I’ve seen tons of websites during my days in Internet marketing. In fact, I used to host a monthly website review for my job and let me tell you… I’ve seen it all!
Some good. Some bad. Some, downright nasty!
The cool part is that when my partner in crime (Brian T. Edmondson) and I went over someone’s site and they made changes according to our suggestions, they usually came out ahead. I know of one guy who came out WAY ahead and is now online, making an income (rather than being in a J. O. B.) every month. That makes me really happy and proud to know that I had some small part in his success.
But some folks just didn’t want to hear it. They were recalcitrant and figured they knew better. Whatever. Want to know the biggest sins?
- No Email Marketing System
Many of the sites we saw did have this going for them, as that was the educational process they were enrolled in. But I’m seeing this over and over on sites I look at today. People think that email marketing is dead… which it’s NOT. Though opens and click rates are down, MOST of the mail sent are marketing messages, according to Mail Chimp.
There in lies the rub.
People are sick and tired of the hoopla. People don’t want to be sold, and yet, most marketers are out there trying to grab their wallets.
Instead, build a relationship with your list. Give them information they can use in their businesses. For example, I sent a weekly email to my list, on Sunday. I tell them what I’ve written in this blog. That’s it. I give them links to visit and see the posts and that’s it.
Once in a GREAT while, I’ll send them a marketing message because what I’m promoting is something important. Yet, I never bombard them with daily marketing mail anymore. Sure, I did it, too, and I regret listening to the people who said, “The more you mail, the more money you’ll make!” Untrue. The more you mail these days, the less money you’re liable to make because you’re just pissing people off. Don’t treat your list like a slot machine and you’ll be able to mail to them and get the to open what you mail forever.
My last email had nearly a 25% click through rate. ‘nough said?
- Screaming pop-ups and flash
Pop-ups have their place, but I wouldn’t use them for more than getting subscribers, and I wouldn’t allow them to pop up every single time someone visits your site, either. You can set the rate to once every 5 visits or once a month or whatever. I found that optin rates for this type of letterbox pop-up was much higher than for a regular optin box on your site. On my SEO News Blog, I found that people opted in 1.5 times more than with the traditional form over a four year period.
Flash is another annoyance. If you have a site that says, “Enter here.” I won’t. Or, if you have flashing banners in your sidebar or stuff popping up all over the place, it just says to me that you’re only in this for the money. You don’t care about me as a visitor. Bye-bye.
And here’s something else: Google wants you to provide a great visitor experience. If you’re not doing that, expect not to show up in the SERPs.
Sure, I know. Another old marketing trick. Well, it sucks. I mean, if people are at work and your video starts playing, you could be getting them in trouble for surfing and not working. Let them have a choice! If they’re interested in your headline and the copy you’ve written, they’ll let the video play. No more sleazy tricks to get people to buy. They’re sick to death of it. I know for sure that I am.
- Skinny content
This isn’t OK for any website, and I don’t care what you’re selling. Spiders can’t parse video or images (you can tell them what the images are using ALT tags, but not the same). You need some relevant, interesting content to make your visitors your friends.
I could go on and on about this. If you can’t write, pay someone! It’s really that important.
And so, I’ll sign off, pleading with you to realize that the old days of hypey marketing are over. Stick to pleasing your audience, bond with them through great content and/or copy and you’ll most definitely come out ahead.