S.O.S: The Single Most Powerful Shortcut to Make Your List Love You (And Buy From You)

We opened an email swipe file account recently and I've been going in daily to observe the various emails.

It's interesting and eye-opening, almost like a "survival of the fittest" experiment with the best emails rising to the top and the ones not cutting the mark sinking to the bottom (simply because I subscribed to 140 marketing mailing lists).

All 140 marketers proclaim themselves the 'best expert', throwing all kinds of free information... and yet there were still only 2 or 3 that really impressed me. Every single time these guys send me an email, I open it.

I've tried to reverse-engineer how and why these emails are so amazingly effective at capturing my attention, and even in some cases, my heart. I call this single most powerful concept 'SOS': Setting Off Sparks.

Setting Off Sparks

This finds its basis in the analogy of a forest fire, where all it takes is a spark to some dry wood to set alight 1000 acres.

In the same manner, sparks happen in everyday life. It's like the tipping point from being acquaintances to becoming best friends. It's the tipping point at which best friends suddenly become lovers, because of that one spark.

This is our role as marketers: to create those moments for your subscribers' list to become followers, and ultimately, loyal customers.

How do you embed sparks in your emails?

How do you create the conditions for 'love' to happen? I'd say there are three different ways to set off sparks.

1. Dazzle them with revelations

What I mean is, don't just give information: give information that will rock their socks off, shake their world, and change the way they do things. You can accomplish this in 2 ways:

Give out brand new information that no-one else has. Failing that (because there's no such thing as brand new information anyway),

Translate old information in new ways. According to Joel Bauer (the best public speaker in the world according to some), when you name something it becomes more real, more credible. You could take some old concepts, string them together, put a label on them, and kaBOOM...it seems like a revelation and looks like something new.

Why give revelations?

Because you can keep giving out information to your list and they won't appreciate it because there's a lot of free information available out there. But, when you hand them something that suddenly strikes them deep in the core and changes the way they do something, they will remember you.

And every single email you send thereafter is an open door for you, every word you say has more weight, and every technique you share has more value. That's how it works.

For example, even I follow the people who've dazzled me with revelations. Even if, afterwards, they don't give me 'good' information, I still follow what they're up to because of that one dazzling revelation.

That list includes Eben Pagan, for example, when he said to move the free line and make sure everything you give away is of value and can be monetized.

There's another guy, Stu McClaren, a JV expert who spoke during the JV portion of Jeff Walker's product launch workshop. (I subscribed to 140 mailing lists so naturally I'm on his list, too.) I clicked through and his newsletters had a couple of pointers that dazzled me.

I thought to myself, "Wow... I will never look at entrepreneurship the same way again." Because of that, I now follow him and am a fan. Why? Because he dazzled me. It works.

The thing is, you only need to ever dazzle them once and they'll follow you. BUT, of course, at the same time you always need to remember that it's a numbers game. You need to keep giving out as much new information as possible because some of it will hit, and some of it won't. But it's worth it because once that one idea hits, they're yours.

Like Victor Hugo said, there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

2. Touch them with stories

Not just any stories, but your stories. Touch them with your autobiographical sketches, your snapshots of yourself. Why? Because that story will create identification and empathy between you and your prospects.

For example, again Stu McClaren captured my attention because of his story about his fiance and the trouble they had getting money for their wedding, and that was something I could identify with because, you know, weddings are expensive these days.

There is suddenly a moment of empathy with that guru or with that person, and you start following his story. Now, it's not so much about the revelations he can give you anymore as much as it is about who he is, to you.

3. Tease them with Cliffhangers

There's a famous saying in marketing that 'curiosity killed the cat but made the marketer rich'. As humans, we are always curious to discover new techniques and strategies, and new ways of doing things.

Mark Joyner describes this as the Zeigarnik effect in his book, Mind Control Marketing, where the use of the Zeigarnik effect keeps people 'glued in' to discover what's going to happen next. It basically says that all human beings have problems with unfinished stories.

Even if they watch a terrible movie, if they're three-quarters of the way in, they'll want to finish that movie, they will not walk out of that theater.

Why? Because unfinished stories are torturous to your mind because they cause such a disruption to your thoughts.

So, one of the keys to building adoration is to torture them. You can achieve this by placing a cliffhanger in the subject line or body copy, e.g. "This involves something called the BK effect...find out in the next segment what it is!"

Even CNN does this, by the way. They give you a useless trivia question, and then you stay through the commercial so that you can find out what the answer is.

The most important thing about this point, though, is this: your answer had better be satisfying! Don't throw something out and build to an anti-climax. If you can give an answer that will blow their minds somewhat, you have a friend for life --a friend who'll listen to you and when you say 'open your wallet', they will.

I always try to say 'old stuff' in a new way, because sometimes it's the only way to be heard in a sea of competitors. In your market, how can you begin to translate your information into dazzling revelations?

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Prior to MindValley Media, Mike was the Head of New Ventures Strategy at eBay where he conceived of the strategies that led to the investment in Craigslist, the launch of Kijiji.com and the acquisition of Skype. Mike has an MBA from Stanford and previously worked for the Boston Consulting Group. He is also a certified Google AdWords Professional. MindValleyLabs Internet Marketing Blog: http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com/

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