The Rise of Impostor Entrepreneurs
It’s not only easier to steal an identity, but also to create one. Entrepreneur, investor, personal finance advisor and author August 13, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For every aspiring entrepreneur in the world, there’s a scam artist who’s tried to rip them off. If you need proof, just search this website. You’ll find warnings of startup scams, venture capital scams, credit card scams, travel scams and SEO scams. Unfortunately, there’s a new one, and it’s especially insidious, because you might never know you were taken. It won’t cost you money, but it can sink your credibility. The best way to explain it is to give you a recent example from my own industry.
Last month, the Huffington Post exposed a “fake financial expert” who was quoted in MarketWatch, Consumer Reports, and Business Insider, among other noted online outlets, before being outed. Her “name” was Patricia Russell, and her photo, as it turns out, was a stock image. Her entire biography, which claimed she was a licensed, certified financial planner, was a lie. Whoever wrote under her name responded to journalists’ requests for personal-finance quotes from an expert.
Related: It’s Time to Talk About Startup Scam Artists
Why would someone go through the trouble of creating a fake person just to get quoted by national media on innocuous topics like saving for retirement and creating a household budget? There doesn’t seem to be a payoff, but of course there always is. As the Huffington Post piece laid out, Russell tirelessly promoted credit-repair companies. While this is a legitimate industry, credit-repair scams are a serious problem, according to the Federal Trade Commission . The non-existent Patricia Russell tried very hard to promote those companies that paid for the privilege of being mentioned online with a link to their services. The goal was simple: Lure unsuspecting Americans into believing Russell was an objective expert pointing them to highly rated services.
Sadly, Patricia Russell isn’t alone. Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education revealed another fake expert named Drew Cloud. So the obvious question is: OK, this stinks, but how does it affect me? I can think of three important ways…. 1. Destroying your credibility.
Entrepreneurs face enough skepticism as it is. Your business model is doubted, funding is tight and prospects are hard to close. It’s bad enough when entrepreneurs accidentally associate with,say, shady influencers . It’s much worse when clients and leads learn you worked with someone who doesn’t exist . They’ll rightly wonder, “If they’re this gullible, can I even trust these people to run their business?”
Related: Imposter Syndrome Will Kill Your Business 2. Making life tougher all around.
Startups have always depended on relationships, but in the Internet era, it’s ramped way up. Affiliate marketing is now a necessity, not a luxury. I think it’s a safe bet to assume Patricia Russell and Drew Cloud aren’t the only non-existent experts floating around out there. That means entrepreneurs have to work hard to vet anyone they work with, not only to ensure they’re ethical but that they’re real . That’s more time away from the core business. 3. Worrying about regulation.
You know how this goes: One bad actor is a problem, two is a trend and three is a government regulation. Some scams attract politicians because they capture the imagination, and what’s more enticing than people who don’t exist duping the public? Just as certain is that any government action on this topic will probably burden small businesses more than it helps the general public, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to cut off these bad actors before they wreak havoc.
That means you owe it not just to your own business but to all your peers to tread carefully when you affiliate with anyone. We all get inundated with unsolicited emails offering us the world. Many fall under the category of affiliate marketing. Before you partner with any of them, spend five-to-10 minutes and thoroughly authenticate them online. That’s all Huffington Post had to do to expose Patricia Russell. However, you don’t want to catch someone after they’ve traded on your good name.
Yes, I know it’s a pain, but here’s a prediction: It won’t be long until you hear about many more Patricia Russells popping up in other industries. Don’t let it be yours.
More from Entrepreneur Learn to be a better leader and develop successful marketing and branding strategies with Dr. Patti Fletcher’s help.
4 Types of Performance Marketing Most Effective in 2019 – MarTech Advisor
4 Types of Performance Marketing Most Effective in 2019 – MarTech Advisor 4 Types of Performance Marketing Most Effective in 2019 – MarTech Advisor
Posted: 24 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT
A performance marketing strategy allows marketers to pay the affiliates on completion of a mutually agreed-upon customer (or prospect) action. But what are the most effective types of performance marketing that can inspire your audience to take that action? Let’s first understand performance marketing and then find out the answer.
