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Darren Chow is a full time writer, web developer, and Internet marketer. He graduated from the National University of Singapore and started dabbling in web design while still studying. Today, he spends his time writing for established websites and promoting websites for clients. You can also learn more about me, by watching this video.
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As an online marketer, I’m bombarded by advertisements left right center all the time. Many of these advertisements are about making money on the Internet. I don’t have a problem with advertisements. But I do have a problem with making money by hook or by crook. Let me tell you what happened…

A couple of weeks ago, I started doing joint promotions (internet marketers call this an Ad Swap) with other marketers – i.e. you give away something free to my list of subscribers or customers, and I’ll do likewise for you. The end result is that we end up with something that everyone wants – a larger list of prospects and/or customers. It’s supposed to be a win win situation for both parties.

But before I agree to do a swap, I always go through the following process:

1) Join the list of the other marketer to see what is being offered.

I think it’s every marketer’s responsibility to always act in the best interest of the subscribers. There are two goals I want to achieve here. The first goal is to make sure that the materials are a good fit for the people on my list. It doesn’t make sense to send something that my customers are not interested in, even if it’s free.

The second goal is to get to know the other marketer – his or her background, achievements, future goals, etc. Here, I want to make sure that this marketer knows how to serve my customers (which is you) well. I don’t want to send you to a marketer who doesn’t know how to respect and treat people with decency.

2) Work on the ads.

Usually, when an agreement is reached, both parties will exchange ads – I’ll send out yours, and you’ll send out mine. The problem I’ve encountered is that many marketers are looking to build huge lists, so they join every promotion that comes along. Most of them use cookie cutter ads.

Unfortunately, I’m quite stubborn on this issue, and I sometimes refuse to budge. That’s because I understand the customers on my list. Different lists have got different profiles, so I’m confident to say that the cookie cutter approach just doesn’t work. Which is to say, there is no one-size-fits-all.

People are different. The fact that these marketers continue to use cookie cutter ads says that they know very little about the background of the people, and they do not show a strong enough interest in people to go find out. To me, this is unacceptable.

Let me give you an example.

The ads that I come across are usually along these lines.

A) Give away something valuable for free (as a sample or for self introduction).
B) Give away something that is on sale (e.g. a $47 ebook) for free (as a gift to build goodwill).

That’s fine, provided the gifts offer a genuine solution to the problem that the customer is facing. And you can’t really do that if you have zero understanding of the customer. For this reason, I always download and read the materials before agreeing to a joint promotion.

This marketer I was working with has already agreed to go ahead with a joint promotion. He has 5,000 leads on his list, so that sounds like a fairly lucrative deal. All I had to do was to take his ad, write one for him to send, and then send out the ad on a date that we both agreed upon.

However, I didn’t agree to the ad that he wanted to send out because I know my customers wouldn’t respond well. It was unfortunate that this particular marketer thinks that he knows my list better than I do and wanted to send out a cookie cutter ad that was full of hype.

The ad contained words like “pleading, begging, awesome, snagged”. In my opinion, that was overselling.

And do you know why marketers tend to try too hard sometimes to sell?

The main reason is that the people on the list are not buying enough from them. It could be that the list has stopped responding. So the marketer tries even harder to sell them something.

Or maybe they are buying, but from the marketer’s perspective, it’s always not enough. Everyone wants more sales, more money, more dough…so they hype up everything in an attempt to sell more.

If you have read any of my previous materials, you know that I’m a big fan of this “C” word known as “Conscience”.

People buy from me because they trust me. I do not believe that they buy from me because of how I hype up my marketing. I don’t. If I do so, maybe people will stop buying from me because I have become one of them – chasing after money without really caring about the customer.

The marketer that I was working with was adamant about a little thing like the subject header of the email. He said that he had tested his headline and he has gotten the highest click through rate because of that headline.

I could see how he behaved in this manner. And I don’t blame him for being adamant. You see, he was taught to market in this manner. That’s why he believed so strongly that the subject headline matters so much, to the point that he shuts out everything else.

In the end, I had to reject the deal.

