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outbound marketing

Do You Have Deceptive Inbound Marketing Syndrome?

By Internet Lawyer

inbound marketing fraudAlthough “inbound marketing” isn’t dead, misuse of the term and deceptive claims as to its effectiveness have just about consigned the term to corporate buzzword bingo.

You can see Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss adopting the term to replace “lean thinking” or “Six Sigma” as part an effort to create a new paradigm while thinking outside the box.

Misuse of the term “inbound marketing”

Today, inbound marketing is thrown around to mean far more things than permission-based marketing. It’s become a way to refer to just about any act that isn’t outbound marketing.

Everything from reading TechCrunch (research) to sharing Grumpy Cat meme pics on Facebook and Google+ (social networking) is misbranded these days as permission marketing. The activities may be useful or merely entertaining but they are not inbound marketing.

The term has been corrupted primarily by those who never understood what it means in the first place.

Others misuse it as a means to escape accountability, claiming ephemeral brand-building or other generic positives that are difficult or impossible to measure through hard metrics, such as conversion rates.

Deceptive inbound marketing claims

Although there isn’t a language police to ensure inbound/permission marketing is used correctly, legal risks do arise when self-proclaimed gurus misrepresent the power of inbound marketing to sell related info products or services to businesses.

If someone claims to run a profitable business solely based on inbound marketing, you should be skeptical that you’re at best getting half the story.

Here’s why…

Many inbound marketers started with outbound marketing

There are inbound marketing “experts” who actually grew their companies by using outbound marketing tactics, such as cold-calling, direct response mail, and traditional advertising on TV, radio, etc.

In other words, these inbound marketing messiahs actually built their up client bases as outbound marketers. Today, they’re enjoying the fruits of that past labor, consisting of repeat business and referrals from existing clients.

The inbound marketing content you see produced now by these “gurus” was never a critical component of their success as startups.

The failure to disclose this outbound marketing history is arguably a material omission or misrepresentation when selling the virtues of their inbound marketing products and services.

Hidden current outbound marketing

Even more obnoxious are the con artists who proclaim inbound marketing is the only way to attract prospects and clients but secretly use outbound marketing too in their companies. This goes beyond a material omission by treading into the realm of outright fraud.

When someone claims their inbound marketing service or product is all that you need to find qualified prospects that convert to clients, look behind the curtain. More often than not, the solution provider is actually using outbound marketing as well in their operations.

There are many marketing strategies and tactics that may benefit your business – but there isn’t a single one that replaces all others.

Sales puffery is one thing. However, don’t do business with those who misrepresent what they’re trying to sell you.

If you’re selling marketing-related products or services online, you should make sure you’re doing so in a legal and ethical manner. In addition to being the right thing to do, you’ll be reducing your risk of being investigated by the government or sued by unhappy customers. To learn more, schedule a phone consultation with Internet Lawyer Mike Young.

How to Create an Internet Marketing Agreement

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents
inbound internet marketing agreement

Do you have a written Internet marketing agreement?

Your Internet marketing agreement sets the scope of both the strategy and tactics being used to promote your company online. Of course, you will want to have this agreement in writing signed by the parties involved as a binding contract to protect your interests.

What Should Your Internet Marketing Agreement Contain?

As your Internet lawyer can explain, the contents of your Internet marketing agreement will depend upon the type of work you’re having performed for your company.

Let’s say you retain a HubSpot certified marketer to perform inbound marketing for your business. This permission marketing will have significantly different content marketing for your products and services than outbound marketing (i.e. interruption marketing).

How Will Your Internet Marketing Agreement Define Success?

In addition to varied content, you will also use different metrics and milestones to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing done on your company’s behalf.

How will you define success and failure? Are you looking to build brand awareness, attract leads that you can convert to sales, or a combination of the two?

If you don’t define what you are looking for in your Internet marketing agreement, it can lead to misunderstanding as to whether the work has been performed.

Should You Use Someone Else’s Agreement As Your Own?

If you “borrow” someone’s Internet marketing agreement to use in your business, there’s a good chance you’re committing copyright infringement. Not a good idea.

If you’re using the marketing company’s agreement, remember that the terms favor the marketer (not your business), and that you can have your Internet attorney negotiate better terms on key points to protect your interests before you sign the contract.

Ideally, you’ll want to use your own Internet marketing agreement that’s been created by your Internet lawyer to handle the scope of the work you want done, define success as you envision it, and protect you legally in case things go wrong during performance.

To get a professional Internet marketing agreement or have your existing agreement reviewed for flaws, the first step is for you to set up a telephone consultation with Internet Lawyer Mike Young.