Did you notice anything bizarre in the last 24 hours?
This story on a “news” site:
(Yes, I waste time too. I’m not a robot.)
“Today, someone broke into my house and stole all of my underwear. FML”
So odd. And disturbing.
If you’ve been on this email list for… oh say, more than a week, you know I have a penchant for hunting down bizarre stories like this.
And doing mental gymnastics until I can relate them to online marketing.
You also know that I’m obsessed with unconventional businesses that are just slaying it out there.
For example, for the last couple of weeks, that obsession has been focused on Basecamp.
Kinda like the Eye of Sauron zooming in on Frodo.
Now the Eye has snapped around and locked onto Derek Halpern, because he has something preciousssssss in his possession...
The answer to this question:
How did he build Social Triggers to more than 125,000 subscribers in just 2 years?
I’m especially interested in this:
What’s the ONE unusual thing he did in the very beginning that made everything else easier or unnecessary?
To find out the answer, I’m methodically analysing every single article he published, starting from his very first blog post.
After reading this, this, and this, I’m beginning to see a pattern.
Derek is meticulously shaping what people think about him.
“That’s Derek. He’s the conversion guy who talks about academic research.”
He identified exactly what he wants to be known for, and he is systematically burning it into everyone’s mind through consistency and repetition.
What’s going on here?
What exactly is Derek doing, which hardly anybody else does?
He is building his business starting with his positioning.
In other words, he is creating a position in the marketplace that people can remember.
Wait… but why?
What’s in it for Derek?
Basically: word of mouth.
Let’s break it down.
First, people “get” what his site is about, so they can refer friends.
At least, that was my hypothesis until I actually saw Derek admit this in his 5,000 subscribers book:
“If people remember exactly what you’re awesome at, when a friend comes to them with a problem, you become linked as the DEFAULT recommendation for that problem. And those recommendations convert like crazy”.
Second, when he promotes his site, it doesn’t sound like another “me-too” blog. It sounds like something unique.
This makes people actually *want* to talk about him. Because it’s something fresh.
As a result, I assume “PR” becomes easier.
(Nowadays, “the psychology of marketing/conversion” is a dime a dozen. Back then, nobody else was competing for that mind-share. Derek was first.)
Third, this approach creates synchronized hype.
If everyone out there is referring to Derek as “the conversion guy”, then he must be THE conversion guy.
When every instrument in the orchestra sounds the exact same note, it sounds a lot louder than it actually is.
In truth, there might only be 15 instruments playing that note. But it sounds like there must be at least 50 instruments in there.
By the way, this is known as resonance. It’s everywhere in nature.
For example, if you play a note on the piano, and there is a cello in the same room, the cello will sound out the same note. It’s eerie, almost as if there is a “ghost player” in the room with you.
This always freaked me out as a child until I understood the physics behind it.
Anyway, resonance is more powerful than you think.
It’s so powerful, it can take down bridges a truck full of explosives can’t.
Incidentally, that’s why soldiers break stride on a bridge. It’s because of something called “mechanical resonance”. Google it.
(Fun bit of trivia:
In April 1831, a brigade of soldiers marched in step across England's Broughton Suspension Bridge. According to accounts of the time, the bridge broke apart beneath the soldiers, throwing dozens of men into the water.
After this happened, the British Army reportedly sent new orders: Soldiers crossing a long bridge must "break stride," or not march in unison, to stop such a situation from occurring again.)
And you know what?
You can use the principle of mechanical resonance in your marketing to break people’s resistance to buying. You can use it to break their scepticism.
Step 1: Figure out exactly what you want to be known for.
Step 2: Repeat until you build up resonance, shatter the bridge under their scepticism, and etch yourself as THE subject matter expert into their neurons.
The best way to implement Step 2?
Email your list consistently.
It’s free. It’s fun (if you do it right). And it cements your positioning.
Yes, if you do it wrong, you will sound like a broken record and bore your readers to death.
However, when you do it right, and when you do it consistently, you OWN that position in your subscribers’ minds.
Then anyone who does anything remotely similar to you will immediately get branded a copycat.
Whenever someone knocks off your work, they’ll be hurting themselves and helping you. They’ll be doing free PR for you.
Ironically, you’ll also have to do less marketing to sell out your programmes because of the number of referrals coming through word of mouth.
For example, I had $3000 of work come in last week through referrals. They heard about Email Prodigy from someone, and wanted me to write their email campaigns. And I don’t even do “done for you” work anymore.
Anyway, if you want to use email marketing to dominate a certain piece of real estate in your buyers’ brains, this is something we go deep into inside Email Prodigy:
(Note: The programme is capped at 30 students, so that everyone can get personal attention from me. I’ll close enrollment when we hit 30.