Open Discussion: What Do You Think of Internet Marketers? (aka the long sales page gurus)

By Daniel Scocco

First of all, notice that there are several types of Internet marketers, the questions I raise in this post regard specifically the ones that use long sales pages and several other questionable tactics to sell their products and services.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger is certainly an Internet marketer. He recently launched a program called Teaching Sells, where he managed to create an initial buzz around it, had affiliates on board and so on. Yet his tactics were down to earth, and I am pretty sure that no one had anything negative to say about his program.

The same cannot be said about people that resort to the long sales pages, though. If you navigate around the web you will notice that there is a great deal of controversy around these practices.

What do I think?

So what do I think about them? Firstly I know that for sure there are honest people selling legitimate products with long sales pages and hype marketing, but even in those cases I don’t like their approach.

It appears to me that these guys are just trying too hard. They use several persuasive (and sometimes even deceptive) techniques to sell, and I don’t like that.

For instance, they try to create a feeling of scarcity by saying that they product will stop selling after 24 hours, or that only x number will be available. Secondly, they also load their sales offering with thousands of dollars in bonuses. The product itself often costs less than $100, but if you buy you will get over $10,000 in bonuses. It makes me scratch my head.

Sometimes there are even pictures around with the guy using his laptop from a Caribbean beach, or images of the cars and houses that he bought making money with the secrets that he is about to reveal to you….

An example

There is a recent example that illustrates the case. Joel Comm is a very famous Internet marketer (apparently also a millionaire and New York Times best selling author). Recently he launched his AdSense Secrets book on the market for just $9.95. The book used to sell for $97 a couple of years ago, so you can imagine the amount of buzz that it raised.

A couple of days after the initial buzz, however, some people started to discover that once you bought the book you became automatically subscribed to a course with a monthly subscription of $30. That is, supposing you didn’t do anything about it, after 30 days you would be billed for another $30, and so forth every other month.

Truth be told, Joel did mention that on the sales page. The problem is that the sales page was HUGE, and out of 6500 words (I went there to count) only a single sentence was mentioning the subscription. Needless to say that dozens of people bought the ebook without realizing they were getting automatically subscribed to the monthly deal.

The deal was so big that many bloggers started calling him out, and he posted a public apology, saying that the problem was on his shopping cart….

Integrity in the first place

I am pretty sure that those Internet marketers are nice guys, the only problem with them is that sometimes they put their desire to make money above their principles and above integrity.

It is about the path you decide to follow. Personally I prefer to make a fraction of what they make, but to keep my principles and the respect from other people.

Returning to Joel Comm. The guy is a marketing genius, that is for sure. I really think he is much smarter than most of us (including myself), and he is light years ahead of most people in terms of Internet experience. Yet if you head to his blog you will notice that he has 2,300 RSS subscribers. Why is that? A guy with his brain and experience should have 50,000 RSS subscribers. I might be wrong, but I think it has something to do with the path he decided to follow.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to preach anyone, and I also did several mistakes in the past and probably will still do them in the future. Regardless of that, I do try to put integrity above everything else on my life.

What do you think?

Those are my opinions, and I know they might not be correct. What do you think about marketers that use long sales page and other persuasive marketing techniques? Would you be willing to use them to make more money in the long run?




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71 Responses to “Open Discussion: What Do You Think of Internet Marketers? (aka the long sales page gurus)”

  • Farfield

    This is an interesting subject. I think somehow you will always recognize if someone is really sincerely interested in what he or she is doing and someone who is just using tricks to try to make some money online.

    And then the funny thing is that it seems that most people stating they make a lot of money online are the ones that sell products or services that promise other people lots of money by… right, marketing online. I don’t know, I just don’t feel any love in making money for the sake of making money. I think doing what you really love is much more important.

    I did have a look at various of the internet marketing tips and tricks, and actually this is a good thing, because now I really recognize those website using the same tricks to make people buy something. And most of the time it’s just affiliates who didn’t even use the product themselves…

  • T Bowcut

    Personally every time I come across one of those long sales pages I find them less than credible. The technique is always the same and half the time the photos and testimonials are the same as most of the other long sales pages. I have personally never purchased any of their services, software or products so I can not say anything for their actual validity. I just don’t like their sales approach and honestly find it surprising how successful they have actually been.

  • Daniel Scocco

    T Bowcut, it is the same approach that those TV commercials that appear late a night use.

    I also find it curious that they convert well. It makes one wonder on what kind of people we have walking around :).

