Hollinden Inbound Marketing for Professional Service Firms

Resolve to Break Bad Marketing Habits in the New Year


Mistakes happen. Marketers don't always get it right. Marketing failures are often more visible both internally and externally.

Marketers buy ad space on sites and get a lot of views. They dance for joy when someone mentions their firm in a tweet. It’s a victory cry when something gets press coverage. Articles, click throughs, and retweets are exciting, but oftentimes, marketers forget to ask: What will this or did this activity do for our firm? How did it benefit our firm?

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. Marketers and leadership alike forget that all marketing and business development activities should positively impact the bottom line. Instead, they cite the number of page views – totally ignoring miserable conversion rates and abysmal bounce rates.

As a result, firms can hit a marketing plateau. They are entrenched in a certain way of doing things and continuously repeat a few bad habits:

1. The Premium-Press Trap. 

“Look at how much success we’ve had. The Wall Street Journal and local business journal love us. This week alone, 16 premium-press outlets mentioned us.”

How much revenue resulted from those enviable PR hits? How did you leverage the mentions and articles?

2. The No-Metric Loop.  

“This campaign works. I can’t give you exact numbers, it just does.”

If you’re not obsessed with analyzing the effectiveness of each of your marketing activities, concentrate on breaking this tremendously bad habit. Without measurable results, it is impossible to know whether or not your efforts are getting better or worse. Metrics (aka results) are the foundation of solid business decisions.

3. The Bandwagon Mistake.  

“This is something everyone is doing; therefore, this is something we should be doing.”

This is a completely invalid argument. Years ago, when social media was popularized, everyone jumped on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagons. Today, many firms have no social strategy, but pour time, money, and resources into a continuous flow of posts, updates and tweets with nothing to show for the effort. Start with a strategy and ask “does this make sense for our firm given our positioning and our goals?”

If you want to be a better firm, don’t let bad marketing habits dictate the pace of your professional growth. Resolve to stop making the same mistakes and discover and cultivate new skills while honing existing ones.

Here are Some Tips to Help Your Firm Market Better:

1. Identify Critical Business Goals and Metrics.  
Essentially, know your key performance indicators, or KPIs. Begin with a quantified understanding of how much new revenue it will take for you to be successful. Always keep that end goal in mind.

2. List the Things You Do on a Weekly Basis.  
Understanding what you do is critical to self-improvement.

3. Estimate the Time it Takes to Complete Each Task.  
Knowing how long things take provides valuable insight for the upcoming steps.

4. Measure the Relative Impact of Each Task and Weigh it Against Time Spent.  
Consider these two scenarios: your monthly email newsletter brings in $1,500 in new revenue and takes two hours to create, while your pay-per-click campaign drives $3,000 worth of revenue, costs $2,000 in ad spend, and requires five hours of weekly optimization and maintenance. Which marketing activity delivers greater profit-per-hour? Dive deep into the metrics when making future decisions. Commit to doing more things that are high-yield and low-investment.

5. Trim the Fat.  
With the analysis from step four, you’re ready to make smarter decisions about your overall strategy. Stop doing things that are outrageously time-consuming and fail to drive results. (Hint: Remember your KPIs)

6. Spend 80 Percent of Your Time on Proven Strategies and 20 Percent Experimenting with New Tactics.  
Devote the bulk of your time towards efforts that are proven to work (so you’re productive), then budget a small chunk of time and money for “experimental projects” (so you’re always learning).

7. Rinse and Repeat.  
You do yourself a disservice when you do not quantify the impact of your work. You also fail when you do not change up your rigid routine by introducing new methods and techniques to your marketing playbook. Get off the merry-go-round and stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Instead, forge new, more productive strategies and tactics that get results.

For help revising your marketing strategy—or developing a strategy—please call us at 713.520.5532. We’d love to help you kick off the New Year right and ditch those bad marketing habits!