Many of our clients jumping into the social marketing mixer ask us where to draw the line in being too “hard sell” on their social networking sites. I recently found a great post that I believe most people can relate to. In his “Web Ink Now” blog, David Meerman Scott encourages readers to treat social networking sites as if they’re cocktail parties. In other words, to interact with others in the same way you would at a face-to-face industry mixer. To make his point, he asks questions like these:
• Do you go into a large gathering filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you do not know and shout “BUY MY PRODUCT”?
• Do you go into a cocktail party and ask every single person you meet for a business card before you agree to speak with them?
• Do you listen more than you speak?
We’ve all been cornered at a party to hear about Mary Kay or the sure-fire investment deal and have learned to do the duck and dodge. That approach online is just as likely to make you an unpopular guest or host. So before you say something on Facebook or elsewhere, ask yourself if you’d say it to the person standing next to you. Unless you’re really obnoxious, a “yes” means it’s probably okay.
Recently CNN had a report about what people consider luxury versus necessity with often surprising answers – high speed Internet is considered a necessity but a dishwasher is a luxury product. In analyzing three weeks of May lead reports for a client we posed this question to ourselves about some of their products and services against one of my favorite books about why people buy – “Rapid Response Advertising” by Geoff Ayling. Here are just a few reasons to try on yourselves:
• To make more money (Had to use that one on the CPA to justify the sweet new iMacs.)
• To look younger (Just look at all those skin creams that cost as much as a dishwasher!)
• To be trendy (Who knew a cross between a plastic spatula and a gardening shoe would be such a hit?)
• To escape or avoid pain (Reason #16 why bars should never go out of business.)
• To feel safe (Hey, who wouldn’t feel safer driving around in a Hummer?)
• To satisfy an impulse (How else do the blinking rosebud manufacturers stay in business?)
• To become more fit and healthy (Is this why the ab machine, dumbbells, giant rubber bands and deflated exercise ball are still under the bed?)
• To protect their reputation (3 initials: B-M-W)
• To escape stress (Where can I buy some more?)
• To buy friendship (So I guess it IS for sale.)
There isn’t really one industry that can capitalize on all of the 51 reasons people buy, but if we can define and apply just a few, it makes winning over customers’ hearts and wallets just a little easier.
Working on a recent client email blast campaign I was reminded how quick we as marketers can be to forget that the segmented, geotargeted list of names are actually human beings with jobs, families and everyday issues like the rest of us.While our client was adamant about touting the great sales offer, we had to gently pull back the reins and get them thinking about why these people in excel spreadsheet boxes would actually care about their product.
To validate our point, I shared a great article from MarketingProfs by Karen Talavera that suggests ways we can keep our communications with people real.
• Speak in conversational terms. Create copy with an approachable tone that initiates dialogue. Customers will appreciate that you’re paying attention and acknowledging them as live humans.
• Show your personality. If your company has a familiar spokesperson, persona or character, be sure to leverage its power in your emails. We have higher clickthroughs each time we use one of our client-owners as the voice of the email blast.
• Invite subscribers to join in. Actively encourage user-generated content. There is something about interacting, benefiting, or learning directly from you that encourages better buy-in of the messaging.
Realizing that the goal of any good direct-response effort should be a dialogue will actually get those humans to open up both their emails and their wallets.