Five Egregious Internet Marketing No-Nos
Overall: consciously refuse to perpetuate or replicate in your marketing and sales funnels the authoritarian, predatory, oppressive and abusive dynamics you want to disrupt in the world.
- Do not rely on triggering or harnessing corrosive and destructive emotions like envy, fear and shame to manufacture your authority and sell products. It’s morally objectionable, generally speaking, but especially egregious when used on vulnerable or marginalized groups of people.
- Do not use false scarcity. It’s dishonest and creates an environment in which people have to make hasty, ill-considered decisions. If you’re engaging in coaching, spiritual- or empowerment-oriented work, that work is about fostering clarity, agency and good decisions; scarcity-based rushed decisions are precisely the opposite of that intent.
- Be very clear about your intent with free content and your sales funnel. If your intent is to be generous and accessible and offer your work even to people who are not able to purchase it, excellent. Sally forth. But do not engage in false reciprocity (the giving of many, many, many gifts in order to trigger a sense of obligation in the receiver) as a sort of grooming process to compel a sense of obligation-to-buy in your audience. That’s exactly how predators (and especially sexually exploitative predators) behave.
- Be very cautious – or refrain entirely – from inculcating (AKA brainwashing) particular value-based equations like if you aren’t ready for success, you won’t invest in my product; if you don’t buy this, you don’t love yourself; if you don’t do this program, you’re not willing to take the risk on yourself) around self-worth, faith and investment as a strategy for overcoming objections and reducing resistance to buying your product. That kind of value-intervention and reprogramming is what cults do.
- Do not appropriate the collective, progressive language of revolution or activism to align with people’s desire to truly make the world better and more just if (a) you’re not explicitly connecting the problems your audience has to their socioeconomic and political context and (b) not encouraging your people to do the same…and take action. Collective action. Because when you appropriate activism you devalue the sacrifice and bloody efforts of true activists and you use people’s desire for change in order to create fake movements that mimic change and feel like change but don’t create real change. Instead, you create ideological distractions, energy siphons and action cul-de-sacs.
This list is the product of my mulling/obsessing about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. A book is in the works.
I have a newsletter. I’m supposed to send it out every Sunday, but I have to admit that doesn’t always happen. But when it does, it’s good. I write about this kind of stuff.
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