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Shady marketing techniques to avoid and ethical selling

Welcome my darling Pretties to our Beyond to the Dawn of Business podcast for pretty empowered female entrepreneurs.

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Today’s mini bite episode is all about shady marketing techniques to avoid and ethical selling.

It’s important for us to understand that there are different vibes for showing up on social media with sales. Unfortunately there are a number of questionable sales tactics being used on social media and some are more obvious than others. It’s important to remember that we’re in 2021 and people are very social media savvy and can read the digital room. So if we use these shady techniques people can often see them for what they are.

In this episode I’ll be talking about:

  • what shady marketing techniques are
  • 3 reasons why people use them
  • specific tactics to avoid
  • what is the potential impact on your business when using this type of sales tactic.

The results might seem instant but often they are only temporary.  Using ethical sales techniques and showing up with integrity will serve you, your business and your customers much better in the long term.


Hi, Pretties, and welcome to this episode.  I am so excited to share with you today the difference between shady marketing techniques and ethical selling, these are two areas of light that me and my team and actually our wider community that’s you Pretties are constantly trying to bring in to the online space all the time and everything that we’re doing in this arena is having a massive, amazing positive effect and it’s certainly something that we don’t want to stop doing it’s something that we want to celebrate and continue doing more and more and more.


So first, I want to talk through some shady things that people do online. When I say shady, if you have ever done these things first of all, I just want to say this is not about ragging on you or how you choose to conduct your business, okay? This is about us as a community being able to show a different way, a better way and ways that actually work for you and give you the results that you want because ultimately what are all of these shady practices do is they give you an element of business where you can turn potential ideal clients all the way off, and for no good reason because we’re out there and we’re looking for our people, we’re trying to build our audiences, we’re trying to create sustainable businesses. And ultimately, you can be the ripest peach on the shelf and you can have somebody who is absolutely starving and craving peaches in front of you and yet, if you dropped yourself onto the floor, at the moment that the person saw you and recognised you, they’re not going to pick you up off the dirty floor and eat you, like they’re not going to buy you and eat you like they’re going to look at you on the floor and go, hmm, that’s now spoiled, it’s dirty, it’s not the way that I like to eat peaches and they’re going to go and pick the next one on the shelf.


It is about you presenting your business within your core values and your core beliefs and these are things that often we talk about when we talk about branding. But it’s not just about a colour scheme, it’s not just about your fonts, it’s about how you represent an idea, a feeling and your wider energy, and how you show up in that energy for people. 


So, what is a shady marketing practice? Well, let me give you a couple of examples of things that really can look on the outside to be beneficial, but very rarely actually give you a sustainable business. And the reason why people try to use these is because well there’s three reasons, the first reason why is because there are people out there who are teaching these practices. The second reason is because on a temporary point of view, they look to work. And the third reason is because people are absolutely desperate to build their businesses quickly and efficiently and make money overnight.


So let’s just dispel that fairy tale right here, there are ways of you to make quick money absolutely. But if you’re building a sustainable business, your focus is on a long term goal, your focus is doing it right, doing it well, and keeping that consistency. It’s not about getting in, getting the money and getting out.  They are two completely different focuses, and they’re two completely different vibes in which you can show up online. And they are very, very obvious. We’re not new to the internet now this is this is 2021. So we have now evolved into a stage where we do understand social behaviours on social media, we can read the room, I’m doing air quotes again, we can read the room, even if that room is a digital one. Okay? So you really need to make sure that everything you’re doing is in alignment with who you are as a person. And this is why these shady practices can actually do you more harm than good because you’re aligning yourself with practices that are spammy, that actually create problems for the people you’re trying to connect with, that make you look desperate, and ultimately always fail when it comes to longevity, and it comes to consistency.


