Maybe you’ve been researching inbound marketing for your ecommerce site and seen how effective blogs, social media, and email marketing can be. But all of the sophisticated technology in the world means nothing without the mindset and methodology that adds value for your ecommerce customers. If you’re not sure whether you’re using these new tools the right way, take a look at these 16 ways that are definitely wrong.
With your ecommerce site, you often only get one shot to draw in a prospect and turn him or her into a customer. If you blow it, your chances of ever reaching that customer again can get pretty slim. So… Don’t blow it.
1) Forget personalizing your emails.
Who has time to segment contact lists and send emails that appeal to particular buyer personas? You’ve got other things on your mind, so just blast that email to everyone with the greeting “Dear Loyal Customer.” Your male customers won’t mind getting an email about your latest handbags, that’s for sure.
2) Send multiple marketing emails every day.
If they delete the first four, maybe they’ll give up and open the fifth one. It's important that your email marketing be nothing more than a replication of the exact value someone could get from visiting your website and using the navigation bar.
3) Your email subject shouldn’t have anything to do with what’s in the message.
You just want people to open the email. If you can just tell your boss "open rates are up 400%!" they'll never ask anything about click-through rates or sales. If you’re not sure if the content is interesting enough, go ahead and add a subject that promises “Lose 15 Pounds in 2 Days, Guaranteed.” No one can resist that. Once they open the message, you can then tell them all about the sale your ecommerce site is running on Snuggies.
4) Just post all your products on Pinterest at once.
Now, go ahead and post all those pins at one time. Your customers won’t care that you’re clogging up their feed. Also, it's important that your Pinterest page be exactly the same as your product catalog. Pinterest is really just a different user interface for a product catalog, so there's no reason to approach it any differently.
5) Post product-promotional Facebook page updates at least every few minutes.
Just like the multiple emails, your posts may be ignored if you just plan a few each day. By posting every hour, no one can overlook your products. Just treat Facebook like you treat Twitter. All social is the same.
6) Don't bother responding to customer service questions on social media.
That’s what the customer service phone number is for. Monitoring Twitter and Facebook takes time and effort. Plus, everyone can see your answers when you post to social media, and that kind of transparency is never a good idea. Also, if they have time to be on social media, are they ever really going to buy from you anyways?
7) Hashtags make you look cool, especially if you use four or more in every post.
If you see one that’s trending, go ahead and hijack it. You’ll get more traffic to your tweets and Facebook posts that way. Trust us—that’s never ended badly.
8) Get really, uncomfortably personal on Instagram.
Instagram should be a place to post photos of your morning coffee or your favorite shoes. People won’t want to see interesting and fun ways to use your products when your Jimmy Choos are on display. Personification isn't enough, you want your audience to feel like your account is one of those always-streaming web cams from the '90s people used to put in their houses. That's way better than having any value add around your buyer personas.
9) Post the same tweets over and over.
This is, of course, the same method used for your multiple emails and Facebook posts. Someone eventually has to see them. Ignore that error message from Twitter saying you can't post the same tweet within 24 hours. If you keep trying it'll go away. Alternatively, just add like a character or two to the tweet. There have to be ways to get around the fact that this is so annoying to people that Twitter created a system update to stop it. Twitter. People were using Twitter in a way that was so annoying that the Twitter engineers did something about it. Just let that sink in for a moment.
10) Post the same content to every social network.
Everyone that uses "social media" is basically the same kind of person. Redditors and LinkedIn users and Pinners will all respond to the same messages to the same way, so why waste time testing or customizing your presence? Just tie all your social media platforms together so that all followers get the same message every time you post. Don't worry, customers that follow your Pinterest and your Twitter won’t mind seeing the same thing on both accounts either.
11) Post all social media messages with a young, fresh tone.
That’s what’s hot right now, so it doesn’t matter what your target audience thinks. The most important thing is to look cool. Completely ignore the psychographic dimensions of your buyer personas.
12) Your first and only goal is to talk about yourself.
They're on your website, right? So they must only care about your company. Basically, a blog should just be an extension of your press releases. If you want to get really fancy, you can give people X Reasons To Buy From You. Because, you know, you don't really need to build any trust with people through value-added educational content before you're self-promotional. Just get to the point. People don't spend a lot of time on the internet any more so just tell them straight up the only words that matter. "SHOW. ME. THE. MONEY!"
13) Keyword stuff all of your titles. Marketing inbound marketing ecommerce ecommerce marketing ecommerce marketing software inbound marketing software software email marketing email marketing software email service provider tool for ecommerce marketing HubSpot buy HubSpot HubSpot rocks ECOMMERCE!!!!
Keywords are important. Without them, search engines won’t be able to find your blog. Be sure to cram as many keywords into each post as possible. Whether your blog makes sense or not is irrelevant. Search engines aren't people, after all. You're not writing for people, you're writing for a soul-less machine in California. So make it really easy. Don't worry, when the machines rise against us they'll reward you richly for your efforts.
14) What works for keywords also works for tags.
Your blogs should have as many tags as possible—even if those tags don’t make sense. Your blog about the “5 Trendy Ways to Wear Our Silk Scarves” might not get any views unless you tag it “funny cat pics.”
15) Post calls-to-action for sales everywhere.
The most important aspects of your ecommerce site are the primary calls-to-action, so be sure you place them everywhere. Any white space left in the design should feature a CTA about a product. A cluttered website reminds people that you have lots of items for sale, so they should start buying. Don't bother at all with secondary CTAs or any type of content for people who might not be ready to buy right now. People love coupons, and never abuse them. So keep spamming people with coupon CTAs so that everyone knows buying from you is only about getting the cheapest price.
16) Screw the user experience, get information whatever it takes.
You need contact information before you can consider any of your website visitors leads. The moment someone lands on your page, a pop-up should appear that requires a name and email address before the customer can continue. Even if they don’t buy, you can add them to your email lists and start spamming—ahem, marketing. Don't even let them exit out of your contact generation window. After all, if they're not ready to give you their name and email address right now, they're definitely not going to give you their credit card right now. Therefore, they don't matter.
What annoys you when visiting ecommerce websites? What other ways can you make a loyal customer drop you? Are there methods you can use to reverse the damage done by one of these major faux pas? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
photo credit: AJC1 via photopin cc
Originally published Oct 28, 2013 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016