Smart strategic marketing: do what you say

strategic marketing mistake

“I don’t care about motivation. I care about credibility.”

Eliot Spitzer

I laugh at the irony some business owners offer, unaware that the difference between their words and messages plays like parody.

Recently, I gave my name and e-mail address to a list-building blogger. A self-proclaimed ‘social media expert,’ in fact.

I get it’s the rage these days to distract prospects with pop-up windows, but the one on this site wouldn’t allow you to read a sentence as it constantly cycled back – even after you signed up. I’ll admit I was talked into trying one about six months ago on another site. I took it down quickly because it was driving me crazy and didn’t play well with my strategic marketing objectives (keeping visitors on site). I can only imagine how my readers were reacting. Maybe this device converts, but I imagine it chases away more. Still, enough feel they’re finding success with signage less subtle than neon, so it’s a choice I can understand.

Here’s the kicker though – the e-mail link delivered for the free report sends you back to the sign up page – and the annoying sign-up pop-up screaming the second the page loads. Mirror sign up boxes stacked atop one another. No report. No way to get out of the loop. I even tried pressing zero for an operator. Didn’t work. Perhaps the creators of this system should double as a telecommunication’s experts creating more voice mail hell.

It looked like a vendor was responsible for setting up the autoresponder, so I tried to contact the site owner to provide an alert about the issue. Sure, all this should have been tested before it went live, but I’ve let the occasional typo or spelling error slip through even after copious proofing, so understand how mortifying it can be to realize something got through that should have been caught.

You guessed it – not a stitch of contact information anywhere on the site. That was the final chuckle and eye-roll that caused me shift away from investing an inordinate amount of time trying to be supportive to the conviction, “I have to write about this.”

Do your words reflect your strategic marketing actions?

Point being, it doesn’t matter how good this report is, if by remarkable chance I ever see it. I’ve already formed an opinion about the competency of this provider. If someone promoting themselves as a social technology expert can’t get their own web house in order – with the front door locked for entry to boot – the confidence level of the prospect is shattered from the onset. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it dumb? Yep. Paying attention to your prospect’s experience should be a primary priority with any marketing effort.

Of course, the faux pas wouldn’t be such a major misstep if this wasn’t coming from a ‘social media expert.’ The website coupled with the efficacy of autoresponders and other tools set up to streamline and improve the prospect’s experience is paramount when you’re hanging a shingle as a consultant in this vastly competitive industry. Your skills are on stage the moment someone clicks through to your website. Actually, before – with every online interaction you make.

There are a lot of things people do to unwittingly undermine marketing efforts. It’s sad, actually, because often people focus heavily on outreach when it would be smarter to slow down and make sure the message is consistent. It’s frustrating when you work tirelessly to build a business yet find few takers. Sometimes, simply taking a close look at how customers see you can turn failure to success. If you’re not doing what you’re saying, people won’t believe you.

Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit snarky today. For those of you not in the United States – Eliot Spitzer (the opening quote) was an extremely aggressive Attorney General and then Governor of New York State until he got caught with his pants down. Seems he lost a bit of credibility when it was discovered how motivated he was as a regular client of an escort service (this is a kind term for a profession that is not legal in states where he was frolicking).

Nanette Levin

Writer, author, marketer, public speaker and small business advocate with more than 25 years of experience. Check out some of our affordable introductory deals designed to make it fun and easy for new clients to test results with small projects.

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8 Responses to Smart strategic marketing: do what you say
  1. Alan Miles
    July 12, 2012 | 5:28 pm

    I’m not sure that using auto-responders is ever a good thing. Whenever I see a message that suggests I’m just another statistic or a sales-opportunity, I’ll tend to move on quickly. It’s kind of fun being out there in the market, but I don’t want to be hassled or propositioned. I like to take my time and make up my own mind.

    For email subscriptions maybe, so that someone who’s come into the store and wants to buy gets immediate attention. But even then you need to be careful that the message you’re putting out is really what you want it to say. (Right, Nanette? Thanks for telling me what mine said!)

    But I agree, it’s sometimes the social media ‘experts’, using their tools to harangue, who turn me off the most. Is it a generational thing?
    Alan Miles recently posted..Getting Away From It AllMy Profile

    • Nanette Levin
      July 12, 2012 | 6:12 pm

      Hi Alan – thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I tend to agree with you concerning some uses with the autoresponders, but recognize this is something that many rely on. Personally, I don’t have autoresponders set up except to deliver useful information periodically to newsletter subscribers (and could probably get rid of it here – the audience isn’t that big yet but I’m trying to plan for the future – I’m still sending out the newsletter manually) and with the shopping cart when downloads are purchased (that way the product is delivered immediately). I do kind of cringe when I get the form letters from people who has asked for me to join their network, on Linked In, as an example. I suppose if you’re using them for the client’s convenience, they make sense. If it’s as a marketing tool to prospects, not so much unless you’ve already established a relationship.

  2. Pamela Parker
    July 12, 2012 | 5:30 pm

    That’s probably the worst example I’ve heard, but annoying technical glitches pop up with far more frequency than “accidental” would suggest. Proof, check, doublecheck, test and test again, people!

    • Nanette Levin
      July 12, 2012 | 6:16 pm

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Pamela. I do understand the technical glitch challenge (I’ve dealt with them myself), but in this case there was just too much so would call it, at best, careless. It is a challenge knowing what others are seeing. Personally, I’ve been fortunate to get quick alerts from people if something gets buggy. Of course, they also can find easy ways to contact me :-).

  3. Arwen
    July 12, 2012 | 9:04 pm

    I have some go-to business compatriots who will put my changes through the paces. They are great tire kickers. I love that you refuse to do the popup thing. It may be the in thing right now but it makes me leave a page fast. It feels like some rabid cookie seller popping up in my peephole of my front door. And I WAS a rabid cookie seller. 😀
    Arwen recently posted..Swans, Angst & CompassessMy Profile

    • Nanette Levin
      July 13, 2012 | 12:02 am

      Too funny Arwen. Yep – the minute I experienced the pop-up as a visitor, I said ‘tear it down.’ Of course, mine wasn’t cycling every minute, but it was still annoying. Great idea – and wonderful resource – on the compatriots. Now to go find me some tire kickers :-).

  4. Amy Putkonen
    July 12, 2012 | 9:20 pm

    Hi Nanette,

    I think autoresponders are OK if you set the expectation correctly. Things like mini e-courses and email series are great for your audience as long as they know what they are signing up for and that is what they expect. I love to see companies using social media properly and it is painful when they don’t. I guess we all have to start somewhere!
    Amy Putkonen recently posted..Behind the Scenes at Tao Te Ching DailyMy Profile

    • Nanette Levin
      July 13, 2012 | 12:09 am

      Good point, Amy. Your illustration of a mini e-courses is a wonderful one and something I could see working really effectively. My problem with the autoresponder cited in this blog post is it didn’t work (on so many levels). Frankly, I’m still learning how to use them. This is something I implemented on another site less than six months and admittedly haven’t done much to make it robust (or useful for me). It does serve it’s purpose, though, if a couple or few weeks go by and I don’t get a newsletter out (it’s been an interesting year with unexpected challenges). Really enjoyed reading about what you do to produce the Tao Te Ching Daily today, by the way :-).

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