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How To Become The Spartacus Of The Internet, Market Like You’re A Gladiator

Michelle Dale - Monday, August 15, 2011
When we’re working online we need to accept that things change and evolve constantly, what used to work, no longer does, what used to be seen as an excellent marketing technique is now seen as a ‘tactic’ to lure people in, and why is this? Well several people will have their own theories, you may have yours, but mine is because I believe people abuse the online world in such a way that things which clearly did work at some point were saturated, misused, and became just another method of spam.

I’m currently in Italy and this happens to be a very famous country for its gladiators. Gladiators were slaves obtained for sport, but not only that, entertainment. In order to be seen as an all round excellent gladiator you needed to be able to kill people, but that of course is not the point of this post, you need to also be able to “win the crowd,” and the best gladiators would have a relationship with the audience that all of the others didn’t, this is how they created a fan base, had that fan base all cheering for them to win, and often times this won their freedom, they became so well known for their abilities, almost like celebrities. We have seen similar theories from Chris Guillebeau with regard to building an ‘army’ or Seth Godin, creating a ‘tribe’.

Win The Crowd

Working online is similar, you need to be different, to “win the crowd” or you’ll blend in and become just another player in the arena. I think if something works it continues to have the potential to work if the way we go about it changes. I recently read a post on virtual business lifestyle about the number of unsubscribers Chris Ducker received one week from his mailing list. Many people commented saying that they didn’t like the pop up which appeared on his site, giving away a free audio and ebook (it’s similar to the one on this blog). This was one potential cause of the unsubscribes, because the people subscribing were only after a freebie, which of course could be true, but what if everyone that subscribed to your mailing list got a personal email thanking them, containing something personal to them for example, mentioning THEIR free eBook you have just downloaded, or THEIR blog RSS feed you subscribed to, or perhaps you can make a comment on THEIR blog, or perhaps you could find THEM on Facebook and Twitter and connect that way, would those unsubscribes still have unsubscribed had they had a personal interest reciprocated and taken in them. I appreciate if you are getting hundreds of subscribers a day this may not be possible, but Virtual Assistants don’t necessarily need hundreds of subscribers a day, because we don’t need hundreds of clients a day, take an interest in the people taking an interest in you — it’s internet marketing combined with customer service, and it works!

Internet marketers will state over and over that “the money is in the list” — virtual assistants, especially solo-VA’s,  don’t need huge lists in terms of numbers, or volumes (unless of course they are attempting to sell a digital product or anything eCommerce related), because as I said, we don’t need thousands of clients signing up daily for our services, but I do firmly believe we need a mailing list of “real” interested parties.

Pop Up

If you’re a VA and you are going to use something like a pop up, and you can’t decide if it’s right for you, first of all I believe you should treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, if you absolutely hate pop ups, then don’t turn it on, if you don’t mind them as long as they are offering something high quality, then use it as you see fit, but offer something of quality, very high value to the subscriber, try turning it on and off, for example 1 month on, one month off. Michael Dunlop from Pop Up Domination advises setting it to make the pop appear every 7 days, but I think once a month is better, and if you are going to use it permanently, then make regular changes if you can to keep things interesting for your audience. Make the pop up very simple to read, and very attractive, no tacky hype, be honest, and keep in mind the gladiator, to win the crowd you have to be different, appear taller, stronger and more human, if you are going to use a pop up as a VA for list building, make sure you contact every subscriber who could be a potential client with a personal message. If you don’t have time to do this, then I don’t think you need to use a pop up or use a list building strategy for seriously obtaining potential clients from it.

Human Connection

Working online in the service industry poses all sorts of hurdles we need to overcome, and connecting on a human level with automated, electronic and digital tools is one of them. You may lose a few subscribers or visitors with your pop up, because some people don’t like them, you may also lose some because of your prices, because some people will see them as too high or too low, or because your brand isn’t what they are looking for, they may hate your colours, and dislike your logo, the fact is, you will win people in the crowd and lose people in the crowd every day for different reasons, the more people you win, the more popular you become overall, therefore, the more people you will lose, but you will only ever hear bits and pieces or speculations as to why this might be, it’s important to take on board all feedback, but also measure results on a larger scale rather than by the individual, do a survey, or ask people on your list or around you what they think, or if the issue is significant, do a post like Chris Ducker did to ask your audience, see if you can find a work around that’s good for you and your potential clients. As long as you are different, you provide personal interaction, not just when people contact you, but by going out of your way to interact on their territory, you should find that your unsubscriptions will be limited to those people who simply don’t have an interest in what you are doing or maybe have alternative means of connecting with you. If you notice a particular fan or follower who could have been potential client material giving you a thumbs down, it’s well worth asking why, perhaps with something like this…

Hi [Name],

I noticed that you unsubscribed from my Facebook/Twitter/Mailing List. I am very sorry to see you go. Your comments and feedback and very important to me and I was wondering if you would take a moment to let me know why you decided to opt-out?

Thanks so much for your time, it is very much appreciated, and I hope to connect again soon.

Best wishes,

Analysis Paralysis

Being a service provider online, I have found is a 2 way street. As virtual assistants we can go into ‘analysis paralysis,’ wondering why people unsubscribe, don’t contact us, or engage with us, measuring figures and statistics until we are blue in the face, but from my experience it comes down to one simple thing, if you want the right kind of people to give you their individual attention, somehow, in some way, no matter how small, you need to give them yours.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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