Online marketers are always busy promoting their products and services, and it can be very tempting to take marketing shortcuts. However, while some are safe, some are definitely not and will actually harm your business if you try them. Here is a quick primer on what to do and what to avoid.

Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

Email marketing can be one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your target audience, and in this way increase your sales and profits. It can also be a disaster if you do not use it correctly.

Do’s

  1. Email marketing is a great way to stay in contact with the people on your list on a regular basis. The autoresponder or follow-up feature allows you to create an email once, and have it market for you over and over again. The content should be evergreen; that is, relevant no matter when the person reads it.
  2. Broadcast emails are like news flashes. Mail them out when you have a new product launch, at holidays like Christmas, and so on. They are not evergreen, but time sensitive.
  3. When mailing content, make sure it is useful. Aim to teach your readers something of value even in your promotional emails.
  4. Create great subject lines. It won’t matter how great your content is if it never gets opened.
  5. Set a regular schedule. You should mail to them often enough to help them remember who you are, and look forward to hearing from you.

Don’ts

  1. NEVER spam. Do not put people on your email list unless it is through the double opt-in system of requesting the information, and then confirming the request. If you get email addresses from people in the course of business dealings, don’t automatically put them on your list. Ask for permission first.
  2. Don’t mail out junk, or too many promotions. You can start to abuse your list and they will unsubscribe.

Social Media Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

Social media marketing is an extremely powerful free way to spread the word about your products and services. However, its ease of use can often be an enemy to your business if you are not careful.

Do’s

  1. Post useful information people can really value.
  2. Play the game according to the rules of the network. Like, share, comment, and follow others. Participate and socialize like an ordinary user, rather than a pushy used car salesman.
  3. If you have any money to market your business, set aside a budget for Facebook and/or Twitter advertising. It is highly targeted, with good visibility, and a lot cheaper and easier to use than Google AdWords.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t over-post. Your best posts could end up being pushed down the news feed and less popular ones positioned at the top. Track and test every post and only publish again if the previous post seems to be running out of steam.
  2. Don’t be overly promotional. Social media gives people the chance to socialize. They are not usually there to be sold to. Studies have shown that people trust word-of-mouth recommendations by their peers more than any promotional material issued by a company, so you could be harming your business by overdoing it. The only exception would be boosted/sponsored posts in the site’s ad network.
  3. Don’t automate everything. It can be very convenient to pre-load messages and use a Twitter scheduler, for example, but a lot of public figures have been criticized for posting at inappropriate times, such as in the middle of a funeral. Don’t let convenience overrule common sense.
  4. Don’t try to scam people by pretending to be an ordinary person but then promoting all your products and services through “recommendations” and reviews.

Follow these simple rules and you should be able to get great results from all your marketing efforts without spending hours on your campaigns.

Marketing Shortcuts; Those That Are Safe and Those That Arent
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