An Internet Marketer's Journal: March 23rd 2024

The Ongoing Marketing Escapades of Duncan Whitmore

MAP Phase 2 Offer Extended

Before we get into the heart of this week's journal update, I'd just like to remind you that my friends John Thornhill and Omar Martin have extended their Phase 2 launch offer for Master Affiliate Profits (MAP).

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"One Thing I Hate? Duncan"

Believe it or not, this was the subject line of an email I received the other day.

I shall try not to rant here, otherwise I'll be no better than the individual of whom I am about to speak. But I have to share with you this episode as an example of how you should NOT be speaking to your followers, subscribers and customers.

Last week saw a big product launch by a highly respected marketer, which notched up more than 2,000 sales at the last count.

I won't name names; suffice it to say that if you've been following any of the hot products on the WarriorPlus+ network these past seven days, you may well know to whom I am referring.

The product itself is time saving software designed to create vast amounts of content (which can be used to drive free traffic) very quickly.

I purchased the product, followed the training, and implemented what I had learned. One or two support issues I had were resolved well enough, and I am now getting some results. 

To all intents and purposes, it is a good product, marred only by the usual teething troubles and "rooms for improvement" that come with something new.

In short, it was job done - I was a satisfied customer. That should have been the end of it.

A few days later, however, I received what can only be described as a bizarre email from the vendor bearing the subject line I mentioned earlier.

Needless to say, I was quite taken aback at the suggestion that I am now an object of hate for a vendor with whom I had had only cordial relations.

It turns out that this email was directed not at me personally, but was delivered to the vendor's entire email list. So each recipient would have seen their own name in the title.

Upon opening the email, one was greeted by a stream of frustration in which the vendor complained that his customers were, I quote, "too lazy" to watch all of his training videos before raising support tickets, and how much he "hates" impatient users.

This course of "venting out issues" (in his words) continued, to date, for a further three emails. So clearly, his decision to offload all of his irritations when dealing with people who have paid him money was not impulsive.

Needless to say, the subjects and contents of these emails caused confusion, upset and bewilderment amongst his subscribers. As such, his third email was something of an explainer to people who had (not unreasonably) thought that the complaints were directed at them personally.

Unfortunately, he only compounded the problem with a complete lack of self-awareness. While expressing surprise at his emails having caused "such a fuss," he had the audacity to suggest that some of us "need to learn" how an autoresponder works, i.e. that he is sending bulk emails to a mass audience instead of personally to individuals.

The only occasion on which he offered anything resembling an apology read like this (typing errors are in the original):

A few thought i'm not professional, well, if you take my passion for my products as not professional, then i'm sorry, i'm not a conglomerate here..

I'm an entrepreneur. Solo entrepreneur, human at heart 🙂

Listen up...

People with whom we deal amongst our audience can be frustrating and irritating - especially when you believe you have already done so much to make things easy for them. It's an occupational hazard of doing business.

Especially irritating is when customers demand answers from you within five minutes, even if you have asked them to expect a reply to their query within, say, twenty-four hours.

Occasionally, you can also encounter someone who is extremely rude and steps beyond the bounds of reasonable conduct. In that instance, the only possible course of action is to refund that customer before blocking them from future contact.

All of this notwithstanding, the way this vendor communicated with his subscribers is how you should not speak to your audience whom you have spent many months or years attempting to gather, nurture and build a relationship with. And being a "passionate" individual rather than a company is no excuse.

First, any interactions between you and a particular customer - however rude and unpleasant that person is - are a private matter. Whether you argue with them, refund them, ban them, or whatever, those conversations have nothing to do with anyone else's experience using your product. 

The vendor, in this instance, tried to explain away his ranting emails as "educating you all." The problem with that explanation is that most people to whom he sent his emails had no need for this "education". They were the ones consuming his product as he, the vendor, wanted us to. The only thing he achieved was to poison his relationship with all of his good customers. 

Secondthe nature of your offer defines your audience.  So if you market a product as a "push button" (i.e. instant) solution, you are going to attract two types of customer: lazy people and genuinely busy people. It is therefore no surprise that these types of customer are probably reluctant to want to sit through umpteen training videos to get your product working. It's far easier for them to raise a support ticket.

It is human nature for people to take the path of least effort for themselves. And as frustrating as that may be, your business has to accommodate human nature as it is, not as you'd like it to be. 

Thirdcustomers who never raise a support query may well have just shelved your product, and will never get around to looking at it again. 

In contrast - however stupid their questions may seem - those who do raise support queries are TRYING TO USE YOUR PRODUCT. They are the most engaged customers who - if all goes well - are most likely to either upgrade or buy further products from you. The last thing you want to do is alienate them.

Fourth, the fact that you may have provided your customers with "training" doesn't mean that your instructions are clear to everyone else, nor do they necessarily answer every conceivable question. As it happens, I thought this particular vendor's training videos were too fast in places - almost like he was trying to film them as quickly as possible - with a number of amendments and additional bits of information printed under each video.

In other words, this vendor left users with a fair deal of complexity in setting up what was supposed to be a simple-to-use product.

Fifth, in the sum total of your interactions with your entire customer base, the common denominator is you. So if multiple people are:

  • Using your product the "wrong" way
  • Asking the same "stupid" questions
  • Ignoring aspects covered in your training
  • Misinterpreting things you have said

then chances are that the problem is with you, not with everyone else.

Even when customers were replying to his ranting email, this vendor never seemed to have even an inkling that he might be the one at fault.

Sixth, a good business rule to remember - and, admittedly, one of the hardest to adhere to - is "don't fall in love with your product." Yes, you have to be passionate about something you are promoting. But the moment you view the product, not the consumer, as an end in itself is the moment you start seeing customers as the problem.

You have to tailor your products, information and training to your customers' needs, habits and expectations - however irritating they may be. You can't expect the rest of the world to adapt to you. If you fail to serve your customers as they are, then they will go to someone who does.

Seventh - a more general lesson - "never complain, never explain" is a good mantra to live by. If you vent your frustrations in public - or otherwise go to excess lengths to prove that you are right - then you appear weak and lacking in self-assurance. There is a time and a place to rant about the things that irritate you. In public is not one of them.

One could, of course, suggest that this vendor's blunt attitude is refreshing or even amusing, and, no doubt, some of his subscribers will see it that way. But if that is to serve as an excuse, then he should be working specifically to attract subscribers who love that kind of attitude. 

In conclusion, your leads, followers, subscribers and customers are the lifeblood of your business. There are plenty of other marketers out there from whom they can buy products. You need them more than they need you. 

Do not, for pity's sake, destroy months and years worth of work in building up a loyal following only to risk flushing it all down the toilet with one, angry rant.

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I did have some more topics I wanted to mention, but I guess they will have to wait - this update is long enough already.

Enjoy your weekend ahead, and I hope your internet marketing ventures continue to be successful!

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