Let’s not go there: our marketing pet peeves

May 19, 2022 | General Musings

Don't bring on the frown when it comes to customer experience

Are your marketing tactics preventing your own success?

Sometimes little irritations can be major turn-offs. Just as nothing interrupts a good night’s sleep like a mosquito buzzing in your ear, nothing ruins a potential customer’s experience like aggressive marketing tactics. 

Hitting people over the head with pop-ups, fear mongering or false pretenses have an easy way of backfiring. These marketing pet peeves, while seemingly harmless, can be enough to drive a prospect away from your business and straight into the arms of your competition. 

With that said, here are our top five marketing pet peeves we’re suggesting you avoid …

Pushy Pop-Ups

This marketing pet peeve seems universal, but it’s worth mentioning because we still see it everywhere. You visit a site to learn more about a product or service and before you can even read a thing, you’re hit in the face with a pop-up. You immediately click away and scroll a little further, and then another one appears. Enough!

You never want to interrupt that valuable exploration time with pop-up overkill. It’s even worse if the pop-up has sound! Please, just no. (Sidebar pet peeve, if your website includes a video anywhere, we suggest it include the option to press play as opposed to automatically starting as soon as you click on the page. Not everyone wants to hear or watch a video when scrolling for info.)

Yes, pop-ups can be an effective tool, but when used sparingly. You want to connect with someone during that sweet spot immediately after they’ve already given you a fair amount of their precious attention.

Allow prospects some breathing room to get to know and like you before triggering a pop-up ad – once they have finished reading and are either at the bottom of the page or ready to click away from your site is a great time to schedule a pop-up to join your newsletter or download some premium content. 

Your potential customer will be more familiar with who you are and what you do, and therefore more likely to opt-in. Soliciting an opt-in before someone knows anything about your company is simply asking for a dismissive swat, like that little mosquito in the ear.

Doom and Gloom

“If you don’t buy A, B, C, you risk suffering from X, Y, Z. Or worse yet, you might implode and die.” Marketing scare tactics are so ugly, aren’t they? Remember the rule, sell the benefits, not the features.

Benefits are supposed to be good things. So why would you want to position the beauty of a benefit next to threatening text of what will happen if someone doesn’t take advantage of your product or service? 

Even if you promise to ease that tension, you don’t want to get started off on the wrong foot by fueling fears. Obviously, your prospect is aware of the problem which is why they are visiting your site in the first place. Use that opportunity to ease their pain by giving them solutions that will bring them joy. 

There is already enough anxiety in the world. Your brand will do better to offer some reprieve. 

Last Chance Lies

You don’t need to be a savvy internet sleuth to sniff out a phoney promo when you see it. Sure, including a countdown timer on a page can create a sense of urgency that compels people to act.

However, some sites utilize this tool under false pretenses with a timer that kicks in the moment someone visits that page, and a conveniently tight timeline that leaves little time to explore other options. 

Clearing one’s cache is all it takes to refresh the promotion and prove that there was never any urgency in the first place. 

Generally, honest promotions show when the sale is running between defined dates, whereas standalone countdowns suggest a shifty pressure-inducing practice.

When something reads as sneaky, it can end up leaving an unfavourable impression of your brand: What else are you lying about? Use countdowns when there is a legitimate time-sensitive promotion. Don’t use them to create the illusion of a deal. People will see right through it. 

Inundating Inboxes

A monthly newsletter is a great way to keep your connections warm and let your audience know what’s up. A daily newsletter, not so much. While brand awareness and regular communication is essential, let’s be honest, no one is going to read every newsletter you send if you are hitting up your mailing list multiple times a week. 

If anything, an intense frequency of information can be overwhelming, annoying and the fast-track to an unsubscribe list. Quantity does not equal quality. Let’s not even get started on the hours of effort it takes to write content for a daily message.

Work smarter, not harder and do yourself and your subscribers a favour – share what’s important, share what’s special, and share it at a manageable pace that people will appreciate, not resent.

Social Silence

Does your business have a social media presence? If you do, who manages it and how often do you post? Social media is meant to be, well, social. If people contact you through your Facebook or Instagram account and never hear back, no reply actually does send a message.

It gives the impression that you’re either out of business or just don’t care enough to bother.

If you’re going to have a social media account, do it right. Don’t overextend yourself by biting off more than you can chew with multiple accounts.

Know your audience and which platforms are most appropriate. Then commit! Whether you post daily or only a couple times a week, regularly updated content is vital to letting the world know you’re still alive.

(Confession: we’re the worst at updating our own social media, which is why we stick to just one channel at the moment).

Responding to messages and comments is also crucial. If someone walked into your store and asked a question, you wouldn’t stare at them blankly until they went away. We live in a virtual world where the rules of engagement are very much the same. 

Don’t get in the way

Make it easy for a customer to engage with you by optimizing their experience and limiting barriers to access.

Work with your team and your web developer to optimize their journey from interest to purchase, so no-one ends up feeling peevish.