The Life and Death of a Marketing Funnel

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Whether you like it or not, the Internet Marketing game can be a shifty business.

Like the real world of marketing and advertising, it doesn’t take long to realise that many products don’t match their claims. If you are going to play the game, you can’t afford to believe every “guru” who glimmers a shiny new opportunity at you.

Like most newbies, once I crossed over through the looking glass into the internet marketing world, I was amazed at the number of opportunities that were available. I bought a few things here and there and had varying degrees of success with them. I was also ticked off with some purchases because the opportunity revealed was not something I wanted to pursue, but who gets to know an how a money-making product works before you buy it, especially in the ’90’s.

I remember finding my first high ticket item offered by a famous guru that I really wanted to buy.

In fact I agonised over it, mainly because it was expensive and I didn’t want to part with my cash.

Well as luck would have it, as I was searching for a customer review of the product,  I actually found it for “free” as a download online. I thought what the heck, if I liked it I would still buy it, so I eagerly downloaded it and consumed it completely. By the end of it I discovered a home truth that has lasted with me ever since – just because a product is expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good. In fact it probably just means the guru selling the expensive product has more money to spend on a flash website and advertising than everyone else, and as a result is willing charge a lot more for much of the same information we can get cheaper elsewhere. It appears to me that an expensive product that is worth it’s price is indeed hard to find.

I mention this experience because it helped me recently as I found myself falling into the marketing funnel of a nice young man by the name of Sam Ovens. His Facebook ad mentioned he went from in-debt to a millionaire by age 23, and he now offers the keys to a successful consulting practice based on his experience. So on clicking on the ad I got taken to a page that offered me the choice of two webinar times. The first was coming up in a few minutes, so I took the opportunity to watch it.

By the time I had made a coffee, I was listening to Sam as he began his spiel, and it was a good pitch. In fact, I hadn’t found a pitch quite as compelling as this one for quite a while. The presentation was very professional, and there was even a live person (apparently) offering assistance to me as I listened. Very smooth, I thought.

The first part of his product would help me find a market that I could consult for, which I thought was a great idea and had me very interested. Combined with the other tools, training and guarantees, it was the first time in a long time that I really wanted to buy a product that I had stumbled upon cold. There was one major problem though – it cost $1997 (or 4 payments of $597) and it was a one-off offer that was closing fast. Or so Sam claimed.

I felt under a fair bit of pressure to buy because positions were “filling up quickly”. I head how Tony, Samantha and Peter had just joined, and at this rate the offer wouldn’t be available for long. So I quickly considered the value of the course in my head, and if less expensive I might have bought it, but being expensive I took a step back to determine its real value. After some consideration of it all, warning bells started to go off in my head. I long ago promised myself never to fall for the scarcity marketing tactic, because it was just a trick to get my money now while I was hot for the spiel. I felt if a product spiel was going to manipulate me this way, then it wasn’t worth my money.

My main concern was the fact that there was two webinar times on offer right at the start – if the product discount was about to be gone forever and the positions were filling quickly, why did I get a chance to see a second webinar? This was proof to me that this spiel was just scammy marketing at work. So I let the excitement subside, took a breather, and decided to do some digging on Mr. Ovens.

It didn’t take long to find that Mr. Ovens made his first real money by looking for a marketplace that had a tangible problem (he found his in real estate) that could be solved with a software app. I am guessing now that his course was all about how to find these markets and how to outsource software creation, which was a good idea and it appealed to me.

Unfortunately there was another side to his offer that I discovered.

A number of disgruntled customers complained that they never got their money back after requesting a refund. This was a major broken promise – and instantly eliminated any residual desire I had to get to know Mr. Ovens further.

Now as I look for the payment landing page today, I find that it’s still there – it hasn’t shut down, and the course is still available. I even found the seminar advertised again on Facebook. So Mr. Ovens lied to me, he said his course would be gone by now, but it hasn’t.

That is just unacceptable to me. If he lied about the exclusivity of his offer, then he probably will not honour his refund+$100 offer either, as others have claimed. Considering all this, my interest in his offer was now dead.

So there you have it. From hot to buy, to closing my wallet and moving on, all in the space of 90 minutes.

I tip my hat to Mr. Ovens – his marketing funnel is very attractive and he has emulated sincerity very effectively. Who knows, perhaps he gives his clients 100% effort and he’s good at what he does. But he lied to me and that is just not acceptable, even if it is only a little white lie. Trust is the only currency in sales, and so few people deserve it.

So I’ve moved on. I’m still looking for that mentor that can stand up to my ethical standards. There’s always the next webinar.

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