Banners Broker Scam – Don’t Let It Affect You
Change of Plans: I’m Moving to America
Neuromarketing: The Weapons of Mass Conversion (Part 2)

Banners Broker Scam – Don’t Let It Affect You

UPDATE DECEMBER 20th – I have posted a brand new update on the Banners Broker Scam. Read this new article for a more complete breakdown of the facts and evidence.

Banners Broker is one of the most popular MLM programs of recent times. It also happens to be one of the most sophisticated and bloodsucking ponzi schemes I have ever come across.

Banners Broker is based around an industry we know a lot about – online advertising.

Before I continue, let me point out the obvious. This post is not written for my usual readers.

If you’re expecting tips that can improve your ROI, or increase your conversions, this post will flop like a wet flannel. Guaranteed. But I do have a motive for writing it. Over the last few months I have seen some of my nearest and dearest plunge head first in to Banners Broker. And they are not the only ones.

The program is alleged to have attracted over 160,000 investors.

A large number of these investors will be left out of pocket when the scheme inevitably collapses.

What the Banners Broker Scam Claims to be

“A revolutionary way to earn revenue online.”

Are you prepared to have your mind blown?

Here is a video that describes the Banners Broker business model.

If, while listening, you begin to feel drowsy, or if the unmistakeable whiff of bullshit lodges itself up your nose, fear not. I have yet to speak to a single honest soul who could watch the whole 9 minutes and not come away feeling disorientated, mind-fucked, and a little bit uneasy.


Rule number one of any ponzi scheme: Do not give anybody the slightest hope of understanding your business model.

Update: The guy whose hilarious example I used to explain the Banners Broker business model has contacted me asking for his content to be removed on copyright grounds. Fair point. Well if he’s not happy with me quoting it here, I will link to it instead. Enjoy the read!

Yes, an advertising platform where not only are you the advertiser – but you’re the publisher too! You buy ad space on your own rented property. Then another advertiser buys space on it. Then magic happens. And somehow you come away with a 100% ROI.

As you would expect with any ponzi scheme, very few investors take the time to understand how this ad-pub nonsense works.

I guess it’s just as well Banners Broker simplifies the art of online advertising in to six coloured panels. They might as well have named them after the Teletubbies.

Panel prices, Banners Broker scam

Buy panels… get paid?

Double your money by doing nothing, stupid! Let’s hear how this works…

As a quick example, if you bought the red package when you first joined banners broker, this would have included the yellow, purple, blue, green and red panels within your purchase.

Your purchase would have cost you $1225 (including first month admin fee).

The red panel takes the longest to mature out of these panels (5-6 months). So within that time you would have paid $15 x 5 = $90 in admin fees.

After a few weeks, the yellow panel would have paid out and you would have received $20. After that, the purple would have paid out for another $60. Then the blue after that with another $180. This is followed by the green with $540. Finally, the red is the last one to mature paying out $1620.

So all in all, your costs were $1225 + $90 admin fees = $1315

Your gross income over that time period was: $20 + $60 + $180 + $540 + $1620 = $2420

Your profit = $2420 – $1315 = $1105.

Source: The Banners Broker System

Don’t you see?

What we have here is the most remarkable online advertising loophole known to man.

While the rest of us mere affiliate marketing mortals have been investing thousands for a slender 25% ROI, Banners Broker users have been buying ‘impression panels’, waiting a few months, then banking the handsome rewards.

It makes you wonder what really goes on behind this advertising system. How are Banners Broker managing to double your money, as well as taking their own cut, in an industry which has never been more competitive?

The answer, of course, is that Banners Broker has nothing to do with online advertising. The talk of ‘impressions’, ‘inventory’ and even ‘banners’ is a complete and utter fraud. I’m not a man for conspiracy theories, but if this smokescreen hasn’t just reached out and slapped you in the titties, you need new glasses. There’s a very simple explanation for how users are able to double their money with Banners Broker – and that is by recruiting other investors. It’s a cash cycler. Simple as that.

