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  1. #1
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    Question Your Opinion on Exit Splash Pages....
    ....and other dynamic programming tools that attempt to capture more leads or sales?

    What I mean by an Exit Splash is those alert "Don't Leave Yet! Important Bonus Offer" type alert boxes that appear when when a user tries to close or exit a page (usually a sales page), providing buttons to either leave the page, or agree to go to see the next page where the next offer is.

    By other tools of this sort, I mean all variety of pop-ups, sliders, toolbars, etc., that appear on the page and that contain opt-in forms, special offers, membership sign-up, bonus offers, etc..?

    And I am interested in what you think of these techniques more as marketers, not as consumers, since as a consumer you're more likely to be annoyed by such things (even though you'll utilize them anyway), and what your experience and success (or lack therefore) in using them has been.

    (Of course, I'm aware as a marketer that you have to consider how consumers respond...)

    The reason I ask is that elsewhere on ABW I've been informed that such techniques do not conform to the standards of professionalism that users of this site adhere to, so I thought it a good discussion topic since these techniques are being employed all over the Internet and not just by scammy Get Rich Quick programs, and in fact continuous upsell pages are employed by some of the largest online retailers and service.

    My personal opinion is that there is a time and a place and a way to use these techniques that is acceptable both as a marketer and as a consumer.

    I'm really looking forward to everyone's suggestions...


  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    As a consumer, one sure fire way that a site can insure that I never visit them again is by employing these techniques.

    As a marketer, one sure fire way that a merchant can guarantee that I will never promote their site is by employing these techniques.

    Quote Originally Posted by spark3marketing View Post
    My personal opinion is that there is a time and a place and a way to use these techniques that is acceptable both as a marketer and as a consumer.
    I'm sure that there are some incremental sales that can be garnered using these techniques, however, I'm not sure that they would justify the number of prospects that will be lost forever.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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  4. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    To each his own, but in my business model they are unacceptable.

    As a consumer I think they are crap, so I will not subject my serious customers to such behavior. If a potential customer wants to take some time to consider a purchase and I hit them with crap on the way out - I doubt if they will come back. I also like and want repeat customers. Ergo, no pops.

    Of course, to the many people who sell crap once-n-done ebooks, there is likely another side to the coin.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  6. #4
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    **unacceptable**

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  8. #5
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Elaborating on my original comment which I have to assume was the impetus for this thread:

    1. RE: "what you think of these techniques more as marketers, not as consumers, since as a consumer you're more likely to be annoyed by such things ..." You cannot separate the two - a marketer MUST think like a consumer, and as an aware marketer working through the "consumer" perspective, this is so much more than a turn-off, it is a mechanism to totally reverse all benefits of legitimate marketing efforts;

    2. RE "...(even though you'll utilize them anyway)". You must be kidding. No legitimate, mainstream marketer with any experience whatsoever would use this technique.

    3. When I see such things, my instant thought is that my computer has either been or is about to be hit with a virus, and I do not want to take any chance of [further] damage, and rather than click any of your stream of pop-ups, I may instead shut down my computer. Return to your site? NEVER.

    4. RE: "employed by some of the largest online retailers and service". Really? Who?
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  9. #6
    Newbie Arachnophobe96's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    As a consumer, one sure fire way that a site can insure that I never visit them again is by employing these techniques...
    Me too! Unfortunately, these awful techniques do work with some consumers, so we cannot ignore them

  10. #7
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    What I'm trying to do is ATTRACT, not FORCE. So Exit Splash Pages and other unexpected pop-ups are unacceptable for me.

  11. #8
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    Thanks everyone for such a great open-minded discussion!

    It's clear that for most people answering the question, this case is closed here, so it's not going to matter much how I answer or try to clarify the intent of the questions or the misreadings of what I said or why I said them--except:

    4. RE: "employed by some of the largest online retailers and service". Really? Who?
    Here I was talking about the forced upsell stream employed by, for example, Amazon and lots of hosting/domain providers like GoDaddy. The point was to ask whether (and why you think) those techniques are different or better?

    That does not mean I think they are the same thing. It is simply a discussion starter, as was pretty much everything else.

    Also, @stonewilson, your question, while it seems the intent is probably also rhetorical, I'll take as an actual question, since it does cut to the heart of the matter and may even to some extent answer some of the other responses:

    What if, in fact, the upsell or down sell or bonus sell, or the dynamic opt-in form, etc., does in fact make a more attractive offer with greater value that in fact benefits the consumer and that they appreciate getting, thereby mitigating the seeming initial annoyance?

