10 marketing myths to leave behind in 2020

We've heard these marketing myths many times over the years - it's time to officially debunk them! From social media to SEO to inbound, we have the answers

Picture of Alex Martin Alex Martin

Published: 08 Aug 2020

8 minutes read

10 marketing myths to leave behind in 2020

If you’re just getting started with marketing, then it’s likely that you already have plenty of ideas on how it should be done. However, even in 2020, there are plenty of misconceptions about what marketing is, what it can do for your business, and how to actually get the best results. We’re here to debunk some common myths that we’ve heard over the years about marketing - including common beliefs about social media marketing, SEO, blogging and inbound. 

So without further ado, here are the common myths you’ve heard … 

About social media: 

Everyone in your business should auto-post blogs

This is one we’ve heard a few times. It’s an idea that sort of has legs, but doesn’t actually work in practice. The idea is that in order to become a thought leader in your industry, it’s best for individuals to grow their social media following, as opposed to the business page itself. If you’re posting the latest news and updates on the business page, then you’re growing the brand, but there isn’t a personal connection there to the readers. 

Posting on an individual’s account, however, does add this human element. Their friends are more likely to share it and engage with it, and it helps solidify them as an expert of their industry. That’s why you’ll notice plenty of companies where the employees post a new blog - with the same wording, at the exact same time. This isn’t the way to go. 

If readers are searching for a human element, then they’re unlikely to get it when looking at a duplicated, auto-generated post. If you’re using social media marketing, your employees should be sharing the initial posts, making comments, and even sharing their own thoughts on important company updates.

Top Tip! LinkedIn articles tend to get better visibility on the platform than links to outside blogs. Ask people in your business whether they would like to post on their own accounts, and then others can share and comment on the article. Creating a ‘culture of content’ isn’t about cutting corners - it takes work!

If all of your friends and family like your posts, they’ll get more traffic 

Plenty of marketers ask friends and family to like posts, believing that it will result in more traffic, more conversions, and more leads in the long run. This isn’t actually the case - likes alone aren’t enough to boost your social media campaign. You need a variety of types of engagement, and ultimately need to reach the type of person that you’re trying to target. 

Instead of begging for likes, experiment with different post types to see which drive the most engagement. You need likes, shares, comments and mentions to really get going in the social media world, and ideally, you need people in your industry to be engaging, not your Aunt Helen. 

You should put hashtags on everything 

Hashtags are a great way to attract more engagement with your posts - with them, you can be part of a wider conversation, appear more regularly in tracked tags, and engage with the community. However, they should only be used when relevant, not for every word. Too many hashtags just make your posts difficult to read, and if your followers can’t read them, then they’re very unlikely to actually click through and see your content! 

It doesn’t affect your bottom line

Social media often has a bad rep, seen as something that is for fun, not for business. This isn’t entirely true - while plenty of us use social media as a way to escape the working day, there is still huge potential for the business market. If you can make your content intriguing, boost engagement, and drive traffic to your website, then you’re ultimately likely to have more leads coming through, and even learn a little about your audience. 

Your best bet in measuring ROI from a social media campaign is to install tracking and keep an eye on how your followers interact with your posts. Even if someone takes months to request a quote from you, the fact that they initially found your business on social media means that they already know your brand well. Plus, getting leads through social media is often completely free. 

About SEO: 

You should target the biggest keywords possible 

This is a common myth in the SEO world, and it’s one that leaves plenty of marketing agencies tearing their hair out. If you’re a company that manufactures signage, asking to rank for the keyword ‘sign’ isn’t just tricky, it’s impossible. Plus, attempting to rank for generic, highly searched terms ultimately isn’t going to get you any customers. 

When people search for generic phrases like ‘marketing’, ‘signs’, or even something like ‘paint’, think about the first few results that come up. They might be a dictionary definition of marketing, a fairly decent 2002 blockbuster, or the ranking ruler, Wikipedia. Generic searches offer little insight into search intent, which is the main thing that you should be considering when choosing  keywords. 

