Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air. But even if there isn't someone special in your life right now, as a marketer, that doesn't mean you still can't get into the lovin' spirit. If you're creating marketing people love, that is.
But just like there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to make people hate your marketing guts.
So we thought we'd round up a pretty hefty list of ways (101, to be exact) that you can create the polar opposite of lovable marketing -- how to make people hate your marketing. So double check your marketing tactics against this list to ensure you're being as lovable as you possibly can to your prospects and customers. Because love is all you need ... and probably some leads.
Warning: Sarcasm and snark abound.
101 Sure-Fire Ways to Make People Hate Your Marketing
Social Media Marketing
1) Don't bother with maintaining a social media presence.
Just completely ignore the fact that, according to Pew Research Center, 69% of adults use social media. So when those 69% of people try to find you in social networks so they can reach out, make sure you're impossible to find -- because you're not there at all.
2) Or just spend your time on the wrong social networks.
Research smesearch. Just assume you know which social networks your audience populates, even if they're actually way more active in an industry specialized social network than, say, Facebook. After all, you know what happens when you assume, right? Or you could do this instead.
3) Don't reply to your fans and followers in social media.
Even if you are hanging out where your target audience does, you should probably just ignore the main tenet of social media -- being social. Let all those longing questions and comments from your fans and followers go unanswered. Social media takes up way too much time, anyway.
4) Make it really hard for people to find and follow you in social media.
Choose social media usernames that are completely different from your company name so you're really difficult to find. Don't bother adding social media follow buttons to your website, either. It'll help them hone their detective skills!
5) Make it difficult for people to share your content.
Write really awesome content that people naturally want to share, but don't optimize that content for social sharing by adding sharing links to landing pages, blog articles, and ebooks to make it even remotely easy for them. People definitely need more practice using URL shorteners.
6) Send out a tweet every 30 seconds.
Hey, they followed you, right? That means they probably want to see you in their Twitter stream as much as possible, so you can bury all the content from the other users they're following.
7) Hijack popular hashtags that are completely irrelevant.
Oh look! #Snowpocalypse2013 is a trending topic right now! You should probably include it in your tweet about your sale on hammocks.
8) Automatically Direct Message (DM) every new follower you get with a link to your pricing page.
Don't worry -- no one will know it's an automatic DM. You're always on top of your social media monitoring at 2:17 a.m. Who isn't? And if they followed you, they must be ready to talk pricing, right?
9) Post something to your Facebook business page every five minutes.
Isn't that how you get maximum visibility through Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm? By totally invading your fans' News Feeds?
10) Use your social media presence strictly for lead generation.
Make sure every link you share sends fans and followers to a landing page so you can convert every single one of them. Don't give away anything to them that's form-free, like a helpful blog post or an answer to their burning question. That's just a waste of a tweet/post/update.
11) Make your business blog all about promoting your products/services.
Educational and helpful industry-related content is overrated. Your business blog should be all about how awesome your business' products and services are. Brag about them incessantly, rather than providing any true value you to your readers.
12) Update your blog sporadically and infrequently.
Just blog whenever you feel like it. Better yet -- publish great content every day for six weeks, and then randomly go on hiatus for three months, just when you started building up a solid base of dedicated readers. Not everything in life is certain. That's a great life lesson.
13) Write deceptive blog titles.
Because your blog titles are primarily what show up in channels like search engines and social media, putting the time into writing exceptional blog titles is critical for attracting clickthroughs. But it's not really necessary to worry about whether your content is even slightly reflective of your title -- you got them to your website already! [Insert evil, maniacal laughter here.]
14) Don't bother including a publish date/time on your blog posts.
Was that post written in 2007, or yesterday? Keep readers on their toes so they have absolutely no clue if your content is even relevant anymore, but you can pass it off like it is. Everything's evergreen right?
15) Ask people to subscribe to your blog via a pop-up window that appears immediately upon page load.
You know -- before they've had a chance to actually read your content and decide if it's worth subscribing to.
16) Make it difficult and unintuitive for blog visitors to figure out how to subscribe.
Even if they want to subscribe, make them work for it. Bury your RSS button and email subscribe field way below the fold of your blog in a completely illogical place.
17) Include tons of internal links in your blog content that provide no value -- and make it impossible to read.
18) Don't fully explain the concepts on your blog ... leave your readers guessing.
Make your content really vague. Sure, it may have all the intentions of helping to solve your audience's problems, but content that doesn't really explain how isn't really very valuable, now is it?
