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Tricky Marketing Messages Are No Way to Go The Fastest Way to Scare Away Customers

October 2021

M y phone rang for the third time in a row, and I looked down in exasperation at the “Spam Likely” descriptor that popped up on the caller ID. About a minute later, my phone buzzed with a voicemail transcription, and I read, “This is the last time we’ll be calling you about your car’s extended warranty …” Numerous memes have been created about the annoying “extended warranty” calls everyone has been getting nonstop for the last year or so. It’s especially annoying to me as someone who eats, sleeps, and drinks marketing because those kinds of fear-based tactics are not even very effective (though I suppose we can admire their perseverance through being the most-hated spam callers in America and the butt of so many jokes). The first time I saw that message, “This is the last time …” I was relieved. Finally! The last time they would call.

abruptly in the middle of the night. Parents rush out of bed to identify the threat. The intruder can be seen fleeing from one of the doorways upon hearing the alarm. The message is clear — without a home security system, you aren’t protected, so purchase one for your family’s safety. We’ve all been subject to these kinds of fear-based tactics. This marketing strategy taps into consumers’ psyche to push them to purchase a product. The prospect appraises the product based on their fear of future consequences as a result of not buying. Most of these messages prey on our fears of what could go wrong if we don’t purchase the product or service. These tactics are pretty effective at fueling sales in the short term, and I know that many have used them effectively in some capacity or another. They are not, however, a long-term solution. Honestly, if they’re the only type of marketing messaging used, they are downright unethical. You can scare someone into buying, but you can’t scare them into staying. Instant, short-lived sales spikes might excite investors and executive board members, but for most small and medium-size businesses, we want to maximize sales over the long term.

But, of course, it wasn’t.

Every time someone tells me it’s the “last” time they’ll call, and then they show up again, they lose a little more credibility and have a higher chance of getting nothing more than an eye roll from me. Another (more effective) example is this: A commercial depicts a family whose home security alarm goes off

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be anything from missing an activity to spending money on an unplanned purchase. We have to make sure we take advantage of that special offer! Social media has taken FOMO to a whole new level. So many studies show that people are experiencing increasing levels of anxiety and depression because they are constantly being served photos and videos of people leading seemingly perfect lives, going on dream vacations, and making hefty purchases for their dream homes. FOMO-focused marketing is essentially stealthy fear- based marketing. The approach is very similar. You need to buy a certain product right away because you’ll be so much happier, safer, more popular, thinner, etc. If you don’t buy this product right now, you’ll never find happiness, look younger, etc. Sometimes, FOMO is effective, but again, only for the short term. I want to be clear regarding instilling a sense of urgency versus scaring people into purchasing. It’s normal for a “limited-time offer” to have an expiration date. At Newsletter Pro, our Best Offer Ever promotion expired at the end of August. During July and August, many of our marketing messages encouraged prospects to take advantage of this amazing deal before it ended because it was, in fact, a fantastic amount of savings. Our goal, however, was to instill a sense of urgency, not to foster feelings of fear. Some marketers may argue that people are more likely to remember and recall ads that portray scary scenarios than inspirational or upbeat ads. I agree. I’ve seen some studies that have proven that. But I don’t think that makes it right if that’s the only tactic used, and it’s not great at inspiring a long-term customer base. Let’s lessen the probability of customers ghosting us and instead retain them with positive, consistent communication. We know that the more we engage our audience with compelling content on a consistent basis, the more likely they are to spend more and refer more.

You can scare someone into buying, but you can’t scare them into staying.

