The Problem With Using Bad Advice

We’ve been marketing businesses online since 1994. So I consider us to be connoisseurs of online marketing. That’s why I’m shocked at what some of the so-called experts promote every day.

For instance, the other day an email came through my inbox that promised the best way to build up your website was through a link exchange, and they would help me get hundreds of links for a monthly fee.

And last week I received a comment from someone who said Flash was the best thing out there, and if smartphones chose to ignore Flash, then you simply shouldn’t use those phones. Go with Androids that can readily accept Flash, and build your sites the way you want them designed.

I’m sure a lot of people listen to these “gurus” and follow their advice. And I’m sure a lot of people fail using their advice as well.

When you take advice from someone, you put your trust into his or her knowledge, education, and background. You trust they know what they are talking about, and rely on them to further your business or your lifestyle. But how do you know when their advice is right? And how do you know when its wrong?

Don’t Fall In Love In 2 Seconds

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment.

Maybe you have a problem in your business, and you suddenly find the solution. You attend a seminar and the speaker is speaking directly to you – she seems to have the perfect answer for your situation. Or someone leads you to a blog post or site that has a wealth of information on what is giving you the most trouble.

Instead of jumping in the minute you find a solution, spend some extra time looking at things through different eyes. Does this solution truly make sense?

The great thing about the Internet is you can do a quick search and find just about anything. In the example above, if someone promised me that linking was the way to online success and it sounded good in theory, a quick search would pull up a ton of information on how that method simply doesn’t work anymore. And if I spoke with several gurus, I could also pick up on the fact that this method of online marketing is several years old, and out of date as a marketing strategy.

The bigger the item you are thinking about purchasing, the more time you should spend thinking it through first. While a $10 or $20 is just the starting point and may provide a few tidbits that can help educate you, a $200 or $2,000 item has more impact on your budget, and should be evaluated over a longer period of time. Any advice you purchase should be able to help your business overall. It should offer you at least one piece of advice you can take and use, and make back the purchase price of the advice.

Look At The Big Picture

It’s easy to look at things through your eyes only, and focus on making things the way you want them. But in reality, as a business owner your responsibility is making your prospects and clients happy.

In the above example on smartphone technology, I know many people that love their Androids and continue using Flash sites because that’s their preferred method of accessing the Internet. But is that how your prospects are viewing the Internet? And do you really want to alienate a huge sector of the marketplace, and have them come up with a “not accessible” screen when they try and find your site?

Marketing isn’t about you. It’s always about your customers. And if you aren’t using the easiest, most basic form of technology that 99 percent of your potential customers can use and see, you’re missing the potential.

Put Yourself On The Test Track

Just because something sounds like a good idea at the time, doesn’t mean it will be a good idea down the road. Some things work. And some don’t.

There is a fine line before trying something for too long, and not giving it time enough to work. Yet as you are trying different tactics, make sure you give yourself reasonable goals, and evaluate along the way.

The current guideline states a person needs to see a marketing message anywhere from 8 to 12 times before they begin to recognize it and associate with it. If you don’t give something enough time to be recognized, the money you invested in it originally was a waste.

Yet evaluate it along the way. Is it working at all? Do any of your clients come to you with this new marketing method? Especially for newer tools like Facebook or Twitter, you may spend more time developing it because of low costs and huge potential.

But if you begin hearing negative – “I couldn’t see your site on my iPhone” – its time to reconsider.

3 thoughts on “The Problem With Using Bad Advice”

  1. This post reminds me of a friend I call “Uncle Moe” Six Sigma readers may recognize this as “The person who knows something about everything, and they have the advice which will lead you to success. Funnily enough, success has eluded Uncle Moe – but not through a lack of effort.”

    This has stuck with me. Always consider the viewpoint of the advice giver. The emails that Virtual Photography mentioned are not advice. They are sales tools with the purpose of leading the reader to believe that they can gain success only by using the product which is being sold.

    I have one friend who is always trying to give me advice. So far, the jobs he concurrently holds are bartender, landscaper, sale rep, realtor, caterer, and waiter. Do I take his advice? Not at all. This person does not demonstrate the success that his so-called advice offers. The other day he told me that I should “set up shop” in the local park photographing children having fun playing, then sell prints on the spot. Not creepy at all.

    Just about all advice given is well intentioned. It’s just not always accurate. Before we implement the advice we need to take a long hard look at the person giving it. I would take advice from Virtual Photography long before my friend’s advice. Why? VP has a track record of success with photography. My friend doesn’t even own a camera.

  2. It is alwaysgood to be reminded that good advise might be good for some, but won’t be good for all. We need to evaluate the advise as it relates to our business and move forward from there – always being prepared to modify our business as needed.


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