Marketing and advertising has been around for so long- especially since the boom of the internet-
-that it can be easy to get caught up in using marketing tactics that aren’t really helpful anymore.
But customers change and evolve over the years, and your marketing efforts need to change and evolve with them.
The reality is there are 3 common marketing tactics we see floating around that business owners use every day, that are actually toxic.
3 Common Toxic Marketing Tactics To Avoid
Toxic Marketing Tactic #1: Leading with a question
If you’ve read our blog for a while, you’ve seen us preach about the need to talk about your customers, not your company in ads.
You want the content or ad to resonate with your audience.
The problem is a lot of times when business owners try to create an ad that does that, they start with a question that sounds something like this:
“Do you ever struggle with keeping a perfectly manicured lawn?
Or “Are you tired of dealing with handymen that overcharge and underserve?”
Or “Do you ever feel like you’ll never find a solution to acne?”
Now we just put random problems in here but let’s look at those questions with blanks and you can fill them in with whatever problem your business solves.
While yes, you’re trying to identify with your target customer by asking a question that describes their scenario, the problem is at this point in time, it sounds salesy.
People are becoming MORE immune to ads, not less.
And most ads that start with a question that sounds like they’re being read by a movie narrator, get ignored.
The way you can take the same idea and turn it around is to lead with a command.
Keep your lawn manicured for less.
Stop dealing with handymen that overcharge and underserve.
Get rid of your acne for good in 30 days or less.
You’ll still get their attention because you’re describing a scenario that they can relate to-
-but you’ll keep their attention because you’re giving them the solution they want to hear first.
Toxic Marketing Tactic #2: Focusing too much on vanity numbers
We don’t want to undermine the use of a good social media strategy- but that’s just it.
A GOOD social media strategy doesn’t focus solely on vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are views, likes, followers, and comments.
And this is what toxic marketing tactics like this are all about – vanity metrics.
Too many business owners create content with the hopes of it going viral instead of with the hopes of it driving customers.
Because no, the two things are not equivalent. We’ve talked about this in our why going viral is bad for your business post.
But it is a toxic marketing thought thinking that viral social media numbers will automatically lead to more customers.
When you focus solely on the social media numbers, you focus solely on the top of the sales funnel- which is NOT where conversions happen.
A good social media strategy focuses on the funnel as a whole-
-and strives to draw in people at the top of the funnel who will eventually convert into a customer at the bottom of your funnel.
If you need help putting together a good social media sales funnel…
…we made this post specifically for a Facebook ad funnel but it can be applied to multiple social media platforms, so read it next.
It’s a good post if you’re not really sure what a sales funnel is or how yours could work when trying to build your social media strategy at the same time.
Toxic Marketing Tactic #3: An immediate payoff
The last one on our list of common toxic marketing tactics involves your mindset in running marketing campaigns.
Despite what the overnight TikTok sensations of the world will tell you, building a brand takes time.
We’ve seen so many business owners get impatient and give up within just MONTHS of marketing their business.
Have you guys ever seen this comic?
It’s kind of the same principle except we DO know how close we are because we have things like data and tracking pixels.
Let us put it into perspective. Imagine this: you’re scrolling through social media and see an ad for shoes from a brand you have never heard of.
You briefly think to yourself, “Eh cool shoes.” Then keep scrolling.
You make dinner, read a book, go to bed, go to work the next day, and never think about that shoe brand again- can’t even remember the name of the brand.
On the other end, that small business owner is like, “THEY SAW MY AD, WHY DIDN’T THEY PURCHASE THE SHOES????”
Now remember that you are the small business owner in that scenario.
The reason the customer didn’t purchase was because they needed to see it again a few more times to get them to:
- remember you,
- want what you have, and
- trust you enough to buy it from you.
Thinking you can get rich quick or spend $10 to make a $100k is toxic thinking around marketing.
-you’ll find that the clients who are making over half a million in ad revenue, actually spent $80K to get it.
Now that’s not to discourage the small business owners with a small business budget.
There are definitely ways to maximize the ad spend you do have and capitalize on organic efforts, you just have to have the patience for it to work to your advantage.
We know toxic marketing tactics like this can be tough to wrestle with because small businesses are the ones that NEED growth and need it fast.
But the sooner you start aiming for sustainable, long-term growth, the better.