I thought you said…

Why???I received an email from one of the many Internet Marketers I follow the other day. In the email he said he was releasing a post from a private Facebook group that gave all this awesome information. He just thought it was so good it should be shared with everyone, not just his members. Cool!

When I clicked on the link, I was more than a bit surprised to find several sections of the post blurred out and overlaid with a message that this section was reserved for members only, and of course a link to join his group. Wait a minute. I thought he said he was sharing the post, not selected pieces of it!

Once I reviewed the original email I saw what he was doing. Pieces of what was promised in the email were unblurred in the post, just not everything, which was supposed to build desire on your part (human nature to complete a thought – if you are only given three steps of a four step process, your mind desperately wants to complete it by seeing the fourth step.) I am sure that he will get a bunch of sign-ups as well.

That said, I felt that was more than a tad dishonest. I was promised a post with great information. I was given a partial post with some great information. Was the information blurred the real meat of the post, or just some filler? I’ll never know. I do know that I felt a bit cheated.

Do I really believe a Facebook post would contain the key to my success, and that I could merrily go make millions of dollars thumbing my nose at all of the coaches and products that promise to help me reach that goal? Hardly. So why should he? Why not expose the whole post?

I suspect that he felt the basic human need to get that missing information would garner more sales than complaints, and hey, he did let some real good information come out from the post. Still…

What do you think? Was this a great piece of marketing that gave value and still left out enough to make you go crazy with desire to join these other marketers in the group, or a slightly manipulative piece of trickery? I’m not sure I would release something like that, would you? I’d like to get your opinion. Leave a comment here at the blog.

The Whole Package

pieces of the puzzle

I had an interesting discussion with a “digital marketing expert” at an event recently.  He related to me that he had gotten an over twenty percent engagement rate for a Facebook page for one of his clients – a pretty nifty trick given that Facebook themselves will tell you that two percent is more common. However, there was no mention of the action taken from that engagement.

This was followed by a show of utter disdain for my assertions that the purpose of any engagement in social media was to drive traffic to your website, and that email is the glue a business needs to make their marketing framework more effective.  This was at the beginning of the event. As we separated to take our seats he promised we would talk more later. We didn’t, for which I was thankful.

Rather than take offense, I sat down and thought what lessons there were to be learned here. The first is that the desire for that silver bullet: “all I need is tons of likes on Facebook,” is very strong. I think a lot of us, and I will include myself in that group, have, at some point, chased after the newest shiny object, the newest method to “bring in thousands of leads effortlessly,” thinking maybe this is the one. That lesson leads directly into the second: there is no one way to make things happen, rather it is doing a combination of things (but not too many!) well that leads to success.

I’m not known for my love of social media, but I don’t dismiss it as being totally useless, as this “digital marketing expert” seemed to dismiss email or lead capture at the website. Social media or only having a sign up form on your web site isn’t going to be sufficient. People need to know about your page and your website. This awareness can come from speaking, networking, and yes the good old telephone, just to name a few.

It isn’t the one piece that closes the deal, it is the whole package.


When is Internet Marketing NOT Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing

“Watson, I would like you to consider a statement, and tell me what it makes you think,” The Effective Detective wasted no time in starting out the conversation.

“Go ahead, sir, I shall endeavor to do my best,” I replied.

“I’m sure you will Watson,” The Detective said before continuing on. “The statement I would like you to consider is that just because you market on the Internet does not make you an Internet Marketer.’

“Just because you market on the Internet, does not make you an Internet Marketer. My first impression is that it is a contradiction, sir,” I said, giving my honest first impression.

“Just so, Watson, but think a little more on what that statement is saying,” The Detective urged me.

I furrowed my brow and turned the phrase over in my head before I felt a sudden flash of inspiration. “Wait! I think I see what you are saying. Just because say, a brick and mortar store that sells confections sends out an email occasionally to its customers and has a website, does not make them an Internet Marketer – they are not truly trying to make a living from selling on the Internet, yet they are using the Internet to market!”

