As purchases and sales online increase, so do the offers to train and accompany people while they learn internet marketing. How can you be sure you’re not being taken in? Are there warning signs or red flags, as they’re called, which can tell you that an offer isn’t solid?
Yes, there are definate signals you can rely on, which won’t point to a way to have a successful business online. They will most likely reveal offers that will only cost you money, and lead you nowhere. Here are the most important red flags of online marketing offers you need to know about.
WHAT, NO PRODUCT?
If you’re looking for a product or service that will help you develop online marketing skills, and just can’t seem to be lucky enough to find one, there is one thing you can be sure of: their product is your empty wallet….. No, no good product!
They simply promote themselves. No service. Nothing you can benefit from using. They are usually multi-tier systems or pyramid schemes, where the objective of each person who joins is simply to recruit as many followers ( referrals) as possible, and have each of the new ones doing the same. A pyramid structure. Nothing being offered for a price, certainly nothing that will benefit you more than if you just created it yourself without any help. Nobody in such a system does anything else but recruit people, using the most powerful sales pitches possible.
You will recognize these scams, because the first thing you’re expected to do upon joining, is to upgrade immediately to the next tier. Your mind is deliberately over-occupied, so you have as little time as possible to notice that there’s nothing being sold.
DOES UPSELL MEAN IT’S WORTH IT?
You’ve probably seen this often enough in the offline world. You need a particular piece of clothing that’s missing from your wardrobe, say, a belt. You visit a leading brand store and see a great one. In an instant, someone is at your side, explaining that the belt would fit perfectly to exactly this pair of pants or slacks, and of course, it doesn’t stop there, now you have a mis-match of colors in your wardrobe!
It’s the same with so many marketing platforms out there. They never let you grasp the whole picture of what you will need to succeed on the Internet. That remains locked away until you are “ready” for that next step in a marketing plan only they have an overview of. You have absolutely no access to your own plan of action. And to unlock even a trickle of that next step you’ll be making, you need to buy their next package deal. For hosting, an upsell. For the next SEO tool, an upsell. For website support, an upsell.
Any successful business person needs a complete plan of action they have complete access to, at any time. When they see that you’re about to sign up for a plethora of successive upsells, I think the most humane ones would try to stop one of us from clicking that button. Just like no horse knows the territory it’s travelling through while wearing blinders, no entrepreneur can know what he/she is doing, if they only have information “handouts”!
SUDDENLY YOU’RE GETTING MAIL FROM EVERYWHERE
“Stop unsolicitated e-mail!”, we’d often like to shout, hoping that someone will hear us.
You may have, at one point, bought a certain product from a certain company. Could be any small thing. This company, however, may have a deal with some “training” or “consulting” agency. And what’s the company’s end of the deal? To supply your contact details so this agency can advertize to you, without previous communication or consent. These agencies will usually try to woo you with things like high-ticket mentorship to “make big money fast”, their rates will usually range in the thousands of dollars… They bombard you with reminders to consider the offer of the agency. This is “big business opportunity” scamming which is happening between many companies and such agencies. If you get a call or an e-mail from such an agency, don’t respond, better to end the contact then and there.
COMMISSION NOT RECEIVED BY YOU
There are, in the enlightened 21st century, still scam firms out there with seemingly intact and functional affiliate programs. You’ll get to the point where you’ve made sales, and are waiting for the first commission payments to come in. Suddenly, you draw a blank….
You try to get information. First thing that happens, you land in an endless info-funnel, turning on itself. If you get anywhere close to beating it, you may get a message that you’ve done something wrong with the sales. Or, if you’re luckier, you’ll be told something closer to the truth – that the company is unable to make the payment at this moment. What you’ll never be told, is that they’ve just used you to do their advertizing – for free!
Check out the history of an online marketing company before joining. Read reviews. Read testimonials, and don’t limit yourself to the ones on the platform itself! Make sure that a place you’ll be involved with, is a solid and lawful business.
FREE BOOKS GIVE-AWAY
Would you take it upon yourself to write a book, and not want to be paid for your efforts? This is what some scammers would have us believe! I think most of those of us who consider ourselves of a sound mind, would not invest time and creative effort with no returns!
Nobody would be that dumb. And nobody would go to the trouble of advertizing a top product of their own, for no revenue and no income! How are they able to make this statement?
For one, the shipping price. They will make double sure that shipping covers their publishing costs! They seek profit by claiming bestseller status for their books, in their advertizing. And what would the content of such books look like? Secrets revealed to attain amazing wealth. Shortcuts so you’ll never work again, and spend the rest of your life on a remote island, or a dazzling mansion.
“Here’s how this person did it”. “Look how I’ve done it, and I’m sharing this for free!” And when you take a good look at the content, you’ll find a lot of re-hashed wisdom from as early as the 1950s and ’60s, re-written, using a different order of words…. These books are usually nothing more than thick ads for the companies promoting them! And these companies will not even blink before using your contact details, so they can bombard you with new offers…
HELLO, WILL THE REAL AFFILIATE MARKETING WORLD PLEASE STAND UP?
Not all AM companies are scams though, otherwise online earning would be an empty space indeed… Amazon Associates, Shareasale, Ebay and many, many others are solid, excellent businesses, with good reputations and longevity. There are affiliate learning platforms which equip you with the tools to succeed, just as a college or university would do. They don’t need to take shortcuts, upsell on needed knowledge or make exhorbitant offers, because they have a real product.
Real services. Excellent online training. And the tools you will need. Websites and hosting. A reliable support service and the ability to interact, answer questions, coach from real business experience, and provide networking in a very satisfied and progressive community. Not sold separately. Just as the college or university you attend, does not suddenly decide to put a price on the style of Ernest Hemingway, or certain higher formulas of trigonometry.
My experience prompts me to mention a “green flag”, among so many red ones, a positive characteristic which a functioning AM online university will usually display: The owners. Are they known? Are they working? In the business, as well as to be found habitually active on their own platform?
That, to me, means they like what they’re doing. They’re not just in it for the money, they want a satisfying work and business life. Something they’re proud of. That’s the best sign that quality’s being put in.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. As always, please feel free to share any comments, questions or experiences you may have, in the space below.