Hello, my name is Howie, and I’m a health food nut. And I’m sitting at my dining room table at 12:15pm, typing this newsletter, shoveling large chunks of chocolate-raspberry pie into my mouth.
When you understand the reasons for this seemingly irrational behavior, you can boost the effectiveness of your website.
Am I Some Kind of Spineless Hypocrite?
Here’s the deal: This week, I’m super-dad. My wife is away until Friday (today’s Monday – I know this because I keep glancing at the calendar, thinking, "Is it still only Monday?").
So this morning I get the kids out of bed, fed, backpacked, lunchboxed, and driven to school. (Just to clarify: Sometimes I do this even when my wife is home, so it’s not like I’m running around yelling, "Does anybody know where the laundry room is?") Then I rush back to the office to implement some much needed improvements to my website.
At noon, I get hungry. So I walk home to see what’s in the fridge.
There’s salad greens in a big plastic box. Half a red cabbage, 2 cauliflowers, a bag of carrots, 3 leeks, 4 lemons, and a partridge in a – no, wait, that’s a soy partridge.
And a chocolate raspberry pie that my wife baked for us before she got on the plane.
Why do I go for the pie?
3. To get rid of the pie
What Does This Have to Do with Online Marketing?
My website is like my fridge. It’s got lots of stuff that’s good for you. Strategies, deep understandings, complex principles, logical conclusions – the works.
I have that stuff in spades at askHowie.com. When someone asks me a simple question about AdWords (for example, "How can I get Google to show me the quality score of my keywords?"), I have to stop myself from giving them the 10-year history of Google. Because, I think to myself, how can you understand the quality score algorithm without grokking the entire psycho-history of Google’s founders?
That’s the cabbage, cauliflower, and leeks. Arguably good for you. But not instantly appealing.
Even to people who think they like principles…
I think I like fresh produce. But it turns out I prefer pie.
So where on your site are you handing out pie?
The Importance of Website Pie
For more people, chocolate raspberry pie is tastier than red cabbage.
If you want your site visitors to hang around after opening the fridge door of your website, you’d better offer them something they really want. Something they can’t stop thinking about once they see it.
What’s the yummiest thing you can offer your first-time visitors?
Look, I’m not totally out of control here. I don’t eat the pie even when we have all the ingredients – the frozen raspberries, the vegan chocolate chips, the tofu, the agave nectar, the crust – if it isn’t already put together by the time I open the fridge.
When the pie isn’t the most convenient option, I go for something else. Today it would have been a thai rice wrap filled with sprouts, grated carrot and cabbage, a leftover piece of grilled tofu, and some Trader Joe’s peanut satay sauce.
Is your website pie packaged and placed conveniently? Can people see it first thing when they arrive at your site? Does the whole page function to highlight the pie?
And is it ready to eat? Packaged to go, complete with fork, plate, napkin, and bib?
And is it cut into pieces? Ideally, the piece of pie on your site should take no more than 15 minutes for someone to consume. Don’t send them a 2-hour interview, or a 60-page white paper.
Figure out the one thing they want the baddest right now, and give that to them in a take-away box.
Is it, "3 quick ways to fix your big problem?"
Or, "How to choose a provider of the service you need without getting ripped off?"
Or maybe it’s a product – the very thing they searched Google for. Get out of the way, give them the pie, and nobody gets hurt.
3. To Get Rid of the Pie
The "I’m-gonna-talk-Howie-into-eating-that-pie-no-matter-what" voice in my head actually said to me, "Once you get that pie out of the way, you can start eating healthy again."
Your prospect is searching and surfing the web for one reason: to knock something off their to-do list.
They look at your ad and your website and ask themselves, "Is this going to help me put a check next to that item on the list?"
Humans are driven like rubber bands by tension, by incompleteness. If I have an incomplete task, I’m motivated to get it taken care of. If you frustrate me by stretching the rubber band even more, you’ll lose me.
So your website pie has to promise to take care of the itch that brought them to your site. No matter how yummy it is, your visitor wants to eat it only once.
But Pie Isn’t Good For My Customers
You might object, "My customers don’t need pie. They need in-depth solutions to their complex problems."
But what we need and what we want are usually two very different things. And part of your sacred responsibility as a merchant is to give your prospects, customers and clients exactly what they need – but only when they’re ready for it.
For example: What I need in a life partner is a kind, compassionate, wise, and loving person. What I needed on our first date was someone who laughed at my jokes.
And another thing about pie: it can actually be pretty good for you.
You Can Fortify Pie
Think of those sugary breakfast cereals, all "fortified with 11 vitamins and iron." If Kelloggs can do it, so can you.
In fact, you can go one better, and make it delicious and nutritious.
While the pie I ate wasn’t exactly a salad, it did contain lots of raspberries and some tofu, as well as a natural sweetener (agave nectar, which comes from the same plant that produces tequila).
Your website pie can and should contain valuable stuff that’s good for your visitors. Real insights. Practical solutions. Honest critiques.
If you want your visitors to consume the good stuff, in fact, make sure you bake it in a pie.
The askHowie.com Pie
The pie on my site is the AdWords ER Report: "Why Most AdWords Campaigns Fail – and How to Make Yours Succeed."
Why do people come to my site? For one of two reasons:
1. They aren’t using AdWords, but realize that they need to and don’t have a clue how to get started.
2. They are using AdWords but not doing as well as they want.
The AdWords ER Report promises to fix the problems faced by Group 2, and prevent those problems for Group 1. It’s a short document, 14 pages (including lots of screen shots, a lazy man’s technique I discovered when writing AdWords For Dummies), with three specific fixes that can immediately improve an AdWords campaign.
The pie can’t just fill them up and send them on their way, though. Nobody gets the askHowie pie without subscribing to the BOP newsletter (although they can unsubscribe easily any time). And the AdWords ER Report itself educates readers about the other missing pieces.
The dessert is advertising the rest of the meal. And if people eat a yummy piece of relatively healthy vegan pie, they’re more likely to trust me when I offer them a nice Thai Wrap with sprouts and peanut sauce.
Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity,
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BONUS BOP QUOTES
“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”
– Jack Handy
"I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert."
– Jason Love
"You can say this for ready-mixes – the next generation isn’t going to have any trouble making pies exactly like mother used to make."
– Earl Wilson
"Researchers have discovered that chocolate produced some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can’t remember what they are."
– Matt Lauer
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."
– George Carlin
"A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."
– Groucho Marx