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29th May, 2017

5 bad Hong Kong marketing habits—and how to avoid them

Hong Kong has its fair share of marketing challenges. The hectic city demands quick, effective communication with diverse audiences amid a sea of competition.

To cope with this kind of pressure, it’s easy to rely on old habits without realising their failings. Our team has put together a list of bad habits we’ve seen crop up again and again, and offered some advice on how to avoid them.

1. Publishing without checking

In fast-paced Hong Kong, time is money. It’s all about instant marketing—the sooner your ad goes out, the better. Nowadays, marketing strategies rely on speed to compete, often at the expense of quality.

It’s easy to see how messing up your product might adversely affect your business, but do small grammar mistakes really matter? The answer, of course, is yes! You’d be surprised at how one tiny typo can damage your reputation and cost you millions. If consumers see that you don’t make the effort to check the quality of your own communications and products, how can they trust that your products and services are a good fit—and of good enough quality—for them?

How to avoid it

Always check your content, down the very last Tweet or Facebook post, and don’t check it yourself—have someone else do it. When you’re in a rush, your brain sees what you intended to write, not what you actually wrote. Sending it to a colleague for a quick once-over can save you a lot of embarrassment.

If you are marketing in a second language, get a native speaker and grammar expert to proofread your content. Show your target audience that you care enough to get it right.

2. Using jargon

You may think that to prove your company’s expertise, all copy must be chock-full of complicated industry terms. It doesn’t. Remember, your primary goal is to be understood. By using words your customers don’t understand, you leave them confused and unimpressed. The more people who understand your message, the more people you’ll reach. Simple!

How to avoid it

Use plain English. Readers should understand your message at a glance. Test it on someone outside your industry (or even your specific office) and if they don’t get it, make it simpler.

“Our company’s consumer-centric business model presents customers with a strong value proposition.”

“Customers like our prices and service.”

3. Being vague

When it comes to marketing, being vague doesn’t help anyone. If your ad leaves out crucial details, such as what you actually offer, it’s just money down the drain. People get annoyed—or worse, suspicious—when you waste their time with meaningless PR fluff. To make customers want to buy, tell them all they need to know up front in as few words as possible.

How to avoid it

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and make sure your content directly answers the following: 

4. Sounding too formal

Effective communication is not just about what you say: it’s also about how you say it. In our experience, many large corporations adopt a stilted tone, particularly for B2B marketing. However, a cold and unfriendly manner can risk alienating your clients.

How to avoid it

Write like you speak, or get a copywriter to help you—someone who knows the kind of tone that will engage your target audience. With their help, you can maintain your professional image while creating a closer connection with your clients.

“In the unlikely event that you experience any difficulties concerning the operation of this product, please contact the company’s customer service centre.”

“Let us know if you have any problems.”

5. Going over-the-top

We often see it swing the other way, too. Those who want to project a friendly image tend to use an overly enthusiastic or elevated tone, full of adjectives such as “delightful”, “popular”, and “interesting.” When you try too hard, you risk sounding insincere. Don’t tell your customers to be excited—leave it up to them to decide how they feel.

How to avoid it

Persuasive copy simply states a good case. No hype, no empty adjectives, no exclamation marks.

“Delight in our wonderful new menu of delectable delicacies you will remember for a lifetime, designed with love by our incredible in-house chef!”

“Try our new selection of gourmet dishes, crafted by our in-house chef.”

Now’s the time to review how effective your marketing content is, and what you can do to improve it. Avoiding these mistakes may require a little extra effort at first, but communicating with your customers in a compelling way more than makes up for it. If you need help creating persuasive copy for your marketing campaigns, contact us today for a chat or quote.

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