The techniques that have been described thus far are specifically designed to deliver information that can influence positive purchasing decisions among your customers. However, there are also some disreputable marketing tactics that only serve the aims of the organization at the expense of the customer, and they don’t even accomplish this well.
Seasoned marketer Jayson DeMers cautions, “Remember that ‘fast’ traffic isn’t always good traffic, and it doesn’t always mean you’re getting a good return on your investment.” While the digital revolution has brought some incredible tools and solutions to the world of marketing, it has also made it easier for dishonest companies to use these techniques to confuse or even defraud the public. Four tempting marketing tactics to avoid are:
Black hat SEO
As opposed to normal SEO practices, black hat SEO uses aggressive and manipulative strategies to make a website rank higher than it deservedly would. Where proper SEO strategy dictates thoroughly researching relevant keywords and including them in ways that will increase the visibility of the page and deliver value to the reader, pages constructed through black hat methods only exist to bump up search rankings artificially. They are driven by tactics such as keyword stuffing and page swapping, and should be avoided at all costs.
The long-term damage black hat SEO penalties can cause your brand and website are never worth the short-lived bump in traffic.
Purchasing fake web traffic
Ecommerce store owners mistakenly believe huge increases in web traffic automatically lead to a revenue windfall. This sends them to one of the services that have popped up in recent years such as Fiverr, where a $5 payment ‘guarantees’ hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘genuine’ website visits.
What could be better than paying a little and gaining so much?
The main problem stems from the fact that these visitors aren’t real people; they’re bots that are programmed to refresh your page frequently and inflate your traffic statistics. These bots aren’t actively engaged with your site and their quick exit will rapidly increase your bounce rate. Worst of all: they never buy anything. Skip the promises that seem too good to be true and focus on driving real, interested shoppers to your online store.
Buying spam email lists
Similarly, there are numerous unscrupulous dealers who claim to have a high-quality email list filled with tens of thousands of contacts, and that it can be all yours for a small price. Once again, it sounds great for a fledgling Ecommerce company that isn’t sure how to build a subscriber base from scratch. And once again, you should actively decline these offers.
First, the quality of these lists is never going to be what the seller claims.
A high percentage of addresses on the list are going to be spam accounts, and the ones that are valid are going to be unlikely to click on an email from a brand they haven’t heard of before. Also, if you’re tracking your clickthrough and conversion stats from your email marketing campaign, incorporating a list full of spammy email addresses will throw your metrics completely out of whack. The only kind of email campaign you should be running is one where you have legitimately obtained email addresses from real humans who have expressed interest in your brand and opted-in to receive communication from you.
Disguising paid endorsements as organic
One factor to keep in mind for your digital marketing campaigns is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors and regulates interactions between companies and consumers on social media, including paid endorsements. It’s worth reviewing the FTC’s endorsement guidelines to ensure you always operate above board when sponsoring influencers to advocate your brand.
Generally, as long as the consumer can reasonably understand that something is a paid endorsement, and there are no exaggerated claims made about a product’s effectiveness, you’ll be in the clear.
Otherwise, you could end up like the department store retailer Lord & Taylor. In 2015, a complaint was filed against the company alleging they failed to disclose that designer clothes and payment were given to popular Instagram fashionistas in exchange for promotional support. Lord & Taylor ultimately settled the complaint and agreed to pay a fine. This illustrates that the FTC is serious about enforcing endorsement regulations, and Ecommerce companies should similarly be diligent about following the rules.