It all starts about 20 years ago when I was at a conference with my new boss. As we walked in, I remembered her thrusting 50 brand new cards at me with my name on them. Unfortunately, they were followed by the phrase "you need to get rid of all of these by the end of the night". Suddenly, my 50 business cards represented 50 awkward conversations that were about to happen and I was terrified. Needless to say, the rest of the night wasn't great for me and I spent most of it huddled with my coworkers who were just as introverted as I was.
I may have given away about 3 cards total (after putting the rest in the trash when no one was looking). However, out of the corner of my eye I couldn't help but notice Jack. Jack is the name I've given this guy over time and he was amazing. He was the whole package: suit, teeth, tie, and like a gazelle as he leapt from table to table never stopping to dish out cards and shake hands. In total, he must have given away at least 100 cards and I was in awe. Jack was generating so much business!
20 years later it's easier to recognize Jack for what he was. It seems a silly way to get leads but I still see signs of Jack now and then. Especially online.
We generally don't like being talked to by people like Jack. Jack is essentially the physical embodiment of spam and his conversion rates are most likely similar (2-3%).
As humans, we have developed natural defences to spam. Banner blindness is an actual thing. We simply don't see ads once we get used to knowing where they show up. That's why Google moved their ads from the right into the organic results.
If you haven't seen this diagram below, it's a customer path to purchase. There are many out there - this one has our 'ZGM spin' on it but they are all essentially the same. Basically, it's saying that we go through different stages on the path to conversion. Sometimes it can take seconds and sometimes years depending on many things but it's complicated like we are.
The notion that we can jump directly to the end from a tiny ad or post or lofty at best.
So if we're not asking people to buy, how do we sell?
We are selling all the time. With our loved ones, friends, family, co-workers... whether it's selling your boss on that promotion or selling your kids on wearing that big sweater because it's cold outside, this is how we interact. We sell without thinking and when it comes from our friends and family it doesn't feel like we are being sold.
Hank sells insurance. He is the kind of guy that will come boost your car when it won't start in the winter. He'll watch your kids when you have to drive your wife to the hospital. He's always around talking your ear off about insurance and doing his best to relate it to things he knows you are interested in. He knows your anniversary before you do and always sends a card. In short, Hank is just an all around good guy. You like Hank. He stands up for what he believes in. He's honest. And he's never asked you to buy insurance.
The thing is, is that when you do come to buy insurance Hank will be at the top of the list because he does naturally what all good brands strive to do to sell properly.
Always be there: Brands need to be top of mind because we know when we are going to buy. Speaks to having a consistent content plan.
Get personal: No one likes the "Dear Recipient" letter. We all need to be talked to like an individual.
Stay relevant: Tailer your content. Learn from what you are finding out about your leads.
Be knowledgeable: Show off your expertise. Speaks to content again. Be a thought leader.
Be generous: Hank did us so many favours we want to give back. Be the brand that makes people feel indebted to you by giving out content offers, deals, swag, etc.
Become Purposed Based: Stand for something. People can get behind that and will respect you for that. When it comes to comparing apples to apples that's how you can set yourself apart.
So if Hank is the gold standard, how can we be more like Hank?
In our next blog
We'll talk about why your ads shouldn't be doing all the heavy lifting.