As Halloween approaches, people start to talk about all things spooky. To us, however, there’s nothing spookier than some marketing horrors we see that send shivers down our spine.
These horrifying marketing errors might be committed unintentionally by a small business owner in a hurry, an entrepreneur starting out, or even a colleague; but they’re still scarier than all the ghouls and ghosts that come knocking at our doors!
Don’t panic if you recognize yourself in any of these. Understanding what these scary marketing errors are is the first step. Use this as guidance on how to avoid errors and start creating awesome holiday marketing campaigns this season – save the scaries for Halloween!
Halloween Marketing Ghoul #1: Not Segmenting Your Email List
Encountering business with no email segmentation is unfortunately as common as seeing pirate Halloween costumes in 2003. Building a huge email list is great. If it’s not then segmented to maximize engagement it becomes a wasted opportunity.
What is email segmentation? In brief, it’s sending targeted emails to smaller groups on your list, who have been divided by specific characteristics. This is the closest you’ll get to personalized emails without sending each subscriber an individual message (if only, right?!).
You can segment your list by geography, demographics or behavior; we like to do it by engagement. Before sending special offers or bonus drops, we send a separate message to learn who’s opening the email, who’s clicking on the links, or reading the whole email. We use these as touchpoints to create a VIP email subscriber and that segment receives a ton of perks. Why? Well, people who are only there for the freebie and aren’t engaging shouldn’t receive exclusive offers.
Aside from it not being fair to your committed subscribers, it also affects your analytics and how well you execute a strategy. After all, if you’re designing launches or campaigns based on the behavior of your email list as a whole, you’re letting people who don’t engage with your message drive your business.
Remember that you can’t segment your list until you’ve engaged them, so if you haven’t been keeping up with sending emails, take this opportunity to re-engage. Send emails consistently and continuously so you get the information you need to segment them accurately. Voila, email marketing with added value and less scary marketing errors – not to mention a nightmare!
Halloween Marketing Ghoul #2: Launching Without a Pre-launch Plan
Do you have goosebumps at the thought of this? Because we do! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and rush forward with a launch without thinking it through; that often ends up a disaster. Remember, just because you can see people need something, that doesn’t mean that they understand that’s what they want.
In other words, you might provide an amazing service, or have a great idea for a course launch, but you can’t expect to be able to simply put it out into the market and watch the requests flood in. If there’s no strategy behind the launch, you’re not going to get buy-in. And trust us when we say that people can see when a launch doesn’t have a purpose.
So, what’s the solution? Your absolute number-one step is to do your research. Don’t assume you’re meeting a need; check you definitely are. You can encourage your audience to weigh in using a variety of methods. We love utilizing the poll tool in your Instagram stories as a fun, informal way to get feedback from your audience.
You can also ask them to reply to posts, or join chats. Create a focus group, not only to refine existing products and services but also to test those that you’re hoping to launch. Sometimes the results can be disappointing, whatever you’ve got ready to launch doesn’t pass the focus group, and you have to be prepared for that. It’s tough when you’ve invested a lot of time in preparing for a launch and then get negative feedback from your audience during the pre-launch. However, it’s better than discovering this after you launch!
The holiday season and through into the new year is when we see a lot of launches, so if you’re considering one, think about your pre-launch plan. Ultimately, launching a new service or product is a huge investment, so you want to make sure that it’s going to work. That’s why having a thoroughly executed pregame launch plan and strategy is so vital, and why the absence of this is scarier than the clown from IT.
Halloween Marketing Ghoul #3: Constantly Rebranding
Like putting on a new costume every year at Halloween, business owners often give in to the temptation to rebrand every year, particularly around the holiday season. We get it: it can be fun to have a fresh seasonal look. However, this is a temptation that should be resisted. Otherwise, you’re confusing your audience with and that creates unnecessary problems.
Rebranding is not something that can be done on a whim. Maybe you wake up one morning and decide you don’t like your brand colors. Fine, it happens. But even as the business owner, this is not a decision you can make on your own. It’s a decision with massive repercussions so you need to consult with your team, with a brand strategist, with mentors, even with family or anyone who’s supported your brand since its inception.
People you trust help you see what a rebrand could mean for your business. It’s not about starting with what you like and moving forward; you need to reverse engineer the process. You have a target audience and your message is for them. You’ve created a specific voice and branding to communicate that, so any changes need to be for your audience.
Leave these scary marketing errors with Halloween where they belong and move forward to a successful holiday season!