19) Tag your blog posts with no fewer than 26 tags each so you completely overwhelm your site visitors.
Don't stick to just 1-3 helpful tags that allow your readers to easily explore and identify content about the various topics on your blog. Instead, bombard them with tons and tons of tags that make your visitors feel overwhelmed and want to leave.
20) Delete any critical comments on your blog (this goes for social media, too).
After all, comments are just a platform for readers to talk about how awesome you are, not share their honest opinions and feedback. How dare someone leave a comment that's not all sunshine and rainbows. Talk about a Negative Nancy!
21) Don't bother cleaning up spammy/lewd/racist/inappropriate comments on your blog.
We just established how deleting people's commentary is the opposite of transparent -- even if it has nothing to do with your content, severely offends your other readers, or belongs in the porn industry. Right?
22) Don't allow people to comment at all.
If numbers 20-21 taught you anything at all, it's that comments are a pain. Completely cut off the opportunity for your blog readers to share what they think about your content. After all, Seth Godin gets away with it ...
23) Be ruthlessly annoying in your guest blogging pitches.
Guest blogging is a great way to get in front of a new audience and expand your reach, so you should probably send the same exact pitch to every relevant -- and irrelevant -- industry blogger you know. That's sure to get their attention.
24) Create marketing content that provides little to no value.
Just start creating content with no particular goal in mind -- or knowledge of what your target audience would find valuable. Throw all that research into the needs, interest, and problems of your buyer personas out the window. You got this.
25) Incorporate a ton of industry jargon and gobbledygook into your marketing content.
While you're at it, litter your content with a ton of jargon and gobbledygook that no one outside your office would understand. Reader-friendly shouldn't really be a priority anyway.
26) Steal other people's content.
What's the point in creating anything original when someone else has probably already done it. Everything on the internet is free ... right? And anyone who says otherwise is just being selfish. No need to reinvent the wheel.
27) Back up your points with subpar data and statistics.
You know you should be using data to back up your points in your content, so just grab the first stat you can find, no matter whether the source is credible, the stat is recent, or the data is even relevant. Better yet, just make it up. All statistics are made up anyway, right?
28) Don't cite any of the data or stats you include in your content.
Even if you do decide to go the extra mile to find credible, relevant, and fresh statistics to support your content, don't worry about giving credit where credit is due -- or making it easy for readers to reference the original research. People love going on internet data treasure hunts!
29) Make your content one big, dense block of text.
Compelling imagery, headers, and formatting, while they may make your content easier on the eyes and much more inviting, takes way too much extra time. Your awesome content speaks for your itself. You're not publishing a picture book -- am I right?
30) Publish content with no written style consistency.
Correct and consistent writing style is for publishing companies. Don't worry about undermining your credibility, either. Written style guides are for grammar nuts.
31) Don't bother proofing your marketing copy.
Take it one step further by publishing content riddled with typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Your colleagues are too busy to proof your work.
Website Content & Design
32) Construct a website that has no logical structure or intuitive navigation.
Make it extremely difficult for your website visitors to find what they're looking for or get back to where they came from. Don't pay any mind to your analytics that will highlight the most popular parts of your site. You know, so you can surface the most sought-after pages and create a user-friendly website navigation.
33) Litter your web pages with broken links.
You've heard about how internal linking helps SEO, but don't double check that your links actually work. Bonus points if your broken links are in your calls-to-action ... in your emails.
34) Make sure your website gives people a ton of error messages.
Neglect to regularly audit your website to make sure you're not still linking to web pages that have since been taken down -- so visitors hit an error message page at every turn.
35) Have a totally annoying and headache-inducing website design.
You know that a beautiful website isn't everything, so you decide to design it yourself. You sell clothing for teddy bears, so your entire website has a hot pink background with canary yellow, curly font. Oh, and there's a bouncing teddy bear GIF on every page, too.
36) Use only generic stock photography.
Because gobbledygook works so great in your written content, why not also adopt what bestselling author David Meerman Scott refers to as "visual gobbledygook"? When did being generic ever hurt anyone? Hey, at least you paid for that awful stock photography.
37) Make it difficult for people to figure out who you are, what you do, or what you sell.
Rather than plainly and simply stating on your homepage that you sell, say, "all the software you need to do inbound marketing," make your website visitors hunt around your web pages to try to piece together what the heck it is you do. And when they do finally find your 'About Us' page (thanks, "helpful" website navigation), be sure to fill your company/product descriptions with some more of that awesome gobbledygook.
