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Why Marketing Hygiene is so Important to Your Clients and Your Processes

    Last Updated on December 26, 2023

    Our Marketing Hygiene is as Important to Our Business as Personal Hygiene is to Our Bodies

    We’re always “on brand” and “top of mind” when we first get a customer, but then after a while perhaps we forget how much we love them and skip looking in the mirror.

    We brush our teeth without thinking, but some nights after a Netflix binge, perhaps we just drop into bed. It’s not always the most fun thing to do, but if we don’t keep our marketing tools and our engagement “always on”, we may lose that customer we were once so in love with.

    Marketing Hygiene? You Mean Hygiene Marketing, Right?

    Marketing Hygiene isn’t a topic we often think about. In fact, when I thought about it and Googled around, I kept finding that Google was showing a lot of articles on Hygiene Marketing in the SERPs. Close, but not what I was thinking of.

    Marketing Hygiene is the process of maintaining the freshness and function of your marketing tools, processes, and strategies to preserve the overall health and wellbeing of your business.

    What do we mean, specifically by Online Marketing Hygiene? In a nutshell:

    1. Social Media – engagement / respecting permission / pruning old posts
    2. Websites – pruning our sitemap / compressing images / updating content
    3. Emails – asking people to unsubscribe / segmenting our segments
    4. Analytics – cleaning our funnels / recalibrating those ROI checks
    5. SEO – are those search phrases from June 2021 or June 2020?

    “The effort required to keep your marketing in top shape may not be exciting—yet it makes a huge difference to your success. It’s like brushing your teeth: If you don’t do it regularly, the consequences are ugly.”

    Hygiene Can Do More than Save Your Marketing

    Keeping your processes clean, also means keeping them sustainable.

    We think most often of sustainability as having to do with the climate, food production and consumption, and even our survival as a species. Sustainability can also be about:

    1. how we build or decorate our homes, or what we wear.
    2. it can be about our personal, work, or cultural relationships.
    3. there are sustainable processes like social media, storytelling, gardening, and even a fitness regimen. 
    4. There’s even the chance to talk about sustainable email.
    5. Oh, and as this is a website, we could even talk about sustainable web design.

    The Oxford Dictionary defines sustainability as being “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” And “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.”

    In terms of our marketing and sales emails, a working definition means:

    1. Maintain the business of marketing at a profitable, balanced, and responsible level.
    2. Avoid the depletion of resources – both natural and human.
    3. Remain Mindful and Agile! Doing the right thing, the sustainable thing – that which matters.

    website carbon footprint check

    Sustainable websites have a minimal carbon footprint

    You can check your website at

    From data centres to transmission networks to the billions of connected devices that we hold in our hands, it is all consuming electricity, and in turn producing carbon emissions.

    What Goes into Our Marketing Hygiene? Here are a Few Marketing Hygiene Tips

    Marketing Hygiene and Your Website

    1. Is your website speed fast? 
    2. Do you need to optimize your website content?
    3. Do you need to optimise your website structure?
    4. How about old content? Can it be updated?

    Why not conduct a website audit? Find out more in my video.

    Sharing Marketing Hygiene Over Social Media

    1. Are you following bots? Are they following you?
    2. Have you posted recently?
    3. Have you asked questions or shared other’s posts?
    4. Is your Social Media profile up to date?

    Creativity isn’t a feature – it’s expected. I have a couple of ideas I can share with you right here.

    Marketing Hygiene to Improve Your SEO

    1. We could sit here all day talking about SEO :o)
    2. Look at your sitemap – how old is the content?
    3. Are you still chasing last year’s keywords??

    Why don’t we do a round of mini-golf and talk about some easy SEO wins. Click here to putt!

    Marketing Hygiene and Your Email Marketing

    1. Have you asked people to unsubscribe from your newsletters?
    2. How old are those opt-ins, anyway??

    Unleashing AI’s Power to Support Your Marketing Hygiene

    The power of artificial intelligence extends to supporting any of your sustainable marketing strategies. By integrating AI in an ethical manner, you can unlock the capacity to glean invaluable insights, optimize operations, and provide tailor-made customer experiences.

    How can AI play a pivotal role in your marketing? Here are Four Examples:

    1. Smart Data Analytics: AI can swiftly analyze vast amounts of consumer data to identify trends and preferences. That enables you to develop targeted and eco-friendly marketing campaigns.
    2. Energy-Efficient Ad Placement: AI algorithms can optimize the placement of digital advertisements based on real-time energy consumption data.
    3. Waste Reduction: AI-powered demand forecasting can help minimise waste and conserve resources throughout processes, contributing to both cost savings and sustainability.
    4. Carbon Footprint Tracking: AI-driven tools can accurately track and assess the carbon footprint of products, allowing your business to make informed decisions for improvement.

