Hey Rainmaker, here’s the really valuable stuff…
But I warn you, it LOOKS simple on the surface.
You may read it and think, “I’ve heard this all already.”
My question to you is, “How are you applying it?”
Today, a quick overview of 4 (+1) types of marketing system for your business.
Last week I wrote about campaign thinking vs. promotional thinking. This is how you take it to the next level…
In this chapter, I’ll outline a number of different approaches to creating marketing systems that can give you a start in determining which is right for your business.
This is the simplest, and the oldest approach beyond the single-promotion approach to marketing.
As its name suggests, it seeks to make the sale in two steps. The first step is lead generation. The sole purpose of a lead generation ad is to get the prospect to raise their hand… To get them to respond for more information. You offer valuable information, for which they have to call, send away, or visit a website and fill out a form. When they respond, they’re telling you two things: they’re interested in your offer, and that you can contact them again.
Once a prospect has responded to a lead-generation ad, that’s when you invest in sending out a bigger, more thorough sales piece to get them to order. If the lead generation ad offered a special report, you send a sales letter that looks on the surface like a special report, and delivers at least some value in setting up the sale.
Two-step marketing is common in classified ads and small space ads in print publications, and with more expensive products sold by infomercial. If you’re able to make the sale in these two steps, great. However, you’re absolutely not limited to two steps…
Lead nurturing and multi-step marketing.
With technology driving down the cost of delivering messages to customers AND making it easier to automate, follow-up sequences have gotten much more sophisticated.
Lead nurturing used to be almost exclusive to high-ticket business-to-business selling. Marketing and sales would work together to generate “touches” that would go out throughout the sales cycle to help close the deal.
Today you can use email “drip” or “autoresponder” programs to follow-up on a sales cycle for days, weeks, months, or even years. Automatically, and at almost zero incremental cost. More sophisticated programs can integrate your email follow-up with direct mail touches, phone follow-up, faxes, and more.
But you don’t have to start there. The first step beyond the simple two-step approach is to send out a “second notice.” This can simply be your sales piece, sent again, with a brief note saying you’re sending it again because you haven’t heard from them. Many marketers who do just this experience anywhere between 50% and 150% additional response.
If you sell online, you can use an email autoresponder tool to write a 5-day follow-up sequence, with each automatically-sent follow-up email linking back to the sales message. If 5 days work, tack on 5 weeks of intermittent contacts after that. If 5 weeks works, add 5 months.
As long as you’re delivering value every step of the way, it’s not uncommon to have success sending at least one email a week for a year or more.
“The Agora Model.”
Publishing powerhouse Agora was started before the internet, in the direct mail world. When they transitioned online in the early 2000s, they invested serious time, money, and talent in testing different approaches to online marketing. With over a dozen divisions, each staffed with some of the world’s sharpest marketers, they had plenty of bandwidth available to see what worked. And through sharing their findings, they were able to refine what has become one of the most-effective systems for selling online.
Although much of their business is in publishing, this system has proven itself over and over again in countless different industries and niches — remember, don’t get infected with the “my business is different” virus.
And it’s absolutely worth saying, this system was not original or unique to Agora. Like I have done in this book, they collected many of the best ideas and approaches, and integrated them. Whatever you call it, this is a highly-effective approach to marketing and selling online. I choose the Agora name because I’m intimately familiar with their business model, and have learned quite a bit from following the work of Agora partner and teacher of this system, Mark Ford (whose business writing was under the pen name Michael Masterson).
The first element of The Agora Model is regular, 95%-pure-value content. This is most commonly delivered as articles, posted to a website and sent out via email. The purpose of the article is to teach and inform. For their investing businesses, these are about investing trends and the market. For their health businesses, these are about common health concerns and treatment approaches. And so on. The idea is that on a daily or weekly basis (weekly is the minimum, more often is better) they are delivering value to their prospects. The other 5% of these articles that is not content is an editor’s note or other advertisement to get the reader to view a sales promotion.
These articles are delivered free by email, and are advertised as a free subscription by entering your name and email address on their website.
Occasionally the subscription is preceded by what they call a “gauntlet” sequence. This is, in essence, the same as the lead-nurturing or multi-step marketing sequence explained above. It’s a sequence of daily emails the new prospect receives before they are added to the general list. This gauntlet sequence introduces the new reader to the theme or unique approach of the publication, and most often introduced core entry-level products.
