Matters of marketing and ethics…

Rich Schefren has a post on his blog called “I don’t think we can be friends anymore.” In it, he describes his impressions of a recent “internet marketing seminar”

There were 16 speakers, many of whom were clients of mine. It was an impressive lineup of self made entrepreneurs who got to their current position by learning, thinking, working hard, and marketing even harder.

Yet table rush after table rush were for so-called “short-cuts” like Private Label Rights Products, Push Button Software, and you just sit at home and get rich while my company does all the hard work for you type products.

On the one hand… the “learn more, think fast, work hard, market harder and smarter” mantra is NOT great “bait” for attracting throngs of attendees to your internet marketing seminar. Typical human beings (of which I am one) would much rather “get rich quickly and easily” …. oh, and I’ll take e a set of “washboard abs” which come from taking a pill while you’re at it!

So most of these “marketing gurus” have a problem. They can honestly tell their audience what it takes to be successful.. WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO BE SUCCESSFUL… (time… talent…plus working harder AND smarter) or they can sell a “secret shortcut”.

Like I said… great “bait” is essential to attracting attention. I created just such bait when I wrote and article titled “Why the best marketing tactics have failed you up until now.” The article was picked up by SEVERAL newsletters and my phone began ringing off the hook with “opportunity seekers”. I remember one call in particular from a gentleman late one Friday night. I have no idea what time zone he was in, but he began peppering me with questions from the start.

“How much should I be paying for hosting?” he asked.

“Um, that would depend upon what kind of web site you’re running.” I replied. “Asking me how much hosting SHOULD cost is like asking me how much a house SHOULD cost. A house with 11 rooms and an ocean view is going to cost more than a 1 room shack with a view of a landfill.”

That was obviously good enough for him. “Fine. I want you to host my web site.” he said. “What kind of products oo you offer for me to sell.”

That comment triggered a flash back to a conversation with a woman who came to me for help a few years ago. She had attended an internet marketing “get rich quick” seminar and had paid $8,000 up front for a fool proof “web marketing system”. To her surprise, it wasn’t working. People weren’t flocking to her site and they most certainly weren’t purchasing the products she had listed for sale (via affiliate links) on the site.

In her case, I began outlining the traditional “steps” of successful internet marketing: learn more, think fast, work hard, market harder and smarter. She almost broke into tears as I outlined a way for her to salvage her $8K web venture. It involved posting articles to the site three-five times a week, launching a newsletter and building an audience. She obviously wasn’t prepared to do that. She thought she had paid her life savings to obtain a short cut.

So when the gentleman on the phone began asking me what products I offered for him to sell on his web site, I politely explained to him that I specialize in working with business owners who already have a product or service. I didn’t think it was possible, but he sounded even more heartbroken than the woman I had disappointed years earlier with my dose of “reality”.

Neither of those people became clients, though I knew EXACTLY what it would have taken to get them to sign up and I wish I could say I’ve only had two people come to me wanting just such a “hands free… you do the work, I’ll collect the cash” kind of set up. However, one thing that’s nice is that when I delivered my “bad news” and the person on the other end of the phone says, “DUH! I knew I was going to have to work to make money,” well… then I know I have a TRUE potential client on the phone. They’re as rare as gemstones… and I treasure each and every one of them.