Many people love a cute photo or video of a dog and some marketing ‘strategies’ are doing their best to make use of that.
I enjoy a good scroll through Pinterest but I’ve noticed recently that there’s a lot of misleading and irrelevant marketing going on there through the use of both paid and unpaid pins.
I pin a lot of cute dogs on my personal profile but I’ve found that, if I click through to the accompanying link, I’ll often end up somewhere like Amazon looking at a product that has absolutely nothing to do with dogs.
What the pinner is trying to do here is catch your attention with something they know you’ll like in order to get you to a site where you will (they hope) buy their products.
Why this marketing ‘strategy’ doesn’t work
I use the word strategy here very loosely.
One of the most important things to remember when creating an advert – whether that’s on social media, a directory site, print media or TV – is that it must relate to your brand and product. Without that connection, your audience gets confused or annoyed, and your advert will come across as spam (which it would be!).
On the surface, it may look as though posting a cute dog picture is working. You post, users click on the link and then they land on your site. Think of all the people who love dogs and all the people who will click on the link to find out more and BOOM, suddenly your traffic has skyrocketed!
Unfortunately, traffic isn’t the be all and end all. If you have millions of visitors to your site every month but next to no sales, then what have you achieved? At best, you’ve wasted your time putting together and uploading these pins. At worst, you turn away potentially genuine customers and destroy your Google rankings.
Putting customers off
More than anything, these tactics are annoying to the potential customer. You’ve wasted their time and, although you might make an impression with them, it’s going to be a negative one. They’ll remember you for the bad experience, and that’s what they’ll tell their friends about.
Who knows but their friends may have been looking for EXACTLY your product, but there’s no way they’ll buy from you now. You’ve lost the trust.
Destroying your Google rankings
Google has measures many, many factors to decide whether to show your website when someone types in a relative search term. And one of those factors is how long people spend on your site.
If someone clicks on your cute dog picture, heads to your site, and finds that this is NOT what they expected, they’ll leave your site immediately. Multiply that many times over and your million monthly hits are suddenly doing a LOT of damage to your Google listing. You’re basically indicating to the search engine that your site is rubbish.
What to do instead
If marketing were easy, then everyone would be millionaires.
But it takes patience. Tactics that seem to be paying off in the short time are most likely to have a negative affect in the long term.
To plan your marketing strategy, you need to sit down and really think things out, come up with ideas, work out how you’ll implement them, and make a start. Consider your budget, available time, ideal audience, possible platforms, imagery, tone of voice, branding, measurement… There’s lots to think about but the more time you spend planning, the better your results will be.
What about your product makes it stand out? What is it that makes your customers want to buy (research this with your actual customers!)? How are you portraying your product? Where are people seeing it?
And remember: cute dogs should only be used to market dog-related products!