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Obnoxious Marketing Tactics We Hope Will Stop

Flying Hippo

By Flying Hippo

We’ve all seen them on Facebook or Twitter. And we’ve seen them so much they’ve warranted their own term: “vaguebookers.”

You know the type — people who write pithy little snippets like “wondering if it’s all worth it…” or “I’m so over this.” There’s no way of knowing exactly what they’re talking about. They just want attention.

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And that sounds a lot like marketing in 2015. A lot of brands will do anything for you to reach out to them. They’ll bother you. They’ll nag you. It’s obnoxious, really.

Inbound marketing is the art and craft of providing potential customers with the information they’re looking for anyway. And, as more marketing shifts online, it’s becoming way more important.

Traditional marketers need to stop doing these Obnoxious Marketing Tactics NOW or they’ll get left behind in years to come.

Buying followers

If you’ve ever poked around Twitter for an extended period of time (especially on any of the most recent trending hashtags), you’ll notice a seemingly endless trove of sketchy accounts that exist solely to promote their sketchy products or services. One report notes that more than 23 million Twitter users aren’t users at all — they’re robots. And, weirder yet, many of these robots have people who follow them. Who the heck would actually follow someone who just regurgitates the latest hashtags? Click farms, that’s who.

If you do a Google search for “Buy Twitter Followers,” you’ll find dozens of companies that would be willing to give your profile hundreds of followers (or likes, in Facebook’s case) for pennies on the dollar. Idealistically, these followers would add credence to your lackluster page, but they really just tarnish your brand’s image.

And, from an ethical standpoint, click farms are shady places that you shouldn’t be giving money to anyway.

Buying…any lists, really

Facebook likes and Twitter followers aren’t the only thing you can buy. For a few bucks, you can buy most everything your marketing needs to thrive. Email lists? Mailing address lists? Lists of leads? No problem. Just pull out that credit card.

If you want to run a successful email marketing campaign, buying email lists is always a crummy idea. If you look through your email’s spam folder, you’ll find hundreds of awful emails that you’ll never read. And if you buy an email list, your email will end up just like these, sandwiched between emails for pharmaceuticals or other shady products.

People on email lists don’t know who you are. It can damage your credibility when you send legitimate emails. Most importantly, your content and brand are way better than that. Don’t do it.

SEO as a Panacea

Want to be on the top page of Google search results? Just hop on down to the store, buy a bottle of SEO and drink up!

Obviously, you can’t just go to the store and buy a great page result like you would a bottle of Coke. But so many companies and services can dupe you into thinking it’s that way. It’s been affirmed by Google time and time again: the best way to good SEO is by creating honest, good content. Good SEO “hygiene,” such as sitemaps, backlinks, meta descriptions and more are great ideas. But following each Google update with a passionate fervor and figuring out a way to game each change in the system won’t help you in the long run.

Focus on content and helping your customers. Everything else will come in time.


Also known as “shotgun marketing,” this sort of information dispersal puts more emphasis on quantity over quality. When you shoot out 20,000 fliers to strangers, you might get one or two to buy your product. That’s not terribly effective, and usually pretty costly.

But when you know who your customers are through meticulous attention to personas and buyer stages, you’ll discover way more success. Having intention behind everything you do pays off.

Failing to Test

The glorious thing about online marketing (and also what makes it so difficult) is that everything can change. And, really, it should. If you misspell someone’s name in a newspaper ad, you’re stuck. But on a blog post, you can change it without breaking a sweat.

Since content is so easily altered online, there’s zero reason why absolutely everything should be tested, changed and optimized, from microcopy to design.

Case in point: Mad Mimi, an email service, fiddled with just a few things in their sales copy and conversions bumped up more than 3,000 percent. And they wouldn’t have known if they didn’t test.

Failing to Consider Customer Experience

Here’s a big one: at some point, many businesses forget that their customers are people. When emotion and feeling are left out of marketing, you’re missing out on a huge possibility of differentiating your brand.

Do you know what your customers’ demographics are? How many kids they have? What makes them choose you over the competition down the street?

When you develop strong buyer personas, pay close attention to the language you use and utilize buyer journey maps, your customers will be happier. And happy customers mean more sales.

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