Need to market, but never trusted marketing pitches

19 replies
Hi, everyone.

My wife and I are starting a business selling ebook and video training, mainly focusing on software, computers, and photography. I just purchased Kevin Riley's "From Hobby to Your Own Profitable Home-Based How-To Business Empire", and we've been working on our first ebooks.

But...

We're going to have to do a lot of marketing on our sales pages, and here's where a deeper problem lies...

I'm in the software field, and I have a trait that I believe is very common in my field. We're extremely cynical about being sold and marketed to, and feel very uncomfortable coming across like that on our website and emails. We install pop-up and ad-blocking software to avoid any of that. If I see a page that starts with big red letters, followed by the obvious typical marketing content, I usually can't click fast enough to get off the page. I know it's always going to make claims about some amazing new piece of crap or something. As a matter of fact, I can't believe people still get taken by this stuff on those sites. Is it just me?

The only reason I even purchased Kevin's product is because I saw a couple of his videos before even reading the marketing. I spent a lot of time watching several of his videos and researching his reputation before even taking the leap. And what may be the biggest reason I actually bought from him is that our teaching philosophies aligned (the step-by-step approach, and not skipping any steps).

My wife and I love to teach, and feel we can do a lot to help others with our material. Of course, we do want to make money from our efforts, but I don't know how I can get over this cynicism hurdle. Is it just a trait of techies to be extremely cynical of selling? Am I seeing this from my own little "box" and negative experiences?

Another thing that worries me a bit is that it seems the IM field consists of a huge echo chamber, where marketers seem to just be marketing to other marketers about making money on the Internet. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but when I read testimonials about some of the products being sold in this field, and visit those peoples' sites, they're usually sites selling the same sort of "make money on the Internet" stuff.

We want to do what we love, and make a business from it. The money is a by-product of providing value doing something you love. But it seems like in the IM field, it's a cycle of people doing IM stuff falling in love with the idea about IM, and market IM stuff in order to do more IM stuff. I never want to fall into that trap. I want to use IM techniques to promote our training about computers and software without coming off as the image I've built up in my mind about marketers.

Please let me know if my concerns are baseless, or if anyone has had similar concerns.

Thanks!

= Mark
#cynicism #echo chamber #market #marketing #pitches #trusted
  • Profile picture of the author winebuddy
    I strongly suggets you hire a marketing consultant or a very good copywriter.

    Based on what you have said - it may be difficult for you to "sell".

    just my 2 cents
    Signature
    birminghamshootingrange.comfor sale |"Knowledge is NOT power... ACTION on Knowledge is power"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1131956].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
    You may want to look around at websites that sell similar products to what you're offering, as that will give you an idea of what works for the audience you're targeting. Ultimately it's not what you like but what the people you're marketing to respond to. People (including me) hate telemarketing, but telemarketing works.

    Business involves selling. It can be a hard sell or a soft sell, but a sale has to take place, and marketing facilitates that. Even what you cited in your example is still a form of marketing, whether intentional or otherwise. You saw Kevin's video, which built credibility for him and you researched his reputation online, and since he'd branded himself well, you felt more assurance in buying his product. That worked well for you, but that may or may not be the best approach for your potential customers.

    As far as marketers selling to other marketers, keep in mind that internet marketing is a lot bigger than what you see on forums like this. The majority of products and services being sold online have nothing at all to do with teaching people how to make money.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1131970].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Please don't take this the wrong way, but how you personally "feel" about being sold to is utterly irrelevant. Like it or not, you've thrown your hat into the selling ring by starting the business you outlined. Embrace what works in time-tested ways or perish. Now, you might luck into some previously undiscovered way to skin the cat, but it's highly unlikely. Your best bet, by far, is to follow what works and has worked for many years. If that means a sales page that makes you feel personally squeamish, then so be it. As long as everything you include is honest, you gotta find a way past your personal preferences.

    John
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132013].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rondo
      Mark remember that you need to sell both the features and the benefits of your product.

      Most software sellers push the features more than the benefits (less hype)
      Most information sellers push the benefits more than the features (more hype).

      So you need to find a balance which works for you and also produces lots of sales, and this means you need to test, test, test.


      Andrew
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132014].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author fxmmorale
        If the big red letters bother you use "blue". Something you may feel comfortable with is making a true and factual statement in your headline that you would share in a conversation with one of your peers or someone on the street who was in the market for what your "selling".

        You have to sell your prospective consumers on the idea that what you're offering is the closest solution to their problems and you don't have to be a snake oiled salesman to do that.

        If you're fully convinced about the value your product has to offer, it's up to you to use the methods that have been known to work to help your potential clients. Otherwise they're just going to fall prey to someone who uses the very techniques you despise to cheat them out of their hard earned dollar when...

        They could have gotten your product.

        It's a paradigm shift from selling to recommending the best solution and your prospects won't know about that solution unless you make an effort to get their attention.

        Wishing you the best of success,
        Nando
        Signature
        The Marketing Rinnegato Cometh... stay tuned. This link leads to my Warrior blog...
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132037].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author George Sepich
    Originally Posted by Mark Freedman View Post

    Hi, everyone.

