A couple of years ago, I paid up to 4 thousand dollars in total of buying an email list, building a sales funnel and affiliate marketing training. I was obsessed with the idea of making ‘passive income’ because I wanted to ‘travel the world’. I also found a real-life mentor who had the business model and was living proof that it was possible.
He showed me his pay pal account, I hung around with him multiple times, for months straight, travelled with him, verified his lifestyle with my own eyes and invested in his affiliate marketing course. He was living the passive income from the internet dream.
I did sell a couple of products from Clickbank for a couple of weeks, decided that there must be a better way to do this, and quit the business at a huge loss.
There are a couple of reasons why I did so. Firstly, I didn’t want my career to be spent marketing scammy products. Some of the products from this affiliate site was horrible. I was an educated individual that had a formal education, I should have the smarts to figure something out. I was also admittedly lazy and wanted the fast way out.
It was the way I wanted to do business.
Eventually, I went into SEO because I wanted to provide an ethical service and product to Singaporean businesses. Even so, SEO itself is a fascinating subject that if you’re not careful, can be labelled under the category as scammy.
The One Rule: Never be Scammy – How to Market Your Services Online
The internet marketing industry is rife with quick promises of the ‘make money and travel the world’ promises. You see this a lot in the Singapore seminar marketing industry. You get forex traders, copywriters, marketers and even SEO course providers marketing their services in an unethical manner.
You know, jet planes, the laptop on the beach and all of that.
I actually once considered stooping down low to their level. However, I figured, screw it. I was going to raise levels, instead of going down to it. This is why I spend so much time top quality creating content. I handwrite everything. You rarely see this amongst SEO companies.
Gimmicky Products and Services
So what happens when the standards are low?
You end up with complaints on forums and dubious reviews. I can’t tell you the number of times business owners label SEO a scam. No, it isn’t a scam. In our defence, they probably outsourced their SEO in some cheap Indian SEO firm that got their website penalized by Google.
However, there are the real scams. The pyramid schemes and empty promises. These people shine a negative light on the good guys in the industry. People that spend years, thousands of dollars mastering their craft. The good guys are often lumped in together with the bad guys.
I refused to be categorised with these guys. In fact, if you know me in person, I’m always pissed off at some of these ‘personal finance gurus’ promising 30% returns per annum in the stock market in their sales copy. Oh? Warren Buffet generated 20% per annum on his best years, and you’re going to outperform him?
That, to me, is unethical marketing.
I’ve come across ‘internet marketing’ gurus who are extremely afraid of ruining their reputation from one bad review. Well, if you’ve got results for yourself and tons of other clients and students, then why be afraid at all? Every good product in the world has a negative review.
So why be insecure about it?
Commit to adding Massive Value
There are courses that go up to $4000 for a 5-day course. That’s more than someone’s monthly pay. If you’re charging that kind of money, you bet you should be adding massive value. If you aren’t, then, you should be getting out of that business.
So how can you market your services in an ethical manner?
Firstly, you got to be committed to putting your best foot forward. When you commit to creating world-class products and services, you’ll create students and clients for life. You create trust and authority, something that isn’t talked a lot about.
There’s a ton of noise out there. Why would anyone pay for my course or service when there’s a ton of free stuff on the internet? Just about anyone can create a simple website, install WordPress, promise you world domination on a sales page and run a Facebook ad to it. How many of these people actually can back up what they say?
In the long run, there will be a flight to quality. This why I don’t just use my client’s and student’s testimonials as success stories, I am intending to rank for my own keywords. I also don’t hard sell myself as SEO consultant, if my service or pitch isn’t right for you, then so be it.
When you commit to adding massive value, you get better customers, students, clients and you can charge premium pricing.
Some Decisions I Make in Business
- Rejecting students with credit card debt
If you’re in debt, you can’t attend my course. You’re better off clearing your debt first. I hold this decision true to other projects as well.
- I don’t offer kickbacks or commissions
This is extremely common in the SEO world, especially with government grants such as the PIC claim. SEO agencies are able to manipulate invoices and give kickbacks. I don’t do any of that.
- When I was a freelancer, when my clients price me out, I turn down the project
There were a couple of times when clients came to me and say: why can’t you just match your price with X competitor? Firstly, I’ll educate him why I’m charging for such prices. However, if he still insists, I’ll simply turn down the project.
Ultimately, when marketing your business or services, the first rule is: don’t be scammy. Create world-class services and products and you’ll build a valuable brand this way.