A few weeks ago a reader called me a liar and a crook.
He was convinced that he had caught me using manipulative, Jedi mind tricks to swindle folks like you out of their hard-earned money.
He offered no proof or examples of my scandalous behavior. In his mind, I was guilty and that was all there was to it.
I tried defending myself. Dumb move on my part. This wasn’t a debate. My accuser just wanted to do a drive-by character assassination. I should know better. Normally I dismiss this stuff without a second thought. But this time..
It hurt my feelings.
I’ve Been Financially Ruined by Crappy Advice – Twice.
The accusation found its way through my armor because I could empathize with this reader.
I have spent over $20,000 on advice that didn’t work. I fell for every smooth talking, Ferrari driving, “autopilot-profit” scam artist who delivered an email to my inbox.
I didn’t actually begin succeed online until I refused to buy ANYTHING that cost more than one cent. Over time I developed a set of rules for filtering the crap from the gems. My system saved me a lot of money, stress, and hassle.
Just today, I deleted an email from someone who was a bit, let’s say, “nimble with the truth.” They didn’t lie they just didn’t tell both sides of the story. I spotted it and congratulated myself on being a savvy coaching consumer.
Then I realized that you would probably like to peek at my system. So here we are. Take a look:
- Talk to a person before spending over $200 online. I prefer a phone conversation but email will do. You learn a lot from how someone answers questions. Tip: Make it easy for your customers to contact you if you sell a big-ticket item,
- Never buy within the first 60-minutes of seeing an offer. There is rarely something so important and lucrative that it requires immediate action. Take an hour to think through the pros and cons.
- Always have an Return On Investment Plan. The quickest way to lose money is to buy advice and fail to act on it. I give everything I purchase 30 days to pay for itself. No exceptions. My part of the deal is to rapidly and aggressively implement any advice, steps, or process given.
- Understand the Total Cost. This is where I lost my shirt some years ago. Almost all marketing advice requires extra cash to implement. For example, that awesome Google Adwords marketing course requires at least another $500 spent on purchasing Ads! A YouTube marketing course usually requires a camera, tripod, lighting, editing software, and a microphone. These costs are on top of the investment in the course, ebook, videos, or whatever. Make sure you identify and factor in these costs before you spend your cash.
- Look for the Warts My favorite search phrase is “(Fill in the blank) sucks”. This usually turns up a list of blog posts from people who had a bad experience with the product. Be careful with these reviews. Most will be unfair and mean-spirited. Look for honest reviews from people who are specific about their concerns and what they did to remedy their problem.
Here are few tactic specific guidelines:
- Email: Any email advice should include positive results (i.e. Open Rates, and Click-Through-Rate – CTR) and negative results like unsubscribe rates and spam complaints. Using techniques like putting “RE:” in subject lines will get incredible open rates and devastating unsubscribe and complaint rates.
- SEO: Most SEO advice sucks. Its either too hard or outdated. I’ve selected 2-3 sources for SEO advice and won’t spend a dime on anyone else. My shortlist includes, Yoast, SEOMoz, SearchEngineLand, Neil Patel, and Matt Cutts (the spam Czar at Google).
- Paid Traffic – PPC: First, never pay for traffic if you aren’t selling a product. Second never pay for traffic if you can’t rattle off your Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value. PPC is a sophisticated tool that works well for patient veterans and eats amateur bloggers for lunch.
- Blogging Pick a coach that matches your outlook and blogging style. For example, I’m not a hobby blogger. I blog to put food on the table and my name in lights. So I almost immediately rub hobby bloggers the wrong way. I turn away hobby blogging clients all the time because I know it won’t end well. So be careful about what type of blogging advice you take.
- Newsletter Advertising, Solo Ads, Article Marketing, PLR, Content Spinning: Run like hell away from this stuff. Count yourself lucky if you don’t know what the abbreviations mean. This stuff worked well enough for about 3 months in 2003. Now, these tactics will leave you busted and broke. Believe me…I know.
- Every marketing tactic requires work. It might be easy to implement but don’t ever believe that sustained success is easy.
- Your subject and/or product matters big-time. Marketing is the science of matching supply and demand. Anyone that insists that their tactics works with ANY product is suspect. Get them on the phone and see if you need a shower afterward.
- Free Is Never Enough. I insist on paying (with money or time) for every scrap of advice I get. Free advice will give you the “Why and What” for a tactic but the “How” is valuable and requires cash. Someone dumb enough to give away all of their best “how” advice for free will bankrupt you with their advice. You’ve been warned.
What Are Your Danger Signals?
What makes your skin crawl and trips your BS radar?