    My wife and I are starting a business selling ebook and video training, mainly focusing on software, computers, and photography. I just purchased Kevin Riley's "From Hobby to Your Own Profitable Home-Based How-To Business Empire", and we've been working on our first ebooks.

    But...

    We're going to have to do a lot of marketing on our sales pages, and here's where a deeper problem lies...

    I'm in the software field, and I have a trait that I believe is very common in my field. We're extremely cynical about being sold and marketed to, and feel very uncomfortable coming across like that on our website and emails. We install pop-up and ad-blocking software to avoid any of that. If I see a page that starts with big red letters, followed by the obvious typical marketing content, I usually can't click fast enough to get off the page. I know it's always going to make claims about some amazing new piece of crap or something. As a matter of fact, I can't believe people still get taken by this stuff on those sites. Is it just me?

    The only reason I even purchased Kevin's product is because I saw a couple of his videos before even reading the marketing. I spent a lot of time watching several of his videos and researching his reputation before even taking the leap. And what may be the biggest reason I actually bought from him is that our teaching philosophies aligned (the step-by-step approach, and not skipping any steps).

    My wife and I love to teach, and feel we can do a lot to help others with our material. Of course, we do want to make money from our efforts, but I don't know how I can get over this cynicism hurdle. Is it just a trait of techies to be extremely cynical of selling? Am I seeing this from my own little "box" and negative experiences?

    Another thing that worries me a bit is that it seems the IM field consists of a huge echo chamber, where marketers seem to just be marketing to other marketers about making money on the Internet. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but when I read testimonials about some of the products being sold in this field, and visit those peoples' sites, they're usually sites selling the same sort of "make money on the Internet" stuff.

    We want to do what we love, and make a business from it. The money is a by-product of providing value doing something you love. But it seems like in the IM field, it's a cycle of people doing IM stuff falling in love with the idea about IM, and market IM stuff in order to do more IM stuff. I never want to fall into that trap. I want to use IM techniques to promote our training about computers and software without coming off as the image I've built up in my mind about marketers.

    Please let me know if my concerns are baseless, or if anyone has had similar concerns.

    Thanks!

    = Mark
    Hi Mark,
    You are very correct in your observations IMO. Just hold to your own values and you will be fine. There are tons of different ways to market online, and the guru style red headline and long copy isn't a necessity for success.

    In fact, since you mentioned video above, I would suggest you follow that path as a potential marketing tactic.

    Do a sincere video to your target market on your sales letter by telling a captivating story along with your product benefits and features and I think you'll be OK. No need to be a marketing lemming.

    BTW, Kevin is a good guy, despite the fact that he unmercifully rules over his Kingdom Of Hamsters.

    George
    Signature

    Need Help? GeorgeSepich.com Digital Marketing Solutions From George Sepich.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132034].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Mark Freedman View Post

    I'm in the software field, and I have a trait that I believe is very common in my field. We're extremely cynical about being sold and marketed to, and feel very uncomfortable coming across like that on our website and emails.
    Hire a copywriter who understands engineers.

    Did I mention I started copywriting when I was laid off from Microsoft?

    Seriously, it's just a different kind of sell. You can't sell to an engineer the same way you do to a "normal" prospect, because we're not as predictable - you can actually sell us better on features than on benefits, because it is in our nature to turn a feature into a benefit... in ways a non-engineer would never even contemplate. If you tell us the features, we'll make them into the benefits we REALLY WANT.

    And if you're not an engineer... trust me, you don't know what we want. You don't think like us. You looked at the Kindle and said "it's not as good as a real paper book." We looked at the Kindle and said "free wireless internet for life?!"

    Another thing that worries me a bit is that it seems the IM field consists of a huge echo chamber, where marketers seem to just be marketing to other marketers about making money on the Internet.
    "Write what you know."

    Engineers write best about engineering. Economists write best about economics. Politicians write best about politics. And marketers write best about marketing.

    And needless to say, marketers then try to go out and sell it.
    Signature
    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132035].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author smile633
    Selling is about others, not me!
    Offer them what they want! Serve them!
    Signature

    Please read the sig file rules

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132150].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mark Freedman
      Wow, thanks for the great feedback, everyone!

      Yes, as John and smile633 have pointed out, the goal is to sell to others, not to myself. Just because I feel one way doesn't mean it won't speak differently to others.

      That's a good idea about the video, Rob and George. It's what worked for Kevin to sell to me.

      winebuddy, CDarklock, and Rob, I'm going to give it a shot myself before giving in to my cynicism and hire someone else.

      Hesaidblissfully, yes, looking at similar websites makes a lot of sense, and I will definitely do that.

      Definitely, Andrew. As CDarklock pointed out, it's easy to sell engineers on features, because we know how to turn those into benefits. But the key to selling to most of the world is to focus on the benefits, which is something I don't see people do enough. And as Nando pointed out, I have to get comfortable with the proven techniques for catching someone's attention before I can describe the solution (benefit) to their problem.

