Online Marketing Outside The Box

By Yaro Starak
13 Comments

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 – it’s seems to offer the scratch to my itch – 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 “P.S.” and “P.P.S”s 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 “P.S.”s 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.

A Marketer’s Dilemma

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 “not the type of marketing you want to use,” 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?).

Choose To Be Different

I’d like to put forward the argument that by not committing to certain accepted marketing “best practices” 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 – maximization of return – the marketer though may have just set out to be different.

Creative Marketing

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 – still to make money – 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 “branding” or “advertising” or “art”?

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.

Yaro Starak
Online Marketer

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Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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13 Comments

  • I think you’re right Yaro, is escential to think outside the box. Sometimes even a very small innovation can lead amazing results!

    I recommend to you and everyone the book “Guerrilla Marketing” because is just what everyone needs to read about Marketing.

    I’m reading it myself and I can’t stop being exited about the tips and subject! Of course, your blog give me some useful insights too Yaro!

  • Nathan Waters

    Has there been recent research into whether or not those annoying, long sales letters are still effective?

    I have no formal learning or knowledge in marketing techniques, but I know as soon as I see a page that uses the long letter sales page, I immediately switch off and close the page. I tend to switch off and ignore google ads as well.

    I think video is and will become even more so, the most effective medium to market. See http://www.videoegg.com for example… I remember them saying in an ebay experiment the items which used video to market the product on average sold for 30% more than the other items without video.

    Yaro, rather than using a namesqueeze technique to force users to sign up to your mailing list… why not give them an option? By this I mean, on the page pitch what you have to offer and what the user can gain from signing up to your mailing list (i.e. mention that they receive bonus podcasts and articles etc). Along with this pitch, you could perhaps create a short video of you saying something, or even just look at your past podcasts and cut snippets which you think were valuable information. Then combine these together in a fashion and have that play (or tell the user to press the play button to find out more). Then at the top or bottom (I’d say bottom) of the page have a link that says “continue” or similar.

    Perhaps you could do a marketing experiment within a marketing experiment. i.e. Have two pages… one which forces them to signup to continue… and another which has an audio sample, and details what the benefits are to signing up, and include on this page the option to skip signup. Then test these two and get back to us as to which one was more effective (provided both are exposed to the same target audience for the same duration and the same number of views).

    Just a thought :D

  • From what I’ve gathered so far with sales letter method, long or short — it works, provided the people that arrives at your website are the ones geniunely interested in what you have to offer.

    Let say that you are an avid golfer. And you arrives at my site, and the first thing you see is — “Here’s The Club That Gave Tiger Woods An Extra 100 Yards”

    Here’s a question — would you give it a scan, and maybe later give it a thorough read.

    The headline creates curiosity, which later leads you to the rest of the message. If you are not an avid golfer, I don’t think that you’d bother.

    When you think about it, a website like that may not be much different from this post. Yaro’s posts are normally long, and will take 3-4 screen shots too. If Yaro uses a 12pt font, maybe it’ll take more screen space.

    But we all read it, because we are genuinely interested in that Yaro has to say about online marketing. Sales letter, is just one of the ways to get the message across.

    But I do agree that we do need to be creative. Somethings may not be as successful the second time (like Million Dollar Homepage Clones).

    Try out other things as well. But there’s nothing wrong doing things traditionally especially if it’s proven to work – many times. It can be your shortcut.

    Maybe being INNOVATIVE is the right word — same thing done differently. Adapt to current situation and to the right target market. And at times, it’s the same thing, but because of being innovative, it’s perceived as unique and something new, which later, captures more attention.

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  • Regarding the first comment on this post; That is a book which I have, recently, been reading.

    Like you said, why re-invent the wheel when it already works? In my opinion, however, I feel that an entrepreneur should use all marketing tactics at his disposal.

    Even after the marketing “stage”, many things, like you said, should be done. Follow-up letters, follow-up calls, etc.

    One thing that many entrepreneurs should be aware of is that marketing is not done overnight. This is highly emphasized in the Guerilla Marketing book. Just because immediate results are not evident from one’s marketing campaign, is not and SHOULD NOT be grounds to drastically alter their approach.

  • Bravo Yaro!

    So far, you’re the closest I’ve come to feeling like I’m reading my own writing. As for your quote:

    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.

    I’ve got the “outside the box” thing married to profiti maximization, and thing is, I’m so sincere and passionate about it, that people really love it. And the sales couldn’t be better.

