As a copywriter who breaks all the rules (like not playing on my audience's fears and hitting them where it hurts) I can't tell you how sick and tired I am of receiving marketing emails from gurus in my inbox using the canned "buying triggers" language they learned in some copywriting school. No doubt this school was offered by some marketing genius who had mastered the art of manipulation.

Phrases like, "Join me on this call, where I'm going to share my never-before-revealed secrets on how I made millions …"

"Secret" and "reveal" are huge marketing terms that trigger the psyche, evidently.

Three months after getting this email, I'll receive another email from the same marketer. And oddly enough, it will now claim that this newest piece of information is their biggest secret EVER revealed for how to make millions.

This makes me wonder: What's with all these secrets, anyway?

Do you have a lot of trouble revealing the truth?

Do you hold back this much in your marriage, keeping secrets from your spouse, or is it just with us?

Maybe you need a secretectomy?

If you are a reader of these people's marketing emails, at some point surely you have to ask yourself those questions!

Another issue I have with these folks is the incentuous loop they use with their success claims. Akin to "If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it made a sound?", we have, "If you made all your money selling people the idea they can make money, does that really count?" (The answer is NO.) Do you know any legitimate business that uses this tactic? Shoe designers, or car salesmen or attorneys or accountants or real-life business consultants?

The damage these folks have done to the legitimate marketing world sure is hefty. Week in and week out I hear things like, "I'm never buying another self-study program." (It's not the self-study format that's the problem. It was the "just follow my system" million-dollar promise you bought into … and that's your fault, too.)

Or how about this one, "I'm not spending another dollar on coaching. I invested my life savings in someone and it turned out to be a big disappointment." First of all, why did you spend everything you have with a coach? Does this really make good business sense? To turn over everything you have to someone so you can make quick money? Second, why did you buy into such a quick-return promise?

Here's one of the biggest lines of BS I've seen to date (and it's rampant!): A person has a business and is making decent money (say, $70,000 take home pay). They sign up for a "diamond level" mastermind, which I call a "mortgage your house" mastermind, with a price tag of $75,000-$100,000. They have no idea how they will pay for this beyond their first payment.

To pay the first installment, they max out all their credit cards, or take a mortgage on their home, or spend all their savings. They then take a huge leap in income over the next six months, to something like $500,000 or $1,000,000. WOW!

But what they fail to "reveal" when they make their overnight-success claims is the biggest reason they took that leap:

First, and most important, they were able to leap that quickly because the mastermind leader guaranteed to email out for them to their entire list with a big fat stamp of approval. And the mastermind leader's audience is THEIR audience. Sweet! Who wouldn't want a highly influential person recommending you to their email list of 50,000 ideal prospects? So they hold a teleseminar, and overnight, they get 10,000 new people on their email list; people who are eager to follow the advice of said guru.

Doing the math, one can expect a conversion rate of about 2% from that, or 200 people. Multiple that by a $1,000 program price tag and you get $200,000. They then offer their own big bucks mastermind (which is where the moolah is) and in just a few months' time, they're a million-dollar-success.

The first part I have no problem with. I think in some cases it makes a lot of sense to join one of these programs for just that reason: you are buying your way into a quantum leap. What I have a problem with is the way the participants' claims are presented to the public. They then claim that all they had to do was follow this guru's "system" and their business went from x to y in no time.

In reality, they could have followed just about any system and their business would have gone from x to y. After all, they had an injection of 10,000 ideal prospects overnight, with the endorsement of a highly influential person, and they offered an elite level program based on their new-found credibility as an overnight success!

Sorry for the rant. Or maybe I'm not sorry. I just had to "reveal" to you some "secrets" for making it big. 😉


Feel free to leave a comment below. If you think others might benefit from this blog post, I'd sure appreciate it if you'd share it. Thanks. 

Beth A. Grant is a writer, speaker and thought leader based in Chicago. She blogs at www.truthandconsciousness.com

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