If you’ve ever paid attention to those late-night infomercials selling fitness or nutritional supplements, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. The billion-dollar infomercial blueprint is still used today and is responsible for generating countless billions of dollars in sales.
The formula works something like this:
It’s an effective sales strategy. The marketers behind these infomercials understand the human psyche and how to influence decision-making.
They understand the messenger is more important than the message. Get the messenger wrong and the message will lose impact.
When you’re a middle-aged married man with two kids and a demanding job who wants to get in shape but hasn’t been able to find the time or motivation, you may seem like a hard sell. But when a marketer puts Jeff, Kenny and Bill in front of you — all middle-aged married guys with kids — who explain their struggles to find the motivation and time to transform from Dad bod to superhero, you take notice!
They have tried a variety of solutions but all failed. And what do you know? You’ve tried the same, or very similar things, without success, too!
But here they are, looking confident, fit and a little more tan with no body hair for some reason. You think to yourself, “If they can do it, then I can do it!”
It’s time to let your customers do the marketing for you. And watch them thank you for allowing them the privilege of doing it.
You’re going to design a communication strategy that consistently brags about customer success. And you’re going to provide the platform for these same customers to enjoy well-earned recognition.
There are a variety of ways to approach this, of course, but here is an easy way to build momentum.
Step 1. Identify common challenges plaguing a specific segment of your customers. Note that sometimes the solution will be your specific product or service and other times it will be valuable information you are providing.
Step 2. Pick one of the common challenges and craft questions you’ll present to expert clients who will have answers. For example: “What are some common plumbing oversights costing homeowners thousands of dollars? And how can they eliminate these potential problems forever?”
Step 3. Send an email to all, or a select group, of the customers who are best-suited to answer the question. Explain that you’re looking to feature experts like them to contribute to an upcoming resource or article. Don’t be specific regarding the topic yet. Say you’ll send more details if they are interested.
Step 4. Send respondents the topic or question. Express that you want their best, expert advice and any unique success stories they can share. Provide a deadline for submissions and request any logos, photos or other collateral they have available. (You can use these assets in your marketing efforts.)
Step 5. Gather the information and put together your resource. It may be a guide: “We asked 10 of the most reliable plumbers in your area to share simple ways you can solve common plumbing issues without needing to call a pro! This guide alone could save you as much as $1,000 in future repairs!” It could be a few pages or many.
If you don’t have a designer on your team, you can visit sites such as www.fiverr.com or www.upwork.com and find freelancers to put it together.
Step 6. For this step, we’ll assume you had at least 10 customers participate. Collect insightful quotes from each expert and create 10 quotable images. If you don’t have a designer, you can visit sites such as www.canva.com or www.picmonkey.com and put together some pretty amazing images without any design skill.
Step 7. Write an article, or two, focused on the topic. Feature quotes in each article.
Whenever possible, you’ll want to directly or indirectly point to your products or services as a key piece of the solution. This enables you to replicate the billion-dollar infomercial blueprint more precisely.
This one simple effort could produce remarkable content opportunities for you:
Produce a valuable resource (eBook or printed version) for your customers. You can use this as a lead capture piece (“Enter your email to download our guide”) or as a direct giveaway.
You have at least 10 eye-catching social media image posts in the form of expert quotes.
You can prepare one, two or more articles focused on solving common problems with quotes from industry pros. Post these to social media, your blog, curated sites and wherever else it makes sense.
Take the images you created, the articles and larger resource and separate them by contributor. Send a thank-you package along with their individual assets and include recommendations on sharing to their social media outlets.
This process makes it easy to prepare an entire campaign, or series of campaigns, using content created exclusively for you by valuable experts you call customers.
Whenever possible, you will want to “tag” each of the contributors when posting to social media sites, which can exponentially increase your reach. Chances are pretty good you’ll get an even bigger bump when your contributors share with their customers and prospects. After all, who doesn’t want to share something they are featured in?
As you refine your content strategy, similar clients will take notice. More will raise their hands to participate to avoid being left out or missing opportunities for recognition. Some of these customers will win new business as a byproduct of the recognition received, thanks to you!
You will quickly build a valuable library of tips, tactics, best practices and case studies curated from industry experts who can point to you as a critical reason they’re able to achieve positive results.
What should you do now?
Get with your team and come up with five pain points a set of customers have. Then follow the process from reach out to content production outlined in this column. Put the materials together and roll out your first curated campaign.
You have to constantly explore new ways of building awareness and providing value to current and prospective customers. Nothing new is ever comfortable or even easy. There are a variety of ways to execute these strategies and I’m confident you’ll uncover the right formula for your business.
One thing is for sure, though. If you don’t take action, learn, adjust, improve and continue to grow, nothing will change, let alone improve.
You now have a billion-dollar blueprint. The only thing left to do is take action!