    Take a few moments to surf around and you’ll see…here’s 3 articles that are big producers:

    How to Survive a Denial of Service Attack on Your Business
    Congratulations, Apparently You Have a Brain – The Rich Jerk vs RoboRiches, Which One is Right for You?
    Sam Freedom – The Coolest Guy on the Planet SEO Contest – There Can Be Only One!

    I want to say you’ll enjoy one more than the others, but the fact is, I think you’ll enjoy them all equally. Anyways, feel free to stop on by and read the comments, add one if you like, and I’ll return the favor if you leave the links up.

    (found you in blogtopsites. :-) )

    Keep up the nice writing. It’s refreshing.

    Sincerely,
    Sam Freedom
    the coolest guy on the planet

  • I’m in the same boat as Nathan, as soon as I see a long sales letter or any page that yells at me (big bold fonts) I run a mile. Maybe this works with some people, but not me.

    Such pages (sites) also seriously make me doubt whether the product they are selling is actually any good. We often see e-book’s sold this way. Now I’m yet to purchase an e-book, because a) you have no idea of the quality, b) they are often “over sold”, c) it is too easy for anyone to write an e-book (or create a web site), d) there is more great free content on the Web than I have time to ever read.

    I’ve read comments like “you have only 5 seconds of someones eyeballs before they’ll move on to the next web site.” To a large extent I think this is true. There are sooo many web sites, and people have so little time and you have to have something punchy that hooks them from the get go and gets them to stay for more than that precious 5 seconds.

    One book I’d recommend is “Web Copy That Sells” by Maria Veloso. I’ve learned a lot from Maria’s book and tried to use this on my latest Web site http://www.surfulater.com But it really needs professionals like yourself instead of an Ozy software developer like me to do this properly.

    A very good point that Maria makes is the importance of the content which is “above the fold”. By this she is referring to what readers see on the screen without having to scroll or page down. If you don’t get their attention here they will most likely just move on to the next web site.

    My 2c.

  • I could be wrong, Neville, but I think you missed the point. Even getting a great book by someone like Maria Veloso STILL puts a person into the category of what you might expect already, just a more refined appearance, but certainly there’s nothing creative about form ad copy.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Yaro is trying to inspire creativity in people and he’s not quite sure yet that it can be harmoniously blended with profitability. I’m sure it can because it’s my passion.

    The biggest difficulty is dealing with others jealousy because few see it as such a great learning opportunity – there’s something in people that actually FIGHTS to keep them where they are, and when someone actually pointed it out to me – over and over, I finally got the message and dealt with it.

    Here’s another example of something I wrote:
    Sharing the Love this one just blows peoples minds.

    Best wishes to you and everyone,
    Sam
    ps. Always do a ps darn you!

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  • […] Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur’s Journey writes a long post on thinking outside the online-marketing box. He gently explores the idea that you might choose not to maximize profit, and that choice might free you to use innovative marketing techniques. […]

  • Hi Yaro

    Wow… I didn’t think I’d ever get to read these words: “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”

    Here’s a big and joyful YES from such a marketer on the opposite side of the world :-) (Denmark).

    I came across this blog searching for posts on “Creative marketing” and I have a feeling that this will be GREAT fun.

    I’m not a full time marketer, I’m not dependent on making money from marketing, partly because of my passion, partly because I don’t think I’d enjoy it if it was full time.

    About creativity in marketing: I used to play music and I do some writing (fiction and non-fiction) and so I very much trust my creative flow. I experience more and more how the same creative flow enriches and empowers my marketing journey. As a matter of fact, for the last month or so I experience that writing on marketing, and playing with marketing is just as fun and creative a game, as my artistic and/or spiritual activities. Wow!

    I don’t do testing, but I’m not so sure creative marketing leads to less profit. It might just as well be the other way round. It’s just that most people tend to greatly overestimate logic and greatly underestimate creativity and intuition, as does our educational system.

    So much for now – I’m going to explore your blog some more…

    Creative greetings from Denmark :-)

    Halina

  • shiela

    Hey Yaro!

    Of course it is very possible to be creative in marketing.This is one of the characteristics that a marketer must possess in order to compete. You should always think of something new and be different to others.

  • I must say some most of the products I purchased in the past, were purchased off of the backs of long agonizing newsletters. As much as I preferred not to read all the way through, I must say that the testimonials did help. I don’t know if the length is what helped for me, I think if the newsletter was condensed down to size but highlighted the most critical key points that would’ve been enough to grab my attention and convert to a sale.

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