Bait and Switch – Internet Marketing with Paul Dunstan

Bait and Switch

What is Bait and Switch?


Basically, if someone offers you one thing and then gives you another – it is called ‘bait and switch’. The principle is that someone needs to offer something that they know people will really want, because it will increase the number of people who will see their offer, which is actually something else altogether.

In Internet Marketing, this is most often used in email marketing where the subject line of the email is the bait, and then the offer inside is completely different.

You know the kind of thing:

“Your Commission Statement”
“You’ve Been Paid”
“You’ve made a new referral!”

And then inside the email is simply an offer.

These are fairly standard. However, there are worse examples. I have recently been offered things like “Secret To Generating Online Traffic” and then the email is about an affiliate marketing product completely unrelated to traffic generation. I have even seen “You have been paid!” leading to a weight loss product!

It works.

It works because people are using proven subject lines as bait. In principle, statistically, if you can get more people to open your emails, you will make more sales.

This is true.

However, it is very short lived. People also unsubscribe at an alarming rate and report you for spam at an even more alarming rate. This is why all the examples I gave above actually came from spammers rather than legitimate marketers whose lists I had subscribed to. You will recall that the relationship you have with your list is the most important factor. Using bait and switch is the fastest way to undermine any trust people have in you.

My advice – do not do it.

What about Upsells?

Well, people often ask me this question. I have said on this very blog that I approve of upselling your buyers as far as you can. It is standard sales technique and you see it on the high street as much as online. When you last bought some shoes, you remember they tried to sell you some polish and leather care products? Well online it is the same. I want to stick to that example:

People went in to buy shoes – not polish. The shoes work without the polish. They do not NEED the polish, but it will improve the shoes.

This is not a bait and switch. The products are related for a start.

What about when they try to sell you a bag to match your shoes (mostly for the ladies out there)? Well this is the same. It is a genuine upsell, because the bag is probably more expensive even than the shoes. The person went in to buy shoes – not a bag. However, their desire was to ‘look good’. The upsell serves the same purpose and complements the original offer of shoes. Again, this is not a bait and switch.

If you want an example from the online world which I use in my own business it is this:

1. I sell the Social Traffic Magnet which brings traffic so that people can make money.
2. I offer them an upgrade so that they can make more money building a list.
3. I offer them a further upgrade so that they can learn to create a fully functioning information marketing business which does not rely on promoting other people’s products.

These upsells are all related to the original purchase in the sense that they serve the desire to make money online.

So to summarise – I hate bait and switch, but I have no problem with upsells which are related to the original purchase or desire.

If someone ‘baits and switches’ you – use the power of the unsubscribe button and TELL them that is why you unsubscribed!

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