What is Performance Marketing? Performance marketing is a marketing strategy where marketers pay their affiliates only when a customer (or a prospect) takes a specific, measurable action that is pre-agreed upon.
For example, your affiliate, a blogger, promotes your service on her blog and asks readers to fill out a form to be shared with you. If filling up a form is the desired action that you and the affiliate agreed upon, you will only pay for the number of forms filled.
Performance marketing helps you track your ad spend, reduce wastage, and adjust your ad budgets based on the performance of the campaigns.
Performance Marketing Is Not the Same as Affiliate Marketing Affiliate marketing is a subset of an otherwise broad term performance marketing. It is a revenue-sharing model where affiliates receive a portion of the sale of the product. It involves advertisers, publishers, and affiliate networks apart from the company and its customers. Traditionally, affiliate marketing affiliated brands (or products) and drove sales through cashback, coupon sites, etc.
Performance marketing, on the other hand, has evolved to become so much more than that; it encompasses different payment models and helps advertisers track real-time ROI and better channelize their resources.
Learn More: 5 Tips to Bring Performance Marketing into Focus
4 Effective Types of Performance Marketing Let’s discuss four effective performance marketing types that should be a part of your performance marketing campaign.
1. Social Media Advertising
Most brands find their target audience active on social media platforms. While Facebook and Instagram have a vast and diverse user base, Pinterest is a discovery platform for shoppers with niche interests, LinkedIn keeps professionals engaged, while Snapchat and TikTok attract the younger user segments. So marketers have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to marketing on social media platforms.
If your goal is to gain online traffic or increase your brand awareness, you can identify the platform where your target audiences are, and reach them at scale. The performance metrics for social media are typically engagement-driven – likes, shares, comments, retweets, and also clicks, sales, or checkouts.
Learn More: Top 5 Social Media Advertising Solutions for 2019
2. Native Advertising
Native ads don’t look like ads because they adapt to the form and function of the site (or page) they are placed on. They are contextually relevant and can fit dynamically based on the content the user is reading.
For performance marketers, native advertising opens re-targeting opportunities at scale, where they can repurpose content, educate and inform customers, and sequentially target them once they have captured customers’ interest and intent.
The most common metric for native ads are pay per impression or pay per click.
3. Sponsored Content
Sponsored or branded content when done right can be highly valuable for your marketing strategy. You can co-create content with an expert(s) in your niche to tell your brand story and also captivate audience interest. For sponsored content to be successful , it should be compelling and creative and help solve users’ problems. Transparency and compliance with FTC guidelines are paramount to win users’ trust and remain on the right side of the law.
Sponsored content is usually compensated in the form of free product (or service) while Cost per Mile (CPM), Cost per Lead (CPL), or Cost per Aquisition (CPA) are not uncommon.
4. Performance Partnerships
Robert Glazer, Founder, and CEO, Acceleration Partners , shared some interesting insights on leveraging influencers for performance marketing with Editor-in-Chief, Chitra Iyer. Here’s what he had to say, ” With the rise of ad blocking and marketer’s increasing demands for transparency, high-quality affiliate marketing programs (Performance Partnerships) have become an attractive option for many brands. Rather than paying for clicks and impressions, companies want a comprehensive view of their data and costs, as well as the opportunity to drive incremental revenue. “
“With social networks making the consumer’s path to purchase more accessible, it benefits not only retailers but also influencers who can leverage shoppable media to directly link to a product and purchase information in their posts. This dramatically increases conversion rates, ” he adds.
Social media influencers wield significant impact in shaping audience perception and driving purchase decisions. Marketers can explore ‘strategic performance partnerships’ with influencers, traditional affiliates such as bloggers, business development partners, etc. to diversify their affiliate marketing mix and make their budgets more flexible. This will help drive better sales making performance marketing campaigns more effective and also rewarding partners who drive sales.
Learn More: 5 Critical Skills for a Performance Marketing Manager
Closing Thoughts Performance marketing is a win-win for both marketers and affiliates, provided your objectives and metrics are clearly defined. This strategy will help you measure and track your ROI and is an opportunity to tweak your campaign(s) according to its performance. Of course, experimenting and testing will help you figure out the right balance between various types of performance marketing.
What types of performance marketing are you leveraging for your business goals? Tell us on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook ; we’re always listening!
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