Marketing is fun, creative work. It gives you the opportunity to engage people on their terms and position your brand in a positive light. But if you aren’t careful, a few misguided steps could put you in a precarious situation.
Don’t Make These Costly Marketing Mistakes
When it comes to the marketing side of the business, there’s a lot of created freedom and leeway. And it’s this flexibility that appeals to many business owners and marketing professionals. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let a lax approach lead the way – something that can quickly land your business in hot water without much notice. Keeping this in mind, here are some costly mistakes you’ll want to avoid:
Relying on Verbal Agreements
Far too many business owners still take other people at their word. And though this is a noble approach, it’s also quite perilous. Even in states where a verbal agreement is considered legally binding, it’s often hard to validate someone else’s word in a sticky “he-said, she-said” situation.
If you want to limit your exposure to risk, always use written agreements. This is especially important when you’re just starting a relationship with another individual, business, or client. And if there’s a lot on the line (financially or reputationally), you’ll want a second set of eyes to look it over.
“Business agreements should be reviewed by a lawyer in advance,” Alper Law explains. “A few dollars spent on attorney fees prior to signing the agreement can save substantial attorney fees in the future.”
This might seem like overkill in certain situations, but it’s better to be too meticulous upfront than risk a disagreement or lawsuit months down the road.
Emailing Whoever, Whenever, However
We all hate being on the receiving end of spam. But it’s a whole lot worse to be on the sending side.
If enough of your business emails are labeled as spam by recipients, your emails could get blocked. In some cases, your email service provider might even shut down your campaign and freeze your account. But that’s just the start. Breaking CAN-SPAM laws could get you slapped with a fine of $16,000 per message!
In order to stay within the rules, make sure you only send marketing emails to people who have previously subscribed, opted-in, or otherwise given you permission to do so. It’s also imperative that you clearly identify your emails as advertising, avoid using spammy subject lines, include a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of the email, and include the physical address of your business.
Failing to Properly Cite Resources
Content curation is a popular strategy in the marketing world, but if you aren’t careful, you can quickly get yourself in trouble.
The lines are often blurred between sharing and stealing someone else’s content. When can you post someone else’s images and cite back to them? When is it illegal to post someone else’s content even with a citation? How much can you quote another article without it being considered plagiarism?
The truth is that there’s a lot of gray area in these answers. Things are especially foggy when it comes to social media (where it’s not always clear who owns the content being posted).
The best rule of thumb is to (a) ask the content producer for permission, (b) only share a portion of the content, (c) clearly cite and label the original content creator or publisher.
It doesn’t matter if you own a small convenience store in your town or a large e-commerce company with a nationwide presence, false or misleading advertising will get you in trouble every single time.
Advertising may be ruled deceptive if it contains information that’s deemed to be false, misleading, or incomplete (leaving out key information that a customer needs in order to make an informed buying decision). You have to be especially careful about claims related to health, money, and safety. There are strict regulations in these areas.
Keep Your Business Out of Harm’s Way
No business is free from risk. There are always challenges and pitfalls that promise to strike at the worst possible time. But if you’re conscientious in your approach, you’ll discover that it’s possible to be creative and flexible in your marketing without exposing your business to unnecessary threats.
Interesting Related Article: “How To Run An Effective Email Marketing Campaign“