Why Your Dog Can Teach You Marketing
I don’t think people are dogs. But we do share some similar cognitive patterns. So, yes you can learn to be a better marketer from your dog. And hey, maybe just maybe if your business relationships are crazy, you should get a dog and learn something!
1. Watch & Adjust
Dogs have a ten-second long memory. To train them, you have to watch constantly so you can respond to what they do right away- or they have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on your analytics.
- What does your heat map look like?
- What parts of your website are working?
- What are people doing after hitting various landing pages?
And you can’t just post in social and then forget about those posts. Tweets are available in the average stream for maybe five minutes max. Most Facebook post interaction happens within 30 minutes. So you can look almost immediately and find out whether it’s working or not. That how we do it when we create Facebook posts for companies.
- What social posts do they like and share?
- Which ones do they dislike and ignore?
Pay attention and change course as needed. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
This guy figured out how to cuddle with lions by watching and adjusting!
2. Do Something Exciting
I used to be super shy and boring. I grew up speaking monotone. I identified with my basset hound and Eeyore was my spirit animal. But learning improv, you have to sometimes pretend to be more excited than you actually are. Turns out, people respond to that whether it’s fake or not! Sometimes I would practice my stand up comedy bits around my dogs, and when I was more enthusiastic, they got into it, getting up, wagging their tails, jumping on me. And they don’t understand that many words, so it wasn’t my wit. Happy tone of voice, high volume, and positive emotion stimulate us on an unconscious level. Facebook is positive because there’s no dislike button. You should be positive, too! People pay for solutions not problems. Sometimes they pay for hope. Also, EVENTS are exciting- even online- event trumps evergreen. More people will give you their email for a webinar they might not attend than for an ebook they might not read. Think about it! If your business needs more leads or an ebook- check us out.
3. Watch What You Do In Their Eyes
Dogs are always watching. They try to follow a command because you moved your arms a certain way that goes with that command- even though you weren’t thinking about it. They do the thing they think you wanted and get no reward and that leads to “extinction”- they stop doing it. People may stop doing what you’ve trained them to do if the reward disappears. People always see what you’re doing. That time you ranted political on Facebook? That affected their perception of you. The time you make that off-color joke? That may have turned a bunch of people off. In social media you are always on stage. You may want to think about your persona- if it’s not effective, it might not be intentional and consistent enough.
4. Give And Receive Affection
I work upstairs. The dogs live downstairs. I go downstairs several times a day, and every time I go down, it’s like Christmas for them. They want to lick my face. They want to jump on me. Dang, I’m a pretty awesome dude then, huh? Especially in social media, telling people you like them is powerful. Show them that you see them by reflecting their interests and values. We all want to be seen and to be loved. Be genuine, be grateful, and express it.
5. Always Reward Them
You have to give dogs treats to reward their behavior- then they do those things more often. When we’re inside the house, a piece of dog food is enough, but when we’re outside walking, there are too many distractions and we have to give them the tastier treats. Similarly, when there are more distractions online, you have to be more compelling. Where might that happen? Say in the… Facebook newsfeed? What are some rewards we give people online?
- Useful, clear, succinct info that helps them achieve a goal – You give them value by telling them how to achieve something
- Likes on comments – Why do I often like every comment on my posts? I’m happy that they’re participating. I don’t want to play favorites.
- Favorites on retweets of my tweets – that’s a way to say thanks!
Once customers have already opted into your email or social, they’ll respond okay to weak positive feedback- but to get attention or opt-in initially, you have to give higher value rewards. For example:
- Strangers need high value rewards: People who don’t really know you- they’re distracted, like dogs outside- to get their Facebook page like or their email, promise them something valuable for free, like a useful blog post or a free lead magnet
- List members and fans will like for a lower value reward: People who follow you in social media- a like doesn’t cost them much, so you can get that by just creating a post that echos their values or beliefs.
- Fans and followers need high value items if you want a share: Shares are more expensive, because it has to fit their sense of identity and make them look good and be valuable to their friends or followers.
- To get people to buy, you have to give them something worth at least as much as the cost of the item. In business, it helps if the value seems to be 10-20 times the cost. For example, if I sell you something you really believe could make you or your business $10,000 in revenue, you are more likely to pay $500 to $1,000 for it. Don’t forget too that what they have to do (e.g. installing a CRM or learning and executing your teaching) is also a cost to them which will affect their perception of whether the buy looks like a deal.
- Buyers need bonuses and they need you to over-deliver if you want to be sure they’re satisfied and will be loyal. Social media itself can serve as a bonus to your customers if you’re giving them value for free.
A lot of what we do for clients, whether with Facebook or Google ads, is make sure the action point is there, and sometimes create more reasons for prospects to contact you and buy.
6. Ask For What You Want
I was very tentative when learning to command our last set of dogs- “Hey, Brad, listen buddy, hey, if you want to maybe think about coming over here, then that might be really cool…” Obviously they don’t respond well to that. Dogs need short, clear and consistent commands. And people like that kind of clarity, too. In online marketing, you should always know what you want people to do at every step. Ask them to do one thing. Be clear. This is called a “call to action”. Ask for only one thing, because the more things you ask for, the more likely it is they’ll do nothing. That’s why we use “squeeze pages” for lead generation. There is only one option on a squeeze page, and we’re trying to “squeeze” most of its visitors through that action into the next segment in the marketing funnel. You get more results when you ask for just one specific thing. What happens when you don’t squeeze them? Let’s say you send them to your website’s contact page and there are 20 other thing they could click on. Chances are fewer people will do what you want. Cost per lead goes up. That’s bad. Our goal is always to lower clients’ cost per sale and cost per lead.
7. Have Clear Boundaries
Some of your dog’s behaviors are ok and some aren’t. Most likely, you want to potty train them- but other behaviors (like should they be allowed on the couches or to sleep in your bed) are personal decisions. Whatever you decide, be consistent- encourage what you like and discourage the rest. We train people how to treat us, whether we intend to or not. For example, a lot of new consultants will complain that people don’t value their time. When someone asks them to lunch to “pick their brain”, they say yes. Then, for free (or for a meal that’s nowhere near expensive as their fee), they answer questions they should be paid to answer. By doing that, you’re training people not to value your feedback very much. Say no. Set a boundary. Here’s how I do it: I don’t phone with any prospective client for more than 15 minutes for free. After that, they’ve seen our services and fees, and they either pay for consulting time or invest in one of our services. Those are the only options. If they don’t like that, they can go try to pick another consultant’s brain for free :-)
Never forget: I don’t think it’s cool to teach dogs to shake hands… because they have no idea what they’re agreeing to. Like, my dog’s car payment is RIDICULOUS.
Brian Carter is a popular business expert and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways with the comedic flair of his stand up comedy background. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.