If you’re doing business online then you know you need an arsenal of digital marketing tactics in your marketing plan.
But which ones should you use? Which ones work? And what about the kind of smarmy ones…if they work, should you use those too?
There have always been slimy marketing tricks, way before Internet times, and I think those of us with any scruples know enough to stay away from inauthentic tactics.
But in this crowded space—and so many different voices recommending this or that approach—sometimes it’s tough to tell what’s a good idea and what will get you shadowbanned.
While we’re all searching for that magic silver bullet that will solve all of our marketing and promotion problems, there are some things you don’t need to worry about doing any more. And a few you shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
Executing a solid marketing plan comes down to understanding who you serve, what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.
If you can get solid here, your marketing will flow from there.
I’ve put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. You can grab the free download in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll email you the password, then go to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”
Digital marketing tactics that don’t work
Here are a few common digital marketing tactics that may do more damage than good to your brand.
Buying likes and followers
Online popularity feels like a numbers game. And in many ways, it is.
- Authors know they need a platform
- Influencers know they need tons of engaged followers
- Freelancers know they need to promote their work widely on social media
So it stands to reason you’ll be tempted at one point or another to purchase social media followers and/or engagement in order to give yourself a boost.
I think we can all agree this is scammy. Like, super inauthentic. As well, brands and organizations are becoming wise to this digital marketing tactic. It doesn’t take much digging to discover a bloated account these days.
Social media platforms are also cracking down on this behaviour, deleting inactive accounts that could be used for this purpose.
Even though it’s the long, slow, gruelling road, you’re much better off growing your followers organically through engaging content or by using paid advertising. Or both.
Bulk-mailing promotional emails
Now, I’m not talking about sending mass emails to a nurtured email list you’ve cultivated over time.
Those people have opted into your list and have decided they’d like to hear from you.
But some people think it’s OK to randomly add people to their email mailing list who haven’t given them their explicit consent.
Not cool. And, in fact, not legal.
But even if you have consent, while sending out promo email after promo email might seem like an effective strategy, you’ll find most of these end up in people’s junk folder.
Why? Because many spam filters are triggered when more than 200 recipients receive the same email. This is particularly likely to be the case when emailing strangers.
Yes it takes more time, but it’s going to get you much farther in the long run.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that can help you gain visibility on search engines and increase leads.
However, there’s a LOT of bad advice on SEO out there and one tactic called keyword stuffing is particularly icky.
This happens when you cram and jam a particular word or phrase you want to rank in search engines for into your web page without any regard for how the copy reads. It’s written for robots, not humans.
Repeat after me: We write for humans first, robots second.
Aside from making your pages basically illegible and unreadable, this honestly doesn’t help your ranking either. The robots have caught on to this tactic and when they spot it, your site ranking does in fact take a hit.
One way to avoid practicing smarmy SEO is by investing in an SEO company. A good SEO company knows the rules and works to incorporate keywords naturally.
Overusing of pop-ups
People use pop-ups because they work. Yes they’re annoying, but they work!
However. You can overdo it.
The big idea here is you want to engage your website readers but not annoy them. So yes, you do want to employ some “notice me” tactics but in a polite way.
Use a polite pop-up.
For the best outcome, I suggest triggering pop-ups after visitors have been on your site for a while or just before they leave your site.
Publishing fake reviews
Reviews are SO important these days. Whether it’s books or drop-ship products, reviews can definitely make or break a sale.
So I understand why it may be temping to bolster your review ranks with a few planted captions.
But…don’t do this. If you get caught there are sometimes big consequences. Even when there are authentic reviews from your friends and family, those reviews can be taken down by sites as they can’t prove you didn’t pay or prompt them for a positive review (it’s rare, but it has happened).
It’s tough out there, but don’t take short cuts.
Having positive reviews will help you to build the trust, but you want to make sure that these reviews are from genuine past clients. Customers are way more savvy than many of us realise and will likely spot a fake review anyway.
One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.