Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick BOOM!
I was hooked.
Not by the sound of the gunshot, but by everything that had happened in the last 98 minutes.
I was sitting in the living room of my childhood home. Mum and Dad were out and my younger brother was probably at yet another football practice.
The sound of the cold metallic explosion had torn through the room and left my young, 13-year old mind reeling.
I realised that I’d been sitting on the edge of the sofa for… well, I don’t know how long…
Until that point, French had been an interesting subject at school, even one that I was good at. But it hadn’t truly come alive until that moment.
Earlier in the day, my teacher had given me a video cassette to take home and watch that night. It felt somehow illicit (probably because of the 15 certificate on the cover), like she was confiding in me, trusting me with a prized possession from her culture. Allowing me into a new world.
Now that I’d seen it, there was no going back…
If you’ve ever read this blog before, or you’re one of our subscribers, you’re probably trying to work out whether or not I’ve lost my mind.
‘What on earth is Matt talking about and more importantly, why?’
‘This is supposed to be a post about content marketing. What does this story have to do with it?’
The answer is ‘everything’.
The story I just recounted was the moment I fell in love with French cinema.
More than that, this cinematic revelation sparked a series of events that in a few short years saw me living and studying cinema in Paris, even working on a film set or two.
That story that I watched unfolding on-screen at the age of 13 shaped my actions for years to come.
Read that last sentence again.
A story shaped my actions. And I’m not the only person who is influenced by stories.
I’ll come back to that in a moment or two.
You Don’t Sell Products Or Services…
In my last post, I told you how we were adding value to our blog posts, via what I call the Enhanced Blogging Method.
(If you haven’t read that post, then click here to read it now)
In this post, I’ll show you how we follow up with the prospects that this blogging method generates for us.
But first, there’s a very important point to make, which if you miss it, will make your marketing less effective.
You don’t sell products or services. You sell outcomes. The sooner you realise that, the better your follow-ups with customers will be.
All customers are on their own journey, to reach a goal or destination or outcome. You have to demonstrate how you’re going to help them get there. The product or service is just the vehicle you’re going to use to advance their story and give them the outcome they want.
It’s the outcome that you’re selling. It just happens to be in the form of a product or service.
How do you sell that idea?
People love stories.
That sounds obvious, but think about it. What could be more engaging than a story?
NOTE: I’m not for a moment suggesting that every e-mail you write to your prospects needs to start with a story from your childhood. What I am suggesting is that you use the tools and methods of storytelling to engage your readers more than ever before.
So, I’m going to show you the strategies to use, and then I’ll show you how to make it work for you on auto-pilot to sell more stuff.
Alright then, let’s get started.
1) Actually Follow Up With Your Prospects
This might seem obvious in a post about content marketing, but you actually have to follow-up with people once they join your subscriber list.
If they’ve signed up to get a free report on something, then give them more tools or tips that will help them reach their goal. You won’t annoy people if you show them a way to reach their goals faster. I’d happily receive your emails every day if they get me to where I want to go.
In the case of RoarLocal, we have a Facebook Ads report that I wrote which helps business owners to get targeted, high-quality leads from Facebook.
I know that those people who sign up for the report want to know how to use Facebook Ads for business.
I also know that, as good as the report is, it can’t possible give them all that I know about the topic in the space of 20-something pages.
So, using the medium of email, I can provide more tips that aren’t available anywhere else.
After a few emails showing that I know what I’m talking about, I can tell my Facebook Ads prospects about our services.
You can do the same thing in your market.
2) Open Some Loops
A ‘loop’ is simply a story that gets started in the text and then gets closed later on. However, master storytellers and screenwriters use something called an ‘open loop’.
This is where you start a story and create intrigue, but don’t actually finish the story until the next instalment or chapter.
Open loops are the reason we keep watching shows like Homeland or 24 every week. Several plots and sub-plots get started (loops opened) but only one or two get resolved. The unresolved ones are the open loops.
Psychologically, this appeals to our nature in a big way…
Our brains hate it when we don’t get the full story. We’re curious to know what happens, especially if we’re emotionally invested in the outcome.
This is one way you can connect with your audience more effectively.
Let’s say you want to give interested prospects more information about a specific topic. Perhaps you have three great tips that you can give to help them on their journey.
In e-mail one you mention that you’re going to tell them something that will blow their minds and get them a certain result faster than they thought possible… But you’re not going to tell them now because they need to know something else before you reveal that.
