Shockingly Common Marketing Fails & How To Avoid Them
Often, we marketers are so focused on the big picture that we forget to look at the details. Columnist Julie Joyce shares some frequently-seen marketing mistakes with the hope you'll bypass these pitfalls!
You know how it’s hard to see your own typos when you read what you’ve written, but someone else can spot them in three seconds? Often, that’s true for our digital marketing efforts as well.
I know it’s very easy to Monday morning quarterback marketing, but sometimes I do see things that make me seriously scratch my head. Here are three such mistakes I see often in online marketing.
1. There Is No Link
Recently, my son’s principal sent out an email announcing that a video made by some students at the middle school “went viral.”
Never mind the fact that my definition of “viral” is probably wildly different from hers due to the fact that I’m in marketing and she’s in education — the email about this viral video amazingly did not contain a link to the video. Here you have a school-sanctioned email sent out to the parents of around 200 kids, and you’ve just left them hanging.
Naturally, I searched for the video and found it on YouTube, but I’d have much preferred to be able to just click on a link. How many parents didn’t think to search for it? Let’s say 50 didn’t. That’s 50 fewer eyeballs on what you want to showcase.
Think about how losing 25% of your potential audience could hurt you — and all because you didn’t do something as simple as slap in a URL. What if you’d lost 25% of 10,000 subscribers?
I see this kind of mistake on websites as well. I’m going to pick on another school here. Check the image below.
Now honestly, how hard would it have been to include a link? That copy gives you the URL of the site (unlinked) that you’re on already but it doesn’t point you to the exact resource. Worse, a quick search didn’t turn up the list they were referencing.
Even major brands make this mistake. Just look at this screenshot from David’s Bridal!
They tell you to view the Sleeve Options page (which I still can’t confirm is an actual, standalone page) but don’t link to it. Even more confusingly, when they refer to their Bustle Options page, they do link to that. What gives?
2. There Is Inaccurate Or Outdated Information
In trying to find a new doctor for my children, I decided on a local medical office whose website made it clear that they were accepting new patients. When I reached out, I waited around 20 minutes to be told that they were not, in fact, accepting new patients as advertised. When they asked if I’d like to be put on the waiting list, I said no.
Here’s another example, this one food-related. Now, to put this in context, I’m one of those people who gets crazy if she isn’t fed and, when I have something in mind to eat, that’s really all I can think of eating. I also get very petty when it comes to people not having something I expect when I’m starving.
I had a serious craving recently for Hardee’s curly fries (yes, I feel badly about it). When my husband tried to purchase some from the location closest to us, they informed us that they didn’t have them. Big disappointment.
Next time we decided to go to to Hardee’s, I insisted that we drive across town to another one so I could have my curly fries. I even looked up the menu online to make sure they still offered them. According to the site, they do:
So, did the new location have curly fries? Nope. In fact, the staff told us they hadn’t offered them in ages. “But they’re on the website!” I wanted to scream. (Remember, I’d made my husband drive miles away in hopes of satisfying my curly fry needs.)
3. There Is A Lack Of Interest In Keeping Your Business
A while back, I unsubscribed to emails from Hanna Andersson, a clothing retailer that specializes in children’s wear. In the screenshot below, you’ll note that my selected reason for unsubscribing was, “The children in my life have outgrown Hanna Anderson.” People choosing this option probably assume that the company’s product offerings are no longer relevant to them.
Here’s the thing, though: The company offers women’s clothing as well. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you that when you select the “outgrown” option to unsubscribe.
This is such a huge missed opportunity. What if they’d added a message to the effect of: “Before you go, did you know that we also offer Women’s sizes?”
Those are all big marketing fails. They’re also very common ones in some form or fashion — info isn’t there, or it’s inaccurate, or no one is thinking about ways to salvage a relationship. Every single thing like that affects your marketing efforts and brand reputation, because it impacts the way (potential) customers feel about you.
After all that complaining, let’s end with a nice example of someone doing something right.
Take a look at the screenshot below:
SMX’s team sent out an email with the wifi password in it for the SMX West conference rather than announcing it some other way. So simple, yet I guarantee you it made every single person attending that event very happy because it was one less thing to search for. Pretty smart, right?