Blog Report Mentoring Program: Is It Really Free?

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Exactly two months ago, Zac Johnson published a post by a guest blogger called Ivin Viljoen about Free Reports for Blogs and the reasons why every blogger should have one to help grow their email list. The post was titled “Why Don’t Bloggers Have Free Reports on their Blogs?“.

The post had many interesting points and I invite you to read it, but that’s not the point of this post. At the end of this post was an offer for a “special competition”. Since Ivin is working on a mentoring program to help bloggers get their reports professionally done, he offers to help a few bloggers to get their report done.

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free blog report mentoring program

Here are the keypoints of his (advertised, very far from reality) mentoring program:

  1. Guide you with writing the best report you can possibly compile.
  2. Have it professionally proofread and edited.
  3. Assist in formatting the document.
  4. Help with the cover design.
  5. Optimize affiliate links within the report.
  6. Teach you how to set up your autoresponder program.
  7. Provide advice on what to write for your 3 month autoresponder cycle with articles and affiliate products that fit your niche.
  8. Get your report in the most visible positions on your blog to harvest the most sign ups.

This sounds pretty damn nice on the paper, doesn’t it? And you get all that for free (regular price is $39) just for being selected by Zac and Ivin. This was enough to pick my curiosity even though I knew nothing is ever really free. I entered the competition, and have been selected as a “winner”.

Fast forward 2 months. The program is basically an email sequence. To get into it, I had to double opt-in for an Aweber list. I was thinking “so far so good”. I was eagerly waiting for all the useful tips that would help me put together an amazing Free Report. Then after 49 days (yep that’s a slow start) I finally received the first email in the sequence. And this email was *drumroll* a sales pitch for a product called Pop Up Domination…

Ivin are you sure you’re doing the things in the right order? I don’t know you, I don’t trust you yet and you want me to buy a product through you affiliate links? Here is a short reminder of the basics of email marketing in case you don’t have time to do that by yourself: First, build trust; second, sell.

As I didn’t want to judge Ivin too fast, I did wait for the next email before posting about it on Dukeo. The second email was a blast, it was another bad sales pitch and moreover it was not targeted. This second email was a sales pitch for… *another drumroll* ads on Ivin’s blog! Dude, seriously? wtf?!

Here is the first sentence of the email:

I hope you find my emails valuable.

hmm really? You sent only one and it was a sales pitch… Don’t want to be harsh but where is the value?

I’ll skip over the body of the email because it doesn’t have anything in it worth writing about, but the email has a link to his advertising sales page and this one is another jewel of how NOT to do things.

Here are a few excerpts of this page:

  • Alexa Rank: 196,000 If a stat is not presenting your blog in a positive way, just don’t write it! At the time of the writing of this post, Dukeo has an Alexa rank of 77,332 even though it is only 4 months old… See the difference?
  • According to my server stats, omitting bots and crawlers, I have +- 1000 unique visitors amounting to around +-25,000 unique visitors/month. Erm, well, since when does a month counts only 25 days? Having trouble with maths… or maybe just inflating numbers?
  • Many of my interviews with authors/companies rank on page one as well. Great, it’s like those SEO companies that can rank you number 1* on Google for only $200. (*for very very very long tail or exact seach terms)
  • 2 targeted Tweets properly copywritten to promote your site/service/company to +-3000 followers everyday at high traffic times for a month. That’s 60 tweets total! What if he sells 10 ad packages? He’s going to flood his followers with 600 sponsored tweets? This shows: 1/he knows each tweet has low value, 2/he knows he is not going to sell a lot of ad packages, 3/he doesn’t value his twitter followers (seeing his following/followers ratio, I guess he is mostly doing circle-jerking with auto-follow bots).

I could go on for another 500 words about why Ivin is wrong in the way he is doing things but here are just a few things from the top of my head:

  • In email marketing, bring value and build a relationship before trying to sell anything. If I don’t know you, I don’t trust you.
  • When you make a competition that offers some stuff for the winners: deliver! Else you are destroying your online reputation. There is no second first impression.
  • Stay targeted! If you offer a mentoring program for $39 dollars to create free reports for blogs, don’t send emails about buying advertising on your blog about self-publishing.
  • Always triple check who is offering you what! 2 emails + 2 sales pitch + no mentoring = you lost my trust and interest.

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