Don’t get me wrong, marketing messages should address specific pain points for which our audience needs (or will eventually need) a solution. From this perspective, it’s okay to sound an alarm and instill a sense of urgency. For example, I often say that if we’re not consistently communicating with our prospects and customers, the probability is high that our competitors are. That statement definitely speaks to a fear of potentially losing customers. The difference is that this message is part of a larger marketing communications strategy aimed at helping you learn how to get to negative-neutral churn. Many of our customers develop marketing campaigns with similar messaging. It’s only natural for dentists to educate their audiences about the importance of regular dental care, which includes some of the “scary” stuff that could happen if folks skip appointments. It makes perfect sense for an estate planning law firm to share the potential fallout for surviving family members should a person pass away without having their critical documents in order. These messages address pain points and instill a bit of fear, but it’s for the purpose of educating and entertaining the audience — not to freak them out and basically coerce them into buying now. Instead of a mashup of scary messages, we should be building relationships based on trust and evidence. Avoid sounding the alarm too often. Instead, focus on the facts, which can speak for themselves as long as they’re relevant and compelling to your audience. Showcase what your product or service can do. Present it in the best possible light. Focus on the value and benefit provided to the customer. The goal is to give potential customers enough information to feel empowered to make a decision with confidence. Communicating this way will earn their trust over time. Once they buy, it’s your job to deliver on that promise. Another point along the fear-based marketing spectrum is a relatively recent term that has actually been used in marketing for much longer. FOMO (fear of missing out) is the fear of not being included in something, which could

We can increase our yield per crop not just for one season but year after year — throughout our entire relationship with our customers. Sounds a lot more viable than scaring people for a short-term sales spike, only for them to wind up running in the opposite direction.



6 Tricks To Convert Online Prospects

Lead Harvesting Techniques That Work only serious leads will opt in, you’ll get a higher chance of qualified prospects. The only problem is that scheduling all of these meetings can be a major pain: Emailing back and forth, playing phone tag, being busy when they’re free, and time zone differences on top of all of that isn’t fun. And it’s not worth it just to get something on the calendar, either. That’s why you need on-demand appointment scheduling, which allows your prospects to choose an available date or time that works best for them — and you! It takes away the hassle, frees up everyone’s time, and gets your appointment set before your prospect loses interest. Once you have it on your calendar, you can select your preferences, such as only providing free consults from 1–4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No. 4: Email Course Your 150 page e-book is probably full of amazing information, but people struggle to have enough time in their day for the things they need to get done, much less for reading an e-book. But if you don’t make your expertise known, nobody can get a taste for your brand or even remember your name. The solution? Send bite-size pieces of helpful information that keeps them in the loop. Create courses that you deliver to people via email, such as “30 Days to Master Print Marketing.” Send your recipients an email a day with helpful, actionable tips that inspire and motivate them to trust you and use their newfound knowledge. No. 5: Gated Content Speaking of e-books, you’re probably already familiar with lead magnets that make you type in your email to get a free e-book or discount. But why stop there? In order to get your lead to convert, you need to be unique, different, and enticing. Offer educational micro courses or create quizzes that email their results. Develop special generators or calculators specifically for your niche. Deliver value where competitors won’t. No. 6: Clear Call to Action Don’t just tell people to “click here” or “subscribe.” Tell them directly what they’re clicking and subscribing for. If you use CTAs like “Keep Me in the Loop” or “Give Me Free Info,” you’ll probably get more customers to click and subscribe. Remember, don’t be boring. Your virtual “storefront” should be eye-catching and full of interesting content. Otherwise, your leads will go to the next store.