“Precisely Watson.  Why do you think this distinction might be of some consequence in our dealings with small businesses?” asked The Detective.

I thought for a minute, but at last had to admit that I was stumped. “I am not sure sir, the distinction is plain once you give some thought to it, but I am not sure I see what use it is beyond that.”

“Ah, Watson, we need to work on your skills a bit yet. You are thinking merely of the words instead of the what the words imply,” The Detective began.

“Imply sir?” I interrupted.

“Hush Watson, let me continue. You see you are merely looking at a play on words, I am thinking what is involved to actually be one of these two marketers.

“The key here is the tools and methodologies. When I review my daily bombardment of emails from the various lists I am on, I tend to see some common threads. One common one is using a funnel. In Internet marketing the end destination of the funnel is almost always the sale. However, if I am a consultant, I may want my end destination to be a complimentary analysis. The focus on an end sale tends to distort how to make use of the tool.

“I find it interesting that so many jump on a particular Internet Marketing bandwagon, only to jump off when they realize the tool doesn’t fit their situation. The shame of it is that in many cases some minor tweaks to the process might actually yield the results they desire, but they don’t look beyond the seemingly broken promise of purchases that don’t require the hard work of actually speaking with a prospect.

“Alternatively, a brick and mortar store misses out on the opportunity to use email because they know for their market email doesn’t work well as a direct sales tool, but completely forget that the backbone of their business is the true rapport they develop with their customers; a rapport that cannot be replaced by email, but can be supplemented by it,” The Detective paused briefly, and I decided to get in my usual interjection.

“So you feel people need to be more creative in using the tools that are out there, rather than blindly following a guru, who uses the tool a certain way that works well for them,” I ventured.

“Very good Watson! The secret is to not try to be an Internet Marketer if your business is not suited to it – which is really moving into a new business area, but to use the Internet and the various tools and methodologies in a way that suits your marketing style and market. Look to the Internet Marketing  experts for interesting techniques, but beware following them exactly if it doesn’t fit your market. At the same time, don’t discount the methodology if you can tweak it to fit your needs,” The Detective concluded.

“Excellent sir, I take it we should move on then?” I asked, letting The Detective have the last word.

“Quite so Watson, quite so.”


When Technology Fails

woman-with-laptop-laughingAs I entered I was astounded to see The Effective Detective quietly laughing. I could not allow this rare occurrence to go without some comment.

“Sir, are you feeling alright?” I asked

“Eh? Watson, what would cause you to ask such a question?” The Detective replied to my question with another question.

“I rarely see you in such a jovial mood. I deduced there must be something strange afoot,” I answered his question directly, albeit with a slight smile on my face.

“I see Watson. You are mocking me. No matter. Watson, are you familiar with the concept of personalization in email?” The Detective, still smiling, shot back.

“Of course sir. It is similar to using the mail merge function of Microsoft Word to include contact information in the subject and or content of the email. For example first name. It is designed to make the email more personal and friendly. However, I fail to see anything humorous in that choice of email tactics,” I replied, now feeling a bit puzzled.

“Correct Watson, there is nothing inherently humorous in the use of personalization. Where the humor enters is when the technology used to implement it occasionally goes south,” answered The Detective, who actually seemed to be stifling a laugh.

“Sorry, sir. I am still not following.”

“Observe Watson,” The Detective said as he repositioned his laptop so I could see the screen. “Check out the salutation on the first message.”

“‘Hey blank field’,” I read. “What the blazes?”

“And this one Watson?” The Detective opened another message.

“#FName# you need to check this out!” Now I began laughing.

“Precisely Watson, technology is often hailed as a panacea to all of a business’s marketing woes, but sometimes, the technology fails, and at least in these cases, hilarity ensues,” The Detective, still smiling began his explanation. “There is of course a dark side to this too. A member of your list could assume your technology’s failure is yours as well and abandon you as a potential vendor. However I feel that most would react as I did, with laughter and a shared sense of the risks of completely relying on technology,” The Detective took his customary pause to allow me to interject my thoughts.

