Marketing Lesson from Apple
I just got these amazing, fantastic Apple AirPods finally. I was a little late. By a little late I mean a few days late ordering them when they came out. I just got them in the mail in the last couple of days.
I’ll tell you what’s amazing about these. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically the regular Apple earpods, or something that looks very similar to that, without wires. They work with Bluetooth. They’re wireless Bluetooth earpieces, which is awesome.
I have had many pairs of wireless Bluetooth headphones – I’ve had the Bluebuds and various others – and all of these devices have the following two problems that drive me absolutely crazy.
One problem was when you go to use your Bluetooth headsets they always seem to be out of batteries. Not only that, in order to charge them you had to find a special cable. Sometimes it wasn’t all that special, but it was a particular cable, like a micro USB cable. You had to usually pop off some little cover and stick that thing in there. If you didn’t have that charger with you, if you were on the road, you were just stuck and you couldn’t use your headphones. I can’t tell you how many times with my BluebudX headphones that happened where I would go to use them and I had accidentally left them on. That was another thing, maybe a third thing, the controls on them weren’t all that great so sometimes it was hard to tell if they were on or off.
The other problem that used to drive me crazy about Bluetooth headsets is sometimes they would pair, sometimes they wouldn’t, and if I wanted to use them with my laptop that would confuse my phone and it would be hard to get them to switch back and forth. Sometimes this worked great and sometimes it was just so frustrating that it wouldn’t work.
Eventually, in every case when I had these Bluetooth headphones, I would try them and I would use them for awhile, and I would finally give up on them because they were too much of a hassle. Well, Apple did the thing that Apple does best, in my opinion. They recognized something that was going on in the marketplace that wasn’t solved very well and they went in and they just crushed the solution.
With these Apple AirPods what happens is they pair completely seamlessly. In order to pair these with Apple hardware all you have to do is open the lid. Your phone says, “I see Apple AirPods,” and they’re instantly paired. Using them between the laptop, the iPad, and the watch is really easy. It uses iCloud to move that pairing configuration around between your devices. That has been completely seamless and very easy for me, and they have worked flawlessly.
The other thing that is great about these is they come in a little case, which helps you keep from losing them, and that case will actually charge them. Whenever you put them away, even if they’re not plugged in, you’re charging them; so they’re essentially always charged, which is really amazing. At night I plug that little case in, when I put my watch away I put those away, everything charges overnight and the next day the AirPods are ready to go for the entire day. You can charge them four, five, or six times out of the case and they work flawlessly. It’s really cool.
This is interesting because of the marketing lesson here. The marketing lesson here is Apple identified a gap in the market and they did it better.
They took a crowded thing in the market, headphones. Gosh, headphones are a dime a dozen, and even Bluetooth headphones you can buy big ones, little ones, cheap ones and expensive ones, Bose has incredibly expensive ones, Amazon has really cheap ones, and none of them are great because of these fundamental limitation. Apple went in and solved the fundamental limitation, and I can’t get enough of this product.
That applies to what we’re doing in internet marketing, too. What is the fundamental limitation that you are solving with your product that you’re creating? If you’re creating a piece of content, what is the other content out there doing and what makes your content not just a “me too” piece of content but actually a piece of content that does something just a little bit better, or maybe in some cases a lot better than the content that is out there?
This applies in affiliate marketing just as well. If you’re doing a product review and you look at the other product reviews, what are they missing? Is it a comparison table? Is it some analysis of the real benefits of the product? Is it having everything all in one place? Is it the fact that they don’t deal with and review the latest product that is out there? Maybe they don’t tell you the limitations. Maybe the reviews out there are all positive and there’s no review out there that tells you the downside of the product.
Whatever it is out there, there’s usually always a way that you can take a look at what your competition is doing and fill a gap that they’re not meeting. I want to encourage you to do that in whatever you do.
Do the thing that you’re going to do, and then pause and wait a second to see if you can think of the extra thing that you can do to make your stuff really special. This will make a difference in how people look at your content, how well it converts, and whether or not you can differentiate yourself in a really noisy marketplace.
Call to Action Creation Tips
Last week we talked about calls to action and you’ll recall that all of this was motivated by Cliff Ravenscraft’s podcast about call to action fatigue. I listened to that podcast and I understood what Cliff was talking about. He started off calling it product launch fatigue, then he started talking about call to action fatigue, and it made me think of calls to action in general.
I, kind of tongue-in-cheek, took that a step further and did no calls to action in my last episode and even kind of made a joke about it. I didn’t have any calls to action. In fact, I didn’t even play my outro. That was kind of funny. I got feedback from people that said, “Don’t stop doing calls to action. We get it, we know that you need to do calls to action.” I know that, I was just trying to make kind of a tongue-in-cheek point there.
Cliff listened to the show, which is very flattering for me, and Cliff wanted to clarify and give this feed to make sure that you guys understood that he wasn’t talking about all calls to action, because some calls to action are really important. Let’s listen to a snippet of the audio that Cliff sent me by email right here…
Cliff: By the way, real quickly, last week’s episode is not talking about those call to actions. I believe your show should naturally organically have call to actions.
