Pure Junk or Pure Genius?
This post comes sort of as an apology and an explanation of my thoughts which may have come across as majorly dismissive of the marketing efforts of a friend of mine.
The discussion here is based on these websites that have generally a letter format usually offering a free ebook, video download in return for your email and perhaps considering handing over your credit card details for the full package that will make you rich, loose weight or pick up endless women, to name a few.
Here are some of the websites in question:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/ – a quite in depth website but based on the same theory and has the same cheap untrustworthy feel. I checked this with a couple of friends!
http://www.seduction.com/start.php – good bit of pick up for good measure.
These two are slight tricker – they have a magazine site at first glance although none of the navigation or links are real apart from to go to the product order forms. Explained in the CBS link at the end.
http://instantsalesletterwebsites.com/ – A good old sales letter format selling the sales letter format. Ha the irony!
I believe that these are based on the theory ‘throw enought shit at the wall and eventually some will stick’ . because of the near zero marginal costs of the web it does seem to pay to cast your net as wide a possible. For all the people that sign up for your freebee, that you subsequently bombard with endless email, if 1 or 2 pay your $99 subscription then you are probably in profit. Some even go as far to be Reminiscent of Matrix and Ponzi schemes.
I’m not doubting that this method of marketing can make money, I am of course assuming this, however if it didn’t why is the internet still rife with all these sites? Freemium Selling – Offer some features or products for free and charge for upgrades or premium features. I have not argument with this. This is a solid business model. The concept is valid, the way it is presented is not. Note: In this case you may be paying with you email address not cash!
My main argument against all of this is branding and credibility.
Anyone working at any company with a name will know how hard it is to establish credibility and recognition of your brand in the market place. Would you really want to throw all that away on a medium that cheapens your product offering and name?
That leads me to this example, There is a right way and a wrong way to offer free content to pull people in and it’s a almost a 50:50 split.
Both these pages are offing free material, content aside which one would you be willing to put your email address into?
If you are working in an industry in which you need to exude confidence and professionalism this style may not be for you, pick your format carefully.
Finally – a little old but a nice video from CBS. If is sounds to good to be true it probably is! These scams allegorical of this format! http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/30/earlyshow/living/ConsumerWatch/main6914322.shtml
Also useful – http://www.squidoo.com/1weirdtip
Both of these offer something for free. This first is based on the physical world ‘free’ model. The gimmicky free offer of offline past where people knew they would be paying eventually, like the free toy in the cereal. i.e this cost is built into the product. However in the online world where free really can be free use a freemium model for example not expect people to enter their card details for a subscription…
This is hard to get right and is perhaps more relevant to ‘picking up’ women and ‘awesome abs’ than a professional healthcare worker.