38) Add tons of disorienting animations and images to your website.
As if your teddy bear GIF wasn't bad enough. Be sure to welcome your visitors to every page on your site with a lot of FLASH animation so it distracts visitors, wastes their time, and takes forever for your pages to load.
39) Automatically play (really loud) multimedia content upon page load.
Don't worry about giving your site visitors any warning so they have enough time to plug in their headphones or turn down their volume. Especially if they work in a very conservative, quiet office space.
40) Don't include any contact information on your website.
Just ensure them that you're either psychic and will contact them when you know they want to hear from you -- or that you'll be following up with them incessantly regardless.
41) Don't mobile-optimize your website.
Never mind that, according to Microsoft Tag, mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. To make matters more difficult for your mobile visitors, make sure they have a ridiculous amount of scrolling to do, that your forms are extra long, and that the items in your website navigation are positioned so close together that their chunky fingers couldn't possibly click on the option they intended.
42) Don't provide any pricing information anywhere on your website.
Otherwise, you might scare people off! Couple this one with a lack of contact information, and you're golden!
43) Open your website up for third-party ads.
Your CMO is going to be so proud that you're bringing in another revenue stream into your business, and your audience won't mind all those flashy and irrelevant ads for engagement rings on the website for your project management software.
44) Attack site visitors with a whole lotta CTAs.
You should make sure there's a conversion opportunity that appeals to all your different visitors, and the only way you can do this is by adding 10 different CTAs to every web page. Never mind dynamic, Smart CTAs.
45) Totally lie about what's behind your CTAs.
Just like it's okay to be deceptive in your blog titles, be deceptive in your CTAs, too. Promise something completely different than what's on the landing page it points to. You'll increase your clickthrough rate!
46) Deceive your prospects about what they're signing up for on your landing page.
You're the king/queen of deception, aren't you? Why not promise them a comprehensive, in-depth ebook in your landing page copy, and then once you have their form completion, fork over a measly 2-page tip sheet.
47) Forget to actually give them what you promised.
Okay, so maybe deception isn't your game. But how about the ol' bait and switch? Or maybe you just completely forgot to add the "download" link to your thank-you page.
48) Ask for a lot of very personal information on your forms.
First name, last name, maiden name, paternal grandmother's maiden name, first born child's name, ideal first date, Social Security Number ... catch my drift?
49) Require visitors to complete 20-question forms ... every time.
50) Make it really hard for people to trust you.
51) Don't back up your credibility with any social proof.
Case studies, testimonials, reviews, social shares, and other types of social proof that show other potential customers you're worth their money? Isn't that just bragging?
52) Put EVERYTHING behind a form.
Just like a link to anything other than a landing page is a waste of a social media post, giving away content form-free is a waste of content, right? Even when it makes perfect sense.
53) Don't bother cleaning up or updating CTAs for your limited-time offers after they expire.
Instead, just frustrate your site visitors when they click on a CTA and are presented with yet another error page.
54) Send irrelevant content to your contacts.
Don't pay any attention to the types of content they've downloaded from you in the past, what their current lifecycle stage is, or if they've already read the content you're sending them. That's all too sophisticated.
55) Email your contacts every single day.
That's the best email frequency, right? Otherwise they'd worry you'd forgotten about them. This one is particularly effective if they've only opted in to hear from you once monthly.
56) Reach out to your contacts totally out of the blue.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, wait several months -- even years -- after someone opts in to your email list before you send them anything. Wait just enough time so that they've completely forgotten about you and are wondering why they're suddenly hearing from you.
57) Don't segment your list.
Just batch and blast all of your contacts with the same email so that everyone gets this generic, vaguely relevant piece of content that barely provides any value (or none) at all. Segmentation doesn't really matter.
58) When someone subscribes to one specific email list, automatically subscribe them to all your other email lists.
You've finally tricked them into giving you their email address! Sign them up for every single one of your email lists -- your monthly newsletter, your daily blog notification emails, your weekly monthly marketing digest -- even if they've only signed up for your weekly newsletter. Preferences shmeferences.
59) Make your email opt-out process extremely infuriating.
Make your contacts grab a magnifying glass in order to find your unsubscribe link, and then ask them to jump through several hoops and a really long, drawn-out process in order to unsubscribe -- rather than unsubscribing with a couple of clicks. You know, so they've had time to reconsider the unsubscribe, or maybe just give up during the process and keep getting your emails ... so they can later mark them as spam.
