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The Problem With Bots and Engagement Pods

Literally saw this last week:

I created an account on a website that helps US expats in Germany with their US taxes (for the wife).

Yesterday they offered me $10 to participate in their webinar (where they talk about expat taxes).

Let’s do a teardown of how it might impact their content strategy and bottom-line.

First, I didn’t sign up because the problem isn’t urgent yet and I’m still looking around for other alternatives. And $10 is just not enough for me right now to go through the hassle of signing up.

But let’s say as a result of this campaign, 150 people sign up for their webinar.

➡️ The good:

If you're a marketing person and you need to report your numbers, you can show that you got 150 people to sign-up for your webinar.

The same is true for other hacks that boost your metrics, such as using bots (getting engagement from fake accounts) and engagement pods (asking 50 people to engage on your post).

➡️ The bad:

The above approach dilutes your insights. You can’t critically understand which pieces of content are actually resonating with your customers.

You don’t know how many people consumed your content because they want to solve the problem you’re talking about and how many many did it because you incentivized them to do it.

➡️ The terrible:

You spent $1,500 to get 150 people to attend your webinar.
Let’s say you get 2 customers out of it (generating 2 x $3,000 = $6,000).

Great, so our campaign is ROI positive, and we should keep doing it.

Nope. Why?

If companies would ask the people who attended, they would realize that the 2 conversions came from the 5 people who signed up because they were interested in the topic and who would’ve signed up without the $10 (but of course, they still grabbed the free cash).

They came because they wanted to solve a problem. They were actually interested in what you have to say and were already in buying mode.

So you could have gotten those 2 customers for FREE if you had conducted the webinar without the incentive: But you would’ve gotten just 5 sign-ups.

And even though only 5 of the 150 people were in buying mode, most companies have their salespeople follow up with ALL of them, treating them as if they’re the same, wasting even more time and resources.

➡️ The solution:

Write a post and publish it organically even if it gets 5 likes. Conduct a free webinar even if it gets 3 sign-ups. No matter how painful it feels.

So next time you get 12 likes or 8 sign-ups, you’ll know that this topic, insight, or pain point resonates better than the previous one.

This way, you’ll get closer and closer to message-market fit, which helps you create better content, taglines, cold emails, etc.

You will get fewer but higher-quality leads. People who have actual buying intent.

Moral: Stop looking for quick fixes in marketing.

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