Constant, Consistent Cultivation

And we’re back! Last year I’d started a series of essays outlining a framework for understanding internet marketing called Instant Global Impact. The process is laid out along the three ‘clicks’ of the sales process: (here’s the original essay)

This week I want to talk about being a tease:

After you’ve targeted a specific niche (or lifestyle) and looked at why they go online and why we buy, and fashioned your content into net peppered with keywords and concepts in multiple media formats to bring them to one improtant in we finally get them to that all important button:

Grab Attention, Deliver Instant Value

The most depressing part about blogging (and internet marketing in general) is that most people only come to your blog one time in their entire lives. This one-night stand lasts for a fraction of a second when a visitor scans your site and tries to figure out if you are worth checking out. They usually leave soon after, on to the next site in their quest for utility, entertainment or community.

You’re left looking like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction:

If you don’t immediately say Hi there! I can help you! they jump off never to be seen again. And even then, they might read some of your blog and still go away without bookmarking you or subscribing to your feed (in the early days of blogging there was this delusion that real people understood RSS feeds and were savvy enough to know what to do with them). You also have to say: I know you’re on your way to another site right now but why don’t you grab this small bit of my stuff and check it out later. Just pop me your email address, mmm’kay?

I’ve heard this explained as ‘dating your future customers.’ You don’t show up at the dance club in a wedding dress and a U-HAUL do you? (insert the usual joke here.) This is also where I’d make the off-color joke about Margaret Cho’s pick-up line. Similarly, you don’t expect someone to come to your site or blog and immediately become your BFF 4EVAR. That’s just crazy talk.

Your subscribe button could grant someone access to:

  • A video course (like my Blogging Blunders series)
  • A PDF download of your best stuff (I do this from the Blogwild site in a PDF)
  • A free course introducing them to your main topic (like my Free Blogging Course series)
  • An autoresponder course that runs on autopilot (1 lesson a day for five days, for example)
  • You can also blend these approaches (use an autoresponder to follow-up very other day to point readers to a new part of your PDF or video series

You are gradually growing a list of people that want you to keep in touch with them. Just like in a high school yearbook where you sign it KITT (Keep In Touch) or LYLAS (Love Ya Like a Sis).

The List is Life

You’ll often hear ‘listbuilding’ talked about like some magical witchcraft of internet marketing when really it is just another way of saying ‘lead generation.’ Your list is your pool of prospects and customers that have told you they want to stay up-to-date on what you’re working on and what you’ve got coming up. You may be one of my past customers, a reader of Blogwild, or you heard me on a call and thought I sounded compelling enough to keep tabs on. Or they could be sneaky competitors waiting to steal your stuff when you aren’t looking. I often joke that if our house is on fire I have to grab two things: cats and hard drives. Luckily my lists of newsletter subscribers, customers and prospects is stored in a database with my ecommerce system, 1ShoppingCart, so when the Big One hits San Francisco it’ll be backed up in a data center somewhere, safe from harm. All I have to do is grab the cats and navigate through twisted wreckage until Ron gets back from work.

If your email list is easily incinerated or lost or contained in a box of business cards or on your Microsoft Outlook then you aren’t being a repsonsible marketer. Get an email newsletter services like 1ShoppingCart or GetResponse.

Constant, Consistent Cultivation

Lists decay over time. People fall off the list because they are cleaning up their email, they change addresses, the no longer want to hear from you, you get too ‘in-your-face’ about something or simply because it has nothing to do about you and you’ll never know why and you just have to make peace with that deep breath. Or when someone emails you STOP EMAILING ME because they somehow miss the unsubscribe links you put in every single email you send. People can be stupid and nasty. Similarly, if you stop emailing people periodically they forget about you and become disinterested. I had a brief newsletter blackout several months ago until finally a long-time reader I respected said I better get my butt in gear and start pumping out the vivid writing he’s come to know and love (thanks Lyle!). I’d already let this happen before with the old Coachamatic newsletter.

Write When You Write Best

What I’ve learned is I should do my newsletter rough draft on Thursday evenings. Usually by Thursday the ‘New Week Smell’ has worn off and I’m a little cranky and belligerent and my guard is down so my best writing is ready to be extracted. My readers and customers expect a certain edge to my writing voice (I chalk it up to a family that appreciated gallows humor and a penchant for Brecht, Artaud, Hitchcock and Serling). I find I get more writing done by thinking about my dis-satisfaction with the things around me than the optimistic side of things. I think that is why I laugh at the Angry Whopper commercials from Burger King with onions born from fertile soil but raised on anger. That’s a freakin’ Gary Larson Far Side right there.

Gimme Gimme More

So when someone gets to your website or blog, how do you get them to become a part of your list? You could pretend that everyone knows about RSS feeds and expect to magically know that they should subscribe to your feed. You could expect them to become one of your Facebook friends but then Mark Zuckerberg owns all your contact info and if they suddenly boot you of the site you’re SOL. It’s happened.

Write to a Certain Person

I write my newsletter with about six or seven people in mind. I want them to email me back to say that was hysterical or ROFL LMAO or etc. Tara, Sharon, Sherman, Suzanne, Rob, Scott – and a few others. I know I’ve really hit a nerve when my sister responds. She’s got very high quality expectations.

Nutshell: All roads lead to a subscribe button. Your list is your goldmine. Always be cultivating the list. When it is time to sell they aren’t surprised that you’re awesome.

This entry was posted in Instant Global Impact on by .

About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

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