We are the digital agency
crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

WorkWeb DesignSportsEvents

Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

711 Marketing Minute Rewind: It’s the little things that keep us coming back

If you want to keep your customers coming back to your e-commerce site time after time, it pays to focus on the small details that add extra convenience, a touch of humor or just a bit of fun to the user experience. We'll explain why as our review of

January 2018
Noted By Carey Arvin

Laws of UX

'Laws of UX' is a collection of the maxims and principles that designers can consider when building user interfaces. It was created by Jon Yablonski, Design Lead at Vectorform, creator of the Web Field Manual, and contributor to Storytelling.design.
Read more

775 Boost email open rates by 152 percent

Use your customers’ behavior to your advantage.

September 2009
By The Architect

The Cult of Personality (Part 1)

People follow people, not companies. Cultivating a fan base and creating rich relationships with your public require that you drop the corporate mask and be a real person.
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The Cult of Personality (Part 1)

Word-of-mouth advertising has always been a marketer’s most powerful tool. It is the original form of viral marketing, offering all the key elements required to win a new customer:
  • Attention
  • Need fulfillment
  • Trust
  • Trial and testimonial
  • Credibility
  • Memorability
  • Honesty (in other words, the absence of a company or salesperson’s motivations)
Now that social media has become a staple of our culture, word-of-mouth advertising has been catapulted from a nebulous ideal to an essential element for success. Whereas once it represented a one-to-one interaction, today's consumers are armed with a virtual megaphone to reach far-flung groups of friends, family and colleagues instantaneously via major social networking sites. A mention of your brand on the Web is broadcast in real time, delivered to countless phones and inboxes, forwarded, marked, tagged and cataloged on permanent record. Information, misinformation and opinion can make or break your brand at the speed of light. Sounds scary, right? It can be. But you can also choose to use these platforms to your advantage and become part of the dialog rather than social media roadkill.

Traditional marketing and PR are not equipped to survive in the social media jungle.

The practice of public relations has been transformed from representing brands and generating “buzz” through third-party media organizations to a meaningful, direct and ongoing relationship with the public. Ironically, traditional marketing has never faced the challenges inherent in interacting with the public directly. It thrives on comfortably interfacing on its own delicately crafted terms –pristine, airbrushed ads, cinematically perfect commercials, scripted speeches and thoroughly edited press releases. Even traditional PR – whose primary function is theoretically to garner attention through a non-biased press – is regarded as a joke. In our media-savvy times, people are hip to the fact that much of the press is bought and sold. Editors and producers are hungry for stories to balance out the “hard news” which, if left alone, would either bore or depress everyone to tears. The passing along of favors between PR agents and the press leads to the perpetual spinning of cotton-candy puff pieces under the guise of reporting the news. There’s a lot of back scratching going on, and the result is a hands-off, sterile approach to the public that is devoid of integrity. What’s amazing is that traditional marketing companies still think that these news outlets hold the same kind of reverence they did in Paul Harvey’s time. And the media wonders where their credibility went, along with their advertising dollars, as they fight to stay alive and relevant.

PR done right: It’s about people.

People do not follow companies. People follow people. Until this is understood and represents a fundamental principle that drives all of your PR efforts, credibility through social media cannot be attained. People do not follow companies. People follow people. Effective word-of-mouth engagement is, by nature, anti-corporate. The public has no affection for the face of corporate America. No one wants to see standard form-letter responses and press releases on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Yes, you should plan your PR goals and resources with as much care and attention to detail as any other part of your business. A qualified Internet marketing advisor can help you develop a strategy that is business-oriented and aligns with your marketing plan. However, once you have those clearly defined goals in place, you must stop being corporate and start representing your brand on a personal level. Social media is all based on interaction between people, a requirement for the ever-so-valuable word-of-mouth advertisement to exist and spread. The company that takes the lazy or safe road will fabricate a personality that shows the world the face they want the public to see, but this artifice will be found out quickly. No one will invite them back to the conversation. In fact, they will be banned from the conversation. The effect is similar to an uninvited party guest. The only difference in this case is that the uninvited guest is a programmed corporate mascot who has no familiar personality, tells bad jokes and is oblivious to the fact that the brand it represents is a joke.

Be real, flaws and all.

