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How aggressive marketing tactics can backfire on businesses

After considering how aggressive marketing tactics in our company could backfire, I offer you two examples of how aggressive marketing dissuaded me from purchasing a product I would likely have purchased otherwise.



aggressive marketing tactics

aggressive marketing tactics

Example one: aggressive magazine marketing

My subscription to a magazine I’ve subscribed to for a decade is approaching expiration. Every month for the past 6 months I’ve been getting paper direct mail letters asking me to renew, and wrappers on my magazines. Keep in mind this is something I’ve been a subscriber to for 10 years. I like the magazine, but this year, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to renew it (I’m cutting down on paper). Still, there was a chance I would renew. The barrage of paper really turned me off, as it kept coming with increasing urgency.

Then my last issue arrived. The cover wrapper screamed: LAST ISSUE. RENEW IT OR LOSE IT!

Hmmm. Perhaps I was reading too much into a cover wrap, but my knee jerk reaction was to skim through the magazine, rip out two articles I wanted to read, and toss the entire thing in the garbage. That’s what I do with the dozen or more paper magazines I get. I don’t have time to read them cover to cover, so I skim, rip tearsheets, and file for future reading. Toss the magazine.

Well this particular ultimatum sealed the deal. I can get what I need online from this magazine, so I won’t be renewing. I just don’t feel like it now.

Example two: educational webinars

I am constantly taking real estate courses, some designation courses, some not. I took a non-NAR designation class and I actually learned a lot. I signed up for the monthly webinars and was totally turned off when the leader gave us current market info each month, a technique or two to help the business, and then hammered over and over that more/better info would only be available for another fee, to get a higher level of the designation (the advanced version). I enjoyed the preliminary education and materials. But I didn’t want to pay the additional monthly fee to have the right to the advanced designation.

So when the year came up and it was time to renew the designation, I decided to pass. The emails kept coming: renew your designation OR ELSE. The OR ELSE started out friendly enough, positively listing all the benefits of being in their designation circle. Referrals, knowledge, online directory, database of info. Then, as the weeks went on, it got a little ugly. The final few emails were borderline threatening: if you don’t renew now, you must stop using our logo and our materials. Gee. Great. I don’t use logos on my marketing for all the designations I have anyway! No big loss.

Then I received a final, borderline angry email stating I was no longer a designation holder, and to immediately remove all marketing materials referencing their group from my business cards, flyers, website, etc. The implication was that printing new business cards and flyers would be more expensive than sending them their $99. All I could wonder was did this threat work on other people? Did some fall for this threat and see printing new cards more hassle than sending in the fee? I deleted the email.

How this applies to your business

Now, to get to my point – how are you marketing your services? Are you turning people off by threatening them that using your product or services is more dangerous than NOT hiring you? For example, I overheard a conversation between a home buyer agent and his client. He was asking the buyer to sign a buyer’s agency contract and said, “If you don’t sign this, I don’t represent you. I technically represent the seller. You don’t want me to represent the seller, you want me to represent you and your best interests. Otherwise, I won’t be able to look out for your own best interests in this deal.” Maybe that’s a true statement, but doesn’t it come off a bit like a threat?

I’ve seen ads and marketing on websites where fellow real estate agents list the negatives (rather than the positives) that come off as aggressive. They list what NOT listing with that agent will do to the seller, and what bad things could happen to FSBO sellers, for example. They list the dangers in being an unrepresented buyer. In creating urgency to sign that buyer’s agency form, they may unintentionally be scaring the buyer away from using their services, or at least turning them off.

Take a look at your marketing. What does it say about you and your services or products? Is it written in a positive, upbeat tone? Or an aggressive, threatening style? How would you respond if someone tried to sell you on their services using a threat?

Erica Ramus is the Broker/Owner of Ramus Realty Group in Pottsville, PA. She also teaches real estate licensing courses at Penn State Schuylkill and is extremely active in her community, especially the Rotary Club of Pottsville and the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce. Her background is writing, marketing and publishing, and she is the founder of Schuylkill Living Magazine, the area's regional publication. She lives near Pottsville with her husband and two teenage sons, and an occasional exchange student passing thru who needs a place to stay.

Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.



Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.



Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.



Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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