But why would you want to? If you want to market dishonestly, the person you’re really fooling is yourself. Because it is not effective in the long run, and the long run is what builds a business.
The Secret Spammer
Someone posted this on a LinkedIn discussion today:
The promotion plan used by [company name] works very well. [company URL]
Always on the lookout for good resources for myself and my clients, I clicked through. First thing I saw was the same guy’s picture, so this was not exactly an unbiased recommendation. And then after clicking in a couple of pages, I found this:
The email blast and daily email advertising to 4 million recipients will cost you only $35 for a lifetime membership. (not included in the package) However, you will learn how to use emailing effectively, what company or companies to use, and how to effectively send email ads.
4 million e-mails a day over multiple days? If that’s not spam, I don’t know what is. There’s no way this list is targeted, and there’s no way it will help the reputation of any product associated with it. So I responded:
I am sorry, but I looked at your site, Fred (and it would be nice if you were more up front about your relationship to it)–you’re going to send 4 million e-mails for an author? That is SPAM–a wretched curse on the planet. It makes everything else you offer to do suspect.
I have a section in one of my books called “Spam–the newbies’ natural mistake.” You’re not a newbie, though. The site is professionally designed and convincing on first glance. So you know better. Why are you doing this?
If you use sleazy, illegal, unpleasant tactics, that’s how people will think of your book. I will NOT be recommending this one to my clients.
The Bait-and-Switch Home Contractor
A few months ago, I bought a Groupon from a heating-duct cleaning service. But when the technician arrived, he told me the $69 duct cleanout was only good if I first signed up for a $1900 heating system overhaul. No upgrade? Then no work.
This is dumb on so many levels! First of all, you never require an upsell. That’s called bait-and-switch, and is illegal, for good reason. Second, if you try to upsell somebody, your offer should be in tune with the original price. so maybe you offer a $99 or $109 upgrade to your $69 original offer. You’re not going to get many takers if your upsell is 27.53 times the original price, pushing it from two figures to four. Third, if you want to sell someone something 27 times the original price, you need to build trust and show you’re capable of the small stuff. And fourth, if you’re using an outside lead generation system (in this case, Groupon), you don’t want to piss them off. I am sure I am not the only one who got a full credit of my $69 from Groupon, which offers a satisfaction guarantee. How willing will Groupon be to ever work with this company again if some huge percentage of sales have to be refunded?
As Abraham Lincoln allegedly said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
And as I say, “if you build a business by fooling people, the worst fool is yourself.”
In my latest book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, I talk at some length about long-term customer relationships—how they are key to repeat business, and how repeat customers are five to ten times more profitable than using traditional marketing to bring in new customers. If you have to keep dredging the lakes for people you haven’t ripped off yet, your business is not sustainable.
So, for both ethical and practical reasons, do the right thing and don’t be like either of those fools I cited.