Is marketing cheating?
MW seems to think so. In particular, she has a problem with a marketing technique that has become known as “The Instant Amazon Bestseller Formula.”
She didn’t accuse me outright of lying for saying that my recent book is an “Amazon bestseller.”
Nor should she, considering the book … “Persuasive Presentations for Business “… did reach the #2 spot on the Amazon nonfiction bestseller list.
What MW doesn’t like is that I used e-mail marketing to get the book there.
In fact, you may be familiar with this marketing technique. Used by many Internet marketers, including Mary Ellen Tribby and Michael Masterson, to name just two, this method was pioneered – I believe – by Joe Vitale.
The way it works is simple …
You send an e-mail to your subscribers promoting your book … and get lots of your joint venture partners and affiliates to do the same.
(By the way, you can read more about The Instant Amazon Bestseller Formula at www.myamazonbestseller.com.)
You offer subscribers a bribe – a bunch of free bonus reports contributed by you and your partners – as an incentive to buy your book.
Here’s the trick: To get the bonus reports, they must purchase the book from Amazon.com on the date you specify.
If they buy it elsewhere … or on another day … no bonus gifts for them.
That way, all the orders come in to Amazon on the same day, driving your book way up in the Amazon sales rankings for that day.
MW and many other people I have talked with think that the Instant Amazon Bestseller Formula is somehow cheating – rigging the system to make our books instant temporary bestsellers.
And it’s true. We are manipulating the system.
But what’s wrong with that?
$4,000 a week in “side income.”
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Just imagine how much fun Valentine’s Day could be with an extra $16,000 a month pouring in!
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It’s called MARKETING: using a promotion (in this case, an e-mail promotion) to increase the sales of a product (in this case, our books).
Novels by James Patterson are heavily promoted with radio advertising.
Does that mean they are somehow not “real” bestsellers?
Same thing with Oprah …
If your publicist gets your book into the Oprah Book Club, you are almost guaranteed an instant bestseller.
So why is it perfectly legitimate to advertise your book on radio or in the newspaper … or publicize it on TV … but a “no-no” to e-mail a promotion to your subscribers (who have opted in to your list because they are interested in what you write)?
Answer: Because e-mail marketing is direct marketing. And direct marketing has always had an image problem with the press and the public.
After all, direct mail is called “junk mail.”
So why aren’t TV commercials called “junk TV”?
It is true that a small percentage of products sold through direct marketing have been of questionable value, quality, or legitimacy.
But that doesn’t make direct marketing uniquely sleazy compared with other forms of sales and marketing.
A small percentage of businesses in every distribution channel and industry are crooked and take advantage of unwary consumers.
For instance, it was mainly Madison Avenue that told us we’d be cool and popular if we smoked cigarettes. And it is general advertising, not direct marketing, that has our kids growing obese and unfit on fast food French fries and sugar-filled garbage.
Because direct marketing often relies on long copy to make the sale, there are many folks who tell me they find long copy distasteful – especially “all those long copy sales letters on the Web,” as one of my readers put it.
Again, this is pretty silly when you think about it.
The longer the copy, the more information you are given about the product.
Is there something inherently unethical or inappropriate about giving prospects more information with which to make an intelligent buying decision?
Of course not.
Fortunately for us, the number of consumers who respond to direct-response marketing far outweighs the minority who avoid it.
So direct marketing remains an extremely effective method of selling merchandise and services.
Yet most marketers today – including Internet marketers – don’t know the basics of direct response that were once common knowledge.
For example, can you tell me:
- What’s a good response rate for direct mail today? (Hint: It’s NOT 2%.)
- How many names you have to mail to get a statistically valid test result?
- The best price points and profit margins for products sold via mail order?
- The world’s best-kept copywriting secret? (It’s used by all the top pros.)
- How to test-market a new product idea online for only $100?
- Should you use text or HTML for your e-newsletter?
To find out how you can get tested, authoritative answers to these questions, click here now.
Meanwhile, the main question for you as an entrepreneur is this: Despite direct marketing’s less-than-sterling reputation in the minds of some consumers, should you use it to sell your product online and offline?
And I can give you the answer to that one right here: Unequivocally, yes!