1. Getting bogged down by the data: Stop just measuring and start marketing.


In business, we hear so much about the importance of data-driven decision making, it’s easy to swoon when we take a look at all of the data that’s available to even the most novice marketer. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights have become invaluable tools for marketers. Organizing and analyzing data is a big challenge, making it easy to focus too heavily on vanity metrics, leaving the bigger question of what all of this information helps meet your business goals.  

DO THIS INSTEAD: It is important to focus on what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are most helpful in really tracking performance, like impressions, website visits, time on site, conversions, bounce rate, or other metrics that reflect your goals. Next, commit to forming action plans behind each to connect your people and systems to your marketing, and then forget about the rest. 

2. Missing opportunities with video: Stop posting video for the sake of doing it.  

Social video posts generate a staggering 1200% more shares than text & image posts combined with results or LIVE video proving even more engaging. This makes it tempting to hit the ‘Go Live’ button early and often on behalf of your business. Doing so without a strategy, however, can actually negatively impact your online reputation, shrink your following, and diminish your results. 

Consider that live streaming is predicted to be a $70.5 billion industry by the end of this year. This not only means that our choices for what’s available in the live video genre are growing exponentially, but the quality of live video is also increasing as well. As a result, consumers have a low tolerance for a bad stream. Research shows that 27 seconds is the most a viewer will tolerate a low-quality live video (which is about as long as a lot of folks spend “waiting for a couple more to sign on here”) and many will unfollow the channel to ensure to avoid risk of being served that crummy content again in the future.  

DO THIS INSTEAD: Invest some time and resources into your video strategy and, like any content, post only when you have value to add. Whether the video is broadcast live or pre-recorded, you need a plan that helps things stay on track and a clear value that’s conveyed to the audience quickly and succinctly. It is also increasingly important that video is optimized for soundless viewing with captions and a clear call to action. Doing so is not only a great benefit to many members of your audience when they aren’t able to view with sound on, but it’s also important evidence of your brand’s diversity and inclusion of individuals who count on captions and subtitles.

3. Posting stuff about yourself: Stop making your brand the hero of your story.

Think about the people that you like and enjoy spending time with the most. They probably share a common trait: They don’t spend much time talking about themselves. Instead, they lean in. They listen. They ask questions. They make you feel that they genuinely care about what you have to say. 

This seems like pretty basic stuff, yet many small businesses prattle on and on about themselves (humble brag storytelling is so 2019).  

It’s an easy trap for even for the most courteous or unpretentious marketer to fall into. This is understandable, it wasn’t so long ago when proving one’s credibility was an important purpose of advertising.  

Today, it is important to build a personal brand that positions you and your business as a trusted resource. Doing so by talking endlessly about what you’re selling, however, is counterproductive. 

DO THIS INSTEAD: Instead of constantly pushing your products and services, focus on solving the problems that your customers, stakeholders, and target are facing. When you do talk about yourself or other members of your team, share a window into your role and your soul and tell stories about ways that you serve your customers and clients. Today’s consumer hears so much noise … it’s important that your help them see how you can make their lives easier and how they are the hero of your story. 

When your brand provides value and is likable, your marketing will seem effortless. 

4. Prioritizing hacks over humans: Stop looking for the shortcut and instead focus on the audience connections.  

Good marketing is focused on earning revenue. Bad marketing is focused on gaming the system. Paying for positive reviews, buying followers, or chasing other hacks and workarounds in order to trick the internet is a bad practice all around. If you do things the right way, you won’t have to worry about how Google or Facebook is tweaking their algorithms, disrupting your business overnight.

DO THIS INSTEAD:  When you focus on delivering a solid product or service paired with memorable customer experience, then it becomes remarkably easy to put together content that will help people identify your brand as valuable, helpful, informative, genuine, and transparent.  

5. Post and ghost: Stop thinking of Facebook as holistic marketing and see it for what it is–a critically important tactic. 

Social media is a tactic. Like any tactic, it cannot be responsible for business success on its own. Organic reach on social media is diminishing drastically, with brand posts reaching less than 8% of followers on average. That’s chilling when you consider the time and effort you’re likely putting into posting your updates to Facebook. This is doubly true if that’s the end of your marketing effort. 

Why then, do so many small businesses post to their Facebook page or Instagram profile and then stop there? It could be that the tactile nature of the process of managing a social media page is a very hands-on activity that appeals to our ego and sense of achievement. Posting feels like marketing (“oh look, we got likes!”), resulting in a false-positive read of the results of your efforts and how much they led to revenue.  

Social media is an absolutely critical piece of marketing strategy. But it can NOT be the only tool in your toolbox. When you limit your message to Facebook, you deny MOST of your target and customers the opportunity to engage with you. 

DO THIS INSTEAD: Use social media marketing in tandem with other digital tactics, including a high-quality website that’s aimed at conversions, email marketing, and a solid search engine marketing plan. These digital tactics should then be blended with analog or offline tactics as well as a solid approach to community or media relations. They will work together to lead to real revenue that grows your business, aimed at profits more than posts. 


Marketing only matters when it leads to revenue. Breaking these five habits could be the catalyst to leveling up your marketing in 2020 and focusing your efforts on tactics that will help you grow your business and transform your life. This list is surely incomplete, what are other terrible marketing habits that you’d add? I’d love to hear from you!

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