It’s the time of year when monsters come out, but some of them need to stay locked in your closet: the marketing monsters. You’re not looking to create a scare with your marketing. Avoid devilish tricks and use best practices instead. Your efforts will pay off.

1. A Community of Zombies

You can instantly receive a large number of followers to your social media account or email mailing list by paying a fee. In the case of social media, you’ll likely receive ghost accounts, whereas email addresses will belong to real people. There are major problems with both.

For one thing, it is impossible to purchase engagement. On social media, follower count is a vanity metric, whereas engagement shows the success of your efforts. This lack of engagement is often obvious, meaning people will be less likely to trust your brand. Trust will also decrease if users see your follower account suddenly shoot up in a matter of days.

In the case of email, lack of engagement is even more useless. You’ll be targeting people who have never shown any interest in your offerings — and there’s no reason to believe they will be interested. Worse still, their first interaction with your business will be a spam message, making it unlikely that they’ll ever see your brand in a good light. Lastly, if you message EU citizens without their permission, you may receive a GDPR fine.

The Solution

Grow your follower base authentically. Find people who are actually interested in what you have to offer and want to hear more from you. For instance, give users the chance to sign up for your email newsletter after they download premium content. Your social follower counts and email mailing list will be smaller, but at least most people on it will be potential leads.

2. Horror Story Emails

You have probably created a mobile web design by now, but have you also given the same attention to your emails? If too much is going on, if images don’t fit the screen, or if users need to zoom in to read the information, your message will probably end up unread. In fact, more than half of people unsubscribe from email newsletters because they are unable to read the messages on their phones.

The Solution

Test emails on a mobile device before you send them out. Figure out how you can make improvements and save this template for future communications.

3. Unleashing Your Wrath in Reviews

Negative reviews can be hard to take, especially if the criticism is undeserved, such as in the case of a misunderstanding or a difficult-to-deal-with customer. Your immediate reaction may be to reply in sarcastic or angry tones, but this is never a good idea — you’ll only seem unprofessional or perhaps even petty. Even replying in a private message is dangerous, as there’s always the chance that a customer could leak a screenshot.

The Solution

All this isn’t to say that you should ignore negative reviews. You should definitely reply — but the right way. Instead, apologize (sincerely) and name what steps you’re taking to correct the issue. Then, users who may have been swayed by the negative feedback will see that you care about your customers and about providing an excellent service.

4. Trust No One But the Numbers

You should certainly trust your gut for some aspects of marketing. However, relying on feelings entirely and never putting in any research is a recipe for disaster. Assuming you already know the answers will cost you money and reduce conversions.

The Solution

Monitor your successes down to the smallest details. This means finding out how well a piece of content performed, how posting at different times impacts engagement, and who is responding to your campaigns — for each channel.

Even during this spooky time of year, there’s no excuse to release the marketing monsters. It may take more time and effort, but marketing the right way leads to far better results.