    Marketing Hygiene is the process of maintaining the freshness and function of your marketing tools, processes, and strategies to preserve the overall health and wellbeing of your business.

    Your Online Marketing Hygiene includes your Social Media, Website, Online Shop, Email, Search, and Controlling assets and tactics.

    What is Marketing Hygiene and why is it so important? Downloadable poster

    Social Champ and I Talked About Marketing Hygiene

    I recently chatted with Social Champ on Instagram about Marketing Hygiene. If you are looking to manage your social media accounts, Social Champ is a great tool.

    What is Marketing Hygiene and what made you come up with this topic?

    Okay so I mean it’s not my idea, but it’s got 2 facets. I came up with it because I was writing an article for a client about what amounted to email hygiene. You know, cleaning up our lists, keeping them clean. Marketing Hygiene, the idea for me at least, has 2 parts.

    First it comes from content strategy and so we have got what some people call hygiene content or helping content and this is our marketing that it is always on. That is on one side of the equation.

    The other side is more aligned with our normal hygiene. Ee have a lot of tools that we are using and we are doing a lot of different things. If we don’t keep those in shape, if we don’t take a look at those every once in a while, they are going to get rusty, they are going to get dirty and people aren’t really going to want to communicate with us anymore. Worse, the tools we use may begin to create errors.

    More about Hygiene Content

    Hygiene content – later updated to be referred to as Help content for some reason – is the most inexpensive content that brands can produce. Therefore, it’s often the type of content that brands typically produce the most of.

    Hygiene content is daily or weekly content that you place on owned channels, designed to pull in your target audience. Often, this content is based on the searches that are carried out by your audience.

    What is the importance of Marketing Hygiene? Why should a brand/business to keep it up?

    I mean, people are brands, right? Let’s say people are brands because we are! Everything we do is part of the process of selling ourselves, marketing ourselves and so it’s really no different.

    I think what happens to us in our business and when we are in our relationships, and when we are working as marketers, is we pull out all the stops on that first date. We impress the client, we impress the customers but just like in our relationships after a while we start to put on some weight, maybe we don’t shave every day, maybe we don’t wear perfume anymore because we figure “hey we got the business”. I think in a relationship that’s bad and as a marketer or for brands that’s also bad.

    You can’t stop trying to impress your clients with everything that you do. They are always number one and your competitor could put on perfume one day and you lose your client.

    I think when people come to us as marketers they are coming to us because we are offering something new. We are a breath of fresh air, in the same way as when we date. If we don’t keep up at that level and impress our clients then that would be boring for our clients but it will also be boring for us. I mean if we are updating our client’s social media every day eventually we are going to get bored and we are going to do a bad job of this.

    So we really need to, as you say, keep up with the trends, we have to keep our job exciting for ourselves as well. It’s like brushing our teeth; if we don’t brush our teeth we are not going to feel good so we need to brush our teeth when we are doing our social media so to speak. We need to keep our website pruned, polished, running at speed, and we need to do all of these things because otherwise after awhile it’s not going to be very nice if we don’t.

    How do I know as a brand or as a department know if my marketing is hygienic? Are there any benchmarks to calculate our marketing hygiene?

    I think how we look at it is again, it’s a relationship, everything we do is a relationship. So if we see that we are not getting responses, if we see that we have this feeling that people are backing away from our marketing or from our brand then obviously we know we have “bad breath” we stink, what we are doing is boring or no longer effective.

    I think the first thing would be just see is our engagement dropping, our clicks dropping, the space between the impressions (like how often we are appearing in search and our clicks) is that really starting to space out. Are our email response rates dropping? Are people not talking about us as much as they used to on social media? I think these are really basic ways to measure if we need to rethink what we are doing.

    Do you think the drop-off in engagement might have something to do with the change in algorithm in social media?

    Yes but the algorithm changes they are different. Let’s say I am on a social media that updates and we see social media results based on a calendar or date, we can post more often. If the algorithm is based on interests then maybe a post a little less. Google updates its search algorithm like 500 times a day! Some people might go “oh this is a big problem” but I see this as actually Google’s hygiene. This is what Google does to flush out the system.

    If we are not appearing as often as we should then I think that is a wake-up call that what we are doing isn’t as good or isn’t as necessary as it was last week or maybe last month or last quarter. So I don’t see those as big problems, I think they are wake-up calls.

    Do you suggest the same thing for content marketing? Go along with the traffic?

    There could be a lot of factors but I think what we expect is that if we stay on target that our clients and customers are going to stay on target as well. But they are much more flexible than we are. I mean, we are very, not always, our job is to be proactive but very often if we start doing things in a regular way we become reactive. Things change. Search” changes, friends change, you know 5 or 6 times on social media every single day.