If you’re representing your brand in a personal manner, then be prepared to be honest through and through. The very idea of this is enough to scare a traditional marketing firm to death because there’s no control, and in the absence of control flaws will emerge. Consider the potential PR disaster that could result from this comment:

“XYZ company didn’t get my order right and they suck.”

What to do? A good Internet marketing firm advises the honest approach. People are willing to understand and forgive those that have maintained an honest face to their public. The Internet marketing superstar responds, “We absolutely messed up, and we’re so sorry. Sometimes things get ahead of us, and we make mistakes. Let us make it up to you; we want our customers to be happy and satisfied.” Granted it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but you can turn negative feedback into renewed customer loyalty if you have laid a foundation of being yourself. Take for instance what Flickr wrote to its community when it messed up: http://blog.flickr.net/en/2005/07/21/sometimes-we-suck/ This is where Main Street businesses, who value and cultivate relationships with their community as a whole and each customer individually, can ultimately triumph over corporations, who rely on form letters and canned responses that hold no value in the public eye.

Have a reputation for giving.

Being a friend and building a relationship demand more involvement than merely being present. You must participate and give. Share your time, your action and your help. Answer questions. Lend a hand. Be funny. Reveal your passions. Offer a smile and a pat on the back. If you are a dentist, offer free tips and answers to questions about regular dental care. If you make custom stained-glass windows, then take pictures of your art and share them with people. If you’re a real estate agent, offer advice on beautifying your landscaping to add value to your home. Earning a friend online is no different than earning a friend face-to-face.Your most meaningful personal relationships tend to be with people that are unique, interesting, consistent, funny, helpful, honest and witty. To successfully use social media as a PR tool, you must identify these same qualities in your company or your people and engage with the public in ways that demonstrate these strengths. Earning a friend online is no different than earning a friend face-to-face. Also, be consistent with your participation. You, your people and your Internet marketing agency need to be there every day – accessible and responsive – without fail. If you can’t be a friend to the public, then they won’t be your friend in any online relationship. They will not know you, you will not earn their trust, and you will be banished to the world of paid advertising on the sidelines of the conversation.

Develop your personality.

As with all relationships, people will get to know you better as time goes on. Your public persona will grow and mature. Familiarity will develop among everyone connected to you. Inside jokes will form. Achievements will be celebrated. Memories – good and bad – will be carried in the circles of people you interact with in your community. As your public comes to know more about you, your levels of meaningful interaction will increase. As time goes on, more of your personality will shine through as you relate to people who share similar interests and situations. Don’t force your personality into something it isn’t. Let things happen naturally.Your audience will continue to grow as well. You will interact with more people and at different levels of interest and engagement. A core fan base will begin to form. As your audience grows, you will have different types of interaction with your public based on how long they’ve known you and the level of engagement they have with your brand. This is an important step in the development of your voice. Don’t force your personality into something it isn’t. Let things happen naturally. Meet regularly to discuss what’s happening and how things are evolving. If you have multiple people or departments interacting with the public, then everyone must be organized and allowed to be themselves at the same time.

Get started now!

Websites do not magically generate traffic. Brands do not develop a following because they exist or because they simply fulfill a need. You must invest in relationships outside of your site for your public to begin interacting with your site, its content and then your direct offerings. Once you’ve proven that you can build relationships in other places, your followers will begin to want to hear from you directly and join in the conversations taking place on your site. However, even when they become regular subscribers, your relationship-building efforts should not stop there. Manage the conversation on your site as you do within your social media circles. Your commitment to interacting with the public who are engaging with your site must grow to match your commitment to building your site’s content and reputation (read more on the Web Marketing Universe). What does all this hard work and earnest effort yield? Genuine and memorable relationships – both with individuals and with the community at large. A word of caution: Rarely in the beginning will your efforts result in direct sales. However, you will build a solid, long-term foundation in awareness, trust and loyalty for your brand. When someone asks your subscribers if they “know a guy,” they’ll have an answer, a brand, a name they trust, a site address and a link to forward. In time, you will have a great reputation within your community. Competitors will be playing catch-up and struggling to compete against a trusted name – a difficult and expensive endeavor.

Shift your investment.

