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Before we start let me ask you a question. When was the last time you purchased (or wanted to purchase) a decently expensive product that you didn't know a ton about?
What was the research process you went through?
How was your experience? How much good information did you find and how much crap was out there? How did you know the difference?
I went through this last year when I was looking for a new computer, and I'm just starting the process again looking for a surround sound system.
When you start looking online for information on electronics you sure get a lot of keyword stuffed robo-spun content, fake review sites, and other spammy looking crap don't you... Then you get a bunch of stuff that might look professional but it's only talking about prices, so you know they're just trying to sell their product and you still need information so you ignore those. But when you find a source of free, high quality information doesn't it cut through that clutter like a laser? Don't you bookmark the page? Don't you click the “email to friend” link and send it to yourself just in case the bookmark gets lost? Don't you immediately bestow expert status on the author?
Ok, so it's no secret or surprise that I'm going to make the “big reveal” here. Obviously this ties in to how most people will start looking for a car. Yes it is counter-intuitive to put information out there without plastering your face or your logo or whatever all over it but try to look at everything you do through the eyes of the shopper. (Yes it's tricky to forget everything you know about how it's “supposed” to be done in the industry, but don't think like an expert.)
“Marketing Buddha” Dean Jackson has come up with a way of describing this that I've been wanting to share for a really long time. (And you have to listen to him, he pioneered the opt in page so you know he's a genius)
Dean Jackson's Cheese vs. Whiskers Theory
In many situations people react like mice. (This is why scientists use them for behavioural experiments...)
So how do mice react? Well basically mice are programmed with 2 “prime directives” (2 Less than Robocop) which are:
1: Get Cheese
2: Avoid Cats
These 2 directives are the motivating factor behind every conscious and unconscious reaction they have.
So how can we use this to instantly boost the R.O.I. of our online marketing?
Well let’s translate these prime directives back into (car buying) human terms and take a look at our marketing... In most cases salespeople are the “cats” that our prospects are trying to avoid. If our ads are all overtly trying to sell sell sell, our “whiskers” are showing and we are going to be ignored or avoided. So what do we do? (Well if you’ve paid any attention to anything I’ve ever said here, you know I don’t think brand building ads are the answer)
Let’s go back and look at it through the “mouse’s” eyes... What “cheese” is our prospect looking for? Information? Sure. What type of information could we offer in our ads that they would consider to be valuable?
What questions does a car shopper have that we could answer before they ask them in a (non-threatening or sales-y) book, report, or a video?
How about something like “Leasing vs. Financing: The Truth Revealed...” or “How to Get Top Dollar For Your Trade...”
If you are giving them helpful tips and answers to questions that they had in their minds already, without blasting them with information about you or your company, that’s cheese baby.
Hold on, this part is important...
Don’t worry, I’m not going soft on you... We’re still trying to make money, just not right away.
So how do we turn our “cheese” into a paying customer?
By giving them even more free helpful information, (but information that they have to get a little closer to you to get). To stick with our “How to Get Top Dollar For Your Trade” example, you would end the report by saying something like “But even more important than your trade in value is making sure you’ve selected the right new vehicle for you... For a free no obligation video walkaround on the new (manufacturer) vehicle of your choice go to (our website).” Then the video at the next step would encourage them to contact you for a test drive. Once they book the appointment you’ve got them in, they trust you because you’re the expert not a cat, and you’re set.