“Shouldn’t they report it as a bug to the software manufacturer sir?” I asked, unsure of my mentor’s lackadaisical attitude to the problem.

“Rubbish, Watson. You have no idea if this was truly the software’s error. The data might have been coded incorrectly, who knows? Why would you waste your time and the vendor’s time on chasing down a ghost. Of course there will be some literal-minded jerks out there who believes that even such a minor issue that could have happened for multiple reasons, is a reflection on the  competence of the creator. If we all reacted like that, we would never get anything out the door, we would be obsessing over the table alignment on a page until the wee hours of the morn, and never launching. No thank you,” The Detective looked at me expectantly to deliver the closing observation.

“So you are saying it is OK to laugh, but not OK to judge, criticise or obsess over it. Just let it go, and understand that the best of us or even machines cannot avoid all mistakes. Who knows, it might even make you seem more human,” I replied after a few seconds of contemplation.

“Excellent Watson! Lets move on to less humorous work, shall we?” exclaimed The Detective, ending the conversation.

Sales Funnels – What You Might Be Missing

salesfunnelThe Effective Detective was lounging back in his chair examining a funnel of the type used to possibly fill a car with oil, when I entered the room. I assumed that this was the topic of the day, and unable to conceive of anything else that might be a better topic, I played along.

“Planning on changing your oil sometime today sir?” I asked innocently.

“Eh? What? Oh Watson, don’t be silly. You know I would never risk damaging my car by attempting to change the oil myself. That is work – at least in my case – best left to professionals. Actually what an interesting segue to today’s topic. Which, as you might of guessed is about sales funnels.” The Detective replied.

“I had a feeling, sir. However, I am intrigued how changing the oil in your car is a segue into the topic of sales funnels,” I responded back, a little puzzled at this turn of the conversation.

“Not the process of changing the oil itself, Watson – please don’t pretend to be so dense – but rather the funnel itself. You see Watson, many of us were trained to look at the sales funnel as a metaphor, not a process. It merely represented how the number of prospects are reduced as they move through the sales cycle. You start off with a large number of prospects – a number that shrinks as information is provided and contacts made. That however misses the point of what is currently described as a funnel truly is,” as was customary, The Detective paused giving me an opportunity to interject, or to simply request he continue.

“I’m confused sir. How does it miss the point? What else is a funnel sales or otherwise?” I asked, knowing this would trigger the explanation The Detective was so obviously hoping to provide.

“Ah Watson, a modern sales funnel, one that would be used by marketers such as ourselves, is far more complex, perhaps even more elegant. In the past, this funnel represented advertising to some prospects to get them interested, calling them to gauge their interest, sending them sales literature – brochures and the like, calling them again to make a trial close, then finally going after the final close, so that a few clients would drop out the end of the funnel.

“Today’s sales funnel would be more like a fun house maze. If you take a certain action, you may go in a completely different direction. It is not a straight path. How you respond to your prospect is totally dependent on how they respond to you. Did they open that email? Did they watch that video? A real sales funnel has multiple paths to get to the final destination – a sale. The beauty of it all? The tools to do it are all there for us to make this happen!” The Detective finished with a flourish.

“Fascinating, sir! I don’t believe I have ever thought of it that way,” I responded quite pleased with the way this had ended.

“Quite, Watson,” The Detective said, ending today’s discussion.


Funneling Your Leads Down The Drain

sales_funnelI was still treading lightly after the bombshell dropped during our previous discussion, so I started out rather timidly, merely inquiring as to the manner of the this week’s inquiry. “Sir, are we looking to tear down another mainstay this week, or something perhaps a bit lighter?” Well, maybe not that timidly.

“Eh, what Watson? Are you still smarting from our last discussion? Stiff upper lip man, we need to be moving on. As for this week, we are merely correcting a grievous mistake some many in our field make when looking at the concept of sales funnels,” The Effective Detective replied with just a hint of annoyance at my tone.

