Category Archives: The Bad Kind of Audacity

Silence is Golden on Your Website

I have said this before right here in this blog: do not greet people on your website with a person talking. It is not a great marketing strategy and it serves one purpose: it pisses off your visitors.

Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it. Most of us have traveled to your website not wishing to share our business to anyone sitting in the room with us. Social networking may be social, but in general, when we surf the net, we want a level of privacy. Not that we are downloading porn or doing anything illicit. We just don’t want to be greeted with a blasting voice going, “HI!!!! WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE!!!!!”

Here’s what I do when it happens to me: I exit the website quickly and I never go back. Is that what you wanted? Then mission accomplished.

Loud noise should never come from dogs, children, women (or men) with high-pitched voices, or a website.

Turn off the noise.

“All Marketers Are Liars” is a Lie: Ask Seth

I need to get this off my chest. Marketing is not lying. Lying is lying and marketing is, in its simplest form, promoting a real event, product or service. There is a lot more that goes into that promotion, like blood, sweat and tears, but lying is not part of the mix. In fact, just ask any college marketing professor to name the entire marketing mix for you. Lying is not part of it.

Why am I ranting about this? Over time, I have deleted a few people from my Facebook profile page due to a simple little fact: they are telling lies, especially lies about their career all in the name of marketing and PR, to make them seem more successful. I love a good lie, don’t get me wrong. Tell me I look 21 and I will a) think you are lying and b) love you. No, I will worship you. Anyway, I noticed that as social media grew, so did the unfortunate side-effect of some people lying, and, worse, it was done under the guise of marketing. Normally, I would let sleeping dogs lie, literally, but when people start lying and then justify it by saying, “It’s just marketing,” then I have an issue, people. I’m a marketer, not a liar (unless you are going to bust me on age issues again).

Don’t believe me? Fine. Ask Seth Godin, who as any marketer knows (but liars may not) wrote “All Marketers are Liars.” See, he didn’t really mean it, because of this quote from the book: “When you are busy telling stories to people who want to hear them, you’ll be tempted to tell stories that just don’t hold up. Lies. Deceptions.”

I was reminded of this quote when I recently saw a friend who asked about a mutual friend. “It seems like things are going well, judging by the Facebook updates,” he said. Before I could even answer, he added, “Of course, if you can believe all that.” I told him that based on what I knew, he was right; this friend was doing a little fabricating. “How’s that working out?” he asked dryly, waiting a beat, then said, “Oh, I guess it’s not.”

More than an admonishment on lying, my message here is that the lies don’t hold up if you don’t have proof of the product, or the business, or the experience. People see through it, or worse, they believe you, then ask an innocent question following up on your Facebook update, and realize, “Huh, that was a lie.” People don’t like to be duped. A sucker is born every minute; a person scorned is reborn every second. And scorned consumers are the ones spending money on the competitor’s product or service. Not the liars.

50 Funniest Headlines of 2009

I saw this and wanted to share. Courtesy of Buzzfeed, here are fifty of the funniest headlines, videos and photos from this year. Hey, did you know that Michelle Obama wore clothes to light the Christmas tree?

Do Spammers Really Have to Get it That Wrong So Often?

One of my favorite things about running Audacious Ink is the spam I get in the comments section. You rarely see them because WordPress, the little miracle genius it is, knows if something is spam and filters it. Still, I like to go in and look at what’s there. It’s a lesson in bad marketing. Whatever they are doing, do the opposite: copy written in broken English, insulting or offensive headlines, or worse, headlines that don’t make sense, and most of all, are hitting the wrong target. 

I get lots of porn and Viagra spam. I’m a woman interested in marketing with a hankering for Boston Terriers. Do I strike you as your typical Viagra popping porn-lover? Yeah, on second thought, don’t answer that question. I’ve never been a fan of spam, but who is? I like the meat better than the email variety, and frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever had the meat. That’s how much I dislike spam. Don’t get me wrong: I see the value of a direct marketing campaign, especially in a well-thought out plan. But why can’t these spammers get it right? Why have they not learned the big lesson of the successful direct marketers: know your target and hit it.

Obviously, these people are sending out blindly. I am sure my friend who writes a blog for mothers in Beverly Hills gets the viagra spam, as does my West Hollywood pal with her design blog. Why would anyone waste good viagra on us? Scratch that question. A better question is why are there still direct marketers out there who are not bothering to take time to do their homework and find the right audience, say, maybe men who visit porn sites, or even sport sites. You know, something that would indicate that they are a man and not a wine-swilling, dog-mom who ponders the right social media placement for her clients more than she thinks about girls gone wild?  

It’s easy enough, so here is my simple five-step plan for a good direct marketing campaign. Pardon me if it is too simplistic, but I’m trying to make a point here about doing some basic homework and following some basic tenets:

  1. Know your audience and cultivate a list of tier one, tier two and tier three targets, through webinars, trade shows, emails sent via your website and from positive responses from other campaigns you’ve done.  If you sell diamonds to retailers, then they are  your target, right? If you want to sell viagra, don’t sell it to grandmothers, children, and testy marketers who might blog about you. Find the people who need it most: Middle-Aged Men. Generally speaking, women are not going to buy this pill for their men. Why? Men have egos, right? Women know not to cross that line. Not if they care about their sex life, which is why they would want Viagra to begin with. 
  2. Write compelling copy that will not disgust your audience or make them hit the delete button. Answer this question: what is in it for them? That’s all any potential consumer wants to know. “What’s in it for me?”
  3. Don’t overwhelm them with repeated messages. Think about how often you want to get this message out and then trim that number down. Depending on what you are promoting, a repeat of two to three times usually suffices before they start to hate you (and they will, you are coming into their inbox uninvited), but be realistic and give them some breathing room. No one likes the hard sell. Seriously, you may think it works, but it doesn’t help with repeat business. Ask the guy at 24 Hour Fitness who has been trying to sell me a membership for a year.
  4. Go for appealing graphics. You may think that photos of Russian Mail Order Brides would be appealing enough graphics, and maybe for some men it is, but give your piece a nice, uncluttered layout. I feel like I’m in a prison cell when I look at some of the spam email I get, it is so over-crowded and noisy. Think like the military on a secret mission. Get in, and get out. Yes, you want to be noticed, but no, you don’t want to hit people over the head with a hammer. Unless you actually are on a secret military mission, then that may be necessary.
  5. Always give them a clear opt-out. Despite your best efforts at research, someone may make it on your mailing list that just doesn’t want to be there. Make it easy for them to opt out. Remember what my Grandmother always used to say: A Lady always knows when it is time to go. Be a Lady, even if you are a guy pushing Viagra.