I’ll show you the joke that is the Banners Broker advertising platform later in this post. But let’s take a look at who runs the Banners Broker ship. Who is in charge of the world’s most remarkable online advertising platform?

Who is Behind the Banners Broker Scam?

You’d think the men behind Banners Broker would have surfaced on TechCrunch by now, right?

An advertising network that ‘doubles your return’ even if you are one of 160,000 unskilled investors who knows nothing about advertising. I mean, wow, that’s a story. If I had discovered such a system, I’d be fighting off venture capitalists from day one. At the very least, you’d expect these guys to show their faces at a reputable advertising conference.

I asked a couple of reps if they’d heard of Banners Broker when I attended London Adtech. The answer I got – to be expected – was a “Say what?” Followed by lots of LOL when I explained their scam.

Banners Broker Scammers

Image source: Real Scam forum

This blog has a lot of readers in the advertising space. So, let’s see. Has anybody encountered the urchins above at a trade conference? They claim to be paying out over a million dollars per day to their ‘investors’. That’s a lot of banner impressions. You’d think somebody must have dealt with these people.

For a company aiming to topple Google in the future (LOL), I’d expect to be reading books on these wizards.

Evidently they have yet to crack the customer service nut. I dropped their support an email offering to spend $100,000 on their platform. You will hear nothing back. In the advertising business, especially in such uncertain times, $100,000 ad campaigns do not go unanswered. Unless what you are actually running is a Ponzi scheme.

But wait, who is this Rajiv Dixit? He is the Head of the Banners Broker Canadian HQ, but his name looks familiar.

Ahh yes, Rajiv Dixit. The same Rajiv Dixit of Ontario, Canada who co-ran the notorious ICF World Homes scam in 2009. He was shut down by the Competition Bureau.

Now ask yourself this.

  • Is it likely that since ICF got busted, Raj Dixit has grown some morals and uncovered a remarkable win-win business model in the online advertising industry (that blows Google out of the water)?
  • Or is it likely, as I somehow suspect, that Raj Dixit is still a scumbag? And that Banners Broker is his latest fraudulent enterprise?

Would You Trust Your Online Advertising to this Company?

You’d think that Banners Broker — a rapidly growing company paying out over a $1 Million per day — would have a pretty cosy office setup, right? I’d expect some bean bags, a gymnasium, maybe even a flash canteen serving only organic.


Here’s the Canadian ‘HQ’ of Banners Broker:

Banners broker scam HQ

Silicon Valley, move the fuck over. The big boys are in town. And they work… above an autoservice garage? Seems about right.

But remember guys. This is not a ponzi scheme!

Update: Since this post went live, Banners Broker have changed the official address on their website. It now points to a slightly more impressive building in Whitby. My guess? Probably a virtual office.

If we really want to be pedantic, we could reference the fact that ComScore has never heard of Banners Broker. Neither has a single advertising trade journal, or anybody at an ad conference who wasn’t cackling with laughter at the very thought of their preposterous claims.

Exposed: The Banners Broker Advertising System

Okay, enough of the anecdotal BS. The most damning evidence against Banners Broker is what happens when you actually log in to experiment with their system.

I was pretty inquisitive to explore the Banners Broker inventory. I am, after all, a hungry lion when it comes to new traffic sources. I like some Google, some Facebook, some Plentyoffish, some Pulse360.

Alas, the Banners Broker advertising platform is a damp, fraudulent squib.

It has two options for advertisers.

  • The ‘Choice’ Network – Pick the website you want to advertise on.
  • The ‘Blind’ Network – Choose your category (5 choices!) and hope for the best.

I tried both platforms, and here’s what I found…

The Choice Network

Advertisers who like to have full control over their placements may choose to run traffic through the Choice network. Simply pick the websites you want your banners to show on, upload the banner, and you’re good to go.

Considering how many ‘impression panels’ go sold every day, I was expecting the Banners broker inventory to stack up favourably to a respectable marketplace like, say, BuySellAds.

