It’s time to wrap up our series How to Promote an Over-Promoted Product with a look at how to stay safe when you buy advertising. I hope you have enjoyed what you have read so far. Thank you so much for your kind comments. It means a lot.
In Part 1 I shared five principles that help me promote any product, no matter how many other people are promoting it too.
In Part 2 I shared my simple formula for writing powerful ad copy so the ads you write will get the clicks you want.
Now that you know what to avoid, and how to write a super-powerful ad, it’s time to buy advertising!
But when you buy advertising online there can be danger. This is your hard earned money we are talking about and it needs to be spent wisely … and carefully.
That’s exactly why we are wrapping up with How To Stay Safe When You Buy Advertising.
How To Stay Safe When You Buy Advertising
You have probably heard, or may have painfully discovered, that the Internet can be a den of thieves. There are sites that will take your money and deliver nothing in return.
Some of these sites sell the infamous “click three times” products so rampant on Clickbank. Some sell advertising and others sell a service or a downloadable product.
The owners of these sites don’t care about you, and don’t care that they just ripped off your hard-earned $37 or $67 or $500. All they care about is that they got your money.
Nowhere is this danger more real that when it comes time for you to buy advertising. And we all need to buy advertising in order to drive highly targeted traffic to our sites. Free traffic just doesn’t work so you will, at some point, need to buy advertising.
After all, most people online want to sell something. And most people who buy advertising online (especially those who only want to make extra money online) are not experienced advertisers who know how to choose their advertising sources carefully.
These factors create a “wild west” mentality, where the most brazen thieves are rewarded by a system with no ability to prosecute offenders.
But there ARE ways you can protect yourself when you buy advertising, and I’m going to share them with you right now.
NOTE: The following steps apply to almost every type of advertising you can find, from buying leads to buying ezine ads to buying banner impressions.
Step 1 — Check the site for current information, ownership, and contact information
No matter what resource you use to find the site you want to buy advertising from, be that a search engine like Google or a forum like the Warrior Forum you must do your homework. That includes going to the site and looking to see if the site information is current.
If the site information is not current, do not buy advertising from that site!
Ways to look for a site’s age include
- Reading the sales page
- Checking the copyright mark
- Checking the contact information
- Look for dates on posts if it is a blog
See if they offer a phone number. If not that’s not fatal but a phone number is a very good sign. A support center is a good sign too. It means they took time to set up a way for people to get support. Many sites offer email contact only. That’s okay in my book if they will respond.
If you can’t contact a site before you buy advertising then it’s time to consider another source.
HOT TIP: if the site offers ONLY an email address for contact, send an email to that address before buying advertising. If the email bounces, my advice is do not buy advertising from them!
NOTE: Some people expect an immediate reply to email but that is not a realistic expectation. Give the person you are contacting a day or two to respond, more if you send them an email over the weekend. You want to deal with successful sites and successful sites are often busy, which is a good sign.
You must be able to contact vendors from which you buy advertising. If they don’t offer a way for you to contact them, run, don’t walk, away from that site.
Step 2 — Subscribe to the site’s email list or ezine
If a site offers some form of email follow up, or an ezine, subscribe to it to see what happens. Here are a few things to look for.
- Did you get a confirmation or welcome email?
- Is it a real ezine with helpful articles or do you just get ads?
- Can you unsubscribe if you want to?
- How often are you getting email?
How a site follows up with visitors who request information is an indication of how seriously the site owner takes their business, and how seriously they will take your business as well.
If you like what happens after you subscribe then other subscribers will be happy too. This is a very important part of predicting how well your advertising will perform. Happy subscribers are interested readers. And interest is what you want.
When I find an ezine I love to read, and it sells advertising, I know it’s safe to move ahead.
NOTE: I teach Directory of Ezines members to never buy advertising without subscribing to the ezine first. Never.
Step 3 — Look for testimonials
While testimonials can be faked, the fact is that most thieves don’t go to the trouble. Testimonials about any product you are going to buy are helpful, but they are doubly helpful when you buy advertising.
If you find testimonials, and there is a link to a site, follow the link. It can be very helpful to see what type of product did well with the type of ad you are considering before you buy advertising from that source.
If you don’t see testimonials listed and still want some, ask the site owner. How, and when, they respond can tell you a lot about how they do business.
Step 4 — Insure your payment with PayPal or a credit card
At the time of this writing I really like PayPal for buying ads online. Using PayPal offers a layer of protection that few other payment options provide. If you pay with your PayPal balance you don’t even have to enter your credit card details! That’s a much safer way to pay online.
While not everyone likes PayPal, they do offer more buyer protection than most online sites.
I hope you never buy advertising and the advertising company does not run it, but if you do then PayPal will protect you in most cases if you file a non-delivery report.
As the consumer, you have a whole host of rights when it comes to getting satisfaction from a vendor who has wronged you. Check with your bank, the credit card company, and the merchant account from whom you received a receipt to discover your options if you get cheated.
Step 5 — Buy Advertising!
If you feel good to go ahead then it’s time to make the purchase. Here’s what you should experience.
- In most cases you will make the payment before you give the site your ad copy
- You should get clear instructions via email about how to proceed
- Many advertising companies let you enter the ad on the thank you page so don’t close your browser window too quickly!
- You will be responsible to provide the ad in the format the site or ezine accepts.
- You should receive a run date, or start date if you buy ads on a website, via email after your purchase.
If you need details about next available dates or special offers or ad specifications before you buy then simply contact the site owner or publisher. How they respond before you buy will be very telling about how they treat customers.
Step 6 — Don’t panic if you don’t get an immediate response
The people who run websites are busy, get sick, have family emergencies, sometimes take vacations, and sometimes are just too tired to work — just like you and me.
And just like most online businesses, sometimes their “thank you page” malfunctions and you can’t place your ad or download what you bought. While this is bad, it’s not necessarily a sign of a scam.
If you have done your homework and know the site is valid, simply contact them via email or their contact form. If that doesn’t work, call them. If more than a few days pass, send another message saying you will request a refund, then follow through if you don’t hear back.
In the years I’ve been online, I’ve bought more products than I can count. I’ve also had extended periods of illness where I could not perform for my customers like I want to perform for them. Life happens.
What this has taught me is that not everyone is at the top of his or her game at all times, and patience is a virtue.
That said; if you don’t get what you paid for, you have every right to take steps to get your money back, period.
No matter what you are buying online, you must take care to evaluate the merchant as well as the offer. By doing a few minutes of basic due diligence, and following your common sense, you will be able to stay completely safe when you buy advertising.
And that is a very good thing indeed!