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Internet Marketing: Give Me Quality

Aug 17, 2007
You may have very valuable and unique information or products in which I am intensely interested. However, remember that I receive a zillion offers and recommendations a week so I'm going to read your sales letter carefully before I make any commitment.

Quite apart from the product quality I expect, I also demand that your offer and description show care, respect for my time, and an attention to detail that suggests you have really thought through what you are selling and haven't just "thrown something together" to make a quick, minimal effort, sale.

It starts with the initial e-mail about an exciting new offer. I receive dozens with the salutation "Hello, %FIRSTNAME%. Of course I know your marketing missives are coming from an Auto Responder - I'm not stupid and if you're sending out hundreds of e-mails you are hardly going to craft each one individually. But at least take the time to ensure that you have used the correct coding and have taken the time to test your handiwork to identify errors. The way to nurture our relationship, and my vanity, is not to call me "FIRSTNAME" - it brings to mind those awful "occupant" direct mail letters.

In the body of the e-mail, grammatical errors and fuzzy sentence structure trip up the flow of my reading. I'm not looking for wording that would stand the test of an eighth grade grammarian but I do expect correct spelling and clear concepts. If I have to re-read a sentence three times to figure out exactly what you mean, then why on earth would I think that your product is clear and concise and readable?

If there is something in the e-mail that strikes a chord, I may follow the link to the sales page, shuddering a little in the knowledge of the long-winded puffery I am going to have to endure to obtain the facts I need. Now, consider, sales pages are on a website. That means that someone had to compose the page in a software program and then load it onto the site through FTP or similar mechanism. That all takes time - writing the message, selecting the logo or graphics, setting up links, order pages, download pages, contact information and privacy statements. The domain name has to be registered and a hosting company selected. These days, with the simplified and semi-automatic templates available, an experienced webmaster can put up a complete mini-site in a matter of hours. Those of us who go through the exercise rarely, or newbies to the process, may take days or weeks to have everything up and running.

I cannot understand why (nor ever forgive the distasteful results that ensue) someone would expend so much time, effort and money to end up with a mistake-riddled sales page that is designed to convince me that I am dealing with an experienced, knowledgeable source. How dare you highlight a phrase to draw my attention when there are major errors in the sentence? If your language skills are poor, find a proofreader! If the error is due to carelessness, I must ask myself why I should be more careful about reading your stuff than you were in writing it.

It is one thing if you are selling a physical product where you were not involved in its production. In that case, your inattention to detail and lack of quality control does not necessarily reflect on the product itself (although some lingering doubts percolate in the back of my mind).

It is quite another thing if you are selling me your own expertise and information. Despite your repetitive and undoubtedly exaggerated claims, I just cannot accept that anything you have to say is going to be meaningful for me if it's something you threw together without focus, thought, and clear organization. Before I whip out my credit card, I have to make a judgment about whether what you are offering is worth my hard-earned cash. Unless I know you through prior interactions, all I can base my judgment on is the sales copy you present. If I am less than enthusiastic about its accuracy and clarity, I am going to put away my card and move on.

A good portion of the sales spiels online concern products being sold by affiliates. Typically, the originator of the product encourages others to join as an affiliate to increase the size of the sales force. To streamline the process, the originator creates sample e-mails, ads, and other marketing materials which the affiliates then use as is. It is not unusual, sad to say, that such materials are riddled with errors. To compound the original irresponsible carelessness, the affiliates simply send out the uncorrected messages as if they didn't care either. The result is an inbox clogged with the same letters, all touting the same product, in the same fractured language that starts to irritate like fingernails scratching across a blackboard.

Correct your errors before you intrude on my valuable time. I'm not interested in flawed material tossed at me by a self-satisfied but disrespectful guru.

Thanks, but I'll pass. You may think I'm the problem but physician, heal thyself.
About the Author
Dr. Bola, a psychologist, sometime marketer, and always enthusiastic consumer offers complimentary copies of her book "Seven Super Simple Tips: I Am Your Customer" from which this article is taken. Enjoy!
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