      I definitely need to change my focus on what it means to market and sell our products. Thanks a lot, everyone. It'll still be a struggle for someone with my ingrained attitude about selling, but you've given me some good food for thought on working through that.

      = Mark
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132244].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author kfilliez
        I sell insurance for my day job (i know...ick!) and it took me a while to remember that not everyone is like me. I hate it when people on the phone/internet "prequalify" me for their sales pitch - i.e. butter me up or act like they are my best friend. I'm 'tainted' like you....That is why I decided to just be my 'laid back' self, act professional and be honest with people. You will have your own personality that will attract tons of people and you will quickly realize what works and what doesn't so you can fine tune your strategy as you go!

        Good Luck! -K
        Signature
        KirstinsBonusandReview.com - Article Submission Software, SEO, Niche Review Templates, and MORE!
        NewWeightLossSecrets.info-Eliminating Weight Loss Hype
        BestBabyProductReviews.com - Baby stuff
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132289].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by Mark Freedman View Post

        winebuddy, CDarklock, and Rob, I'm going to give it a shot myself before giving in to my cynicism and hire someone else.
        You're an engineer, all right.

        Once you have your sales page together, throw a link into the copywriting forum - it's a great place to get feedback. There are some high-dollar copywriters in there who just might give you a bunch of great advice for free.
        Signature
        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132382].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    I would suggest looking up Jeff Walker and his Product Launch Formula. This guy pioneered the launch methods that are so popular today, and was instrumental in the success of some of the big guns out there.

    When he started out, he felt exactly the same as you. He didn't want to sell, felt completely uncomfortable doing it, and decided to take a different approach.

    Instead of doing just the sales page, he started by building a relationship with his customers first, via his mailing list. He then came up with what he calls the "sideways salespage", where he takes the content of a sales page and spreads it out over a month, one piece at a time.

    All the big launches that you hear all about that are making huge amounts of sales in the first day, come from this approach.

    And the guy would never have come up with it, if not for the fact he felt uncomfortable with the hard sell.

    Here's a video to get you started:


    If you go to YouTube for that video, there's also some great related videos to watch as well.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132405].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mark Freedman
      Continued thanks, everyone.

      I'm checking out Jeff Walker's videos now. Some great ideas!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132427].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Steven D Smith
    I don't personally like "selling" much either. I make it clear in my sales letters that I don't like "selling" or "hype" and this angle has worked well for me.

    Very low key and factual has worked for me. I think every niche is slightly different.

    Steve
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1132477].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DavidO
      I know exactly where you're coming from. When I was starting out just about everything in a typical sales page rubbed me the wrong way... still does.

      So I've tried to do sales pages without all the BS (just the facts, maam) and I'm sad to say they always flopped. People need to feel some emotion or they simply won't buy. The real challenge is in building emotion with authenticity. Hype and insincerity are the signs of an amateur and they turn people off.

      The best advice I've ever heard is to sell like you're talking to a friend. You don't BS and manipulate your friends, do you? They'd see right through you. But you do know how to convince a friend about a good idea of yours, don't you? That's the way to approach it.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1133073].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Mark Freedman
        Exactly. The last thing I want is hype and come off as inauthentic. And, unfortunately, that is just how much of what I see comes off -- not only in words, but also in the use of fonts, colors, and yellow highlighting that most seem to use.

        I absolutely understand that a successful sale requires touching the audience emotionally. Selling like I'm talking to a friend is great advice. I try using that technique when writing articles to make sure it flows well and is conversational.

        I'm curious if people could point out what they consider examples of lower-key, but successful selling pages. Maybe I'm just worried about modeling the types of pages I feel uncomfortable with. I do think that Kevin Riley's pages work better than most (for me, at least), and a lot of that is helped by the fact that he uses a lot of unpolished video, which makes it more personable, and that he doesn't use too many fonts or yellow highlighting.

        Thanks.

        = Mark
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1133111].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Damien Roche
    You know, I used to have this problem. I just didn't like the idea of selling, but then I started looking at it from the perspective of serving people.

    I think the problem lies in your confidence of what you can offer. If you don't believe in that, you are contradicting yourself by selling it. However, if you believe in what you can offer, selling is easy peasy - the rest is science.
    Signature
    >> Seasoned Web Developer (CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby) <<
    Available for Fixed Fee Projects and Hourly ($40/hr)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1133121].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mark Freedman
      Originally Posted by Damien Roche View Post

      I think the problem lies in your confidence of what you can offer. If you don't believe in that, you are contradicting yourself by selling it. However, if you believe in what you can offer, selling is easy peasy - the rest is science.
      Interesting. I have confidence, but what I'm going to be teaching in my guides is something I've usually done in a one-on-one scenario. So perhaps the fact that I'm now going to be a lot more public, and will be charging for it, is making my confidence waver a bit.

      I'm sure I'll get over that hurdle once I get it out there. I do tend to be my harshest critic, and the people around my have confidence in me, so I really should get over it.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1133149].message }}

Trending Topics