1 Feb

The Best Marketing Method I Know

Imagine you and I meet for the first time on the street. After a quick introduction I ask, “Do you by chance work with software?”

“Yes, I’m a developer.” you respond.

“Perfect! I just wrote a book about designing better web applications. Would you like to buy it?”

How many copies do you think I could sell this way?

Right then you are probably thinking that we just met 30 seconds earlier and you have no reason to trust me. What indications do you have that I even know anything about designing software? It’s probably a good time to say something noncommittal like, “I’ll check it out,” and find a way out of the conversation.

This scenario seems completely ridiculous when described as an in-person encounter, but it actually happens all the time online. When shopping online, visitors often come straight to the product sales page. This could be from a link on Twitter, an ad, or something else where they have never heard of you before. So why are you asking them to buy right away?

Instead, let’s start by building trust.

A better method.

A much better scenario is if, once I find out you are interested in software, I give you something great for free. Maybe a short guide I wrote on 10 ways to improve the user experience of your web application.

Sure, you’ll take that. After all, it sounds interesting and is free. The more I help you, the more you will trust me. But even after you read my free guide it is still not the best time to sell you on my full book. Trust takes time to build. And even if you apply all the concepts in my guide, I still haven’t delivered that much value.

So let’s keep adding value.

After you say you want the free guide, I also ask if you want a free 30-day course, delivered over email, on designing better web applications. If you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe at any time. All the content will be at least as valuable as the guide.

Then over the next 30 days you get regular emails from me that really do help you to improve your software. Your trust level increases. Part way through that series I mention my book, all while delivering more valuable tutorials and articles.

Once you’ve had a chance to learn a lot from my material, and you’ve had enough time to start to trust me, then I tell you about the book. This is not just a passing comment or a soft-sell. I thoroughly explain why it is great, all the interviews it includes, and the difference the included methods can make for your business.

Finally, that’s the right time to make the sale. Not 30 seconds after we met (or right after someone visits your site for the first time), but after I’ve spent weeks helping you improve your software.

To put it in web marketing terms, the conversion rate will be incredibly higher by asking for the sale after building trust.

This method works incredibly well. I’m talking doubling or tripling your conversion rate. The best part is it can be automated… sort of.

It’s actually really painful to setup.

You have to design, code, and host a landing page to give away your guide. You need to use a tool to capture email addresses and send out the free guide. Then you need to set up an auto-responder or course system to send out all these emails at the right time for each subscriber.

That’s painful. Trust me, I’ve set it up before and it always frustrates me. That frustration is what drove me to create ConvertKit.

ConvertKit makes marketing best practices easy

With ConvertKit it is easy to set up a new landing page, upload a PDF or another file to offer as an incentive, then let the subscriber opt in to an email course.

Sure, you can hack this process together using two or three off-the-shelf landing page and email tools, but it’s a pain. ConvertKit is designed to make this process very easy, so you can focus on creating content and products that really deliver value to your visitors.

Everything else is taken care of for you.

If you are interested in increasing your conversion rates (i.e. making more money from the same amount of traffic), checkout ConvertKit.com to learn more.

If that’s not your thing, continue following along with the development. I’ll be teaching absolutely as much as possible about designing, developing, and marketing software through this process.

Upcoming posts will include how to wireframe an application, product naming, marketing through teaching, how to write emails, and much more.

You can follow along with The Web App Challenge by email (if you want).

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17 Responses to “The Best Marketing Method I Know”

  1. Philipp says:

    Interesting Idea, – nothing i could use but I’ll follow your process.

    What I’m wondering about is the market size. From my point of view, this seems to have a rather small potential client base. What are your thoughts on that?

    And a little issue I had with the site: the prizes that follow the “Preorder now” didn’t make much sense on first sight: none of those numbers is really equal to the 3 times the amount that’s mentioned for a single month. I wondered if it might be for 3 months and only got proofed right after klicking on the preorder button. In my opinion that should be made more clear.

    Good Luck and Cheers

  2. I see what you did there… and yet, it’s working on my brain.

  3. WOW! That’s a great landing page! It’s a great concept that a lot of people (basically a large majority of internet marketers) would find useful, but I don’t think I would pay that much for something like this. I think a pay as you go approach might be interesting. Will you be able to see a list of subscribers and what information you have sent to each one? Because I think the ability to target each subscriber individually would be pretty powerful.

  4. Rikily says:

    Sorry for being picky, but 3*$37=$111 not $112 and same applies to 3*$93 and 3*$187 !

    Also, I would love to know how did you work out the pricing? I think that $50 (or even $37) for the Beginner Plan is too high. I wouldn’t pay that to any established web app let alone to Beta Web App… I would rather go with a well established emailing company, and use any of the free Landing pages, and with a bit of IFTTT magic I’ll have almost the same features as your app for much much cheaper monthly fee.

    I think every project like yours should have at least a very basic free version (as you mentioned yourself, give people free stuff and they’ll keep coming back, and upgrade to paid versions) a 1 landing page, 1 course, 1 month of free emails and a max of 100 email addresses (and you can alert me to upgrade if my emails go beyond the free 100)!

    Hope this helps.

  5. Great stuff. I will definitely think of using it for the future. Love the design on the website. Crystal clear.

    The name is pretty good as well. Sometimes names are the hardest part to come up with.

  6. Nathan, I saw the email course on your landing page. Are you dog-fooding already?

  7. This is a superb idea! It inspires me to actually try build an audience to actually teach now. Won’t be able to buy now, but it’s certainly something I would consider in the future, great idea!

  8. […] The Best Marketing Method, by Nathan Barry […]

  9. Adam Kirkwood says:

    This idea definitely suits your unique set of skills.

    Out of curiosity, are you using Stripe to power your payment system?

  10. So fun to follow along with your progress. Thanks for sharing.

  11. […] a visitor hits their site, they say “Hey, you should buy our product!” Nathan Barry likens this to meeting someone on the street, introducing yourself, and immediately telling them […]

  12. Martin says:

    I agree with Lida. Very well done, indeed!

  13. […] Nathan Barry illustrates it very well with this analogy: […]

  14. Vinney says:

    Is there is a free trial for your Photoshop for Interface Design course? Perhaps four introductory videos delivered once a week for a month? Or should I just click that “buy for $119” button on the landing page?

  15. […] Barry explains this mistake very […]

  16. Great blog right here! Also your web site quite a bit up
    fast! What host are you using? Can I am getting your associate link
    in your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  17. […] best way to find out what your customers’ pain points are and help them solve these pains is to ask them and then simply listen. It’s the only way to get on targ… is so important. People will help and tell you their pain points if they know you truly […]

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