Have you noticed there are some marketers who struggle for years to build a responsive list and only end up with a burnt list of people who won't open their emails? Conversely, you've also witnessed new marketers busting into the scene as complete nobodies, and in no time at all they're commanding lists of mega thousands of eager and loyal followers. So how do they do it? What do the Frank Kern's of the world know that we don't?
It really all boils down to one thing – how you craft your content. Whether you're shooting videos or scribbling down your thoughts, there are certain tricks that will make others want to follow your every word and even buy your every product.
1. Don't just tell – show them with stories. Even the shortest of stories can be helpful in captivating your audience and sticking you and your info to their brains like glue. For example, depending on where you went to grade school, you might have been told two different ways to spell arithmetic. One, of course, is a-r-i-t-h-m-e-t-i-c. But the other is “a rat in the house might eat the ice cream.”
Which one do you remember decades later? It's the rat mnemonic of course, because that one little sentence tells you a story of a rat in the house maybe eating the ice cream. You only have to hear it once to remember it.
More importantly, as Robert McKee says, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”
Stories captivate, increase your open rates and conversion rates, and even hypnotize your audience. Do you want people read your content and follow your suggestions? Then become a master at storytelling.
2. Use cliffhangers and open loops. You're watching your favorite TV show when BANG! One of your favorite characters is shot. Will he live? You don't know, because the show ends and guess what? It was the last episode of the season. Now you have to wait until the start of the next season to see if he lives and to find out who did it. That, my friends, is the classic cliff hanger. There is action and suspense but no closure. It's unresolved. Unfinished.
And human nature dictates that we very much NEED to have that closure, so we tune in next season to get it. Of course, we never really do get closure because every episode leaves us hanging in some way – hence the popularity of soap operas, despite the bad acting and ridiculous story lines.
So let's say you're writing a series of emails or blog posts, and you end each one with a promise to reveal something in the next. It can't be just anything – it's got to be something that preys on your audiences' minds, making them eager for the next installment. For example, maybe you're dong a series on traffic generation. You outline a method that works well, then promise to show them how one little change can instantly triple the results. Tune in tomorrow to find out what that is. :-)
Open loops work much the same way, only the cliffhanger comes at the beginning of the content and the answer comes at the end. These are especially great in sales letters and longer blog posts and videos. You might promise at the very beginning to reveal 3 foods that effortlessly melt pounds – and then say something like, “But before we get into that, did you know that there are really easy, simple techniques you can use to burn extra calories throughout your day?” They are compelled to continue reading (or watching) if they want to discover those 3 foods that melt away pounds.
3. Engage the senses. First, use words that activate the senses, such as dazzling and glowing [visual] crackle and sizzle [auditory] fluffy and slippery [touch] delectable and refreshing [taste] fragrant and spicy [smell].
Second, use video. Video engages far more of the senses than the written word, and as a bonus, it can actually be faster than writing.
4. Be funny. This one tends to scare marketers - “But I'm not funny!” they say. The thing is, most people are genuinely funny when they are being themselves. This is not the place to try your stand-up routine or recite jokes you learned as a kid. Instead, it's the time to show your not-so-perfect side, to laugh at yourself, and to find the humor in everyday life. If you need help with this, read “Make 'Em Laugh and Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional For Purposes of Persuasion” by Dan Kennedy. I think Dan might also get the award for longest book title ever.
Okay, so WHY do you want to be funny? You probably already know the answer – people like people who are funny. They relax when they're in a good mood. They want more of that good feeling, and so they continue to consume your content looking for that feeling. And perhaps most important of all – people buy more and buy more happily when they're in good humor.
5. Grow your genuine personality. Whatever your personality is, magnify it and grow it to the point of being bigger than life. People follow bloggers, not blogs. They follow a marketer, not a marketing website. They follow you, or they don't follow at all. Be hot. Have the personality that appeals to your ideal prospect.
And then take it a step further and be DIFFERENT. Look at what everyone else is doing in your niche, and then go in a totally different direction. Be contrary not for the sake of argument, but for the sake of shedding an entirely new perspective on a problem or challenge.
Don't be normal. Don't be a cookie cutter. SURPRISE people. Do the unexpected. Make them stop dead in their tracks. Shock them. This isn't so hard – just look at what's normal in your niche and then do something else.
In fact, if you were to follow only one piece of advice out of this entire article, it would be to see where the herd is going and then call them into an entirely different direction. You won't get the entire herd to follow you, but you will captivate their attention. And those who do follow (and you'll be surprised at how many do) will follow you to the ends of the earth.