Marketing 101: Don’t Annoy Your Customers


Few things turn a reader away from a website or blog faster than those wretched pop ups that pull your face mere inches from the computer screen in in a frenzied search for that tiny ‘x’ — now the only obstacle between remaining immured in this hellish pop-up ad and the freedom to go on with your regularly scheduled Kardashian gossip column, TED talk or whatever you’re into. Those commercial videos that come on with music or speech so loud you jump from your chair is another way to lose eyeballs right off the bat.

More and more marketers are suggesting moving away from these old school ways of marketing and changing your approach to how you get your product in front of consumers. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube videos, forums, blog posts and product reviews are all excellent ways in which you can market to the world without being up-in-their-face. Cross channel marketing also allows you to be “everywhere,” thereby reaching a much larger (and calmer) audience than if you place pop-ups on every page of your website.

One of the best things that you can do is to join and engage in the conversations going on around the web. If you’re selling a SAT prep course, go to where the parents are (because they’re your real target, not the student) and see what they’re saying about education and college prep. Give them some useful advice; don’t sell to them. Always be upfront and honest with them. You don’t need to hide the fact that you’ve got a prep course that will help their child get a high score, but you shouldn’t push the fact either. Giving free, actionable advice without the expectation that consumers need to buy something  builds trust.

Renowned marketing expert Seth Godin says, “Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left.” By gaining trust, you’ll position yourself far above your competition and your business’ bottom line will reflect that trust.

Another strategy that works well without annoying your would-be customers is to find the influencers in your product’s niche and get them in on helping. This is most easily accomplished by striking up a relationship with them and eventually giving them your product for them to try out for free. Naturally, if you do something kind for someone, they’ll want to return the favor and tell their friends and followers by way of a tweet or blog review. If you sell engraved iPod cases, find someone influential in the online music scene and send them one. Don’t push them to publish a review, let it come organically and on their terms. By having someone else do the promotion, it reaches a large, targeted audience without coming across as spammy.

Self promotion is still a relevant way to spread the word. With so many options, it’s essential that you keep up with all of the conversations, keep them organized and at your fingertips. Interactive marketing hubs help to integrate, aggregate and organize the information in one place. This will help you to see where the discussions are, allow you interact in them and, eventually, see a great ROI on your efforts. These platforms work with hundreds of partners so data can be streamed in from almost any source. Using such technology will allow you to take a direct approach and to build your brand consistently across all channels.

Eventually product brands will be the driving force behind the conversation. Think of Apple: these days, few people buy MacBooks and iPads because of Apple’s brilliant ad campaigns. Those iconic ads are great, but they aren’t the main revenue driver for Apple. People buy Apple products because their colleagues, family and friends are telling them that they need the products in in order to make their life simpler, their work more efficient and their appearance sexier.

Until your brand reaches the big leagues, using cross channel marketing will allow you the most bang for your buck when it comes to finding buyers. Although some marketers will always swear by the use of flashy pop ups, this new decade calls for a new way of marketing. Being real and authentic with the public is what’s working today. Add these strategies to your marketing toolbox and see just what happens. Chances are, you won’t regret it.

Author bio:  Joseph Baker has worked in the business world for over 10 years, specifically in management.  He has led development and management teams, and implemented budget reductions both professionally and as an independent contractor.