I don’t know about you, but I am so over the manipulative and icky sales and marketing strategies that are rife in the online business world these days.
Tactics like: manufactured scarcity creating a false sense of urgency that plays on our fear of missing out. Inflated promises that we can expect huge profits in a very short amount of time if we sign up to xx program or buy xx product. Webinars that pretend to be live when they are clearly pre-recorded (what is that about!? Do they really think we are that stupid?). Webinars that claim to be hugely informative but end up being yet another thinly veiled sales pitch. Pressure to buy now in order to make huge savings, using offers that threaten to disappear in a matter of hours or days.
Oh countdown timers I see you and I purposefully choose to ignore you.
These tactics and many more like them are not only harmful to us as consumers, but they are potentially damaging to us as business owners. When we start to believe that we need to engage in unethical sales practices like these, in order to succeed, we do ourselves, our businesses and our clients a huge disservice.
A few months ago I read an eye-opening e-book called “Don’t Buy Now” written by Mark Silver of Heart of Business and it changed everything for me about how I want to run my business. In it Mark shares, some of the most common unethical sales strategies we are likely to encounter, specifically in the realm of business coaching, but that also apply to many other things you might buy online.
As a Business Coach myself you can bet that I sat up and took notice of what he had to say on this topic and it shocked me to realise that I, myself, had unconsciously adopted some practices that were less than ethical. Since reading Don’t Buy Now (which I highly recommend) I’ve made it my mission to educate myself further on the topic of running an ethical and conscious online business.
And, as is often the way, since I made this my mission, the right teachers, mentors and resources have magically started to appear. People like Tad Hargrave, George Kao, Molly Mandelberg and Julie Wolk to name a few and even more recently I was delighted to discover The Ethical Move, a movement to create a new standard of marketing based on trust and honesty. How good that sounds to my soul. Marketing based on trust and honesty. Count. Me. In.
So whilst there are lots of things I’m changing about how I do business based on everything I’m learning, things that I will be sharing with you, my audience, in this post I wanted to share with you the pledge I’ve recently made as a signed up member to The Ethical Move.
That pledge is to stop using ‘charm prices’ and instead to round up prices to whole numbers. So using a round number like $200 instead of a charm price like $197.
“Charm prices are used to make a product appear cheaper than it is, bypassing the conscious choice of the buyer. They are only created to generate more sales and do not benefit the buyer in the least.”
Simple tactics like these might seem harmless enough, but the bottom line is that they are designed to manipulate the buyer into making a decision they otherwise might not make. This might be okay for some business owners but, as someone who deeply values integrity, it’s not okay for me.
I don’t want someone to buy one of my products or services because I tricked them into thinking it was cheaper than it is. I want people to buy my products and services feeling empowered and informed of all the facts.
Take the pledge
If you feel called to support The Ethical Move and to sign up for this pledge, you can do so by clicking the image below. What I love about this movement, is that once you sign up for the pledge they will check your website to make sure that you are true to your word (yay integrity) and once satisfied you’ll be granted permission to use a badge (like the one below) to promote your pledge to your customers and clients.
I’d love to know what this post brings up for you and for you to share in the comments any marketing tactics that really get under your skin and/or any ethical alternatives you’ve seen or use. Don’t be shy, join this important and long overdue conversation.
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Please know that I do occasionally share details of my products and services with my subscribers but you can rest assured that I do so without using any tactics designed to manipulate you to buy them. If you want to receive them, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll immediately get added to my list.