Category Archives: bad online marketing tips

12 Digital Marketing Practices that Annoy Your Customers

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guy mad at annoying online marketing tacticsAny business owner or manager would be hard-pressed to find “annoy customers” or “drive customers away” on the list of business marketing goals. And yet, companies push customers away almost on a daily basis by utilizing digital marketing practices that make customers leave websites, unfollow social media sites, and unsubscribe from e-mail lists.

These annoying digital marketing practices incite every adverse reaction and diminish the return on the marketing investment. For that reason, avoid these annoying digital marketing habits at all costs or outsource to a firm that doesn’t employ these irritating online tactics.

Website

Playing (unintentional) keep-away

In this era of instant digital gratification, customers (and potential customers) want convenience. They want to research the problem, find options, and move on to the resolution. It is the business’ responsibility to deliver. Every website should be optimized for search engines; for businesses with a service area, search engine technology should also be utilized to get to the top of search engine listings of customers within a 10, 20, or 50-mile radius around the business location. Those efforts should be backed up with regularly-posted and relevant content that answers customer questions and drives online customers to the website.

Having a hard-to-navigate website

Website visitors want to find what they need—and move on. When visitors can’t find what they want, website bounce rates increase, as well as the chance for an e-mail, phone number, and sale. When working on website navigation, organize content from a customer perspective or hire the professionals who can contribute their expert and unbiased opinion.

Slow loading speeds

A one second delay makes a difference. No, that wasn’t a typo. Google recently wrote that a one second delay while loading a mobile website can decrease conversions by up to 20%. This research highlights an obvious truth: website visitors don’t want to wait. A slow website is a major annoyance for website visitors, and a significant reason why they won’t contact or buy from a company. For that reason, contact a professional website design company that can build an optimized website that loads promptly.

Not mobile-friendly

A mobile website used to be a luxury. Today, a mobile website is a requirement for every business. An article published by the Pew Research Center states that 77% of Americans own a smartphone. This statistic is indicative of a change in lifestyle, instead of a fallible trend. Mobile devices have changed the way Americans search for answers to their problems, including in the search for much-needed products and services. Companies shouldn’t ignore that fact; instead they should cater to their customers’ (and potential customers’) needs.

Low quality content

There are a number of criteria that can qualify the content on a website as low-quality. The text could be full of typos, out-of-date, or written poorly. For search purposes, the website should also be optimized for search engines. An optimized website is another essential of the modern age, backed up by statistics that prove that a large amount of Americans use search engines to find information. Companies should make every effort to get their website in the search engine results pages (and utilize local website optimization to get found by local customers).

Online Reviews

Reading negative reviews

Negative reviews are a mutual annoyance for businesses and customers, costing businesses vital sales and driving potential customers away from a company. An article on Business2Community put the number as high as 4 out of 5 customers who won’t buy from a company with a bad review.

Bitter responses

Most review sites give business owners the chance to respond to negative reviews; this can either be an opportunity or a chance to make a costly error. Company managers that respond with an angry response (“how dare you say such a thing?”) not only annoy the customer who leave the review, but every visitor who sees the response. An angry response is an error that has a lasting impact; instead, company owners and managers should take a deep breath and showcase their excellent customer service. 

Social Media

Not answering messages

Customers expect prompt responses from companies. Studies have repeatedly shown this, and companies need to be able to deliver. Customers want the information they ask for now, or they move on to competitors that do respond. This fact should dictate the way companies organize their staff; a dependable staff member with excellent customer service skills should be assigned to respond to social media messages.

Posting too much

Regular social media posts are an essential part of every company marketing strategy; posting too much is a surefire way to sabotage those results. Company owners and managers should know the recommended amount of social media posts per day or experiment to find out what frequency is right for the target audience. If the ever-evolving world of digital marketing is overwhelming, companies should outsource the task to a knowledgeable and trusted professional.

Over selling

One of the chief reasons customers stop following a company is because all the posts are about the company and their promotions. Put simply, customers don’t want to be yelled at when they follow companies on social media. Some customers want to be entertained or informed. They don’t want to follow brands that put up a continual stream of posts about products and sales. Instead, companies should strive to post relevant content that applies to their target audience; to do so, this requires a knowledge of who their followers are and what they want to see.

Emails

Unsolicited mailings

Any potential customer can tell you that receiving unsolicited e-mails is a major annoyance. Companies need to be mindful of this when building an e-mail list. Avoid buying e-mail lists or adding potential customers to the list without their opt-in. Company owners and managers should build e-mail lists by offering an item of value, such as a discount, or simply by asking on social media or in-person.

