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!