Tease them a little

Not that Flounder!

Catching a flounder is one of the hardest things to do in the world of saltwater fishing. That’s because flounders, like many consumers, are noncommittal. Oh, they’ll take the bait. That’s easy. But they won’t take the bait enthusiastically. They’ll swallow it casually. They’ll hold it in their mouths, gum it a little, allow it to rest on the palate. I mean, why not? What else does a flounder have to do? Why shouldn’t it take its time and enjoy the meal?

Meanwhile, the fisherman is losing his or her mind. They feel a gentle tug on the line, but it’s subtle. It could be their bait drifting over a shell on the sandy bottom. Most fishermen aren’t as cool as the flounder, however. They immediately yank their rod in an effort to set the hook in the flounder’s jaw and start reeling like there’s no tomorrow. The flounder, which was still deciding if it wanted the bloodworm or the squid, simply spits the bait out, leaving the fisherman with a lightly chewed piece of seafood on his or her hook and a look of “what happened?” on their face.

What happened is that the fisherman, like many marketers, went for the home run, when they should have gone for a slower, more methodical approach. Tease the flounder. Give it time to appreciate the quality of the bait. Let it get to know you a little before you take it home to meet your parents and ask it to move in. Then, and only then, can you hook the sucker. And nothing is better than fresh broiled flounder with butter and lemon juice.

To that effect, marketing expert Marcia Yudkin of Creative Marketing Solutions offers tips for product promoters to help them reel in customers slowly but effectively. As she explains in her newsletter, The Marketing Minute:

When you have a new product or an upcoming event, you can’t tell your list about it just once.  Vary your angle. Lead into it differently each time.  Use this checklist to pitch repeatedly without boring or annoying your email recipients.

1. Hit on a different benefit in each message.
2. Elaborate on different content points.
3. Tie in to something in the news.
4. Provide a little sample.
5. Highlight a testimonial or case study.
6. Describe the fit with a specialized situation.
7. Relate to something in a book, article, blog or movie.
8. Offer tips or resources.
9. Discuss a common objection and counter it in depth.
10. Invite questions from those on the fence.
11. Report related studies or survey results.
12. Warn against a common mistake.
13. Expound on something that surprises people.
14. Talk about emotional impact.
15. Sketch a revealing scenario, with dialogue.
16. Present a test-yourself quiz.
17. Tell a relevant historical story.
18. Use comparisons to make statistics come alive.

They might see what you’re up to, but you’ll have kept readers engaged – preventing opt-outs and boosting sales.

I don’t know if Ms. Yudkin is a flounder fisherman or not, but she has good ideas about luring the customer in slowly without turning them off. Give some of her ideas a try.

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