Taking shortcuts can be great when you’re rushing to get to a meeting or on a long road trip. But taking shortcuts with your marketing execution usually doesn’t end well. In fact, marketing shortcuts often result in little to no results and a wasted investment.
Maybe I can help you save some time, money, and grief. Below are some of the most common shortcuts I see marketers trying to take.
5 Marketing Shortcuts That Do NOT Work
1. Procuring 3rd Party Email Lists
There is no such thing as a magical list of email addresses belonging to prospects who perfectly match your Ideal Customer Profile and are eagerly anticipating your outreach. Sure, you may find a data source that meets the characteristics of your target prospect, but no one on that list wants to receive a marketing email from you. Your prospects want less spam – not more.
The best email lists are ones that your prospects opt-in to and that you build over time via your inbound marketing campaigns and the one-to-one prospecting of your sales team. These lists will be smaller but cleaner, more targeted, and more effective. They’ll have lower bounce rates and higher open and click-through rates.
2. Email to Conference Attendee Lists
One of the stated benefits that many conference/trade show organizers advertise is the promise of a list of all attendees for all exhibitors. Such a list may provide good targeting intel, but it probably isn’t a great resource for a post-event email campaign. As I stated above, prospects want less spam – not more. Put yourself in their shoes. If there are 250 exhibitors at a conference and they all send post-event emails to all the attendees, that’s 250 emails clogging up everyone’s inbox. What makes you think yours will be opened and read?
Instead, focus on maximizing the one-to-one connections made at the event. Provide your sales team with email templates that can be personalized and customized with intel captured in their personal interactions. Instead of spam, this type of follow-up is viewed as a continuation of the conversation. Again, the volume will be lower, but the open and response rate will be significantly higher.
3. Sharing 3rd Party Content on LinkedIn
Many marketers understand the power of LinkedIn, but they lack the time and resources to leverage it effectively. So, instead of creating their own unique posts, they simply share the content that others have posted.
They view news sources (i.e., Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, etc.) and industry experts (i.e., SHRM, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NAPEO, etc.) as providers of easily accessible and credible content. They “piggyback” off the content of parties like these so they can “check the social media box” on their to-do list.
But just checking the social media box isn’t a panacea. In fact, if that’s the extent of your social media strategy, you’re probably completely wasting your time. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t reward 3rd party reposts. Doing so on a regular basis will actually hurt your LinkedIn engagement. This means that very few of your intended audience will ever see your posts. And for those who do, you’re boosting the brand of the 3rd party and not your own.
This doesn’t mean that if you don’t have time to create your own content that LinkedIn isn’t an option for you. There is a way to use 3rd party content effectively. When you repost someone else's content, make sure you share why you are doing so.
Why do you think it’s important?
Why do you think the author is right (or wrong)?
What impact will the ideas they share have on your prospect?
Share your opinion and point of view.
4. Posting Only Advertisements on LinkedIn
No one goes on LinkedIn just so they can see another ad or watch another commercial. The people who follow you on LinkedIn are looking for news about your organization. They’re seeking guidance, advice, and ideas to help them address their business challenges. They want to learn from your unique perspective. They want to gain access to your thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
Marketers who post on LinkedIn should follow the “cocktail party rule” of conversation. Talk about yourself 20% of the time and talk about what interests the other person 80% of the time. This means there should be fewer ads, fewer announcements about awards won and people promoted, and fewer pictures of employee lunch meetings.
Share insights and information that educates and guides your audience. Share posts that position your company and your team as valuable resources. Doing so will drive up the number of LinkedIn followers and their engagement over time.
5. Posting to Corporate LinkedIn Without a CTA
What is the objective of posting on LinkedIn? Is it simply to build and extend your brand? Or do you also want to generate qualified sales leads? Posting relevant and compelling content without including a CTA is like Google Maps providing directions and leading you to a dead-end.
Make it easy for your prospect to engage. Provide them with a path to further explore your resources and connect with your sales team. Some say that LinkedIn’s algorithm punishes posts that include external links. But the reduced engagement may be worth it if you’re converting more leads. I suggest you run A/B tests. Put external links in some of your posts, and in others, put the external link in the comments sections.
Stop Taking Marketing Shortcuts
While shortcuts may seem tempting, they often lead to minimal results and wasted investments. By avoiding the common pitfalls outlined above and instead focusing on authentic, personalized engagement, marketers can save time, money, and frustration.
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution, but by investing in thoughtful strategies and meaningful connections, you can optimize your marketing efforts for long-term success and meaningful engagement with your audience.