Old School Marketing Lessons From the Greatest Marketer on Earth Part 2

By AharonC

In my last blog post, I made the case that site conversion is largely about marketing tactics deployed via the web’s technology.  To make that case I showed how the advertising principles of 19th century marketing genius, P.T. Barnum, still applied today.

Now, in part 2, we will explore another of Barnum’s marketing maxims and see how it applies to modern web marketing.

2.  Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!

Barnum acquired the Fejee Mermaid to display at his American Museum.  He immediately got the newspapers to run stories about the new exhibit and bought billboard space to promote its opening.  In short he garnered public interest through promotion.  If he hadn’t, no one would have come to see the crazy little monkey corpse sewn cunningly to the tail of a fish.  Instead, they came, they paid, and they went away satisfied that they’d seen a true natural wonder.

Barnum could sell anything.

You’ve actually got a product to sell online.  To do that, take a page from the Barnum playbook and promote yourself with any of these methods:

1. Promote where the people are! Track your referral sources, note where the majority of your traffic comes from, and post more advertising content there.  Why is more traffic coming from Social Media than other web sources?  Who cares?  If it is, focus there. 

People are looking for you there, so make it easy for customers to find you.  Remember to use unique quality content to drive more traffic and increase conversions.

2. Use testimonials and reviews It’s about promotion.  So let your loyal and satisfied customers promote you.  Let them write testimonials about how good your services are, or reviews about how amazing your product functions.  P.T. Barnum would say that it’s good press. 

Potential customers will find those testimonials when researching and will be inclined to try out your products.

3. Product videosBarnum gave the crowds a show, and you can too.  I’m a big believer in video tutorials.  Customers do not want ads that try and convince them.  They want to be taught how your product can solve their problems.  Video tutorials are a great way to do this.  With Youtube and Vimeo it becomes very easy to create repositories of relevant tutorial videos.

Videos will promote your site, product and/or service.

Customers will find them useful and will think of the videos as customer service, not just advertisement.

They will want your product or service because they see that it can help them.

The back links are also good for your SEO.

Keep the video short and just teach one useful aspect.  If you’re not getting the uptick you were hoping for, examine your video’s thumbnail.  Remember the image should be interesting and memorable.  Intriguing video thumbnails invite customers to watch.  With effective videos that are informative, you can generate a lot of interest without giving away the store.  You’ll motivate customers and leave them wanting more.  Barnum would be proud!

4. Know Your Unique Selling Point – Your unique selling point is what differentiates you from competitors.  There are many strategies when it comes to USP.  Promoting your service as premium justifies higher prices whereas highlighting your bargain basement costs requires you to have cut rate prices. There are a lot of ways you can promote yourself. 

But your promotion MUST be in line with your USP.  If you stress your customer service and don’t provide any, your conversion rate will suffer.  So pick a USP, and use it as the theme for your promotion strategy.

5. Promote, promote, promote! Put another way, promote products with products.  If a client searched for one of your products, show them other related products. Amazon is the best at this. The key here is that they are related. 

Back in the day, Iomega used to sell USB zip drives.  If you purchased one online from its site it would automatically offer you a USB hub.  Purchasing went up because the products were related.

Barnum did all of this (except the videos) with gusto.  His unique selling point was in convincing the public that his stuff was worth looking at.  It should be much easier for you to promote real products and services that have clear use and value.  If your conversion rates aren’t as high as you think they should be, revisit your promotional strategies and look for ways to improve them.

It worked for Barnum and it will work for you.

How are you improving your site’s promotions?

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