Okay, first off I apologise for my post being late. I did actually start it last Thursday as planned, but I’ve been plagued by some annoying technical things that held me up, so combined with other stuff I’ve had to do this week I wasn’t able to get around to finishing and publishing it until this Thursday instead.
So as you have seen from the above video (if you watched it), this post is all about seven silly mistakes that could be killing your online business.
Why seven? No reason really, other than that these seven points are the ones that I see time and time again and they’re all easily avoidable. There just happens to be seven of them.
Hopefully you won’t be guilty of any of these but if you are then I hope that you’ll take some time to reflect. I certainly make no apologies for highlighting these!
1) Promoting Unethical Means
We all know that, unfortunately, there are thieves and scammers in the world. Just as technological advancements have made it much easier to earn a living online, likewise it’s also very easy to scam people.
Probably the most familiar deception is unrealistic claims. I’m sure you’ve seen the over-the-top, hypey videos or sales pages that make outlandish claims of quick riches. I think that it goes without saying, especially in this day and age, that this is not the best approach to use to establish yourself as a genuine authority or someone who is to be trusted. Sooner or later you will certainly damage your reputation and credibility by using such tactics.
Unfortunately, not only have I come across a lot of Marketers who still use this approach, but I’ve seen some actually encouraging their ‘students’ to operate in this way too. I’ve been appalled to have even come across some people doing this who should know better.
Just to give a couple of examples of the kind of things I’ve seen promoted: going on to YouTube, finding videos, downloading them and then reuploading them as your own with your own tags and affiliate links. I’m sorry but that is just theft and plagiarism, plain and simple. I know of one Marketer who recently had all his videos stolen and then reuploaded, the guilty person likely making a nice bit of coin on the side from the YouTube ads that were now being displayed on them. Thankfully, the person’s page got shut down.
How about when you’re searching to find some information about a product? How many times have you been taken to a page or a YouTube video that has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re looking for? And why did you end up there? Because the title of the page/video/whatever contains the name of the very thing you’re looking for. I’ve seen entire YouTube channels containing lots and lots of identical videos promoting the same affiliate product but each with different titles and keywords related to what’s currently hot on the market.
If you’re an affiliate using dishonest, spammy and unethical means then not only are you putting your own reputation at risk but also that of the person whose product you’re promoting.
2) Badmouthing, Using Bad Language and Venting in Public
We all get riled from time to time, it’s perfectly understandable. However, the key question is: how do we deal with this when it happens?
I’ve seen a variety of responses and frankly, I’ve been astonished by just how unprofessional some people can be. Sure, we may get a subscriber or customer who just ‘pushes our buttons’ and, no matter what, nothing seems to be right for them. But belittling, insulting and swearing at them is not the way to go.
Always remember – your reputation is everything. Even if you’re the wronged party in a situation, it’s always best to handle any issues as calmly, politely and professionally as possible. People will often base their judgement of a person on their observances.
On the other side of the coin, what if you’ve been ripped off or treated badly? You may feel the need to alert others, which is fine so long as it’s done in the right way. Going into a public forum and calling the person names isn’t going to help anyone. Neither is sending out an e-mail to your list venting about how angry you are with a situation and is littered with four-letter words. What makes you think your list wants to read that? Yes, I was on a mailing list not so long ago when I witnessed this very thing. My response to it? A swift click on “unsubscribe”.
The bottom line: apply the Golden Rule – always treat others as you would hope to be treated. Doing so will never be bad for you, but failing to do so could be.
3) Being Misleading
This one ties in a somewhat with points one and two in that you don’t want to be using unethical means and that you should always treat people as you would hope to be treated. Don’t like being misled or tricked? Then don’t do it yourself!
Let’s consider a realistic scenario:
You’re wanting to find ways to drive more traffic to your website. So you do a search on Google and on places such as the Warrior Forum and you come across a product that says something like, “Discover this Awesome Technique for Driving Huge Volumes of Highly Targeted Traffic”.
Sounds like just want you need, right?
So, you take a look through the sales copy and it all seems really convincing. You decide to give it a go and you click the ‘Buy’ button.
And then you find the kicker…..
There’s probably nothing wrong with the product or the methods it teaches. It’s likely a perfectly legitimate product. HOWEVER… what wasn’t stated in the sales copy is that the method is all about driving targeted buyers to your Amazon offers. That’s great – so long as you’re selling on Amazon. If you’re wanting to find some general methods on driving traffic to your blog, then this method is useless. Why wasn’t it made clear in the sales copy that it was specifically for Amazon? Likely because the seller knows full well that traffic is a hugely popular niche so they know that they’ll attract all kinds of buyers who are generally looking for traffic, irrespective of the fact that their product will only actually be of any use to a small percentage of those traffic seekers.
Again, this is a technique that I see a LOT. Sure, the product itself may be fantastic, but if you’re not up front in your sales copy and you’re intentionally misleading this will eventually backfire on you. Remember – your reputation is everything. Don’t treat your prospects like idiots, otherwise you’ll find that you get treated in kind.
4) Lack of Respect
Here’s another case of applying the Golden Rule. Noticing a pattern emerging?
I could have included this in point number two, but I wanted to give this one a section on its own.
A practice that I see to an alarming degree on forums, social media and blog discussions is playground style bickering, name calling, sarcasm, bullying and other unattractive behaviour.
I think that part of the reason for this is that the lines have become somewhat blurred between online business, social media and general Internet use, especially with it becoming easier and easier to create, set up and run things that just a few years ago would have required a huge investment of time and skills.
So all and sundry can and do release products online and therefore you get a hugely broad spectrum of people from all walks of life all interacting with each other on a pretty much even field, something that just wasn’t the case until relatively recently.
Whatever the reason, behaving like a spoilt brat has no place in business. You may tolerate and even engage in this kind of overly casual behaviour on gaming forums and suchlike, but if you want people to take you seriously, respect you as a business person and ultimately buy from you, then you need to behave accordingly.
At the end of the day, you CAN behave in whatever way you so choose. However don’t expect your customers to stick around or your profits to continue going up if you choose to behave like an idiot.
5) E-Mail Overkill
Remember the Golden Rule? Can it be applied to e-mail marketing? You betcha! There’s nothing wrong with e-mailing your subscribers and there’s nothing wrong in pitching to them. After all, they’ve signed up to you voluntarily, so they’re wanting to hear from you and what you have to offer.
This doesn’t mean, however, that they want to get five or six e-mails each and every day from you! Of course there will be times when there’s call for mailing more than once in a day. For example, you may have an e-mail scheduled to go out as part of a follow-up sequence but then on a particular day you want to send out an e-mail to your list manually. If this happens to fall on a day when your follow-up goes out then your subscribers will obviously get two e-mails that day. So long as it’s clear that both are relevant and not just part of a pitch fest then your subscribers will likely be okay with it.
It’s when someone has signed up to a list and straight away they get the hard sell, then an hour later another sales e-mail comes through, then another and another….
Again, it comes down to treating your list as you would like to be treated. That includes not sharing your subscribers’ details with other Marketers. Now, this should go without saying, especially with all the regulations that abound these days. But what some Marketers do is have you sign up and then you’ll end up getting umpteen e-mails from lots of different people, all who are supposedly affiliated with the person you originally signed up to.
This is another example of being misleading. If the person is going to be subscribing to multiple lists then this needs to be made clear at the point of sign up. It’s not fair to give the person the impression that they’re signing up to the list of one individual but then have them bombarded by another three or four people.
6) Poor Support
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and therefore should always come first, period.
So it should go without saying that you need to ensure that you have an effective support system in place, whatever that may be. Obviously there will be times when there’s a backlog, when things go wrong or when you’re away. But you need to ensure that there’s something in place at those times so that your customers or subscribers aren’t left hanging, wondering what on earth’s happening.
Most e-mail systems have an autoresponder function that can be switched on temporarily to send out an automatic message, for example if you’re away. Also, if there’s any downtime of any of your services then it would be common courtesy to make your customers aware of this. Perhaps you could have an emergency temporary page installed on your webhost that can be switched to quickly and easily if need be. Or you could send out an e-mail to keep your customers apprised. How long would it really take to do that? A couple of minutes maybe? What’s a couple of minutes for the sake of maintaining a good relationship with your subscribers and customers?
