Which marketing methods have been used on you, that turn you off? Take notice. Don’t use such methods.
Authentic marketing is simply following the Golden Rule: (not) doing unto others what you (don’t) want done unto you.
I surveyed the students of my marketing course, Authentic Client Attraction/Enrollment, about the marketing methods that turn them off. This blog post will list the commonly mentioned ones, and I’ll share a better alternative for each…
A “lead magnet” is a free thing that requires the person’s email address in order to access it. This is incredibly common and chances are that you’re either using it, or are thinking about it.
This came up several times from my students (smart, good-hearted business owners) as being one of the top tactics that turned them off.
We don’t have to use lead magnets to build a great audience. Read more: No more lead magnets.
“Isn’t this one of the key strategies for effective online marketing?” one might ask.
Not in the experience of the students I surveyed. Many of them feel turned off by this kind of overly-scripted, forced experience of getting to know a business.
Read more: No more sales funnels.
Just look in your own email inbox and you’ll probably find some headlines that are clickbaity, simply trying to get you to open it instead of providing useful info. Maybe there’s pressure about something expiring. Or a line that doesn’t tell you anything about the email other than a basic message of “you’ll want to open this!” or “you’ll regret not seeing this!”
But isn’t that what headlines are supposed to do? To get you to open the email?
Here’s an alternative: Make your headline an interesting overview/summary of what they’ll read in the email. You might ask: “After reading the email, how would the reader summarize it, in an interesting way?” This is honest, respectful, and you’ll build a trustworthy reputation with your subscribers.
They’ll be proud to forward your email onto their friends.
Free Webinars that are actually Sales Pitches
Maybe you’ve attended one of these: a so-called “free” training or online seminar that was supposed to give you helpful, valuable information, and turned out to be a carefully-designed sales pitch for an expensive program, tool, or service. Most of the content of the webinar is spent building up the credibility of the expert, “educating” the audience on the framework of the problem, and why they need the product that will be sold.
Sometimes they’ll keep saying “Watch all the way to the end” to get a special bonus / secret or something else. Again, the point of the webinar was to sell, not to serve. (The audience would not have agreed to come if they knew the real intention.)
I know this method very well, because I conducted hundreds of these in my early years in business and ended up teaching others how to do it. Needless to say, I wish I knew better. Now I do.
Alternative: Offer a truly helpful webinar that is free-to-attend, but paid as a recording. This puts you into a mindset that you are creating a genuine (yet simple) product — something you would be proud to sell. Sure, you might want people to buy a more expensive service/product afterwards, so you can use about 10% of the webinar to talk about that next-step product/service, but 90% of the time should be spent on delivering the promise of the webinar such that most attendees would praise the experience, rather than feeling like it was a bait-and-switch.
Giving Little to No Time to Decide
Many people raised this point — feeling too much pressure to buy. “One-time, time sensitive bonuses worth thousands of dollars but free when you sign up NOW!”
When the marketer doesn’t want you to sleep on the decision, or to have time to consult with anyone else in your life, it is manipulation. Notice anyone trying to get you to fear that some price or bonus or offer will disappear if one doesn’t decide in that moment.
Alternative: it’s ok to have a deadline to decide but let it be at least 48 hours so that people can do what they need, to make a decision that they will be glad about later.
Salesy Enrollment Calls
Unfortunately when you learn marketing and sales you’ll often be trained to have calls with potential clients that are scripted as a conversion experience: to have the client feeling the pain of not working with you, and therefore to sign up with you as soon as possible.
When someone signs up for your “discovery call” or “exploratory call” or “free strategy session” please fulfill that promise! Have them walk away having discovered something useful, and gotten a good feeling about you. Make it so that everyone who does the call with you is genuinely glad to have done so.
Read more: How (Not) To Have a Sales Conversation.
These are some of the top methods that turn off the kinds of people you actually want as clients — kind, thoughtful people that are a joy to work with.
What methods have you seen that turn you off? I’d love to know.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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