It’s become vogue to declare traditional marketing dead…
We hear, “People don’t want to be interrupted by messages they didn’t ask to see. Now, they’re pushing back.”
And, you know what, with thousands of advertising messages bombarding our eyeballs and brains every day, we ARE tuning out most of what we see and hear. It IS considered an intrusion. And, In 10 or 20 years, traditional display ads, banner ads, direct mail, TV commercials, radio ads may all be dead.
Conversations may well be the future of marketing.
Tribes, relationships, content, attention, permission and engagement may, in fact, be the only possible path to long-term success. And, anyone pursuing old school, in your face, response-driven, blast-oriented campaigns may well be shunned, laughed out of the room for even suggesting such clearly failed tactics…and maybe even shot.
Here’s the problem, those claims may be right or not 10 or 20 years from now. But, I’ve got to run a business TODAY! And, many of those allegedly “dead” techniques still work like a charm TODAY!
In particular, variations of the dreaded “direct response” and “lead generation” funnels DONE RIGHT just plain work.
- Direct mail done right still kicks ass.
- Pay per click done right drives billions in revenue every day.
- Promotional joint ventures sell boatloads of product and service, both on and offline.
- Affiliate marketing has the potential to move truckloads of stuff.
- Radio, done well, can build platforms and prosperity
- Cooperative direct response done right can leverage tremendous economies of scale
- Guerilla/street marketing with a hypercreative flair can crush it,
- TV…okay, I still don’t get why anyone spends money on that, beyond infomercials that essentially turn TV into direct-response.
And, the reason I kept saying “done right” is because there is a way to tap direct response channels without feeling like you have to shower every 10 minutes.
Copy doesn’t have to be sickly aggressive to drive sales. Design doesn’t have to boast a cacaphony of yellow higlighter, pictures of Lamborghinis and mountains of thousand dollar bills. Scripts don’t have to be insanely aggressive, upsell useless add-ons or shame people into spending money on things they don’t need and will resent buying seconds later.
So, if I can do direct response in a way that meshes well with my considerable conversation, tribe-building and content driven efforts, makes me feel good about having my name on the message and drives substantially more revenue in a fraction of the time…why would I leave that on the table?
Why would I cut something that’s still working so well from my mix?
Sure, I care where marketing is going in the next two decades, because I plan being in business then. Both online and off.
- I love content-marketing,
- I love tribe-building,
- I love engaging,
- I love interacting with, leading and learning from the various communities I’ve built online and offline.
- I also love growing my business ventures as rapidly as intelligence permits,
- I love having the chance to impact as many peoples’ lives as possible,
- I love exploring and leveraging ALL the tools available to me to do so, and…
- I love making enough money to live well in the world and support my family.
Sometimes, though, I feel a bit like I have to apologize for not sticking to the 100% certified organic conversation marketing script.
That’s not cool.
And, here’s something else nobody’s really talking about.
This is really going to piss you off if you’re a conversation purist…
Those making the most money with social media marketing today are doing so by turning it into direct-response 2.0.
There, I said it.
You may not like that. You may think it’s a complete bastardization of what social media is about. But, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s exactly what’s happening.
And, it’s working like a charm for a growing cadre of small businesses and content creators who see the potential.
More and more small businesses have moved chunks of their services and marketing online in the last few years. Some are blogging, facebooking or straight-up advertising, but a more recent phenomenon is tweeting. Of those businesses tweeting, a smallish handful are starting to realize the revenue-generating power of twitter. But, they are doing so largely by turning twitter into a 2.0 version of direct-response.
And, if you’ve never done list-driven direct response, and done it well, this may open your eyes a bit.
Here’s how really good direct response works. You set up a funnel.
- Step one is you use a wide variety of strategies to find likeminded people who have a problem you can solve. You may buy lists, run ads, do JV promotions, reach out to people in communities and more
- Next, you drive people to a lead generation offer, you give away something with a high perceived value for free in exchange for joining your list.
- Then, you “warm” your list by sending out regular, non-monetized, high-value, offer-free messages. If you’re a really savvy marketer, you even promote other peoples’ non-commercial high-value content, solutions and ideas.
- Finally, every once in a while, you mix in a commercial offer. In classic direct response, it was YOUR offer. Taken online, affiliate marketers have adapted the model and mixed in affiliate offers.
People and businesses make billions every year, yes even today, with this approach.
Small businesses and individuals who are revenue-rocking twitter and social media are doing the very same thing every day by leveraging social media with a direct response sensibility.
- First, they use a variety of strategies to get people to their twitter pages, blogs and facebook fan pages and become followers. Sometimes, they leverage content to attract folks or search for people with relevant interests and follow them. Local businesses are getting creative, some restaurants are adding calls to action on menus compelling diners to follow them (the direct response equivalent of finding a list of affinity buyers and emailing/mailing a lead-gen offer).
- More and more, local businesses and content creators are incentivizing the follow (on blogs and facebook fan pages, incentivizing subscriptions and fans is very common now)
- Then they mix in a healthy dose of non-commercial tweets, posts or updates (the functional equivalent of direct-response list warming).
- Finally, after building a bit of a relationship, showing a little personality, establishing value and spending a bit of time leveraging the reciprocity impulse, they then mix in…a purely commercial, response-driven offer.
Social media savvy pizza places like Naked Pizza and restaurants like AJ Bombers say, “C’mon over today for X% off your order or get a free beer with 3 slices.” Snowboard stores offer one-day discounts on boards. Soup carts reveal their hidden locations and offer discounts. Bloggers say, “buy my stuff.” Affiliates push merchant offers. And, so on.
See the parallels?
So, maybe it’s time for some folks to climb down off the content/engagement marketing high-horse and call it what it really is…direct response 2.0.
And, before you tear my head off…
Yes, I get that’s not it’s only value, not by a longshot. And, yes, I get there is a ton of additional value in building relationships, asking questions, gathering information and building community. I do it all day long. Partly because I love doing it and partly because I know it’ll be good for business down the road.I get that. Really, I get it.
But you can’t get around the fact that direct response 2.0 IS one use of social media. It’s what most people really mean when they use the term social media marketing…and it’s very effective when tapped this way for a lot of small businesses, online and off.
And, newsflash, the best direct response marketers have been doing the same thing with their lists FOR YEARS. They’ve been treating their “lists” like tribes.
Social media just makes that process faster, easier and more transparent.
Okay, rant over, lol.
Let the comment games begin…
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