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Engaging Your Audience: You May Already Have Won A Prize!

May 15, 2008
I was reminiscing with a friend over lunch the other day about the old Reader's Digest marketing campaign. Many years ago. You'd get a letter saying that you may already have won a prize and you responded by sending back a card that you put a sticker on to find out about your prize and also order a set of condensed books, delivered one per month. The funny thing was, getting the condensed books was optional. The Digest assured you that you might already have won the prize even if you didn't order the books (but there was a bonus gift if you did.)

It became a standard joke. I remember a comedian telling his audience how he'd cut short his vacation and rushed home because his wife told him he'd got a letter from Reader's Digest telling him he might already have won a prize.

My friend wondered how something like that could ever have worked. It was expensive designing those letters with the peel off sticker and all and expensive mailing them out. It was all snail mail then. Stamps and everything! What was to stop 90% tossing the letter and 99% of the remaining 10% ignoring the condensed books and just exploring the possibility of winning a prize? The prizes were substantial cash payments and the Digest even paid the return postage.

Well, they were no fools at Reader's Digest. They knew it was all about traffic, engaging their audience and creating a buzz.

They got their traffic through mailing lists that started out broad and became focused by concentrating subsequent mailings on those who attached the sticker and returned the letter (sort of like a double opt-in), engaging their audience (their letters were quite fun to read and you were being asked to take an action reminiscent of getting a reward sticker at school) and when a comedian gets a laugh just by referring to your campaign, then you've got buzz.

It's exactly the same in the on-line world. You start off with relatively broad traffic which you funnel through your double opt-in squeeze page, you engage your audience with giveaways, good content, insight and humor. And you create your buzz through forums, social networking and by getting others to promote you and your products to their lists.

Your sales letter has to be convincing, or no one will order your product. Your product's quality has to be high, or you'll be processing too many refunds. Unfortunately, for many internet marketers, that's where it stops. But that's like having a great store selling high quality, in demand products and then hiding it away where no one ever sees it. In both the off-line and on-line worlds, it's all about traffic, traffic, traffic.

Embarrassingly, I had to admit to my friend that I carried around a box of unread Reader's Digest condensed books through three house moves before finally throwing them out, still unread. I hate condensed books. But I still wanted to know if I'd already won a prize.
About the Author
Phil Lancaster is recognized as one of the leading experts on getting new websites indexed and ranked quickly and then driving free, targeted traffic to them. To get his very latest resource and learn everything there is to know about getting an unstoppable flood of traffic to your website, visit: www.trafficfloodgate.com
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