13 Ways To Generate Customer Hate
Ian Lurie May 13 2008
Let’s face it. Customers are a pain in the ass.
Always asking for annoying things like service, honesty, quality. Always whining if they don’t get what they want.
Well, you’re in luck. Here’s my 13-step process for making sure your customers hate you. Just build these features into your web site. They’re like an internet marketing mullet:
1: The Flash Intro
I’ve written about this three times now. Somehow people still argue with me, saying that 120 seconds of totally pointless dancing raisins, spinning squares and cheesy, porn-inspired music loops is a good marketing tactic.
It’s not. It’s. Just. Not.
How do you feel when they show commercials at the movie theater? They get in the way, right?
So does that nasty, pointless flash intro. It’s like a sleezy sales guy standing outside The Ritz.
Even worse, it drives away the search engines, too.
If you want your customers to hate you, put a nice, long Flash intro on your home page. Even better, make sure there’s no way to skip it.
2: Mouse Trails
- Drive me into a mindless rage, so that I turn green, rush through the brick wall in my office and run around the city throwing tanks and stuff.
- Make your customers wish they didn’t know you.
3: The Blink Tag
If it didn’t, count yourself lucky, and never, ever use this tag. If you do, your customers will, I promise, detest you.
(suggested by Deege)
4: The Every Page Link
You don’t really have to link back to your webmaster/designer from every single page of your site. I swear.
Although I probably have a few of those out there somewhere. Cough.
(suggested by Maniactive)
5: Animated Buttons
Use any of these on your site and I will find your server, pour a milkshake into the power supply and then run down the street shrieking with laughter.
And Seanmag just sent me this beaut:
Which, by the way, is repeated about 40 times on the guilty home page.
And don’t tell me these “catch the customer’s eye”, either. It doesn’t catch their eye. It makes them want to poke it out.
If you want your customers to despise you, use lots and lots of animated buttons.
6: Take Over My Browser, Why Dontcha?
Gotta love this one. You go to a web site. Then your browser blinks, goes into a kind of fit, and suddenly fills your whole screen.
What the hell?!
That’s actually OK, unless you’re like me and have a 24″ monitor. Then:
- Your browser suddenly explodes in your face like you’ve entered hyperspace.
- The web site you visited appears as a tiny little rectangle in the middle of the screen
- OR your computer crashes because it can’t handle drawing an animation at 5x normal size.
If you want your customers to find sticks with rusty nails in them and then find you, take over their browser and make it really big.
7: Have a Soundtrack
Some sites might deserve a soundtrack.
But if you’re a Realtor, I don’t want to hear the first ten bars of the Star Spangled Banner, converted to tinny MIDI format, played over and over.
Want everyone to wish a pox on both your houses? Have an annoying, repetitious soundtrack.
8: Write Really Long Sentences With No Punctuation and Then Use Bad Grammar Too So That I can’t Tell What the Hell You’re Saying
Please, just hire a copywriter, OK?
Or, just keep writing crappy copy. So that your customers can hate you.
9: Have An Incomprehensible Tag Cloud
Mikefj40 sent me this one. I don’t hate all tag clouds. But every now and then I see one with 250+ terms in 4 colors and almost infinite different sizes.
It’s like the blogger wants me to run away.
Obstacle-oriented design. I love it.
‘Hate’ might be too strong a word for this one, but trust me, folks won’t like you if you use a horrifically large, impossible to read tag cloud.
10: Make Me Register
Oh, no you didn’t! You did not just sell me on your product, get me all happy to buy it, and then ask me to fill out an entire registration form for the honor of giving you my money!
Actually, at least 1/2 the e-commerce sites I see still do exactly that.
“We want to make sure we can contact them,” is what I hear a lot. I also get “We want them to be able to order more quickly next time.”
Then give them the option of saving their information, at the end of the checkout process. Gasp.
If you want your customers to really, truly, eternally wish you damned to the deepest, darkest corner of a wormhole-infested collapsing galaxy, then by all means, make them register and log in to buy stuff.
11: Creating Your Own Currency
You have a cute dot bomb idea. You want to put your unique stamp on it.
You could execute really well, have great service, and offer something that enhances people’s lives.
Or you could force your customers to convert real currency into some ridiculous branded currency like ‘fooz bucks’ or some such.
Guess what? Do this, and your customers will hate you.
12: Make a Popup Appear When I (try to) Leave
I visit your site. I don’t like you, or I’m not ready to buy right now.
Do you really think that popping up a window when I try to leave is going to make me change my mind?
Let’s see: “Hmmm. I didn’t really need what you have to sell me. But since you’re being unbelievably annoying, I’ll think I’ll buy something.”
If you want your customers outside your house with pitchforks, have a popup window that appears when they try to leave your site.
13: Use Images That Make Me Feel Dirty
Images like this really win my confidence:
The good news is, with an image like this on your home page you can make your customers hate you in mere seconds, saving lots of pageviews and bandwidth.
There you go. You can now reduce your workload with 13 easy steps. Get out there and generate some customer hate!!!!
I polled my Twitter friends to get some of the ideas in this post, and gave credit where credit was due. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you can find my profile at www.twitter.com/portentint.
Did you know I wrote a book? I did. You can buy or read it here.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More