Getting traffic on your website is a great sign that your content is attracting people’s attention — but is it converting them into customers? This is an intimidating question at times. It’s a lot of work to get exposure and steady content that will gather a consistent stream of clicks on your brand’s blog or social media accounts. But if you aren’t taking your prospects and leads and putting them into your basket to nurture, you won’t develop a strong pipeline of quality leads for your business to thrive on. It’s essential to fill up your pipeline early and often, since some leads may not pop for weeks or even months. If you’re not harvesting your leads, you’re generating traffic for nothing. Here’s how you can create compelling reasons for people to give you their name, phone number, and email address on your website. No. 1: Live Chat It’s becoming increasingly popular for websites to feature live chat options on their websites, and it’s trending because it works! With just a click of a button, your customers can get the answers they need to their questions, and you can interact with prospects right away. A chat feature will qualify leads, answer questions, resolve objections, and reduce churn, and you can automate as much or as little of a customer’s experience as you’d like. No. 2: Exit Pop-Ups Ever visit a retailer’s website, change your mind on a purchase, and, right as you’re about to exit the page, you see a pop-up box offering you a discount? These might be annoying, but they truly work! SumoMe analyzed two billion pop-ups and found that the top pop-ups gave the company’s lead conversion rate a 10% increase. Even a 2% increase would be worth your time and money! However, keep in mind that in a perfect world, nobody will ever need to see your exit pop-ups. Ideally speaking, every page on your website should be compelling enough for leads to stay and convert. If your exit pop- up box is working a little too well, you may want to consider ways to improve your website to convert prospects sooner. No. 3: On-Demand Scheduling Are you offering a free consultation, demo, or evaluation on your website yet? If not, do it! Since



In today’s global market, consumers are purchasing from brands they view as authentic — companies that stand up for something the consumer believes in. However, this trend doesn’t apply just to customers; employees share this desire, too. More employees want to be part of an inclusive, positive culture that is just as much a living, growing family as it is a well-oiled company serving its clients. In the past, culture strategies have focused on how companies and management can build it for its employees, but this idea is inherently flawed. Catered parties and corporate perks will only go so far in building a positive environment. Employers today need to do so much more to create a strong culture — especially if they want to keep their employees. Focus On What Works: There’s a reason people want to come work for you. Find what that is and grow beyond that. If your company has always allowed for flexible family structures, build from that. What can you do to improve work-life balance for your employees? Create Opportunities: The status quo just doesn’t work anymore. (A certain event that began in March Company Culture Is Critical

Here’s How to Build It

2020 proved that.) As employees come and go, and as your business grows, your company’s culture has to adapt with it. And don’t mourn for what the culture was — accept that you have changed and create something that serves your employees today. Invite Input: Listen to your employees! While new hires should fit into company culture, you shouldn’t force people to fit into a culture that doesn’t serve them. Ask your employees what they need and what changes they would like to see. Their answers will offer insight into your next moves. Consider Diversity: Cultural, educational, and personal diversity can create a powerful culture. Consider the ways you can create a more diverse workforce to help your company culture grow. Don’t consider company culture a bygone relic of the in-office past. Regardless of how your team works today, improving and nurturing the way your people operate within your business is still valuable.

It Takes More Than a Dream and a Prayer

How ‘Full Funnel Marketing’ Can Help

their buying journey, then you’re not marketing to them enough and hurting your chance of a sale. That’s why you have to work with your sales team — not in a separate bubble from them. Heinz says in an interview with Marketing Insider Group, “The fundamental idea behind ‘full funnel marketing’ is for marketers to fully embrace revenue

Do you feel like your “old faithful” B2B marketing strategy has exhausted itself? Does your marketing team give your sales team nothing but a couple leads, dreams, and prayers? This might have worked in the past, but not anymore. Without Yelp or Google reviews, customers used to contact sellers early on in their buying journey. Now, customers research their purchases online — whether that means browsing reviews or various forms of educational content (hopefully, your content!), and they don’t contact a seller until the very last minute. That’s exactly why your B2B marketing needs to be full funnel marketing. In his book “Full Funnel Marketing,” Matt Heinz says, “There is no sale without marketing and no marketing without sales.” If you’re only marketing to your customers at one point in

responsibility, to proactively manage and measure their departments as a profit center for their organizations, and to actively support the sales team’s productivity and opportunity conversion efforts.” A full funnel approach isn’t an overnight transition, but it’s fundamental to changing the perception of a


Don’t Just Sell Harder —Sell Smarter

can learn from marketing legends Nike, Apple, Volkswagen, Dos Equis, and De Beers. Read them, write them down (or just keep this newsletter), and put them into action at your company. Your bottom line will thank you!

