By Caitlin Brennan

November 2nd, 2016

Picture the world’s most annoying door-to-door salesman. He starts by knocking on your door, phony smile turned up to maximum wattage. When that doesn’t work, he calls at all hours, that cheery voice seemingly mocking you. Then, he floods your mailbox with junk mail. When that doesn’t work, you find you can’t watch anything on TV without his smarmy, phony grin making the same pitch you’ve been ignoring for weeks.

That salesman uses an old-school version of what is now called “push marketing.” These days, the tools of that trade include bulk emails and dynamic ad retargeting. After over two decades, the cacophony of push marketing online, by its very ubiquity, has become background noise.

Welcome to the world of pull marketing
With pull marketing, the old formula is turned on its head. This marketing model engages the consumer by showing the competence, quality and voice of a company and allowing the consumer to be drawn in by the display.

Pull marketing is not actually a new concept. Reigning queen of tasteful entertaining and homemaking Martha Stewart has been a pull marketer back when retargeting was only the province of Cold War fighter pilots. In the early 1980s, Stewart started writing what would become a series of books on cooking and event planning. In order to market those books, she bolstered her reputation and expanded her audience by appearing on talk shows and news programs demonstrating her knowledge. That turned into a long-running syndicated television show, which brought even more attention to Stewart, which she in turn used to sell a wide range of licensed home goods and even more books.

Times have changed and Stewart is now online, still giving away free content demonstrating her value to consumers.

Six steps to pull marketing success
Luckily, you do not need to master a casserole like Martha Stewart to master pull marketing. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to upgrade your dry and boring push marketing toaster tart for a delicious (and oh-so refined) pull marketing frittata.

  1. Discover what your customer wants. There is no way to draw in potential customers if you do not know what they are looking for. Social listening is invaluable to any social media manager who wants to create the best content in the least time. A multi-platform listening tool like Falcon lets you find the important conversations and recurring questions for which you are best positioned to add value.
  2. Do not underestimate the hashtag. The best content you can muster won’t be good enough if nobody can find it. Hashtags are not optional; they are the basic organization system of platforms like Twitter and Instagram. If you are not organized and efficient in your selection and use of the most relevant and searched-for hashtags, your content will not find its audience.
  3. Don’t fear the trend-jack. Pull marketing adds to existing conversations. Whether it’s peer-to-peer networking or pumpkin spice lattes, identify the conversations where you can add information, perspective, or just plain levity. Well actually, pumpkin spice-flavored levity.
  4. Get influencers to help you pull. It’s easier for consumers to find you when your name is on the lips of someone they already follow. Influencers multiply your voice and add credibility to your brand. If you can pull them, they will pull many more for you.
  5. Strike the right balance. Push marketing is not over; it’s just best in moderation. If an email or an ad comes after a positive pull-based interaction, that push message will find a more receptive audience.
  6. Create what you would want to consume. Pay attention to the pull marketing that you come across. How does each piece make you feel about the brand? Did it provide good information, or at least give you a chuckle? Someone is doing it right.

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Picture that annoying salesman once more. Think of the time and effort spent knocking on doors just to hear “no” after “no.” Wouldn’t his life be easier if customers came to him because consumers saw his deep knowledge of his product and its uses before that phony smile?

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