The Top Three Reasons Why Direct Marketing's Give-&-Get Strategy Works Better than Social Media's Give-to-Get

Give-&-get marketing strategyEveryone loves to hate the “But, wait…There’s MORE!” commercials. It’s a rare soul who’ll admit to doing anything besides making fun of them. If you listen to the detractors, you have to wonder why they are still on the air. There is only one reason. They work.

Saying that they work is an understatement. They work really well. The combination of great copy and energetic promoters captures viewers’ attention and motivate a few to buy. Add the “But, wait…There’s MORE!” and the few become many. It’s those “free” gifts at the end that makes the difference.

It’s a simple strategy that is wildly successful:

  • Capture the viewers’ attention with drama and copy. The more energy shown by the spokesperson, the better the results. Throw in some testimonials and deadlines to reduce resistance and add urgency.
  • Solve a problem that the viewers may or may not know exists. Who knew that you needed a blanket with sleeves or a chopper that you can slap? Even if your intellectual mind tells you that you don’t need it, your emotional side thinks, “that might come in handy.”
  • Have a great price that seems painless. The magic number is $19.99 (yes, they tested that.) If your product is a higher cost, break it down into X easy payments. Emphasize the “easy.”
  • Remove any remaining resistance with a Godfather offer (one they can’t refuse). This is accomplished with the “But, wait…There’s MORE!” free gifts that follow the initial offer.

The social media give-to-get strategy has a different twist on a proven marketing tactic. It requires participants to give content to get sales. The problem is that it doesn’t work the way it is presented by most advocates.

Please hear me out before you start assembling a lynch mob. There are people who appear to make it work very well. But if you compare what they do with what they say to do, you’ll find that the two are very different. They say, “give to get”, and recommend that you provide free content so people will recognize your knowledge and line up to buy your services or products. The more you give, the more you get.

You can forget about calls-to-action, promotional tweets, and anything else that tells your community to buy. All you have to do is provide exceptional content and everyone will flock to buy your products or services. And, if you aren’t seeing any benefits from the great giveaway, it’s because you aren’t doing it right. Your content isn’t good enough or doesn’t fulfill the needs of your community.

Spend a little time watching what they do and you’ll see a different strategy.

It’s very similar to the direct marketing one:

  • Capture the readers’ attention by promising an easier way to market their products and services. Make sure that they know that it generates revenue without aggressive selling.
  • Solve the problems of increasing competition, higher customer expectations, and rising costs with a relatively painless process. Refuse any requests for analytics or metrics because they aren’t needed when money is flowing in.
  • Have a great price that seems painless. It usually ends with a “7”, as in $27, $47, or $97 (wonder if that was tested?). Offer a payment plan of the readers’ choice. Emphasize that the readers won’t know how to use the “give-to-get” strategy if they don’t buy or subscribe.
  • Remove any remaining resistance with a Godfather offer (one they can’t refuse). This is accomplished with the added bonus free gifts that follow the initial offer.

The primary difference between direct marketing’s give-&-get and social media’s give-to-get is the order of the events.

The give-&-get strategy requires the customers to make a commitment before they get the goodies. Give-to-get gives the gifts without requiring any effort from the recipients with the hope the some will be motivated to buy because of the generosity.

There are three top reasons that the give-&-get method works better than the give-to-get:

  1. It’s Strategic. Give-&-get has a clear strategy from customer acquisition to retention. Every campaign has a plan that includes detailed expectations, tests, and measurement guidelines. If any part doesn’t deliver a return on investment, it’s replaced. The objective is to acquire customers so the company can generate profits. Every part of the puzzle from product development to customer care needs to work together to do it well.
  2. It’s Limited. Different people have different needs and wants. Good direct marketers know who fits in their target market and they talk to them. Only them. Who cares if the people who aren’t interested in their products or services don’t like their promotions? The only ones who matter are the people most likely to buy.
  3. It’s Transparent. There’s a lot of talk about transparency in social media circles, but it rarely happens. Chatting about give-to-get and “direct marketing is dead” is hypocritical when using direct marketing tactics. And there’s something about giving with the expectation that you will “get” that seems, well, manipulative. Compare that to the campaigns that say, “Buy now!” Direct marketing always includes a call-to-action. Some include multiple ones. The objective is to get people to buy and nothing in the promotion indicates otherwise.

I challenge anyone who believes in the give-to-get philosophy to identify one example that generated a profit without using direct marketing tactics. Any takers?

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