“Sales funnels, sir? What possible mistake could there be in examining the concept of sales funnels?” I asked, a tad incredulous, but still on guard – The Detective had sprung more than a few surprises on me when it came to settled subjects before.

“Yes, Watson. Since you seemed so certain, perhaps you could illuminate me on the subject as you see it,” The Detective asked, obviously leading me down a path I was not sure I was interested in going, but as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound.

“Of course sir. The sales funnel illustrates the process by which a prospect becomes a customer – or not. It begins above the funnel itself with the market for your product or service. You entice prospects into the top of the funnel with your initial marketing efforts. Once they enter the funnel, they are moved along the sales cycle, with some dropping out and reentering the market, and other continuing down to the final close, at which point some will emerge from the funnel as clients.”

“Excellent Watson! Succinct and clear. And unfortunately, misguided,” The Detective replied to my explanation.

“I’m confused sir. I am correct, but I am wrong?” I was now totally confused.

“Not wrong Watson, your explanation is merely misguided. Your only endgame is making a sale or losing it. That is misguided. You need to start looking at all of the directions your funnel can take you. For example, why not have your funnel direct your prospects to a complimentary call with you? If you are selling a service that requires a lot of trust like consulting, you want your prospects to see your abilities and develop confidence that you can solve their problems. The point is Watson, funnels can be an amazing sales tool. However they don’t need to be the only way to get to the close,” The Detective finished with his customary half-smile.

“So a funnel could lead to another part of the sales cycle – even another funnel!” I exclaimed, suddenly getting the point.

“Now you see it Watson, shall we get back to work now?” The Detective answered, ending  today’s discussion.

Why I left Infusionsoft

Why???I realized my jaw was hanging open in a most unbecoming way, so I shut it momentarily – long enough to gather my words together to verify what I thought I had just heard.

“Sir? Perhaps I misheard you. Can you repeat yourself?”

“Of course Watson, and for heaven’s sake shut your mouth, you look like a fish gasping for air,” The Effective Detective initially answered my question with his typical sarcasm before continuing on. “You did not mishear me Watson, I have dropped Infusionsoft in favor of one of the so-called lesser alternatives,” The Detective concluded, and waited patiently for my reply.

“I don’t understand sir, haven’t you yourself said that Infusionsoft is one of the most powerful tools available for the types of processes we design and implement?” I asked, hoping that my mouth had ceased opening and closing spasmodically.

“I have indeed Watson. And I stand by that. Don’t misunderstand Watson, I am not leading a rebellion against high-powered software that admittedly costs a pretty penny. If someone is using Infusionsoft to its potential, and truly benefitting from it, by all means stay with it!” The Detective answered.

“Then why would we switch, sir? I admit I am finding this quite confusing,” I mumbled.

“Watson, while I must admit it was a hard decision, when I analyzed our own lead attraction and sales funnel system, I felt that Infusionsoft could be a bit of overkill. I will also confess to some consternation over them working towards becoming “Swiss Army Knife software” – doing lots of things, all of them competently, but none of them excellently.  But lastly and most importantly, our clients, Watson. Are many of them best served by that particular software package? I think not,” once again The Detective paused to allow me to interject a comment.

“But aren’t there features that are critical to implementing our system sir?” I asked, finally regaining my composure.

“There are, but features can be duplicated either by human processes, or outside intervention via our own software solutions. We can tie into these supposed lesser systems, and I think that most of them hardly deserve that title. It is simply a matter of working out the processes and designing both a manual solution, and then a software solution. The result will be a cost-effective way to implement the proper processes in one’s business without driving one crazy,” The Detective concluded.

“We will be discussing these processes in this space of course?” I queried.

“Watson, do you have even a shadow of a doubt that we will be discussing this extensively?” The Detective asked, looking incredulous.

