Yeah, that’s right, even coming from a kid that’s hoping to make a living from so-called ‘internet marketing,’ I can honestly say that the formal sense of online marketing needs to go.
It needs to go right out the window and it can never come back.
Let me clarify… all of the scams, the lying, and the “persuasive sales copy” that takes advantage of old, weak, or problem-filled people needs to move on.
It isn’t even as effective these days… Shawn Borsky writes:
Copy usage on the web has become a multi-layered fight. First, we must break through the skepticism, fight the cynicism and address the reality. Great sounding text, slick promises and professionalism don’t get you very far anymore. Consumers are demanding more of marketing and in less time.
And I completely agree.
Collectively Marketers Have Lowered Their Credibility
Its our own fault.
There’s no reason to point fingers or call out certain people that have absolutely tarnished the name of marketers, (internet marketers even more so), but it really needs to stop.
Now, that might sound naive of me to make such a generalized statement… on the level of “we need to end world hunger,” but in reality this issue is actually hurting our profession as a whole.
For every grandmother that pays $1,000 out of her social security checks because she is promised a “beginners guide to make millions” in eBook form, that has amazing copywriting and a few pictures of fancy cars and a tropical beach, we lose another chunk of respect from the knowledgeable world.
You might not care about this issue right now, but I sure as hell do, here’s why:
When I try to explain to my friends what I do online, I typically start off by calling my work ‘internet (or online) marketing.’
(I’m pretty sure that’s my first mistake).
Instantly, when I mention those two words I get a very strong response… calling it ‘judging a book by it’s cover’ doesn’t even cut it:
- “So YOU’RE the reason I get so much spam”
- “Dude, why do Viagra ads keep popping up on my screen”
- “Can’t you just work a normal job”
- “That’s an EASY way to make money, try working at a real job”
Recently I’ve just started keeping it to myself, and my closest friends, but the important part is that I shouldn’t have to hide it.
Internet marketing shouldn’t be any different than offline marketing… but due to the combination of extremely ballsy marketers that will do anything for a buck, and their ability to bend the FTC’s rules right onto the ‘breaking point’ have put us all into a terrible position.
Is It Even Worth It?
- Consumers are becoming smarter - How many pop-ups, spam emails, or sales pages does it take to ‘inform’ a buyer of marketers’ sneaky ways.
- Soft-selling is more respectable and equally effective - Selling products by giving honest reviews, testimonials, and explanations is the way of the future. Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome makes $50,000+ a month by using this exact method.
- There are regulations, you know… - That’s the other thing, the reason big name marketers aren’t breaking the law when it comes to “persuading” a buyer into getting their product is a) they don’t need to force their product on someone because they provide real value for their customer and b) they would get nailed for breaking FTC guidelines.
I’m not talking about using a pop-up to get people to join your Aweber mailing list, and I don’t think optimizing your website or copywriting for the highest conversions is a bad thing… but straight-up lying to people with false income claims, over-eager promises of success, or similar methods that distract/compel the buyer to make a decision no rational person would make, should be stopped.
Do I think it will change?
Probably not, unfortunately, and collectively we will see a drop in income for no-name marketers. The big guys in the field will always prosper, as money and experience trumps anything else, but someone legit that tries to enter into the online marketing world will never make it if we continue the charade.
This is a pretty similar problem to why teenagers have such a hard time making money online and I think the whole slew of limiting beliefs that are thrown at most marketing freshmen cause an equal amount of problems.
Do you think internet marketing needs to shift towards a more ethical and moral stance? Let me know in the comments.