No business owner or marketer will ever, purposely annoy their existing or potential customers, let alone drive them away. It is quite obviously the opposite of what marketing is supposed to do. However, if we are being critical about it, we all see and receive marketing content that makes us wonder if the person responsible spent the holiday marketing campaign planning period rather planning their December vacation than focussing on the task at hand.
As I did the “garden route” this year (one week the front garden, and one week the more perilously wild back garden where the dog who hasn’t grasped the concept “No you cannot eat me, the hammock, the phone OR the book” quite yet), I had a lot of time to dissect and list the more glaring marketing mistakes and outright turn-offs of the recent holiday season. I shan’t name names, but I suspect some of you may recognise some of these examples from your own overflowing inboxes.
And that is a nice segue into annoying marketing practice number one:
- Mailbombing or spamming
There is one retailer that is now forever banned to my spam folder. Three to four emails per day is overkill, and massively irritating. More is not always better, in fact, more can get you unsubscribed and blocked.
This is a tricky balance to maintain as studies have shown that email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of any marketing campaign. But this seems to be where the thinking goes wrong: if one email is good, then two must be double the return and three would be brilliant. Overcrowding the inboxes of potential customers will not only lead to marketing fatigue in your potential consumer, but a more likely outcome of the consumer just mass deleting everything to make space for personal, solicited communications. To design the correct schedule, use the data on the best time and frequency to send emails. Regularly review static information such as email open rates in the mail server as a good indicator of whether your emails are getting through the clutter and to the consumer. Also, review the dates, times and frequency that delivers the best results and return on investment.
Another crucial point is that you should avoid buying emails lists. Unsolicited emails are a major annoyance to any potential customer, and it also makes them question your ethics that you would buy their information to market to them a product in which they may not even have any interest. Authenticity and relevance are the two main principles of marketing going forward and this would be seen, by consumers, as a major breach of that expectation. Rather, build an email list by offering something of value, such as a discount or more simply, asking on social media or in person to add their names and details to the list.
- Incorrect links to difficult-to-navigate websites
This scenario led to another retailer getting unsubscribed from my mailbox this holiday season. The email presented an interesting-sounding product that certainly invited me to want to have a further look. So, I expectantly clicked the button that said “More info” … and landed on the homepage of the retailer and not the product page. Despite considering myself quite web-savvy, too many fruitless clicks later not offering up the information I was looking for, and that was it. Unsubscribe. I do not have the time nor patience to hunt for information on your difficult-to-navigate website from a broken or incorrect link.
Modern digital consumers want to find the information they want or need and move on. If browsing consumers cannot find what they are looking for, website bounce-rates will increase and chances of gaining their details such as a phone number and email, not to mention a sale, evaporates. Websites must be built with optimal navigation in mind, organizing content from the point of view from a consumer.
Compounding insult with perceived injury, a slow loading website will guarantee even a patient browsing consumer bounces off the site. In fact, studies show that even a one second delay in loading a mobile website can decrease sales and/or conversions by 20%.
Which leads us nicely to marketing annoyance number three:
- Website that are not mobile-friendly
There was a time when having a mobile website was a luxury. That time has long passed. In today’s mobile-first world, a mobile website is an absolute necessity for every business. In South Africa, it is estimated that up to 70% of product searches are conducted on smartphones. Smart mobile devices have changed the way in which modern consumers browse and interact with brands, including searching for products or services. Not catering to the mobile-first market is a fatal flaw for many businesses, and a surprisingly consistent one.
- Bonus annoyance: Poor content quality
There is little else that can put a consumer off from pursuing a relationship with any business than poor- and low-quality content. It leads the consumer to question a business’ dedication to quality – both in product and service. No matter how well designed or navigational a website is, content that is ful of tyos and speling errirs, out-of-date information or is “literally written very badly” with poor product photos will not inspire confidence in a potential consumer to spend their money at your business.
Full disclosure, I sent the business in question a professional email offering my services as a proof-reader. Oddly, I have yet to receive a reply …