April 15, 2014 | 4-minute read (677 words)
Previously published in The Agency Post
Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should, too. There are marketing rules and practices that some consider tried and true, but these eight entrepreneurs try to look past them. For them, tradition, page views and SEO aren’t the only way to run things. Read on to find out what practices they ignore and why.
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
1. Play the SEO Game
We don’t give too much thought to SEO. Rather than create content for specific keywords, we create content that is interesting and helpful for the startup community. Ultimately, if you’re going to offer content (via your blog, social media, etc.), we think it’s better to focus on creating meaningful content rather than playing the SEO game to move up in rankings.
— David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
2. Grow a Business by Increasing Traffic
Many amateur marketing professionals try to grow a business purely by increasing traffic. But that’s a fool’s game that relies solely on brute force rather than real marketing savviness. Traffic is great, but ultimately, we focus on our business’ only KPI — sales. We’ll work any angle that will increase long-term, sustainable sales.
— Danny Wong, Blank Label
3. Be Everywhere
So many times I hear marketing coaches claim you have to be everywhere with your message. Though most businesses would benefit from being in more places, you have to be more selective. By looking at sites that return the most leads and best clients, you can advertise or invest your time in the right places to get the right clients.
— Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
4. Follow the Data Alone
The idea that the end all of modern marketing is data, analytics and inbound links is false. Hitting the road, and meeting and talking to customers is some of the best marketing money can buy. Lyndon Johnson used to say that a handshake a worth 200 votes. I found that a handshake is worth at least 100 paying subscribers.
— Panos Panay, Sonicbids
5. Be Consistent
Although our voice is consistent, our brand story is always changing. Keeping your story the same assumes that you’re doing it right. We assume we’re wrong and listen to customers to find out which messages resonate. We update our marketing materials as we learn, which makes Modify a living, breathing organism.
— Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
6. Automate Your Social Media Postings
This can be effective in moderation, but I’ve abandoned the practice. If you overwhelm your readers with Facebook posts and tweets, you’ll lose them. Plus, it’s a lot easier to lose sight of high-quality content when your postings are automated.
— Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Do Things as They Are Usually Done
If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s when people fall back on the excuse “that’s how it is usually done.” To be perfectly honest, if we did things the way they were usually done, we would not have grown to be the company we are today. In my opinion, you need to find a way to stand out, especially in marketing, and that means trying something new.
— Chris Hunter, Phusion Projects
8. Use Page Views as a Metric to Success
There’s no metric that can be more gamed than page views. (Slideshows, anyone?) Everyone (even advertisers) are catching on — and fast. We abandoned page views as a metric to success on day one and haven’t looked back.
— Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Have you used debt to fund your business? Tell us about it in the comments section below or contact Early Growth Financial Services for funding advice.