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5 Silly Mistakes Marketers Make (and Probably Don’t Even Realize They’re Making)

Kerin Foster
5 Silly Mistakes Marketers Make (and Probably Don’t Even Realize They’re Making)

We all make mistakes in day-to-day life, that’s for certain. But when it comes to marketing, mistakes can be made in Internet marketing campaigns and PPC, often without the business even realizing it. So I figured, why not take a look at some of the most common, most ridiculous, and most surprising mistakes that marketers tend to make:

1.Don’t accidentally bid on ridiculous keywords.

Wait, what am I advertising for again? That's a key question. Last time I checked, I was pretty certain that Lens Crafters doesn’t sell “Sexy Cat Eyes” on the regular. However, their keywords are showing otherwise, as they are the number one bid for that very Adwords keyword. So I guess since Lens Crafters obviously isn't aware of what they are actually advertising, they shouldn’t be surprised if customers enter their establishment with “Sexy Cat Eyes” on their shopping list:

Mistakes article 1

Marketers, and in this case Lens Crafters, should always make sure they know what they are advertising for to prevent any false advertising (even if they didn’t realize it) and disappointed customers like poor Puss in Boots.

Lesson #1: Make sure you know what you’re advertising for and remember to use Google Adwords’ negative keywords feature to filter out strange things.

2.Don’t bid on your company name.

If you are a company with a name, which most are, it is likely that you already rank number one organically. So the question is: why would you also bid on that keyword if you are already ranking in the top for it? A good question indeed, and a prime example of this is CVS:

Mistakes article 2

While CVS is an extremely well-known, well-liked, and well-advertised pharmacy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are making the best use of their PPC advertising. For example, CVS is obviously ranking at the top for cvs organically, but they are still bidding on the keyword cvs card. They are probably spending the equivalent of one of their hourly workers’ yearly salaries on this useless ad. They have no competition in ads for the cvs keyword, and they are the only ad that appears and they actually have less data in the ad than in their organic listing, and are not even using it to show promotions or make sales known. Basically, it is just completely wasted space that is pointlessly duplicating their number one search position that is already FREE.

Lesson #2: There's no need to bid on your own name, so don't!

3. Don’t send potential customers to an incorrect or irrelevant landing page.

When potential clients type in Google search, they know exactly what they are searching for. So why might a marketer send a customer to a landing page that has nothing to do with what they are searching, or even to the general homepage? In that case, the customer would have to continue the search on their own on the actual website to locate what they want. Or, there are more extreme cases such as the big mistake that the clothing store Express made:

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Express is bidding on the rather general and popular keyword womens tops. However, the landing page is www.express.com/PuertoRico. Two questions immediately come to mind: first of all, what does Puerto Rico have to do with women’s tops? Second of all, the landing page itself presents the clicker with something that is probably unexpected: a 404 error. Even if this landing page was there for a limited-time promotion and was taken down after the sale had ended, they spent a lot of money to draw people to that specific URL. Now, as customers try to come back, they receive an error without even being directed to a working or real part of the store. This is something that needs to be paid attention to, and marketers such as Express may want to take a moment to ensure that their landing pages are specific, and above all, in working order.

Lesson #3: Always make sure your customers are being send to the right landing page.

4. Don’t use the same ad copy. Over, and over, and over again.

Ad copy isn’t exactly something that is easy to decide upon, particularly when attempting to achieve a fruitful marketing strategy. Also, ad copy is something that some of the larger retailers may get a little bit lazy about. A flawless example of this is JCPenney, who has already caused quite a stir in weaning their customers off of store coupons. It seems as though their ad copy is just as dull as their lack of sales:

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Take a good, hard look. The landing pages for each of these ads is identical: www.jcpenney.com/officialsite, and so is the title for each ad: “JCPenney.com – JCPenney Official Site,” and part of the text that follows: “Free Shipping No Minimum!” Talk about repetition. JCPenney obviously didn’t consider that they might benefit from mixing up their ad texts a little bit, and using the same ads over and over for different keywords is not the best strategy So remember, marketers should always keep their ad texts informative, relative, and assorted to pull that customer in. Oh, and forget the repetition. You don’t need it. Really. You don’t need it.

Lesson #4: Expand your ad copy horizons and stop repeating yourself!

5. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!

Many marketers are tempted to put all of their eggs in one basket, so to speak, and hope that the plan they put in place succeeds. While Google is the prime source for AdWords and the first method of Internet marketing that comes to mind for most, there are also other sites that can be used. So why try Google but neglect to give Bing a fair shot? This is a perfect example of a mistake that many make, in relying only on Google campaigns and not bringing Bing into the mix. For the purposes of this final example, we are going to use The Huffington Post, a popular American news website and blog:

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As can be seen from their ads keywords, absolutely none of their budget is going to Bing advertising. While Huffington Post probably already has loyal people who visit the site each day, they are depending only on the keywords advertising of Google. So why not give Bing a try for some ads? It can’t hurt.

Lesson #5: Branch out in how and where you advertise!


Mistakes are common, and are to be expected when trying to plan an effective Internet marketing campaign. Many advertising efforts may be hit or miss and it takes time to determine their effectiveness. So? Lessons learned: some mistakes are more preventable than others, and making sure not to make these trivial errors can help to make your advertising goals that much more achievable in the long-run.

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Exactly what I was looking for, regards for putting up.
I agree with 4 of these, but must respectfully disagree with #2. Even if you rank organically for your brand name, it pays to bid on it in PPC. You'll likely be paying the lowest possible amount for the keyword bids because of high quality score, especially if there's no one else bidding on your brand. Also, in your example if CVS were to bid on CVS Card, they ensure the first result can land on a page about the card, how to get it, what it does rather than hope the search engine returns the right landing page. I agree with the rest, especially #5. Bing is low competition and a very affordable way to get into paid search.
Nice post Kerin.The only time #5 might make sense is that if an advertiser has limited resources to manage one paid search network, Google will provide more inventory than Bing in terms of search volume by a large factor. If able to support more than one paid search ad network, then by all means, testing Bing search is the logical thing to do. Many say the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) for certain niches is lower on Bing than Google, even if the inventory smaller than Google. Thanks for sharing.
Great post Kerin, I would have to agree with Rick and Ross above on their points but at the same time I understand your methodology.
I would also like to add this, big companies are not necessarily smarter, so I urge anyone following their footsteps to research and think twice if that's is a strategy they want to follow or S&D ideas.

Thank you for sharing.