Not one. Not two. But a total of six! – count them – six emails bombarded my email inbox milliseconds after I recently ordered a single $12 dog collar online. Give me a break. Give us ALL a break – please!
While many modern marketing tactics are highly effective if done right, some companies are doing them wrong. Way wrong. Modern marketing tactics require a delicate balance of:
- Pertinent information
- Strategic timing
- Tactics that don’t piss off your customers
The real-life examples I’ve encountered below backfire miserably in one or more areas, making them more annoying than a sleeping dog’s paw hitting you in the face at 3 a.m.
Example 1: The Email Bombardment
You already got a sneak peek at this one, with a dog collar company sending six emails when I ordered a single $12 collar. I can only imagine how many emails I may have gotten if I would have ordered $150 worth of goodies. Geesh.
Online orders basically require two emails:
- One email to confirm the order and mention expected ship date
- One email to alert customer when the order ships
Add tracking info and you get a gold star. Send a flurry of emails that contain things like a message from your founder, a rundown on your return policy, or one just to tell me “You are PAWsome,” and I promise I’ll never order another collar from you again.
This type of email tidal wave suggests the folks at the company have recently discovered email automation and, by golly, are going to set up as many as they can.
Example 2: Begging for a Review
The biggest faux pas in this category are the sellers who start begging for a review of the item you purchased – before the dang item even arrives. Others don’t wait long enough, like the company that started begging for a review of the 303-page book I had ordered a day after I received the book.
How the heck would I have read a 303-page book in a single day unless I quit my job, told my dogs they had to skip their daily meals and walk, and decided not to sleep.
Begging for a review in general can make a company appear desperate, and begging for one with a series of emails raises that desperation to an even higher level. It’s akin to sending hourly texts to someone right after your first date.
One purchase I made started an avalanche during which the seller sent me one email per week, every week, asking if I reviewed the item yet. I finally broke down and wrote a review, just so the emails would stop. My review gave exactly one star, not necessarily because the product sucked, but because the begging emails did.
Example 3: Ads that Follow You around Like a Lost Puppy
You know this scenario. You buy a stand-up yoga paddle board, kiln, or new backyard couch online, and suddenly your browsing is peppered with ads for – you guessed it – paddle boards, kilns, and backyard couches. What backfires most about this ploy is the fact that many of the ads end up being for the exact same thing you purchased two seconds ago.
Sorry, Charlie, but if I just spent $1,500 on a paddle board, $600 on a kiln, or $327 for a new backyard couch, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be buying another one just yet. Why not follow me around with ads for stuff related to the item I recently purchased, rather than a duplicate of the same item?
That paddle board would be more fun with some swim shorts, the kiln would align nicely with a pair of 3-foot tongs, and perhaps the backyard couch could use a few cool throw pillows.
Since the personalized ads come about from cookies, you can go through a whole song and dance to disable cookies. Or you can do the next best thing: ignore them.
Like anything else in life, marketing tactics are best done in moderation. Because we’re all hounded, pounded and otherwise barraged with all types of digital disruptions on a daily basis, moderation is more likely to make your company stand out than joining the crowd of pests.
Modern marketing tactics are definitely an area where the company that acts as the proverbial squeaky wheel won’t get the grease. Your squeakiness is much more likely to make customers throw you off to the side in favor of a wheel that gives you a smoothly quiet and pleasant ride.
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