Yeah… not so much.

I first chose to run a financial campaign.

Here are the websites I could place my ads on:

The Choice Network

Five whole websites! You better be housing the world’s most highly trafficked financial websites or I’m going to get antsy.

Let’s take a look at website number one.


Banners broker scam

150Cash has not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk. There is not a single comment on the site.

Furthermore, there is not a single banner. Not good news for Banner Broker, being the broker and all, as they must currently be making $0 from this site.

As an advertiser, I hate to say it, but I will not be investing in this site.

Let’s see what other inventory the Banners Broker ‘Choice Network’ has available:


The ponzi scheme in action

ForSaleorBail has also not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk (all 7 of them in the space of 5 days). There is not a single comment on the site.

Oh, and the banners that Banners Broker are selling through this site? No takers. Despite it being just 1 out of a very small pool of 5 sites in their ‘financial portfolio’.

As an advertiser, I will not be investing in this site.


Prosper Go?

ProsperGo… has not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk, and there are only 3 of them. Not a single comment posted. And yet, Banners Broker expects reputable advertisers to buy space on this site?

Yep, you guessed it. I will not be investing in this site.

There’s a peculiar trend to the websites that Banners Broker wants you to advertise on.

They were all created, in a hurry, during April 2012.

It’s almost as if Banners Broker in a rush to add legitimacy to their pathetic advertising service, created these websites themselves.

Do you know what else is interesting about these websites?

They are all located on the same web server:

Laughable Banners broker

It’s laughable, really. Imagine if Google slapped together a bunch of shoddy two cent WordPress themes then asked for your money.

When I confronted the drones of Banners Broker over these glaring faults in their advertising system, I was met with a rather blunt excuse:

It’s in Test Mode.

It would be nice if they’d informed their paying advertisers who – to this day – can sign up and spend money on a system that is in ‘Test Mode’. Now that’s not very professional, is it?

Alas, let’s talk about the Banners Broker ‘Blind Network’. It’s the crown jewel that nobody can say is in ‘Test Mode’. With investors earning millions every day, you would expect a show-stopping ad platform. Unfortunately, that’s not what you are going to get.

The Blind Network

Ready to be blown away by the targeting features of the world’s most remarkable online advertising platform?

This is it:

Banners Broker Blind Network

Yep, seriously. That’s all there is to it.

The next page asks you to upload your banner, while kindly waiting 5 minutes because it won’t appear immediately. I’m not sure what happens in this time. Presumably it’s to give you the opportunity to reconsider. Instead of advertising on Banners Broker, maybe you would care to engage in the world’s longest facepalm?

Two things I noticed about the Blind Network:

  1. Banners Broker has done away with CPM bidding. That was for the dinosaurs anyway, right? Instead it is fixed price bidding. You buy impressions. And hope to God that your banners land on the right pages. Pages are divided in to categories. This is your only targeting options, besides Country. But don’t worry. This is the same platform that is going to topple Google and double your money.
  2. It doesn’t seem to serve any ads. After 3 days, I still haven’t managed to use my 1000 impressions. It’s not like I was targeting down to the keyword. This was a broad campaign aimed at every website in their ‘Business and Commerce’ category.

Of course, I don’t want to get hung up on the bleeding obvious.

One glance at the Banners Broker advertising platform and anybody who has collected even 30 seconds of experience with a real advertising platform will write it off for the garbage it truly is.

But that’s irrelevant. Ponzi schemes don’t need to sit on good advertising platforms. Just a big enough pile of steaming bullshit will suffice.

Why Banners Broker is Dying

Banners Broker has been going strong for a couple of years now.

I have no doubt that many investors have made a genuine profit from the scam. In fact, to this day, most of the experiences associated to Banners Broker have been positive.

One search on Google and you will find drone after drone after tireless drone. “I’ve been paid!“, “I just made my first 1K!“, “I make real money with Banners Broker“.

