Your customers are people, not just a metric on your analytics report. If everybody took this analogy to heart, the world of marketing would be a lot better. Not just better for the consumers, but for the marketers themselves. Aren’t you tired of companies just asking you for your money and not providing a human connection you desire? Well, I am. Also, aren’t you as marketers tired of creating stuff that nobody cares about?
Gary talks like a human. There is no filter, just honesty that comes directly from his heart. This is what makes him special. People today are looking for honesty. The old days when your brand could act like a big corporation with no personality are over. People these days want personality and personalization.
When T-Mobile CEO John Leger came out with the honest to heart remarks of how the wireless industry was scamming consumers, people gasped. This was not what they were used to hearing. But, the consensus replied back with support. They liked the honesty and now, T-Mobile is the fastest growing cellular brand out there.
When you get into sales, the first thing you learn in the yes, yes technique. In this technique, you try to get all yes answers and when you ask them to purchase, people are more inclined to say yes. The chances of you making the sale go up exponentially. This is what the book is about. Creating value, value and value and then do the ask.
He starts with an analogy of boxing. You can jab all you want, but the money shot more often than not is the right hook. Our job as marketers is to tell a compelling story. Stories sell products, not specifications.
The cost of advertisements is going up, but engagements are going down. It looks like people are getting advert-immunity. So, what do we do? Well, we change our viewpoint. We think of customers as people, not metrics. This is where the world is going, either get on the train or you are done.
If you watch or follow Gary, you will notice that he leans heavy on the mobile only world – I happen to believe in that. This world is going mobile and we as marketers need to get on that train. May that be our pictures, content or engagement – it is time to focus on mobile.
People don’t just use their phones to talk, they use them to buy, connect and even create content. There is a reason a mobile-only company called Instagram was sold for a billion dollars. Mobile is the future.
Try putting your phone away for a day and you will start having separation anxiety. Phone love is real and is getting stronger every day. Heck, I can’t even take my daughters kindle away without her throwing a fit (That’s why I have time limits on that thing). So, think mobile first if you want customers and sales.
He points out that (which I have noticed too) that people are clicking/noticing less and less on traditional ads and the cost of engagement is at an all-time high. Fortunately, there is a saving grace called social media. Social is where the world is now. But, let’s not ruin social media like we did with traditional advertising – let’s create a better experience and tell a compelling story.
The other day at Walmart, I caught myself focusing more on the social world than the real world. As I was checking out at Walmart and standing in line, I was on my phone reading the news on twitter instead of paying attention to the end caps (5-hour energy.) Not only me, the person behind me was doing the same thing. Now, the people at 5-hour energy spent a lot of money to be at the endcaps but as the culture is changing, the traditional ways are getting less and less relevant.
Social Media is not just a platform, it’s a culture. Just like different cultures act differently, different social networks have different languages. Most businesses have a social account just for the heck of it. They don’t use it to interact but just have it for a presence. They have it because they read somewhere that they need one. When your Facebook feed is filled with just selling propositions not a story – people resent you. This constant selling harms your brand – nobody wants to be sold to, they want to buy.
When most people look at new social platforms, they discount it. They make it seem like a fad. Something that will go away. And even when they look into it, they think that they cannot do it better. But, if that was the case, why even bother creating anything? Somebody has already done it. Just like any new industry, you have to test the waters. You have to understand how it works and find your own way.
When it comes to social media, you not only need to know what you are doing; you need to know what your competitors are doing. Sometimes, there is a lot to learn from competitors. Their story is probably riddled with holes that you can fill. In the last summary, I talked about storytelling and how important it is to tell a good story. That is what Gary talks about. When he talks about jabs, he is talking about creating micro-content and providing value.
When you think about your brand story, you have to think about how you can entice your customers to buy your products, not just tell them about it. The story needs to create an emotional response. We are emotional creatures, we don’t buy from our brains, we buy from our hearts. Once you convince the heart, it will take care of the rest. But how do you do that? Well, that’s where social media excels. It can tell you what your customers like, the movies they watch and the brands they buy. This is why social media can do things the traditional media could never do. It pretty much gives you a path to make money.
Now, every social network has a different path. Different platforms require different sides of your brand. Pinterest might require cool things to do with your products, Facebook might require more group interactions and Instagram might require more genuine pictures that tell your story. Every platform has a different language and a different culture. This is something you have to experiment with.
Think of your small business as a speed boat. You can change directions in an instant. When you create a story and it doesn’t work, you can change the narrative in an instant, but big corporations act like an oil tanker – it takes a mile for them to turn around. They are too fat to think on a swivel. This is why social media is awesome. It gives you a chance to compete with the big players.
I am a firm believer in testing. Every image, text or content needs to be tested. We as marketers need to learn what is working, and what is not. Don’t create content for the heck of it. It should mean something. It should provide value not just to the consumers, but to us as well.
Gary is so right when he talks about content match. The content should match the platform. For example, the product picture you have might work on Facebook, but it will not work on Pinterest. On Facebook, you can put an image of the product but on Pinterest, you have to show how it is done and entice the customer to pin it.
Gary very strongly emphasizes that every marketing material should create an emotional response. For example, truck commercials target masculinity, freedom, etc. (Toyota – Let’s go places)
That emotional response is required to create an emotional connection with your brand.
Now imagine, if you were watching a movie on Netflix and suddenly, the movie stops and there is a loud annoying ad that interrupts the fight scene you were looking forward to watching. Weren’t you be disappointed? I would be furious. Being born in the internet age and not a fan of pop-up ads, I totally agree that the days when you could interrupt people are over. Look at ad blockers, everybody now uses them and companies are scratching their heads on how to make revenue. They still live in the old world, where you could interrupt people and get a sale. Those days are over. Nobody wants to be interrupted.