Consider what your customers are likely to search for - the more specific the search, the more likely they are to buy from you. There’s no point targeting generic terms with thousands of searches and no leads, when you could be targeting a keyword with 100 searches that gets you 40 leads. Use your common sense when it comes to keywords. 

More pages mean more traffic 

Another common misconception - some companies believe that if they create a lot of pages, then they’ll automatically get better rankings. This isn’t the case - if your pages aren’t full of readable, relevant, robust content, then they could actually end up hurting your SEO. 

Create pages based on user journeys, as well as keyword strategy. You need pages that are targeted toward the organic traffic that you want, without your site being too convoluted. If a visitor can’t find what they need quickly, they’re likely to just exit your site and find another one. 

New content is all that matters

“Google likes new content!”, the SEOs scream, “Anything out of date will get you a penalty!”

Um, no. Google penalties tend to only get thrown around in cases of serious black hat tactics like hacking, spammy links and hidden content, not because you haven’t updated your About page in a year or so. In fact, the longer a page is live on the internet, the more likely it is to pick up some rankings. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your content - you should. Content that is kept up to date, with new stats, new information and tweaks to the copy, is far more valuable in the eyes of the search engines than a brand new page. 

The more links, the better

We’ve been over this before on this blog, but it bears repeating - more links does not necessarily mean better SEO. In fact, if you have plenty of links from dodgy websites or spammy sources, you could actually find yourself with a Google penalty. If you’re determined to boost your amount of links, it’s best to gain them organically, or reach out to relevant and trustworthy sources. You can also try guest blogging - a great way to gain links, as well as get your content out there. 

About inbound marketing:

It doesn’t work as well as outbound methods

We get it: outbound marketing is the way you’ve always done things. There’s a reason that cold calling exists, and it’s not because people love hearing the dial tone. However, in 2020, there is a better way to sell. Inbound focuses on bringing the leads to you, rather than interrupting their lives, and tends to provide lasting, measurable results. Although outbound can get you leads, the idea that inbound doesn’t work as well is completely false - you’re more likely to sell to those people who have found you, rather than you finding them.  

It’s just a trend 

Still thinking that inbound marketing is just a trend? It’s been around for a while now (more than 7 years), and isn’t showing signs of going anywhere. The marketing world is often subject to different trends, but inbound isn’t one of them. Inbound marketing is a complete methodology, and offers a unique way to think about how you gain clients - it’s not just a new trick to try and boost traffic. Once you’ve considered the benefits of an inbound approach, and the way that it makes you shift your mindset to a new, more sustainable way of marketing, you’re more likely to see the results, track the ROI, and close the deals you want. 

It takes ages to see results

This is a common concern when it comes to inbound marketing, and although it is technically a myth, there’s no smoke without fire on this one. Inbound can take some time to see results, as you need to build up the necessary content, make changes in terms of SEO, and fully strategise each campaign in order to get the best results. But, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be waiting years to see actual data. 

If you’re already getting traffic through your site, then you (or an agency that you work with) can implement quick wins, taking advantage of your current traffic to drive conversions and increase the amount of leads generated. If you’re not getting an awful lot of traffic, then it might be worth trying your hand at PPC or paid social media to drive more traffic to the site. Inbound does take a couple of months to really get into the swing of things, but with small changes and quick wins implemented in the beginning, you should start seeing an improvement straight away. 

You can’t use it alongside outbound marketing

Did you nearly close this tab when I bad-mouthed cold calling? This is the myth for you. Plenty of business owners believe that when you decide to go in on inbound, you need to be all in, and throw your old methods away. This isn’t the case. 

Inbound and outbound marketing can work perfectly well alongside each other, provided that you’re using them correctly. There’s no harm in keeping your old sales methods while you transition to inbound, if only to just check the data against itself. If you do decide to go inbound but believe that your outbound methods are still working, that’s fine! Using two channels to bring in the leads is never a bad thing, and you might find that your current outbound sales team is more than willing to pitch in with great inbound content. 

Want to know more about inbound marketing? Download our complete guide to find out how it can help revolutionise the way you do business. 



Get your complete guide here.

Read the full guide