5 Things Marketers Have To Stop Doing in 2016

2016 is here. It’s an exciting time as digital marketing keeps evolving. True marketing disruptors to watch are on their way, like algorithmic marketing, recognition strategy, hyper-personal marketing (behavioral targeting), and artificial neural networks. But, while new tactics come to life, there are also things marketers need to stop doing.

For all the new in the world, there are some old tactics that just don’t work anymore. Yet many still hold to them tightly. Maybe it’s because they don’t know that they’re no longer the best way or aren’t aware of the great benefits to investing in other tactics instead. But it’s time to move on from the dying marketing tactics. Here are 5 that people need to let go in 2016.

1) Link Building Is Dead

Long before social media and PPC came along, link building was one of the best ways to get your site seen. Those days are long gone. There are far better ways to get links to your site.

Link building is too time consuming. For all the effort it takes to build a couple quality backlinks, you can create and promote a quality piece of content that will result in countless people linking to you instead. While link building takes time for Google to take note and increase search position, content promotion means instant increases in website traffic.

Social now refers more traffic than search. It’s time to stop wasting your time with link building and invest in tactics that create more return. Link building is dead.

2) Content Without Social Promotion

Can you create content on your site and then wait for it to be found by Google and hope it ranks well in search? Sure. Is that the best way to go about it? Not a chance. Yet many still do it this way. They assume their small social followings doesn’t matter or they tweet the content once and move on.

If you create it, it needs social promotion around it. This means an immediate influx of eyes on it (no waiting for it to appear in search) and also brings the opportunity to go viral.

And don’t forget about paid social promotion. You don’t have to spend a ton. I recently got 4,500 views on a piece of content for just $5 from Facebook. Set aside even a small budget for everything you produce and see what kind of return you can get. Everyone should be able to afford $20–50 per piece of content published and it’ll go a very long way to driving far greater success from everything you create.

Make the social promotional plan part of your plan from the start. The promotional strategy should be in place before you even begin to create, not afterwards as an afterthought.

3) Focus On People, Not SEO

SEO use to be king. To allow search engines to find you, one had to make sure that all the elements the search engine needed to index a page properly were there (and back then search was the main way people found what they viewed online). In many cases this meant ignoring the experience for the actual people visiting your site, like sprinkling in keywords enough for Google, even if they added unneeded bulk for the reader. It wasn’t optimal for people but needed for good ranking in search.

Those times are gone. Google has made huge strides to be better at figuring out what’s going on with a page and no longer needing many of the things we use to have to go out of our way to give them. The introduction of Google Hummingbird back in 2013 gave the search engine even better ability to judge context of the content it indexes.

It’s been said many times but for some it hasn’t gotten through yet: write for humans, not for Google. Even the best companies with great intentions sacrifice additional excellence they could be giving people when they put a focus on SEO.

Focus on what your website visitors see. All the search traffic in the world doesn’t mean a thing if people have a crappy experience when they arrive on the page. With social now driving more traffic than search, it’s time to invest more in the user experience than catering to Google.

4) Focus On Followers, Not Follower Count

It’s not about how many people in your audience, it’s about who is in your audience. In 2016, everyone needs to stop worrying about getting as many followers they can. Start focusing on who is following instead.

It’s far more important to have 200 highly-engaged followers than 200,000 disengaged. 200 followers who are aligned to your product and message are far more important than 200,000 that will never buy what you’re selling.

So, how do you know if the right people are following you? Dig in, analyze, and identify your followers. Put your time into making sure your audience is the right audience, rather than worrying about making it simply the biggest audience possible.

We must stop measuring social success by follower count and instead measure it by those followers who align with our target market. It takes more work to measure, but it’s worth the effort when we know our messages are being seen by the right people.

5) Stop Ignoring What Your Data Tells You

We’ve got piles of data. It tells us all kinds of stuff. And yet, so many marketers have the data tell them what needs to change and then continue doing what they’re already doing. Stop.

It’s time to let the data inform you, and then actually make the changes that the data indicates should happen. Stop continuing to do the same thing simply because it’s easier than changing.

Create a game plan for how you’ll adapt your current strategy and tactics based on data, and then make those changes happen. It may take more work, and may be less comfortable than continuing to do what you do, but it will bring about far greater results.

Ring In The New Year

The success we’re seeing right now is a great thing, and we want to bring that with us through 2016. But there are a number of bad habits we’d be best off leaving in the past.

Think about giving up old ways, and considering better ways in the new year. Make a resolution to get better results in 2016.


Originally published at benbrausen.com on January 4, 2016.