You’ve probably heard the quote, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s true for a lot of things, including political struggles and costly wars. But it’s not true in every arena, and it’s definitely not true for great advertising! In that case, this would be a more accurate quote to live by: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to never reap the huge rewards of the companies before them.” You can probably see where we’re going with this. The fact is that one of the best ways to improve your company’s marketing and sell your product or service more effectively is to look back at successful marketing campaigns of the past. There’s a reason why Nike’s 1988 “Just Do It” campaign is still making headlines after 30 years, and Apple’s “Get a Mac” ads boosted sales 36% year-over-year. Here’s the good news: We’ve already started digging through the history books for you! Below, you’ll find five lessons you

1. A Lesson FromNike: Align your message with your purpose . Did you know that Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan came from the last words of a murderer facing a firing squad? It’s true — just Google “Nike” and “Gary Gilmore.” That controversy aside, the “Just Do It” campaign caught fire in 1988 because it encapsulated Nike’s core purpose of inspiring people to move their bodies, right now, in great apparel that makes that easy. More than 30 years later, Nike is still using the slogan and its sales have soared from $800 million to $2 billion annually. 2. A Lesson From Apple: Use humor to highlight your strengths . Unless you lived under a rock from

2006–2009, you probably remember Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign. It featured two people

B2B marketer’s impact and success in an increasingly online

representing the Mac and PC computers: a stuffy accountant type and a laid-back young tech bro (guess which was which). Over the course of 66 spots, the ads used Good Continued on Page 6 ...

marketplace. The biggest challenge marketers must

overcome in their roles now, in Heinz’s words, is “fear.” He explains, “Fear of embracing responsibility for something marketers don’t entirely control. Fear of stepping out of their comfort zone and working on something they don’t entirely understand, like sales. And fear of failing.”

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Heinz’s ultimate goal was to create an awesome, all-inclusive resource “that [is also] accessible, practicable, and actionable. You can

“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” –James 3:18 NIV “The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” –Psalms 85:12 NIV

read it front to back or simply find the sections that speak

directly to something you’re tackling right now, be it analytics, attribution, or sales enablement, just to name a few.” We think he accomplished his goal! Give “Full Funnel Marketing” by Matt Heinz a try to completely innovate your marketing approach in today’s digital era.

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Creating a memorable advertising campaign isn’t for the faint of heart — yet Progressive Insurance has been able to do that for decades. With the creation of Flo the insurance agent, viewers have watched Progressive’s story unfold on their TVs in a sitcom-like fashion, which just so happens to be something Progressive asked their ad agency, Arnold Worldwide, to do. But it’s their latest character who is now resonating with viewers. If you’ve watched network television lately, you may have met Dr. Rick and his gang of misfit new homeowners who are slowly turning into their parents. Dr. Rick claims to specialize in helping prevent people from turning into their parents, or parentamorphosis, after they purchase a home. The goal is to entice viewers who may have bought a home to purchase home insurance, subtly promising to solve one issue while revealing a truth living inside all of us: that we will one day become our parents. How Progressive Keeps Winn The Simplicity — an

humor to communicate Apple’s strengths and features. The ads were so memorable and effective that the company unanimously won a Grand Effie at the 39th Annual Effie Awards — and slays other companies in the market today. 3. A Lesson From Volkswagen : Be honest and direct. If you watched

the TV show “Mad Men,” you may remember the episode in Season 1 when the ad men at Sterling Cooper go nuts over Volkswagen’s “Think Small” and “Lemon” ads.

