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I just received a very important email. I’m really excited about it too. It may just be the most important email I’ve ever received (clears throat).

It is from a “online marketing expert”. The subject line is: Finally, get more leads then ever before. Who doesn’t want that? Tell me more unidentified expert…

Inside, he talks about a new online marketing tool that I can use for finally extracting leads from my website. All I need to do is plug this tool in and leads are going to drop from the sky like magic.


I’ve received emails like this in the past. In fact, I get them almost every day. Facebook loopholes, a video marketing software, an email list builder, webinar software guaranteed to sky rocket my conversions. You name it, I’ve been offered it. And it’s about time someone came up with something like this brand new one.

I’ve been doing it all wrong all this time using a well thought out, planned and tested marketing strategy based on sound fundamentals. All I have to show for it are regular sign ups on my website every day that turn into customers.

All this time I should have been using this brave new secret tool that no one else knows about yet. Kicking myself.

This is what I hate about marketing, seriously

This is the kind of idiotic evil robo-spam email garbage from Hell that is killing businesses. It’s the reason almost everyone is asking the wrong questions when it comes to marketing their small business both online and offline.

And for some who buy in, it leaves them wondering where those big promises of new leads and customers are?

As a marketer, it drives me crazy. It gives my entire industry a bad name.

This is why email deliverability continues to go down. This is why marketing gets harder all the time. But hey, at least I have some new tool that’s going to fix it all for me, right?

The big marketing lie exposed

Here’s the thing, if you plug in some new wonderful tool without having a strong, well planned marketing, you’re doomed for failure.

But even if you plug this wonderful new tool in and it does work, it can be short-lived success. Everything changes. People get smarter. And the tools lose their effectiveness and produce diminishing returns until nothing is left.

Facebook is such a tool

Like Google pay per click advertising (PPC) before it, when we first saw Facebook ads, no one knew what they were. So everyone clicked on them.

Over time, it has become harder to get the click. You as a consumer now know what a Facebook ad is. The element of surprise is gone. The curiosity factor is history.

No problem, there’s a new tool for you. Along came sponsored stories. These are paid ads that look like posts that appear in your news feed.

When these rolled out people clicked on them like crazy because they assumed they were from friends. Today they pretty much just aggravate the Hell out of people. (That’s right, I used “Hell” twice in one blog post. Well, now three times if you’re really counting.).

What’s that you say?

With all that said Facebook ads can still work wonders. I use them and have a lot of success.

But the problem for far too many businesses now is that people won’t click easily. They’re now very skeptical. The tool has lost its magic. It now only works well for those businesses who have a solid marketing strategy underneath the tool.

The tool is just… well… a tool. A tool can be very powerful. It can also make things much worse. Trust me, every time my wife sees me going somewhere with a tool she stops me immediately for fear of me breaking our house. If the tool has a plug or battery she physically restrains me. She has seen my handy work and let’s just say I’m not very handy.

A tool is nothing more than an empty transport mechanism that takes someone from point A to point B. But if there’s nothing there to get attention, peak interest, elicit desire and get people taking action, no one will get on the bus. And they may not even see there’s a bus there waiting for them.

What’s new gets old fast

Things change at the speed of light when it comes to online marketing. Businesses must keep up.

What I am teaching you today will not work the same next year. It’s just the way it is.

The magic elixir that gets leads and customers is not so magic after all. It is as old as time.

Don’t fall into the tool trap. Don’t get suckered in by the allure of fast money.

Create strong marketing mechanisms that don’t rely on the tool. The tool just helps you reach people. It makes life easier. It does some of the heavy lifting.

What this wasn’t

I know I have not taught you how to do it here. That wasn’t the purpose. There are plenty of blog posts and podcasts that dig into marketing fundamentals. It takes much longer than just one post to give you what you need to know to build strong marketing strategies.

And this is a big reason why you and I see so many offers for some hot new tool arriving multiple times per day in our emails and other ads targeted at us. Because tools are easy to explain and sell to you. Strong marketing fundamentals is a process.

This is more of a public service to help you avoid being treated like a tool. To not be suckered in with big promises that can end up costing you a lot of wasted time and money. And-wait I have one last tool pun for you-ou you don’t get screwed (like with a screw driver. Get it?).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel the sudden urge to go fix a loose shingle. Where’s my hammer?