Ultimately, you should always maintain a good line of communication between yourself and your customers/subscribers. They should always know of the various ways in which they can contact you and you should always keep them up-to-date with any and all important information. Aside from it being good business sense, it’s just good manners.
7) Shifting the Goalposts
“Read the fine print!” Has anyone ever said that to you? I’m sure that most of us have come across an appealing offer that seems fantastic, but then when we take a close look and examine the terms and conditions we find that all is not quite what we thought. Oh, there’s nothing dishonest or misleading, it’s just that the offer is subject to the fine details laid out in the T&C’s.
What about when there is no fine print? In other words, when an offer is made and it says ‘such-and-such’ then what is it that we should expect? We expect what is offered, no?
However, what sometimes happens in the world of Internet marketing is that the Marketer advertises some kind of offer but when a customer tries to take advantage of the offer (e.g. a discount) they get told, “Oh actually no, that doesn’t apply to this particular offer” and they’re told that it only applies to some other offer or condition. This is all in spite of there being no mention of this in any advertised material.
Usually, rather than being intentionally misleading (although this is sometimes the case), it’s just a simple oversight. But for the sake of maintaining good customer relations it would be far better to realise the mistake and to honour what was offered rather than trying to wriggle out of it by making excuses and stating terms that weren’t advertised in the first place. Aside from the good relations aspect, it could lead to some unpleasant legal action if a customer decided to take the matter further.
Ultimately, your customers are of paramount importance and you need to look after them. If that means swallowing your pride, admitting an error and even taking a loss at times, then so be it. Accept it, learn from it and move on. But again, don’t take your customers for fools.
So hopefully you’re not making any of these silly mistakes. And they are silly mistakes because with just a little care and forethought all of them can be easily avoided.
If you are doing anything mentioned in the points above then I hope you’ll take on board what you’ve read here and, for the good of your business, you’ll make any necessary adjustments.
Just remember to always be upfront and honest, treat your business with the seriousness that it deserves and always look after your customers. If you look after your customers, your customers will look after you!
What points do you feel are potentially damaging to a business? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next Thursday!
16 thoughts on “Seven Silly Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Business”
Excellent article! Yes, I know, I’m behind with getting a chance to read this post, but it was worth it. Also this is great for reminders, insights, and reflections upon how each of us address these important issues. I’m sure that there are even a few that individuals have completely overlooked and could benefit with your thorough examination of silly mistakes that can kill a business.
As always, I enjoy reading your article posts…
So long as you enjoyed the post and found it useful, that’s the main thing. It doesn’t matter when you read it, it’s all evergreen info 🙂
It would be naive to think that even the most careful and sincere person doesn’t make mistakes in their business, but there are so many things that just shouldn’t be overlooked and they are so obvious, basic essentials that they really are silly mistakes to make. Sadly, I see many, many people making them, both online and offline. It also seems to be more common, I think, in big corporations.
I firmly believe that, ultimately, the old adage, “The customer is always right” holds a lot of weight and should always be given very serious attention.
Thanks for your comment, Michel, as a pleasure as always. Have yourself a great week, buddy. 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…How To Be More Productive
You are absolutely right, people easily forget that the fundamental principle that makes corporate business succeed is also the same principle that makes online business succeed.
some people are embracing the ‘ fake it to make it’ strategy, but of which it is just short lived.
I’m particularly impressed with the first point on promoting using unethical means, it is the fastest ways to get your online business killed.
Thanks for sharing.
Absolutely! Business is business and as soon as you start taking liberties then you’re headed for trouble.
Yes, many still employ the ‘fake it until you make it’ strategy but in my experience honesty is always the best policy. At the very least people are more likely to respect you if you’re transparent and say you don’t know something rather than trying to fake it and then are found out later, thus causing damage to your reputation that can be difficult to recover from.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I am very much so at the number of people who practice and promote unethical strategies. Just a couple of days ago I saw a WSO on the Warrior Forum that was guilty of this and I really couldn’t get my head around how so many were hailing it as something marvelous. Just how they don’t see the potential problems of implementing these sorts of strategies astounds me.
