I just read a sales page for an information product
- You had to read the words carefully to find the guarantee
- No terms of service
- No mention of confidentiality expectations but suggestions of sharing candid information
- No contact form, just a company name in the footer
- No trust marks of any kind
- The Third Tribe is a published book by Rob Chidley – maybe a brand/trademark conflict
This is the exact premise of the sales letter
One tribe is called the Internet Marketers. They use aggressive hype and obnoxious tactics to fool people into believing there really is a “get rich quick” magic bullet.
The other tribe is the Social Media Cool Kids. They reject hype and aggressive sales tactics in favor of relationships, community, and value . . . and yet seem to have taken a vow of poverty along the way.
Whilst some parts of the sales letter resonate, I am more internet marketer than cool kid, but my bank balance suggests the vow of poverty (not counting equity), at the same time I feel insulted… to the core of my being.
I am also in favour of being candid in public
Lets dissect the words:-
- aggressive hype
- obnoxious tactics
- to fool people
- “get rich quick” magic bullet
I am going to deal with these out of order
3. Fooling People
I don’t know anyone, certainly anyone I have promoted who sets out to deliberately fool people, no matter how much they are picked apart by R2D2’s cousin.
There are certainly various client problems
- People don’t take action (raises hand)
- Product fit
- Time constraints
- Not making use of communication channels provided to get problems sorted
- Bright shiny objects (move onto the next one)
- Ignoring what is taught and trying to take too big a step
- Time management (my first blog post for a month… damn)
I realise evil marketers convince people to buy stuff who really shouldn’t – I like to encourage people to only spend a percentage of their earnings from their business.
On the producers side there is also:-
- Failing to deliver most of what was promised (very rare) – there is talk of the occasional marketer who just took the money and ran, but there are often 2 sides to a story – there is an inherent risk in any purchase you make, online or offline, which is why you should use a credit card where possible – my builders still haven’t delivered on everything they were meant to do and I have been living in this house 2 years
- Worthless content – products are aimed at various audiences – I ripped apart an SEO product in private which received testimonials from some of the Third Tribe trainers – I don’t know whether things were corrected in the final product – worth is relative
- Technical issues – most notable among what I have recently promoted was part of the Stompernet package, Stomper Storm – I even took down my review pages as delivery dragged out and they eventually switched to another supplier – I don’t know the specific issues, but 5 months later a replacement is in beta testing.
- Poor customer service – not too long ago I specifically told someone who purchased a product from my affiliate link to ask for a refund. His billing had an issue, and he just wasn’t going to renew as he didn’t have time to implement anyway. If he hadn’t asked for a refund, I might have still received $400 of the $1000 comission I was expecting. Obtaining a refund generally isn’t a problem
There has also been one product I recently purchased that I almost promoted but felt had too many issues – I was refused a refund and fought tooth & nail behind the scenes to make sure anyone who wanted a refund could get it – it turned out to be a lack of communication behind the scenes, and one partner trying to “save the sale”.
- Payment issues for affiliates – it hurts, but you learn who you can afford to buy traffic promoting – that being said if it is a choice between paying affiliates, and having the resources to deliver what is promised to the people who bought on my recommendation, I can wait in line, the English are good at that.
1. Aggressive Hype?
I spent a long time in the games industry – I have lived through over a year of initial development, then 2+ years of PR just to get a product sold to a publisher and another 2 year battle to get the product finally launched and get the money in after a legal battle.
I know hype… if the product delivers within the expected timeframe, fans eat it up – then there is Duke Nukem Forever…
I had a love/hate relationship with product launches even before I began marketing online in the “internet marketing” space, and there are real advantages with the efficiency of most launches compared to the games market, at least what I remember of it.
Many of them also provide significant “results in advance” if they are done right – you could call that a “freemium” model, “paying it forward” or “moving the free line”, but ultimately it isn’t too dissimilar to marketing of new software, online or offline.
What is the lead conversion rate for most blogs?
0.1% – 0.5% – maybe some get as high as 1-2% – certain pages might be much higher.
A squeeze page during a product launch which offers valuable information even before asking for an email address can achieve opt-in rates of 20, 30, 50… even as high as 75% – potentially the same free information.
I am not a fan of video squeeze pages that give you 15 minutes of promises of what is on the other side of the opt-in.
I suppose deliberately constructing an inefficient lead acquisition process has some benefits.
2. Obnoxious Tactics
I honestly have no idea what they are inferring to here
- Email Bombardments? Guilty of having a successful affiliate program which lots of people want to promote?
