Cue the blood-curdling scream…
It’s that time of year when the weather changes and we all prepare for the usual Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, horror flicks, hayrides and haunted houses. Given the seasonal timeliness, the subject matter of our marketing meeting yesterday ended with each of us telling our own Digital Marketing Horror Story. Please avoid these terrifying tactics at all cost.
You know that iconic vision of a haunted house? Those once beautiful Victorian homes that have sat lonely on a hilltop rotting and decaying for years? Well, the Internet is riddled with their website equivalents. It’s horrifying.
Some believe that a website is a one-and-done type of thing. They believe that once it’s built, it will sit in pristine condition until the end of time. The truth is, it is just like our haunted house. It decays over time without attention. It gets forgotten about. People stop visiting. It starts to inhibit ghosts of your copyright past. Frankly, there is nothing that scares the shit out of me more than when I log onto a website and see 2002 ©.
So… we’ve all been there. We’re looking for something and we click a Google ad and poof… we’re magically transported to the mystical land of landing pages. Once I’m there I resist the siren call to give them all of my information before I learn more about the product. I attempt to go to the corporate website and read some more, but noooooo, I’m trapped! I’ve fallen for the oldest of gambits, next to “Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line,” and there is no way to leave the landing page. No link to the company home page, no hidden link in the company logo, no link anywhere to other information the company would probably want me to know about. Yes, worse than a corn-maze with no exit, a landing page with no way out.
By the way, I’m still stuck on the page and can’t seem to find my way home. Send pizza…
Many thanks to the fine folks at Vocus for providing the inspiration.
Recently I had an eerie online experience after spending some time surfing the web. I received an email from a company whose website I had visited earlier in the day. “Thanks for stopping by :)” was the subject line of the email. (And yes, the emoticon was included.) Kudos to them for at least catching my attention as I was immediately curious to where I had stopped by since I was glued to my computer screen all day long. With my interest peaked, I continued reading, “Thanks for stopping by our website and checking out our resources…” Instantly the 1984 Rockwell song “Somebody’s Watching Me” comes to mind. Yes, there are definitely benefits to web analytics and knowing where traffic is coming from, but if you’re improperly using that information to contact (or stalk) visitors, you’re going to come off more creepy than genuinely helpful.
Just because you can do something online doesn’t mean you should. Similar to; just because you and your significant other can dress up like a plug and socket doesn’t mean you should.
One of the scariest practices in online marketing revolves around social media. Ever see the cult movie classic The Birds? Well, a little blue bird by the name of Twitter has some folks pulling tricks on their followers in pursuit of treats. The auto direct message response function in Twitter is one if the most inappropriate features of any social media platform and yet still some users and brands implement it. It’s so scary that if I follow a user on Twitter, and they send me an auto direct message, I will more often than not, immediately unfollow them.
Quite frankly nothing creeps me out more than companies who won’t leave you alone and believe calling you or emailing you constantly is going to create interest in them. You’re on their calling list, their email list, their trick or treat list, their Christmas list… and no matter how many times you tell them to take you off these lists they are dead set on keeping you on there. It has come to the point where I’ve had to create two email addresses and a fake cell phone number just to roam around on the Internet. Do you think a lot of people also use 867-5309 as their fake number? Thanks, Tommy Tutone for helping me trick creepy Internet stalking companies who need to chill out on the spook-factor.
Have a Digital Marketing Horror Story you’d like to share? Let us know.
Photo credit: saturn ♄
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