60) Don't honor unsubscribes ...
... Or anything else required by the CAN-SPAM Act, for that matter. You're above the long arm of the law, so wait longer than the maximum 10 days before opting someone out of your list who asked to unsubscribe -- or just ignore their request altogether. Add more to your criminal record by neglecting to include your physical postal address and using misleading, deceptive, or falsified information in your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” subject line, and routing information in your email messages.
61) Email people who didn't opt-in.
Your neighbor? Your mailman? The bank teller? Wouldn't they love to start randomly receiving your email messages about your awesome IT software?
62) Buy or rent lists so you can email people who have no idea who you are.
Well, at least your mailman knows who you are ... right? On the other hand, you could buy or rent lists of completely irrelevant people who have never heard of your company (or even know what IT software is, for that matter) and start sending them information.
63) Write misleading/vague email subject lines.
Because you were so darn good at writing misleading, vague, and deceptive blog titles. Might as well keep your skill sharp by practicing with your email subject lines, too!
64) Be forcedly sincere.
"Hey Pamela! Hope things are going well!" After all, you want to show them you really care, right? And dynamic tags are just so cool! This is particularly effective if your contact is a member of that purchased or rented list.
65) Over-personalize your email marketing.
Well done collecting all that personal and behavioral information through your lead-capture forms and your centralized marketing database! It'd be a complete waste not to use every single piece of that information to personalize your next email send, right? Use no fewer than 15 dynamic tags from this list.
66) Send email with broken dynamic tags.
Make sure your marketing software doesn't have any safeguards in place, so that of those 15 dynamic tags, a good 60% of them are broken. "Hi [%FirstName%], Does [%CompanyName%] need a more sophisticated IT software solution?" is personal enough, right?
67) Send overly designed emails.
Give your email recipients a headache by sending them an email that is so design-heavy, they can't even find any text that indicates what the heck the email is all about.
68) Don't offer plain text versions of your HTML emails.
Or maybe that design-heavy email just ends up looking completely bare, because your recipient's email client/mobile device/internet browser doesn't support HTML emails, or he or she just prefers to read email in plain text, and you didn't offer a plain text version.
69) Don't mobile-optimize your emails.
If you didn't bother mobile-optimizing your website, why worry about how your email looks on mobile devices, either?
70) Neglect to send confirmation emails.
Because everyone likes to be left hanging about whether their payment was processed after they make a big purchase like IT software. And also because people will automatically bookmark the link to your thank-you page after downloading your awesome new ebook. Everyone has a Type A personality, right?
71) Continue to send your customers your marketing emails.
But they loved your marketing emails so much that they became a customer! So don't sweat it if you forget to remove them from future email communications meant for your prospects. Bonus points if you send them emails about your discounted rates after already locking them in to your full price.
72) Send the exact same automated email multiple times in a row until the recipient opens it.
They must've accidentally deleted it. Everyone deserves a second -- or third ... or fourth -- chance.
73) Stuff your copy with tons of keywords.
In addition to all the jargon and gobbledygook you already stuffed it with, eliminate your content from having even an ounce of readerability by adding in a ton of your best keywords! Both search engines and readers will love that!
74) Create content around keywords, not topics.
After all, your readers care more about all the keywords you're using -- not good topics. Don't even bother listening to your ideal customers' pain points, interests, and needs so you can create content that appeals to all that. It's all about the keywords.
75) Purchase tons of annoying pop-up ads on other websites.
People just can't get enough of pop-up ads on the web, so go buck wild! Make sure the websites on which you're advertising are completely irrelevant to your business, too.
76) Link your PPC/display ads to your website's homepage, not a targeted landing page.
Okay, maybe you're not going so far as purchasing irrelevant pop-up ads. PPC and advertising in moderation can be a good thing ... except for when you advertise a 25% off coupon and send people directly to your website's homepage, which has no mention of said coupon. But it'll be like a treasure hunt! And who doesn't like a good treasure hunt?
77) Be intrusive and interruptive.
Buy tons of intrusive advertising! On top of those pop-up ads, buy expensive radio and TV ad spots, too!
78) Automate everything!
Make it so that it's impossible to fathom that any humans are behind your marketing. Automate everything, and respond to nothing. The world is going to be completely run by robots in a few years anyway. Might as well let people start getting used to it.