The beauty of Ponzi schemes is that for the majority of their existence, you have no reason to question how the system works. Or why it works. You just accept the fact that you’ve been paid, along with hundreds of others.

You reinvest and you reinvest until one day – BOOM!

Banners Broker doesn’t respond to your withdrawal requests anymore.

Raj Dixit has run off to his next scam. The money you invested has been shovelled away to an offshore account in Belize (seriously, that’s where they’re banking!). You will be lucky to see a single penny.

When will this Judgment Day arrive? The writing is on the wall. It will arrive very soon.

The Banners Broker ponzi spread across the Internet like wildfire through much of 2012, but it has been losing steam at an alarming rate.

The forum threads are dying, negative attention has been drawn to the business model, and the Banners Broker management are implementing a number of ‘damage limitation’ ploys to slow down the speed at which members can withdraw their cash.

This does not bode well in the run up to Christmas.

If history says anything about an online ponzi scheme, it’s that members are far more likely to be cashing out in the holiday season. Banners Broker cannot ‘feed’ its existing members. The cycle of new victims is no longer enough to feed the chain.

It’s impossible to say whether Banners Broker will make it beyond Christmas. But I would be incredibly surprised if it lasted through to spring. If you have been coaxed in to this program, get out while you can. You may still make a tidy profit.

Give up the dream that you are involved with a legitimate online business. Banners Broker is a ticking time bomb. And when it blows up in your face – which it will – you don’t want to be at the back of the queue with a lawsuit and a sore arsehole.

A lost investment may actually be the least of your worries.

I find it shocking to consider, but it seems that thousands of Banners Broker users have been persuaded to supply their passport scans as a form of verification. I can’t for the life of me find one good reason why any advertising company would need this information.

Don’t be surprised if you find your identity stolen several months from now.

I would certainly not be trusting my intimate details to a guy like Rajiv Dixit. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

It’s your choice.

The Psychology Behind the Banners Broker Scam

It’s all very well for me to write a 3000 word post ‘hating on Banners Broker’ (as I’m sure they’ll brand it). But there will always be another Banners Broker. There will always be another ponzi scheme using cunning and elaborate ploys to steal away with your life savings.

If you want to avoid these traps, the real change has to come from within.

Unless you are an millionaire, there is no online investment program that can provide a truly risk-free future without great skills on your part. Getting something for nothing just does not exist.

Ponzi schemes and fraudsters are adept at preying on two human flaws: greed and entitlement.

  1. Greed: The idea that money grows on trees and you can have as much of it as you fancy.
  2. Entitlement: The idea that making money requires no skill-set, no hard work, and no risk. In the real world, it requires all three.

But we’d love to believe otherwise…

Every good ponzi scheme capitalises on these flaws. You can stay protected by arming yourself against naivety.

Truly, if you want to become a millionaire, you have to give a million pounds of value back to the world. It does not happen on auto-pilot. There is only one ‘get rich quick’ ticket, and you can buy it in your local post office.

It’s called a lottery ticket.

When you separate yourself from the odds of fate handing you a winning Lottery ticket, you’ll get on with the real task of adding value to the world. I’m afraid you will be waiting for a long time if your business partner is Banners Broker.

Recommended This Week

  • Don’t join Banners Broker. It’s a scam.
  • Do subscribe to the Survival Kit below. It’s free, and it’s not a scam.

Change of Plans: I’m Moving to America

By now, you are surely familiar with Finch’s twice-a-year, “I’m Moving to…” post.

I change plans faster than a badger in a honey maze. The latest twist should therefore come as no surprise.

Only a few months ago, I revealed that I was trading London for Bangkok (where I lived in 2010/11). Much has changed since then. For a start, I got engaged to an American girl.

Engagement raises a lot of ‘life questions’.

Questions such as:

  • Should I houseban Pinterest until the vows are exchanged?

  • Does she really think a herd of pink unicorns with chandeliers hanging from their bollocks are going to be available for catering?

  • Will I escape this wedding alive?

  • Holy shit, where are we going to live?

