This is a major trend in on-line marketing:
to force people to do things.
Let me give you an example.
I’ve been doing online marketing for 19 years and pop-ups have been with us almost that long. You know what I’m talking about. You’re navigating a website and a “box pops up” on your screen.
That’s no problem if they are merely informative. Telling you that you forgot to enter your password or something. No one has a problem with that. It is a time-honored way to inform people, because it is very noticeable.
In fact, personally, I find it very frustrating when I’m trying to complete a form and it refuses to accept it without clearly informing me that something is missing, and showing me what is missing.
Go ahead, bang me in the face with it. Save me from wasting some time.
So that is the good side of pop-ups.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
But how about advertising pop-ups? “sign-up now for a 20% discount!”
Now this is:
a) an unsolicited communication;
b) which is interrupting what you were doing; and
c) making you do something you weren’t planning on doing and (in your mind) didn’t need to do to accomplish what your are trying to do.
The first of these is not in itself a big deal. The vast majority of advertising is unsolicited. People are used to it and nearly everyone accepts it. If they don’t, they must be spending an awful lot of time being mad.
As for the rest, THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE YOU PAY ATTENTION WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT.
GETTING THEIR ATTENTION
Advertising, any advertising, has to capture your attention. If no one is even aware you are communicating – well, you aren’t really communicating. No result.
But how do you do that? Billions of dollars and millions of man hours go into answering that question. Many clever methods have been invented. One of my favorites, some years ago, ads started appearing on the floor of supermarkets. It was virgin territory, and since everyone shopping looks down to some degree, it got a lot of attention.
Growing up in Chicago, looking for a bargain you’d go shopping for clothes on Maxwell Street. The tailors would have a “puller-in” standing on the sidewalk grabbing people and pitching them on how they would look great in a new suit, and walk them into the shop. It was done smoothly and so as not to offend and they sold a lot of suits that way. But what if that guy held a gun to my head and said, come into my shop and let me show you a nice new suit.
ENTICE OR ENFORCE
The big difference is are they trying to ENTICE you into looking at what they have to sell, or are they trying to FORCE you to do so.
People don’t like to be forced to. By study pop-ups are just about as unpopular as root canals.
WHY DO THEY DO IT?
I have two answers for this question. Marketers get desperate. In an increasingly noisy marketing environment, they think they need to get louder and pushier to get their message noticed.
And they have statistics to prove that it works.
But they aren’t making any friends that way and in the long run they lose customers, referrals, and ultimately market share.
The statistics are too short sighted. They don’t paint a true picture. And if the marketers who do this kind of thing put themselves in their prospective customers shoes, they would see that.
You have now entire industries addicted to pop-ups. In banking websites its become near universal. I suppose their marketing people are saying to themselves, “sure, they hate us, but what choice do they have? Everyone is doing it!”
Most people will endure it as opposed to going to the trouble of changing banks, if they could even get away from it that way.
But let me bring out an old saying: “You attract more flies with honey.”