In this day and age, if you want to sell anything, there is a singular truth you need to live by: Traditional marketing is dead. Stick a fork in it. Done.
Back in the day, marketers and salesmen alike thought that if they turned up the heat and applied pressure, they could make more money. And that approach worked . . . for a little while.
According to bestselling author (Feeding a Starving Crowd) and digital strategist Robert Coorey, nowadays that pushy car salesmen speech will get you nothing but a door slammed in your face. Technology, the information age and social media have forever changed the way we live and sell.
Today, consumers have the power, and they’re not going to let businesses push them around or employ hard sales tactics. Those days are over! Consumers are fundamentally better informed and more empowered, Coorey says. So,if you think about buying a car or vacation trip or camera or laptop, these days you don’t walk into that buying situation uninformed and at the mercy of a salesperson.
You walk in, having done your search. You’ve checked out the brand websites. and very likely you’ve looked at third parties and tried to get some ratings and assessments from other people like you: That's a primary role of social media. In short, selling has changed because buying has changed, fundamentally.
"People see an average of 5,000 marketing messages every single day," Coorey says. "That’s a lot of noise, and most of it just gets tuned out." So, how to do you cut through the noise in order to stand out and get your message heard? According to Coorey, here are the three main strategies you can implement.
Science has proven time and time again that storytelling is powerful. As people, we are innately hard-wired to like stories, to keep them in our memory banks and to recall them more often than not.
They create a oneness of mind between the storyteller and the listener, through a powerful neurological process called mirroring, where the brain activity of everyone involved (storyteller and audience) begins to literally synchronize.
This accounts for why you will find yourself tearing up, along with many others in a crowd, when a sad story is told. Or you may laugh with others at a funny tale.
Coorey’s preferred method of storytelling is what he calls “transformational with emotion.” “You start with where the subject is at in their life and describe the pain of their previous situation," he writes. "Then [you tell how] they discovered your company or product. And, finally, as a result of taking action, [you report that] they are now in a better place.”
In addition to describing the physical and tangible benefits of your product or service, you need to communicate its emotional benefits. “For example, were [your target consumers] now able to quit their jobs and start their own business? Do they now work less hours and have gone out on a rare ‘date night’ with their loved one? These emotional benefits are far more important than saying someone lost weight or had a financial win.”
At Linkfluencer, we rely heavily on storytelling and testimonials when communicating our value proposition and various service offerings.
On September 25, 2015, Apple released the iPhone 6s in a new light pink color. Saying that more than a few people wanted it would be an understatement, but there was a problem . . .
Each store that sold the new phone had only a limited supply. And unless you didn’t mind waiting weeks for it to ship from Apple, you had to be in line at the store to get it before anyone else. Yet if you weren’t one of the first few in that line at the store that day, sorry -- no pretty rose gold iPhone for you! So what did people do? Even though there would be more phones coming, many customers simply preferred to shell out the cash and put forth more than the average effort to get one of the first ones.
This highlights the power of scarcity, another topic Coorey knows well. He nicknamed this scenario “Jedi Psychology Marketing” and explains it perfectly in his book: “If there’s something you really want, and you think it’s in rapidly diminishing supply, you’ll do anything to get it RIGHT NOW!” Coorey wrote.
Booking.com, Wayfair daily deals, and even Starbucks are brands and companies that use the lure of limited supplies to sell more. But other, lesser-known brands and names have used scarcity in their marketing and seen results before. One example is Marcus Taylor, founder of VentureHarbour. He used the scarcity method and saw a 332 percent increase in sales.
So, even though it may seem that having a short supply of something or allowing only a small group of people in on a product will hurt your sales, in reality it helps.
In both the online and the real worlds, transparency can be a scary thing. But, in 1997, Ellen Degeneres did something few people during that time did: She came out publicly as a lesbian. That event rocked the world, and ultimately affected her career for a short time. But, nowadays, she is hailed as courageous, and her transparency has helped her build a loyal audience.
Conversely, there are a lot of people online who try to appear as something they’re not, or else they lie outright. As a result, their sales suffer and their audience dries right up. A large part of what’s going on with the power of online media is that everyone can see right through their lies. This instantly makes the people they’re trying to appeal to distrust them, and everything trickles down from there.
Being transparent, honest, and balanced can seem little unnerving, but you don’t need to have a digital love-in to have a profound affect on your audience.
One amazing example of this is Buffer. That social media company recently revealed that in the past 12 months, it had lost almost half of its social media traffic. The post was shocking, honest and transparent. The result? More than 300 comments were made, and more than 5,500 shares occurred across multiple social channels.
This kind of openness is rarely seen in the online world, but it adds to the humility factor that gives Buffer a likable persona.
So, take a lesson: Nobody is perfect, and you shouldn't try to appear that way all of the time.
These three marketing methods Coorey suggests are simple in design, but you may need some time and practice to really get them right. Have a question? Post it in the comments section below!