As a business seeking to thrive in today's often brutally competitive marketplace, there's certainly no shortage of things to spend money on to boost your efforts. While there are plenty of legitimate paid marketing tools and methods out there, there are a few other things that will likely do more harm than good. In fact, chances are that you've already had some offers from so-called marketing "experts" claiming to deliver amazing results overnight for very little money. After all, there's no shortage of outright scammers out there. There are some things that no business should ever pay for if it intends to protect its online reputation, such as the following...
In today's consumer-orientated world where anyone can leave feedback online about your business, there's no doubt that user-generated content, such as customer reviews, holds a great deal of weight when it comes to making purchase decisions. Reviews also influence search engine rankings and pretty much everything else that determines your online visibility. As such, there's no doubt that you should be paying a lot of attention to what others are saying about you online. However, if you're paying to get favourable reviews of your business, you'll end up destroying your business's reputation. People can and will see through the charade sooner or later.
2. Mailing Lists
A large mailing list consisting of engaged subscribers is one of the most important and valuable assets any company can have. If you purchase a mailing list, however, rather than build one from scratch, it will never be a truly opt-in experience, no matter how many loopholes you try to jump through. What's more is that you'll probably also be breaking the CAN-SPAM law. The only companies that buy mailing lists, no matter how "reputable" the seller might seem to be, are spammers. After all, you cannot hope to send relevant, personalized email content to people who have never even heard of your company before.
Search engines partly rely on your website's link profile to determine its standing in the search engines. However, many inexperienced marketers interpret this fact as having more links to your website out there equates to greater visibility in the search engines. Nothing could be further than the truth. What's important is that links are relevant. For example, a link to your website on a page belonging to a leading influencer in your industry will act as an endorsement for your company to the extent it will help boost your own website's search engine visibility. Nonetheless, if you buy links, you're likely to end up destroying your business by having links on all sorts of irrelevant spam websites.
Too many novice marketers pay far too much attention to vanity metrics, such as the number of social media followers, when it comes to tracking the performance of their digital marketing strategies. These people seem to miss the key point that social media is all about engagement. Buying followers typically involves paying a set price per hundred or thousand Facebook or Twitter followers to your profile, despite the fact that most or all of these "followers" will be spam or stolen profiles created by robots rather than real people. Any real visitors to your profile will quickly see through the scam when they realize that no one is engaging with your posts.
Your online reputation is everything, not least because the digital world has made everything more consumer-centric to such an extent that, if you do something bad, your potential or existing customers will make sure that everyone knows about it. As such, the only real way to succeed in today's marketplace is to be transparent and actively avoid any spammy marketing tactics such as those mentioned above.