For a lot of small businesses, the last quarter of the year drives the bulk of annual sales. This is why many of you have already lined up your end-of-year marketing campaigns. While you go over the details to get things just right, you may have a nagging feeling you’re overlooking something. But what?
Knowing that a simple misstep can have a detrimental domino effect is one thing, but catching that mistake is another. Following are seven pitfalls to avoid when it comes to your email and social media marketing campaign efforts.
• Image-heavy messages. Since email that takes too long to download goes unread or into the spam filter, consider using a single image and testing the message before it goes live.
• Over-optimized website content. The latest changes from Google affect where your site appears in search engine rankings. Today, the zealous over optimizer will find their website showing up lower in search results. Success comes from focusing on providing fresh, relevant content specific to your line of business and expertise.
• One size fits all campaigns. While it may seem like a time saver to write one message to all of your subscribers, this can diminish your brand because nothing feels more hollow than a form letter. If you segment your readers based on interests and past purchases, and tailor your messages to them, you’ll see an uptick in sales and referrals.
• “Been there done that” campaigns. Instead of recycling old messages or touting the obvious “me too” offers that your competitors will also be presenting, brainstorm to develop a fresh campaign. Also, think about partnering with other local businesses and/or presenting offers that reinforce what makes your business special.
• Too much sell, not enough engagement. All of your messages should focus on connecting with your audience by asking questions, sharing insight and presenting content that is of interest to them as opposed to overt sales tactics.
• Not giving enough notice about an upcoming event. The fall event season is packed with enticing options. Along with creating a compelling event, be sure you send a save the date notice and subsequent reminders to give attendees enough time to put the event in their calendar and invite their friends.
• And, as always, get permission before you add a new contact to your marketing database.
If you follow these best practices you’ll be on your way to a successful year-end campaign season.
Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s educational marketing expert in the Midwestern United States (IL, IN, KY, OH, & MI). He has over 30 years experience supporting small business, with a background in small business marketing, management & development. He has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media, online survey and engagement marketing strategies. Steve has twice been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ Who’s Who in Non-Profit Management and currently writes a guest blog for nbcchicago.com’s Inc.well Blog. Steve draws from this experience to be a valuable resource to Midwestern small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Steve has educated more than 40,000 small businesses on behalf of Constant Contact since joining the team in 2007 and has presented at @Midwest, Techweek Chicago, & for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office Online Marketing Contest to name just a few.