After much consultation, we were able to answer one of those questions.

Unfortunately, it did not bode well for a unicorn payday…

Our conclusion: Living in America sounds pretty cosy.

New York City skyline

New York City: The daddy of the concrete jungles.

My Fascination with America

I fell in love with New York City when I visited in May. There’s something about Manhattan that captures your imagination.

If you are Felix Baumgartner, standing on the precipice, about to dive balls-deep in to the abyss, you would not be surprised – no, you would expect – gravity to tug you straight in to the heart of The Big Apple. It is a city that feels like the center of the universe.

And to many New Yorkers, that’s exactly what it is.

Even the dude selling hot dogs out of a broken cart gets to experience that rare sensation of the world revolving around him; tumbling skyscrapers in every direction, the buzz of something happening.

You come away from NYC feeling small, humble and a trifle shagged in the wallet. Victim of the tipping shakedown, aka “I’ve just wiped my arse using some of your toilet paper. Here’s ten bucks. Please — Don’t hustle me! I appreciate the service!

While I won’t be moving to New York City straight away (We’ll be crash landing in the Midwest to build a house, if all goes to plan), I do want to make myself familiar with the bits of America that I haven’t already visited.

And that’s a good thing.

Besides New York, I have seen an abundance of corn and some Amish settlements. There has to be a middle ground, and I intend to find it.

Where should I visit?

Places on my To Visit list, in no particular order:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Chicago
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Jersey Shore (I’m interested to see if we’re the same species)
  5. Hollywood
  6. Miami
  7. Yellowstone Park
  8. Hawaii

Yep, you could say my list resembles the tourist’s guide to ‘playing it safe like an unadventurous motherfucker‘. I’ve seen one too many motel slasherfest B-movies to chance my arm.

If you have any suggestions of awesome places to visit in America, hit me with them.

I’ll be taking a trip to Thailand next month. I’m hoping it suppresses my appetite for beach cocktails and chilis over breakfast. Christ knows, if I don’t get my hands on some Mango Sticky Rice soon, there’s no telling how many kittens will perish.

See you in another six months for news on my immigration to China.

Neuromarketing: The Weapons of Mass Conversion (Part 2)

Note: This is the second of a two-part series on Neuromarketing. Read the first part here.

Previously we looked at how social proof can lead to more conversions, more sales and more money in your bank account.

Social proof is a cornerstone of neuromarketing.

But it’s not the only child.

In this post, we’re going to look at three of the most powerful selling techniques known to man. Some might call them the twisted twins of social validation.

These techniques are capable of wreaking some serious havoc on the fickle, fanciful minds of our target markets. Which is why I ask – no, plead – that you repent for your sins and wash your keyboard in soap after usage.

The three techniques are:

  • Scarcity
  • Reciprocation
  • The need to rationalize decisions

There is plenty of academic research to suggest that the techniques above are Grade A weapons of mass destruction in the war of selling. Yet still there exists a shortage of examples for how these techniques can be adjusted to the modern web.

Well, that’s what I aim to show you in Part 2 of this series.

Let’s start by looking at scarcity.

How scarcity sells

Scarcity works in tandem with social proofing. Like two magnetic forces pulling a consumer to shipwreck. Together, they are irresistible.

I gave an example of one of my preferred scarcity tactics in the previous post.

“There are currently [17] people viewing today’s offer.”
“[654] people have signed up since October 1st.”
“We have exceeded our capacity! The offer ends in X.”

If you’re too late, don’t worry. We’ll be reopening our doors in December.

Scarcity is the threat of not having. You can see it being used in these popular sales ploys:

  • “Only limited tickets remaining.”
  • “Accepting [7] new affiliates.”

For scarcity to take effect, supply must be limited and demand must be present.

The guys over at IMGrind are pretty adept exponents of this equation.

IMGrind holds live masterminding sessions at factory line frequency. The events are an opportunity for Internet Marketers to get together and discuss strategies that are currently making money online. While I cannot vouch for how effective these sessions may be, I do admire the precision that goes in to their marketing.

