Maybe it’s just a mum thing, but I have noticed that people seem to be yelling more. There is almost a competition to see who can yell the loudest, while drowning out the voices of anyone else who wants to get a word in edgeways.
I am not just talking about parents yelling at their kids in shopping centres, this is happening right across the board in society (especially in people marketing their business).
The Comic Canary in the Mine
I first noticed it with stand-up comedians. A few years ago comedians told stories with wry smiles on their faces; weaving magic with their words until the twist at the end appeared. And people laughed.
And then it changed.
With NEW stand-up comedy, the further a comedian gets into telling a story, the louder they get.
Finally, when they get to the punch line they are yelling at full voice … and … emphasising … each … word.
In Australia, think of Dave Hughes. He cranks his volume as he goes through his skit. Wil Anderson – pumps up the volume. Peter Hellier – loud as well.
I personally blame Seinfeld. The entire show had all the stars turning up the volume on each line.
It’s as if the comedian believes they have to yell to be heard (which may have been true in drunken comedy club open-mike nights – but those buildings are not the whole world).
I have this vision of hundreds of Schools of Stand-Up Comedy around the world, teaching their up and coming comedians, “Listen Mate – You are doing it all wrong. If you want succeed in stand-up you gotta yell”.
The Yelling Spreads
Yelling then migrated over to social media, where trolls all dog pile on a person and shout out any reasoned debate with their volume.
Listen to any live broadcast of Parliament, and the paragons that lead our countries seem to spend more time yelling than actually debating or discussing. You could be forgiven for thinking that the only pre-requisite for parliamentary success is a loud voice and a solid grasp on primary school insults.
With all this yelling happening around them, it is no wonder that businesses see yelling as the way they should be marketing their business in order to yell over their competition.
There are even names for it: Interruption Marketing. This is where you interrupt someone’s day to try and sell stuff to them. It is also known as outbound marketing, traditional marketing, pester marketing and downright annoying marketing.
Do These Marketing Tactics Sound Familiar?
Long headlines – All in caps – finished with loads of exclamation marks. In fact, add in multiple exclamation marks everywhere – throughout your social media updates, your emails and your webcopy. One just isn’t enough: You need at least three to show you are really serious.
Multiple emails/promotions each day touting a business’s wares without stopping to check that the message is being heard and actioned. Why proof-read or even check if sentences make sense? Just crank out a few more emails or social media updates, and add in more exclamation points.
An over-reliance on hyped up adjectives. Each page, newsletter or social media update is amazing, superb, unbelievable, latest invention, state-of-the-art, shocking and never to be repeated. It is “full-on” all of the time. These click bait words are the equivalent of standing next to someone on the bus and yelling in their ear.
Hiring telemarketers to pester the life out of potential clients when they are peacefully going about their business.
Shoehorning in ads that you force people to watch before a video plays and between videos (yes we are looking at you YouTube and pretty much every catch-up TV channel).
The Problem With Yelling At Your Customers
So why is yelling a problem?
Imagine for a moment there is a kid at a new school trying to make friends. Imagine how effective they would be if they spend their lunch break walking up to other kids and yelling at them while they are playing or eating lunch, “Be my friend. I am awesome. I know lots of stuff. I am really amazing.”
Generally, this approach would see the kid gain a nasty nickname and be ostracised from the group.
How do you make friends as a kid? You show an interest in what the other kids are doing and try and fit in with their game. You make eye contact before talking to them. You don’t hog the conversation, but take turns in sharing information.
Imagine now that you are a parent, and your child comes up to you while you are on the phone and starts a chorus of, “Mum. Mum. Mum.” (or Dad. Dad Dad). How happy are you and willing to listen to them right then?
Clients and customers are just kids in bigger clothes.
The problem with yelling at your customers is they hate it. They find ways to block your ads. They hang up on your telemarketers. They unsubscribe from your emails and unlike your pages. They simply switch off.
Yes, you will get a few hardy souls to hang in there and buy your stuff, but you annoy and turn away 97% of potential customers.
Stop yelling! It doesn’t work!
Read the 10 Commandments of Exceptional Customer Service for tips on what does work!
There are Better Ways to Market to Your Clients
Inbound marketing is where you attract people who want to engage with you and your services.
You do this through sharing interesting and relevant content that answers client questions (also known as content marketing), and building loyal communities where you engage and exchange information (the ideal end result of social media marketing).
By being friendly and helpful, people come to you. Your clients find you through Google and word of mouth from their friends and other people they trust. There is no yelling involved.
Read more about the essential ingredients of content marketing.
You are no longer being the annoying kid in the playground, but you become the cool kid all the other kids want to hang out with.
Which would you prefer? Being sought out or shunned? If you are tired of yelling at your customers, you may want to add more inbound marketing strategies into the mix.