Marketing opportunities change so rapidly these days that it can be tough to keep up. If you're unsure whether your brand is setting the pace or falling behind, take a look at the following top ten marketing strategies to avoid in 2013.
1. Gaming online customer review sites by posing as a customer and uploading over-the-top comments is never a sound strategy. Both review sites and customers are getting savvier. If your scores are unnaturally high, customers will distrust what they're reading. Plus, review sites are incorporating systems to catch inauthentic posts.
2. Spurious growth of social media followers is a waste. Electing to inorganically grow your brand's Twitter followers by following everyone under the sun with the hopes they'll like your brand in return does not make for a winning strategy. Your messaging will be lost on a follower base that likely has little interest in your offering. Savvy marketers monitor engagement and the percentage of followers converting to buyers versus just total followers.
3. Generally, the purchase of email lists does not pay off. Not only are there CAN-SPAM compliance guidelines to contend with, but these lists are typically highly inaccurate, generating a low response rate from your email campaign.
4. Don't count on keywords coded into your website as the primary driver of new search traffic. Search-engine algorithms now consider much more with a particular eye for consumer engagement -- articles, social media sharing, blog posts and online reviews by consumers about your brand.
5. Stop using social media channels to simply broadcast your promotional messages. It's a turnoff to the social media community. Instead, do a lot more listening and development of online conversations, as well as providing content for which your fans and followers are hungry.
6. Don't rely exclusively on feelings and experience to determine where to spend your marketing dollars. Validate your strategies through research, analytics and statistics.
7. Be careful not to focus more on new business than you do on customer retention, as that's an expensive proposition.
8. Selling directly to consumers is often infinitely more expensive than establishing sound referral relationships. Consider establishing a strong referral management strategy.
9. Stop waiting for people to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter just because you ask them. Offer an incentive -- such as special discounts, only available through social media channels, or interesting, unique content.
10. Don't design a beautiful new website only to neglect to develop a mobile-friendly version of it. About 20 percent of online users today are accessing the Web via a mobile device.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).