I don’t think people always set out to be dishonest or unethical, I think it’s just that sometimes someone comes across something that’s a great idea in theory and they get so caught up in their own hype and excitement that they sweep others along with it and none of them actually take a step back and ask, “Hang on a minute, could this actually turn out to be problematic in the real world?”
Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing your input, James, it’s much appreciated.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Seven Silly Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Blog
I can’t agree more with your points here. The unfortunate thing is that many never realize they are in business. Doing business online has made many to think the fundamentals of business does not apply any more. Thanks for sharing.
Welcome to my blog, thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂
You’ve highlighted what I believe to be one of the core reasons for the problem. With online business becoming more and more accessible it’s slotting alongside what people are already doing and familiar with online. Therefore the same casual approach is all too often used and thus many people just don’t consider the fundamentals of business.
Many thanks for your input, Chadrack.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Four Figures in One Day! Why Not You?
You hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I just don’t understand why anyone building a business feels the need to be dishonest.
#3 and 4 struck a chord with me. I hate seeing people being disrespected. These are all great reminders to be aware.
Just because something sounds great, doesn’t mean it is. It’s just so disappointing to buy a product that is being misrepresented.
Thanks for a great post. 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I can’t abide dishonesty or disrespect. Yet sadly, it abounds so much in business, especially online it seems.
I often think about the Marketers who misrepresent their products, that if they put as much effort into the product creation as they do into writing misleading copy then they might actually have a decent product! Unfortunately though, some just seem content with a ‘churn and burn’ approach, which is never a recipe for long term success.
Thanks very much for your visit and comment, it’s great to see you. Please come again 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Get My Brand New, Free E-Book!
I wouldn’t get anywhere near marketers that do any of the points you mentioned here. Not only some of them are annoying but some others are a complete lack of respect to the prospect/subscriber.
I don’t do any type of business with IMers who see people as ATMs or just numbers on a spreadsheet.
Great tips and loved your observations.
PS. I love watching videos but I prefer watching an actual person talking instead of just text but that’s just my personal choice. 😉
I’m with you 100%. Right now, in fact, there’s someone who’s got a new WSO out and sure, it appears great on the surface, but for me he’s burned his bridges. I’ve bought from him in the past and found that his products never live up to the hype. That’s where he excels, in creating hype and sucking people in with his enthusiasm. But he doesn’t respect people and after spending a while away from the Warrior Forum after getting a huge backlash for his behaviour, he’s back and doing the same thing again – being sarcastic and belittling anyone who dares to express any concerns. He is a very clever Marketer, though, and does all this very subtly. But I’ve seen too much nonsense from him in the past so I won’t touch anything of his now. I know that I’m not alone in this and it just goes to highlight how your behaviour can establish you as a ‘go to’ person or as an ‘avoid’ person.
Thanks for your input about videos, I’m always happy to know what people prefer. I find that the presentation of information is one of those areas in which you can never please everyone all of the time. At the moment I’m testing all sorts of different techniques and intend to be doing a lot more with video. Recently I’ve been accompanying my blog posts with promotional YouTube videos and those, in fact, have been me talking to the camera. This time I decided I’d do something different and thought that it would fit nicely in the post itself as an overview/intro.
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Sergio. I hope you’ll stop by again and hope that you have a fantastic week.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Four Figures in One Day! Why Not You?
Boy oh boy are you ever right about all of these but I wouldn’t exactly say these are silly mistakes, they’re pretty major ones I believe.
I believe I can honestly say I’ve encountered them all unfortunately. I have one blogging friend that I think a lot of but boy does she have a mouth on her. Now if that’s who she is then all the more power to her but as you clearly stated, this is your reputation you’re building online and if you’re trying to build a business then I just think there is a time and place for everything and cussing online like that is not the place.
I guess I really could say a little something about all of these areas but you’ve done a good enough job and I think unfortunately we’ve all had some type of bad experience from some or all of these.
I would hope that most have not crossed the line and will be sure to make 2014 a stellar year. I intend to keep on the straight and narrow and hopefully never make any of these silly mistakes. They could definitely kill my business indeed.
Have a great week Glenn.