To my knowledge, their latest live event had just 20 seats available. They were selling these tickets at $247 a pop.

IMGrind Recording

Scarcity sets the price point

Setting such a short supply of tickets provides two opportunities:

  1. It gives IMGrind an excuse to bombard your email with headlines like “Just 4 Seats Remaining! Book Now or Never

  2. It adds value to their second option, which I assume is their primary method of monetizing the event: DVD recordings. It sends out a message, “This event is full of so much smoking hot info, we can only show it to 20 people. But you, you don’t have to travel to New York City. You can get a copy of the DVD and watch from home.

Of course, when the live tickets do sell out, the event gains prestige. Users are far more likely to part with their wallets.

And what about those $247 DVD prices? Pretty extreme, don’t you think?

If somebody offered me a DVD for $247, I would kindly take the disk, snap it in half, and take a swipe at their jugular. But this price works.

Why does it work? It works because the anchor has already been set.

The event tickets are selling out fast at $247. You have social proofing that the event is worth at least $247. You also have the scarcity of tickets painting a subliminal message in your head that you will be missing out on something great.

The information is not easy to access. Some marketers are travelling to New York City for the session. Let’s be honest. How far out of bed would you crawl for a free WSO?

Remember: The harder it is to obtain, the greater the perceived value.

The final sucker punch in this awesome sales funnel is when IMGrind promotes the aftermath of the event.

They will duly blitz your inbox with success story after success story of how attendees have breathed new fire in to their careers after making the trip. This information is usually followed by an announcement: the DVD recordings will be taken offline in X days.

All that priceless information…

Gone. Vanquished. Never to be seen again.

What you are left with is a scarcity of time + a scarcity of information. Without knowing the exact IMGrind financials, I’m sure they’ll be eating pretty sizeable turkeys this Thanksgiving.

The lesson of scarcity: When we perceive information as being too easy to get, we lower the value of that information. Conversely, we can set high expectations and high demand by raising our prices and creating a bottleneck.

Open up a newspaper and chances are you will find a page dedicated to a stand-up comedian who has inexplicably miscalculated the demand for his shows.

Jimmy Carr on Tour

Jimmy Carr. One of my favourite comics.

Jimmy Carr on Tour!

January 10th, Birmingham, SOLD OUT
January 11th, Birmingham, SOLD OUT
January 12th, Birmingham, EXTRA DATE ADDED
January 14th, London, SOLD OUT
January 15th, London, SOLD OUT
January 16th, London, SOLD OUT
January 17th, London, EXTRA DATE ADDED

Of course, the marketing agencies responsible for these ads know exactly what they are doing.

By releasing extra dates ‘due to popular demand’, those terrible twins – scarcity and social proofing – can begin to work their magic.

You can try to fight it. You can try to analyse every last piece of advertising that comes your way, but there is simply too much of it. And it comes too fast.

Scarcity creates an illusion of desirability. Human nature simply cannot help itself.

You will desire that which is not easily available to you.

If you are reading this blog, I can assume that you are familiar with the sales text: “Only [7] spots remaining. Sign up now!”

More recently, marketers — being marketers — have upped the ante.

For when a static scarcity scare simply isn’t enough, there’s always the animated countdown:

7 Spots Remaining

Sped up and repeated for illustrative purposes.

And if that doesn’t shoot the fish in your barrel…

There’s another particularly fiendish technique that involves JavaScript and a ‘Spots Remaining‘ tally that decreases every time the user fills out a text field.

I have experimented with this method on long forms and I can say without doubt: a shrinking supply lubricates engagement.

Those who start entering their information simply cannot stop, no matter how crude or obvious the manipulation.

Just watch those little fingers scurry! And then hang your head in shame.

How reciprocation sells

Reciprocation is, and will always be, the friendly plague of Internet Marketing.

I still remember when link exchanges were a sophisticated form of marketing. When places on blogrolls were squabbled over. When the Warrior Forum was a circle jerk*

* It’s gotten worse. Like a bad wine.