    I don’t think we should change immediately because there is a rebound. We shouldn’t watch just to see what is happening today and then follow this. If we are doing what’s good then we can adjust.

    Are there any specific tools that you would say could help us in monitoring the Hygiene of our brand?

    I think those would be the ones I mentioned before and perhaps we use them from a different perspective. We have some amazing analytic tools available and I think perhaps instead of just looking at what we are getting maybe look at what we are not getting in the tools.

    Again, everything from open rates to engagement rates to time on page, and even like depth of scroll. A lot of these micro versions that we might not track, I think are worthwhile tracking to make sure we are always doing a good job.

    Does Website fall under the concept of Marketing Hygiene? How should we look after it then?

    If our website is crucial to the marketing then of course! In the last little while, we have had changes and we still continue to have changes from Google with their core web vitals and their web vitals. We have everything there from our content, from our build, you know maybe we are not using websites.

    Maybe our marketing is running over email or our social media but yeah websites, still at the moment pretty much the core and Google is keeping us busy with staying tidy and staying clean.

    Ads and keeping up with the Marketing Hygiene

    I will be one of those people who say the organic is much more hygienic than the ads. It really depends on where in the funnel we are talking. It depends on the funnel, it depends where I am in the funnel but I think either sort of organic or personalised connection to the people.

    Just to repeat then about the ads, the personalised marketing, the personalised offers that are much better than a straight out ad.

    How often do you think a blogger or a copywriter should revisit the content that is actually out there?

    Okay well if Google is updating, changing their search algorithm 3-500 times per day then we should be updating our website between 3-500 times per day. (joke) No I mean, I go back to what Google said, when I was a small boy, Google said “Build websites for people don’t build them for us’. So if your content requires that you are updating it on a weekly basis then update it on a weekly basis. It really depends on who you are talking to and what you are talking about.

    You know at the moment in Germany, in Europe, our big problem a year ago was everyone was searching for air filter products for Corona virus. Now everyone is looking for air filter products that use as little energy as possible because we have no energy here anymore. So the demands of the search changed.

    That would mean I would updating topics like that you know, every couple of months but other topics maybe more often or maybe less often. The answer would be definitely whatever your customers require that’s how often you should be updating.

    Don’t just update to try to get on page one on Google. Yeah, it’s good what you say because we are online so much, then you have data protection, then you have all of these different ways that we interact online that are different than offline. So which could actually say with more and more people online perhaps even older people, etc then our type of marketing, the marketing is very clean, it’s up to date, it’s respectful, that is different online than in a store. So it changes our game and our game is always changing.

    What about social media marketing? What things should we focus on when creating a post to be clean?

    You know social media is much closer to email marketing then it is to website so like the same sorts of tactics. Instead of list management, you have got your group management. I think for social media a problem is that we see posts and we don’t check them. So we could be seeing a post where oh this happened a few months ago, a year ago and people will respond, so I think to be fair we need to really make sure that we keep whatever information is on social media we keep it accurate. This might mean going back a quarter to see if what we posted is still relevant because someone might stumble across it today and we posted it six weeks ago.

    I think that is really really important. Social media.. it’s a relationship, it is really permission marketing. I think this is being respectful, not just of people’s comments but how those comments, posts, etc might reflect or be taken by other members of our social media community. So we have probably our biggest responsibility on social media because we own it but we don’t. You know so that is probably where the teeth have to be very shiny more than ever.

    It’s a hard job. I don’t like this community management part of it and I have a lot of respect for people who do that. They have to always be right there and so that is probably Marketing Hygiene’s the hardest job.

    I guess it depends on what product. You know I am just going to fall back and say Hubspot, and Salesforce are the first ones that come to mind. These are probably the best. Semrush for sure. Semrush is great. Okay I take it back Semrush, Salesforce and then Hubspot. Yeah Semrush (thumbs up!)

    Any Final words on Digital Marketing and Marketing Hygiene?

    I think going forward for the rest of this year it’s really easy to forget to brush your teeth. You know there are those nights were you think I can’t, I am exhausted, I can’t brush my teeth and this is why our community is really important. Because we can’t do it all alone. You know the more people we have on board that share – I am not going to say passion – who like to do what we do okay, you know we need these people.

    We need a guy or gal who does constant speed load testing, we need the people who can do our social media management. We need all of these people because the competition is trying to be sweet-smelling and hygienic more and more. Tomorrow we could lose the date and that’s it! Our wardrobe is for nothing now.

    I talked about this topic again with Green Geeks on a webinar in October 2022. Check it out!