  • hanafi

    I was first introduce to Internet Marketing early this year and download loads of free e books..(lucky for me!)After going through almost all of the books,I found similarity which make me started to think..are all this true?Now I’m blogging,not for immediate cash or wanting to be a millionaire by end of this year..but just giving my thoughts on all the hypes.They created a business out of people who wanted to get rich..there isn’t any product,what they all are selling are actually hopes..just some good marketing guys capitalizing on people needs to find way to make fast and easy cash.

  • Bilingual Blogger

    The long sales pages really irk me too but they must work because marketers keep using them. These extremely long “squeeze” pages seem to cross all industry lines, from dating advice to investing to vegetarian living. i think the purpose of these long-winded pitches is to swamp the consumer with information. There are some consumers who will actually read every word and others who won’t read it but will scan the sales page, looking for things that jump out at them, and will on some level be impressed by the sheer quantity of info displayed. Seeing all that info will convince some people that the marketer behind the info is an expert.

    By the way, Daniel, what’s the deal with the number 7? Prices for small-biz coaching, e-books, subscribing to membership site, etc., all end in 7s. $17, $27, $97, $1997 are all prices I’ve seen for various products and services offered exclusively online. What’s up with that? Way back when, the magic number in retailing prices was to end with a .99 or a .95 but that seems to have gone the way of the horse and buggy. What I don’t get now is why the number 7 is currently in vogue.

    • Ryan Street

      The number 7 is the statistically triggered number to create the most sales out of price. When marketers test out those letters, they test out price too. And the one that always gets the most sales, is usually ending with the number 7!

      $19.99

      $199.97

      …. go figure.

  • Patrick Altoft

    Nobody I know would ever buy from a sales letter. Thats the end of the matter for me. I have no respect for the format and lose respect for the seller.

  • team ray

    i think 99% of internet marketers are scam artist jmho

  • Cheryl Watterson

    Daniel-I totally agree with you. Who has time to read all of the hype about the author, his testimonials, and all that before you get to the product and price? Sometimes these sales pages are 16+ pages long. If it’s something I might be interested in, I just scroll to the bottom and check the price. If I think it’s an acceptable price and a product I need, great – I will read more and purchase. Take a poll amongst your readers, many may feel the same. Keep it simple, keep it shorter and leave out a lot of fluff.

    Cheryl

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Cheryl, the funny thing is that sometimes the sales letters do not even mention the price :).

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Bilingual Blogger, I think people are used to the 9s, so people are pricing their products with 7s. When 7s get too usual they might start using 5s or 3s hehe.

  • ramoney

    That’s why it’s so important to read everything on the sales page before making a purchase from these websites. I think that’s the reason they make them so long in the first place, so they can stick those little ‘gotchas!’ in there.
    The least they could do is make those gotcha references stand out more like making them bold or a different color. Sadly they tend to not think these things through when planning their sales pages for some reason 🙂

  • Jimmy

    Sometimes to me it seems like a pyramid scheme to get involved with the internet marketing gurus. I’ve seen their members only areas, with their video tutorials of “how to make millions” and all they do is teach you is basic marketing, how to build a mailing list (by using all kinds of annoying pop ups), setting up a squeeze page, and on top of that they have their “students” buy all of these other services owned by other internet marketing gurus.

    I see a lot of these guys are strictly motivated by money and nothing else. Where as, my personal belief is bottom line is to make people happy and then the money will follow. I worked for someone who was being taught by all of these internet gurus and my boss straight up made up the whole story (of course each sales page has one of these) and all of the testimonials. I’ve even seen one of these internet marketers sell a testimonial generator.

    If you can’t sell me something in one page, it’s most likely your product isn’t worth buying.

  • The Masked Millionaire

    I really hate (yes I said hate) the long sales pages. I never make it all the way through one and I never start reading one without thinking that it is a scam of one sort or another.

    I don’t mind people selling on the internet. Heck, I buy things on the internet. But the marketers should try and keep the sleeze factor down.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  • Bilingual Blogger

    I think it’s safe to say that no one reading Daily Blog Tips is the typical person who is receptive to these long sales pages. Good reminder to us all, that sometimes who we are and who we personally know are not representative of the actual market for a particular product or service.

  • Kyle Judkins

    I have always been skeptical of these hyped solutions, but It has intrigued me. I think most serious bloggers want to improve their writing style and pages, and these long sales pitches are just what is needed to squeeze money out of us poor bloggers. On the other hand, I’m sure there are a few legit services out there.