Do I earn less? Maybe. But I earn enough. And I’m happy to announce that I earn enough to have a good night’s sleep without having to worry about my conscience coming back to haunt me.

I never try too hard to track open rates, click through rates and stuff. Sometimes, I don’t even track at all. But the funny thing is, I always get sales.

Let me ask you this question.

Before you open an email, do you open emails from

A) Someone who is genuinely interested in you and your goals OR
B) Someone who is just interested in selling you stuff?

Don’t tell me the answer. I think you already know the answer. It’s quite obvious actually.

Sure, dangling a bone in front of a dog may work – for a while. But when the dog realizes that it is never going to get the bone, the trick will stop working. In other words, sooner or later, people are just going to stop responding to those emails, especially if they are sent by people who are just after their pockets.

But if you know that the email is coming from a good friend, a sincere associate, you are more likely to open the email, no matter what the subject header is.

When was the last time you open an email from an unknown source?
I bet you delete them without opening.

When was the last time you open an email from a good friend of yours?
I bet you open every single email.

There you go.

I don’t see pro marketers like Sean Mize and Janet Cole putting lots of hype into their sales letter.

And you know what? They are making a really good living without all that hype.

Sure, a little bit of hype wouldn’t hurt, but it’s there just to get your attention. These marketers never sway far from being honest and truthful. Just take a look at the people around you – your friends your family members. Chances are, you learn the most from those who are honest and truthful with you. You know, deep in your heart, who you really wanted to work with.

At the end of the day, the best marketers know that you cannot run away from honesty.

If you ever go into marketing, make honesty the center of all your marketing efforts. Your reputation will improve greatly, and you will have more successful marketing campaigns down the road. That’s a guarantee.

What you don’t want to do, is to manipulate or resort to tricks. I remember one marketer I approached. I think she was trying to protect her subscribers, but she was doing it wrong. (Another true story by the way)

She wanted to have good content for her customers, but her definition of good content is some “trick” that will help her customers. A trick, by its very nature, is gimmicky. Sometimes, a trick may even be classified as black hat. That’s where you need to be a little careful here.

This marketer thinks that her customers are already very knowledgeable, so they won’t respond to the usual materials. So she thinks that if she can send them some “tricks”, they are more likely to respond.

Unfortunately, if she is not careful, her good intentions may back fire and affect her reputation adversely. First, I want to say that the assumption of customers knowing everything may well be false.

Even the same “boring” materials can be useful. How? For example, you can send good marketing fundamentals to remind your customers that they exist for good reason. People tend to forget after a while, so it’s useful to send reminders. You see, same knowledge, same materials, sent at a different time, can be useful.

Another alternative would be to send materials with more depth. In fact, I think that there is no such thing as knowing everything. For instance, I specialize in article marketing. So I sent out a report on article approval to show my customers how they can improve their article approval rates with just a little more effort.

(Download here: http://www.fastsubmitarticles.com/download/article_approval.pdf)
(Right click save as to download)

More depth means you include information and details that the average person would not have paid attention to. By giving out information with more depth, you show that you really know what you are talking about, and that you are in a better position to provide solutions.

See? There is no need to resort to tricks. Really.

Ok, I think I’ve rambled on long enough. Time for some official business.

The Games and Entertainment Blog Network has just been released.

The 2 for 1 promotion is now on. Here are the details:

* Min. 3 distribution credits must be purchased in a single order.
* For every 1 purchased credit, you get 2 free.
* Offer will expire on 11 Sept. 2009 (one week from now).
* To claim your free credits, make a purchase at http://www.blogcontentsyndication.com/register.asp
Then email me from the website. Remember to include your login email.

That’s all I have to say for now.

Remember to look out for more free stuff as I send them along to you from my partners.

Hope they’ll help you achieve your goals more quickly.

Enjoy the content!

To your success,
Darren Chow

Comments

comments

One Response to Why I Gave Up on an Opportunity to Make More Money

  • WE’re constantly bombarded with ads so you made the right decision there Darren!

    Protect your list as well as use it.

    I constantly unsubscribe from someone’s list if the emails i’m getting are not helping me or giving me any value in some way.