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Back to my story…Last week I toddled off to an ‘industry event’. A networking opportunity.
To be honest, I’m not really in the habit of networking. Up until this point, my corporate nine to five job has made me lazy. It’s made me complacent. Not anymore. As a freelancer, and small business owner, I don’t have time for complacency anymore. I am coming to realise that networking, and learning from industry leaders, is vital to the success of my business. Plus, industry events have the added bonus of supplying fodder for my blog; they give me the opportunity to pass on lessons learnt.
Presented by James Tuckerman, I went along to ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’. At the age of 26, James started Australian Anthill magazine. He moved back home with his mum and dad, and operated from his sister’s bedroom (complete with Wham posters on the walls and love hearts on the curtains). By day he sold advertising space. By night, he penned every article that appeared in the magazine. Knowing he couldn’t put his name to every article, he gave bylines to his mother, his best friend, and even his dog, Wolfgang. James launched Anthill in 2003 with 6,000 subscribers, in direct competition with BRW.
In early 2009, James scrapped the print magazine. With a budget of only $900, he moved the whole publication online. Media commentators thought that would be the end of Anthill. ‘Anthill Bites the Dust’ screamed one particular headline. James proved them all wrong. By November, Anthill was ranked among the Top 50 Business & Finance sites in Australia by Nielson Online Ratings.
So, what was the secret to James’ success? What made Anthill work? And how did he do it?
He bridged the digital divide.
He bridged the digital divide using a modus operandi based on four pillars. Four blindingly obvious pillars. So blindingly obvious, that I had failed to spot them before I heard James speak last week.
So, without further ado, here are James Tuckerman’s four pillars for bridging the digital divide.
Pillar Number One: Measureable
With the GFC came the expectation that marketing had to be measureable. Every CEO and CFO wanted to see return on investment. Marketers were mandated to demonstrate a tangible contribution to the bottom line. The thing this, it’s nearly impossible to measure brand equity. Or it used to be.
With the rise of social media, marketing suddenly became very measureable. Through applications like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics, marketers can track, measure and optimise online marketing campaigns more effectively than ever before.
The thing is, most companies are measuring the wrong thing.
Most companies are trying to get their clients to marry them, before they’ve even asked them out on a first date. Most websites start screeching BUY! BUY! BUY! (like some strung out Wall Street stockbroker), before you’ve even had the chance to work out what they’re selling. There’s no chance of determining how they’re any different from their competitors.
It appears that the art of seduction is dead…at least when it comes to marketing.
So, what did James do? After a teensy disagreement with his Board of Directors, he rid Anthill’s website homepage of multiple ‘subscribe’ buttons (that screeched BUY! BUY! BUY!). He refocused the objective of Anthill’s homepage, encouraging his customers to sign up for Anthill’s free newsletter. He asked his customers out for a coffee.
Once customers had signed up for his free newsletter, James redirected them to a ‘success page’. Guess what that page said? Thank you for registering for our free newsletter. Would you like to know a secret? Who isn’t seduced by the promise of a secret? James prompted his customers to enter the code word ‘SECRET’. This entitled customers to a discounted subscription to Anthill magazine.
Take a guess what the result was. Do you think that potential customer ran away? Were all the potential leads scared off? Of course not. Australian Anthill enjoyed an 800% rise in subscriptions. 800%. Quite a tidy increase.
This process is called gamification. It’s all about taking your customers on a sales journey. Entice them in. Seduce them. Make sure their state of mind is geared towards momentum. Add in as many landing pages and success pages as you need to seduce your customers into parting with their cold hard cash.
Then measure leads. After that, measure sales.
Pillar Number Two: Findable
To bridge the digital divide, you have to be findable online. SEO, keywords and backlinks are only part of this.
Your target market needs to be able to find you easily online. The first step here is defining your target market. You might need to do some research into demographics. Look at gender, age and location. But keep in mind that demographics can be misleading. Let’s take the example that James so eloquently used last week…
Imagine four men. Four Englishmen. Four Englishmen over the age of 70. Four wealthy Englishmen over the age of 70. What do you see? What are they wearing? What do they look like? Maybe they’re dressed in suits and Gucci loafers. Maybe a nice pastel pink Ralph Lauren polo? Maybe a conservative sports coat, with patches on the elbows?
Bet you weren’t picturing the Rolling Stones.
But they fall into the demographic market described above. So, how do you reconcile the two? Well, at some point, you have to make assumptions. You have to make generalisations. The best points to make assumptions on are: Headaches, Desires, Obstacles and Aspirations.
Most wealthy Englishmen over the age of 70 will share the same Headaches, Desires, Obstacles and Aspirations, regardless of whether they a Rolling Stone or not. They will be thinking about their mortality, they will want to make the most of the time they have left, spending it with loved ones. Appeal to these similarities. Work out what it is they want and need, and give it to them. Answer WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?
So, we’ve covered off James Tuckerman’s first two pillars. Tune in for part two, when we get stuck into pillars three and four.
Courtesy of Mr James Tuckerman himself, we are very pleased to offer a free download. To get your mitts on the brilliant information contained within, all you need do is subscribe to our newsletter. Go on. You know you want to.