  • Adam Singer

    they look like they are snake-oil salesman.

    i dont think they sell smart people, i think they sell people who have dollar signs in their eyes and have only recently started playing with web monetization

    its reminiscent of the real-estate sales people that are all fluff and no substance

    i think most of us wouldnt ever give these people are money – why create one long page when they can breakup that content anyway – no one has time to read all of that!

  • Siddharth

    Integrity is must when you want to gain trust of loyal customer. You can cheat them but you will loose them for sure. I have heard about this, really Daniel how can a normal user like you and me will surely read the little line in as you said in 6500 words. 😕

  • Daniel Harrison

    Any product that needs a sales page should be treated with suspicion. I hate them personally, and they are intended to rush a buyer into making a choice to buy the product. Rushing implies the author does not want the buyer to think about it, implying it’s not a sensible purchase.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Daniel Harrison, good point.

    I do think that some of these products would still sell without the hype, but they would sell far less, because only the people that really needed them would buy.

    While with the hype and long sales pages you manage to get people that don’t need your product actually interested in it.

  • Phillip

    The long form sales page works. That’s it. End of story.

    If the numbers bear out, why change your strategy for the sake of aesthetics?

    People complained about Carls Jr hamburger ads. “Too raunchy!” was the cry from people that DID NOT EAT at their restaurants.

    Screw them. The 18 – 25 demo that eats at Carls Jr respond to the marketing. That’s all that matters.

    If you have a market that market pays you money, then who cares what people that DON’T BUY your products think?

  • Ben

    I find those pages are really more of a pain to read than anything else. At least the Teaching Sells site was tastefully done. Honestly, just give me the bullet points on how the product will benefit me and let me decide if I want it.

  • Remarkablogger

    Here is exactly what I think.

  • infmom

    I totally agree with you about Joel Comm. I bought his book The Adsense Code (don’t remember how much I paid, but I guarantee it was closer to $7 than $97 or I never would have touched it) and thought it made sense, so I subscribed to his newsletter. It was OK at first, but as time went on it ended up just being one big sales pitch after another. And every doggone one of his sales pages looked the same. Centered in the page, going on forever, ending with a price of $47 BUT BUY NOW BEFORE THE PRICE GOES UP!

    Reminded me too much of Ron Popeil on late night TV. Any credibility Joel Comm might have once had has long since gone down the drain.

  • Web Success Diva

    Everything being discussed here is right on point and has to be included, but the reality is, these type of pages will always be around.

    The really “good,” ones convert at such high rates, it’s a wonder who buys into them, because most people I know hate that style.

    And, while we’ve all got input on how we could do it better – the numbers don’t lie…. unfortunately.

    Thanks for an interesting topic 🙂
    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  • Chuck Anthony

    In the Direct Marketing industry and now of course, Internet Marketing industry, this model is known as ‘forced continuity’. To a ‘better deal’ you have to commit to monthly payments. The long sales letters I can do without but if I decide the product or service is of value to me. I’ll buy it. However, I want to know how to get the better deal upfront and there has to be an easy way to cancel the agreement. Otherwise, forced continuity sucks and customers will let you know how much as they did Joel Comm regarding the fine print. I have actually promoted Joel’s stuff in the past (because he is a marketing genius) but not this time around — mostly due to the dreaded long sales letter. I guess I’ve had my fill.

  • GW

    I think the internetmarketingworld is one big pool of incestuous affiliate marketing.

  • Andrew

    I think the main problem with these long “salesy” pages is they make people feel like they’re being sold to.

    Personally, I don’t like being sold to. I prefer to choose to buy. If I have to be persuaded by some long copy designed to do exactly that I’m automatically wary.

    You hit the nial on the head when you say they try too hard. To a certain extent they almost sound desperate which swithes me off completely.

    If you really want to sell something then release a sample of your product and get reputable bloggers to review it. Reputation is everything when it comes to selling; positive reviews in forums and heavy weight bloggers like problogger, john chow etc. are far more reliable than some long sales copy.

    But hey… That’s just me 🙂

  • Ann Rusnak-The Time Diva

    yes I’m one of the people who hates the long sales letter… tell what the product will do for me and how much. This shopping personality is the “bottom line person.”

    However, there are many other types of shopping personalities. Some want to hear the story… others need the testimonials and still some want the stats.

    Online you don’t know who views your site. Your sales letter needs to incorporate all the above to accommodate the different modalities. You also can’t handle objections personally, they too need to be dealt with in the sales letter.

    Thus you end up with a long sales letter.

    The thing that bugs me the most is the all male testimonials. I don’t care how u are or how great your product. If I don’t see women testimonials along with the same old guy testimonials. I don’t buy.

