What is the “S Method” that I revealed in the previous email that I said could lead to such an email marketing disaster? The “S” stands for “sweepstakes,” and the S Method refers to any sort of contest, giveaway or gimmicky incentive that tries to attract an audience by offering them a chance to win something.
Using sweepstakes may, at first, *appear* to be working. At first, plenty of people are signing up. The numbers are rising. Everything looks good.
But when it comes time to actually convert those prospects into paying customers or subscribers, suddenly reality hits. Nobody’s buying! What’s the problem?
A MAGNET FOR NON-QUALIFIED USERS
The problem is that sweepstakes, contests, giveaways and programs that reward people for clicking or reading pages all have one thing in common: they attract anybody and everybody (rather than the people you really want). And too often, people who enter contests are the kind of people who scour the Internet looking for “freebies” and who aren’t serious prospects to begin with.
Are these people really your potential customers? Unless you’re selling online gambling services, probably not. And even if they make a purchase, chances are these are going to be your MOST TROUBLESOME customers. They’ll hammer your technical support phone lines because, after all, they have lots of free time and don’t mind waiting on hold as long as you’re footing the bill with a toll-free number.
Let’s step back for a minute and look at the big picture here. By using the “S Method” for marketing, you will make the three-fold mistake of:
Attract anybody and everybody, rather than serious prospects.
Mislead yourself and your marketing team into thinking that things are working when, in fact, you’re just seeing inflated participation numbers that probably won’t convert to paying customers in the long run.
Drain your valuable customer resources trying to support freebie-mentality users who always seem to have a lot more time on their hands than you do.
Put all this together and it sounds like a terrible marketing plan, right?
So why do so many marketers follow the S Method anyway?
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
Here’s why: because they’re not measuring what matters. Their metrics focus on the wrong numbers. Somebody up high said, “Get me more subscribers,” and of course, the S Method gets lots of subscribers. So the numbers look good and technically, the marketing people are just delivering what the boss is asking for, right?
Be careful what you ask for. If all you want is a million subscribers, no matter who they are, that’s pretty easy. But that’s not permission marketing.
Instead, redefine what you’re measuring. Isn’t it really true that you want *higher sales* at lower marketing cost? If that’s what you’re looking for, then the S Method suddenly appears foolish. And it is.
I remember the story of a finance company that changed their automated phone attendant to say, “Press zero for sales, press 1 for support, and press 2 to hear me quack like a duck.” Word spread about this hilarity from office to office, all over the country, and in the matter of a few weeks, the finance company received an extra 400,000 phone calls. This was headlined in DM News (a weekly paper catering to the Direct Marketing industry) and was characterized as a marketing success.
Sure, 400,000 phone calls sounds good at first. It makes perfect sense as a marketing success, especially if you live on Mars and don’t have to pay for 400,000 toll-free phone calls that tie up all your phone lines with useless calls from people who probably weren’t interested in financial services in the first place.
See what I mean? This was called a success, but in reality, it’s a raging failure. It’s “Stupid Marketing Tricks 101.” Just like the S Method. It probably cost the finance company tens of thousands of dollars in phone charges and lost productivity. They got a lot of attention, yes, but did it generate new business? Probably not.
SWEEPSTAKES ARE INCREASINGLY IRRELEVANT
Sweepstakes are often nothing more than a carry over from the old school “interruption marketing” days. Today, however, they’re largely irrelevant. Running a contest really admits, “We’re clueless about how to market to real people, so we’re just gonna run a contest and see who shows up.”
Don’t make the S Method mistake. Instead, think of something that really attracts the kind of people who can actually become your customers. Never reward people for entering a contest, clicking a button or reading a page unless you can QUALIFY their interests first.
NEXT: ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON HALF YOUR POTENTIAL MARKET?
There are now 580 million people using the Internet worldwide, but most email marketers are making a HUGE mistake and only tapping a tiny portion of that market. Could you be making the same mistake? And if so, how do you expand your email marketing reach in a cost effective way that taps your full potential? In my next email, I’ll reveal how.