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4 Annoying Online Marketing Tactics to Stop Right Now

You have no hope of selling a potential customer anything if your marketing gets on their nerves.

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Consumers despise annoying online marketing tactics. It takes an incredible amount of effort, creativity and money to attract visitors to your website. The last thing you want to do is annoy them to the point they leave, never to return.

Marc Romanelli | Getty Images

Going overboard with automation, suffocating them with calls-to-action and delivering an unpleasant experience are just a few surefire ways to ensure you push away more potential customers than you reel in. Here are four annoying online marketing tactics that you need to stop immediately.

1. Anything that interrupts the user experience.

If you visit a website and are immediately inundated with pop-up and slide-out offers demanding your email address you're going to get annoyed, right? There's a right time and a wrong time for this tactic, as well as right and wrong types of pop-up and side-out offers.

If you are driving large volumes of paid traffic to a single landing page and there are one of two outcomes that will occur -- a conversion or a bounce off the page -- then intrusive pop-ups can help to maximize your ad spend. But, if you are dealing with visitors on your main website, then you don't want to interrupt the experience with your website content.

Not all pop-ups are bad, especially those that utilize exit-intent technology. "We allow our visitors to browse our entire inventory and navigate the website without interruption, but we do utilize a pop-up that offers someone leaving our site the chance to join our newsletter. We understand not everyone is ready to purchase during their first visit, so this allows us to build our email list and offer discounts and specials to pull those potential customers back to our website," explains Clint Stelfox, CEO of The Tree Center.

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2. Purchasing email lists but ignoring the CAN-SPAM Act.

I get hammered with email spam 24/7.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but every day I seem to have millions of dollars waiting for me that someone so generously left me in a foreign country. Mixed in with that garbage are dozens of marketing emails -- none of which I gave permission to email me, nor have an "unsubscribe' option to remove myself from their list.

These companies are either scraping email addresses and blasting them with untargeted offers or they are purchasing email lists in specific industries. If the recipient's email address is from a random domain, it was a scrape and spray approach. If the email is coming from a domain related to the offer it's coming from a company that is clueless, desperate or a combination of both.

Not only is this type of email marketing annoying, but it's also not CAN-SPAM compliant. Blindly emailing data that you scrape or purchase is useless -- they have no idea who you are or what you offer. Instead, focus on building a double opt-in list and allowing your subscribers to leave anytime they wish. Trust me, if they have no interest in what you are offering let them go -- they are just taking up space. A smaller, more responsive email list is always better than a large list with low open and click-through rates.

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3. Gating content.

Publishing high quality value-packed content on your website is a great way to attract prospects and build a level of trust that's required to get your visitors to open their wallets and pull out their credit cards.

You want to let your visitors engage with your content freely. I see so many websites make the mistake of gating their content, requiring an email opt-in or a social media share to grant access. The business assumes their visitors will be so interested in reading the content that they will willingly hand over their email or engage via social media. This is far from the truth.

In December of 2016, there were 73.9 million posts published across WordPress websites alone, proving there are plenty of other options out there. Don't give your prospects a reason to seek their content elsewhere. "Our blog is responsible for attracting prospects and educating them on a variety of accounting and tax topics. The information contained in our blog is responsible for converting our readers into course enrollments. Gating our content would be foolish and drastically reduce our conversion rates," stated Evan Kramer, CEO of Surgent CPA Review.

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4. Advertising 'live' webinars that are clearly pre-recorded.

Webinars are everywhere. They have caught on like wildfire and you can't scroll down your Facebook feed without seeing a webinar willing to teach you how to do everything under the sun aside from curing cancer. These aren't new to consumers any longer.

The, "Quick, register now because the webinar is starting in two minutes" line reeks of BS. If you are using a pre-recorded webinar, that's fine. Nobody has time to host webinars 24/7, but don't assume your prospects are stupid.

I cringe when I join a webinar and I hear this classic line: "Ok, if you can hear me just leave a comment in the chat box. Ok, cool. Looks like Joe can hear me, and Sally in Detroit. Great, let's get started because we aren't going to wait for anyone else to join."

Are webinars an effective marketing tool? Heck yeah they are, but you must understand that thousands of companies are using the same automated webinar software, exposing consumers to this tool. Be transparent. If you advertise a live webinar that's clearly pre-recorded, you instantly lose trust and a potential customer.

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