Today’s marketing landscape has countless channel and tactical options. For smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations, it can be a minefield of decisions. With limited budgets and resources, which will produce the best results? And, which are too difficult, costly, or unmanageable?

A marketing plan can help reach your strategic objectives. Yet, you may still experience hiccups with tactics.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Here are three things you may want to avoid:

1. Time-consuming digital ads and notifications

Third-party ad providers and your own ads or pop-ups can often slow down website load times. Since you only have up to 15 seconds to entice visitors to engage with your content, don’t waste it making them wait. They’ll exit your landing page faster than sprinter Usain Bolt reaches the finish line. We call these “bounces.”

Go to your Google Analytics account. Under “reports,” look for “Behavior Overview.” Now, look for “Bounce Rate.”

Google defines bounce rate as:
“The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.”

You can analyze the bounce rate for your entire site and page by page. According to Neil Patel, “A high bounce rate can mean several things, including weak or irrelevant sources of traffic or landing pages that aren’t optimized for conversion. Common problems include poor design, low usability, or high load times.”

On The Daily Egg, contributor, David Zheng, suggests that there are five reasons why visitors leave your site:

  1. When they don’t get what they expect
  2. When the content isn’t usable
  3. When they don’t know what to do
  4. If they suspect you aren’t being genuine
  5. When you fail to impress or inspire

Read the article to learn “How to Improve Your Bounce Rate.”

2. Doing your own marketing copywriting… badly

What is marketing copywriting? According to content marketers, Brafton, “marketing copywriting is all of the written assets your business uses to develop customer awareness, increase brand loyalty, encourage action and keep clients coming back for more.”

Brafton cites these common formats that marketers employ:

  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Social posts
  • Web copy (landing pages)
  • Video scripting/storytelling
  • Paid ad copy
  • CTA copy (call to action)
  • Email
  • Case studies
  • Infographics

I’ll add the following:

  • Newsletters (print and digital)
  • Magazines (print and digital)
  • Radio spots
  • Speeches
  • News releases
  • Sales sheets
  • Catalogs
  • Presentations
  • Technical instructions/educational material
  • Brochures/flyers
  • Fact sheets
  • Direct mail
  • Packaging

Here are the skills you’ll need to copywrite effectively:

  • An understanding of basic marketing principles
  • Excellent writing ability and knowledge of grammar and punctuation
  • Good research skills
  • Years of practice/experience
  • Know the difference between writing for print and electronic environments
  • How to compose a story with a beginning, middle, and end
  • Ability to be transparent and genuine without being salesy
  • An understanding of human psychology and what motivates people to act
  • Perfectionism
  • Learn the typical objections people will have
  • An understanding of basic SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Ways to engage the target audience

If you, or your internal team, have few or none of these copywriting skills, you may want to hire a professional.

10 Advantages of Hiring Professional Copywriters:

  1. They use the most effective words to help reach yourmarketing objectives.
  2. They help you generate leads, conversions, web traffic, and sales.
  3. They write objectively for each audience.
  4. Their copy helps improve your professionalism and brand image.
  5. They place customers first, focusing on their
  6. They write about more about benefits, not features.
  7. They’ll get the job done within your timeframe.
  8. They know how to overcome typical customer objections.
  9. They will use your brand voice and style to keep your collateral consistent.
  10. They know how to be persuasive without sounding salesy.

Take Note:

Anyone can claim to be a professional copywriter. There’s no accreditation or test, so, be cautious.

Ask copywriters to provide referrals, testimonials, a client list, and writing samples. If you can, enlist others in the decision-making process. And, remember, the least or most costly writer is not necessarily the best for your needs.

3. Using poor or over-used images

Did you know that 65% of the population consists of visual learners? (MindTools) And, people remember only 10% of information three days after hearing it, on average; adding a picture can improve recall to 65%. (MDG) That puts great weight on the visuals you select for your marketing channels.

Your images reflect your brand, professionalism, and style. Whenever feasible, use images you’ve taken yourself, but only if they are well composed and look professional. If not, hire a local photographer to do a photo shoot which gives you a unique set of visuals.

For many small-to-medium businesses and nonprofits with limited resources, stock images are inexpensive or free and abundantly available. However, they can also be detrimental when they’ve been overused, lack diversity, or look tacky.

For photos, it’s best to select natural shots, not ones that are highly contrived. The exceptions are when you use humor in your marketing or want to stand out.

The two images below demonstrate the difference. The one on the left is a natural pose while the one on the right looks forced.

There are many free online photo editing tools you can use for cropping, resizing, re-coloring, and altering. These modifications help improve your use of stock images.

Here are a few to explore:

It’s challenging to wear many hats when you have no, or limited, internal marketing resources. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them. The most important thing to remember is: KEEP MARKETING!

“No marketing, no money.” (My quote)