We all experience it. We have been looking for new patio furniture on various websites, and all of a sudden ads for patio furniture pop all over – on our Yahoo home and email pages, on our Facebook wall, and so forth. We purchased a pair of shoes online, and all of a sudden our emails are filled with more offers from that company.

Savvy marketers are tracking all of our movements online, and they use that data to present products, services, special offers and such. Sometimes, however, the consumer feels as if s/he is being stalked. And, if the contact and communication becomes too much, that consumer will simply vow never to do business with a company again or at all. This is not the response you want. So here are 8 things that you should avoid, if you do not want to become that creepy “peeping Tom” that consumers hate and achieve your final goal – conversion.

  1. Getting Personal When a Deep Relationship Has not Been Established

The whole point of content marketing is to establish a trusting relationship with customers and potential customers. Sometimes customers appear who have not been through that process of your marketing. They have found you or they have been referred to you, and they decide to make a purchase. In the course of making that purchase, they supply their email address and perhaps some other information – information that is gleaned from what they order, for example. Your analytics targets them, and you begin your normal campaign for additional contact with that customer. You assume things about their wants and needs without having really determined them. This is bad business indeed, and that customer can be lost forever. You have been too intrusive. Here is an example. A customer orders an adult diaper product. The analytics assumes that this is a personal purchase. That customer is then inundated with emails/ads, and articles about incontinence, etc. That customer was ordering the product for a family member on a trial basis and is not happy to now be receiving intrusive ads and posts about the issue.

  1. Not Practicing Patience with Personalization Tactics

It’s a great thing to have the analytics about consumer behavior on your website – what pages have been visited, how long an individual has stayed on a page and what products or services s/he has looked at. And maybe that potential customer has provided an email address in order to receive some more information. Jumping in and inundating that target with all sorts of information, special deals, etc. is too much too soon. Better to send a welcoming email and provide a few links that will give more information. You have no relationship with this person, and you don’t want to be intrusive and offensive. Develop relationships slowly and become more personal as that relationship develops. Perhaps offer a survey or a poll; invite a target into conversations on a blog post.

  1. Trying to Personalize Based Upon Searches that are Minimal

You cannot assume from one or even two searches or visits that the individual is serious about the products or services you offer or that they are even looking for themselves. They may be looking for a gift or on behalf of a friend or neighbor who is not computer savvy or who does not have the time. Once that keyword search occurs more often, it may be time to step in and begin to nurture that relationship. You need to segment your viewers and customers so that you are targeting in the right ways. Do not move a target up into a campaign of personalization, unless that target fits your customer persona and has shown a real interest.

  1. Personalizing in the Wrong Context

Suppose you sell deck stain. A customer has purchased a large amount, obviously because s/he is going to be staining a deck. Why would you then target that customer with more deck stain products? And yet, that customer stays on that campaign list and is receiving totally unusable emails and discount offers. Ultimately, he marks your emails as “spam,” and never looks at anything you send again. Remove that customer from stain campaigns and start offering other products that might be useful. That is really what personalization is all about.

  1. Bad Location Targets

Data that gives marketers target customer locations is becoming really sophisticated. For example, Starbucks can now know when a customer is in the vicinity of one of its locations and provide an email or message promoting a special discount on his/her favorite latte. This is amazing, but it a big mistake too. If you are a popular club in Manhattan, and you have been visited online by an interested person, you will then target that individual for additional promotions – emails announcing bands that will be coming; drink specials; extension of a happy. Unfortunately, that individual lives in Missouri and was only in Manhattan on vacation. Your continued “harassment” as it will come to be known may be complained about on social media. Again, show a little patience and see if the visits to your site are occurring over a period of time.

  1. Too Much Communication

There are companies, who shall remain nameless on this post, that literally run targets. Every day, your targets are getting emails or ads showing up on all of their social media pages. They are on “overload,” and it is intrusive and irritating. Set a schedule based upon your segmented audiences so that you are not a pest. And if a current customer has not bought anything from you in a month or so, decrease the contact.

  1. Picking Up Data from Social Media and Using it Too Much

People like to post to their friends where they are “checking in” – a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, etc. If you are tracking these posts and using them to tout your product or service, be careful. No one wants to immediately see ads on their social media pages for products, places or services they have no intention of using in the near future, based upon where they have been.

  1. Re-Targeting ad Nauseum

There is a lot of value in re-targeting. It keeps your name and brand in front of a customer who has shown some interest in what you are selling If that potential customer does not return to your site or indicate any further interest over the next month, however, it’s time to quit. You begin to look like someone just trying to make a sale, not trying to develop any relationship. You would be better served trying some other methods of engaging that individual with something other than a sales pitch.

In days gone by, salesmen used to show up at people’s doors, sometimes uninvited. They attempted to get their “feet in the door” with whatever products (e.g., housewares) or services (insurance, home repair). This became pretty inefficient and not very productive over time. Telemarketing replaced the door-to-door salesman, and that is no longer productive. People do not want to be interrupted. And that includes their time online. There is a delicate balance between staying in front of a target customer’s eyes and pushing yourself into their lives intrusively. Be mindful of keeping that balance.