Have you ever been told you were going to receive something, and then actually received a sub-par product or service that was nothing like what you were promised?
Well I have…and I felt seriously let down. This type of situation often happens when the deal sounds too good to be true. When it comes down to the time to receive the actual product, then it actually hits us — We were duped!
This type of situation happens in the online business world all the time. It is called the “bait and switch” tactic. Here are the most common types of the bait and switch tactic found online:
There is the link switch. You are on Twitter and someone posts a message about a Trending Topic (TT). They post an accompanying shortened link with the message. You click on the link and you are redirected to a site that has absolutely nothing to do with the message posted. You feel let down because the link did not add anything to the topic of interest.
Another example of the link switch happens in email form. A phisher (someone attempting to extract sensitive information) sends you a legitimate looking email. You look at it and are not able to find any flaws with the content of the email. However, when you hover your mouse over the link to the site they want you to go to and log in – it actually redirects you to a site linked to the phishing database. If you enter your information, it is all over. They can now access your account. This is another common example of the bait and switch.
Another form of the bait and switch tactic can also occur with content offerings. A website homepage presents itself as a news source on a topic and has recent and relevant articles on a certain topic. As you navigate throughout the links, you finally come to the actual reason they want you on the site. You come to find out that their real reason of existence is to sell you a $250 report that will tell you everything you need to know on the subject. I have personally seen this done, and I believe it is very misleading to conduct business in this manner. If the purpose of your website is to sell a report or ebook, then your website should clearly state that on your homepage. A site that uses the bait and switch tactic will let its visitors down with unethical tactics. I have seen it done. Trust me…it doesn’t work. Be upfront about your offerings, and present your website as the best at what it does. This is how to succeed.
The last example of the bait and switch is the unfulfilled promise. A website promises to give you a product or service that will work wonders. However, you find that the product is only a cheap version of what you expected…or the service is not as comprehensive as they made it out to be. Never promise something that you cannot deliver. In fact, guarantee the customer that you will deliver, or they can have their money back. That is what will get you repeat business. Broken promises will only earn you a bad reputation.
So remember, the best way to do business is by being straight-forward and being truthful. The bait and switch tactic should never be used to lure visitors to your site. Instead, focus your efforts on building your brand with hard work, honesty, and integrity.