In my previous article discussing how to build email lists I made mention of the technique known as the namesqueeze. The namesqueeze is a method online marketers use to subscribe targeted prospects to their email lists by forcing visitors to a website to join a list or subscribe to a newsletter before they gain access to the main site content. A few readers made comment about the namesqueeze technique, noting that they dislike it and will usually leave a website rather than supply their email address to enter the website. I tend to agree that I do not like the technique looking from the eyes of a web surfer, it annoys me, however I have on several times submitted to the namesqueeze and most often when I find the sales copy really compelling Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s seems to offer the scratch to my itch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and of course it’s an emotionally compelling choice, which truly good sales copy can elicit.
Another common gripe I hear often and experience myself is the hatred of the long sales page. I’m sure you have come across one of these. They require at least ten or more full screen scrolls to reach the bottom of the page, they are littered with large text, giant red headings, many testimonials with pictures of smiling people, lots of tick arrows listing all the amazing things the product will do for you if you decide to buy. I hear complaints about the multiple Ã¢â‚¬Å“P.S.Ã¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“P.P.SÃ¢â‚¬Âs at the end of sales letters, that it’s annoying when a webpage audio starts talking to you automatically without requesting it and that ultimately, sales letters are just too painful so no one must be silly enough to read them all the way through, let alone make a purchase.
Now I could explain to you why the long sales letter works. I could note that often people scroll to the end of the letter and read the Ã¢â‚¬Å“P.S.Ã¢â‚¬Âs first hence they are very important. I could describe how testimonials are the social proofing necessary to convert a sale or how automatic audio has been proven to increase opt-ins. But my goal with this article is not to educate you in online marketing techniques. I want you to get into the marketer’s mindset and out of the consumer’s mindset. Then I want you to switch back to the consumer mindset and finally do something completely new, I want you to think outside of the online marketing box.
Here’s a problem from my point of view. As a person interested in online marketing I visit a lot of sales pages and look at them through the eyes of a marketer. I don’t read most of them, I scan and take note of the marketing techniques they are using. Because I’m overexposed to these techniques the long sales letter is probably not going to be a good tool to sell to me, at least not as good as it has been in the past. However I don’t think the same could be said about the general marketplace since techniques within the long sales letter draw on marketing methods that have been proven to work over and over long before the Internet was created. I’m not saying I won’t be impacted by a long sales letter when I fit right into the niche they are targeting, I’m just saying that it takes more, a lot more, to convince me to make a purchase. Some of you reading this article are probably the same.
As marketer I must remind myself that I am not my client. If I want to maximize my return I need to consider all the tricks in the book, regardless of my personal preferences or assumptions as a consumer, and see what my target market tells me. If the market responds better to automatic audio and large fonts then am I crazy if I choose not to use them because I personally don’t like them. This is what marketers will tell you, you must get into the marketer mindset and respond only to what the market tells you. Nothing else matters. If – and this is an important if – your goal is to maximize return as a marketer you must be prepared to leave all your subjective personal preferences behind and become a statistics machine that cares only about the numbers.
Once you are in that mindset your next step is to attempt to become your customer. By entering the consumer mindset you can develop your marketing toolbox based on the expected behaviors and desires of your target buyer. This is of course very closely tied into the marketer’s mindset since as a marketer you test your consumer mindset assumptions using marketing mindset methods (are you confused yet?). A skilled marketer can make use of both mindsets simultaneously.
However, and this is an attitude you are not going to hear from almost any other online marketer because it goes against the definition of marketing, if you have set yourself goals that don’t necessarily demand maximization of return, then you can be more selective with how you sell. Let me explain.
If you choose to apply your own personal preference when marketing, to not to use large fonts, or hyperbole copy, or even avoid the sales letter altogether, because you don’t like these methods or it’s Ã¢â‚¬Å“not the type of marketing you want to use,Ã¢â‚¬Â you must be prepared to experience a lower return and response rate. You must be prepared to under-optimize, to not care solely on profit maximization. By choosing not to implement certain sales techniques you are going against the grain. You might be labeled stupid. You might not make as much money, however you might feel better for not being yet another person with a webpage that reads like a late night infomercial (although would you feel even better with more sales?).
I’d like to put forward the argument that by not committing to certain accepted marketing Ã¢â‚¬Å“best practicesÃ¢â‚¬Â and worse still, to not even test these methods out of personal principle (what kind of a marketer are you!) that you may force yourself to think out of the box and come up with unique and innovative marketing tools. You might fall flat on your face too.
You could argue that developing unique and innovative marketing methods is just part of what being a marketer is about. Perhaps the best and revolutionary marketing methods were developed because the inventive marketer was sick of seeing the same sales pitch copied and pasted into each different niche. The market may have become saturated and the only path to success was to be different. The end result thus turns out to be a greater return than was possible from any of the standard marketing methods, and in time the new innovation becomes the norm (and the cycle repeats). In essence the end result was exactly what marketing is about Ã¢â‚¬â€œ maximization of return Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the marketer though may have just set out to be different.
Is it possible to be a creative marketer purely for creativity’s sake? A marketer that wants to use marketing as a medium of expression, to be different, yes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ still to make money Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but focused more on creativity than profit maximization. People may argue that choosing to be creative IS really choosing to maximize profits. Others may not call this marketing at all, since the goal is not aligned with income maximization. Maybe it’s Ã¢â‚¬Å“brandingÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“advertisingÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“artÃ¢â‚¬Â?
I didn’t write this article to suggest that you don’t use proven techniques. I don’t suggest you attempt to make a stand by using only new marketing methods because of “principle”. You might go bankrupt, and I don’t want to see that. Most online marketers do really well simply copying methods that other marketer’s have developed. Why try and reinvent the wheel when the wheel has proven to work time and time again. You can still enjoy tremendous financial success and personal satisfaction without ever being a creative marketer. Perhaps creative marketing is an oxymoron – is marketing more science than art afterall?
The purpose of this article is simply to remember that innovation comes from people that choose not to follow the crowd. In marketing and in business that is a hard thing to do because you risk reducing your income. For those that perhaps have aligned their goals away from profit maximization, or have already reached financial security but still enjoy marketing, the opportunity exists to do something different and the first step is to think differently.