- Email Spam? – there are a couple of marketers out there who are almost impossible to get off their lists, but it is very very rare and just requires a single gmail filter, though they end up in spam anyway. Most marketers are using services like Aweber, Getresponse or Infusionsoft – if you don’t get value from what they send you, unsubscribe – it is called permission based email
- Price Scarcity? – the price is going to go up very very soon… lets be honest, to a customer seeing a sales page for the first time, whether the price scarcity is true or not doesn’t really matter, though it does matter from a legal perspective, and long-term trust – price scarcity is being used on the sales page in question, so I don’t think it is meant to be one of the “obnoxious tactics”
- Quantity Scarcity? – This could either be a high price to make it seem “exclusive” or a true/false limit on the quantity available often for a digital product. The FTC and other government organizations have rules about this
- Testimonials – I have seen most of the trainers at one time or another giving testimonials of one kind or another for information products, and whilst how they are used has come under recent public scritiny by the FTC, I can’t see this being the “obnoxious tactics”
So what “obnoxious tactics” are they referring to?
Maybe I am lucky being in Poland I never get “telemarking” pitches to “fleece” me of all the money I can draw on a credit card as I have heard some people claim on various negative opinion sites. I am also an affilaite of most products I buy (or at least I join the affiliate program and don’t necessarily promote), thus I might get filtered to not see such offers.
I know people who have gained significant value from some of the high-end coaching that gets offered, thus the fault is either the person pitching misrepresenting, or the customer in some way misunderstanding, misrepresenting to themselves the benefits etc.
4. “Get Rich Quick” Magic Bullet
This part of the sales letter is actually quite subtle, in an apples to oranges manner.
- They are clearly not trying to target “Joe Sixpack”
- There is no system on offer, just a series of training of an unspecified nature
- Whilst there is mention of “make money online” this clearly isn’t a “make money online” product
Ultimately it seems to be a different product for a different audience, not necessarily a “better bullet”
Emotion In Sales Letters
Emotion is very powerful in any sales letter, and in this case it is a huge spiked trap
The line I highlighted is meant to grab the attention of anyone who has a gripe about anyone, whether it be a customer support issue or receiving one too many emails pitching something.
For some reason the only emotion I felt was… revulsion – a strong negative that I didn’t want anything to do with the marketing message, and a strong enough emotion that I wanted to write something about it.
There are tons of sales letters that include words along the lines of “if you have bought tons of products and never had success, this will be the answer”, but none went as far as claiming that other product producers had deliberately used “Aggressive Hype & Obnoxious Tactics To Fool People”.
It is quite possible the sales letter is intended to appeal more to “Social Media Cool Kids” who haven’t worked out how to make money from their online activities, and not to someone “somewhere in the middle”, though most certainly not the target audience.
I am not saying everything is perfect in “internet marketing”, in fact there are some serious issues, and customers often need to know their own budget and learn to say no to offers they can’t take full advantage of.
That being said, many internet marketing products don’t try to cherry pick their audience, and try to provide “systems” that can be followed by people of varying backgrounds and skillset.
A marketplace like Clickbank has a certain level of quality control, policing sales lettters and delivery process, and of course holds the cash and issues refunds.
Refunds do happen – in the “make money online” niche I have seen numbers quoted in the 30-40% range on occasion for Clickbank products – refunds are high because people know they can, thus they do, and often they also purchase with their own affiliate link.
Refunds on products sold via merchant accounts also happen, and new terms from the merchant account providers will make that progressively easier. Why? Chargebacks – it only takes chargeback percentages above a fraction of 1% to face significant penalties.
My Problem Is With The Sales Message
Sorry Brian, Darren, Sonia, Chris & anyone else involved, but the sales message is wrong.
When it came to finally buy Product Launch Formula (some might claim that is the source of much of the agressive hype and obnoxious tactics) I used Brian’s link, as I thought the high end copyrighting course he was planning would be an ideal leverage point… whatever happened to that?
I can’t fault the Third Tribe product, I haven’t seen the content and it comes with “pedigree” – it is effectively the method I was defending – guest experts or partners, you don’t have to create all, or even any of the content of a membership site yourself. I might not agree with the product but that is irrelevant.
I have also promoted similar products that I believe added value.
I do realise you have to have paying customers to get complaints and no one stays in business if every customer complains and asks for a refund.
Who Isn’t Going To Join?
Just like a call for volunteers and everyone in the room takes a step backwards, who is going to be the person who still calls themselves an “internet marketer”.
The silly thing is the online marketing space isn’t fragmented into just a few distinct groups – if I put my mind to it I could probably come up with at least 100 significant but overlapping groups, many of which have a very poor opinion of their colleagues.
I am still an Internet Marketer, but I don’t belong to any tribe
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