One of the most pervasive problems on the Internet these days for us marketers is the extreme sales resistance that exists.
Not that sales resistance is anything new. People are conditioned to tune out commercialism of any kind wherever they see it, but online, it’s even worse.
That’s why the advertorial is such an important element in your lead generation arsenal. The advertorial concept will never go out of style because it leverages a universal social standard that’s burned deep into your prospect’s brains. So deep in fact, it makes an effective advertorial appeal almost irresistible.
I’ll explain what it is in a moment. First …
Two essential factors you should be aware of when generating leads on the Internet…
1. People still view the Internet as an “information” medium, because in its early days that’s what it was: essentially a free library you accessed through a computer. Gradually this is changing, but it remains an integral part of the mindset.
2. The cost of market entry online is so freakin’ low that any idiot can offer things for sale on a website, and many do. Therefore web users are conditioned to sort and sift actively through a pile of rubbish when looking for information. This conditioning carries over to their thinking about the purchases they contemplate online as well.
RESULT: Extreme aversion to commercial messaging:
These factors raise the usefulness of the advertorial to a level never before seen. Whether used as a landing page, or as a free or low cost report, video presentation or webinar that you use as a lead generation vehicle, there’s no better way to attract interest in your sales message. Here’s why …
The true advertorial, unlike a more conventional “ad” promises to add value to your prospects life simply by consuming it. Within the copy itself, is a gift of knowledge that helps your prospect to solve a problem or capitalize on an opportunity.
Therein lies its true power. When done effectively, it neutralizes the pitch paranoia that’s savaging the profitability of so many coaches, consultants, advisors, agencies, service pros and solution providers today.
Not only does a great advertorial harmonize with the prospect’s preconception that the Internet is a storehouse of free information, it leverages an unwritten rule that governs human social interaction at a profound level: The rule of reciprocity.
Why “True” Reciprocity is “Truly” Irresistible…
In the southern United States, there’s an expression that, taken by its literal meaning betrays the true power of this fundamental law of human social interaction. When a Southern gentleman (or lady) says, “Much obliged,” he or she is figuratively saying “Thank you”. Literally however, they are saying, “I owe you”.
Consider the social significance of such behavior for a moment…
If it weren’t for this unique adaptive mechanism, society, as we know it would cease to exist. There would be no division of labor. There would be no specialization. There would be no exchange of goods and services. The entire economy would grind to a screeching halt.
A widely shared and strongly held feeling of future obligation is one of the defining factors in human social evolution. It means that one person can give away something (money, time, labor, food, etc.) with confidence that it won’t be lost.
That’s why, from a very early age, all of us have been deeply and heavily conditioned to feel very uncomfortable when beholden to someone. If that person gifts us with some benefit, and we accept, we at once feel kindly toward that person, and subtly bothered by a feeling of indebtedness.
Similarly, from early childhood, we are vigorously trained to actively dislike anyone who violates the law of reciprocity. One of the very first rules parents drill into their children’s heads is to say “Thank You”, and keep a mental score of obligation. Few things make a parent angrier with a child than displays of ingratitude.
Reciprocity is so vital to human social systems that people are compelled to behave impulsively and automatically in ways that are in accordance with its unwritten rules.
When someone gets that glow of satisfaction as a result of discovering something new and useful from you without having to buy anything, you can rest assured the law of reciprocity will influence their behavior when you ask them to return the favor by enrolling in your program.
But there’s more to the story …
Many online marketers who attempt to use this concept by giving away free information (otherwise known as a lead generation magnet) fail miserably. There are many reasons why, but here are four of the biggest …
Four Savage Advertorial Response Rate Killers …
Little Left To The Imagination – Successful invocation of the magic of reciprocity in selling is a marvel of balance. It is like the partially lifted veil, revealing just enough of a woman’s face to drive a man wild with desire. The man “samples” the woman’s eyes only. For more, he must reciprocate in some way.
I have seen many attempts at winning prospect favor with free reports, whitepapers, and various giveaways, particularly in the b2b space that attempt to deliver an entirely naked woman. The prospect may feel indebted and obliged, but there is no spark of self-interest to ignite a response when too much is revealed.
Meatless and Hollow – On the other side of the coin are advertorials that are lacking in substance, nothing more than a cheap hustle to obtain the prospect’s contact information for future follow-up.
This kind of marketing serves the purpose of convincing the prospect NOT to buy the product or service, and to ignore the seller’s future advances. Indeed, it is this shameless abuse of a noble concept that makes it increasingly difficult to build email lists and generate leads online.
It Looks Like A Trick – Prospects are aware of the reciprocity gambit, and so they resist. It’s difficult to find a web page anywhere online today that fails to trumpet the word “FREE” somewhere on the page, and like any other successful tactic that gets over used and abused it loses some of its lure.
Here’s a secret for you. If you want to dramatically increase your lead generation results when trading “advertorials” for contact information, take a page out of Claude Hopkins playbook.
Wherever possible, tie your “advertorial” to the paid offer you’re selling at the hip. Position your advertorial as a sample or excerpt of the actual program. In my experience, doing so almost always out pulls a more loosely related lead generation premium, both in terms of lead and sales conversion.
The reason is simple. Allowing the prospect to “sample” the actual product or service is a legitimate and innocent reason for extending a gift. Your motive for offering it becomes transparent, and therefore, your prospect finds it much easier to accept.
This in no way however reduces the subconscious burden of obligation that follows. The rule of reciprocity remains in full force. Plus, your advertorial is perceived as being synonymous with the product or service itself, thereby it lessens the risk associated with a purchase.
Where’s The Ad? – Very often I see lead generation magnets that provide excellent problem solving information, but then fall short on encouraging the prospect to take the next step. “Selling” is confined to a little mention at the end about how to get more information. Visit our home page, or some such. There may be “strategic” reasons for doing this from time to time, but in most cases it’s just leaving money on the table.
The best time to harvest the goodwill and social conditioning evoked by the rule of reciprocity is NOW! If your objective is to sell and grow your business, take full advantage of the mindset you’ve worked so hard to create with your advertorial. Don’t forget your advertorial is an “ad”!
The most powerful advertorial formula in my experience encourages the prospect to take the next step vigorously, with a seamless and almost imperceptible transition between “editorial” and “ad”.
Would you like some help fashioning the perfect lead generation magnet for your business?
It’s one of the core topics of discussion at our legendary, practice transforming strategy calls.
A precision crafted, persuasion rich advertorial-driven lead generation strategy can flood your business with pre-qualified, pre-educated leads that become well behaved and highly profitable clients in droves.
Watch this video and I’ll show you how.
Until next time, Good Selling!