    And for those of use who like to scan the sales letter… a sales letter with only a 5 minute video is even more annoying.

    Ann Rusnak
    “The Time Diva”

  • Danika

    Very good post! I’ve wondered this exactly for quite some time….Like what kind of person (integrity level) sells that way and what kind of person buys from them!

    I will say that it seems most of the sale ads do state they will refund your money, so if that is truly true, then I suppose that would give people assurance to purchase their item.

    I would have to question just how difficult it is to get your money back though.

  • Matt

    As an internet marketer I do not usually like the long sales page simply because (unless I can REALLY keep the reader entertained) they will leave the page before they get halfway through the letter.

    I like to keep my sales letters about 1,000-1,500 words long.

    Saying things like “Only x copies left!” is something that doesn’t really work that much today anyways. Only computer-illiterate people fall for those lines, and in my opinion if you are stupid enough to fall for it you deserve to lose the money your spent on the eBook (dumbness tax).

  • Linda

    One of my pet peeves is The Long Sales Page – see what this blogger writes
    As for myself I never read them… most of the time I have already followed the person so I have a sense whether I am interested in what they are selling… or I was referred to the page by someone I trust… I always scroll to the bottom, click and see if it is in a price range I am willing to pay… If I am not aquainted with the seller often I just close the page… I would much rather you just tell me in a short paragraph at the beginning what it is you want to sell to me, what is the price and what it will provide… I will not read the rest… testimonials and all just too much extraneous information that I am not interested in… very often it just does not sound credible… Invite me to get to know you before you try your hard core tactics…. I know these pages seem to work, but there are some of us who do not find them attractive so you loose our buy in.

  • Ivan

    Once I found one of the marketers’ jewells, how to become a millionaire in just a few days. It even gave a sample chapter. Guess what? The content of the chapter was all about how to produce a plot to scam the money out of the potential “customers”.

    I see those long – so long – pages and it brings to my mind what I read there. Yes, maybe there are some people – marketers – that wear the white hat and they would deserve my respect. But, there are so many scams over there that my initial level of confidence tends to zero.

  • Mark

    Matt. Just because someone is as you say “stupid enough to fall for it”doesn’t make it right. In fact that IMHO makes it even more wrong.

  • sikantis

    If the content and the intention isn’t right people find it out immediately. So this kind of tricks only work for a certain time. Being sincere and showing esteem is the most important, I think.

  • fitzheim

    Internet Marketers?

    During the good old days, I was saying like “Wow! They are successful and extremely rich!”. Over time, when more and more people claimed themselves as internet gurus, then I no longer trust them–especially when they sell something.

    Think it over.

    Will you ever sell your secret to strangers, especially if it generates lots of money? I don’t think I will.

    For the time being, my point remains valid. Their so-called “system” no longer valid.

  • kher Cheng Guan

    In fact I’ve ridiculed this kind of sleazy ploy before in my blog. When I come across that typical long-winded ad with testimonials and bold texts highlighted in bright yellow, the first thing they appear to me as nothing more than a SCAM!

  • Bruce Gibson

    I don’t like the long, drawn-out, highlighted spew of an extended and overly-hyped sales page. It’s like a TV commercial with the, “Call in the next ten minutes…” spiel.

    As to Joel Comm, I don’t know much about the guy. What I do know, particularly after this fiasco–and despite the apology, is that he’s got no credibility with me.

    In short, no sale.

  • Louis Liem

    Me neither. I won’t buy if they make me feel an urge to buy. Maybe they’re selling good stuffs, but I’m not falling for the marketing tactic.

    If I need the product, most likely it is not when I read their sales letters. I won’t be needing something because they say so.. :p

  • Simonne

    I don’t like those sales letters, and for me they were a sign of poor web designing and marketing abilities, so I never bought something because of the sales letter. However, they are widely used since may years ago, so I suppose there are lots of people who buy via those pages.

    As of Joel Comm, he surely is very smart, but I was deeply disappointed by his book, and especially by the chapter where he tells about how to bring traffic to a website. I bet those methods are not what he used, in order to build such a nice traffic level to his websites, except for using PPC.

  • Phillip

    There are really to separate issues here.

    Forced continuity – Wrong. Unethical. Bordering on illegal.

    Long Sales Letters – Has NOTHING to do with ETHICS or INTEGRITY as some people are here are trying to frame the issue.

    If big red fonts, endless copy and half a dozen testimonials sell more products/services then that’s a marketing decision not an “ethical” one.

