7 tricks marketers use to get people to buy their crap

Dear Mr./Mrs. Consumer,

I must admit, I’ve acted like a scumbag.

I’m writing to you because I simply can’t live with the guilt any longer. So after years of enticing (okay, tricking) you to respond to offers for my products, I feel like it’s finally time to come clean.

The purpose of this letter is to expose several marketing tactics (okay, tricks) companies like mine use with great regularity to get you to buy stuff you don’t need.

I apologize if you’ve ever fallen victim to one of the following marketing shenanigans, where I used:  

Less-than-honest claims regarding a “limited-time offer.” What we failed to tell you was that “limited time” really meant any time between now and the end of eternity.

The phrase “Call/respond within the next 10 days.” See above.

A “Free Guide/Report/White Paper.” I’ll admit it – this piece was nothing more than a carefully crafted advertisement that offered very generic info on a subject of interest to you…capped off by a soft sell of my product and why you should buy it. We had to resort to these sneaky tactics because you stopped responding to our TV, radio and newspaper advertising.

Celebrity endorsers. We paid an inordinate amount of money to have people you recognized – but had absolutely nothing in common with – tell you why you should buy our product. When in reality, we probably would’ve been better off featuring a ‘real’ customer like yourself. Which leads us to…

Customer testimonials. If we included one of these in a piece you responded to, there’s a pretty decent chance that guy/gal was paid to say nice things about us.

Frequently asked questions. We created insultingly-easy-to-answer FAQs because they were another way to make it look like we actually cared what you thought. In reality, it was just another format for shoving our product benefits down your throat. In hindsight, don’t you find it funny that we never included any hard-hitting questions, like “Why does your product cost so much?”

A signed letter or email from someone with a fancy (probably made up) title. The individual referenced in the piece did not write the message. It was created by a skilled copywriter (somebody like this guy) who makes a living off writing/speaking for other people.

Mr./Mrs. Consumer, I know these revelations won’t make up for all the times I tried to swindle you out of your hard-earned money. But I hope at some point in the future you’ll be able to forgive me for my shady marketing indiscretions.

As a symbol of my regret, I’d like to offer you a FREE, no-obligation, 30-day trial of our latest and greatest widget…

Sincerely,

Big, Bad Marketing Scumbag

 
About the author:
Jeff Fisher is a recovering marketing scoundrel who is eager to prove to one lucky employer he is a truly rehabilitated, customer-focused copywriter. You can email Jeff at jefffisherwrites@gmail.com or follow the ex-scumbag on Twitter @jeffjfisher.
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