So the first thing that is a shady marketing practice is an engagement pod, if you don’t know what an engagement pod is, is basically where you bundle a bunch of people together and you have a, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my back situation and you all promise that every time you post on social media, everybody will flood to it and they will like it or comment on it, and make it seem like it is performing better than it really is in real time. Now, again, temporarily, this can look to work. And actually within the engagement pods, you can actually believe that you are being part of a community. And that’s how people get caught up in this. They think they’re being helpful. They think they’re being friendly, they think everybody is supporting each other and it’s really useful. And from that side of things, it is a bit of smoke and mirrors because it looks like you would be doing that. But essentially, what you’re doing is you’re throwing a bunch of people together and asking them to continually go and engage with your content. Every single social media profile is watching the data that is happening on your content. So if you have 25 people who have seen your profile, you know, eight times already in the last month of how many times you’ve posted or whatever, seven times in the last week, if you post every day, and they’ve never been interested in buying from you because they’re not interested in buying from you, they’re only interested in you because you they know if they like and comment your post, you will go and like and comment on theirs, okay?  You’re telling Instagram or Facebook or wherever these are the types of people who are interested in my content, go and send my content out to more people that match these behaviours online. But these people have never bought from you, these people are never interested in you. And you might get the odd one that does and that is when the majority the motivation for actually engaging with your content is because they know they’re going to get something out of it as well. And they’re more interested in making their own sales than they are in actually you making a sale. So, you can totally give all your social medias the wrong idea about who you want to be shown to and who is interested in your content. Once you’ve done that for a little while, it is a very, very difficult for you to scrape it back and redirect it because when you post anything, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a video, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a graphic at this level, it matters not what you put out, you put that stuff out, you’re not getting shown to the people who actually are interested, which means they’re never engaging with you, which means it never gets unlocked to the next level of people, and the next level of people, and the next level of people. So, it can be really detrimental. In the end, you can feel really constrained yourself because a lot of the energy that you could be spending on going and engaging with your ideal client, you’re actually going on and engaging with somebody who’s never going to buy from you and hoping that that will grow your account to the point where you will get leads, doesn’t work isn’t good and essentially is shady because you’re lying, you’re making it look that it’s like it’s better than it is, okay?  So that’s the first one.


The second one is ultimately a Facebook behaviour, and it is where you go and you friend requests lots and lots and lots and lots of people with the only goal being to either invite them to like your business page and/or join a Facebook Business Group. Seems easy, right? It seems like such a good thing to do. It seems like such a good way to grow. And it gives you the opportunity to truly use all of Facebook’s features against them in terms of you know, going against what can be organically seen.


Let me tell you from somebody who is around lots and lots of startup businesses and lots and lots of businesses that are hitting areas of growth and want to level up, there is nothing more annoying to me than receiving a friend request from somebody who looks like they could potentially be a genuine connection and then three seconds after that friend request has been accepted them showing their cards as to what it is that they wanted. It’s basically like knocking on the door and saying hi neighbour, I’m new here, why don’t you buy this thing from me, or why don’t you do this thing from me. And it’s take, it’s not giving anything. It’s not even communicating, it’s not even building connections, it’s just take take take. Now another variation of this, which is less common, but still happens and it happens a lot on LinkedIn is having a connection with somebody or making a friend request to somebody, and then sending them a message. And again, like actually making a friend and sending somebody a message is not shady. So please note the subtle difference between what is an okay and acceptable connection situation versus what is definitely just a spammy sales technique. If you make friends with somebody new, send them a message and say, hey, thanks for accepting my friend request, I hope you’re well, I’m hoping that we’ll get a chance to chat. You know, that’s fine. That’s not that’s not necessarily spammy as an invitation. But if you send somebody a friend request, and then send them a message on their side, hi, I can see that you’re in coaching, and I wonder how long you’ve been in coaching for and I do this thing, and potentially, you might want to follow me in this place or maybe you’d like to buy my new course. And it’s just it gets overwhelming. The other thing that really annoys me with things like that is when somebody sent you a message and they’re like, hey, what do you do? So what what is it you do, and it’s like, you have either bot friended me, we’ll get to bots, you either bot friended me, or you’ve just blanket friended loads of people, and you’ve not visited my profile, you’re not visited my bio or anything, because it clearly states all over the internet, what it is that I do, it’s like it’s really good. And another thing is as well, I’m going just like this is turning into a rant, so I will bring it back. But another thing is when somebody who works in the same industry as you, it’s like, hey, I was wondering if you need some help with social media, or I was wondering if you need some help with graphic design or, and I’m kind of like no because I am a digital business coach, I’m an expert in social media selling, and I have a graphic design and social media management marketing agency. Thanks. I mean, I wouldn’t reply, this is the thing you don’t after a while you stop replying, it means nothing to you, it does nothing for the person on the other side, it does nothing for you other than waste everybody’s time. But yeah, they’re not good things to do, don’t do them. Like, if you’re going to start a conversation with somebody remember that there’s a real human on the other side of that. And if you want to have a conversation, great, but start a conversation, don’t start a sales pitch, it’s too much, it’s too quick, you would never expect that somebody would marry you two minutes after meeting you. So don’t expect somebody will buy from you 30 seconds after receiving a message or a friend request.


The other thing that is really annoying and really spammy and I find this to be really kind of socially rude, this is a digital social rudeness. And that is tagging lots of people into your post, when that post has absolutely nothing to do with them, other than your need for them to see it, and your hope that they will interact with it. And I’m not talking about in your Facebook groups, when you get new members and you tag everybody who’s new and say, hey, new people, we’d love to know about you. I’m not talking about that. And I’m not talking about when you collaborate with other people, and you tag all the people who you are collaborating with, so that they can see the posts that that refers to them. I’m talking about when somebody puts a post out and they say, oh, guys, this is what’s happening in my life today with my business. And there’s 107 other entrepreneurs that is tagged into that post that maybe have never even had a conversation with that person. Or they may have some sort of relationship with that person, but not to the level where you would expect to be tagged in something like that. And the only motivation for that is so that you’ll see it and hopefully interact with it. It’s like ringing everybody’s doorbell on the street and then standing in the middle of street saying look at me, I’m important look at me.


And you know, everybody in their own houses have got this their own stuff to do and they’re busy and they have important things and where’s the respect for them. Now it may seem a little bit extreme, it’s just a tag, it’s just a notification, but also that is aligning you with something that’s got absolutely nothing to do with you. So other people will see you tagged in it and you are automatically affiliated to whatever is in that post. So, you need to be really careful about that. It’s not fun, don’t do it. And just make sure that when you do have those genuine connections if it’s something that is relevant, obviously use the tag function for that, and for that only.


So those are just a couple of small shady marketing practices. There’s more, you know, you can you can have bots, you can buy bots, you can buy followers, you can buy lots of different things, you can create fake comments, you can create all sorts of different things, you can do the follow unfollow situation on Instagram, which is where you go and follow a bunch of people in the hope that they’ll follow you back and then you unfollow them afterwards. And it’s all just not it’s all just not beneficial for your business. Not none of it, it’s just not, it’s just not beneficial for your business. It doesn’t work in the long term.  And essentially, those things, they just piss people off. Like, they just really upset people, I was trying to find a nice way to say it, but that that is essentially what happens.


So, in order for you to really be within your own integrity for you to really show up with those core values, those core beliefs that you hold, you really need to be careful over what you allow yourself to do in terms of the way you conduct yourself online, and find out ways in which you can like, really communicate what is important to you. And one of the things that’s really important to us and really important to the people that we collaborate with and the people that we work with is we have a massive passion for ethical sales. So, we don’t like spammy sales, we don’t like I hate this term but for lack of a better term, bro marketing techniques, we’re looking for opportunities to give people invitations. Yes, do we use FOMO? Absolutely, it is a motivator and it works. We know when FOMO works on us, and we know how we’ve been greatly benefited from allowing ourselves to lean into that feeling that actually we must be interested in that thing if we have this feeling right. So, like we do work in those areas but we don’t have those awful, awful pushy sales techniques. And that means no cold calling, no cold messaging, that is rife on LinkedIn as well. None of these kind of like, oh, you are somebody off the street that may potentially be interested in this product. So let me try and talk to you about it and completely derail your day or, you know, completely take your focus and attention away from whatever you came here for or any of that stuff. We don’t do that stuff.