    What does integrity have to do with length of a sales letter? The less copy the more ethical?

    By that logic, a sales letter that simply has the picture of the product and a link that says: “BUY” would be the most ethical sales letter on the planet.

    Not the best CONVERTING. Just the most ethical.

  • Yoav

    Hi Daniel,

    Terrific post. Read all the comments and I have to say that it’s really interesting to see what people think about internet marketing.

    Here’s my 2c:

    Marketing is like a weapon. It can be used for good or for evil. And when unexperienced people use it they usually shoot them selfs.

    I’ll give an example:

    Let’s say you have an ebook that costs $97. And you add an option to buy the book in 3 payments of $34. Is that evil? – no, it’s actually good for the consumer. will it increase your sales? – most likely. Is it a marketing technique? – definitely.

    And what about adding a 30/60/90 day money back guarantee? – also a good marketing technique.

    However forced, undisclosed continuity programs are evil.

    I buy a lot of internet marketing products as part of my work. And while some of them are redundant and scammy. Most of the products I bought helped my business.

    The trick is to find the products and gurus that can really help you and work with them.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Phillip, obviously when I was talking about integrity it was not related to the length of the sales page, but rather but the tactics that most of the people that use the long sales format tend to use as well.

    It is like nicknaming all the shady techniques under the “long sales page” umbrella. I know this is not 100% true, but it should be close.

  • catherine_logos

    Just marketing.

  • Nicole

    I work for an internet marketer and thought that I’d throw in my 2 cents.

    Yes, my boss does use the long sales letter page and he does teach his students this technique because no matter how much people say they dislike them (myself included), the simple matter is that they work.

    Why do they work? Because on the internet they only thing you have to convince people to buy your product is your presence on the web, be it a sales letter, a blog, or whatever. The goal of these long pages is to get people to buy now because the majority of people won’t return to your website once they leave.

    That means the the sales letter has to appeal to a variety of people from the skimmers who only read bullet points or maybe just goes directly to the bottom line, to those who like to read what other people think about the product (hence all the testimonials), to those who want to read every single feature, benefit, and specifications, and to those who will throw every single suggestion at you that they can think of. Which is why these sales letter can be 26+ pages long.

    Are they annoying? Yes, mostly to people like me and probably the majority of those reading this blog. I know I’m naturally suspicious of things that has even a whiff of hype. Are they inherently unethical? No.

    Now you can use them to do unethical things. I know my boss uses the scarcity thing on his letters to get people to buy before they leave. I consider that sort of borderline…but honestly, it’s really not all that different than what most marketers do anyway. There’s a furniture store in my town (and probably your town too) that has been going out of business for two years and every weekend they have a “going out of business” sale.

    The forced continuity thing is something that the guy I work for would never do because of the simple fact that people don’t read. He has a membership site where he offers access for a month for some hugely discounted price. Then after the month is over, the price automatically goes up to the regular membership price if you don’t cancel after the 30 days (Brian Clark does the same thing on Teaching Sells).

    He puts a notice about this right beside the button where people click to join…in normal sized copy…in bold red letters. And it also appears in their welcome email. And yet we still have people calling in saying that they didn’t know that they would be charged the normal price the next month. They’ll swear up and down that it wasn’t on the signup page, or that the notice was probably written in teeny tiny letters at the bottom of the page, or that they didn’t see it in the email.

    The fact is, a lot of people don’t notice anything unless you bash them over the head with it…which also explains the hype, the annoying pop up boxes, and why many of these sales letters look like a circus tent.

    Honestly…I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it first hand.

    Plus, the sad truth is that probably 90% of the folks that buy these products won’t ever do anything with it. The majority of the ones that got a trial membership and then called later to complain about being charged after 30 days didn’t even check out the membership site after they signed up. Heck, half of them forgot that they even signed up until they checked their credit card statement 4 months later.

    Probably about 75% of the folks that join my boss’ program (and I’m talking about $6,000+ program) have more money than brains. They’ll join the program and then will hardly ever do anything with the program after they sign up. And he tells people straight off both when he’s talking to them face to face and in his sales letters, don’t join unless you’re serious because this is a no-refund deal. But people do it anyway.

    To be sure, I’m not defending those “internet marketers” who are nothing but con artists, because there’s a whole lot more of those than there are of honest ones. They are using long sales letters only because they work. If shorter sales letters worked better than long ones, you can be sure that that’s what they’d be using.

