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

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)”

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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”

  • 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 🙂

  • GW

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Remarkablogger

    Here is exactly what I 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 😕

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

  • Daniel Scocco

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

  • 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

  • team ray

    i think 99% of internet marketers are scam artist jmho

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 :).

  • 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.

  • 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…

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