Just like when you sit down at supper — you don’t start eating until everyone has sat down, received their order, or chew with your mouth open (a personal pet peeve of mine). In marketing and design, if you have good manners, not only will you show your audience respect, but you connect and attract more business. So when it comes to your marketing manners, here are a few do’s and don’ts.

The Don’ts

Don’t Trash Talk

Don’t trash talk your competition. Being negative only makes you look trashy, whether on social media, in an email, or otherwise. You’ll gain more respect if you admit they’re a worthy opponent and turn the conversation back onto how you can help your customer. Here’s a great article by Colleen Francis on LinkedIn on redirecting the conversation if you’re in sales.

Don’t Be a Faker

We’ve all seen those social media accounts with 70,000 followers but only have 3 likes per post. Don’t buy your followers. Fake followers will be irrelevant to your product or service, are less likely to convert, and will skew your metrics. Organic followers and organically grown email lists will yield better results in the end because they are people who value your product or services.

Don’t Monopolize the Conversation

You know, we all have that one friend, who talks about their job, dog, the egg they had for breakfast that isn’t sitting well, their crazy exes, their mother or brother, latest schemes, and last vacation all in one breath. They only stop to breathe, and you can’t get a word in edgewise. Don’t be that friend. 

Yes, you need to promote your product or service, but it is about what pain point your product addresses and the problem your product solves. Show your audience how their life will be better with your product in it. Does that cup of herbal tea help them relax at the end of the night and make them a better mother after a good night’s sleep? Heck yeah, I want that tea!

Don’t Smother Your Audience

Sending an email reminding people of your 30% off sale every three days might sound like a good plan, but you can run the risk of repeating yourself so much you become spammy or get tuned out.

Give your audience a way to unsubscribe to your emails. You’re legally required to do this, by the way, but it’s also simply the right thing to do. Give your audience options for how often they want to hear from you. Is it once a month? Twice a month? Every week? Or what kind of content do they want from you?

Don’t Expect Your Market to Read Your Mind

Give your audience a clear call to action, whether it’s on your website, direct mail piece, catalog, or email newsletter. Tell them what to do next. Should they call to place an order? Where can they find more information? The headspace example below works because  you know what the offer is — “Get 30% off” and the simple subscribe button tells you how and what to do next.

Headspace Call to Action Example

The Do’s

Engage in Small Talk

Engage with customers on social media. If a customer comments or asks a question, respond promptly, usually within a day via email. Or on social, it can be sooner —depending on your audience, it may be an hour or 24 hours. Thank your customer for their purchase, like or share their post, or just ask how you can help.


You can also listen to your audience for problems they’re trying to solve. You can do this by touching base with your sales team. What was their last customer call like? Are there any new products on the market they’ve brought on? Or do they wish they had? Talk to your Customer Service team. What are they hearing from your current customers?

You can also set up listening streams for your social media streams to monitor essential words. Include your brand name, your industry, and your top competitors to see what people are saying. Below is how to set one up if you have a HubSpot and Twitter account.


Give Credit Where Credit is Due

If you’d like to share a photo on your social media channels, credit the source. And make sure any images and the artwork you’re using aren’t infringing on someone’s copyright. That meme may be used everywhere but is it someone else’s intellectual property? Read up on this article by Stephenson Law to learn more. Instead, make your own meme using stock photos you’ve purchased or your own assets, below is an example of a meme I made for Sashco a couple months back for their social channels.

Make Your Own Meme Example

Say Thank You

People don’t buy from brands; people buy from people. Say thank you with —

  • an insert when shipping a product. 
  • An email following an online purchase
  • When they reach achievement with your product (see the Hydrow example below)
  • Send them a birthday card or email
  • Offer after purchase discounts
  • Create a thank you video
  • Send a welcome gift or free sample

Showcase your customers: Sashco does a great job sharing contractor and homeowner projects on their log home side social media channels. Need more ideas? Check out this article from Shopify.

Hyrdrow Thank You Example

Be Honest

Don’t say your product does something it doesn’t. Your product should deliver on its’ promises. As the saying goes, it’s easy to lose trust and hard to gain it back.

Make It Personal

Know people’s names. Where appropriate, use people’s names in your email marketing or direct mail pieces to add a personal touch.

Keep Your Word

If you’re going to start a loyalty program, don’t do it half-a$$ed. I’ve worked in-house at companies where they are all gung-ho, and then they fall short when it comes to actually implementing the program. Two great loyalty programs are Hydrow and Aveda.

What do you think I left off the list? What would you add? Leave a comment below.

Like this article? You might also like…

5 Things to Share: Design & Marketing Tips, July 2023

5 Things to Share: Design & Marketing Tips, July 2023

Hi Design & Marketing Friends! If you got this newsletter as an email last month, you would’ve seen the subject line declaring, “Excellence is boring,” but what does that mean when it comes to marketing? “Excellence is boring.” You're probably thinking to...

read more
5 Things to Share: Design & Marketing Tips, June 2023

5 Things to Share: Design & Marketing Tips, June 2023

Hi Design & Marketing Friends! My family and I have been binge-watching the History Channel show "Alone" lately on Hulu. If you haven't seen it — the premise is that 10 people get dropped off in the middle of nowhere with 10 items of their choosing, and whoever...

read more
January 2022: 5 Things to Share

January 2022: 5 Things to Share

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were filled with love, laughter, and joy and you're looking forward to 2022. This month I'm finding focus, feeling heartbroken by the Marshall fires, reducing the plastic packaging I bring into my house, watching marketing trends...

read more

Do you need help designing marketing that grabs your customers' attention and engages them?

Give us a holler and schedule a complimentary 30-minute Discovery call, we’d love to help you reach your customers and sell more products.