“Politics is a direct-response business,” declares the digital director of President Obama’s re-election campaign. “People do things if you ask them to do it, and … don’t … if you don’t ask.”
Exactly! In fact, this is true not only in politics, but also in social media. If you want your readers to click “like” or “retweet” or “reblog” or “pin” or “plus,” you gotta ask for it. Not for nothing do two of the web’s most popular sites — BuzzFeed and Mashable — serve up big buttons at the top of each article, beseeching you to “share me now!” What’s more, these icons now include the number of shares in real time, boxing you in with peer pressure: “Don’t share me–I dare you!” This is marketing at its finest: so subliminal, you think you’re making a considered choice.
Too often, however, those in the communications field blanch at making an explicit ask. We think of ourselves as marketers, not salesman. We trust in the purity of our craft, rather than tricks of the trade. Yet there’s a reason “marketing” and “business development” often find themselves in the same job title. It’s because a marketing budget isn’t self-sustaining, but ultimately depends on the success of sales–those who make the ask for a living. As any salesman will tell you, products don’t “sell themselves.” People need nudges. (more…)