    I don’t know Joel Comm, I’m pretty sure that my boss has heard of him, because the internet marketing world is very incestuous with them recommending each other’s products left and right. So I can’t say anything about him. The RSS feed numbers don’t surprise me at all. These guys aren’t all that interested in RSS feed subscribers…they’re going after the email subscribers so they can contact you directly. Can’t do that if you’re just subscribed to an RSS feed.

    Anyway…my 2 cents turned into 50 cents…oh well.

  • Joel Comm

    Great discussion, all!

    Thought I’d chime in since my name is being mentioned here.

    Unfortunately, groups of people are lumped together based on our experience with one or more of them.

    If you have been burned by a marketer who doesn’t deliver or won’t give a refund, you are likely to think all marketers are that way just because they both use a long-form sales letter.

    It’s just not the case.

    The truth about long-form sales letters?

    They work.

    Maybe not with you.

    Maybe not with me.

    But when composed correctly (and truthfully) they provide all the elements needed to successfully persuade a significant number of people to purchase a product.

    What motivates people to buy on radio, television or in print?

    You’ll notice common elements that are repeated again and again… because they work.

    Am I huge fan of the long-form letter?

    Yes… and no.

    They aren’t attractive, though I try to make mine appealing to the eye.

    They DO seem to go on forever sometimes, but it often takes that many words to tell a story, build value, explain features and benefits and present a compelling offer that brings the desired results.

    Is a person bad for implementing a technique that is proven to be successful? I would say no. What makes the person bad is if they don’t deliver on what they promise.

    I give refunds without question and have done so ever since I started selling my products online.

    Do I make mistakes sometimes?

    Yup. Part of being human. And when I do, I make things right.

    Regarding the recent AdSense ebook sale, there was no “fine print”. The offer for the newsletter continuity program was out there for all to see both on the sales page AND the order form.

    However, because I have a high profile, people held me to a higher standard than others. I’ve seen some continuity programs buried so deep you’d need a shovel to uncover them! Ours was not hidden at all.

    You can read a public apology I issued after having read a very compelling argument at another site.

    http://www.adsense-secrets.com/apology.html

    Bottom line is this.

    MY goal is to produce quality products that help people.

    I can’t MAKE anyone successful. I can only provide the tools and resources. People have the choice about what to do with them.

    So far, I believe I have met that goal and continue to fine tune both my products and my marketing.

    Here’s the question I would like you to ask yourself…

    If you had a product to sell and could market it ethically with a long-form sales letter or with a more corporately-designed site, knowing that you would sell more with the long-form letter, which would you choose?

    Having a slick-looking site is nice, but if you are in business to market your products, you’d be doing a disservice to yourself and your potential customers by not making it as simple as possible for them to understand your message.

    There will be those who would posture and say, ” I don’t care if I sell fewer products… I will never use a long-form sales letter.”

    If you are good with that, that’s fine.

    The main thing is that you provide quality stuff and top-notch customer service. The rest is up to you.

    Thanks for allowing me to join the conversation.

    Joel

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Joel Comm, thanks for stopping by, I appreciate. I will give my answers in parts.

    Part 1, you say “The truth about long-form sales letters? They work.”

    In my opinion this fact does not make these deceptive marketing tactics any more acceptable.

    Do Viagra email spams work? Yes, there is research confirming that there is a click-through of almost 1% on those spam emails. And I bet some of those guys deliver the product, and the old dude that buys them will get value out of it.

    So just because they work we should say “OK then keep doing it, if it works its cool!”

    I don’t think so.

    Part 2, answering your second question, “If you had a product to sell and could market it ethically with a long-form sales letter or with a more corporately-designed site, knowing that you would sell more with the long-form letter, which would you choose?”

    I would choose the second one. In fact that is exactly what I did with my recent ebook. http://www.dailyblogtips.com/killer-domains-my-first-ebook-is-available-now/

    Would I have sold more copies with a long sales page, a lot of hype, some free bonuses and false promises? Sure.

    Would I be OK with that? No.

    Part 3, Now I want to ask you a question Joel. I respect you and I think you are a brilliant marketer, so don’t get me wrong. But you say “MY goal is to produce quality products that help people.”

    How come with that goal in mind you have hundreds of people calling you a fraud, a scammer and the like around the web? (a simple google search will show that).

    Personally I don’t think you are a fraud, I do know you have a lot of internet marketing experience as stated in my post. I just think you use deceptive marketing techniques. But many people seem to think otherwise, and that is why it makes me wonder how come things got that turn, if your intentions were all pure in the first place.

    • Ken Caudill

      There is nothing inherently deceptive in the long form sales letter. It is ridiculous to say so.