Do you remember MySpace? Of course you don’t. Only Justin Timberlake remembers MySpace.

I tell a lie. My one lasting memory of MySpace was that of the world’s most reciprocal social network.

At least 90% of my actions on MySpace were down to the compelling forces of reciprocation.

“Hey Finch. I just added you to my Top Eight Friends. Wink, nudge.”

“That’s extraordinary news, Brianna. One might call this the proudest day of my life. I guess you’ve risen through the ranks to become my 6th bestest friend. Come and refresh the page. Oh, and jolly well done.”

7 seconds pass.

“Look Finch. I just answered this cool survey and chose you as my friend ‘most likely to die in a hideous car crash before the age of 21!‘ You should do it too.”

“No way! I just answered it. You were my friend ‘most likely to get pregnant in the back of a bike shed and have 3 kids before the age of 25!’

7 years pass and Finch is proven correct.

MySpace was a lot of things. But above all, it was a land of scratchy backs.

While I hope you have set your goals higher than landing on somebody’s Top Friends list, the psychology behind sites like MySpace can tell us a lot about how we behave.

Reciprocation is embedded in our psyches, particularly on a social level.

What many skilled marketers have noted is that reciprocation can be just as effective when it comes to selling.

We call it the ‘feeling of indebtedness’.

Every squeeze landing page in history owes its success to our feeling of indebtedness. It’s the reason why we don’t unsubscribe immediately after downloading a free giveaway. We understand that there is an exchange in place.

Historically, when we roamed the earth as cave men, to break the law of reciprocation would have been to invite trouble. In most cases, a club to the back of the head.

We have evolved, but elements of the old brain still exist.

You can tap in to this evolutionary hallmark by priming your web users via reciprocation.

How about a free gift? A little ‘something for nothing’ that looks innocuous but casts that sinking feeling of indebtedness.

When launching Premium Posts Volume 6, I used reciprocation in the form of a sneak preview of the product.

Users were able to access 10+ pages of material without paying a penny.

Note: And if you wish to receive the same perk with Volume 7, I suggest you opt-in at the bottom of this post!

The purpose of giving away content I had shed blood, sweat and tears for was not to be a good samaritan. Do I look like a good samaritan? It was to induce a feeling of indebtedness so that someday, perhaps not for several weeks, the sale would arrive.

A key element of reciprocation is that the scale of the good deed rarely matters. I may literally only scratch your back, but if you accept it as a favour, a seed of indebtedness has been planted.

The next thing you know, I’m inviting you to bed…

That’s great. How do I use reciprocation to make more sales?

One of my favourite techniques is the double tiered landing page. It traditionally involves a free giveaway; usually an ebook, or a personalised report; followed by a CPA offer.

The user lands on my page and is asked to submit his name and address to access my prized content. As soon as he has done so, he’s hit square in the chops with a CPA offer wrapped around a very carefully worded recommendation.

It rarely goes like this, but I hope you get the gist:

“Hi Derek, thanks for downloading my free report on ‘How to Save Endangered Hawaiian Seals’.

It took MANY sleepless nights to compile. But I hope you love it.

Just one more thing, if you’re really looking to save some seals, can I give you a recommendation?

AdoptAPremiumSeal.com is my partner’s site.

If you feel a nagging sense of indebtedness to take action, you should definitely check it out. After all, you have already shown me what a worldly soul you have by requesting my report. Most people are too cruel to get this far.

The next logical step, as I’m sure you are aware, is to adopt a seal. Right now.

Seriously, I’m waiting to take your call.

I’d really appreciate it. And I know the seals will too!

Note: I have used seals as an example, but I suppose you could easily use the same copy for ‘Fat Local Slags’. They need homes too.

If it seems like a ridiculous example, I have to tell you… people commit to some ridiculous shit, especially when they feel that they owe you.

Whatever gets the reciprocation monkey off their back.

