“Hello, my name is Pat.”
“Hi Pat. Nice to meet you!”
“Would you like to buy my ebook? It's only $29 dollars, and I promise it will tell you everything you need to know. Hello…HELLO?!”
(insert obnoxious game show “incorrect answer” sound effect here)
Cold selling, similar to “cold calling”, is when someone tries to sell something to a prospective customer who does not know that person and was not expecting such an interaction. It does not work. You may be able to get a sale here and there, but if you want to create a successful business online, especially one that you can be proud to say you own, you cannot cold sell.
Do you like to get calls from a telemarketer? Do you like to sign up for email newsletters, only to get bombarded with emails that say “buy this” and “buy that”? Do you click links for products in tweets from people you've never heard of?
It might sound obvious, but I can't tell you how many times a day I'm shown some kind of cold offer. In emails, in tweets, on websites—it's ridiculous. Not only will cold selling leave you wondering why you don't make any sales, but you'll lose the respect of people who may have eventually bought something from you, and maybe even help you promote and sell more products.
So the question is, how can we as internet marketers, bloggers and entrepreneurs sell something to people online, without cold selling?
The answer: build a relationship with your traffic.
Build a relationship, and the cold selling immediately vanishes. Become their friend, and they'll naturally be attracted to what you have to offer. The more you can interact and engage with your traffic, the better chance they'll stick around and help you out in one way or another, whether its by tweeting your next post, linking to you on their own website, buying something from you, or becoming an affiliate.
Here are 5 easy ways you can interact and engage with your traffic so you can begin to build those important relationships:
1. Don't Hide
You cannot build a relationship with someone if you're not there, so why would you try and hide yourself online. As you can probably tell, I'm a big proponent of being totally honest and authentic, telling you exactly who I am and what I'm about. I think that's partly the reason why this blog has taken off like it has.
Especially online, if you can bring out your personality in your blog posts or articles, and even show a picture here and there of your face, people will be attracted to what you have to say, and eventually what you have to offer. Seriously, what you look like doesn't matter, so get over the fear, and put your face on your website!
When I think of my favorite websites, like Problogger, Entrepreneurs-Journey and Shoemoney, whenever I read their content, I imagine their faces—Darren, Yaro, and Jeremy, respectively. I don't think about what they look like or if they're attractive people, but I take in their content as if they were speaking to me, as I can imagine them doing so.
How many successful blogs do you know that don't have some kind of face or personality connected to it?
2. Encourage Comments
Another simple way to begin to build a relationship online with someone is to actually get them to contribute something. There's no easier way than in the comment section of your blog posts! Think about this: if people take the time to actually fill out their name, their website, email, and also a comment, that's 2 to 4 minutes out of their day given just to you and your post. That's huge.
Not only will people ask you questions or add to what your blog post was about, but it will encourage others to do the same. Every comment is an engagement that adds to the relationship you have with your traffic.
So, make sure you ask for comments! Encourage them! Talk about a controversial subject that can't help but be commented about!
Does that make sense? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below 🙂
Simply put, respond as much as you can. It does take work, and it does take time, but it also works wonders. Responding to people's comments, emails and inquiries is the next best thing to actually meeting with someone and talking with them in person.
People notice when you take the time to email or respond back, especially if it's something thoughtful and useful. They'll remember that, so when you do tweet something, link to somewhere, or even offer a product, they will be more than likely to at least give it a good look. Most importantly, however, you won't lose their respect, because that relationship has already been established.
4. Hook Up
When I say “hook up”, I mean become friends on social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook. In this way, you're in essence really becoming “friends”, not only because Facebook or Twitter tells you so, but like real-life friends, you get to know and understand things about each other that a regular person would not.
In addition, the simple act of accepting a friend request, or following someone on twitter is an engagement that consciously or subconsciously starts a relationship between the two parties.
Make sure to give people a chance to become your friend on social media platforms. Include links in blog posts (just like I did above), or in your sidebar. You are on social media platforms, aren't you?
Lastly, a great way to set yourself up for a possible consumer transaction is to have your traffic go through some kind of mini-transaction. To me, examples of mini-transactions are the following:
- Entering a name and email into an opt-in form for a newsletter
- Entering a name and email into an opt-in form for a free gift
- Answering a poll question or survey
- Performing some kind of action in order to qualify for a prize or reward in a contest
These are just a few examples, but they all go through the same process:
Thought -> Action -> Receive
These mini-transactions train the mind, so that when an offer for a paid product does come around, the thought process is one that the customer has been through before and are comfortable with. Thought -> Action -> Receive
How About You?
Based on your experience, which of these 5 strategies is the most powerful to you?