And finally, interspersed between the content emails are 100%-pitch emails called “lift notes.” These are short emails designed to get the reader to click directly to a longer sales promotion. Perhaps up to 40% of the total emails you send under this approach will be these marketing-only emails.
So again, The Agora Model is built to include content-rich articles delivered by email on a regular basis. Plus marketing emails interspersed up to 40% of the time. And, occasionally, a subscription starts with a lead-nurturing “gauntlet” sequence to introduce new readers to the publication and the products.
Highly-sophisticated marketers continue to push the boundaries using the technology and automation available to us today. It used to be thought that you had to “rest” your buyers after they made their first purchase. To give them time to experience your product, and recover from making their purchase. After a suitable length of time — perhaps three weeks — you could come back to them with your next product offering.
There are many things not to like about the “Internet Marketing” or “IM” world. This is the common name for people who teach “get rich quick” techniques using the internet. And frankly, they can be — in some cases — the seediest of the seedy characters selling marketing, selling, and business advice online.
However, the best thing that can be said for them is that they are constantly innovating — they don’t believe in rules, so they break them all in the name of a good test. Through their innovation, they come up with some of the best, most profitable innovations that can be adapted to any business. So if you want to be a sophisticated, breakthrough marketer, it pays to watch what these folks are doing.
One of the best approaches I’ve seen out of this field recently is what could be called the “layered funnel” approach. In the interest again of giving credit where credit is due, the first clear breakdown I saw of this approach was from Ryan Deiss. Although it’s certainly rooted in the work of Dan Kennedy and others.
This approach is unabashedly designed to get maximum revenue from a new customer in a minimum period of time. And it’s effective at that. This can be done in incredibly unethical ways, or — if your goal in every transaction is to deliver maximum value — it can be done quite ethically.
Somewhere, at some point, somebody in the internet marketing world tested the “new buyers must be rested” assumption against the “a buyer is a buyer is a buyer” assumption. And it turns out “a buyer is a buyer is a buyer.” And that’s where this model comes from.
The first layer of this model is nearly identical to a lead nurturing or multi-step marketing campaign, selling a relatively cheap front-end product. Your goal is to get the prospect to raise their hand and indicate interest through the use of a free offer. At which point you direct them toward your marketing message, and start an automated follow-up campaign to keep bringing them back to the marketing message until they buy.
This first product is a low-price, low-resistance offer, sometimes called a “tripwire” or “welcome mat” offer. The goal is to get the person to make their first financial transaction with you. And so you want to make it as easy and appealing as possible.
Following the first purchase, the customer is immediately presented with a higher-level upsell offer. They are also taken out of the first follow-up sequence, and placed into a follow-up sequence for the next level of product. If the first product was $10, this one may be $100. Or it may be a monthly charge for $20, $30, $50, or more. The idea is that it’s a big but not enormous step from product one to product two.
When the customer purchases product two, they’re moved into a follow-up sequence for a higher-level and more expensive product three.
These funnels can be layered, one on top of the other, to create a deeper and deeper marketing system. Done right, an offer for a $10 product can create $1,000 in revenue within the first 30 to 90 days.
Yes, there is a lot of automation to get this to work. This is the opposite of “easy button.” But it’s absolutely proven to create incredible results. (In fact, in the most sophisticated markets, this is becoming a necessity to keep up.)
If you have multiple layers of offers designed to give customers ever-increasing value in exchange for investing more and more in your products and services, this is an approach you can aspire to.
The purpose of laying out these marketing systems for you is to show you the different kinds of marketing systems that have worked before. You don’t necessarily need to choose one for your business. Rather, you need to look at each and see what works for you.
From there, you can start to mix and match the different systems in creating your own. By necessity, I’ve simplified the different approaches here. Most businesses use a hybrid combination of the different systems, rather than picking or choosing one.
I have one personal project I’ve let run in the background for years, running a simple multi-step email follow-up sequence. I’ve built systems for other clients that have been much more sophisticated. Because of the clients I’ve worked with, I’ve also done simple promotions designed to bring a customer in the front door in one go. The key is thinking beyond the promotion to the system and the strategy — and developing the solution that will work best for any given situation.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets