Watch for These Marketing Red Flags

Marketing Red Flags & Dirty Sales Tricks

Watch Out For Marketing Red Flags & Marketing Tricks

How do you get someone to buy a pair of shoes too big for their feet? Say “You’re thinking too small!” Uh oh. (That’s a marketing red flag). 


Feet in shoes too large for them

I don’t do that. 

Belittling (in this case literally) a prospective customer is a major marketing red flag. 

Listen, there are always going to be able out there who will sell you anything whether you need it or not. 

I’ve got different packages for different people.

I don’t try to convince everyone they need the biggest package. In fact, I can often be found talking people out of it…I’m not a good salesman. I am a good marketer. And more importantly, I try to be a good person. 

Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be About Tricks

I recently had a customer call me who’d been working with a competitor. They had put down their first payment for a website and didn’t get what they’d asked for. The competitor agreed to not take out the second payment unless they were happy with the website. 

They did and they weren’t. 

The client also asked me about social media management. I said I could do both and could give them a package deal if they got both. 

I listened carefully to the whole story and what it was the customer was looking for. 

It sounded straightforward enough. And it was surprising to me that the competitor hadn’t provided it, even for the seemingly low price they were charging. I explained to the customer that I would be more expensive, but I would actually get the work done.

I gave my price and the customer asked if that was monthly, yearly or what. I said it was one time but I could break it into two payments. They asked when they got the website. I said it would be theirs upon completion. 

Then something even more surprising happened. I found out that the payments my competitor was charging weren’t two halves of the price. They were monthly…forever. 

I was not more expensive after all.

Forever Payments On a Site is a Marketing Red Flag



There is no reason you shouldn’t own your website. There is no reason you should pay monthly forever for a website. To me, that’s another marketing red flag. 

The only reasons you should be paying monthly long term for digital presence is if your site is broken into payments or someone is doing monthly work on the website through blogging, video or other SEO services. 

I was honestly shocked. 

What the customer was paying for a website they didn’t own was more than I would charge for a website and social media management. 

Then it was time to give the price. I could have come in lower than the competitor and still charged full price and my customer would have been happy. 

But I had already said I’d give a package discount. The customer wouldn’t have known either way, and would have been happy with my full price, but I kept my word and quoted the package price with a discount. 

Integrity matters. Quality matters. Doing what you say matters.

I wrote last month about brand values and value. I certainly couldn’t go against my own. 

Someone Marketing To Me

I was also recently on the opposite end of a sales transaction. 

Out of the blue I had a company rep email complimenting me on my work and asking if there might be an opportunity to collaborate. 

I said I was open to hear what he had to say. 

About a week later a different person from his company called. 

He started by insulting me. He literally criticized the same thing his colleague had written to compliment me about. 

I broke in, “This isn’t going to work out.”

And it actually got worse from there. 

I’ll spare you the ugly details. 

His insult was an extreme version of the belittling I mentioned earlier and besides it being rude, it’s definitely a marketing red flag. He was trying to bring down my confidence so I would think I needed him. 

My favorite way to market myself is to say what I do, how I do it well, and why you can trust me. 

My goal is not to convince you that you’re doing poorly. You may be. You may not be. For all I know your word of mouth is going so well the extra business from a website would overwhelm you. 

But besides not wanting to be rude, it’s not even a good use of my time. 

I saw a hilarious quote the other day that went something like this, “While you were trying to convince that client he needed your services, your competitors sold to three people who were already looking for them.”

When I market for you, I take a similar approach. 

I want people to know who you are, who you’re great for, and why they can trust you. 

When it comes to selling, preach to the choir. When it comes to marketing, let me tell people who are looking for you why you’re great for them. 

That doesn’t mean I can’t be creative. We can still have fun with it. Entertaining, informing or inspiring is how you show your value. 

But that’s it. 

I show your value.

No deception. No tricks. No marketing red flags. 

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