Loop opened. Reader engaged.
This is what’s known as a Soap Opera Sequence (SOS), because it’s structured just like the plot to a soap opera. The only difference is that this soap opera is actually about the outcome that the reader wants, making it more engaging.
This is invaluable for your marketing as it builds trust and gives great strategy all at once.
(In a few moments I’ll introduce you to the master of these SOSs and show you how you can get him to teach you his process)
3) Segment and Automate Everything
Once you’ve created some simple tutorials using storytelling principles, you can do two cool things to save you time and make you more money:
Automation is the relatively easy part.
We use an autoresponder service called ActiveCampaign to host our mailing list. Thanks to its ‘Automations’ feature, we can create entire automated sales funnels for our products.
We write our e-mails and set them up to go out at regular intervals. Then we can do different things based on the actions our subscribers take.
For example, we have one sequence where we only send the next part of the training if the subscriber replies to our message.
If they don’t reply, we don’t send it.
The benefit is that we only get super-targeted, highly-responsive people seeing the next part, which contains a sales email for a product of ours (as part of the training sequence).
By the time they reach the offer, they’ve qualified themselves as hot prospects and thus are much more likely to buy than a cold lead would be.
With a proven, automated email sequence in your business, you can make more sales just by increasing your traffic.
This process also helps us to segment our list.
Whenever someone takes a significant action (like downloading a report or visiting a page about a specific topic on our site), we tag them as having taken that action.
We can then start an automated process of helping that person towards their specific goal.
If they’ve visited our Pay Per Click service page on the same day as downloading our Facebook Ads report, we can email them with specific offers for potential Facebook PPC customers.
This kind of targeted email campaign yields far greater interaction and higher sales than you’d get if you sent the same e-mail to everyone.
Does It Work?
I know you like stats, so here they are:
- Prior to implementing these more in-depth, story-type emails in our follow-up sequence, only 16% of our list were interacting with our messages. Not great, but… That rate is now 34% and it jumped straight to that level as soon as we started using this strategy in our emails.
- Using this method, we’ve made three extra £297 product sales over the past fortnight from a 219-person segment of our list. Without the automated emails, we wouldn’t have made those sales.
Why Does This Matter To Your Marketing?
Do you remember earlier on in this post, when I said that a story inspired me and shaped my actions for years to come?
That’s what I want you to take away from this post.
- You can inspire your audience with the knowledge that you have about your industry.
- You can then put that inspiration on auto-pilot to grow your business and give your subscribers what they want (and only what they want).
In doing so, you’ll be helping to shape the actions your prospects take within your business for days, weeks and months to come.
You’ll build highly targeted lists of people who have put their digital hands in the air and who are more likely to become buyers of whatever it is that you sell.
If you use the techniques I’ve talked about here, you’re far likelier to succeed in a far bigger way.
Sure, you need to get people on your list. But what you do with them is what really matters.
What? No Free Download This Time
Nope, not this time.
And there’s a very good reason why not.
This week, I’m offering something far more valuable.
You might remember that earlier in this post I told you that I’d introduce you to the man that taught me how to do email marketing on a whole new level…
Well, his name is Andre and he’s an email genius.
He created a course called Autoresponder Madness and it’s the definitive guide to writing incredibly engaging emails that sell.
I want to give you a bonus, but only if you buy a copy of his course through the RoarLocal affiliate link:
If you grab a copy of his course via this link, I’ll spend an hour of my time with you on Skype to help you craft your e-mail marketing campaigns. By the end of the call, you’ll have a clear idea of what to write about and how to write it, as well as what you’re going to sell and how.
To qualify, you must have purchased a copy of Andre’s course via our link here and you must have an autoresponder service ready to roll.
(If you don’t have an autoresponder account, you can get a free trial of ActiveCampaign here.)
Naturally I won’t be writing your emails for you, but I will be giving the strategy you need and I’ll even give you the contact details of a top copywriter who is a specialist in this style of writing.
That way, you can hire them to write your emails for you while you get on with running your business.
Once you’ve purchased a copy, send your order receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll check it against our records. All being well, we’ll set up your strategy session asap.
This post took me ages to write, and I’d love to get your feedback on it. Want more like this? Or not? Got a question or a comment? Leave feedback, questions and comments below this post and I’ll reply as soon as I can. Thanks for reading.