If this seems daunting – it is. However, much of the traditional advertising budgets of old are being cut and redirected to more productive ends. Consider realigning your marketing dollars to channels where the people are. Social media is a long-term investment.As with all Internet marketing and development, social media is a long-term investment. Success requires hard work, patience and commitment – all things that traditional corporate thinking with its penchant for straightforward, quick fixes doesn’t allow. However, that’s also why stodgy corporate diehards will be relegated to the antiquated methods of carpet-bombing, interruption-based advertising as the penalty for not allowing real people to engage real future customers. Using technology is important, but not at the sacrifice of the personal touch. This is where a good Internet marketing agency shines. Its goal is to help you evolve the ways in which your brand is represented to the public. In addition, a good Internet marketing plan allows for quality interaction at many different levels. A national brand, regional chain or the local bakery must differ in their approaches. Again, social media is never a one-size-fits-all solution. If you are going to take control of your fate with the public, you cannot cut corners, or you will be found out and exposed. No matter the level of business planning behind the scenes, stick to your fundamental principles: be real, be consistent and give generously. If you start today, years from now you’ll be glad you did. The decisions consumers make today are based on relationships forged years ago. Remember, real relationships create fans. Fans are more than loyal customers; they are people that do your marketing for you. In part two of this series, The Cult of Personality, we’ll be sitting down with Eliza Metz of Lime & Violet to learn how a simple idea grew into a yarn empire.
February 2014
By Jeremy Girard

Deal-Breakers and Dead-Ends: Six Turn-Offs That Alienate Website Visitors

These glaring missteps will repel a potential new customer faster than a cheesy pick-up line and cheap cologne.
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Deal-Breakers and Dead-Ends: Six Turn-Offs That Alienate Website Visitors

Without question, the task of driving new visitors to your company’s website is not easy. Success requires serious strategic planning and a significant investment of resources, from content marketing and social media promotion to search engine advertising and offline marketing initiatives. So once those hard-won visitors arrive, why in the world would you immediately turn them away? Well, you certainly wouldn’t do so intentionally, but there may be deal-breakers and dead-ends lurking within your site that will repel a potential new customer faster than a cheesy pick-up line and cheap cologne. Here are six mood-killers that you must avoid if you hope to woo new customers, entice them to engage with your site and provide such a positive experience that they will tell all their friends what a great catch you are:

1. Download our app

If you’ve invested in creating an app for your brand, naturally you want to bring this to the attention of mobile visitors and encourage them to download it. But it’s all too easy to cross the line between promoting your app and perturbing your customer. Recently, I was in the process of working on an email marketing campaign using the popular service Constant Contact. I found myself with a spare moment between meetings, so I grabbed my iPad and set out to make a few quick edits to my draft. When I logged into the site and selected the email I wanted to edit, I was greeted with a message asking me if I wanted to download “QuickView”, their app for iPad and iPhone. ConstantContact But I was in a rush and had no interest in downloading and figuring out how to use their app to accomplish the simple task of making changes to an email I had already begun crafting. So I clicked “No, thanks” and was then returned to my list of emails. Once again, I clicked the email that I wanted to edit – and once again I was greeted with the prompt to download the app. I was stuck in a loop of non-productivity. Unless I installed the app, I could not complete my desired action on my iPad. By any standard, this was a very poor user experience. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual scenario. If you browse the Web on your mobile device with regularity, you’ve undoubtedly encountered this type of “Download our app!” a number of times. However, the problem arises when downloading an app is the only viable way to interface with a site via a mobile device and the objective of providing a good user experience is sacrificed in the interest of securing a permanent spot in the user’s pocket. Instead of trying to force your app on mobile visitors, take a more subtle approach. For example, displaying a small banner at the top of your site’s mobile view is a great way to make users aware of your app without disrupting their workflow or compromising the quality of their experience. Never, ever require your visitors to download an app to use your site; rather show them the respect of allowing them to interact with your brand in the way that they most prefer, whether that’s through a browser or through your app.