“Of course not sir, but you have already dropped one bomb on me today…”

“Hush Watson, we have work to do and word to spread,” The Detective smiled, ending our conversation for the day.

We don’t need no stinking autoresponders

Public Relations Meaning News Media Press Communication“Sir, are you up for a little Q and A today?” I enquired of The Effective Detective to launch this episode of our weekly talks.

“What? Eh Watson? I suppose so… not as much chance to lecture of course,” replied The Detective with a slight smile on his face.

“Perhaps the answer to every question does not require a lecture sir,” I answered, then continuing on before The Detective could offer a rejoinder, “the question is simple sir, what is an autoresponder, and why do you make them sound so important?”

“Watson, the direct answer is quite simple: an autoresponder is simply a process where a set of emails are sent out to a member of your list that the autoresponder is assigned to. The timing of the emails can be set by you so that there are certain intervals of time before the next email is sent out. The emails are the same for each member of your list who receives the autoresponder emails. That much is fairly simple. Where it gets interesting, is why they are so important,” The Detective paused in his characteristic way. Sometimes I believe he is just winding up in those pauses.

“Please continue sir,” I provided an opening without opening a can of worms by making a comment or perhaps sending the conversation in another direction.

“Quite, Watson. As I was saying, autoresponders are important, although you can work a list without them. They are important in that they give you a chance to respond consistently to every single prospect that comes into your funnel. Their introduction to you can be your best stuff. If they are simply thrust into the world of your e-zines or other content, they may hit something that doesn’t immediately interest them. Or perhaps, perish the thought, you might have a bad day, and simply not be on the top of your game with your content. Whatever the reason, you could start out on the wrong foot with a new potential client. Autoresponder content can be tailored to the promised message. Perhaps it is a multiple part video course. The page that attracted your prospect enticed them with that content. They get what they expect to get, and you gain credibility,” The Detective stopped again. This time, looking at me like he expected more than a perfunctory response.

“It would seem to me sir that is also less work for you. Once the content is done, it is done – well perhaps except for some tweaking here and there. Freeing you up for both your other business responsibilities and more content.”

“I think you have the concept Watson. There are some email services out there that offer you a free version or level. Unfortunately, if autoresponders are one of the features they deny you for free, you are better off spending a little money with them to get the autoresponders. Those first few weeks after they subscribe are critical in getting your prospects to follow you. Best to bring your A game and start the relationship off right,” The Detective concluded.

“You sound like you speak from experience, sir” I said, raising an eyebrow.

“A story for another day Watson.”

A Bad Copy

Bad copy or originalThe Effective Detective seemed to be in a particular foul mood this day. As I entered his study I could see him hunched over the keyboard cursing softly to himself as he deleted several email messages.

“Is there a problem, sir?” I asked gently.

“What? Oh hello Watson. Nothing serious, just my daily frustration with a variety of marketers that I respect, doing their usual pitches. I glance at each one to gain insight into their sales letter techniques, but I have decided I need to keep my email box a little cleaner so I now have to decide whether to delete them or not,” The Detective replied, before turning back to his task.

I watched him for a minute or two, noticing the intense look on his face never wavered. Suddenly he smiled for a brief moment as he opened another email, then his face darkened, he clicked on a link within the email, again on the web page he was sent to, then the intense look returned as he went back to more emails. Curious about the change, I interrupted him.

“Sir, you looked so focused, then one of those messages elicited a different reaction. May I inquire as to the content of said message?”

The Detective looked up, seemed to gather his thoughts, then replied.

“Quite so Watson, your powers of observation improve with each passing day.” Not sure if he was being gracious or sarcastic, I did not respond. “The message that you correctly noted caused a different reaction was from a relatively new marketer, whose list I had recently joined. I had high hopes that the lad would be providing some refreshing new insights, but alas, it was merely a pitch… again.”

“I noticed you clicked on a link in the email sir. Surely there must have been something that caught your eye,” I observed.

