I started dabbling in internet marketing some 10 years ago and had a lot of failures and some good successes, especially in the t-shirts niche. Along the way, I have encountered many trainers and providers selling lacklustre digital marketing training courses and had fallen victim to some, the maximum dollar quantum of which is, fortunately, only a USD500 membership course by a supposedly famed internet marketer.
From these experiences, I established some guidelines for myself whenever I want to embark on another course again so that I will not be impulsive to click the ‘Add to Cart’ button. I gave these tips in an online forum, and as it had gathered some traction, I thought I would reproduce it here for the benefit of everyone, especially new internet marketers. These guidelines can also be applied to courses such as property, Forex, stocks and shares, and not just internet marketing courses.
1. Do a Search Online
Do a Google or Yahoo search of the course instructor or course company – to see if there are any bad reviews or feedback. Use all search terms possible, such as ‘xxx scam’, ‘xxx course’, ‘xxx internet scam’ (e.g. Frederick Tan, Jack Lai scam). No information does not necessarily mean that he has no bad feedback, it could maybe mean that he has paid people to remove them, or threaten them with a lawsuit, as many have done. I have personally experienced this in the Warrior Forums from one product that I bought which have 100% good reviews, and whose seller emailed me to remove my feedback in exchange for a refund.
2. Explore Relevant Forums
Check out relevant forums in your niche, and ask around about the credibility of the course instructor. Nowadays, there are many pseudo-experts out there all wanting a piece of the pie. In Singapore, one forum that you can use is Hardwarezone, where there will definitely be someone with the same experience, or who can advise you.
3. Join Relevant Internet Marketing Facebook Groups
Join the Facebook groups relevant to internet marketing, and ask the group members for advice. Most likely, someone will be able to advise you on the course you are interested in, as well as the course instructor. On top of your Facebook page, there is a white search bar where you can search for ‘Internet Marketing Groups’ or ‘Digital Marketing Groups+Singapore’ if you want it to be Singapore-based groups.
4. Check for Free or Low-Cost Courses On Other Platforms
Check if the course you have is also available for free or at a low cost online. Most likely it will be available for free on YouTube, Udemy or Skillshare. According to my experience, some of them can be better than paid courses. I have purchased many courses on Udemy which proved to be much better than some courses that cost $2,000 or more. Some even allow you to use your SkillsFuture credits.
5. Check on the Credibility of the Course Instructor
One important step you must take is to check on the credibility of the course instructor or his team. This is very important so do it carefully. Also, be sure to ask who will be the actual person conducting the course, because it could very well be just one of the trainer’s student or employee conducting the course rather than the trainer himself.
(a) First, check how many other courses the course instructor has – the more he has, the more likely he is in this for the long term.
(b) Secondly, check how long this course instructor has been in operation. The longer, the better.
(c) Check if he has an official website that is done up professionally, and that it looks credible. If he has just a one-page sales page, beware. If his blog or website has not been updated frequently, and the last blog post is, say, dated 2014, beware too, dig deeper and ask around online.
(d) Check that the instructor also has some social media accounts such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc. with some good following and positive comments.
(e) Check whether this instructor also has a full-time job – if so, likely he is only doing the course part-time, and not that successful (yet), and most probably will not be able to give you that kind of commitment and engagement you are looking for.
6. Drop Him a Mail!
Find his email on his website, email him about the course and see how long you get a response. If it takes more than 10 days, it is very likely you will also get that kind of support after you buy his course.
Check any testimonials online that he has – real ones. You can likely tell real ones from fake ones from the languages. Scripted ones all feel and sound the same, and are almost always over-exaggerated and enthusiastic. One thing to note here, it is very easy to digitally manipulate and piece together some positive comments in Photoshop (I can do it easily too), so beware if your instructor has been showing you these screenshots of results from Facebook or WhatsApp.
8. Costs of Investments Not Shown Most of the Time
It is also always the case that such courses and their instructors will show you very impressive screenshots of themselves making millions of dollars in sales revenue, but almost 99.9% of the time, none will mention the investment that they have sunk into their business to achieve that kind of results. According to one insider who have been the assistant of one noted internet marketer course provider, his actual profit margin is only 10 – 20%, and in actual fact, he has been sinking most of his money into Google or Facebook ads to achieve that result. His main income comes from his training and courses. According to one trainer, you definitely need to factor in a minimum of USD10 a day on Facebook ads. What he didn’t tell you is that you need to monitor the ads constantly, tweak them if they are not working, and then constantly spend money to test different products on different platforms.
As more and more of these trainers come on board, there will be more and more of their students using the same methods above, but they generally follow the same mode of operation. Use your gut feel, and do not pull out that credit card so impulsively. Or else, when you attend those free Internet marketing seminars, do not bring your credit cards. It gives you more time to go back, research, ask around and think about it rationally. I have been to a few of such seminars, and one of them even placed their staff at the door to stop people from leaving. Remember, they have no right to do that, and you have every right to walk out of the room if you feel that something is wrong. Allow yourself at least 2 – 3 days to think about it carefully. Also, even if the sales page has a countdown timer, or it says ‘limited to the first 50 pax only’, or until a certain date, do not believe that.
Lastly, I did not say that these courses won’t work for you. It depends on the individual, and to be fair, most of them do teach you the basics of internet marketing, but you certainly need to do your part and take the relevant action. My objective is to let you know that there are definitely many low-cost or no-cost alternatives that you can use to supercharge your internet marketing career, because most of these thousands-dollar courses only teach you the same basics too.
Finally, I wish you all the best in your internet marketing career, because with hard work and determination, whether you take up a course or self-study, it is definitely possible to make it as your full-time career. You can email me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Below are some more information which might be useful to you.
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