79) Push people through the buying cycle really quickly.
It's someone's first time visiting your website and they have no clue what you even sell yet? Time to shove a call-to-action for them to 'Contact Sales.'
80) Have sales follow up with leads prematurely.
Or you could just have one of your most eager salespeople give them a call and start asking them questions about their IT software needs and their price range.
81) Prematurely personalize your marketing
Whoa, whoa. Having a salesperson reach out to new website visitors is way too pushy. But premature personalization, even before you've got good data or good reason? That's right up your alley.
82) Don't ever bother using all that information to personalize your marketing.
I'm sorry. Did we scare you with our warnings of premature and over-personalization? Then just neglect to use personalization altogether so your marketing content is just as average as all the other IT software vendors.
83) Don't apologize when you screw up.
Apologies are for push-overs. So when your business erupts in a PR crisis because your IT software went down and you didn't bother to inform your customers what was going on, or you just accidentally sent your email to the wrong list, just act like it never happened. It'll all blow over eventually ...
84) Act like a spammer.
People love spam! Here's how to be one in 20 simple steps.
85) Don't ask for or listen to any feedback.
As the marketer, you know best. Don't bother asking your prospects and customers what they think about your marketing, your content, etc. Even when they volunteer their feedback without being prompted, just ignore it. You never asked.
86) Call people who have no clue who you are ... during dinner.
You know what everybody loves? A nice intrusive cold call after a hard day of work, as they're relaxing with their family over dinner.
87) Send tons of direct mail.
People just don't get enough physical mail anymore. Never mind all those poor trees.
88) Overpromise and under-deliver.
Your marketing and sales process promised that your IT software package included this, that, and the other thing ... but it really only comes with the other thing.
89) Be unappreciative of your evangelists.
Be generally unappreciative of the people who sing your praises by helping you expand your word-of-mouth marketing by providing things like testimonials, reviews, and social media shares. In fact, don't even acknowledge their evangelism whatsoever.
90) Don't bother aligning with Sales and Services.
Don't keep Sales in the loop about your marketing messaging or align with theirs and your services team's goals. Make the customer experience as disjointed as possible.
91) Publicly bash or humiliate your competitors.
Nothing says "good sport" like a company who uses their competitors' shortcomings (called out by name) as a differentiator. Just go all out and start spreading rumors about how awful their products and services are in social media.
92) Be extremely dull and uninteresting.
Okay, so people may not necessarily hate you for being as dull as a box of hair, but they'll definitely fault you for it, especially if your marketing and your content doesn't live up to the awesomeness of your products/services.
93) Link your QR codes to your website's homepage, not a relevant landing page.
Top off that fun new QR code experiment you're running by sending scanners to your general homepage with no direction, not a targeted landing page that explains how to redeem the other they scanned for.
94) Send out a press release about every little insignificant thing.
Aside from making the person who manages your marketing budget hate you, you'll annoy just about anyone who comes across these uninteresting, trivial, and un-newsworthy content pieces. Wait, people don't need to know your office has a new, state-of-the-art, industry-grade coffee machine?
95) Hold your webinars at really inconvenient times.
Most of your prospects live on the west coast? Better hold that live webinar at 9 a.m. ET on a Saturday so people on the left side of the country have to tune in at 6 a.m.
96) Make it hard for people in other time zones to figure out when your live webinar is taking place.
But at least you told your west coast brethren that they'd have to tune in at 6 a.m. It'd be even worse if your landing page didn't have a reference to any sort of time zone conversion tool at all.
97) Don't record or archive your webinars.
If they didn't make time for it in their busy schedules to begin with, it didn't mean enough to them.
98) Promote old and outdated content and offers.
Your ebook about Y2K was great the first time around, so why wouldn't it still be great now?
99) Make it really unclear how to redeem your offers.
This is made 100% more effective by, again, linking to your homepage when you promote new offers in social media and by email. No need to give your visitors any direction -- they'll figure it out eventually.
100) Hop on the latest marketing trend when it's totally irrelevant or useless for your audience.
SMS, anyone? Forget about doing your research about the latest marketing trend and whether it's applicable to your audience or your industry. It's important to jump on the newest thing while it's still fresh!
101) Do all of the above so you're not lovable in any way, shape, or form.
Or you could just create marketing people love. Just a thought ...
What other things slipped my mind? What else do you hate about other businesses' marketing?
Image Credit: quickmeme