A call to action like, “There’s this Yoast plugin and this article I read that cleared up everything, and I want to encourage you to check out that article, you can find that in the show notes,” are very natural. These kinds of calls to action are perfectly fine.
What I was concerned about is a product launch from a huge online influencer, they launch a product and if you’re subscribed to 15 podcasts that you listen to every single week and you never miss an episode, for four weeks during the launch every episode for four weeks, nine of the 15 episodes you listen to every week the content is clearly designed to sell that product and that call to action. Oftentimes the person doing the product launch is the guest on every single one of those nine shows.
Then of course there are the obsessive call to actions, especially front loading your show. It’s a combination of all of those things. I just want to say that it’s not about don’t ask for anything or don’t do any call to action. Play you jingle that has you call to action to check out the show notes and to get your free newsletter, stuff like that. Just be careful how much you’re asking your audience to do.
By the way, asking your audience to do you a favor or asking your audience to do something that is going to be a favor to them are completely different things. For example, “If you want to hear more about this article, go over to the show notes at this URL.” That is a resource that you’re giving to them if they’re interested.
We should embrace call to action. We want to engage with our audience. We want them to take action, to do things. I think that’s a valuable part. Just be careful of how much extra stuff we throw into the mix. Specifically I was talking about hyper-loading how many things we’re selling people.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that. Mark, I love you, I can’t wait until you’re back on the show either next week or the week after, looking forward to it.
Clearly Cliff is saying he was talking about these big product launches mostly, but I do think there is this kind of question still about the integrity of the content that is being created and the point that I made last week that if you have too many calls to action it starts to pollute your content.
That’s not a phrase that I came up with, that’s actually a phrase that I heard Ray Edwards use in that episode last week on Cliff’s show. If you start having so much promotion in your content that it starts to influence what it is that you’re talking about and it starts to kind of junk it up. I think that is something that you want to be careful about.
On the other hand, I really do believe that most of the content that you create, if not all of the content that you create, should be created for a purpose. Sure, there is a reason that sometimes you might want to just rant on a topic or do some kind of public service announcement – although, even public service announcements typically have some kind of call to action to go do some good in the world. There might be some reason that you just want to say something colorful. But even when you’re talking about something like the Apple AirPods that I was talking about earlier, the call to action there is for you to create better content, go do something.
Let’s be specific. If I’m not creating content that motivates you to go do something and if I’m not encouraging you to do something, I am not doing it right. Sometimes the thing that I want you to do is actually going to result in the exchange of money between you and me, or you and me and a third party. I think that’s when it gets a little goofy.
It’s not just marketers that have this thing that they have to worry about. Even churches ask you for money, and a lot of times I think a lot of people are weirded out by that. When you’re called to action to exchange money sometimes that can feel a little weird.
I think the issue always comes back to value, at least in the marketing space. Is the value that you’re delivering justify the exchange of value in the form of money back in the other direction? I think even more importantly, are you doing it for the right reason?
We all understand that most people that are doing business, perhaps all people who are doing business well, are doing it at least in part because they need to create value for themselves out of that in the form of money. It can oftentimes be a question of is their heart in the right place. Are they trying to exchange value in a fair, even, and robust way with you, which is the kind of idea that free market economies are based on, or are they just trying to get at your wallet at any cost?
We’ve talked about this before, but I think these calls to action can be done in a right way. I think the number one thing, and the first recommendation that I have for you with regard to calls to action, is are your calls to action being made with integrity? Are you making this call to action because you don’t really care about the prospect, the outcome, all you really care about is making the sale; or are you making the call to action because you really believe that the value that’s being delivered is worth whatever the price is?
If the call to action is to join an email list, are you really doing that just because you know that every subscriber is worth $1.27 and you don’t really care whether they get value or not, or are you doing it because you know the value that is being delivered is really worth the time that people are going to spend reading those emails?
I think that’s really important. Not everybody thinks that is important, but I think that is a really important foundation that you want to have in your business, to have integrity in the calls to action that you issue. If you get that first one right, a lot of other stuff sort of takes care of itself.
The second thing that I think is really important for good calls to action is that you need to make sure that you have a clear value proposition stated in your call to action. You want somebody to do something. Why is it good for them to do it? Why do you want them to do it? What is the benefit for them doing it? It’s really important that you focus on that benefit, that outcome that they’re going to receive, rather than the features.
It’s not a list of 13 items that will help you write better copy, it’s a copywriting checklist that will help you win more clients. You really want to emphasize the value proposition that if someone takes the time to go get this checklist or do the thing that you asked them to do, whatever it is, that when they’re done they will receive some benefit by taking the action that you have described.
The third tip for calls to action is to make them big. Make a big deal out of your call to action. If one is true, if you have integrity in your call to action and you’ve decided this really is a good thing to do, a good call to action will be prominent.
If it’s on a landing page, it will be the one thing that they can do there. If it’s in a podcast, it will be clearly enthusiastically stated that they really think that you should go do this. The reason is that if you’re going to take the time to actually call someone to action, I think it’s really important that you sort of go big or go home.
