5 Things That Have Always Worked For Digital Marketers, Until Now

Batch and blast email campaigns? Forget it.

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By Eric Samson

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The old Southern adage, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes," could certainly apply to the task of keeping pace in the world of digital marketing. Changes in trends and tactics shift quickly with the wind and, as digital marketers, the only way we can keep up is through innovation and information.

Here are five things that have always seemed to work for digital marketers but just don't get the job done anymore. Let's count them down.

5. Twitter.

The decline of Twitter as a tool for digital marketing hasn't happened just yet. It's still a fine resource for promoting your business and linking up with like-minded people, without being as distant or cold as LinkedIn or as informal and casual as Facebook. In fact, the way a digital marketer uses Twitter might be more the problem than the medium itself. Boring tweets, low engagement with followers and over-selling (or only selling) products can all lead to poor Twitter returns.

Related: 4 Marketing Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From April the Giraffe

Twitter has gained further notoriety following the media frenzy regarding the personal account of President Donald Trump, which became his stump from which he communicated throughout his campaign. Twitter saw a dip in users going into 2016 but a quick spike during the campaign. Whether this spike can be directly attributed to Trump is unknown but it is certainly of interest to digital marketers knowing that more people than ever before are turning to Twitter for their information and, perhaps, future quotes from the president.

4. SEO technical tricks.

Anyone who has long worked in digital marketing fondly recalls the Wild West days of SEO. This may have only been six or so years ago, but it was a messy free-for-all of keyword stuffing, barrages of links and content with no images, videos or style. After the long awaited Panda Update, which augmented Google's algorithms to tease out and penalize subpar or spammy content, and then the latest iteration of Penguin, which provides a similar service only more specific, things began to change for us in the industry.

Yes, it made it more difficult to get to the top of the search page, but only for companies that produced bad content. In fact, going forward, updates like Panda and Penguin will only help companies that are doing great creative work and working hard for their clients.

3. Coupon sites.

Initially, coupon sites were a great approach for many businesses struggling to get people through their digital doors. They often resulted in quick influxes of cash, especially during "shopping holidays," and attracted many first time buyers or those shoppers who may have otherwise abandoned their carts. In fact, a 2010 study by Rice University suggested that Groupon codes were profitable for an astounding 66 percent of businesses!

Unfortunately, that same study also found that often times Groupon sales were cannibalized by existing customers instead of incentivizing new customers. Furthermore, many of the deals offered were tilted heavily in favor of the consumer, which can lead to profitability issues for the business in the long run.

Related: 3 of the Top Opportunities and Challenges for Digital Marketing in 2017

2. Fake Instagram followers.

Unlike the other items on this list, fake Instagram followers probably should have never worked in the first place. For one, it's a bit dishonest but, more importantly, it provides no service to anyone but the person with the fake followers. Digital marketing companies are taken for a ride by a personality who they believe has a niche following that they can capitalize on. The consumer also suffers, as the product, which they may need or want, doesn't effectively reach their feeds.

A couple of years ago, Instagram cleaned house and did a mass purge of all their fake accounts, and I'm sure they're continuing to monitor the situation as best they can. Unfortunately, studies still find that 8 percent of accounts on Instagram are fake.

What can digital marketers do? Seek help spotting fake accounts, and find the right people to partner with for marketing purposes.

1. Batch and blast email campaigns.

Not long after the dawn of the internet era, batch-and-blast emails were some of the first marketing tactics to emerge from the primordial soup. It was fast and easy to dial up a boilerplate email, send it off to all of the subscribers on your listserv, sit back and watch the profits roll in.

These days, things are a little different.

For one, millennials can't stand them. Yes, email is overwhelmingly the preferred method of communication for those vexing 20-somethings but they want to be catered to and decidedly not browbeaten by a deluge of marketing emails.

Looking forward, Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media sites, shows what the future could hold for email marketing. Pinterest replaced batch-and-blast with emails that are completely tailored to the user. Using the myriads of data they are given, Pinterest is trying to customize the customer experience and, furthermore, create an emotional relationship with their users.

Related: Social Video Throwdown: Pinterest Enters the Ring With Facebook and Twitter


All digital marketing approaches will one day go the way of the buffalo -- that is to say, they will approach the brink of extinction and then make an improbable comeback. Often times, it's not so much the medium but how digital marketing companies use it that's the problem. So before you go abandoning all your old approaches, make sure you're doing everything you can to maximize your current potential.

Eric Samson

Founder of Group8A

Eric Samson is the founder of Group8A, a boutique consulting firm focused on developing and executing integrated marketing and digital solutions for companies of all sizes.


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