The dark side of digital marketing doesn’t include treats. There are only tricks on the menu.

The dark side of digital marketing: not Halloween, but "Halloseen"

October is the month when we celebrate Halloween and look forward to Black Friday.

However, these two events give us a reason to think (once again) about the dark side of digital marketing. In this post, you’ll discover five harmful practices that reveal it.

Those are the practices that may not instil fear, but certainly don’t inspire confidence:

  • GhostCOPYwriting
  • Vampire marketing
  • Black hat SEO
  • Zombie customers
  • Toxic clients

Would you like to find more information regarding the practices that reveal the dark side of digital marketing? Keep reading!

Five harmful practices in digital marketing

In the beginning, let’s see what digital marketing is.

“Basically, digital marketing refers to any online marketing efforts or assets. Email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and even blogging are all great examples of digital marketing—they help introduce people to your company and convince them to buy.”

What is Digital Marketing and How Do I Get Started, Disruptive Advertising

Now that we saw what digital marketing is, note that this type of marketing reflects in many positive practices, but also in those that are by no means positive. 

Find out which five practices belong to this second group.

GhostCOPYwriting

Ghost copywriting

You might have heard about an expression that’s not directly related to the field of marketing. The expression is ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting refers to the practice of anonymous individuals crafting different types of text, from speeches to newspaper articles and literary works.

Their pieces of text are published under the signature of another person, often famous (for example, politicians, pop stars, etc.).

People who engage in this activity we call ghostwriters.

Ghostwriting has got its marketing counterpart in “ghostCOPYwriting”.

Ghostcopywriting involves the practice of anonymous copywriters crafting different types of compelling content.

Their content usually doesn’t contain any signature and belongs to the company on whose website is published.

All the copywriters I know have worked as “ghostCOPYwriters” at least once in their career. They didn’t just felt hidden; they were invisible, just like ghosts.

Vampire marketing

Vampire marketing

Vampire marketing is one of the digital marketing strategies.

This strategy can be used within various types of marketing, from PPC marketing (search engines ads and social network ads) to SMS marketing and email marketing.

Vampire marketing includes those marketing activities that take place at night. The activities direct to an audience which isn’t sleeping at that time.

Different researches have shown that many of those who have problems with insomnia spend much time during the night with their mobile phones, tablets, computers and other digital devices.

And, what’s most important, they focus entirely on the screen.

The night might be the perfect time for commercials and ads that belong to vampire marketing. Unlike vampires, they don’t suck blood but still need something yours: your undivided attention.

Black hat SEO

Black Hat SEO: the dark side of digital marketing

Black hat SEO means the use of a series of aggressive SEO techniques that focus primarily on search engines, rather than website visitors.

Black hat SEO techniques don’t follow any search engine guidelines, but include:

  • Excessive use of keywords (keyword stuffing)
  • Inclusion of keywords out of the context
  • Reaching for invisible or hidden text
  • Changing website content after ranking (page swapping)

When it comes to Halloween, witches are the ones who wear black hats. But when it comes to digital marketing, under the black hat hide those SEO techniques that have to do with “witchcraft”.

Zombie customers

Zombie customers: the dark side of digital marketing

Zombie customers are those customers for whom we can’t say with certainty whether they are “alive” or not.

Those are the customers who show interest in buying. Nevertheless, for some reason, it’s not possible to conclude a purchase-sale relationship with them.

The reasons for not concluding the purchase-sale relationship can be different:

  • Lacking to meet a potential customer
  • Failing in presenting an “irresistible” offer
  • Negotiating with the person who isn’t a decision-maker
  • Missing out the opportunity to neutralise the competition

If you need to make sure if customers are zombies, the simplest way is to “poke” them in a marketing way. Those who are alive always react.

Toxic clients

Toxic clients: the dark side of digital marketing

Toxic clients are those clients who slow down your work process or interfere with your work, in one or more ways.

I wrote about toxic clients in the post about a “666 experience” in copywriting.

There are many ways in which toxic clients negatively can interfere with your work. However, the following five ways are more common than the others:

  • They make communication unnecessarily complicated.
  • Toxic clients drag you into a “whirlpool” of modification and changes.
  • They increase the volume of work, leaving the budget the same.
  • Toxic clients leave you on standby without providing you with the necessary information.
  • They don’t pay the invoice within the agreed deadlines.

Just as there are many types of poisons, there are many ways in which toxic clients can get harm to your company or you. Be careful with them!

The dark side of digital marketing: no treats, just tricks

In the end, we’ve seen five terms that reveal the dark side of digital marketing. Those terms are some of the well known harmful marketing practices.

Thus the concept of “HalloSEEN” (as we’ve already seen it).

However, these five harmful practices don’t exist only during the Halloween time of year, neither they provide the choice as children under masks do when they ask: Trick or treat?

The dark side of digital marketing doesn’t include treats. There are only tricks on the menu.

A Writing-Friendly Question: Do you know any other technique, practice, or term that reveals the dark side of digital marketing?

Stasa Durdic

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and UX writer. Serbian by birth, in Barcelona by occasion, writer by decision. I'm in love with the yellow colour, the art of storytelling, and the following phrase from Don Draper (Mad Men): "The client loves to pay the media, and the CREATIVE loves the PENCILS."

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Categories: Copywriting

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