If you’ve enticed me to your website with content. LET ME READ IT.
One thing that annoys me more than any other, is forced marketing. If I cared enough to visit your website based on the title of your article, don’t push your marketing with layers of ads splashed over the top of your content, preventing me from reading it, because I will EXIT.
So why do websites post that crap over the top of their content?
Because they’re posting shoddy content, with intent to get clicks only. They don’t value your input, they demand your attention. Some clicks are paid clicks, but more often than not, they only want your contact information so they can contact with you, or so you increase their ad market numbers. Liking their Facebook page is akin to giving them your email address.
As a marketer, I’m angered more than offended by such reckless and pushy marketing strategies. As a person, I’m frustrated that marketers feel the need to push their views onto me, instead of allowing me to freely click after I’ve read their content. And I’m ANGRY that you think you can control me.
There are better ways to market than the pushy, shoddy attempts at controlling the reader, or worse, pushing forced marketing that prevents readers from getting what they wanted in the first place, by forcing them to do what you want first.
I vaguely remember the marketing class in college where my instructor pointed out the skill levels of marketers between those who forced the buyer to sign on the dotted line through coercion, and those who market their product based on value and benefits and allowed the buyer to make a decision based on their personal desire to have what was offered.
Mark was an encyclopedia salesmen at the end of an era. The computer had begun to evolve and my entire shelf of Britannica had been replaced by EnCarta on a single disc, and the World Wide Information Highway had begun to line up with content managers who shared more information than any one person could ever need to know.
He knocked on my door one afternoon, with a briefcase in his hand, wearing a black suite, white shirt, gray tie, and shiny shoes. His comb over reminded me of Bob Hope, and I’d spent the morning cleaning poopy diapers, picking up messes, and rearranging the toy collection on my floor.
Karen had stopped by for coffee, and we had just pulled her out of the abyss that was one end of my sofa, where the springs and support had disappeared under the cushion, allowing any who sat on that end of the couch to fall into the black hole never to be found again. For some unknown reason, I invited the salesman in and asked if he’d like a cup of coffee. (People still did that back in 1993.)
Karen stood in the living room, after we’d managed to get kids down for naps, and talked to him while I went after his coffee. With three cups of coffee on a small tray, with cream and sugar, I returned to the living room, and we all sat down. After, hesitating for a moment over the middle of the couch, where he would have been safe to sit, he moved to the end, plopped his short round body into the abyss.
He sunk down, down, down… until his head and his feet were visible. The rest of him had disappeared into the frame of the couch. Suddenly the combover was twitching, his eyebrows shot up, and fear circled the darkening pupils of his eyes. His arms at his sides were tucked safely into the abyss beside him. He was stuck.
I felt it somewhere near my left ankle… It started with a chortle, a bit of a rumble that escaped my red cable knit socks and dribbled over the top of my white Nikes, flowing up my leg with a tingle, until my whole body was shaking, and laughter exploded from my face like lava from a volcano. Karen followed. Laughter, giggling, mania, hysteria, and the rumble of rolling laughter so hard farts followed, aghast with embarrassment and more laughter.
The little man horrified by our response, by his predicament, gasped out, “Help me.”
To which we responded with more maniacal laughter, unable to do anything to rescue him. Tears filled our eyes, ran down our faces, and we laughed. Belly laughing in waves of hysteria, we continued to laugh until we stopped.
Horrified at our own response to this poor man, we attempted to stand, to help him, and my sense of decorum escaped momentarily, as we shifted into that realm of mass hysteria once again, I said, “It works every time. What shall we do with this one? We buried the last salesman in the backyard, but it was dark.”
I don’t know what made me say it. I mean… I’m a writer, so finding new and hideous ways to murder my victim isn’t unheard of, but to say such a thing to a real person, who is totally STUCK in the abyss that I called (oddly enough) a sofa while fear filled his eyes, was unforgivable.
I’m relatively certain there was more laughter as I moved the tray of coffee, cream, and sugar to a different table, and Karen moved the coffee table out of the way so we could help him out of the abyss, but…
There was also something akin to horror from both of us, at my words, the look on his face, and the terrified, blood curdling scream he let out as he realized he was truly trapped by the couch.
Humor had suddenly disappeared from the situation as we reached into the overstuffed cushions and took a good grip just beneath his shoulders, each of us pulling for everything we had, to remove him from the deep. Slowly, we were able to lift him out of the couch, and stand him on his feet.
“I’m so sorry, first for allowing you to sit on that corner of the couch – we just dug Karen out of there an hour ago, when she sat there – and for laughing. It was cruel to laugh at you, and I’m sorry. Please do have a safer seat, and let’s have that coffee, before it gets cold.” I invited him to change chairs with me, and I sat in the middle of the couch after fixing the cushion back into place.
He opened his briefcase, after hearing our story of the abyss, and ultimately finding it hilarious himself… And showed us the magnificent beauty of a whole shelf filled with World Book Encyclopedia, at a reasonable cost of $3,436, available for the next twenty-four hours, at just $238 a month for the next sixty months. (Because sixty months sounds like a shorter period of time than five years.)
I felt horrible about him falling into the abyss, but I just couldn’t convince myself I was $238 a month horrible.
I told him no.
So, he tried a different tactic. He showed me a copy of the world book from his briefcase. Updated every year, I would need to subscribe to their annual update at just $450 a year, if I bought the whole set today, discounted to just $198 a month for eighty four months.
I told him no.
He tried again. The subscription came with a side subscription of National Geographic Magazine, for just an additional $32 a month.
I no longer felt bad about him sitting in the abyss.
I told him no.
He tried again. He added a select group of additional magazines that I could have for that same monthly price, along with the encyclopedia, the world year book, and the National Geographic, and I would only be paying $142. 97 for one hundred and twenty months, because that sounds so much shorter than ten years.
I was reconsidering places to bury the body. Dark was getting closer.
I told him no.
I suggested he leave so I could prepare dinner for my children.
He tried again.
I stood up and Karen stood up. I put his things back in the briefcase, closed it, and handed it to Karen. I took his arm, and led him to the door.
He offered to bring in a box of the Encyclopedia to show us the physical books.
I considered again where I might be able to bury the body, decided against it… He didn’t appear to be the type to easily decompose, Karen even indicated that he might be well preserved by his alcohol consumption.
I suggested he do that, and he walked out the door. Karen put his briefcase on the front step. We closed the door, locked it, and turned off the lights.
In a marketing book I wrote several years ago, Mark appeared to display his marketing style. I may or may not have revealed my awful behavior when he fell into my couch. But the concept of the pushy sales representative is real.
And it doesn’t have to be. If you want to sell something, share your offer, provide the information, and let your buyer make the buying decision. You don’t have to FORCE a sale, to make money selling online.
I wonder where Karen is… I haven’t seen her in ages.