Let’s talk about human nature for a second. If I were to offer you a succulent, moist, still warm-from-the-oven piece of triple chocolate cake…
…while simultaneously slamming my heel into your toes…
…which one would you notice?
Which one would you react to?
And which one would you still be thinking about tomorrow?
People will spend an enormous amount of time, money and energy to avoid pain. They’ll avoid confrontation with bosses, neighbors, spouses and kids to avoid emotional pain. They’ll take drugs to suppress physical pain.
Your job as a successful marketer – whether you like it or not – is to use this pain to help them find a solution.
Some might call this exploitation – digging around in the pain and agitating it to motivate people to take action. You’re making the pain worse before you finally prescribe the cure.
But it’s the pain that makes people take action. And if you can help people, then it’s your job to do it. And to help people, you’ve got to use the best method possible to motivate them to take action – which is aggravating the pain and making them feel it until they cry ‘uncle.’
I know what you’re thinking – you won’t make their pain worse to sell them the solution. Instead, you’ll motivate them with a positive picture of what their life will be like once they have the solution. Well, you’re half right. Understand this – Humans will do far more to avoid pain than to receive reward. They’ll run as fast as they can away from the stick, but they’ll creep up on the carrot and many times never even reach it.
Most people cannot clearly describe what they want, which is why they never get it. But they can tell you exactly what they don’t want. By rubbing their noses in what they’re trying to avoid, you momentarily make the pain worse until it’s unbearable. They want to take action now. They NEED to take action NOW.
And then you motivate them with the positive picture of all the benefits they’ll receive from doing this thing you want them to do. The niche doesn’t matter, either. Whether you’re selling software, information, washers and dryers or stocks and bonds, agitate the problem, then offer the solution.
– how much work are they having to do, and how much business are they missing because they don’t have your automated solution?
They’ve already wasted tons of time and lost a fortune. Their competitors are ahead of them, and soon their business will be on the scrap heap.
Unless… unless they grab your software now, because then they can get x benefit and y benefit and z benefit, etc.
– they’re overweight, tired, catching colds and at risk for serious disease. From here, it only gets worse
– much worse. Sick, in pain, bed ridden, in the hospital, heart attacks and chemo and drugs and …
but wait. They can turn their health around, starting right now.
Washers and dryers
– think how much extra they’ve already paid in water bills because they don’t have energy efficient models.
Plus, the wear and tear to their clothes from inferior washers and overheating dryers, their shoddy appearance wearing these clothes, making a lousy first impression at work because of how bad their clothes look. But you can solve it all today…
– they’ve already lost a fortune by not using your services. Just look at the returns your clients have been getting, look at how much money they started with versus what they have today.
If only they had started with you sooner, all the time and money lost. But right now you have perhaps your best investment advice yet, but it’s a super hot market and timing is critical…
Okay, you get the idea. No matter what you’re selling, you can agitate the problem and then offer the solution.
Remember, in movies the hero doesn’t arrive to save the day until things look completely bleak and desperate and the cause is all but lost. Effective marketing is no different.
Admittedly, I know this title might provoke some head scratching at first: “SURVEYS?! How are boring old surveys going to all of a sudden become some major player in business?” And I’m so glad you asked.
Feedback-based marketing is nothing new. Everyone knows, or at least repeats, the mantra that ‘the customer is always right’ and that giving your customers exactly what they want is the key to the success of your business. It was true 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. That said, the growth you’re about to see from survey/feedback based business practices is due to the fact that new technology is vastly changing the ways we can and do interact with customers.
Traditionally, surveys have suffered from one of two shortcomings. The first, was that if you wanted to survey customers on the spot, or right after they had made a purchase in a brick and mortar store, you were likely going to have to use paper surveys. While you were collecting valuable realtime feedback, the tedium and cost of paper survey supplies and data entry was more than a little speedbump in keeping customer feedback a viable adjust-as-you-go business strategy.
More recently, we’ve had programs and websites which allow the creation of online surveys. These surveys can have their data indexed and organized in realtime, saving you hours or work and pay fishing through results. The downside was that there were no easy ways to execute these types of surveys when they were most needed (i.e. at a point of sale). Instead, customers would have to be emailed a link or asked to visit a website hours or even days later. At this point, the quality and accuracy of feedback and recall declines and you won’t get as good of insights as you could have.
Now, however, companies like Responster and Customerville have jumped on the rise of tablets and mobile phones to help bring the best of both worlds together. For your business, that looks like cross-platform surveys that are made to be integrated into touch and run on any device. Now, a business that invests in setting up a cheap iPad kiosk can all of a sudden be collecting helpful feedback from a large percentage of their customers within the first day.
Over time, it will become more apparent that the businesses who take advantage of platforms that allow them to better interact with and respond to customer feedback will perform better. Whereas the marketplace used to be largely dictated by what businesses told the public they needed in the past, we now exist in a consumer controlled world. The internet was the first wave of customer empowerment, social media overhauled it altogether, ensuring that customer complaints and suggestions could be heard around the world as soon as they were thought of, and now we’ve arrived at the third era. Mark my words, feedback is going to separate businesses more and more in the next few years, because no one is going to turn away from a brand that designs their product and service offerings in direct response to something that customer suggested 3 hours ago.
Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.
Content marketing, for several years now, has been the true language of the blogging community, and the businesses who were smart enough to narrow in on and take advantage of these networks.
Content marketing itself rests on one of the founding principles that most of you reading this will understand: providing value before asking for it.
Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.
Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property. The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.
If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way. Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.
Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.
Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.
Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.
Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out – that kind of thing.
Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.
Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.
The last thing we want to hear from our leads is one simple word: No. No is the death of a sale, the end of a funnel, the loss of a lead. So while it might seem pretty obvious that you want to give your leads more chances to say yes, some internet marketers don’t follow through with this. For example, think about the classic website that you land on after a Google search. You read through the content and at the bottom, there’s a link that you can click to learn more, or in reality, make a purchase.
But why is the only option to say “yes” all the way at the bottom? What this essentially means is that every other spot on the page is a chance to say “no.” That’s bad marketing. You never want more chances to opt-out than to opt-in. So what’s the solution? Make it harder to say no by giving more chances to say yes!
Increased Calls to Action
First up is the obvious: increase the number of CTAs you have on your site and in your copy. Now, this doesn’t mean simply put links at the top, bottom and middle of your content, get creative with it. Opt-ins and other calls to action can be placed all over your site, in the banner, on the side scroll, in a pop-up. The more chances you give your leads to say yes, the more likely it is that they will. If you make them search for a CTA, chances are you’ve already lost the sale by that point.
Remember, the three tenets of every good website are that the viewer should get there and immediately know:
1. Where they are
2. What they can do there
3. Where and why to do it
The third tenet is the one to be concerned with here, if they don’t know where to click or why, your page has failed. Which brings us directly to our next point, the why.
Back in the simpler days of online marketing, having one reward would be enough. Give me your email and I’ll send you a free eBook. Sign up for this newsletter and you’ll get 15% off your next purchase. But with so many different avenues of traffic, it only makes sense that you should have multiple levels of rewards. Yes, get the free eBook by joining my mailing list but also get 15% off by liking me on Facebook and get a free website health report by entering your website URL here.
The more points of contact you wish to produce and maintain with your leads, the more rewards you should offer to increase the viability of those contacts. Remember, most people are fairly savvy about what happens when they give a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter, as savvy as they are about the spam that occurs when they give out their email address. Prove to them that there is value attached to each of these channels by giving them actual value for connecting.
Make the Choice Clear
One of the most effective CTAs out there right now include a combination of a pop-up, a reward and making it very difficult to say no. You’ve likely already seen it on QuickSprout or WordStream, when you’re surfing the site, a seemingly random pop-up occurs with a question that has a very pointed answer. You then have the option to say yes or no, with no being a fairly ridiculous choice so that you have to mentally admit that’s your intention.
For instance, a website about money investment might have a pop-up that says, “Do You Want to Learn How to Invest Like a Pro?” The two choices would be:
Yes, I want to retire early
No, I’m fine living paycheck to paycheck
Which would you choose?
So you’ve churn out a stellar blog post. I mean a real whopper, something that will make people say, “wow, I’ve never thought of it like that!” Packed with data, case studies, and references, written with the eloquence of a modern day Shakespeare, your article is going to take the internet by storm, if only it finds a few interested eyeballs.
Hold on there, cowboy or cowgirl, it’s a long road ahead. Not that that’s anything to be afraid of. Once your blog post goes live, here are a few ways you can kickstart its ability to gain some attention.
Email sources. The advantages of citing actual sources and other authorities in a niche are twofold. First, they give your own writing extra authority because anyone can just say something, but once it’s backed up with facts and figures you can show that you’ve done your homework.
The second advantage is that you can actually try and leverage the people and sites you’ve used as sources to help share your article.
If you wrote in an article on top resources for bloggers (please, don’t actually write this article unless you can do something better than the 40,327,811 out there that already exist), you might have mentioned someone’s software that you use on a daily basis.
Once your article goes live, send the company an email and/or tweet at them, letting them know you’re a fan and saying you mentioned them in your latest post. At the end, politely ask that they consider sharing the article with their own audience if they enjoyed it.
Make friends with the big dogs, even when they seem out of reach. Every big content marketer whose blog posts now get 1,000+ shares each week started out where you are. They were grinding when no one paid attention and they recognize the struggle.
If you can offer them some sort of help in their business, if you can consistently network and show them that you ask smart questions in their comment sections, or that the posts of yours that you’re tweeting show that you’re putting in the time and effort and aren’t going anywhere, they’ll notice.
When the time comes, it might just not be too much of a stretch for you to reach out and ask if they might give some super cool thing you’ve written a nudge. That’s pretty cool (so make it happen!).
Of course, you should also be making sure that you give your own channels a mega nudge on your own.
Post to Facebook, schedule several tweets to go out over a few days using tweetdeck, post images to tumblr that link back to your content, take advantage of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn groups, as these can be deceptively good places to get your content seen by those who would find them relevant.
More sensitive communities, like Reddit and Inbound, can also be great places to share, but will require some more finesse.
Whatever your promotional tactics, keep them constantly evolving, and don’t be afraid of trying something that might not work, because it just might be a gold mine for you.