumers to share it and engage with the brand.  Consumers spend 30% of their time online engaging on social media, make sure it is your brand they are engaging.

Engaging back with consumers and creating conversation will not only increase the reach of your content but will help you fight against difficult social media algorithms to make sure followers see your content in the first place. For example,  Facebook prioritizes posts that have earned "meaningful reactions" such as receiving reactions, shares and comments by keeping these high interaction posts at the top of individual's newsfeeds.

4. Stop Treating All Social Media Sites the Same

Cross-posting, posting the same content and copy on different platforms may seem like an easy way to make sure you are consistently putting your brand out there. Still, it's not as effective of a strategy as you think.  Each platform essentially has its own set of rules, its own character limit, image formatting and limits on files can be shared. Simply copy and pasting content can lead to images appearing with low-quality, captions missing the ending or the accidental tagging of an account that doesn't exist across more than one platform.

Not only do different posting limitations exist, but  different platforms have different audience demographics. For example, Instagram has mostly women under the age of 30 on the platform, reposting content that did well on LinkedIn may not see the same results because LinkedIn is a male-dominated platform with most users being over the age of 30. Keep the goals for posting your content and the demographics of the target audience in mind when selecting what platform to post on.

5. Don't Think Your Facebook Page is an Acceptable Website

Do you have a Facebook page? Great! Facebook is a great tool to reach new consumers, drive sales and engage with brand followers. However, Facebook should only be a tool for your social media marketing and not the page you are driving all traffic.  Facebook pages lack the ability to be fully in control of branding, format and accessibility of page analytics.

Additionally,  Facebook has very poor results when used as a landing page for paid ads. Facebook pages often have a lower quality rank for SEO; Google limits the number of paid results from top-level domains like Facebook and AdWords conversion tracking will not work. It is also possible that Facebook will flag use in paid ads as a trademark violation and only many Facebook pages can only be fully viewed when a user is signed in. This means you could be paying for an ad, but clicks from those who do not have a Facebook does not guarantee they will be able to view the page.

6. Don't Forget About Repeat Customers

Brands are constantly looking to grow their customer base by getting messages in front of new audiences, but neglecting those who have already "bought in" can be a huge mistake. It is more profitable to market to returning customers.  Selling to a new customer is five times as expensive as selling to an existing one.

Returning customers have less barriers to overcome when making a purchase decision.  Returning customers have been found to spend twice as much time on eCommerce sites of a brand they have bought from then new customers. This is because they know what your brand is about and what to expect from your products. Consider the idea that one customer can make a $100 purchase and disappear, but if you remarket to them and keep them as a brand loyal consumer, five purchases over five years is a $500 value per individual.

7. Don't Try a Cause Marketing Campaign Without Authentic Connection

66% of young consumers, Gen Z's, report that their perception of a brand greatly improves if it aligns with a social cause they are passionate about, making cause marketing an excellent tactic for reaching the rising generation. However, brands need to be careful about the causes they choose to get involved with, or this can quickly turn in to a crisis communication situation. Consumers who sense authenticity will speak out about it. With the rise of social media, they have a platform to blast their dislike to a broad audience.

8. Stop Only Using Email Marketing to Sell Your Product

It is estimated that the average working person receives around 90 emails per day, meaning your email marketing campaign has 89 other emails to compete with. If an email looks like it's trying to get the consumer to purchase something, they most likely won't care, and they will delete it and potentially all further communications you send them.

There should be a balance between engaging information and sales content within your email marketing campaigns. Email provides the opportunity to build a relationship with your customers. Sharing ideas and stories will allow engaging with subscribers as other content marketing methods do. As positive engagements foster a relationship, so will brand and consumer trust leading the consumer to be more likely to make a purchase.

9. Don't Neglect Testing and Research

Making assumptions about your audience and their behaviors, needs and interests based on no research or without testing can lead to large wastes of time and resources . A campaign can sound like a great idea in a brainstorm, but if it's only based on your "great" ideas and not the needs and wants of your target consumer, you could miss the mark completely and have no engagement.

If you are changing your logo, test it. Use a focus group to get consumer feedback. See if they still understand it is your brand. If you are going to use a pop culture reference, research it. Make sure you understand the reference fully. Many brands have had major crisis problems from making inappropriate references because they were trending.

10. Don't Neglect the Importance of Different Data Sets

As all marketing communications professionals know,  some of the most critical measurements of success and key insights can be found in marketing data. For each project, marketing communications teams need to determine which analytics and data collection sets will be most important to measure success, basic web traffic is not always the answer.

While it's great that people are visiting your website,  tracking only the numbers of page visits does not tell consumers' thoughts about the webpage. Basic web traffic will not give an accurate insight into what content is performing best on the page, what content you need to create more of and what content needs to be reconsidered and refined.

11. Stop Neglecting the Importance of Consistency on Instagram

Instagram currently has over 110 million active users, meaning your brand page has the opportunity to have a massive reach if used effectively. Consistency is key for Instagram. Brands need to be consistent with how much they post, what they post about and the look and feel of their posts.

When people view an Instagram page, they view it for the storyboard of all the brand's posts. Posts must flow together and fit a brand aesthetic. This aesthetic, or consistent theme, does not only apply to the visual aspect of each post but the caption as well. Captions should use consistent messaging styles and utilize only relevant hashtags.

12. Don't Imitate the Competition

A brand must know who its competition is and what strategies their competition is using. By copying your competitors, you are limiting your brands reach and the potential of your marketing strategies. If you are simply copying, you don't know the "why" behind what you are doing, making it less authentic, less organized and by default will be less effective for your brand than the company you are imitating.

By imitating competition, you could also run the risk of confusing your customers. Without unique branding and messaging, consumers may assume you are the same brand as another, providing similar products or services. Your brand may appear as the "generic" version of another, the afterthought. Customers may also just assume your brand is lower quality if they recognize the copying and attribute to a lack of creativity and ability to produce anything of quality.

Looking for what you should add to your marketing communications strategy in 2020? Check out the  WVU 2020 Watchlist for Marketing Communicators.

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