If you’re good at your job, there is a good chance you’ll also be passionate about your job - a great employee supports their company 110%. Passion, enthusiasm and dedication are fantastic, but when they go too far, your marketing and customer service can suffer.
Marketing is your way of connecting with your customers as well as a way to convey your business’ personality and values - it’s an essential channel. Time and time again we see that organisations with brilliant marketing really do outshine their competitors.
Even companies with the best of intentions can often manage to annoy their target market. Today we’re looking at five ways you might be annoying your customers, including why this might be the case and how you can resolve the problem.
You’re emailing your customers too often
You’re just so excited about your product or service and can’t contain your enthusiasm, that’s brilliant, however your customers aren’t you. Sure they’re interested, but they don’t want your brand in their face every day.
Think about it this way, if your local supermarket sent you an email every day highlighting their newest products, discounts and services, you’d quickly become tired of it and unlikely to continue opening their emails. You appreciate your local supermarket, you buy from them a few times a week, but there’s no need to know every little thing that happens there.
Sales or promotional messages every day, every week or even once a month should be avoided. An increased frequency of these messages will not only bore your audience, it can quickly lead them to believe that your products and services are always on sale, and they will likely try to avoid buying at full price. Suddenly your regular customers are fueling a downward spiral in prices, which is never great news.
The results of committing the crime of emailing too frequently will likely be:
- Customers not opening emails (your open rate will drop);
- Customers unsubscribing (the number of potential customers within your database will drop);
- Your customers will be annoyed (negative impact on your brand).
Here are a few positive ways you can channel your email-loving energy into something valuable and productive:1. You can look into implementing a clever email marketing platform which segments your customers so that you’re not bombarding your whole list with the same message.
If customers bought a particular product or service in the past and are likely to require the exact same solution in the future, send a relevant message with information specific to them. Similarly, if they bought a product or service which is long term, they’re not likely to want to hear about it over and over again, especially if it’s on sale, so make sure they’re excluded from related promotional messages.
2. Try emailing less frequently and include non product/service focussed messages, find some content your audience will appreciate that will help them, rather than you. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer try writing content about hair and makeup, or if you’re an accountancy firm you could write content focussed around small business advice.
3. You can take all of this wonderful creative energy and use it elsewhere on a platform where people expect frequent updates. A perfect example would be social media! You can tweet to your heart’s content - but remember, there are rules on social too...
You’re not following the rules of social media
If you’re big on social and always the first in line for the latest platforms, that’s great, we applaud you! However, if you’re not playing by the rules, your audience can quickly become annoyed.
For instance, avoid hashtagging on Facebook, stick to one or two hashtags when you’re on Twitter, while on Instagram 10 to 15 is the norm. If you post too often on Facebook and don’t achieve good engagement rates, Facebook will stop serving your content. Conversely, if you only post once a week on Twitter you’re likely going to get lost in the crowd!
Each social media network has it’s own rules, personality and requirements. If your brand isn’t social platform savvy, it’s likely that your content is causing a lot of eye-rolling from your audience, and potentially annoying them too. What’s more, as well as turning off your customers, you could be incurring the wrath of the social network itself, which may decide to significantly reduce the amount of people it shows your content to.
If your social content is annoying it’s likely to achieve far less engagement and, in return, will be served to fewer people.
The results of not following the social platform rules can be:
- Reduction in followers;
- Drop in engagement rates;
- Your post reach will fall off a cliff.
To rectify your social strategy woes you’ll need to put some extra time, thought and effort into your marketing plan. Never just plan to post the same thing on every network. Take a look at how the most successful brands and your competitors are using social media and learn from them.
Plus we have hundreds of helpful blogs on social here and you can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates direct to your inbox.
As well as taking more time to plan your social strategy, it’s very important to consider if the networks you’re currently using are the ones most suited to your brand. You may find that reigning back your efforts on one network and ramping up the activity on another will get you the best results.
