Emily Post, Lead Conversion and Web Etiquette

Here’s the story…

One of our clients get an email lead from a visitor to their website. This client has a few of spokesperson videos in their website to help in lead conversion and they typically get about 20% lead conversion rate (from the home page to the lead capture completion). The email lead complained that audio that auto-plays in a website has been considered “bad website etiquette for quite a while.”

These comments reveal that there are two very different and competing opinions of the purpose and function of a business’ website. Obviously this web visitor believes that websites should be optimized for their ultimate enjoyment.  The web experience should be nonintrusive and protective of the visitor’s anonymity. This is certainly a prevalent desire among browsers. In fact, it is pretty much the universal desire among the browsing public. Let’s look at some of the other universal desires of the purchasing public.

In A Perfect World

-When I go into a retail store, I don’t want to be approached by a salesperson. That unwanted approach is bad etiquette.

-When I go to a car lot, I want to sneak around and look at cars without a car salesman bothering me, which would be very bad etiquette.

– I want to watch free entertainment on the TV and internet without commercial interruption, because interrupting is very bad etiquette.

Where Would This Lead?

What would happen in the retail stores, car lots and the entertainment industry if they gave the public exactly what they wanted? Huge drops in sales and profits across the board. No car dealer would dream of dumping their sales team, even though we all hate high pressure car sales tactics.

And Yet…

On the internet businesses are letting these fantasy land desires control their marketing plans, website designs and ultimately the level of their online success. A few leads call or write in and complain that they don’t want to fill out a form to get pricing information and the poor under-confident business owner pulls their tale between their legs and stops asking for prospect information.

Leave Marketing To The Marketers

Most often the business owner has an IT person or web designer telling them “nobody likes” this and that. The poor business owner assumes that this young tech wonk knows what’s right on the internet. This is akin to the owner of a business pulling all of their TV commercials because office staff says “we hate TV commercials.”


So getting back to that email lead that called us on bad etiquette. Let me point out that he still became a lead. Our client confirmed that indeed he also become a client.  So I guess that sometimes bad etiquette can pay off. Remember people’s opinions are just that. Should we scrap our entire business plan based on every disgruntled comment?

QUESTION: So is there a web etiquette?

ANSWER: Yes, and you should observe it as long as it doesn’t get you less in results department.