Adrienne recently posted…The Good, The Bad And The New Year
I agree with you entirely. These mistakes are very major indeed. But they’re silly inasmuch as there’s really no excuse for them, they’re all easily avoidable and anyone who’s serious about their business shouldn’t overlook them.
I’m certainly glad to hear that you intend to keep on the straight and narrow – I wouldn’t expect anything else from you! You already do so much in the right way, Adrienne, I know that many people have learned a lot from you and I’m sure that many more will do so in 2014 🙂
Thanks for your support as always, it’s always great to connect with you.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Protecting Yourself on the Internet
Great points, Glen 🙂
I do agree with all of your points.
#2 – Venting is indeed bad..but, I suppose there is nothing wrong is ranting (of course, rants don’t usually include name calling…it’s not entirely calm..people do talk about what the company did wrong…and those posts usually get a lot of feedback and attention).
#4 Lack of respect – Agreed. We need to learn to respect and be open to everyone’s opinions, even if we think they are completely wrong…I think one of the problems here is that the lines between formality and informality are blurring (I mean…business are becoming less professional….more conversational, which I think is good, as long as they maintain the quality of the products they offer).
A lot more people/businesses are making that effort to connect with their target audience (social media, for instance, is becoming more about social..and less about promoting our landing pages and blogs).
Anyways, thank you for sharing the post, Glen 🙂 I do appreciate it!
Jeevan Jacob John recently posted…Goals, Resolutions and Motives – Why?
Yes, expressing one’s dissatisfaction or frustration is fine, but the problem is when Marketers use their lists or create posts simply as an excuse to just sound off and nothing else. Of course it’s right and proper to share experiences and warn people about a potentially bad seller but, just like everything that we should be doing, this needs to be done with the aim of giving value and helping the reader.
You’re absolutely spot-on about the lines of formality and informality blurring. I agree that this can be good, but the quality of the products, services and support needs to be given the utmost importance. Unfortunately, so many people don’t grasp this so their casual approach bleeds over into the degree of quality that they offer and this is not a good thing for their customers or for themselves in the long run.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Jeevan. It’s always a pleasure and always appreciated. Have a great week, buddy 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Are You Sending Your Visitors Away?
This is an excellent post, and I have to admit that I’ve seen all of what you’re mentioning here.
Few months ago, I’ve purchases a product from a connection through facebook. I ask a lot of questions to her before and she was on top of my questions no problem. She noticed that I like cats, so she even sent me a picture of her cat.
However, when I finally purchased the product I noticed that it was harder to get hold of her. Lately I sent her an email asking her a question and telling her the truth – that her product is well over priced for its quality. Need I say that I haven’t heard back from her yet?
So, yes, indeed, it’s very important not to be dishonest or misleading. We need to be as courteous and on top of things after the purchase of our product has been made as well as before.
Thanks for this great post 🙂
Sylviane Nuccio recently posted…What Is All The Fuss About Hypnotic Writing?
Thanks for the return visit, it’s always a pleasure to see you 🙂
You’re so right in what you say, it really is important to be on top of things after a purchase has been made. Sadly, some just seem to be happy to be attentive while the hope of snagging you as a customer is there, but once you make a purchase they’re happy to just abandon you. It’s a very short-sighted way to do business, but making a habit of that sort of thing will backfire on them eventually.
A few years ago my mum had a similar experience. She was paying to have a driveway laid and all was fine while she was paying as each piece of work was being done. She ended up making the mistake, though, of deciding to pay the remainder of the money all in one go and guess what? No more work got done after that. It was virtually impossible to get hold of the person doing the work and on the rare occasions that she was able to contact him she just kept getting fobbed off with feeble excuses. Ultimately, the job never got finished.
It seems that some people are almost just playing at being in business rather than taking it as seriously as they should. There’s a lot more to it than just the technical and financial side of things. You absolutely must give a good service too, both before, during and after any sale.
I don’t think I realised that you like cats. I’m a cat lover too! In fact, a few moments ago mine came to sit on my lap at the same time as my laptop is here. He doesn’t care what I have on my lap, so long as he gets attention! He’s jumped down now though and has settled on the settee. Needless to say it’s now much easier for me to type! lol!
Thanks again for stopping by, Sylviane. I hope you’re having a great weekend and that you have a great week ahead.
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