Small businesses might be tempted to compare their marketing efforts with those of major brands. That is a hard comparison to make when those brands have huge teams behind every marketing decision that goes on. However, that does not make them infallible. Plenty of big brands have made huge mistakes in digital marketing, and when they make a mistake a lot of people see it. This week we’re exploring missteps made by major brands and how you can avoid making the same mistakes. Read on for our Top tips for how to avoid making the same mistakes as these big brands did.

Carl’s Jr. – Sexist Advertising

In the early 2010s, Carl’s junior and Hardee’s running series of TV ads starring women who were rather scantily clad, eating burgers as sexually as possible. The advertising makes very little sense for a fast food chain. Objectifying women may have seemed like a smart idea at one point, but the company faced a huge amount of backlash over it.

While TV ads or outside the purview of digital marketing, it is still an important lesson to learn. Advertising that contains any sort of sexism, racism, or other form of discrimination is not cute or funny. Especially now, that sort of advertising will give you all sorts of attention you don’t want. – Paying For Backlinks

It is no secret that backlinks boost the SEO of your website. However, paying for backlinks is never a good plan. No matter how sneaky you think you are, Google will catch you eventually. Natural backlinks are fine, and you should pursue any opportunity you have to earn them. The keyword there is earn.

Google caught paying for backlinks and served them up a huge search engine penalty. This drama all happened in 2011, that year overstock’s revenue figures dropped by over one billion dollars. Smaller companies will not be hit quite as hard, but Google will eventually catch on and penalize you.

Sunny Co. Clothing – Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Sunny Co. Clothing was promoting their new swimsuit back in 2017. The Pamela was a Baywatch inspired swimsuit, and they really wanted it to be big. They said that everyone who reposted the original photo and tagged the company in the picture for the next 24 hours after the post went up, would receive a free Pamela swimsuit. However, the post went viral and the company could not actually provide the number of swimsuits that it needed to. They ended up putting a cap on the number of free suits they gave out, which made a lot of people very angry.

No matter what the promise may be, don’t make one you can’t keep, especially in business. Even if your average direct response to digital marketing is low, pretend everything you post is going to go viral. That will help you set a reasonable limit on your promotions.