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The Scariest Costumes to Wear to an Inbound Marketing Halloween Party

Posted by: Duo on Oct 21, 2015 12:53:43 PM in Marketing

Halloween is just around the corner and the conversations have begun. What are you going to be for Halloween? Have you picked out your costume yet? How are you going to celebrate? As a true marketing nerd I’ll admit I was once a tweet for Halloween. Sporting my HubSpot t-shirt and some blue angel wings I spoke in exactly 140-character phrases…okay I’m kidding about that last part but the costume was real. 

As inbound marketers we know there is still plenty of bad marketing out there. While we do our best to create marketing people love we can’t help but run into some truly terrifying marketing tactics from time to time. So here are some of what I consider the most scream-worthy marketing tactics turned into truly terrifying Halloween costumes!

SPAM Email

Costume pieces needed:

  • Your typical SPAM costume OR
  • A white t-shirt with a red circle on it with a white exclamation point in the center
  • Walk up to people asking if they want to win a free iPad
  • Congratulate everyone on winning a free cruise!

SPAM emails are definitely scary. We all hate getting them. However, SPAM emails are particularly scary when you’re the one sending them! The risks associated with sending SPAM emails or violating CAN-SPAM laws are no joke. It could result in damaging your ability to send emails in the future even to those who have asked to hear from you. Plus, sending emails to people who didn’t ask for them makes you kind of a monster. Don’t be a monster. Always require people to opt-in to hearing from you, give them a clear way to unsubscribe, make your email subject match the message in your email copy and always have the required information in your footer.

Cold Calling

Costume pieces needed:

  • All silver, blue and white clothing
  • Winter coat, scarf, gloves, and hat
  • Your cell phone or an old landline phone with a cord
  • A binder with a list and script
  • Go all out with blue lipstick

I don’t think we need to go over why cold calling is, well, chilling. It’s about as scary as Alec Baldwin yelling at you to “always be closing!” People are just downright sick of being sold to and with the internet they can complete at least the first half, if not more, of the sales process themselves before ever talking to a salesperson.

However, if you’re looking for a hero+villain combination costume you could go as cold calling and HubSpot’s Sidekick app! Sidekick helps connect salespeople with warm prospects early in their search so salespeople can get to know them and build a relationship. Sales reps can even get a warm introduction using Sidekick Connections to help build their pipeline.

Purchased List

  • Costume pieces needed:
  • A white t-shirt
  • Write terrible email addresses all over like “info@yourcompany.com
  • Write out your email on the back starting with “dear sir or madam.”
  • Draw some graphs with terrible deliverability and bounce rates on the back

I realize I eat, sleep and breathe marketing but I actually have had a nightmare about being forced to email to a huge purchased list. This terrifying method of cramming unwarranted content into inboxes is of course not only unsuccessful but also risks destroying your deliverability. Not to mention it likely violates your email service provider’s (ESP) terms of service. These lists are also typically full of old emails, spam-trap emails, emails that no longer exist and info@ emails that will send you a completely useless auto response thanking you for contacting them. The fact of the matter is good email lists just aren’t for sale. Good lists take time and effort to cultivate and maintain and must be done manually over time with dedication and nurturing.

Vanity Metrics

Costume pieces needed:

  • A tank top with lots of metrics and labels such as likes, opens, followers and traffic
  • Carry around a mirror with a handle or pocket mirror
  • Be sure to wear lots of makeup 

By far my favorite funny marketing metrics video is this video from Vooza about metrics. It’s so spot on and shows how even a million subscribers will mean nothing if they aren’t engaged and genuinely interested in your product or service. The danger of vanity metrics is they show positive progress that isn’t actually affecting your organization’s progress overall. All too often the boss wants the best looking data that shows “up-and-to-the-right” progress even if it isn’t the right data to be reporting on. You want to focus on data that helps inform your decisions about how to continue with your marketing strategy, what to invest in and what to pull back on. You also want your metrics to be informed by your SMART goals. Simply increasing traffic might seem nice but if you’re not specific you could be adding traffic from an entirely wrong market or even “ghost spam traffic.” Now that’s scary. 

Keyword Stuffing

Costume pieces needed:

  • White sweatshirt and sweatpants stuffed with pillows or blankets
  • The same few keywords written all over your outfit interspersed with filler words,
  • Bonus: write I <3 Google on the back

Well this is a Halloween costumes blog is about Halloween costumes so I have to say Halloween costumes at least 25 times or it won’t rank for Halloween costumes, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. The days of cramming as many of your keyword as you can into your post are long gone. While it’s still important to communicate to Google (and humans searching) what your post is about, putting your keyword in a certain number of times will not make you rank any higher. Instead focus on writing truly helpful, uniquely compelling content that gets shared and converts well.


Click-Bait Post Title

Costume pieces needed:

A t-shirt that says phrases like:

  • “I had a great costume before THIS happened”
  • “What costume should you wear for Halloween? Take this quiz!”
  • “Top 10 Halloween costumes for dogs in 2015”

And finally, we arrive at the ever popular click-bait post titles, quiz posts and list posts. Not that these are inherently bad. In fact, lists posts are incredibly well received by most because they’re easy to digest and have a clear outline that’s easy to follow. Plus, compelling titles will definitely get attention. The real danger here is a post title that doesn’t match the message of your actual post. Just as you want ad copy to match the copy on the landing page destination, you want your blog post to accurately answer the question or cover the topic proposed in your post title. Creating a title that is interesting and captivating enough purely because of the usefulness or uniqueness of the topic is a much better route than simply creating a cliffhanger where people want to know the rest of the sentence.

A Final Note: I was going to include Google+ as a scary inbound marketing Halloween costume but let’s face it...anyone dressed as Google+ wouldn’t get invited to the party. 

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