Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had 109 emails through the contact form on my two main blogs that all start with exactly the same words:
“I represent a company that specializes in a new form of Internet advertising that guarantees that you will get a 100% conversion rate on 100% of your website traffic….”
The email then goes on to tell me that this new type of advertising ensures I will get paid for everyone who visits my site…. it’s better than ‘Google ads’….. that they’d like to fill me in on more details and that I should email the person for more information.
I’m so annoyed by these emails that I’m not even going to mention the product on ProBlogger at this point (and I’ve complained to the person behind the company – although with no response).
The fact is that the 109 people who emailed me are not ‘representatives’ of the company in that they are employed by it – they are affiliates hoping to make a commission by getting me to sign up.
Now I don’t have anything against signing up for quality products with affiliate programs to reward the person who puts me onto them – however the last few weeks have illustrated to me just many people are lazy in their internet marketing.
I can just imagine how it happened – the company with the affiliate program probably has a page with some suggested emails that people could send out prospects – those signing up for the affiliate program simply copy and paste the email into my contact form expecting to get rich.
- The problem is that the emails lack any compelling reason for me to respond to them.
- They completely lack anything personal.
- They give no real or useful information.
- They don’t tell me a story.
- They are spin.
Couple that with the fact that I’ve had 109 of them and I’ve become deaf to their message, annoyed by the company (and by the people sending them) and I’m further away from being involved in the service than the day it launched. For all I know the service could be good – but I’m completely put off by the marketing of it.
Interestingly a post over at Lost Ball in High Weeds illustrates that it’s not just the small time internet marketer who engages in this type of practice. They received duplicate emails from two well known internet marketers today promoting an affiliate product.
So what can we learn from this. I want to suggest a few things:
1. If you have a product or service that you’re involving affiliates in the promotion of encourage them to do so in their own voice, with their own personality and giving their own testimonial. I know that internet marketers do a lot of testing around what copy works and doesn’t work – but I think people are increasingly becoming suspicious of spin and if your product gets associated with it you can end up doing your brand more harm than good.
You need to understand that while you might product suggested copy that works in your testing – that when put in the hands of people who are just out for a quick buck that it’ll be spammed, reposted and used in ways that don’t do anything to help your brand.
2. If you are promoting an affiliate program, whether it be via an email to your list or on your blog – inject some individuality, creativity and uniqueness into it. Nothing makes me delete and email or skip over a blog post more than reading something that I’ve seen before or reading copy that is obviously spin. Sure – sell me something, but tell me why YOU think it’s relevant to me. Tell me a story of how YOU used the product. Explain to me how I might benefit from it (and not as though you’re speaking to a room of android robots).
Don’t ignore the suggested copy that they give you with the sales pitch (it will have some useful information) – but make it your own, make it personal, make it stand out from the crowd.
You need to understand that you can actually hurt your brand by engaging in ‘copy and paste marketing’. When you post or email something that every other internet marketer and their dog are spamming the web with then your personal brand becomes aligned with the product that you’re promoting. This makes you a less credible, trustworthy and authoritative voice in future.