The lesson of reciprocation: If we want people to take action, a small favour will go a long way. Aim to plant a seed of indebtedness before the user reaches your sales pitch. There are many ways to achieve this on the web. The most potent weapon is a taste of the information they crave. If you can personalise the information, the results will be even greater.

How the need to rationalize decisions sells (over and over again)

Selling to a customer once is the weather smiling on you.

Selling to a customer for the rest of his life is a job well done.

Marketers like myself too often forget that the big money lies in attracting lifelong customers. We affiliates, we love to rinse and burn.

We’d rather attract a million first time sales than deal with the threat of speaking once more to those we’ve used and abused.

The reality? It’s not easy to attract a lifelong customer.

You mustn’t only attract the customer’s wallet. You must attract his best judgment, his sense of identity and his underlying belief that the decision to choose your product was correct. If this belief does not exist, his first conversion will be his last.

Business models cannot stay healthy without customer loyalty. And so providing sweet assurance that a purchasing decision was correct is just as important as getting the bloody minded fool to bust out his plastic in the first place.

How can we help a consumer to rationalise a decision?

There are two techniques that I want to look at:

  • Appealing to the user’s sense of identity pre-sale.
  • Altering the user’s perception of an experience post-sale.

Appealing to the user’s sense of identity

I have tested hundreds of landing page variables. I can’t think of a single variable quite so potent as the ability to tap in to a user’s sense of identity.

Consumers buy products that align with their opinions.

The products they love most are those that make them feel good about themselves, while expressing who they are.

The very first impression your landing page should create is a sensation of Us Against The World. You should know your target market well enough that you can express their single biggest fear in the headline, along with the solution (your product, obviously!).

Look at the Work at Home Mom industry. It draws in thousands of mothers every single day on the basis of what exactly? No more than a sense of identity.

I am a work at home mom.

Yes, you are.

And I am much more likely to sell merchandise to you if I pretend that I am one too. Of course, you’ll never believe me. My tits are too hairy.

You need only look at, oh say, every single religion in the world to see how tribal the human race can be. Neuromarketers understand that what we call in-group bias – the tendency to side with people who share common ground – is an incredibly powerful sales engine.

Appealing to the user’s perception of experience post-sale

Not only will people buy what they believe in. What people buy will often shape what they believe in.

If you want to create a lifelong customer, you can’t leave them at the checkout cart.

Every single Multi-Level Marketing sucker I have encountered has been programmed to believe, with devout faith, that his money is being invested wisely. That’s because the MLM experience relies on shaping the user’s perception after the initial sale/investment.

Now, look at your own sales funnel.

Do you forget about your customers from the moment the sale is made?

You shouldn’t. This is the time to pounce.

If you want to create your own tribe, your own dedicated group of followers, you have to instill the belief that your product is an extension of their own identities.

Don’t restrict freebie giveaways to your non-customers. Provide the best benefits to those who are already your customers. Don’t be afraid to develop an email follow-up series after a sale has been made. And always promote your successes.

IMGrind, the scarcity exponents I referenced at the start of this post, are equally skilled at promoting their successes. An IMGrind event will rarely pass without an email landing in my inbox with the success stories that came out of it.

Following up an event or a sale with positive associations is one of the best ways to ensure that your customers stay loyal. It lets you mould their perception of what you offer.

Reflections on Neuromarketing

This has been a long post, and my fingers are chaffed. If you are still awake, I salute you.

The truth is, neuromarketing is deserving of both your time and attention. It is one of the most exciting, baffling and lucrative fields you could hope to explore.

We can’t control how we are wired as human beings.

Sure, we can make what we might consider to be logical decisions, but they are usually driven by split second judgments that marketers are only just beginning to exploit.

If you really want to understand how to increase conversions, it’s those split second judgments that you need to learn and embrace.

I’ll finish this series by offering a book recommendation: Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Read it. Read it again.

You will soon begin to understand how little we actually know about ourselves. And how what little we do know can be exploited by marketers with money on their minds.

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