Yesterday I posted how Stockr had leveraged a spammy technique to get a bunch of people registered for their site. While it most definitely drove a bunch of registrations, it was a beautiful example of over optimization. If you prioritize conversion over building long-term relationships with your customers, your marketing can instantly backfire.

Any startup founder or marketer should be focused on one thing: acquiring more customers. The first step for most businesses is to acquire more leads or registrations. In pseudo marketing math: success = more leads & customers. Let’s say you now spend weeks or months acquiring leads or registrations only to find out that your revenue and/or retention is not growing. What’s going wrong?_

Over Optimization

There’s a good chance you designed a marketing funnel that results in low quality leads and customers. Over-optimization is marketing that prioritizes conversions at the expense of long-term relationships.

There are countless things that can drive low quality leads and customers. Before jumping into some tell tale signs of over-optimization, take a look at the following chart:

over optimization chart

The chart illustrates how over-optimization can destroy your lead quality. Do you really have a 100 percent open rate on your marketing emails? Do your landing pages convert at near 100 percent? You could be a world-class marketer but there’s a better chance you are actually destroying your business. Imagine how much additional work you have to invest just to filter out all the junk leads you get.

Below are just a few tell-tale signs of marketing taken too far.

Super Minimal Landing Pages

It’s great to have a concise call-to-action. However why should a random person on this page trust you? Unless you are sharing a landing page from your personal Facebook profile (or some other personal source), you need to provide contextually relevant information. Why should they give you their email for what you are offering? Providing nothing but a sentence or two can really hurt your results.

Misleading Copy

Yesterday’s Stockr example was a great example of marketing gone wrong. Below is a screenshot of the single page that generated a massive amount of spam for Stockr. While they suggest you are “following your friends” the company actually was blasting out emails to all your contacts. While I haven’t gone through the process, my guess is that there was a checkbox that was checked by default after clicking the button. Whatever the case, it definitely was misleading copy.

follow your friends

Low Quality Lead Sources

This is probably the most likely reason of generating poor results. How often have you spent money on ads only to get low quality leads? This is one of the most common issues. To be fair, this isn’t exactly an over-optimization issue but if you are driving unqualified leads to a highly optimized landing page you are likely to generate poor results.

Manipulating Visitors Is Not The Way To Go

Perhaps the best way to summarize avoiding over-optimization is simply to be honest. Tricking or deceiving people into entering their information does not drive results. However I regularly see marketers who hide information from landing pages and other areas simply for the purpose of getting clicks and leads. The best approach is to be honest and succinct. The result will be higher quality leads that ultimately convert.