Last week, I received a curious email through my website.
The question: “How does it feel to be a scammer?”
I don’t know the person who sent this and I didn’t reply. I’m not a scammer and I’m careful to avoid clients who are eager to scam people and generally engage in malfeasance. I can spot these reprobates and blacguards a mile away.
But I understand why people think that direct marketing is a scam. There are lots of scammers in direct marketing and lots of scammers who use direct marketing techniques to sell their products and services.
Every single one of my clients offers a guarantee. And they stand behind it. Nobody forces my readers to try the products I’m selling. I never write hype and I never lie about a product or service. There’s no ‘bait and switch’ and nothing stupid or hidden. My style is clear and straightforward and I don't write the type of "hyperventilating" guff that some copywriters, some of them well respected, think is mandatory. I write golf copy and there's a famous, or infamous, golf ad from several years ago. Something about a golfer with one arm hitting the ball a million miles. No. This direct response copywriter doesn't make absurd claims just to get someone's attention. I don't need to.
There’s no need to lie or obfuscate. The people who read the copy have a need for the product or service I’m writing about. The product or service helps the readers get where they want to get. Only amateurs and really bad copywriters rely on telling lies and/or absurd hyperbole.
Fact is, you’ll find scamming and scammers in every industry. Yes, you’ll find them in direct marketing. But if you’re a direct response copywriter, you can avoid the scammers.
I understand why people are skeptical about direct marketing. Just look at your email. And there are several direct response copywriters who are happy to push well beyond the boundary. What’s worse is that several people in direct marketing put these copywriters on a pedestal. I find this to be inexcusable.
Now … I work hard to put the truth and the product or service in the best possible light. Why would I not? But that’s NOT lying and it’s not scamming.
And once again, I make it totally clear you’ll get your money back if you don’t like what you bought.
But if you want to see an example of scamming in direct response copywriting, look no further than copywriter groups on Facebook.
There are quite a few of them. I was in one for a few months and I just left. It’s a so-called “private” group with almost 20,000 people. Not exactly private.
Here’s the basic premise.
Join and you’ll get general advice about writing copy from other copywriters. Plus there are people who need copy who will post jobs.
Advice plus opportunities to meet people willing to pay copywriters for copy.
Sounds good, right? What could be wrong?
So … why did I leave?
The other day, I saw a post by someone who wanted a full-on AR series outlined for … FIFTY DOLLARS.
Writing that series would take about two days of work. I would charge a lot more than $50 for my time and expertise. So would you.
The moderator of the group said he had to delete over 50 “snarky” comments about the fee and the person who wanted the AR series.
Is that censorship? We could have a long debate about that. I’d tell you it is.
But here’s the point. The person who wants the AR series for $50 is a scammer. Or stupid. Or both.
And the person who organizes the “private” Facebook group is a scammer. He’s happy to organize, to help himself in some way, a group where really bad clients (and yes, they’re ALL really bad) can try to scam copywriters by offering really bad terms, really bad pay, and really bad products. Complaints? Don’t try to complain in that group … and all the similar groups.
And I’m a scammer?
But the organizer/moderator is only a scammer if you let him/her be.
If you’re relying on a Facebook group to find clients, then stop immediately.
And when it comes to finding clients, I’ve said it many times before.
The best way to find clients is to target who you want to work with/for and let them know you can help them … and prove it.
OK ... I fully admit to some venting here. There are so many great people in direct marketing and I hate it when a few genuinely awful people give direct marketing a bad name. Oh well ... I'll keep moving on, NOT being a scammer.