Since the beginning of the marketing era, perhaps starting with the first traces of direct mail of Farmers Almanacs in 1732, there has always been that one campaign that is just downright annoying. In fact, telemarketers got so obtrusive in the early 2000s that a law had to be enacted to keep them from interrupting families during dinner time. Nowadays, consumers see these annoyances in interactive pop-ups, disproportionately large or noisy advertisements, and low-quality e-mails that flood their inboxes. The key here is balance.
Businesses need to have their brand’s story heard and shared, but if they go overboard, they will lose more customers than they gain. Increase accessibility and ease-of-use, and decrease irrelevant content and minor annoyances. That should be the end goal of every successful, balanced campaign. Marketers need to revisit and tweak their marketing campaigns and company websites often to monitor their effectiveness and cut down on these annoying misfires.
Sending a Ton of E-mails
E-mails are a great way to reach your audience with newsletters, promotions, and general communications. But some companies wear out their welcome way too fast. I can speak personally to this: my inbox is flooded every day – I repeat, every day – with e-mails from a rather large shoe company that I don’t even recall signing up to get. I’ll get around to unsubscribing at some point, but I can honestly say that I will never by a thing from them.
The boom in automation software has made it so much easier to send e-mails to targeted audiences, but it has also made it easier for businesses to abuse this technology. There is a fine line between keeping your customers in the loop and harassing them.
Cut down on the e-mail blasts your business sends out (hint: more than twice a week, and you’re bordering on being a pest) and keep content fresh. Take the time to actually use your automation software to analyze what your e-mail subscribers like the most and get creative with content. Take a break once in a while, and your readers will be happy to see you when you’re back. Remember the old adage: absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Barraging Users With Pop-Ups
According to 70% of Americans (myself included), pop-ups are incredibly annoying. However, if done right, they can significantly increase your subscription and conversion rate without bothering everyone on the internet.
The most frustrating thing about pop-ups is when you just can’t figure out how to close them, or when they’re poorly optimized and render a site impossible to view on your phone. Use a lightbox plugin so your pop-up doesn’t open a new tab or window and please, please make the close-out button large and easy to click. Lastly, make sure pop-ups are adequately optimized for mobile. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to read an article on my phone only to be interrupted by a pop-up that won’t scale down so I can get it out of my face. Adjusting ad pop-ups isn’t difficult, either. Tracking cookies is a great way to automate the timing between pop-ups. You can set them to only display pop-ups to a particular user once every 24 hours, or never again if they’ve already signed up.
Turning Everything Into a Process
So your marketing campaign is doing well and driving traffic to your site at break-neck speed. That’s great! Don’t lose them once they get there by making it hard for them to explore your brand. Have you ever gone to a site that forces you to sign up before you can look at content? Immediately black-listed in my book.
Ever just want to sign up for a simple newsletter and had to fill out your full physical address, hours you can be contacted, mother’s maiden name, and favorite shade of blue? There goes my vote. If you’re bringing traffic to your site, chances are your customer already knows a little bit about why they’re there, so hold off on the aggressive questionnaires and just ask for the basics at first. Give them time to look around and get acclimated to your site before you start asking for stuff. Once they’re subscribed, make it easy for them to opt out.
Irrelevant Content & Irrelevant Audiences
Between social media posts, ads, and antiquated SEO strategies, irrelevant content has become a plague on the digital society. Irrelevance has infected every aspect of marketing, from direct mail to pop-up ads, and it’s wasting businesses millions. Luckily, new search algorithms should help to weed out this obnoxious practice in the future, but in the meantime, if you don’t have something relevant to say, don’t say anything at all.
So many businesses make pointless social media posts just for the sake of hearing themselves talk. A lot of enterprises waste time re-marketing to people who are already customers and understand the brand. Even more companies spend money marketing themselves to the wrong audience. For example, I somehow have a free subscription to a popular parenting magazine. I am not a parent (unless a cat counts). I’m a 28 year old girl who plays video games in her free time and dreams about living in a conversion bus. I don’t know how this happened, but it’s a waste of money and paper.
Marketing strategists and Bill Gates say that content is king, but I think that should be adjusted to relevant content is king. No matter how bland or niche you think your brand is, there are always ways to create interesting content and deliver it to the right people. Again, automation can play a big part here. Analytics tell you what your customers are looking for and give you some valuable business insights so you don’t blow your marketing budget.