If leads dry up, so does business. This article provides some pointers. Try them out and let us know your successes.
We’ll discuss some of Perry Belcher’s 21 Step Formula is split up into three sections:
(1) Content Marketing,
(2) Inbound Marketing and
(3) Viral Marketing.
It introduces itself as “a simple way to make your business successful by marketing it like a virus.”
STEP 1 – GATHER FACTS
This section of the book examines what viral really means in today’s marketplace. It also explains all of its different parts, from word-of-mouth to email chains and how both can work for you. Also included are several tips on how to write an effective blog post and some ideas about which platforms are best to use.
STEP 2 – CREATE AN ANTI-FACT
Perry Belcher describes ‘anti-facts’ as statements that go against the grain of conventional marketing, which he suggests should be used in order to break through the clutter and grab a consumer’s attention. His own anti-fact is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He goes on to list several others like “Great marketing doesn’t have to be expensive” and “Marketing means never having to say you’re selling”. Another section looks at how these ideas can apply when writing headlines for your blog posts or other content (including Twitter).
Step 3 – CREATE A CONTENT MASTERPIECE
This is all about creating content that people want to share and linking it back to your anti-fact, which should help you bring in more business. There are several examples of viral videos and even “viral taglines” from McDonald’s, Volkswagen, Southwest Airlines and others. Also included is information on how to promote your own content effectively (including a reminder that promoting the right kind of content not only helps you build an audience but also creates trust).
Another section looks at why most businesses don’t succeed with their viral marketing campaigns, while another points out why some do: “It’s similar to what I call ‘the Star Trek fantasy,’ or the idea that someone can go out into the world and, within a relatively short period of time, influence others to buy their product or service.”
Step 4 – WELCOME NEW MEMBERS TO YOUR VIRAL NETWORK
This chapter is all about getting people to give you their personal information so you can interact with them on your own terms. It includes examples from several companies (including HubSpot) who use this method very successfully even though it goes against conventional wisdom, which says that “you should never get the buyer’s email address until they have purchased something from you.” The testimonials column also proves important because Perry Belcher adds that “people want more evidence before they make a purchase than when they’re asked to like or follow you on a social media platform.”
Step 5 – DON’T LET THE LAWYERS SCARE YOU
At this point in the book, Perry Belcher switches gears by adding in a couple of chapters that serve mainly as a source of comfort for those who are worried about legal issues. He also shares his own take on ‘The Golden Rule:’ “Make sure that whatever you’re doing is being done to you, as well,” he says, which includes the reminder that the FTC is more concerned with your actions than what you say online.
Step 6 – GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO HELP YOU
Perry Belcher cites a story from one of his clients where they were able to break through the clutter by having a woman literally offer up her dog in order to promote their brand. That may be an extreme example, but he does make several other suggestions for finding ways to get people talking about your business without them looking like advertisements or feel like work (one example is to share photos of your customers). Within this chapter, he also includes a section on “How to get people talking” that looks at several specific conversation topics.
Step 7 – INCREASE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT YOU WILL BE KNOWN BY OTHERS
Perry Belcher describes this step as being about “creating conversations with others and bringing out the best in them” so they want to spread information about you. He points us towards his top ten list of ways to do that, including creating something worth saying and giving people ideas on how to start a conversation (or better yet, what not to say when starting a conversation). A big part of making other people help you is about creating a system that lets you get in front of them when they are looking for what you have to offer. He calls this “The power of the conversation starter” and provides some examples in case you’re having trouble thinking up your own.
Step 8 – HELP OTHERS ORGANIZE THE INFORMATION YOU’RE SHARING
Perry Belcher looks at ways to help others find information (and potentially talk about it) by using both search engines and tags, social media platforms, content aggregation sites like Scoop It! or StumbleUpon (which can help people find interesting new websites by using their interests), RSS feeds on your site, forums where people share tips or stories about a subject matter, etc . He also talks about using Google AdSense and offering ‘jobs’ to your community so they can help you do things like translate your site, create a podcast or even a travel guide.
Step 9 – EMBRACE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GROW YOUR LIST
Perry Belcher shares several ideas for getting new people to sign up for your mailing list including personalizing every email (with data from Step 1) and asking people to sign up or register with you on different platforms whenever possible. In addition, he includes an extra chapter that focuses more specifically on the subject of opt-in ebooks because (as he puts it) these are just about the most generous type of gift you can give someone. Finally , he also includes some tips on how to make sure that you don’t create spam-like content so people want to turn your email offers into a subscription in the future.
Step 10 – FIND HELP IN YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where there are already other entrepreneurs who know what it’s like to run their own business, Perry Belcher suggests joining or adding yourself to local organizations and making introductions with others whenever possible. He also reminds us not to forget about non-business related community groups – churches, volunteer organizations, etc. With regards to online communities, there are many sites available for help including forums (many of which are focused around specific niches) as well as social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Step 11 – CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES (AND FAILURES) TOGETHER
Perry Belcher includes a chapter in the book about making your community work for you, but part of that may involve actually sharing information about yourself to help others learn from your experience as well as your successes. In addition, he also talks about making sure that you’re always present when relevant conversations are taking place online and being prepared to answer questions or give more information whenever someone needs it (and within reason). He reminds us once again not to take things personally and offers specific tips on how to respond if people are asking for something you have no intention of giving them.
If there’s any single area where this book is lacking, it would be in providing specific advice about cultivating an online community. Perry Belcher does a good job of identifying some different platforms that can help get you started, but it would have been nice to see him talk more specifically about the combination of tools and resources that work well together in real world situations. The book is still worth reading for anyone looking to improve their own presence on the web without necessarily putting all their eggs in one basket – just be aware that this is not going to lead you down a single path towards creating your online community. (And honestly, if there was just such a path we could follow, wouldn’t everyone already be doing it?)
Step 12 – DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO GROW Successful communities are based on members who have a vested interest in the success of the community as a whole, not just themselves. This fact makes it important that you don’t forget about your opportunity to grow when working with your online community – even when they’re helping you. Perry Belcher recommends promoting your own website (to generate new sales), posting testimonials from people who have been helped by your products or services and growing relationships with outside bloggers and sites that will cross-promote or refer traffic back to you.
LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS?
Let us know what further information and we’ll add your suggestion to future blog topics.