The Information Diet
The New Year season is full of resolutions to diet for weight loss. It’s also one of the most fruitful seasons for merchants who produce weight-loss products to add to their bottom line. They’re easy to find and getting more and more clever with each passing year. They’re on Google Ads, banner ads, Facebook, Twitter, youTube, and infiltrate virtually every other on-line media you use on a daily basis.
This easily leads to information overload, as well as fear-based marketing: How do you choose from all of the products available? How do you sift through the inundating assault of those massively lengthy webpages that have PARAGRAPHS of text and testimonials? And worse yet, how do you know that one of those products isn’t better than the one you’re going to buy?
One saving grace with online marketing is the fact that you get to view product marketing somewhat on your own terms. You get to choose when to click over to their webpage. You choose what to read on that page. However, more often than not, you’re going to be asked, enticed, or coerced into giving information that will make you a part of that merchant’s “list”.
It’s one thing to buy a product from a merchant. You’ve probably done it already. I’ve definitely done it. Generally, even if you’re not interested in buying the main product, there’s a way to get a “free” report on some “secrets” which involves giving your email address. Voila, you’re on the “list”. In fact, online advertising is more about getting you on the “list” than it is about selling you the product.
And this is where the true sabotage begins.
The sabotage begins because one you’re on a merchant list, you become subject to additional information. Some of it might be helpful, but for the most part, it’s either enticing you to buy more product, someone ELSE’s product, or contains some sort of minutiae that is not going to ultimately affect whether you meet or don’t meet your health goals this year. The product you bought probably already contains several extraneous elements (e.g. a list of all the food you can or cannot eat).
What destabilizes your progress is the fear that you might not be getting to your goal as quickly or as easily as you POTENTIALLY could. If you’re missing out on a SECRET, then surely something THAT important must somehow be incorporated into your existing program for you to succeed faster. So you change your tactics or add more to the set of rules you already have to follow. Eventually, you’re the victim of rule overload (where there are so many rules to follow or so many components to track that you end up dropping the ones that actually important for the ones that are inconsequential, or you just give up altogether because trying to juggle that many rules is basically impossible), or worse yet, rule contradiction (where the rules begin to just conflict with one another, like “Work out on an empty stomach in the morning” vs. “Never workout on an empty stomach.”)
What makes direct email marketing even worse, is that you don’t control when that information comes at you. It just shows up in your inbox beside the emails that ARE important to you (thus creating the subconscious link that their email is somehow also important). It’s like some friendly buddy running into as you walk to or from work handing you a can of soda. Randomly. And you drink it every time. And then you wonder why you’re still fat.
So this new year, instead of resolving to go on yet another gimmicked diet (when you already know that eating fewer calories than you spend is a tried and true method that works), go on an information diet. Set up a free email account (hotmail, yahoo mail, gmail) and unsubscribe your main email address from all marketing email lists.
If you MUST read the AMAZING SECRET REPORT, you now have an email account that exists for the sole purpose of collecting these reports. You should never let online advertising into your main personal email account inbox where other important messages come in, and where you don’t always control when you read what’s there. At the very least, you will be able to decide when to read advertising AND you’re more likely to see marketing side-by-side, as opposed to isolated glimpses.
There is no magic pill yet. If there was, you can bet you would need a prescription for it; AND you would be reading about it everywhere. It wouldn’t be a secret. Keep yourself from being buried alive in the minutiae that isn’t going to make or break your resolution this year, and focus on the stuff that will.