But another thing when it comes to ethical sales that has been really, really interesting and what I’ve really, really enjoyed, kind of looking into in terms of a psychological standpoint is sales pages. So if you’ve ever bought anything from a Facebook ad, or if you’ve ever done a freebie download, or you’ve ever done an opt in freebie download that has potentially like a tripwire or a webinar booking or any of those types of things they’re really popular with online service providers. And we have a couple of bits and pieces like that too. And you know, they’re really useful for your business structure and they can be great to help you audience build. But there is some sales pages out there and sales buttons in particular, that have used some interesting copy. And I’m being really polite here, but use some interesting copy in terms to compel us to purchase the thing that’s on the sales page. Now, I love using button psychology. So instead of saying Buy Now, my buttons will say something like, Yes, I’m in or, Yes, I’m ready, or I’m going to step into my power because those are the transformational statements, you know, they give to whatever it is that I’m selling. And again, I’m showing up in my own energy, I’m showing up in my own alignment and I love that. But ultimately on those sales pages, there will be a button somewhere for you to say, No, I don’t want to buy that thing or for you to come away from that situation. And if you’ve downloaded something for free, or you’ve bought an introductory product, you may be directed to another page that allows you to have an upsell or allows you to purchase something if it was a freebie for the first time, whatever. And usually there is a yes and no button in those scenarios. And the buttons can say anything at all they can say Hell yeah, give me that thing now or, Yes, I’m ready or Yes, I’m going to be a successful business owner or any of these things. And when we create those buttons, we are absolutely trying to encourage the purchaser to take that leap and buy the thing that’s going to help them right? But also with our no buttons, sometimes we can be trying to discourage not buying. So that’s a very different thing inviting somebody to purchase from you gives them a yes or no option.


No is obviously more difficult for people to say if you have a relationship with them, or if they feel uncomfortable with their own boundaries, but you know, the way the energy in which you give them should give them the option to say no, or for you to discuss openly, whether they’re right for it, and allow them to not be right for it and for that to be okay. And for the relationship that you have to never be changed by that. Because that’s not the reason behind our businesses. Of course, we want people to buy but ultimately, we want to help people, we want to fulfil our purpose and our meaning and our big why and our goals, you know, it’s about impacting people positively. And this is the key now. So, when you’re trying to impact people positively, you might put on that sales button like, Yes, I am going to be successful, because it is a great affirmation for them to hone in on it’s a great area for them to look at  and for them to take on board. But the no button should be something along the lines of No, I’m not ready right now or No it’s okay for me to leave this behind. You know, that’s fine. But there’s been a lot. And this is something that me and my lovely friend Kerry Moorse talk about all the time and it’s kind of like a personal passion of ours, in terms of ethical selling. And we don’t want to see any more of those buttons. There’s like, Yes, I’m going to be a millionaire tomorrow. No, I’m happy for my business to fail, or No, I will never be a success or No, I can walk away from my dreams, or any of those just heartbreakingly awful, negative statements that people have to click in order to come away and not purchase that thing.


All around us there is the opportunity to create a way in which we conduct ourselves in business online, better. And there’s always an opportunity to make somebody’s day brighter. Nobody is responsible for anyone else’s happiness, you’re only ever responsible for your own. However, you can be part of the environment that supports that happiness and allows that joy to shine from somebody and you can be part of the help camp, not the hinder camp and that’s a personal choice that you make when you show up online. It’s a personal choice that you make when you engage in your marketing. It’s a personal choice in the way you conduct yourself, with your clients and openly, publicly in order to support people. So really do consider what’s important for you, and what impact you want to have, and how you want that to kind of transcend into the way your clients feel, not only about you as a person, but your business and the work that you do together. And also the part of their history, the part of their story, the part of their journey that you get the honour to be included in, because essentially, there is a legacy there that is created in the way that you make people feel or that you support people feeling. And really all we ever want to do is support you guys in your own ethical practices so that what gets put out there in the wider spectrum of things isn’t just noise, but it’s actually a positive ripple effect that helps and supports our communities and helps and supports the wider communities and the people who I might help you when you’re part of my community and you might help your community and then somebody in your community will help someone in their community and it spreads absolute joy and positivity in an ethical way.


So go forth and you know really show up in your own integrity and make that mean something try not to worry too much about the desperation of the sale don’t let that make your behaviour online questionable. And that is my main advice when it comes to shady marketing and ethical sales.


So I hope you enjoyed that one it’s a bit deep, but I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it gave you some food for thought in the way that you might intentionally show up for your people online. And I will see you next time Pretties.


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