How many times has this happened to you? An ad on Facebook caught my eye a few days ago. It boldly asked, “Which superhero are you?” I love superheroes, which I suppose is what Facebook was going for because they use the information in my profile to advertise to me. So I couldn’t help but click on the ad.
I promptly filled out a fun questionnaire, saying I would have the power of flight, I would try to save people in a burning building with my power, and I would try to return a lost wallet to its rightful owner. What can I say? I’m just a nice guy.
The Cost Is Too High
I couldn’t wait to see which superhero I am, but just before I got to that point, I received a rude awakening. A screen came up requiring me to give my name, email address and a little other information before I could progress any further. I didn’t know anything about the company that was asking for my information, nor did I know what they would try to sell me if I gave them the chance.
All I wanted was to get to the fun prize at the end, but the cost to get there was too high. I never found out which superhero I am.
What Are You Hiding?
I don’t mind businesses advertising to me online. Sometimes that’s where I hear about deals or products I am really interested in. But a company has to do more than just give me a fun, off-topic quiz to make me want to try their products or divulge my personal information. They have to come out of their hiding place and give me some real value first.
Maybe the company hiding behind the superhero quiz sells comics or movie posters or something related to that topic, but I’ll never know now because I broke off the relationship before it could start. This is definitely not the response that company wanted from me. Maybe I’m the exception to the rule. Maybe most people don’t mind tossing out their contact information to anyone online just for the asking. I hope that’s not the case.
What Customers Want
What I want from a company online is a reason to trust them. What do they do to show they are competent in what they do, worthy of my time and money, and able to satisfy my needs? These are selfish requirements, but that’s the way my consumer mind works. Here are a few ways your business can build trust with me:
- Share what your customers think of your products and services. I’ll especially take these seriously if they’re not all glowing reviews. You can certainly give your side of the story if someone gives a negative review. I just want a realistic take on what to expect.
- Solve a problem for me. Show me I can trust you by opening up and explaining how to do something I struggle with. For example, if you sell used DVDs, explain how to fix damaged discs or something else related to what you do.
- Tell me why you want my contact information and what you’re going to do with it. I especially like when you allow me to opt out of third-party offers and just sign up for emails I want to receive.
- Don’t try to sell me immediately! If you’re the one looking for me, I’m probably not ready to buy when I first meet you. Even if I’m looking for you, I’m not necessarily ready, either. I might just be testing the waters. Don’t go for the hard sell when we first talk. Get to know me and let me get to know you before talking business.
Be a Superhero
Instead of giving me a silly gimmick (like a superhero quiz), why not show me your company’s figurative superpowers first? I’ll show what I mean with an analogy. Superheroes go around doing good to others, and some earn a good reputation (like Superman) and others earn a bad reputation (like Spider-Man).
Part of that is their explanation (or lack thereof) to the public about what they stand for. Everyone knows Superman stands for “Truth, justice and the American way of life.” Few people actually hear Spider-Man declare his motto, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Plus, Superman spent years training his mind and body to become the great leader he is while Spider-Man accidentally gained his powers in an instant and first tried to sell his talents on TV before becoming a superhero.
Be like Superman, not Spider-Man. Do what’s right and treat your customers well. Explain what you stand for and, instead of selling yourself to the public when you first arrive, let your positive actions do a lot of your talking.
That’s my advice on how to be effective at Internet marketing. Give it a try and you might just see your business start moving up, up and away!
Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks, and small business. Fishbowl is the #1-requested manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies.