Companies have marketed themselves for centuries, but just because a method was once effective doesn’t mean that it will be forever. Here are a few marketing strategies that have since become outdated, but are still used by many business owners today.
Some people do still pick up a phonebook, but the majority of us have moved onto the internet. If you have money to spend on advertising and have to choose between getting listed in a phonebook and hiring a web developer, choose the latter. Even handyman companies and delivery restaurants are getting more business online than over the phone. There’s nothing to stop you from putting your name in a phonebook, but prioritise getting a website first.
Cold-calling isn’t what it used to be in the 80s. This is because emailing has taken over – it’s much easier to present a larger amount of information whilst not being as invasive. B2B businesses can still find an advantage in telemarketing, where inboxes are likely to get so inundated that most sales emails are ignored or filtered straight into spam. That said, some bigger companies will now have sections dedicated to business enquiries, so it’s not so much cold calling but negotiating with the gatekeeper.
Postal mass mailing
Trying to mail a giant amount of people is simply more expensive and time consuming than sending out a mass email. Posting flyers can still be effective if you’re a business B2C company. But when it comes to B2B, few people are going to look twice at a sales letter – branded envelopes may even go unopened. Of course, email marketing can be just as hit or miss, but it doesn’t cost a penny. Mass marketing tools such as Mailchimp can make the process easier.
Panicking people into buying things with limited stock offers and ‘limited time only’ deals occasionally still works, although many may associate it with spam. One that has become certainly outdated, as well as being particularly shady, is the false urgency approach of making up limited deals or prizes. I don’t know who still falls for the ‘you are our 1 millionth customer, claim your prize today’ routine, although I still see it everywhere. Such approaches were once effective when people were naïve to how the internet works, but now most people are clued up and are scared away by such deals – most of us may even dismiss them as scams.
There was a time when putting lots of keywords into your website would improve its rankings on sites such as Google. Nowadays, search engines have algorithms that sift out this behaviour, making keyword spamming useless (if anything, it makes your website unreadable and can put people off using your services). For improving one’s rankings, your far better off hiring the help of an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company. They will be able to naturally boost your rankings without making your website look like a spammy mess.
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