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The 7 Best Ways To Throw Money Away With Web Marketing

We’re nearing the end of the year. Perhaps you’re in the common situation of having budget to burn, and if you don’t get rid of it fast, you may not get as much budget next year. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

If you’ve got too much money, and you’re looking for the fastest way to throw it away, look no further!

Drawing on years of advising clients, running marketing campaigns, and our own experiments, we’ve assembled the top 7 ways to get rid of all those pesky profits, using good old online marketing.

Your Cash-Chucking Hit-List

  1. Google AdWords
  2. Conversion Rate Optimization
  3. Website Redesign
  4. Facebook Ads
  5. Search Engine Optimization
  6. Social Media Marketing
  7. Content Marketing

The title of this post may be tongue-in-cheek, but there’s an important truth here.. You can lose a ton of your hard-earned money really fast, simply by doing just about any type of web marketing the wrong way.

And the great thing is… It isn’t just money! You can also waste weeks of your precious time using these very same techniques.

It really couldn’t be easier. Let us show you how!

Note: These methods are in no particular order.. You can easily waste a fortune with all of them!

1.Google AdWords

The world of AdWords has changed over the past few years, but the fundamentals are broadly the same.

Like most web marketing channels, AdWords a highly trackable, so you can easily keep an eye on how much money you’re losing.

If you set up your AdWords account they right way, you can identify the most expensive keywords that will consistently cost you more than they deliver.

Follow our simple AdWords Loser tips, and you’ll soon empty your bank account.

How To Be An Adwords Loser

  • The easiest trick is simply to dump all your keywords into a single campaign, put up a couple of generic ads, then just sit back and watch the money drain away!
  • Don’t forget to throw in all the keywords that may vaguely relate to your offering. And of course stick to Broad match only. That way, Google can show your ads to the maximum number of people, even if they aren’t looking for what you sell.
  • Make sure all your ads just lead people to your website’s home page. They’ll have fun browsing round your site with little danger of buying anything.
  • The great thing about AdWords is you can just ignore your campaigns, and Google will keep spending your money. You don’t even have to anything (other than keep paying the bill)!
  • Advanced tip: If you have a little more time, create multiple campaigns, each focusing just on one target phrase (Exact-match this time), and each with its own targeted ad. That will help you tell which phrases/ads are profitable, and which are helping you flush your money down the pan most efficently. Simply disable the most profitable ones.

2. Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion Rate Optimisation is the art and science of testing different messages and designs to see which approach gets more prospects to take the action you want.

If you’re serious about losing money fast, you can hire a conversion consultant for $5000 per day (or more), and be sure to include our handy hints in your brief!

There are some very expensive and powerful split-testing tools out there you can invest in, some costing many thousands per month. Losing money has never been easier!

Our Loss-Optimisation Handy Hints

  • Only test websites and pages that have very little traffic. That means your tests will take ages to complete, wasting lots of time and money, without burdening you with too much intelligence.
  • Always test minor design changes. Your web designer’s opinions will be invaluable here. And make sure you listen to all the gossip on the street about what button colour converts better. That’s the secret to driving your costs right up without any perceivable increase in profits. (Do not consider radical changes to your core proposition, benefits, or persuasive copy.. that’s no way to blow your budget like a pro.)
  • Make sure you keep no record of your test results. That way, you can forget what worked and what didn’t, and you can have fun repeating the same pointless ideas every few months.

3. Website Redesign

This one is one of our personal favourites. And it’s really easy to do. Just say to whoever’s in charge of wasting your company’s money, “Our website’s looking outdated, we don’t think our customers are going to engage with it. We need a redesign.”

More often than you’d think, that’s all it takes to blow a serious chunk of money. But you have to manage it the right way! Here’s your roadmap to ruin…

Redesign Roadmap to Ruin

  • Don’t miss this vital first step! The best way to waste the whole budget is just to jump headlong into your redesign. Whatever you do, don’t set measurable performance indicators or targets – they’re for amateurs!
  • Follow the latest trendy style you see on other websites that you and your team think are cool. Not only will that help you feel cool yourself, but you’ll all be bored of the “new” design in a few months, and that’ll give you the opportunity to go back to the chief money-blower and get another new design! Yay!
  • Be sure to get everyone’s ideas on board. Managers can often have valuable input; so can their spouses. Try to find a compromise that includes a bit of what everyone likes.
  • Don’t even think about testing the old design against the new one! Like, as if. What’s the point of going to all that work redesigning?

4. Facebook Ads

If you still have any cash left to get rid of, consider Facebook Ads. While these can actually be highly profitable (for other businesses), you can blow a big ol’ hole in your budget, just by following our simple step-by-step guide.

