Be careful with autoplay to avoid annoying your pet internet customers

Yesterday I was on a conference call with two copywriter colleagues, and we were discussing companies we’d like to work for. Together, we visited the website of one particular company, and suddenly a loud audio stream started playing with a woman’s voice chirping away regarding all the wonderful qualities of the company. It completely disrupted our conversation and was annoying, to say the least.

Even worse, I couldn’t find a way to quickly turn it off. And as seconds went by, seeming like hours, my eyes darted around the site looking for an OFF button. I finally resorted to my own MUTE option in my computer system while apologizing to my colleagues. This embarrassing and completely unnecessary episode is the springboard for today’s tip.

Online audio and video clips are extremely useful marketing tools when presented properly. The trouble is, many pet-industry internet marketers don’t offer site visitors the option to tune in or tune out. And this can be a disaster when it comes to turning prospects into buyers.

Here’s why. Quite often, the clips just start playing the instant you land on the site. They may be loud, hard-sell, or just plain inappropriate for the web visitor’s mission and setting.

What if the web visitor is already listening to a favorite song on iTunes and just wants to view some product information on the site? What if he or she is sitting in a cubicle at work, surrounded by colleagues trying to focus on their tasks? What if it’s a conference call with a potential client? It’s just bad form to start shouting at web visitors or bombarding them with a soundtrack the moment they land on a site.

So my quick pet web-seo tip of the day is this: Use audio and video marketing techniques WISELY for the best results.

Yes, they can be fantastic sales-drivers when it comes to demonstrating a product, providing a credible testimonial, showing someone how to do something useful, introducing yourself to customers, etc. I’m all for them!

Just be sure to make the audio or video clip an OPTION for visitors. Check out YouTube, where they load a video but keep it in “pause” until you actually click on the play button. This is the best practice to follow.

Until next time,
Here’s to a clear and prosperous site!


Pam Foster