Go ahead and make it clear that you really believe that this is something that the prospect should go do. It will help you with your conversions, it will help amplify this integrity that you have in item number one, and it will help emphasize the benefits that they’re going derive that you’ve described in item two. So number three is when you do your calls to action go ahead and go big or go home. Make your call to action prominent.
The number four tip on great calls to action sort of goes without saying. That is make sure that when the prospect takes your call to action that they actually get what you promised.
There are a couple of aspects to this. One is to clearly describe what it is that they’re going to get, which also goes to item number two, not only the benefits they’ll get but the features. “What is it? It’s a beautiful PDF with 17 tips that are actionable and when you take those actions you’re going to get these benefits.” Make sure that’s really what it is.
A lot of times what you can see is someone will tout the benefits of this ebook, you opt-in to this call to action to receive the ebook, and it’s just really not all that great, or it’s cheaply done. They’ve invested all of this effort into setting all this call to action up, but the downloadable product is not great.
The absolute opposite of this would be Pat Flynn’s ebooks like Email the Smart Way, you download that thing and it’s probably the most beautiful, most action packed, information filled ebook you’ve ever seen. That’s sort of a contrast.
You want to deliver massive value. This is a good time to really over-deliver. Make sure that the result of the call to action that you make actually matches what you promise. That’s really important. If there is a disconnect in what you promised and what they get, not only are they not going to get the benefit that you promised, which is important to item number one about having integrity in your offers, but they’re not going to trust you to take future calls to action and that’s going to be an issue for you.
The number five tip, which you hear a lot of times, is when possible, test your call to action. With the podcast we don’t really do this, because I don’t distribute multiple versions of the podcast to see which calls to action work the best. It is certainly possible to do that, I just don’t do that. With website calls to action and other calls to action in copy, you definitely can find massive benefit in split testing things like headlines, graphics, and other things.
Tools like LeadPages and some of these other pop-up providers, and ConvertKit; some can do a little bit of split testing, in the case of ConvertKit, or a lot of split testing in the case of something like LeadPages. You definitely want to test colors and graphics and headlines.
You’d be shocked by two things, I think, if you ever did any actual split testing. Every time I do split testing I am always amazed by two things.
One is the things that you don’t think are going to matter oftentimes matter a whole lot. Little things, like small changes in the headline, changes in the color, small changes in the graphic, or sometimes total changes in the graphic, changing from a left-facing face to a right-facing face, all kinds of weird strange things can affect the conversion rate of calls to action.
The other thing, and maybe this is just because I’m a little too arrogant, the things that change, the things that make a difference are just impossible for me to predict. You get the weirdest results sometimes and you cannot even imagine why call to action A is better than call to action B, but it is and the data are clear. It’s just really hard to explain sometimes. Sometimes you can explain it. I guess what I would say is it’s hard to predict ahead of time exactly what calls to action are going to be the best, so, if you can, be sure to split test your calls to action.
A last tip that I’ll give you for calls to action, as long as you’re paying attention to number one and having integrity in your call to action and doing things for the right reasons, the sixth tip is take advantage of what is called FOMO – the fear of missing out, or urgency, or scarcity. If it’s appropriate and it makes sense, your calls to action can be a lot more effective if there is some urgency.
For example, “For a limited time we’re going to be offering _____ and you can get that by going to this link. After next week, it’s going to be gone,” for whatever reason.
One place where this works really well, I think, is webinar replays. If you give a webinar, or webinars in general, those things are at a particular time and after a time if you don’t make the webinar it’s either gone or the replay is there but it’s only there for a short time. That would be an example of a call to action to go watch that because it’s going to disappear soon. That’s something that I actually respond to, I respond to those calls to action because there are cases where I don’t want to miss out on whatever that content is and I know it’s going away.
The integrity thing comes into play because, in my opinion, you want to have a good reason for that scarcity. It is a little frustrating when someone makes something scarce for no reason, or they talk about the scarcity of a digital product, “there are only 17 copies being sold,” but there is really no reason for that and they don’t tell you why. Those kinds of things that are clearly scarcity for scarcity’s sake, I think that can backfire on you. If you have a real reason for something being scarce or people missing out on an opportunity because it literally is only happening for awhile, like the sale at Target is only this week and after this week the sale goes away, you see that all of the time, that’s a kind of urgency, a fear of missing out sort of element that you want to take advantage of in your calls to action.
Those are six tips and I hope those will help you with your calls to action. If you keep those six tips in mind your calls to action will be a lot better moving forward.
Wrapping Things Up…
That’s it for this week. Next week I have an absolutely amazingly fantastic interview with Terry Dean for you. You’re going to love it. It’s all about email and email marketing, which is something we all should be doing – and doing better. Terry is going to help you do that.
You’re going to love this interview. I’ve known about Terry for years, since I started marketing back in 2007, but we’ve never actually met or talked on the phone until earlier last week. It’s a great interview and I’m really excited about that. I hope you’ll come back next week and listen to that interview.
Come back next week, that’s my call to action for you on that, and listen to the Terry Dean interview. Until then, I hope you have an amazing, productive, outstanding week and you get all kinds of stuff done. I’ll talk to you next Thursday. Take care.