You're Overthinking It: 10 Marketing Freak Outs to Stop Worrying About

marketing-stressHey marketer. How ya doin? 

Little stressed? Feelin' like ya messed up? Things not working out the way you planned?

It's okay. According to The Onion, only .0003% of things that happen actually matter. Or if you're looking for serious advice not based on fake stats from a humor website -- know that whatever it is you think you totally messed up and is currently causing you way too much anxiety ... probably wasn't that big of a deal.

Some things are huge marketing mess-ups, to be sure. Emailing your entire unsubscribe list. Overspending on your budget. Uncouthly bashing competitors on social media. But a lot of the things that marketers harp on, waste time doing, and lose sleep over, are things we could totally chill out on. Here's my top 10 list that I see all the time. Share yours in the comments. And, you know, cut yourself some slack.

1) Typos in Blog Posts

I love when a blog post is published with really good information, and the writer gets flayed for a couple typos that don't impact meaning whatsoever. In an ideal world, there are no typos anywhere, ever. But humans are writing these things. If the typos don't impact meaning or clarity, don't worry about it. Try to prevent them, fix them when you find ones that slip through, and carry on with your life. In fact, just to show you that it's not the end of the world, I'm going to add a typo in in this post.


Everything's still fine.

2) Your Email Workflows

Workflows are great because they help you efficiently segment your lists and target your email content. But many marketers get too fancy with their workflow logic, and their workflows end up looking a little something like this:


Whoa. Chill. While it may seem like this is just helping you get insanely personalized with your content, what it's really doing is solving for like ... 4 people that will ever end up in that extremely niche situation you've set up. We've done this ourselves. We set up more and more workflows and after they run for several months, realize we wasted hours thinking through that logic only to solve for .0007% of our database. Whoops.

Your brainpower and time can be used better elsewhere. Keep the workflows simple.

3) Titles

As in the titles of your blog posts, or the subject lines of your emails. I'm all for spending some time thinking of a compelling title. Or tweaking your email subject lines to make them more clickworthy. But at the end of the day, best practices and historical performance data can only get you so far -- and then, you're in subjective territory. Once you've spent a few minutes making something both catchy, accurate, and SEO friendly, it's time to stop harping over whether you should say "awesome" or "amazing." Readers will not be thinking about your word choice to that level of granularity, and your brain can be used for bigger and better things.

4) Comments

Nobody commented on your blog post!

So what?

We have analytics now, people! You can see how many people read your blog post ... and you can bet it's way more people than are willing to take the time to write a comment. When you get wonderful, insightful comments, it's definitely a bonus. But it doesn't mean your content isn't good, valuable, or even downright genius. It just means that post didn't ... incite comments. If people are reading it, linking to it, and sharing it on social media, don't sweat it if no one comments.

5) Clickthrough Rate Benchmarks

The best way I can explain this is through an analogy from fellow HubSpotter Matthew Wainwright"Asking for average website clickthrough rate is like asking for the average speed of animals."

I've been anxiously asked for clickthrough rate benchmark data at least once a month for years. It doesn't matter one iota, because it's all relative.

Looking at clickthrough rate is important. No question. But how you relate to other companies, and even data from within your own website, is impacted by so many variables that the benchmarks are rendered completely useless. It depends on how much traffic you're getting, what the call-to-action is, where on the site you are ... there are just too many variables to make a vague benchmark useful. Unless you find a similar proxy for the exact scenario you're trying to assess (I might want to know what a business blog that gets about 1.5 million visitors a month gets on a call-to-action for an ebook on a blog post about Facebook marketing), stop comparing yourself to others and focus on improving your own specific clickthrough metrics month over month.

6) Blogging

I often hear marketers proclaim they're not bloggers.

Blogging hasn't been around for that long. And business blogging has been around for even less time than traditional "blogging." The people that are saying they're doing business blogging are people that are willing to just start writing something. There's no secret, no special talent that you don't possess because you're some "other kind" of marketer. It's just type type typing words, like you do when you write copy, when you put email campaigns together, when you update your website.

So don't get caught up in the feeling that you're not good enough because you're not called a "blogger" by virtue of your job title or by self definition. Focus on the fact that you're smart, you have something to teach people, and you know about your industry -- then put nuggets of that smart industry information you possess into blog post formats.

(Tip: When people are scared to get started blogging, email them to ask them to answer a frequently asked question. When they respond with their answer, say, "Thanks, you just wrote your first blog post!" If you can answer a question over email, you can write a blog post.)

7) Sounding Smart

Fear over whether you sound smart often stems from impostor syndrome -- the idea that despite constant displays of competence, subjects don't really believe they are competent, so they remain fearful of being "found out" that they're a fraud. One way people might compensate for this is to try really hard to sound really smart.

But really, the result of trying to sound super smart is being totally and utterly incomprehensible. Or at the very least, totally and utterly boring.

Stop worrying about sounding smart in your marketing content. Focus on being smart and sounding like a person. People like people, not briefcases and TPS reports.

8) The Perfect Design

Amazing design is great! I love insanely good design! But it's not the be-all-end-all of your marketing, either. Function is more important than hot design. If your less-than-perfect design isn't making your users' experiences worse or more confusing, don't fret.

9) A/B Tests

There are hundreds of things you could A/B test. And you can run A/B tests all the time, across all different types of marketing assets. Some marketers see that as a constant opportunity to improve, using data to iterate on design, copy, etc. Those marketers are thinking about A/B testing the right way. The rest of the marketers see endless possibilities and have no idea where to start, freaking out about which test to run first, and on what asset. 

Just pick something and do it! Every time you run an A/B test, it will open up more and more interesting questions, which means you have more and more interesting tests to run. Some will be duds. Some will be incredibly insightful. That's the name of the A/B testing game!

10) Failure

Failure is fine. It means you did something. Hopefully, most of the time, the failure isn't the kind of stuff I mentioned in the intro -- blowing your budget, emailing unsubscribes, that kind of thing. But if you're trying something new and it flops, pick yourself up, pat yourself on the back for thinking of a new way to move your metrics, and move on.

What other things could you cut yourself some slack about in marketing? 

Image credit: topgold

10 things to cut from your marketing