Free Advice Friday: Marketing Done Right

What I’m listening to: Die Like a Rich Boy by Frightened Rabbit

Another year, another Writers Worth Month past.

As much as I enjoy it, that month-long commitment always comes at the absolute worst time. It’s right after the big conference I attend. It’s right at a time when companies are calling with projects. It’s right about the time everything starts to pick up considerably for me. This year was no exception.

Plus it was this May that my daughter was diagnosed with severe morning sickness, and landed in the hospital overnight thanks to dehydration and the inability to eat anything. She’s home, but still unable to eat anything beyond applesauce and beets. On a positive note, the baby is fine and my daughter surpassed her goal weight without exercise. I think she prefers the exercise to this.

The last two days of May was also when my father also landed in a hospital for testing. He woke in the middle of the night unable to breathe, which for a man with emphysema is a pretty scary deal. The trip home happens today, for his 83rd birthday was yesterday.

It didn’t help that my email provider — Verizon — decided that May was the month they’d tell me I had just a few weeks to choose a new email option. I had to either hurry up and research new email services, notify all my clients and friends of the switch to someone else or move it all over to AOL, where I could keep my email address.

I opted for easy.

And we all know how “easy” things can get complicated quickly. I’d like to personally thank AOL for dumping about 65% of my emails into Spam — particularly those from clients whom I’d sat waiting to hear from. I’m still weeding through the Junk folder to see what else was redirected. And now I have to make it a point to check AOL every day to make sure something critical isn’t being flagged as trash. If you’ve sent me a note recently, I apologize if I’ve not responded. I’ve no idea how many of my emails have been deleted by AOL nor how many went to spam that shouldn’t have. Two weeks into the AOL experience and I’m already hating it. Change will come, and it won’t include AOL in the future.

Beyond sorting out email frustrations, I’m now getting back to focusing on all the things I had to cut back on during May. My marketing was cut in half (that time was spent promoting Writers Worth Month). So back to it today.

I was going over some older posts to clean up formatting after the Blogger-to-Wordpress migration, and I came across a post from last year about a lousy marketing experience. It was a lesson in how not to conduct your marketing.

Fast forward to two months ago when another marketer reached out. In some ways, the exchange started out similarly. In the bad example, I had purchased something. In this most recent encounter, I’d been given something.

Already the marketer has my interest.

Still, even giving away something, while a great way to entice people, can go sour if there’s a heavy sales pitch attached. Luckily for me, there wasn’t. There was a sales pitch, but it was doled out with a light touch. I was asked to consider buying the larger product. I did. Here’s why:

I was already won over. Any time a client or customer takes you up on something for free, you’ve won a piece of their trust. After that, all bets are off, but in that moment, you’ve got one chance to prove the trust wasn’t misplaced. This marketer did just that — she delivered quality. For free. I was able to see exactly what the larger product would be like by sampling a damn fine slice of the pie first.

The sale wasn’t assumed. This marketer did her best to keep the sale framed as an option, not an assumption. She didn’t assume I’d love it, nor did she assume a sale to me was “in the bag.”

The pitch was soft. By that I mean the marketer kept it brief and didn’t over-promise or get overly hyperactive when presenting the pitch to me. There was a “here’s how this can help you” connection and a bit about how it could work for me. She simply showed the benefits to me and allowed me to decide for myself.

The pressure was off. She made her pitch, and she left it up to me. She asked one question: would I be interested?

The follow-up messages were thoughtful. It was refreshing to see follow-up sales notes that weren’t really selling, but outlining the value I’d receive. Again, the benefits I’d get were featured. Moreover, the messages weren’t one a day for months on end, as in the case of the lousy marketer. They didn’t need to be — I was convinced by both the tone of the messaging and the benefits outlined.

There was an opt-out. It was a guarantee, actually. I had nothing to lose. Not that I didn’t already know I was getting value, but that made it easier to say yes. Ironically, in the lousy marketing example, that marketer was also selling something quite valuable. I knew the value I’d be receiving. But the lack of attention to how often he was pressuring me to buy made me question that value.

Writers, what examples of marketing done right can you think of?

How about those marketing-gone-wrong moments?

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