You’re trash-talking your competitors
It should go without saying, but we frequently see this with small to medium sized businesses. It is never acceptable behaviour to speak negatively about a competitor, be it online, in print or in person. It generally reflects more poorly on the ‘trasher’ than the ‘trashee’ and can negatively affect how your customers view your brand significantly. In addition, you can very easily find yourself in a tricky legal grey area - just don’t do it!
Even hinting that a competitor does or has done something isn’t ok, and it’s not the sort of valued content your customers are expecting from your brand. If your competitor tries to trash talk your organisation, products or services do not retaliate - consider your brand’s reputation and how an ongoing war of words would be perceived by your customers. If it gets serious seek legal advice, but avoid airing your laundry in public at all costs.
Trash talking or engaging in trash talk can:
- Cause your customers to lose faith in your brand and disengage;
- Damage your own reputation more than your competitor’s;
- Result in a decrease in sales.
Instead of trash-talking there is a more productive way to channel your ‘I’m better than you’ energy. Instead, try to inform your customers about all of your USPs, why they should come to you and why you’re a reputable organisation. Channel that energy into positive content that will make your case stronger and ensure that your entire organisation is aligned with this strategy.
You can also ask for testimonials so that prospective customers can hear from past customers to better aid their decision making process. Ensure you use a third party service so reviews and testimonials are impartial.
You’re calling your customers too often
This faux pas isn’t always completely against the rules.
If you have a very good reason, it’s perfectly acceptable to call your customers, for example if their delivery is running late. However if you’re just putting in a call for feedback, or worse, you’re trying to renew or upsell, it’s likely you’re making your customer’s blood boil and they might not answer your call when you really need to speak to them.
Larger organisations are the main culprits for this, and you’d be mistaken to think that it must be OK if they’re doing it, but it’s not - their customers hate it too!
Be especially wary if your target audience are Gen Y or Z, these demographics grew up in the world of email, SMS and social media, they don’t take kindly to unsolicited calls.
Calling your customers too often can result in:
- Angry customers who are less likely to return;
- Your organisation’s numbers being blocked by call screening services;
- Damage to your brand reputation.
Instead of calling your customers, try something new.
WhatsApp for Business is rolling out and it’s an easier way for you to keep in close touch with your customers. They can ignore it if they wish to, or respond at their convenience. Until WhatsApp for Business is up and running why not text them instead of calling and see what results you get. But remember, you’ll still need a good reason to reach out!
You’re not acting on feedback
Most companies will at some point have to deal with complaints and negative feedback, some more than others. Dealing with, or not dealing with, these complaints can make or break an organisation’s reputation. Even larger companies get this wrong from time to time, however we’re seeing more and more great examples of the right way to do it.
The wrong way is to do nothing. It’s a great way to say ‘We really don’t care about our customers”. You must respond and try to represent your brand in the best way possible.
These days your customer feedback could arrive by phone, email or social media, and how you respond to feedback from each route should always be consistent.
Not acting on feedback can:
- Leave customers feeling unappreciated;
- Damage your brand reputation (especially on a public forum like Twitter);
- Result in loyal customers switching to a competitor.
It’s important to provide an immediate solution, for example, if the customer is unhappy with a product or service for a fair reason, offer them a refund, voucher or replacement. You should also be recording your feedback and changing your offering to help your business continually improve. There’s no bigger business red flag than receiving the same feedback over and over, and taking no actions to prevent the negative reactions.
When you do resolve the issue on a larger scale, let the customer know and thank them for their assistance in improving your product or service.
So as you can see, many businesses out there are doing things to annoy their customers, and I’m sure that while reading this blog a few of your own experiences have sprung to mind.
Don’t be one of the companies making these mistakes. Make sure your entire team understands your organisation’s vision, set up a holistic marketing and customer service plan, think about implementing a third party review platform so that you can keep improving and ditch the annoying habits for good.