Bullying for Conversions is Seriously Wrong.
Believe it or not, but there are some websites out there that will effectively attempt to bully their users into doing whatever it is that they want. The drive to beat the competition and get that all important conversion will always lead to some companies, or individuals, being willing to do anything that they believe that they can get away with to get to that desired end result.
However, when you look at some of these approaches in more detail, what you see is that it basically equates to online bullying.
One of the main approaches that is used is what is known as manipulinks, and the name is pretty descriptive. This is where websites attempt to make the user feel bad about something so they are hit by this guilty feeling and are then compelled to take a different course of action. As you can imagine, this can be rather effective and will undoubtedly work with a percentage of people, but you must agree that it is hardly fair and should never sit well on your shoulders.
To give you a good example of what we mean, think about those screens that pop up out of nowhere when you are attempting to leave a website. With that pop up, you will now see a line that says something such as ‘no I don’t want a great deal’ whereas before it would just say something along the lines of ‘exit’ or ‘leave’.
That is a blatant attempt to manipulate people via design, and you can already see why some people would then feel tempted to enter their email, sign up to a newsletter, or even go through with a purchase that they were thinking about leaving behind.
The pop up is hardly new. Actually, it has been pushing conversions since pretty much the origins of the Internet but adding in these new lines of text is certainly something that is relatively recent in origin. They have always been a source of irritation for individuals, but it could be argued that this irritation has just been taken to a new level.
But then, you may be wondering why people don’t just click away and pass it off as an annoyance. Well, it comes down to the marketing component as there is a tendency to make sure that the message hits home hard. There are even examples where it makes the person feel as if they are saying that they don’t want to help some cause, or don’t want to save money. It goes against what the person actually feels or thinks, so it the triggers a different reaction or it will simply not sit well with them.
So, who is to blame for the rise in the usage of these links that seek to merely manipulate individuals? Well, even though some will blame web designers, the blame lies at the hands of those that focus more on marketing. The origins can even angle towards those websites that push the hard sell where conversions, and not much else, are all that matters.
Playing with emotions is hardly new in marketing, but this is certainly an aggressive slant that should be tackled or who knows where it is all going to end up? What starts with a pop up can easily evolve into more aggressive text on websites, bullying style videos and images that attack the senses and the morals of the people that visit the websites. You can even see e-commerce websites using something similar when people abandon their shopping cart, and that is a line that just should not be crossed. If your marketing message is not able to convert people using normal means, then there is an issue with your marketing and nothing else.
If you operate in a tough environment, then choose the moral high ground with all of this, and look at ways in which you can use current marketing and design approaches to get people to do what you want them to do. There are a multitude of clever tricks and tips that can achieve this without you going down a path that just feels awkward and unsettling to so many people. Create a better marketing and design plan, and don’t be afraid to change things around if you aren’t getting the kind of results that you were hoping for. This is better than smashing the emotions of people and at least you will be able to sleep more easily at night.