It not like people don’t want relevant ads, they don’t want ads that are intrusive. Intrusive ads mess up the experience and create resentment. My daughters are born in the Netflix age. They watch what they want without interruptions. One day at my cousin’s house, she was watching her show on cable tv. After a while, the show was interrupted with an ad. She looked at me with the weirdest look. What the heck is this? Put my show back on.
This whole book is about playing the long game. If you create good value, customers might not buy today, but tomorrow is a different story. For example, when I go to Lowe’s, they always have this box of nylon thread outside. I use it to bundle my yard work. Now every time I go, I go to Lowe’s instead of Home Depot. It’s this small gesture that goes a long way. Might not work for everybody, but you don’t need everybody to run a successful business. Create your 1000 solid fans.
Every brand needs to have an honest interaction with their customers. That interaction needs to be more about them than your brand. The brands today need act like humans, not monotone selling machines. The human factor needs to be there. And maybe the day you ask them to buy, they will because they feel emotionally connected to you. Your job is to give, give and give. The right hook according to Gary comes later.
Gary spends a good amount of time on Facebook. He points out that Facebook wants content that is relevant. In my opinion, Facebook is just following Google’s motto- create relevancy and people will come. From my experience, Facebook is very good at knowing people. Facebook knows the brands, shows or political parties you like. This is where you can connect with them because we have a lot more information about them. Stay away from politics.
But how do we connect with people? Well, we need to talk about them, not you. May that be about pop culture, movies or tv shows. Let it be about them, not you. That’s where you can throw some micro-content. And as Gary says, give, give and give before you even think about asking. Interact, provide value and then do the ask.
The great thing about Facebook is that it lets you segment your customers – so you can target them differently. And the content you create should always be so good that people are compelled to share. Think about it this way, when people share your content, it creates a wildfire effect. Consumers are more inclined to believe their friends who said that your product is awesome than you. It’s called social proof and it works wonders.
Now this is where the book shows its age. The author talks about edge rank and sponsored stories and how they were awesome. They were discontinued but the basic principles throughout this book are still valid.
The biggest problem we have is that most marketers will create one great content and follow that up with horrible content and selling propositions. The key here is consistency. You have to keep providing value so when people open your emails, blog posts etc. they get what they are expecting.
Neil Patel perfectly showcases these jabs. He is very consistent with creating good content and when sometimes he asking for me to attend a webinar for a product, I am more than happy to do so.
Facebook posts need to be emotional, short, to the point and visually appealing. As more and more content is consumed on mobile by people scrolling/flicking their feeds, the pictures/posts need to be compelling enough for people to stop, click, read and share. Because when you create content that doesn’t bring value to the customers, they are more hesitant to click next time.
Gary points out that when you are thinking about creating a Facebook post, think about the picture, logo and what it brings to the table.
- Is the copy of Facebook post enticing enough fans to engage? Is the text catchy?
- Is it too much.
- Is your brand visible?
- Do you have a human tone?
- Is the text too long? Can people read it? Can I take them to a landing page for more information?
- Are you asking too much?
Anything that breaks that flick or the scroll to engage the customers is a win for you.
I get so frustrated when brands use stock photos. HELLO! Nobody likes stock photos. People need real high quality pictures, not fake stock photos.
Facebook is a place to tell a story, twitter is a place to inform. Twitter is a perfect place for jabs.
Look at the picture on the left. It a perfect example of micro-content and how you should interact with your customers.
Trend jacking is something I was not aware of (Thank you, Gary, for pointing it out.) You can use trending topics in order to throw value. He points out that people might see you and might like what you are doing. When people follow you, it’s a ripple effect. They might not like it that much, but their friends might.
Going the extra mile is something that I learned on my job. The owner always goes the extra mile and it shows with the retention rate. You have to think of social media as a personable way of interacting with your customers and having the opportunity to go the extra mile.
One thing I personally hate is when there is a call to action on every post for a purchase. Seriously, I know you want to make money, but stop acting like a door to door salesman. And stop bragging. I hate when brands keep retweeting the positive reviews. If you want to like it, it’s ok, but stop bragging how good you are. You have your skeletons too.
Gary points out that Pinterest works on the psychology that we love showing off who we are. We want to hint at the world of our awesomeness. There is a reason people buy expensive cars and houses. This has been exploited by marketers for a very long time. Think of pin boards as a place where people can show off. And this is something you can target. The second thing it targets is our primary instinct to acquire. That is what we have to do with Pinterest. Create content that targets the instinct and compels people to pin it. Each pin should be visually appealing and not always about selling. One thing he recommends is to create boards that are not even related to your brands (It could be about the city, etc.) One import thing to keep in mind is that Pinterest is about high-quality images. Visual is a huge part of Pinterest and infographics seems to do good on Pinterest.
When Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars, everybody thought they were crazy. Who would spend that much money on a mobile only company that anybody can replicate? But, people can copy your app, not the story behind it. People go there to see and engage with personalities. A picture is worth a thousand words took a whole new meaning on Instagram. You can use the power of pictures to reinforce the brand. But please be authentic.
Well, you can apply the basic principles Gary talks about here and learn how people engage on social media. Then mold your micro-content the way it works for you. Measure – Question – Change – Measure. Although the book contains specifics that might not be relevant today, but the core of it is very relevant. I highly recommend it if you want to know how to engage your customers on different platforms and tell a compelling story.
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