These ads were brilliant in their simplicity, honesty, and directness. As Business Insider put it, “Where other car manufacturers blithely boasted of spoiler fins and other luxury features, Volkswagen focused on the utility of its smaller, more durable cars in a series of simple ads that openly acknowledged their purpose as a sales tool.” In the “Lemon” ad, Volkswagen even critiqued one of its own cars as a lemon because its glove compartment was flawed, setting a new standard for honesty in advertising and cementing a fad term for faulty cars we still use today. Take a leaf out of Volkswagen’s book and your advertising just might pop up in TV shows in 2060. 4. A Lesson FromDos Equis: Solve a problem readers care about. The best way to sell a product is to show your customers how it will enhance their lives. In 2006, the beer brand Dos Equis did this to great effect with its “Most Interesting Man in the World’’ campaign. Using its key character (a man so cool “sharks have a week about him”), Dos Equis showed its male viewers how it would solve their problem of feeling unsophisticated, unattractive, and uninteresting. The message was clear: “Drink Dos Equis, and you could be this guy in 20 years.” Over the nine years the campaign ran, Dos Equis almost tripled its business. Who doesn’t want those results? 5. A Lesson FromDe Beers : Paint a desirable picture of the future. What Dos Equis did in 2006, the diamond company De Beers did better in 1947. The company’s slogan “A diamond is forever” painted the ultimately desirable picture of the future for its customers: showcasing perfect, everlasting relationships. De Beers used that ad to popularize diamond engagement rings and monopolize the diamond market — obtaining an almost scary level of business success. If you take a lesson from De Beers, though, be careful as you craft your vision. Sometimes companies go overboard trying to show their customers the future they want — if overdone, they can end up exaggerating too much. The fast fashion brand H&M did just that in ads for its Conscious Collection and quickly came under legal fire for greenwashing. When in doubt, go back to Lessons 1 and 3.

Apple releases a shiny new iPhone twice a year, and these days, new email platforms seem to pop up nearly as often. The latest shiny object in the email universe is Superhuman, a sleek, minimalist platform that claims to be “the fastest email experience ever made.” Superhuman splits its emphasis between aesthetics and performance. On the aesthetic side, the inbox is clean and clutter-free, decorated with cinematic nature photos and cityscapes. Most navigation in Superhuman is done with keyboard shortcuts rather than mouse clicks. “On average, we all spend three hours a day in email,” the Superhuman website reads. “When you use something for that long, it should be subtle, delightful, and gorgeous.” On the performance side, Superhuman believes every interaction on its platform should take less than


Get Inspired

nd Genius — of Dr. Rick

ning the Advertising Game

As the Boston Globe reported in February, the genius behind Progressive’s campaign is simple. They don’t rely on gimmicks or goofy storytelling. Instead, they remind us that we all have a bit of those embarrassing traits we roll our eyes at when it comes to our parents, and it’s only when we reach those milestones — like buying a home or becoming a parent — that we realize we are more like those who raised us than we realize. In doing so, Progressive has staying power. Viewers can chuckle at the advertisements and possibly even nudge their partner saying, “That’s so true!” It’s not an in-your-face advertisement that boldly proclaims what Progressive can offer. Instead, it positions the Progressive brand as a company that “gets it.” It breathes life into an insurance agency, much like Flo and the gang did all those years ago. Your services and promises are part of your business, but who is your business? In what ways does your brand show up and live in your community? Does your advertising speak to that — or is it too focused on the products you’re trying to push? As Progressive proves, you don’t have to be bold or brash to leave a mark. Instead, you just have to be relatable.

“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” –Henry Ford

Resource of the Month: Superhuman Make Your Inbox Superclean, Superfast, and Supercool

As you might imagine, there was a lot of hype surrounding Superhuman when it first launched and during the testing phase. The company was founded by Rahul Vohra, who famously created Rapportive, an early Gmail extension that was purchased by LinkedIn. All that said, you have to run a bit of a gauntlet to try Superhuman. When you sign up, the platform asks you to take a survey (claiming it’s putting you at the top of its “250K waitlist”) to determine whether you’ll be a good fit. If you are, Superhuman costs $30 per month. Some people, like the CEOs of Crunchbase and Eat24, love Superhuman, but The Verge called it “overhyped and overpriced.”

100 milliseconds. That’s the amount of time it takes for something to feel “instant,” so basically Superhuman’s promise is that you’ll never have to wait for anything, ever.

