A lot of things in life are easy, but not simple. Heck, learning how to play checkers is easy – but it’s actually got enough variables that it’s not simple to win.

It’s easy to get a domain name. However, it’s complicated – not at all simple – to do anything with that domain name.

It’s easy to know what you want to sell. But it’s not simple to find a buyer. For many, it’s also not simple to get a profit when you do sell.

Creating a video is just a few clicks on your phone – it’s really easy. But it’s complicated getting that video to be effective and get viewers and it’s no simple thing to set-up a YouTube channel or attempt to drive traffic to that channel. It’s really complicated if you need to do any editing, right?

Reading online articles, watching videos, or taking courses on how to do just about anything you can imagine is easy. Taking that information and applying it is not simple.

But the hardest part about growing your skill sets is finding information that is of true or useful value. It’s getting less easy as the “noise levels” increase and the marketing tools are more adaptable. It’s easy to find a source of information. Knowing when to trust your sources is not as simple.

False Promises

At some point in time, the internet has become a school of piranhas.

Everywhere you look, there is an advertisement following you around, offers for free downloads, and “challenges” and “contests” all designed to get you to purchase something, someday. That white paper on the “Ten Best Ways to __________” is similar to giving out a recipe without giving you all the ingredients. Quite often, that PDF is just a way to get you to do something that will help that marketer or get you revved-up to buy the rest of the story.

Mind you, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that if you get value. I do this myself in many different offers. For example, I offer a one-time free 30-minute business consulting appointment to just about anyone for about anything related to marketing. I consider myself a marketing therapist and that first free one-on-one is your session that may lead to more sessions or that might solve the bulk of your issues and keep you moving forward without more consultations.

I also offer a free review of websites with the same goal. You might want me to do some fixes or even help re-work the entire site. Or maybe I just give you confirmations you need to have peace of mind when I give you a big thumbs up.

What I never do (and what I am seeing everywhere!) is give false promises or insinuate instant solutions. For example, I won’t tell you your website sucks and needs a total overhaul just to get a paycheck. I won’t spend that 30-minutes free consultation with you trying to get you to buy something.

This happened to me recently when a “trusted” name in the marketing industry gave me a free 30-minute consultation. I was asked two questions and then endured listening to a virtual infomercial about books, courses, and other programs I might want to buy. Which is fine, but nothing being offered was related to my needs at all. And the conversation never got back to my specific needs.

I will never trust that person again. It’s why I don’t want to “use up” my trusted brand just to get a quick sale. However, I am beginning to feel like I am in a very small tribe. Here are some examples of what I have personally experienced in recent weeks.

  • A podcaster who “promised” to share secrets of “How Do Busy Leaders Find Time for Social Media”.

After I carved out time to listen to his 30-minute podcast it turns out he, a busy leader, uses an assistant who does all of his Facebook administration. He was quick to share tools, like Hootsuite and Buffer (eye rolls from me) and other tips and tricks for getting those posts and tweets out, but when it the rubber met the road, he himself is not finding time for Social Media. He actually said that he didn’t have time, despite the title of his podcast “How Do Busy Leaders Find Time for Social Media.” What?! HUH? At least I was able to jump off at 15 minutes.

  • An online interview on how to do Facebook ads. Titled something like “Effective Facebook ads on a budget”

Another 30 mins set aside. This time, I was nearly to the end (and granted, I had learned a few things here and there) when the “budget” part was discussed. The person said with a straight face something like, “I know that everyone says you need to spend many thousands, but with my clients, I recommend starting with just $30.” As the interview continued, it was made clear that to be really effective, you would want to use that $30’s as a way to test ads, but the goal amount for real success was $300. And then, a few sentences later came the words “Per Day”. $30 per day. $300 per day! Clearly, this person’s idea of a “budget” was $900 to $9000 a month being spent on Facebook ads to be effective. I had a full 25 minutes into this by then. I stayed long enough to hear the full pitch at the end and grabbed the free PDF. Yikes!

  • Downloaded a free white paper: How to Launch an Effective Website

As with the above “research” projects, I am always ready to learn a new trick or two, so this one seemed worth my small effort. I entered my email address, which of course means I am on their mailing list now. I can’t wait to unsubscribe!

But, the joke’s on me. If I had spent a little more time on that website, I might have realized this was a mostly useless site with almost no substance. As was the one-page PDF with 5 bullet points. None of the bullet points had any worthwhile information about what a website needs in order to be effective. But they were willing to give me a discount on their SEO growth system.

Meanwhile, here’s my blog post on the subject of website effectiveness, called: “Why your website is not making you money.” Nothing to download. No tricks up my sleeve. Just enjoy.

The Takeaway

Be skeptical and don’t accept things at face value. When someone tells you they can cure all your business woes with this one (usually free) magical webinar or downloadable PDF, it’s easy to want that to be true.

We want things to be easy, but it’s never really simple to find an easy way to run a business.

However, growing sales, growing your brand, growing an audience who “Knows, Likes, and Trusts” (KLT) you means you need to give them things to know about, things to like about you, and then keep building on that until you are totally trusted. None of my encounters above met the KLT criteria. Make sure your marketing does.