5 Spooky Marketing Tactics That Will Scare Prospects Away

By Iryna Iurchenko


There are many terrifying things in the world — spiders, tornadoes, losing your mom in the grocery store, just to name a few. For marketers and salespeople, however, the scariest thing may be how easy it is to lose a potential customer. Just when you think you have them… poof! They disappear like a spirit at a Ghostbusters convention.

Why does this happen? It may not be the prospect’s fault. It may actually be that your marketing tactics. You might be scaring them away with your outdated techniques! Things like cold calls and unexpected emails can spook even the bravest of prospects.

It’s the season for ghosts and witches, true, but you definitely want to avoid becoming your prospects’ biggest fear. In light of this (and the fact that today is Halloween), here are five chilling marketing tactics that will make your prospects run scared, as well as five tips for preventing it from happening in the first place.

1. Your content is too promotional.

According to a survey from Sprout Social, posting too much promotional content is one of the most annoying things brands do on social media. With today’s consumers being more skeptical and ad-averse, the “hard sell” approach is likely to backfire. What you really need to focus on is providing neutral and helpful information that will help solve your prospects’ problems.

Providing tangible and valuable advice will make your content more memorable and lead your audience down the purchase path. Guides, tips and tricks and how-to materials are all excellent ways to provide value to your prospective customers at the first two stages of their buyer’s journey. Only after they have considered all of their options and identified a solution to their problem is it appropriate to approach them with your offering.

2. You haunt your contacts with too many emails.

If you keep bombarding your contacts with too many emails, your subscriber list will become non-existent before you can say “email.” In fact, 69% of U.S. email users unsubscribe from a business for this very reason. Determining the right number of emails can be tricky, though, as there is no magic number that works for all industries and businesses. According to the DMA’s marketing report, 37% of B2B and B2C businesses email their customers two to three times per month.

While there’s nothing set in stone about email frequency, it is recommended that you email your lists at least once a month. Recommendations and best practices are a good starting point, but the only way to know what works best for your business is to test and tweak your email schedule based on the results. Make sure to keep track of your click-through rate (CTR), open rate and unsubscribes, then check to see if they improve when you change your email campaign frequency.

3. You’re asking for too much information.

A good lead-capture form, chatbot or survey is key for generating leads. Your ultimate goal here is to get your visitors to provide their contact information in exchange for a piece of content. While it’s tempting to ask your visitors to write a “mini bio,” when it comes to contact forms, less is actually more.

When creating your lead generation forms, think about what fields are most important to you. An email field is usually a must, but beyond that, think carefully about what information you’re asking for. According to Unbounce, asking for a phone number results in a 5% dip in conversion rate. If a phone number is not crucial to your sales process, you’re better off leaving it out. The same goes for addresses, company websites and childhood hobbies. If you would still like to collect some extra information, it’s a good idea to make some form fields optional (and clearly mark them as such!).

4. You’re misusing website popups.

Website popups (aka “lead flows”) can be a lead-generation blessing, or a curse that will destroy your website’s user experience. Designed poorly, they are likely to frustrate your visitors and, consequently, drive a lot of traffic away. But if you get them right, they may boost your conversion rate and increase the time users spend on your website. When it comes to popups, you need to keep in mind timing, targeting, and triggering.

Popups are only annoying when they disrupt user experience by appearing too soon or offering no value. It’s usually best to not trigger a popup immediately after a user lands on your website, but later on, when they scroll through a certain percentage of the page. Your targeting should be on point too. Make sure that your popup is relevant to the content your users are viewing and you don’t hit users with the popup for the offer they just downloaded.

5. Your website is not mobile-friendly.

If you want your website to rank higher than page 45 on Google, you have to make it mobile-friendly. In case you haven’t heard yet, Google is now using mobile-first indexing, which means it uses the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking. However, it’s not just Google. Modern users have extremely high expectations when it comes to their mobile experiences.

According to a recent study, 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. So with 57% of all U.S. online traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer an option, it’s a must!

Today’s buyers are bombarded with advertisements, each one trying to outperform the rest. With all this competition, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with bad marketing practices. Avoid these tactics and the only scary thing about your marketing will be scarily good results.

Do you have a spooky marketing tactic or story to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Iryna Iurchenko

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