Which would you say is worse: a mistake that prevents you from gaining a new customer, or one that loses an existing customer?

They're both bad. But the mistake that loses an existing customer is worse, because if it's bad enough to change someone's good opinion of you, it's surely more than enough to turn new prospects away too.

Here are a few things other internet marketers are doing that sour my opinion of them.

#1 Infinite Length Videos

Nobody's videos really last forever, but some seem like they do. And it's not because they're long. It's because they don't have playback controls, so there's no way of knowing how long they are, and no way to skip over the boring parts.

I'm guessing that the goal is to force people to listen to every word of the sales pitch. But guess what. You don't get to control things on the internet. If you try to control me, I'll just leave.

Sales letters are written for skimming, with bold headlines, hilighting, images, etc., to stop visitors at the parts that are interesting to them. Videos aren't skimmable in the same way, but offering playback controls at least gives me the expected level of control of my online experience.

Videos with no controls and nothing to indicate how long they are offend me. They tell me that the marketer thinks too much of theirself and their message, and doesn't respect me and my time. I don't like and trust people like that, and I don't buy from them.

If you're going to publish an eternal video, there's one thing you absolutely must do: cut, cut, cut! Edit yourself mercilessly, cutting out anything boring or slow. Cut everything that you put in more for yourself than the customer. Then if you're really lucky and your message is perfectly targeted at me, you might hold my interest well enough for me to forget that you're trying to hold me hostage.

But don't count on it.

#2 Saying "Go! Go! Go!"

I see this with product launch emails all the time. Sometimes the marketer is telling affiliates "it's time to promote -- go, go, go!" Sometime they're telling their list "it's time to buy - go, go, go!"

Reader Comment:
Jan Gregory said:
Hi Antone, I agree wholeheartedly with all 3 or your items. Smacks of propaganda and egotistical dictators assuming everyone is part of a herd they can stampede to the slaughter pens with control techniques. I go way back in internet marketi...
(join the conversation below)

Either way, the message I hear is "run, you little lemming, run!" I can almost hear the marketer laughing as everyone they've whipped into a frenzy plunges over the cliff.

Maybe if I actually had been whipped into a frenzy; maybe if I felt like part of a community that was working together for a common goal -- for a common good (rather than for the scraps that fall from the rich guru's table); maybe if I felt like the message was "let's go" rather than "you there, get going!" -- maybe then "go, go, go!" would light a fire in my belly.

But it doesn't. It's more like heartburn. Fine, I'll go, go, go. And I'll never come back.

#3 Color-by-Numbers Sales Letters

There are all sorts of worn out sales letter templates. The one I hate most goes like this: "Make gobs of money", "proof" of earnings, list of things the product isn't (nothing about what it is), testimonials, bonuses, guarantee, offer.

I'm not saying that template-based sales letters don't work. Some of the templates are based on years of testing, and do a great job of introducing products. The one's that really turn me off are those that could be used almost as-is to promote anything, because they spend so little time talking about the actual product.

When I see those, I assume that the product is a scam. And how do you think that makes me feel about anyone who promotes it? It doesn't matter whether it's your product or whether you're an affiliate -- now you're a scammer in my book.

It's About Respect

The biggest turn-offs for me are things that disrespect the customer. Hype. Cockiness. Broken promises. While I may not buy from an honest person with a poor quality product, I'm willing to keep talking to them. Maybe someday they'll release something that gets me to open my wallet.

But try to cheat or look down your nose at me, and you'd better not count on ever seeing me again.

What do you think? What are marketers doing that kills any chance of making a sale to you? Share you comments below.

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