How many times have you heard the phrase “best practice” when talking about marketing?
Best practices are often born of good ideas and good intentions, but the idea that one approach can be applicable to any industry, no matter how niche, is flawed. It may sound counterintuitive, but best practices won’t always be the best option for every business — they may just be the practices that are most commonly used at the moment.
That said, like any tool, when used appropriately and effectively, best practices have the ability to improve productivity and performance. The trouble comes when marketers rely on best practices out of habit, or without critical thought.
The trick with best practices is knowing when to use them, how to use them, and frankly, whether to use them in the first place. With that in mind, here are three types of best practices you should question if you’re looking to improve the marketing efforts at your business.
1. Unchanging Best Practices
The most dangerous best practices are the ones that don’t anticipate change. From new technologies to new attitudes, consumer wants and needs are in a near-constant state of flux. Businesses that aren’t ready, willing, and able to change with the times simply won’t cut it in today’s marketplace.
Any best practice that promises results but doesn’t make room for growth is one you should always question. Like the best practice that once you’ve found a marketing strategy that works, you should stick with it.
While it’s great to get good results, you have to understand that the digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving. The approach that works today will probably need to be tweaked in the future — but you will only ever find the strategy that works in this moment through ongoing open mindedness, research, and testing.
2. Trending Best Practices
It’s easy to be taken in by the flashy best practices of the year, especially when other businesses all seem to be following them.
Perhaps you’re thinking about implementing a promising new marketing tool or strategy. Maybe you’ve started investing in your presence on a popular social media platform. But have you considered whether being at this cutting edge is relevant to your business, product, and audience?
One trend that we have seen is the drive to incorporate artificial intelligence or blockchain into a marketing strategy. Artificial intelligence can be a great tool, but not every company should be incorporating it into their marketing strategy. For example – AI works best when there is a large body of clean data to work with; it may not be the top tool for you if your data isn’t well maintained, or your marketing department is just starting out. A good rule of thumb is, if you haven’t defined how a trendy tool will support your overall goals, it’s probably not the right time to implement it.
Trying too hard to keep up with the Joneses of marketing can quickly drain your time and resources, which could be used more carefully on a more appropriate strategy. Whenever someone promotes a best practice as “the next big thing in marketing,” simply ask yourself whether it really is the best thing for your business.
3. Overly-Specific Best Practices
“Post no more than once a day on Facebook.”
“Blog posts should never exceed 600 words.”
“Include a keyword 10 times on each webpage.”
Chances are you’ve heard something along the lines of these best practices. After all, they can be hard to ignore when they’re presented as established facts. The truth is, a lot of these best practices are just the most popular theories circulating the world of digital marketing at the time.
It’s nearly impossible to come up with a universal number for all your marketing tactics and if you prescribe to these best practices, you’ll inhibit your own unique business voice, experimentation, and development. You need to try and figure out the right kind of numbers for your industry and your specific audience — and remember that they will change over time.
Ask the Right Questions and Find the Right Partner
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing, and that’s a good thing. If there were a flawless formula, there would be no growth, no challenge, and no innovation. The trick is recognizing this opportunity, asking yourself the right questions about what you’re doing and why, and using the answers to your advantage.
As soon as you find yourself blindly following a best practice, take a moment to consider:
- Why you are using this best practice
- What evidence you have that it’s working
- What the alternatives are to this approach
- What would happen if you stopped following the practice
If you’re still unsure about the right marketing practices for your unique business, RelationEdge is here to help. Our full-service digital agency can assist you in content creation, digital PR, social media, and marketing automation. Contact our experts today to discover which marketing practices really are the best for your business.