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13 Frightful Marketing Mishaps That’ll Make Your Skin Crawl

Posted on October 31, 2019 by Megan Hamlin

Digital marketing is constantly changing. What worked a year ago, doesn’t work today. Heck, sometimes what worked a month ago doesn’t work today. You have to keep up with new trends, hacks, and tips, as well as new marketing platforms, tools and techniques.

We don’t know for sure what the future of digital marketing looks like, but we do know that some marketing methods should’ve died a long, long time ago. These marketing mishaps shouldn’t be used — not now, not ever.

Frightful Marketing Mistakes You May be Making

#1 Having a Landing Page With no Clear Call-to-Action

Once your potential customers are directed to your site, ideally to a landing page, what action do you want them to take next? If you have no clear pathway for them to become actual paying customers, then what’s the point?

Having a landing page with a form is the best option. In the landing page copy you’ll discuss why and how your product or service will help them and make their life easier, and then they should have the option of opting in through a form.

When they opt in, they are telling you they are interested. And when you capture their contact information through the form, you will be able to continue to market to them (through email marketing for example) until they finally purchase what you’re selling.

#2 Using HTTP Instead of HTTPS

All websites need to prioritize security. Did you know that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses? Having the mentality that there are bigger fish to fry will only hurt you in the long run.

So what is HTTPS?

  1. When a user navigates to a URL, the browser opens up a line of communication with the site’s server.
  2. The browser downloads the information required to render that specific web page.
  3. When using HTTP, this communication happens with plain text, and third-parties can access the communication between the server and browser. If this happens, personal and sensitive info can be stolen.
  4. To make the communication private, websites need to use HTTPS. By using HTTPS, the same conversation takes place between a server and a web browser, but the information is encrypted. This prevents third-parties from stealing personal info.

By using HTTPS, users will be more apt to trust your site. Therefore, they will be more likely to fill out lead conversion forms that ask for their contact information (like an email address).

Security also impacts the performance of your website. Google ranks sites with HTTPS higher over sites that only use HTTP.

#3 Only Posting Self-Serving Content on Social Media

The general rule for posting on social media is the 80/20 rule:

80% of your content should focus on educating, informing and entertaining your audience. Only 20% of your content should directly promote your business.

People don’t want to hear about your awards and accolades all the time. People want to know you can help them and solve their problem.

#4 Not Tracking Marketing Efforts

When you’re sending emails, running Facebook advertisements, posting to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, and running Google Ads, how are you supposed to know what efforts are working the best and which ones you should focus on if you don’t track anything?

Cue Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows you to analyze in-depth details about your website visitors like where they are coming from, how long they’re staying on your site, which pages they’re viewing, how many pages they’re viewing, which channels are converting the best, etc.

Google Analytics provides valuable insights that help you tweak and perfect your overall marketing strategy.

#5 Using Pop-Ups on Your Website

No one likes pop-ups. We repeat: No one likes pop-ups.

More often than not, they’re annoying, especially when they interrupt the reading process. When pop-ups interrupt people, people are likely to get agitated and leave a site, never to sign up for your newsletter or buy your product.

Google also penalizes mobile sites that use “intrusive interstitials,” aka pop-ups. So if you want to be found in search, don’t use pop-ups!

#6 Buying Social Media Followers

Buying social media followers may seem like a good idea when you’re trying to grow your brand, but it can be detrimental to your accounts.

When you buy social media followers, chances are they are bots – not real people.

  • If they are fake accounts, your content is going to get little to no engagement.
  • You’re going to get spammy, useless and inappropriate comments.
  • Your account will lack credibility. People are smart. They are going to be able to tell if your followers are legitimate. If they’re not, your reputation and the trust they have with you will go way down.
  • Lastly, Instagram in particular may suspend your account if you buy social followers.

In short, grow your following the old-fashioned way: Post great content that’s helpful and reliable, and you’ll see your followers increase day after day. It’s a slow build, but worth it in the end.

#7 Relying on Large Hosting Companies

Large hosting companies have huge customer bases and store thousands of servers in data centers all throughout the world. But even though their numbers may look good on paper, and they have great equipment, they typically lack on the customer service side of things. You want to be able to talk to someone immediately if your server goes down or you need assistance.

Local website hosting companies will provide you with the personal, fast and effective customer service you need.

Local hosting companies will also be able to provide you uniqubudgete solutions for your business. Not every business is the same, so there shouldn’t be one cookie-cutter approach.

#8 Writing for Search Engines, not People

When it comes to search engine optimization, do not try to cram as many keywords as possible into one website page. This is called keyword stuffing, and it’s downright bad.

When content isn’t written for people, it usually results in a spammy and artificial read. Google also penalizes sites that do it. You’ll fall straight down to the bottom of rankings, or worse, your content may be removed from search listings entirely.

#9 Not Being Social on Social Media

So you “liked” a couple of social posts today. Good for you, right?


Social media platforms are where you build trust with your audience. They allow you to have 1:1 conversations with people easily. If you’re only passively liking posts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Go a step beyond liking your followers’ posts. Be sure to comment on posts, ask questions, and answer your followers’ questions. Share their valuable content, too. The more you interact, the more trust you will build with your following.

Each time someone interacts with your brand on social media, overall brand awareness also increases. This means that new people are seeing your content, increasing your chances of more sales.

#10 Blowing Your Whole Marketing Budget on Billboards

While traditional marketing definitely isn’t dead, you want to make sure you are taking advantage of digital marketing strategies, too.

Digital marketing:

  1. receives a higher level of engagement
  2. makes it easy to measure results
  3. allows you to target a larger, more qualified audience
  4. is less expensive than traditional marketing like radio ads, billboards and tv ads

You can certainly sprinkle in some traditional marketing techniques here and there, but we suggest listening to the numbers: 90% of B2C businesses report social media as being the most effective content marketing tactic.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, we can help.

Honorable Mentions

There are three Richmond-themed scares that made our list, too.

  1. City parking. Yikes! Which one will you find first? A parking spot in the city or Dracula’s reflection?
  2. The lunch line at ZZQ. The lunch line is always long here, but we have found it’s because their food is to DIE for!
  3. Potholes! Yowza. Which is more dangerous: A black hole or a Richmond-city pothole?

Next Steps

We covered a lot of marketing mistakes above. If you have questions, or if you’re ready to see how digital marketing can grow your business, we would love to chat! Give us a call at 804-577-8679.

About the author:

Megan Hamlin

Senior Digital Marketing Specialist

Connect on LinkedIn

Megan is the Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at Torx. She is responsible for social media marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Getting clients qualified leads is her biggest goal. When she isn’t on Facebook or writing a blog, she can be found analyzing data to see how she can improve her digital marketing efforts.