2. Give us your digits

We get it. When a new visitor comes to your website, you want to capture as much information about them as quickly as possible so that you can continue your engagement with them long after they’ve moved on to other corners of the Web. With this motivation in mind, there are many sites that immediately greet new visitors with a pop-up-style message. Instead of seeing the expected home page content, the user is presented with a request to complete a form to provide their contact information in exchange for a welcome discount offer or to follow the company on Facebook for future updates and promotions. Either way, these pop-ups are very disruptive to the user experience and provide obstacles that only make it more difficult for the visitor to accomplish what they originally came to the site to do. Invision Think about this experience for a moment. Yes, it would be ideal if every visitor to your site would willingly complete a short form that gives you invaluable data. But in reality, no one comes to your site for the express purpose of helping you market to them, so by giving such a message top priority, you are telling them that your needs are more important than theirs. That’s a pretty poor way to start the conversation. This phenomenon is so pervasive that there is even an entire website – tabcloseddidntread.com – dedicated to these types of interruptive messages. While the writing on the site is a bit snarky, the point it makes is a valid one: these messages create a poor user experience from the outset. As a result, any value you might gain in collecting user data is quickly negated if that user has no interest in continuing their engagement with you because you’ve created such a negative first encounter. Instead of leading off the conversation with your survey request, Facebook follow prompt or current promotion, simply allow your visitors to dive right into the site to find the information they’re seeking or complete their desired task. Keep your mailing list sign-up and Facebook links in your site’s universal framework, and if you do your job in creating a positive experience for them, your visitors will willingly allow you to become a presence in their email inbox or their Facebook news feed all on their own.

3. One-size-fits-all framework

Today’s website visitors are accessing our sites on a wide ranging variety of devices with a myriad of different screen sizes, and yet, many sites are still built with the “desktop-only” mindset of years ago. This is a major strike for users on mobile devices who expect more from their experience than simply seeing the desktop site shrunk down to display on their small screen, with text that’s illegibly tiny and links that are nearly impossible to press. The Web is no longer a one-size-fits-all world. That being said, while one “size” may not fit all, you can still have one site that will work seamlessly on a wide variety of screen sizes and devices. By employing responsive design, you can build a singular jack-of-all-trades workhorse that dynamically reflows its layout based on the user’s screen size. The image below illustrates the difference between how desktop-only layout (i.e., the “do nothing” approach) is rendered on a phone’s browser versus a site that’s optimized for small screens with a responsive approach. Envision Read more: Website Design for a Multi-Device World

4. Vexing video

Video can be a powerful way to convey information, but if that video fails, then your message is lost. There are a few ways that video can provide a stumbling block to engagement with your site visitors. First and foremost, not all video formats are compatible with all devices. For instance, Flash videos will not play on iPhones and iPads, which means that instead of seeing your excellent video content, every user on an iOS device will get a message that says something to the effect of “This video cannot be shown on your device.” Other visitors may not want to download a large video due to limited bandwidth or data download concerns, and as a result, your content is not able to achieve the effect you desire. In still other cases, your visitors may be able to download and view a video but may not be able to use audio – perhaps because they are in a public area, such as an office or store. Video without audio is fairly anti-climactic, so if the only way they can consume your message is by watching and listening, then you will leave these visitors cold. The moral of the story is this: If you are going to use embedded video on your site, make sure to choose a format that can be played on all devices and to reinforce its key message and content in other areas for visitors who may not want to watch or listen to a video.

5. The mystery of the disappearing navigation

Your website’s navigation structure is a critical component of the user experience, and the links it contains are the gateway to the information your visitors are seeking. For sites with lots of pages and a deep sitemap, a common design schema is to use drop-down menus that show subpages contained underneath the site’s top-level navigation choices. These drop-down menus are typically powered by Javascript. But what happens if the user has disabled Javascript in their browser or if that script fails to load for some reason? When this happens, your navigation menus may never be shown, leaving visitors stranded with no way to easily maneuver through your site. Failure to load a script is not the only way that navigation suddenly goes missing. Some sites with very elaborate navigation options for the desktop version eliminate the bulk of those options for mobile devices. This can create a dead-end for users who are familiar with the desktop version and are left searching aimlessly for links they will never find. Instead of eliminating links for smaller screens, find ways to present the same content in a way that’s better suited to the device’s display. Additionally, make sure that your site’s navigation has a fallback option should a script fail to load or something else unexpected happens.

6. Page is loading…

Today’s websites have become fat, bloated behemoths. Oversized images and animations, embedded videos and other features have contributed to the substantial size increases we have seen in webpages over the past few years. Bigger pages mean longer load times, which is a major turn-off for visitors who have no lack of other suitors vying for their time and attention online. Better website performance will yield better website results. By optimizing your site’s performance and ensuring that it loads quickly even for visitors with slower connection speeds, you can avoid showing users a half-loaded page and hoping that they will wait around to see the rest. More often than not, that’s a losing gamble, and the visitor you worked so hard to win will turn elsewhere to find a site that will perform according to their expectations.