Marketing gone wrong: 8 faux pas to be avoided at all costs (Pt. 1)

Newsletters, chatbots, search engines and social media platforms – digital marketing offers marketers a wealth of opportunities to successfully position themselves as experts, tap into new markets and build and maintain long-term customer relationships. But where there are many opportunities, there are also some risks. You should avoid these eight faux pas to ensure that your online marketing measures prove to be efficient and profitable.

#1 “Subscribe to our newsletter!”

When you hear “online marketing” nowadays you directly think of Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. The popularity and infinite possibilities of social networks often make us forget that email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your target audience and build a long-term customer relationship.

While marketing managers consider newsletters to be a cost-effective and at the same time efficient form of communication, (potential) customers often find them extremely annoying and undesirable. What is the reason for that? Newsletters without added value, irrelevant content, missing call-to-actions and loveless layouts are some of the reasons.

The most frequent and most serious faux pas in newsletter marketing, however, usually takes place before lead generation. It’s the very moment when potential subscribers are asked to sign up for the newsletter. An exaggerated use of penetrating pop-ups, which remind the customer of the newsletter in minute intervals on all possible pages and imaginable places on the website, counteracts the acquisition of prospective customers.

Our tip: Pop-ups should open after a certain time or not until the visitor wants to leave the website. This gives the visitor enough time to gather relevant information and be more open to subscribing to the newsletter in order to receive further content and offers. With the help of a tag manager, you can integrate the newsletter offer attractively on the company website and prevent it from being displayed to existing subscribers. If you would like to use this system for yourself, we would be happy to advise you in the implementation and conception.

#2 “Exclusive discounts for EVERYONE!”

Discounts affect our brain like a drug. This is not a metaphor, as neuroscientists assume that the human brain is powerless when it comes to special offers and bargain advertising. Discounts activate the reward center, whereupon the body releases the messenger substance dopamine, which triggers feelings of happiness.

Those who want to maximize their sales take advantage of this phenomenon. Companies try to increase the buying interest of potential customers through exclusive discounts. One would think that this exclusivity only belongs to a certain group of people. In practice, however, this often looks different! In many cases companies grant an “exclusive discount” to ALL interested parties. Special offers are sent by e-mail campaign or even advertised on the website. A faux pas, which obviously neglects loyal and special customers.

Our tip: In order for certain customer groups to feel sufficiently privileged and valued, discounts and special offers should be personalized. You can tailor special offers to various groups of people and individual phases of the customer journey and thus not only achieve a better uplift, but also give your customers a feeling of ‘real’ exclusivity.

#3 “We are at your service 24 hours a day!”

If you want to make customer communication more efficient, you can nowadays use modern communication options such as chatbots and 24-hour live chats. More and more companies are focusing on capturing individual customer needs as quickly as possible, even outside business hours, and reacting accordingly. After all, customer service and customer friendliness are of paramount importance. A live chat and a programmed system, which leads automated dialogues with customers, seems to be the ideal solution for that – or not?

In practice, however, the implementation of Customer Service 3.0 is not quite as advantageous as it seems. Because even in digital and automated communication, some mistakes can be made: an unstructured process, potential uncertainties and prejudices in the employee environment, lack of expertise in automated communication and inactive helpers in the live chat. These pitfalls often result in a loss of authenticity of the company.

Our tip: Better no chatbot than a stupid chatbot. And better no 24h live chat than an angry chat participant on the other side of the internet line. However, if you want to jump on the bandwagon of these digital communication possibilities, you first have to ask yourself what added value they bring. The introduction of automated helpers only makes sense if they are intelligently programmed/designed bots. These can not only answer repetitive questions or provide predefined answer possibilities, but can also recognize correlations from the context and establish contact to a real person, when it comes to more complex matters.

#4 “Follow us on all our social media channels!”

A post on Facebook here, a post on LinkedIn there, a photo on Instagram there. Almost every one of us is on social media and spends more than an hour a day on various social networks. This is the reason why web presence is becoming more and more important for companies. Businesses have to be where their customers are: online. But which social media platforms should be used to reach suitable interested parties?

Indeed, companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting suitable social media channels. Start-ups and large corporations often follow the motto “Be present everywhere!”. Marketing managers feel exposed to the pressure of digitization and are afraid that they will miss out on potential deals if they ignore a platform. Far from it! A weak presence can be even more damaging to a brand than no presence at all. After all, maintaining a social media channel is not a walk in the park, and anyone who bets on an exaggerated use of social networks runs the risk of losing track of the entire situation. The result: half-hearted profiles on which no posts were published for months, the same content on all social media channels and a low level of engagement on the part of the target group.

Our tip: Every social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses, as well as specific main target groups and individual possibilities for online marketing. The presence should of course be established where the own potential customers are. You should also ask yourself “Which channel suits me and my company?” and “What do I want to achieve with my social media presence?”. If you want to focus on branding, use Instagram. For publishing professional articles and press releases, choose platforms like LinkedIn and Xing. Share more personal insights into the company on Facebook. If you have significant video material, consider YouTube.

The second part of the series “Marketing gone wrong: 8 faux pas to be avoided at all costs” deals with four more trip stones that unfortunately occur far too often.

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