Sending too often

Crowded inboxes are a valuable asset; studies have continually shown that e-mail marketing has one of the highest return-on-investments of any marketing tactic. However, companies look to take advantage of e-mail marketing need to be mindful of over-using e-mail marketing. When planning and scheduling an e-mail campaign, be mindful of the target audience. To determine the right schedule, utilize data on the best time and frequency of e-mails. Regularly review statics like the e-mail open rate to determine what dates, times, and frequency yields the strongest results and return-on-investment.

CRAZY Bad Internet Marketing Advice You Should Ignore

Shocked man over terrible bad marketing adviceWe apologize if your jaw is injured from hitting the floor, but ready yourself for this: we just saw a tweet from a marketer advocating for buying social media followers.  Once we got over the shock and possible concussion (seriously?!), we started thinking through some of the craziest pieces of marketing advice we can’t believe are still being passed around.  Here’s a list of bad marketing advice we compiled that you should regard with the same level of distrust and NEVER follow.

Buying social media followers & email lists are a GREAT idea

Why this is bad: If you pressure wash a wall, you have a better chance of hitting more surface area.  The more you have the better chance for success, right? Buying email lists is built upon the same premise, but you’re going to find that non-targeted emails and followers are going to fade and can even inhibit your results.  In essence: you can’t buy love, you have to earn their trust—and their email and social media following.

What you can do: Build your followers and email lists organically with relevant information developed for your target audience.  Spread the word about your email and social media offline as well, through coupons, an occasional contest, word of mouth with your customers, email signatures, and these ideas.  If you want to do this strategically, contact a marketing firm that can recommend and execute organic email and social media building tactics.

SEO is dead

Why this is bad: This is a misperception based on the fact that old search engine optimization tactics (keyword stuffing, spammy links, etc.) don’t work in the evolving world of internet marketing.  That doesn’t mean SEO is dead—far from it—it means that optimization has evolved into optimized writing and technology that delivers exactly what the search engines want: relevant, valuable content (on your website, blog via content marketing, social media, etc.).

What you can do: Embrace the new SEO because it gets results!  You can either learn the new and continually evolving art of optimizing your website, blog, and social media with well-researched keywords and topics specifically targeted at your customers or hire the professionals who can (and can keep up with it).  If you are a business with a local audience, you can take that a step farther by utilizing local SEO tactics.

You can use any image for marketing you find online

Why this is bad: There are many reasons this is a bad idea but the main reason is that it is STEALING.  If you don’t pay for the images—or take them yourself—you are taking someone else’s work and using it without their permission.  As such, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of legal action.

What you can do: Create or take your own photos, or hire a professional photographer or marketing firm to manage your images.  You can also buy images from a popular service per graphic or through a long-term plan.

The more social media posts, the better

Why this is bad: This is one case where more is not always better.  It’s more important to have regular posts so you stay in front of your audience than posting 10 times a day and then nothing for a week.  The feast-or-famine approach does nothing to build brand awareness or to encourage consistent conversations.

What you can do: Create an integrated marketing plan that follows your business sales cycle and includes relevant information that your target audience wants to know.  Make sure that your social media posts are a regular part of your plan, then use a service like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule regular posts that coordinate with your website, content marketing, and email marketing efforts.

Automate, automate, automate!

Why this is bad: Scheduling your email and social media is helpful, but automated posts and emails should not be all you do.  If you want to start a conversation with your audience, you need to have some flexibility to respond—and to respond to hot topics and current events that come up.

What you can do: Create a marketing plan and use automation to carry it out.  However, be ready to vary your schedule or add in an email or social media post that fits with the times.

Mobile marketing is optional.

Why this is bad: Next time someone tells you that you don’t need to cater to users with cell phones or tablets, plug your ears and start spouting statistics about the rising amount of mobile devices.  The latest studies show that two-thirds of Americans have smart phones, and that number is only going to increase with time.  Mobile marketing is not optional any more, it’s a MUST.  If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website and marketing tools, your audience is going to be driven away in droves.

What you can do:  Create a mobile-friendly website (or contact a marketing firm that can) so your users don’t have to zoom in to read your text or squint to find your contact page.  Remember, a lot of times they won’t bother, they’ll just hit the ‘back’ button.

Sell, sell, sell!

Why this is bad: This advice most likely comes from someone who views social media and content marketing as the “new” forum for advertising.  While targeted social media advertising does get results, your business page or profile should not be used solely for selling.  Your customers don’t want to be beaten over the head with endless posts and tweets or read content marketing pieces that are just about you.

What you can do: Use the 80/20 rule with 80% useful, entertaining, and interesting information and 20% selling content and posts.  If you don’t know how to tackle this more subtle form of marketing, hire the experts that don’t give you crazy bad marketing advice.