      It is even worse to impugn someone’s integrity because they choose to use an effective marketing tool.

  • Kevin

    Joel – I agree that you have been targeted more because you have a higher profile. However you used this high profile to generate interest in the ebook in the first place – ie. you can’t have it both ways. If you are using your profile to sell the product then you must realise your reputation is on the line with it.

    “MY goal is to produce quality products that help people.” – It is very very difficult to believe this statement. If that is your goal then why did you try and sign people up to a monthly subscription which was 3 times the price of the ebook you are selling. Your goal is to make money, pure and simple.

    It’s also very difficult to believe your apology is sincere when half the apology is a sales pitch to buy the product you ripped people off with.

    Also, you seem to be arguing the case for using a long letter type advert for the ebook. Although I dont like these types of ads, I know that they do work. However, there are people who use these type of ads WITHOUT trying to slip in one sentence about a subscription in the middle of the 6,000 words.

  • Mikael

    Daniel I fully see where you’re coming from but I agree with both Joel and you. I support long sales letters but not if it involves lying to people.

    I don’t think you’re being fair to Joel as you:
    1) Assume that his sales letter is deceptive and then compare it to viagra spamming. Come on… you’re better than that.

    2) Again you assume that Joel is giving “false promises”.

    3) Let me ask you a question. Did you ever hear of someone being kind, friendly, good to animals etc. and still someone talks badly about them? I’m sure you do and as the internet is filled with stupid people that write before they think (if they ever), then surely you’ll find comments that isn’t anything but air being let out. Online statements doesn’t equal facts.

    But when that is said I think you have a great topic here. Very relevant these days!

  • Daniel

    I don’t know why a long sales letter is a bad thing. Where else can you learn so much about a product before you buy? Some of the other tactics are a bit shady, but I don’t mind the long sales letter.

  • Jason

    I have used long sales letters… they work. I don’t see much wrong with them if done correctly – yes, there are sleazy marketers who fake earnings, hype up basic information and put up pictures of cars/houses (basically, selling the dream) however probably 90% of those that use the long sales page format do not do this – it is always the bad ones that stand out.

    Personally, mine are shorter than most – I don’t have the time nor the energy to write thousands of words and so they are usually less than a couple thousand. However for full time marketers, ones with higher priced products – they need more time to sell so their sales pages are longer. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Mikael,

    1) I am not comparing what Joel sells to Viagra. But his main defensive argument was the fact that “long sales pages” work. The same could be said about Viagra spamming. They also work.

    My point being: just because something works it does not mean it is OK to do it.

    2) False promises? He listed an ebook for sale at $9.95 with a hidden monthly subscription for $29 (not actually hidden, but one sentence in the middle of 6500 words, which is virtually the same). That would actually even be worse than false promises.

    3) I really never heard about someone that took good care of animals and yet people said he was an animal killer or similar. Sure, maybe one enemy of this person could raise such false claims, but I doubt hundreds of people would do it as well.

    Again, I know Joel is not a bad guy. He is a brilliant marketer, probably a hundred times richer than me. I just don’t agree with the methods that he use to make money.

    And this is probably the first and last post I write about it. The Internet and the world are free places, and I am not here to judge how one makes a living. If this is working for Joel good for him.

  • PopArtDiva

    What do I think? I think you’re right and I’ll go further:

    These types of ads remind me of old fashioned used car salesmen and I’m constantly surprised that people even fall for their pitches. The old saying is right, “there’s a sucker born every minute”.

    There’s another old saying – If you want to make money tell other people how to make money. I guess that’s true because these guys excel at it.

    Why does this work? Because people are looking for an “easy way to get rich quick” and they are told this is possible. Caveat Emptor, if it looks too good to be true . . . . .

    This type of internet marketing makes selling legitimate products online a much more difficult proposition. This type of hype is so prolific than any real product pitch is looked at askance. All internet marketing is being painted with the same dirty brush.

    I will say that the format for these sales is not the villain. A sales page itself is not the issue, the issue is how the page is used. A simple sales page that describes the product and gives value for money is one thing – those long scrolling pages of unending copy and “testimonials” are quite another.

    More power to them if that’s their passion, my passion lies in selling my art and tangible goods. I will go about this the way I have always gone about my business – by producing a good product, creating real content on my sites and treating my prospective buyers with respect.

  • Anfjuqoka

    hello , ban me please , please ban me
    im a weird girl, i like to write strange stupid things , and flood on forums , thank you

  • Jroh

    Since this is an open discussion and most of the comments on here are against long sales letters, let me point out the opposing view.