“That was the unsubscribe link Watson. If the lad chooses to bombard me with solicitations rather than his thoughts, I am better off without his emails,” The Detective explained.

“I’m confused sir, I saw you delete the messages of several of the major lights in the industry, but it was only a delete, not an unsubscribe. How are they different?” I exclaimed.

“Ahh Watson, I hold all of those major lights, as you put it, in high esteem. I can tolerate their sales tactics for a much greater time simply because they have proven themselves to me. There may be new products at some time that do spark my interest. I would like to able to continue to get notices of such products or programs. So I remain on their lists. However, so you don’t need to ask the question, the person I unsubscribed from did not prove themselves to me. They merely assumed since I had expressed enough interest to join their list, I would tolerate their incessant advertising. They assumed incorrectly.”

“I sense a moral approaching,” I said with a smile.

“Perceptive again Watson. Until you have gained someone’s trust and belief in you, don’t go sending steady streams of offers at them. A person needs to believe in you. They want to believe in you. They want to trust you. If you immediately begin pounding them with requests to buy something without giving them some indication that you understand their issues, and their pains, you violate that fragile trust and never give them an opportunity to believe in you. You must nurture before you sell,” The Detective concluded.

“Eloquently put sir,” I said as the Detective turned back to his email review with a slightly dismissive wave of his hand.

They did NOT say that

I can't believe they said that“Watson, have you ever had the strong desire to punch someone in the face with no warning?”

This was a start to the conversations between The Effective Detective and I that was quite unusual. Curious, I gave an answer that I thought might elicit a further response.

“I suppose occasionally sir.”

“That is a non-answer Watson, but rather than spar with you verbally, I will merely assume you have had such a feeling, and move on to my story and point,” The Detective answered, before continuing on as promised. “You see Watson, what brought about this question was an exchange I was witness to between a young marketer concerned about the marketing of their company’s product, and a presenter on the topic of digital marketing, whom I feel should have known better.”

“A start that does not indicate the necessity of violent action, sir,” I interjected.

“Hush Watson, you are interrupting. there is more. The young marketer was trying to grasp the concept of a lead capture form on their website. When what this could actually do for them finally broke through the fog, they exclaimed, ‘So they fill out this form and give me permission to hound them!’ I of course was appalled. I turned toward the presenter waiting for him to perhaps break into an indulgent smile and explain to this poor confused young marketer the error in using the word ‘hound’. To my shock and dismay, he instead agreed with them! Something to the effect of ‘Yes, hound them.’ The Detective paused while he placed his face into his hands.

“Perhaps sir, you are over reacting. Perhaps, they said such a thing in jest,” I jumped in, eager to come to the defense of two people I had never laid eyes upon.

The Detective shot me a look before responding. “Perhaps Watson, perhaps. Luckily I contained my first impulse which was to roundly curse both of them out. I then contained my second impulse to stand up and noisily walk out on the presentation. Even if they were joking, there were 40 or so people in the room that based on their questions, were, for the most part, totally uneducated on the subject of digital marketing, and especially email marketing. For them, that statement could have very well been considered as validation of the deed. Hound them indeed!”

“What might you have said differently, sir?” I asked giving The Detective an opening to provide an alternative.

“Obviously Watson, if said young marketer had made such a stupid statement to me, I would have politely informed them that people do not give you permission to hound them. Hounding them is the surest way to make nary a penny via email, and to develop a reputation as a spammer. No, people give you permission to start a conversation, a relationship with them. It is that initial trust that allows you to deepen the business relationship, to position yourself as an authority, and, once that trust is deep enough, to consider doing business with you as a trusted advisor. Pursue the people that have asked to do business with you, that tiny fraction that are ready to buy now. But your list? Treat them patiently, and they will reward you. Treat them as property, or cash-cows, and they will punish you, leave you, and they certainly won’t do business with you.”

“Sage council indeed, sir,” I responded, knowing the discussion had come to an end.

“Just so, Watson, just so.”