photo credit: B Rosen
In 2011, the tectonic plates of the internet marketing landscape shifted.
The underlying fundamentals of many strategies, including SEO and social media have changed.
Marketing in 2012 is going to rely much more on customer connection than tactics.
Of course, having strong strategies is important. It’s just that many of the strategies and tactics that marketers have come to rely on no longer work.
Here are 5 such tactics. At one point in time, these tactics were cutting edge. Today, they’re completely outdated.
Avoid: Screaming Salesletters
In the early days of internet direct marketing, the mentality of online salesletters were an extension of the mentality of direct mail.
Big red headlines. Screaming benefits. Big, bold benefit statements.
The main goal was to catch a stranger’s attention, whether they were browsing a magazine or opening the mail.
Today however, internet marketing isn’t dominated by people who can scream the loudest. Instead, it’s built by people who know how to build trust and credibility.
Good copywriting is still important; but it’s much, much more important for marketers to be able to build trust in the long run.
Extremely loud salesletters can actually damage your brand and credibility. Marketers today are faced with the challenge of balancing high-conversion writing and writing that doesn’t alienate readers.
Avoid: Outbound Only Marketing
Gone are the days when you could get by on just outbound marketing.
Today, marketing really has to be two ways. Instead of just sending out status updates and emails, you should also actively cultivate reader participation.
Get people to comment on your updates. Reply to their comments. Get people to comment on your blog. Then reply to their comments.
Cultivate a two-way street of communication, instead of just putting out information on your end.
Avoid: Discarding External Communities
There are several linkbuilding tactics out there that depend on getting links from communities. Trying to get backlinks from these sites without respecting their communities is not only frowned upon by the communities, but is no longer an effective tactic.
For example, Wikipedia is a community run website. Marketers who try to bury their links in Wikipedia articles not only disrespect the community, but will have their links instantly removed.
The same is true for many other sites. HubPages for example has HubScore, which automatically NoFollows any links by authors that don’t already have high authority. Sites like Reddit and Digg have built in voting mechanisms that prevent abuse.
The bottom line is this: If you want backlinks from community based sites, then participate in and add value to the community.
Avoid: Low Quality Backlink Strategies
There’s a tendency online for marketers to focus on low quality backlinks rather than high quality backlinks.
Because it’s much, much easier to get 50 backlinks by submitting content to article directories than it is to get a real endorsement from a reputable site.
Unfortunately, Google knows that.
The value of low quality backlinks today are at an all time low. Many websites that relied on low quality backlinks lost their rankings in the Panda update.
That’s not to say they have no place at all. It just means that if you’re going to use low quality backlinks, make sure it’s just a small part of your strategy, not the main part.
Avoid: Focusing on Strangers
Many of the most talked about marketing strategies, like SEO or PPC, focus exclusively on how to get strangers to your website. How to get new traffic.
While this is certainly an important part of a marketing strategy, it’s actually much more important that you focus on existing readers and customers.
Someone who’s bought from you is 7 times more likely to buy from you than someone who’s never heard of you. Someone who’s visited your site already is also much easier to convince to return than it is to get a new visitor.
Don’t just focus on getting new traffic. If you don’t have a solid retention strategy already, now’s the time to create one.
Marketing in 2012 is very different than in 2011 or 2010. The internet is a fast changing vehicle. Stay on top of the latest changes in the industry and you’ll leave anyone who’s still playing by 2011 rules behind.