Marketing Scams and Hype? Just Say No

By June Campbell

When I started my business in 1996, I developed my business plan around the Internet. I use the Internet to find customers, resources, information and products and services. The Internet provides wonderful opportunities to new entrepreneurs and opens up possibilities that weren't previously available.

Recently I have seen more and more "marketers" employing questionable marketing techniques. I wonder if newcomers to Internet business see this stuff and think it's standard procedure. Since many of the "marketers" are selling their questionable ideas to others under the guise of "expert advice" it seems possible that many new netpreneurs are being lead down the garden path.

Your online business requires that surfers buy things from you. And the net surfing public is saying loud and clear that they won't deal with people they don't trust. They want to know who you are, how to contact you and they want to know that you are genuine and sincere. Questionable marketing techniques scare them off faster than you can say "no sale." Don't believe me? Check any of the Internet research sites like Jupiter Communications or NUA Internet Surveys and find out what prevents people from buying online.

Here are a few marketing messages that send up big red flags for me.

1. "This special low, low, low, low price is only available for the next two weeks so buy now to SAVE!" Okay, there are genuine time limited offers and this message could be a real sale and not a questionable marketing technique. But with all too many of these "special time limited offers" the offer remains the same whether you return to the site in two weeks, two months or two years. Time limited offer? I think not. This type of marketing strategy sends me the message that not only is this entrepreneur misrepresenting the truth, he (or she) isn't giving the reader credit for many smarts.

2. "My sales increased by 867% when I used this product." Oh, please! Here's a hint. 857% of nothing is still nothing. Sales stats can be a powerful marketing strategy, but you have to provide information that makes sense. Before I would look twice at the message above, I would want some verifiable information regarding starting figures, ending figures, and the time period during which the sales were being reported (before using the product and after.) Take this scenario, for instance. Let's say I sold one box of pencils this week. Then I bought your product, and a year from now, I had sold 8 boxes of pencils. My pencil sales have increased by 800%. Does it mean anything? Not much.

3. "This offer includes a free report (worth $135), a free doodad (worth $25) and a consultation with myself (a $300 value). All for the low price of $99." Wow, it's hard to resist that one. That is, until you ask yourself where the value figures came from. Has anyone actually paid $135 for that free report? Ever? What about the free doodad worth $25? Are those free doodads available at every freebie site on the web? And how about the consultation worth $300? In who's opinion is the "expert's" time worth $300 and has anyone actually paid that amount? Good questions to ponder when you run across some of these great package deals. Not that packaged deals can't be genuine bargains. Some of them are. But check it out before reaching for your credit card.

If all this sounds too cynical, maybe you'd like to have a consultation with me over the telephone. Only $65 for a $450 value! Provided you book by the end of the week, that is. The last guy who spoke with me increased his sales by 566%. Act now!

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