There are many marketing tools for us to choose from when we want to promote a business. Some are free methods, some paid. When I think about the most predatory marketing practices I have seen, many of them relate to someone trying to sell me a paid marketing opportunity. Today I want to share a few thoughts on how to stay true to yourself and your marketing plan in the face of solicitations.
Now – you may think that the caveat here is that I am a marketing consultant, so this may seem like a strange tip to come from me. But, as a business owner, I also get solicitations. This combination puts me in a unique position to evaluate how I am being marketed to.
Let me be clear: a solicitation can be for a legitimate, smart marketing tool as much as it can be for a scam. My thoughts here relate to how to give yourself control in the solicitation process so you can properly evaluate the opportunity.
Here are a few key items to remember when someone is trying to sell you advertising space, a paid version of a free program, or other paid services.
- There is nothing urgent about it for YOU. They can explain opportunity cost. They can explain time sensitivity. They are trying to create a time crunch and imaginary pressure for you to push along a sale. The words “Act Now” or even just the word “Now” is meant to spark your adrenaline. If you are unsure that this is the right thing for you NOW, step away and give yourself some unpressured time to think about it.
- Meaningless stats. Just because hundreds of business owners have used the service – even with great effect – does not mean it is right for yours. There is not one tool that is right for every business. Effective marketing is about finding the intersection of how you/your brand are best represented, where your target market is, and how to frame your message in that place so your target market will notice it.
- How many sales would you need to make to cover this cost? Doesn’t matter. There are a lot of ways to market out there within the same cost bracket. You are comparing this opportunity against the other ones and deciding what is the proper positioning to align with your strategy.
- Payment now. If I know one thing as a marketing consultant, it is that people need time to think about their marketing. That includes everything from how they want to design their strategy to what tools they want to use to whether they want to work with a coach. My happiest clients are very often the people who thought about it for a long time before investing. And the fact that I am willing to wait, to talk, to share my thoughts – that should be an indication that I care about the CLIENT. If someone is pressuring you for a decision for a sale – especially if they don’t know a thing about you outside of your business name – they care about the MONEY, not the CLIENT.
Remember, there are completely legit marketing tools out there that are paid services. There are some that could be right for your business. What I ask is that you take a moment to evaluate what is really right for your business. If it is that tool that someone is trying to sell you right now, great. If not, step away!