On top of the aesthetics and performance, Superhuman also has some pretty cool features, including the ability to link with your social media accounts, the option to “undo” sent messages in order to fix typos, and a way to enable email sorting powered by artificial intelligence. It will also show you when your messages have been read, let you snooze messages, and give you reminders to follow up on stalled conversations.

Where will you land? Head to to learn more.



Inside The Fastest Way to Get Your Customers to Leave 6 Tricks to Convert Online Prospects Why Your Company Culture Matters 5 Marketing Lessons From America’s Best Ad Campaigns Why Progressive’s Advertising Genius Works Resource of the Month: Superhuman

About El Pollo Loco’s ‘Strong Like a Madre’ Campaign Behind Every El Pollo Loco, There’s One Mom

1 3 4 5

new choices of salsa, their chicken remains as delicious and fresh as ever! Now, there are more than 487 El Pollo Loco restaurants across the country. The #StrongLikeAMadre Campaign

Imagine a dish you love.


Now imagine it’s your mother’s recipe

you adore so much, and you decide to sell everything you own to create a restaurant for it — just for that single, main dish. That’s the story behind El Pollo Loco and likely why they recently launched a special campaign to celebrate hardworking mothers everywhere. A DreamWith Crazy Delicious Chicken In 1975, El Pollo Loco began when Juan Francisco Ochoa sold all his belongings so he could achieve his dream of selling flame-grilled, marinated chicken to his community, based on his mother’s signature herb and citrus marinade. His first restaurant opened in Sinaloa, Mexico, and his customers instantly fell in love with the recipe like the Ochoa family did. It was fast, affordable, and delicious — and his success led to the chain’s expansion throughout northern Mexico. Then, on Dec. 8, 1980, he opened his first U.S. restaurant in Los Angeles, at 503 Alvarado Street, near Sixth Street. The menu was incredibly simple: You had a choice of a half or whole chicken with a packet of warm tortillas and a cup of salsa. That was it — and Americans were enchanted by it. Built in a 1,500-square-foot space, the very first LA store grossed more than $125,000 per month in its first year of operation. Although the menu has expanded with bowls, burritos, and tacos with

The company has a strong respect for mothers, as Ochoa’s mother’s recipe is the reason for their success. After a long pandemic, many moms are out of work and out of luck, but El Pollo Loco tried to change that on Mother’s Day in 2021. “Women and moms have always been at the heart of our brand,” Bernard Acoca, El Pollo Loco’s president and CEO, told MediaPost. “We feed families better with food that is made from scratch. But this Mother’s Day, we wanted to do something more substantial and more meaningful.” Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been career-killing for many mothers. “The pandemic has sparked what many people are calling a she-cession,” he said. “Millions of jobs have been lost, and about a million moms have left the workforce altogether, erasing decades of progress that women and moms have made.” In response, the company launched the #StrongLikeAMadre Campaign, a three-week-long Instagram contest to award special grants to incredible mothers who are “Strong Like a Madre.” Each grant helps a mother in the greater Los Angeles area get back to pursuing her ambitions and dreams. Of course, dreams look different for every mom, which is why they had three grant categories: the Dream Gig (to help moms be their own boss), the Dream Relaunch (to help moms break back into their preferred industry), and the Dream Escape (to provide moms with a much-needed break). Over 12 Madreship grants were awarded to mothers who were struggling to pursue opportunities, needed resources like interview coaching or resume services, or simply couldn’t catch a break after a busy year in lockdown. Additionally, El Pollo Loco also commissioned urban art group Lapiztola to paint a unique “Strong Like a Madre” Mother’s Day mural at 5800 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles as a tribute to the strength and resilience of mothers everywhere. The artists traveled from their home in Oaxaca, Mexico, to paint the beautiful piece. We loved learning about the amazing story behind this campaign. It’s not only heartwarming but also gave us a new appreciation for their dedication to their customers and heritage. We can’t wait to see and learn from more campaigns like it!


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