We’ve all been there. New to the marketing world and using whatever tactics we can to try to boost our marketing efforts. In hindsight, some of these decisions may not have been the best.
That’s why the recent conversation over at Inbound.org struck a chord. Marketers, SEOs, CROs, and others from the industry chimed in about what newbie marketing mistakes they’d made and what they learned from them. Check them out below.
1. Buying Links
Buying links is a big black hat no-no. Links to your site and content should be generated organically, meaning your content is so good and authoritative that people want to reference and link to it.
One user worked for an SEO agency and was given a monthly link budget for each client. Her team spent it on directories; sites where you can pay to have your site linked to. Ultimately, Google usually dings these types of links because they may be seen as “unnatural.”
2. Writing Low-Quality Content
Whether writing for a content mill or churning out content to the lowest bidder, many marketers also made this mistake early on. In fact, Inbound.org Content and Community Manager Mary Green admitted she was guilty of this. “I used to write 500-word articles for $7 each, in about 15 minutes. Let's call that quantity over quality.”
3. Posting Duplicate Content
Duplicate content was also a common issue. Early on, many marketers would publish a blog post on multiple outlets—like one user who blasted his business blog posts on his Facebook profile—unaware that this practice confused search engines.
While there’s no issue with repurposing blog content, copying and pasting published content around the web can hurt the chances of the post on your website actually ranking and bringing in organic traffic.
4. Not Understanding How Important Search Engines Would Be
Speaking of search engines, many newbie marketers just didn’t know how important search engines would be when they first got into digital marketing. Since they’ve now become the end-all-be-all when it comes to vying for organic ranking, many early mistakes proved to be especially hurtful down the line.
Member Paula Allen recalled:
I regret that 12 years ago I was put in charge of an employer's website and made decisions without knowing anything about SEO. I never even gave search engines a thought and made decisions based on what would be easiest to maintain, or what would look the best.
5. Not Doing Quality Control Before Sending out an Email Blast
We’ve all seen it: We receive an email and shortly thereafter receive a second one that says something along the lines of “Sorry! Forgot to attach X” or “Forgive the error...”
This was a very common marketing mistake and highlighted how important it is to do a quality control check before hitting send. Some email mistakes included:
- Sending emails with broken images
- Copying and pasting the same email message and forgetting to change the recipient’s name
- Sending out an email to the wrong list
- Forgetting to remove placeholders with dynamic fields (e.g. changing the subheader from “subheader here” to an actual subheader).
6. Forgetting to Include a Hyperlink
We’ve probably all been here too: Referencing a link and then forgetting to include it! One member said that he published and promoted a piece of content with links to purchase tickets for an event his company was putting on. When no one had bought tickets after five hours, he realized that he had forgotten to include the hyperlink to the event page.
7. Using Photos with Watermarks or Copyrighted Images
This is an obvious sign of a newbie! Using a photo with a watermark nowadays means you don’t know where all the free stock photos are! Admittedly, it was a lot harder to find these sites in the past (mostly because there were fewer of them) but these days there’s no excuse!
Using copyrighted images is another big no-no. Many times this is done by accident, as newbie marketers just don’t know the ins and outs of image copyright levels and what they can and cannot use without attribution.
The most important takeaway from these newbie marketing mistakes is that everyone learned a lesson from them and was, therefore, better because of them. As Inbound member Rebecca Lehmann put it:
I'm not embarrassed by any of it. I wouldn't ever do it again, but everything had a lesson in it that made me a better marketer, and I'm not ever going to regret that…I think it's important to own that we've all been there. It's what teaches us where the boundaries really are.
Therefore, learn from the marketing mistakes outlined here so that you don’t have to make them yourself!
For more inbound marketing guidance, please check out our free inbound marketing campaign checklist below.