Search online for “marketing tricks” and you will find millions of articles and blog posts (actually about 42,100,000 results in 0.34 seconds, according to Google) offering advice for marketing sleight of hand.
Here’s my marketing “trick”: Stop trying to trick people.
Now that we know that the customer is in control of the shopping and buying experience, why would anyone resort to trying to trick someone into buying something? Even if your trick works, the customer will end up disappointed because they were fooled.
Note: People don’t like to be tricked, especially when it comes to spending money.
Most people don’t like to be tricked at all. Have you ever clicked on an offer only to find that the link led you to something totally unrelated? It makes you angry, right?
Inbound marketing is all about using targeted content that attracts customers to something that genuinely solves a problem that they have. Those are the people you want visiting your website and responding to your content offers. You want to give them something valuable to win their trust and confidence. A trick will not do that.
Most of the tricks I see have to do with getting web visits and email opens. There are all sorts of ideas out there about how to write a an email subject line, or an article title in a way that increases the open rate. I’ve heard things like “use one word subject lines,” or “subject lines that contain the phrase ‘thank you’ get 30 percent more opens.” One of the more widely used tricks to get clicks was the listicle. Listicles are combination lists and articles, like “5 Tips to Increase Sales. The idea is to signal to people that your content is brief, punchy and easy to digest, making them more likely to open it. Nothing wrong with that, but at this point these titles suggest the use of a technique rather than the creation of well thought out content. At this point, if you’re writing listicles, they better be good.
There is nothing wrong with using proven best practices to earn opens and clicks. Copying other’s technique to lure people to unrelated content is misusing a best practice. The best practice behind the technique is to carefully study your customers, understand their problems, define the subset of those buyers your product can genuinely help, and to learn the language these people use to describe their problem and search for solutions. Then it takes even more work to create content designed to educate searchers about the problems in your industry, the available solutions, and what value your product or service brings to that marketplace. That’s not tricking people, that’s trying to truthfully connect with the people you built your business to help.
Ultimately, the best way to get the right person to click on your email is to be transparent about what the email is about. If they’re interested, they might click. If they’re not, you don’t necessarily want them to click anyway. The same is true about just about everything we do in marketing. The goal is to generate qualified leads, not opens and clicks.
Inbound marketing is all about rescuing marketing from the world of trickery, deception and soft metrics. Good inbound creates valuable, measurable marketing tools and campaigns, that help good businesses win and keep good customers. That’s what we all want. So let’s stop with the marketing tricks.