How We Got an 800% Boost in Audience Engagement and You Can Too

February 28, 2017 / By Bruce McDuffee

Audience engagement boostWhen you stop pitching products and start sharing expertise, you too can get an 800% boost in responses.

Manufacturing companies that are able to stop pitching their products and start educating their target audience to gain awareness and engagement will win in their market space. Sharing expertise instead of pitching products is a far more effective means of marketing. This concept has been proven to work over and over in other industries and even in some manufacturing organizations. If used consistently, it is the secret to winning big in your market.

With direct A-B testing, I have compared product ads to educational ads many times. The education ad always, always wins by a huge margin. The largest difference I observed was in a GlobalSpec enewsletter ad. GlobalSpec is a media group that provides a global marketplace for industrial buyers.  I ran a new-product promotion ad in the enewsletter. In the following month, I ran an educational ad offering a simple FAQ (frequently asked questions) document in the same position to the same audience. The ad offering the FAQ outperformed the new product ad by 800 percent. More specifically, audience engagement with the new product ad 252 times and the FAQ ad 2288 times.

The fact is, the people in your target audience don’t care about your product, your company, your CEO, or you. They care about what’s in it for them. When they see your marketing message, they immediately ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” We all do this, either consciously or unconsciously. The answer comes quickly and is usually “Nothing is in it for me” as we move on by turning the page, deleting the email, ignoring the banner ad, etc. It doesn’t matter how much you try to convince potential customers that the features of your product are good for them and superior to all other products on the market. The answer to WIIFM 99.9 percent of the time is “Nothing” or “Not enough.”

To get a positive response to WIIFM, you have to prove to your target audience that you can help them relieve pain, be better at their professions, or improve their lives. One popular metaphor we can all relate to is dating and marriage. Leading with the product pitch is like trying to get a date by asking someone to marry you.  Most of us know not to talk on a first date about marriage, the house we will someday live in together, or how beautiful our kids will be. Think of the top of the sales funnel as analogous to a first date. You need to show some interest in and goodwill toward your audience before they begin to care about your firm or your offering. An educational offer does that, providing value to the audience.

MMG Challenge:

  1. Conduct an A/B test comparing a product ad to an ad offering only educational content. Make it a fair test and try your best with both ads. Make sure you pick a medium that can be conclusively measured. Let me know how you did and if you too were able to increase audience engagement 800%.
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