    As consumers, we actually do endure all sorts of things that we say don't like about the techniques and tricks employed by marketers and advertisers. In fact, in mainstream culture, the stereotype and ethical reputation of "ad men" is about on a par with used car salesmen, lawyers, and now hedge fund managers. And yet, the BS never ceases to roll out from Madison Avenue, all the "One Day Sales," and the pretty girls selling cars, and dogs selling beer etc.,--- and they will continue to push the same emotional buttons in us to manipulate us to buy. Why? Because it works: even though so many people will tell you they hate advertising and don't pay it any attention, SOMEBODY out there sure is buying lots SUVs and Viagra and Prozac and Slim Jims and baggy pants in response to the ads.

    My first job in an advertising agency 30 years ago, I was blessed to work with a consultant for DDB. I got a fast education about the hard truth of advertising, which in fact scared me off a bit, as I was confronted with the fact being a consumer did not automatically make me a marketer, which, if you hold dear to the ideal that you would never do anything as a marketer that you wouldn't like to see as a consumer, then that would imply that the only qualification one needs to be a marketer is to be a consumer.

    Of course, no one here would actually say that, would they? Of course not. Being a marketer implies having a unique skill set that everyday consumers don't have. But what is that skill of "marketing"? Is it merely listing Features and Benefits enough? Of course not, there is more to it than that.

    Ultimately, marketing is the skill of psychological and emotional manipulation and coercion of another human being in order to sell them something. Now, to some people, those may be too strong a choice of words, and certainly the methods exist on a scale ranging from the subtle to the brute to the downright dishonest, but I think it's best to be honest about what we do if there's ever to be a reasonable discussion about how we then go about doing that. And I think it also fair to say that this scale is not absolute, is open to debate and opinion, is always in a state of flux and rolls with cultural changes, and depends on many situational factors. For me, it would be entirely disingenuous to get all self-righteous and holier-than-thou and pretend that as a marketer, I only take the high road and only think and react like a consumer and would never stoop to marketing tactics.

    Consumers don't think like marketers, and marketers don't think like consumers.

    Most consumers would probably tell you they don't want to think like marketers, and if they had their chance to take over Madison Avenue, they'd change everything... (kind of like running for president--until you get the job, that is...). They think about how they can DVR their television programs in order to BYPASS the ads...

    ...while marketers think about how they can, as StoneWilson here said, attract the buyer. But you don't want only to attract them (the manipulation part), you're trying to push a button inside that person to get them to take an action (the coercion part). You want to satisfy their desires until you get them to the point that they push the Buy Now button or fill out the form. And how you do that is determined by whether or not consumers, how ever much they may outwardly huff and puff and suffer the minor indignities of being SOLD something, nonetheless respond.

    AND WHY this discrepancy between what we as a culture say we hate about advertising and marketing--and apparently even many of those within the field seem to need to disavow themselves of the activity--and the fact that marketing works, people respond to it, and in fact our consumer culture and economy is driven by it?

    Because, the dirty little secret no one wants to admit is that they actually WANT to be sold. They want you to convince them that what you're selling is something they need to better their life in some way, and they need to know that it's a deal, that they are making a wise choice, and they want you to have enough confidence in your own product tell them they need to buy it now. We love to be sold because we love to buy, and in order to buy, we must somehow be sold first. Then, after we've been sold, we then have to convince ourselves (and the world) that this was a decision made of our own free will that was based on some very complex and ultimately faultless analysis and logic (because we don't want to be wrong or feel duped).

    I also used to work in Real Estate. The biggest thing in every training session -- what it all led up to -- was "the close." You can show a person features and benefits until you're blue in the face, and you could have truly found the perfect house for the client, and yeah, sometimes they would take the initiative and ask where to sign, but every agent will tell you that their sales went up the minute they started asking for the signature as soon as it was established that the home appeared to meet all their criteria. No major arm-twisting, just asking.

    You know what I hate more than anything as a consumer? What's more insulting and annoying than a big old Buy Now button telling me to BUY NOW?! If I want to buy it, I'll buy it! I don't need to be told, I don't need BIG LETTERS and bright colors and exclamation points! What, do they think I'm stupid? I'll buy when I'm ready!

