When brothers Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg launched their Internet sales consultancy, Future Now Inc., a year ago they didn’t have pots of money, agency connections or VC backing. However they felt that advice from a book published way back in 1937 could help them land deep pocketed clients. The book? Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.CAMPAIGN
First the Eisenbergs carefully thought through exactly what their consultancy’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) would be, so they had something special to say when they caught people’s attention. Jeffrey says, “We noticed everybody’s paying attention to the top end of the Web site funnel: traffic and marketing. Our whole focus is the bottom end: sales.”
Next the Eisenbergs began a three-pronged campaign to make friends and influence people. First they researched every site they could plant articles and regular columns on. Soon, their bylines began to appear on ClickZ, MarketingProfs and elsewhere on the Web. Instead of writing innocuous how-to articles, they made sure their personalities came through full-throttle. Jeffrey says, “The only way people hire consultants is if they really like their thinking.” So, each article displayed not only knowledge, but also a strong personality.
The Eisenbergs also began to actively participate in email discussion groups such as the I-advertising group. Rather than bold-faced self-promotion, their letters were always useful contributions to already ongoing discussions. The brothers also made a point of personally emailing discussion participants off-list (i.e. privately versus in view of the whole group) to let them know when they particularly admired a point that person had made. The only self-promotion in any of this correspondence was in the brothers’ standard SIG (email signature) which you can see in our notes below.
Last but not least, the Eisenbergs also made a point of being ultra-helpful to the press who contacted them for quotes and general information on online selling. In fact, if a member of the press contacted them, the brothers would follow-up in a friendly yet relentless fashion until they were sure that reporter got everything he or she needed to write a story. (We can attest to the fact that this is unusual for most companies to do.)
All the Eisenberg’s articles and letters included a link back to their site where the brothers had placed three offers psychologically guaranteed to appeal to most marketers:
1. Useful tools to measure the effectiveness of a site’s selling power.
2. A free offer for a “Case Study” in which Future Now Inc. would prove its tactics’ effectiveness by redesigning a site page for selected marketers for free. (Participants must agree allow result metrics to be revealed to the public.)
3. A free monthly newsletter, entitled GrokDotCom, packed with strong opinions from the Eisenbergs.
With zero advertising or marketing expenditures beyond those named above, Future Now Inc.’s Web site averages about 100,000 unique visitors a month. The company now has enough paying clients in the five-six figure range to be profitable.
Interestingly while the brothers say their articles have brought in some clients, their informal participation on email discussion groups has been the number one client-winning tactic for them.
The Eisenbergs have been quoted in such diverse publications as B-to-B MarketingBiz and the Toronto Star. About 3,000 marketers have opted-in to receive their GrokDotCom newsletter. Thousands more marketers have enjoyed Future Now Inc’s tools which are the site’s most popular features. And, while Future Now Inc.’s free “Case Study” page redesign offer initially attracted mostly small fry clients, recently some very big names have signed up for the offer, including John Audette of AudetteMedia.com.
All in all, you can see why Bryan Eisenberg says passionately, “Dale Carnegie should be required reading in first grade!”
NOTE: Here’s a copy of Jeffrey’s SIG to inspire you when you’re considering rewriting your own. He includes just thetop part in emails to discussion groups so as not to seem too salesy. He includes the whole thing in all other outbound emails:
Jeffrey Eisenberg: 1-877-643-7244
Free Newsletter: http://www.GrokDotCom.com
Free Tools: http://www.futurenowinc.com/digitalsalescalculators.htm
About Future Now:
Would you like to increase your online sales? Future Now is the only e-commerce consultancy that specializes in applying expert sales techniques to help you increase the revenues generated by your website. Our unique approach increases your customer conversion rate, reduces your customer acquisition cost and improves your customer retention rate, dramatically and quickly. We have helped clients increase their online conversion rates not just by a few percent but by 50%, 100%, and even more. We "teach" your website how to convert more sales out of the traffic you already get. The result is not just that your sales go way up, they go up without any increase in marketing expenses, so your profits go up as well. There is no other consultancy of any size anywhere that does what we do or can produce the results we can. We look forward to proving what we can do for you.