As you may know, many marketers of information products seek affiliates to help them sell their products.

The idea is that these affiliates reach new prospective customers (at no cost to the product developer), customers that the developer would otherwise not reach, and, consequently, sales would rise.

To attract affiliates into the sales campaign, the product developer often provides extra incentives and sales tools so the affiliate is motivated to come on board and work hard.

Incentives include monetary prizes and physical prizes (we have seen prizes as large as a new car) for the affiliates who sell the most.

Sales tools can include advertising banners and “swipe text” for email content, tweets, etc. The problem with this text that affiliates can swipe and use is that it isn’t always created by people with:
• The best knowledge of English grammar and spelling
• The best objective understanding of the product’s value (after all, it’s their baby and they want, very much, to sell a lot of copies) so they often use a lot of hype.
• The best moral compass; they may encourage the affiliate to lie in the pursuit of sales. In all countries, this is unethical. In many countries, lying in promotions is also illegal.

In the years we have been publishing IM NewsWatch, We have seen a lot of product promotions come and go, and we have read a lot of swipe material. We have seen all these problems many times, and they are a liability wherever they are used.

Since most affiliates are hard-pressed to find the time and creativity to create their own promotions, they often fall back on the swipe material the product developer creates.

If you do, watch out that you don’t fall into these 3 potential traps.

We recently saw a set of swipe emails for product XXX that illustrate all three:

1. The grammar problems are minor. The email is still readable, so I wont’t belabor that.
2. The hype is at the heart of all their suggested letters. For example:
“Do you want to earn $220 in the next 60 minutes?
“How about $1,600 a day?
“If so, then you need to take action NOW and start making money online using the
secret XXX.”

Or this swipe is even worse:
“Congratulations John, [We hate emails starting with “congratulations”. It signals a hyped promise that won’t be fulfilled.]

“You have been selected [Yeah, right. Along with the thousands of people on all the mailing lists of all the affiliates] to access a brand new online opportunity which can earn you over $34,000 a month. [This claim of earnings is hype. Not one in 1,000 people who get this email will earn that much from using the product.]

“I’m talking about the secret online cash-generating methods that are turning just a few lucky, every day people into millionaires. [An even more unbelievable claim.] This offer is only available for a limited period of time, [ Well, the product launched nearly 2 months ago and it’s still open.] so make sure you click the link below and get signed up immediately, before someone else takes this opportunity.” [that’s called implied scarcity; if someone gets in before you do, they imply, you may not get in, which isn’t true.]

And, their swipes encourage the affiliates to send out emails with lies. One of the swipe emails even says, “You are GUARANTEED $1,600 if you download this TODAY. This offer runs for 24 hours only.” But is not true. Two months later, it’s still available. Even worse, despite the promise in the email, they don’t actually guarantee anything. Here is the official language on their sales page:

XXX.com makes absolutely no guarantee, expressed or implied, that by following the advice or content available from this web site you will make any money or improve current profits, as there are several factors and variables that come into play regarding any given business.

In another swipe, affiliates are encouraged to say, “All you need to do is follow the simple instructions and you can earn $1,600 a day.
That’s $418K in your first 12 months! Just like I did.” They are telling affiliate, “Dear affiliate, no matter that you just heard of the product a week ago and you have never tried it, tell your readers you used XXX to earn $418K in the last year.”

There have been many campaigns sending us emails, with multiple affiliates making the same alleged personal income claims. When this happens, it guarantees that we delete every email we receive on that product.

Here’s our suggested homework. Google “unethical marketing practices” or “questionable marketing practices” to see a lot more examples.

The bottom line is: whether you want to be a customer or an affiliate, don’t let these stupid marketer tricks trick you.