    Jeez, I guess I did have a response after all.:
    Last edited by spark3marketing; May 31st, 2011 at 08:26 PM. Reason: clarify

  12. #9
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spark3marketing View Post
    You know what I hate more than anything as a consumer? What's more insulting and annoying than a big old Buy Now button telling me to BUY NOW?! If I want to buy it, I'll buy it! I don't need to be told, I don't need BIG LETTERS and bright colors and exclamation points! What, do they think I'm stupid? I'll buy when I'm ready
    All excellent points! Using a "Buy" button is recommended here by some top affs.

    Many decades ago, I worked for a marketing firm that did the direct mail pieces for Reader's Digest. I was always amazed that folks would read through these extensively wordy pieces. But they worked & produced mega sales.

    Yup, bypassing the logical mind, top marketers/advertisers know it's in the subconscious mind the consumer "take action" button resides. Being on both sides of the fence, I recognize the manipulation, however, I'm not immune to the prompts that mainline into my subconscious...and have laughed when I finally stopped myself at the "enter your credit card number."

    Words are powerful. Remember, "In the beginning was the Word..."

    P.S. - Repetition matters, mightily.
    Last edited by JoyUnltd; June 1st, 2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: P.S.
    Renée
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  13. #10
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    Joyunltd: Thanks for getting the point I was trying to make. I was wondering if what I'd intended had translated correctly, and if I'd managed to somehow further upset anyone who'd previously answered.

    The origins of this thread is that, for the first time, and with some trepidation, I installed a very simple, easy to leave, single exit splash page on a sales page, and the general reaction here seems to be as if I'd mugged an elderly widow, while others were even more hysterical (LOL- a standard browser alert window is a virus--seriously?).

    So I was curious what others here thought about the use of such things, as well as any other less intrusive dynamic programming methods. I am now wondering if what I am referring to may not be familiar to others here and they are picturing the type of endless immediate pop-up pages that were being employed at one time a number of years ago (which I do not like either as a marketer or a consumer). I also wonder if, since most of the people here are affiliate managers, who by nature operate back-end programs, have a different perspective because they don't market or advertise directly to the general public. That's the world I come from. From my experience thus far, the administration of an affiliate program does not require the same kind of effort at selling and getting people to the Buy Now button.

    Regarding the Buy Now button: that was indeed meant to be ironic, since I in fact employ the Buy Now button fairly liberally, and especially on the offending page in question. The point was that as a consumer, I may react one way, but as a marketer, I know I have to think another way. And, that even the seemingly simplest and most commonly employed and accepted method contains more than a tad of "coercive" intent that could be seen as as much of an intrusion as an exit page. Except that it's become accepted, and people are used to it (overall).

    So it seems to me that if you say you don't do anything as marketer you don't like as a consumer--to me that means you simply don't really understand what the nature of your job is, or just aren't being totally honest. To be in marketing and advertising means having an understanding of the psychology of buying, and that you utilize that knowledge for the benefit of your clients. The average consumer does not have that same kind or level of knowledge.

    That does not mean you have to lie to people and are scamming them. It's only a lie and a scam if it does not deliver as promised or literally steals people's money.

    As a marketer, you tread this fine line between what you do as a profession on one side and how you feel as a consumer on the other side, and there is some tension between the two, and this tension acts as a corrective --unless you're not an out-and-out sociopath--to keep you honest.

    What I see happening is that, as the advertising and marketing on the Web continues to grow and evolve--it is a very new medium, after all, but one which is rapidly overtaking many others--some of these upsell and bonus-sell techniques are going to evolve and become more accepted and part of the norm. The way that Amazon (and many other large retailers) already does it, for example, is not to suddenly pop-up a new page when you try to leave the site, but as you check out, they present you with more offers on every progressive page, rather than simply checking you out immediately. Some of the biggest hosting companies employ a more aggressive policy of page after page of offers and upsells.

    At least half of the Blogs and many other sites I visit these days have a pop-up of some kind which has an opt-in form box or some kind of offer--as well as absolutely positioned "toolbars" that are stuck to one side of the page. And yes, I am finding more an more of the new type of dreaded "Exit Splash" page all over that I am testing out now. This type of system does not automatically pop-up an entirely new site or page in someone's face unexpectedly. When they leave, it uses the browsers built-in Alert dialogue to simply and clearly ask if they want to see a better bonus offer or not. They can choose not to, and they are let go to completely leave the site. While you can chain these offers one after the other, I'm using a single level.