    The long sales letter is not the culprit, and there are plenty of legitimate marketers out there that use them. Unfortunately, there are less than scrupulous ones as well.

    The #1 fact of the matter is this: information sells. People want information, and there are a lot of people that realize that there are people making money on the internet. What is wrong with wanting to better your life and find a way to make money online as well? Be it a second income, money to payoff debt, or to work full-time so you can spend more time with your family?

    So many people have tried on their own and failed…so many people have tried “internet guru” methods and failed, but they often wisen up and learn how to spot a scam and when they are being “hard-pitched”. If you have failed over and over to make money on the internet, would you not be a little more cautious and want more details before you purchase again?

    Now in defense of the long sales page, if you are a consumer and you are being faced with the choice of parting with $5 for some information that may be valuable, you don’t have much to lose, do you? What’s $5 to most people? So you may not need a lot of information before you make a decision. However, if the price is more, say around $20, you are going to want a whole lot more information before you buy, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m not giving $20 to someone who only gives me a couple of paragraphs and no examples of people who have tried it. I need some more details.

    Think about this. If you go to a book store and you are looking at a book, but that book costs more money than you normally would spend, but this book seems valuable to you and you might consider buying, what would you do? If you’re like most people, you would pick it up, flip through the pages, and take a look at the content to get more details.

    Well, on the internet, you can’t do that with an information product, can you? The only time you are going to see the “inside” of the book is when you purchase it. So you need more info before making that purchase.

    As far as those who say digital products are not real products and they will stick with tangible items, that is all good and well. But producing a tangible item is very costly and not everyone can do that. Digital products open the possibilities to so many more people out there. What’s wrong with telling someone how to make money? If you can improve the life of one person, isn’t that a worthy service? Does that service not have value to the instructor as well as the student?

    Keep in mind, the internet is a very competitive arena. Anyone selling something on the internet is blessed with the fact that the whole world is your potential audience, but that is a curse at the same time as the whole world is also your potential competitor. What are you doing to stand out? Why should someone buy from you? Can you really convey that in one or two paragraphs? People don’t buy cold, they buy warm, and you can’t warm someone up in 3 sentences.

    As a final thought, if you feel that “sales” is a bad thing, who in here can honestly claim that they don’t sell each day, and get sold each day. Your kid asks you for a toy, you’re being sold, you ask someone out on a date, you’re selling. We try to persuade people to do what we want them to do all the time.

    Just remember, as long as you are in it to truly help others, you don’t have to worry about making money…the money will come. People can sense when someone has a genuine concern for their success.

    And that is my two cents…

  • Chuck Anthony

    Maybe Joel Comm could write a long sales letter for Carl Icahn ($1.8 billion Yahoo! shareholder) who is still interested in a search partnership with Microsoft.

  • Kirushanth

    Long sales pages work for some, but don’t work for others. It all depends on the way it is setup and put up. I have used long sales pages once or twice, and I had great luck with both of them. However, something I learned was that, the product will effect your strength of sales. My product was what many people were looking for, so it sold. This is my opinion. It also depends on the marketer. If he works fulltime online, he would need to sell a higher priced product, he would have a longer sales page.

    Kirushanth,
    Thank You

  • Widodo

    If the content and the intention isn’t right people find it out immediately. So this kind of tricks only work for a certain time. Being sincere and showing esteem is the most important, I think.

  • medyum

    Nobody I know would ever buy from a sales letter. Thats the end of the matter for me. I have no respect for the format and lose respect for the seller.

  • araç sorgulama

    In the Direct Marketing industry and now of course, Internet Marketing industry, this model is known as ‘forced continuity’. To a ‘better deal’ you have to commit to monthly payments. The long sales letters I can do without but if I decide the product or service is of value to me. I’ll buy it. However, I want to know how to get the better deal upfront and there has to be an easy way to cancel the agreement. Otherwise, forced continuity sucks and customers will let you know how much as they did Joel Comm regarding the fine print. I have actually promoted Joel’s stuff in the past (because he is a marketing genius) but not this time around — mostly due to the dreaded long sales letter. I guess I’ve had my fill.

  • medyum

    Maybe Joel Comm could write a long sales letter for Carl Icahn ($1.8 billion Yahoo! shareholder) who is still interested in a search partnership with Microsoft.

  • Mukundan Srinivasan

    Being sincere is important. If the intention is bad people will find it and they cant survive. As u said Internet Marketers sometimes lose their integrity. Always they must try to be honest.

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