According to Nielsen, American adults spend 34 hours a month online via smart phones, and another 27 hours on laptops or computers. In spite of this drastic shift, many businesses are still failing to grasp the concept of the user experience and alienating customers by using the wrong marketing tactics. Here are five of the most common ways businesses lose online customers.

Failing to optimize

As they move back and forth between mobile devices to laptops, most people expect a seamless online experience. If your company is not offering an optimized one, you’re significantly increasing your likelihood of being dismissed. A customer browsing your site may want to show it to a colleague or friend. Consider the customer bringing it up on a mobile device to do so but the website isn’t optimized properly. What may have been an opportunity to get your brand in front of another potential customer could instead become an experience that reflects negatively.

Take the time to optimize to ensure your site easily adapts to different sizes. In addition, be sure to analyze the buying experience from the client’s perspective to make sure the navigation experience is fluid.

Creating too many hurdles

When creating industry newsletters as part of a lead generation strategy, keep the user in mind. Of course, focus on creating solid content with the latest trends, tips and news in your industry so that they look forward to receiving your newsletters on a regular basis. However, make sure the newsletter sign-up process isn’t maddening.

Don’t force a user to answer a dozen questions to receive your newsletter, with drop-down lists that forces one to choose from a list of options that may not necessarily apply. Instead, ask a few genuine questions to ensure that the user will be sure to get relevant and interesting information. Otherwise, you may cause people to bail out of frustration before completing the sign-up process.


We all know pop-up newsletter sign-ups can be effective. But they also can be intrusive – especially if a user is being bombarded with them.

Show website visitors one pop-up per visit, and don’t do it every time they return. In other words, plan the frequency and timing of pop-ups in a way that’s respectful of a customer’s desire to actually look at your website minus obstruction.

Disregarding the importance of building relationships

With an increasing number of people buying products online, some companies may never have the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with customers. When you don’t have the option to offer a warm “hello” and a friendly smile in-person, find other ways to interact.

One of the easiest ways to make potential customers feel important is to ask for their opinion. For example, some companies invite website visitors to take a short quiz before browsing so that they can personalize what items are shown to each customer. When shoppers return to the website, they then receive a list of recommendations based on their quiz results. These brands are essentially getting permission from customers to show them relevant products/services, rather than covertly studying browsing habits.

Think of questions you can ask your customers that will make them feel more valuable. You could ask them to rate the quality of your email content, ask for suggestions about the types of products you should offer, or send a simple question with multiple-choice answers, like, “How are we doing?”

Relying solely on algorithms

Based on data, an algorithm may tell you that people in segment X are most likely to buy product Y if you send them a special offer. But algorithms lack context. They can’t provide any information about a person’s emotional state, their physical environment, or how busy they are at work this week.

Placing too much emphasis on customer behavior data may result in marketing misfires. Plus, customers rarely behave exactly as marketers expect, so you want to present messages that provide an opportunity to break out of any mold you may have created. Make offers that appeal to their sense of whimsy, spontaneity or curiosity.

When businesses put effort into understanding the user experience and making personal connections with customers, they are better equipped to attract new customers.