    And no, I don't see on any of the major retailers using this (yet)--however they have much more subtle means of achieving the same type of thing, and they have have much stickier sites to begin with. When you have a single product offer, you don't get as many chances in front of the user.

    People would not be employing these techniques if they did not work-- and by work, I mean that LOTS of consumers respond to them and use them rather than running away screaming that there's a virus on their computer. People are reporting increased response, leads, and sales. Simple, dynamically scripted pop-up boxes, at the very least, I feel are now part of the landscape and in the toolbox of the serious developer and marketer. To use them does not make you a "scammer." What defines "mainstream" for you is a function of the environment in which you operate. You can choose not to use them if you as an individual are so conservative and hate them so much, but you may in fact be leaving some leads and sales behind.

    Last edited by spark3marketing; June 8th, 2011 at 12:04 PM.

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  15. #11
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    No-one likes a pushy sales person. Imagine if you were in a B&M retail store. You've browsed for a while and either didn't find what you were looking for or wasn't really looking for anything in particular and was just window shopping. Now it's time to leave and you need to meet your spouse at the restaurant down the street. But the exit is blocked, one of the stores sales people has decided that you're not leaving until he makes one last attempt to sell you something. You express your desire to leave and the sales person refuses to budge until you listen to one last sales pitch.

    Would you consider that acceptable behavior? And if not, why would the same type of behavior be acceptable online? Just because it's online doesn't mean that anything goes. Anonymity doesn't mean that taste needs to be abandoned. Tacky is tacky, even in cyberspace.

    My biggest issue with this type of pop-up is that for a moment in time it takes control of my browser and ignores my intentions. When I click that X or back arrow at the top of the browser window I expect the window to close or return to the previous window. If you want to determine what my bowser does, than pay a portion of my ISP bill, otherwise, HANDS-OFF!!

    And BTW, the majority of members that have responded to this thread are affiliates, not affiliate managers.

    -rematt
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  17. #12
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That kind of tactic is bad enough on an ignorant affiliate's site. On a merchant's site where we send our hard won visitors, it is a tool that bites the hand that feeds it. What does it say about the site that sent them to it? I don't feel that I need to wrestle my visitors to the ground to get them to buy, if you do, there might be something missing from whatever you're trying to sell.

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  19. #13
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spark3marketing View Post
    The origins of this thread is that, for the first time, and with some trepidation, I installed a very simple, easy to leave, single exit splash page on a sales page...

    Regarding the Buy Now button: that was indeed meant to be ironic, since I in fact employ the Buy Now button fairly liberally, and especially on the offending page in question...
    Personally, I despise the pop-up exit pages, especially when the new marketing junk came along with the message to "cancel" or "continue." Cancel always meant "leave or quit" to me, now it means "stay." "Continue" means "leave." This is purposly done to confuse consumers. Info products, membership subscriptions, etc. seem to be the types of aff sites that use these techniques.

    As most here have product-driven affiliate sites, a pop-up exit page not only isn't highly inappropriate but with some merchant TOS, not permitted to be used by an affiliate.

    Re Buy buttons: yes, I knew you were being ironic. I recently added "Buy" buttons, not with screaming colors or caps, but to prevent confusion for shoppers who don't know where clicking an image or a text link is going to send them on a page with many products displayed. Thanks to 2busy and other here for making me realize this simple one. Anything that reduces shopper confusion is a good thing.

    Coming from a marketing background, I understand your points, even though I choose not to use them myself, mainly as I'm an affiliate. If I were a merchant, would I do upsells? Of course, it would be madness not to.

    Re: repetition counts. Affiliates can use newsletters. They can subtly upsell by showing related products (say luggage + personalized luggage tags). There's many ways to accomplish what you're saying, but I think primarily you should understand that consumer goods aff sits are not the same as info product/membership subscription sites. Not only in intent but by being legally bound to a merchant's TOS as mentioned above.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  20. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    I personally don't like them. Not from a marketer's standpoint, but from a consumer's.

    Toyed with the idea of putting them on a few sites a couple of years ago and had discussions about it on different forums. Bottom line, determined they didn't fit our business model nor the products we were promoting.

    You present a beautiful argument and enjoyed reading it - I was almost sold. Maybe if there was a pop up as I was leaving the thread...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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