Facebook Financial Failure Formula

  • Handing over serious money to Facebook is all down to picking your audience carefully. Facebook is a social medium, and people go on there for social reasons. If your business sells to other businesses; if you sell stuff that isn’t unique, visual, funny, curious, or shareable in any way, you can safely waste a fortune.
  • Don’t bother focusing your ads or promotions on any particular group. For maximum loss, you need maximum exposure. So go for everyone over 13 in the entire world.
  • If you’re doing sidebar ads, you only pay when people click, so try to make your ads as sexy and interesting as possible (even if your product or service isn’t sexy of interesting).
  • If you’re promoting posts or just buying general page likes, it doesn’t really matter what you do, so put up any old crap. Facebook will happily take your cash whether you’re promoting anything worthwhile or not. Like, what do they care?

5. Search Engine Optimisation

A perennial favourite money-pit is good old-fashioned SEO.

There really is nothing like hiring an SEO firm who promises to “get you on the first page of Google” for a nice slice of your marketing budget (if there’s any left, that is). Just make sure you use this handy checklist…

SEO Suicide Made Simple

  • SEO is totally unrelated to any other part of your marketing strategy. Just hire someone that says they can do it, and leave them to it. Don’t interrupt them by asking to see the results of your campaigns.
  • Don’t ask newbie questions like, “What phrase are you going to get us on the first page of Google for?” or the equally ignorant “How much traffic will we get?”, or the plainly retarded, “How well targeted is that traffic likely to be for our offering?” You’ll just make yourself sound stupid, and be laughed at.
  • SEO is great because it can get more people onto your site, even if they don’t buy. But, hey, it’s a result, right? Keeps management off your back.
  • If your guys do a great job, they might even get your site penalised so it doesn’t show up in the search engine results at all! That will give you more time to turn your attention to other things.
  • Remember, getting the results you want takes time, and a lot of investment. You can’t expect results overnight. Your SEO consultants will be sure to explain all the very complicated and technical reasons why.

6. Social Media Marketing

Ahh, social media. This has really started to prove itself as a cash-consuming channel to rival the best of them.

You too can burn through a huge hunk of dough, with this simple advice.

Social Media Budget Burning Bonanza

  • Hire someone full time to “do your Twitter“. What’s that? You don’t know what “do your Twitter” means? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s new media, so no one knows. They can define the job description as they go. That’s what’s so great about the Internet.
  • Kids are good, because they get social media, right? Hire a 16-year-old. It doesn’t matter if they understand your business. Not really.
  • And hire another one to “do your Facebook“.
  • Oh, and maybe Instagram, whatever that is. And what’s that other one? That too.
  • These guys can keep spurting out meaningless messages onto social channels where no one’s listening – all week long – all the time eating a nice hole in your marketing fund. Put it down to “building a social media presence“. That sounds good.

7. Content Marketing

Still got budget left? Then we have just the thing for you!

Content Marketing is currently something of a hot ticket. If in doubt about where to lose some money, the current big thing is usually a safe bet.

If you don’t really get it, here’s all you need to know to piss away any remaining marketing budget you may have after following the previous 6 tactics.

  • The first rule is: Everyone loves an infographic. So get some data (any old data gathered in 5 minutes on Google will do) and give it to a $100/hour designer to make pretty. Then give it to the Facebook / Twitter / Instagram (huh?) kids to work their magic on. Infographics are where it’s at!
  • Google loves content. The more content you have on your site, the more traffic Google will send you. It stands to reason. So make sure you keep churning that stuff out! Nothing eats through spare cash like hiring an army of freelance writers to produce a torrent of lots and lots of lovely content. Any old crap will do, Google won’t know the difference.
  • Don’t forget to stick those “Like on Facebook” and “Tweet This” and “+1″ buttons on your content. Because when Google starts sending over lots of visitors, they’ll want to share your content with everyone they know. That’s how it works.
  • Or white papers, I heard they’re good too.

If you follow our tips, you’ll find you can effectively torch practically any size marketing budget.

See you same time next year! Happy marketing!

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.

Tim - 11 months ago

Brilliant. So, just do the opposite of this article.

Tim

Guillaume - 11 months ago

Hi Ben,

Great post, i can recognise some of our mistakes.
But what solutions do you suggest ?

Guillaume.

    Ben Hunt - 11 months ago

    Hi Guillaume.

    In brief, do the opposite. But the bottom line is, use common sense and test if you need to, so that you only continue to invest in marketing channels that are likely to be profitable.

Robert Keppel - 11 months ago

If only the world knew that Google’s sublime machinery is paid for with the stupidity of stupid business persons.

    Ben Hunt - 11 months ago

    Thank goodness for those guys, generously funding all the great free apps we use!

joe - 10 months ago

another great post Ben… thanks

Paul - 10 months ago

Gawd, I hate testing. Analyzing all the numbers and facts together for a better ROI is a real pain. But it has to be done.

BTW: I did find the tweet and facebook buttons on this post.

Tom Creacy - 9 months ago

As an old-school consumer packaged goods marketer, I have often cautioned clients not to jump into “New Media” just because it’s new. Your article confirms my suspicions. As in packaged goods, the phrase “new and improved” should always raise caution flags. Thank you.

Comments are closed