“SEO is a one-time effort.”
“You need to be on every social media platform to succeed.”
Myths like these are why marketing today gets a bad rap. They’re often used by untrustworthy agencies to convince clients to spend money on things they don’t actually need.
This not only leads to businesses wasting time and money on strategies that go nowhere—it also contributes to an overall distrust of marketing and a reluctance to try new things.
We’ve outlined 5 of the most egregious marketing myths and why you shouldn’t give them the time of day.
1. Myth: Marketing is subjective.
If your marketing agency says “because it looks good” as justification for why they went in a certain direction creatively, run! You’re dealing with someone who doesn’t care about data and isn’t humble enough to question their own assumptions.
While there’s no one “right” one to run a marketing campaign, it is important that every decision be grounded in data, or at least justified based on what’s known up to that point. No one should consider themselves above the facts, no matter how creative they believe themselves to be.
Certainly, creativity plays a role in marketing. People respond to things like authenticity, beauty, and humor in ads. That’s why the most successful campaigns combine data-backed insights with creative, original thinking.
TIP: Before deciding on a marketing strategy, remember to ask, “How do I know that?” Then throughout the campaign, consult the data to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what specific optimizations you can make for a better outcome. This will ensure that you’re making decisions based on facts, not guesses.
2. Myth: Email marketing is dead.
Email marketing has been around since the early days of the internet. While other tactics like social media may be flashier and newer, email marketing is still a powerful tool for reaching your customers directly whenever you need.
Email marketing allows you to personalize messages and automate workflows based on user behaviors. This way, you can engage customers, build relationships, and drive retention and engagement.
Perhaps the best thing about email marketing is that it’s highly affordable. In fact, emails have an average of 4400% ROI. That means every dollar you spend on email has the potential to bring you a $44 return, which is pretty great.
There are several ways for businesses to gather new email addresses and expand their contact lists, including:
- Website forms – email form fills prompting users to provide their email address in exchange for exclusive offers and updates
- Ads – paid lead capture campaigns on social media in exchange for premium content like ebooks, white papers, and downloadable resources
- Events – events like webinars, conferences, and workshops where attendees are likely to provide their information
TIP: When’s the last time you audited your email list? Sending a re-engagement email to your contact list serves multiple purposes. It helps maintain an active list by identifying disinterested subscribers, offers a chance to re-engage those who might have lost interest, and provides insights for future marketing efforts.
3. Myth: You should be on all social platforms.
While the idea of maintaining a presence everywhere might seem like a good idea, it’s not always a good use of your time or resources. That’s because each social platform attracts a different demographic and serves a unique purpose, so tailoring your approach to the platforms that align with your business objectives is a smarter strategy.
For instance, a visual-heavy business like a fashion brand might find success on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, while a B2B company could benefit more from LinkedIn and Twitter. This approach allows businesses to create content that’s relevant to their audience’s preferences and behaviors, rather than spreading themselves too thin.
To determine the right platforms, businesses should consider these steps:
- Understand Your Audience: Research and create buyer personas to understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, and online behaviors in order to decide which platform is right for your business.
- Analyze Competitors: Study your competitors’ social media presence. Identify which platforms are driving engagement and interaction within your industry.
- Set Clear Goals: Define your social media objectives. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or generate leads? Different platforms align with different goals.
- Test and Evaluate: Start with a couple of platforms that seem promising based on your research. Monitor engagement, traffic, and conversions. Adjust your strategy based on the results.
By focusing on platforms that make the most sense for their goals and audience, businesses can optimize their social media efforts, build stronger connections, and achieve better results without stretching their resources too thin.
TIP: Consider the type of content as well when choosing a platform. If your business thrives on visual content, platforms like Instagram or TikTok might be suitable. If short, pithy insights or more your speed, Twitter might be your best bet. Consider your strengths and factor that into your decision.
4. Myth: SEO is a one-time effort that guarantees results.
SEO is often misunderstood in modern digital marketing. In the past, manipulative tactics like backlinking and meta tags could boost rankings, but Google and others caught on to this. As a result, recent algorithm updates have rendered these tactics obsolete.
Despite SEO largely being a scam now, some agencies will still try to charge small businesses up to $3,000 a month for SEO work. Don’t fall into this trap.
Today, SEO is really just about updating your site regularly and making sure nothing is glaringly wrong, so that Google and other search engines know you’re a real business. To manage SEO effectively today, businesses should adopt a holistic and continuous approach:
- Regular content updates: To rank well on the major search engines, keep your website’s content fresh by regularly updating existing pages and adding new blogs, articles, and multimedia content. This is really 95% of SEO today. To help you decide what content to focus on, research and analyze keywords relevant to your industry and adapt your strategy accordingly.
- Technical optimization and monitoring: Regularly audit your website’s technical aspects, such as site speed and mobile-friendliness. These factors influence search engine rankings and user experience. You should also monitor your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
- Quality Backlinks: Focus on building quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites. These high-authority backings from trusted sources matter more than frequent mentions on smaller sites. Prioritizing natural link-building practices over artificially generating links is also critical.
TIP: Be patient. Even with regular blogging, you won’t see changes to your SEO for about 18-24 months. This means if you started publishing blogs twice a month today, Google wouldn’t reward you in the search ranking for another two years. Don’t expect instant results.
5. Myth: Short content is always better.
With attention spans growing smaller and smaller, it’s natural to assume that shorter content would always work better. But this view greatly oversimplifies the complex relationship between content length and engagement.
Longer content, like extended articles or podcasts, allows for a deeper exploration of ideas and enables brands to establish their expertise within a particular niche. These pieces typically rank better in search engines, driving organic traffic. They also have a higher potential of being shared and referenced by other websites, contributing to SEO and overall awareness.
As with anything, it’s important to strike the right balance. Long-form content should maintain a high level of readability and engagement to avoid overwhelming readers. Effective formatting, visuals, and subheadings can also break up the text and make it more approachable.
TIP: Pick a topic related to your business that you’re passionate about and spend some time writing about it, or recording yourself talking about it. This can help generate new ideas and provide you with a long-form piece of premium content to use in a variety of ways.
There are many myths circulating about what good marketing looks like today. Ultimately, trusting your instincts and remembering that all good marketing takes time will help you avoid these pitfalls so you can spend your budget in more meaningful ways.