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How your PPC Strategy is like gardening

I just transplanted a bunch of eggplant seedlings from the greenhouse to the field. Now they need water. Not enough, and they wither and die. Too much, and they rot. Timing is important too. The best water comes early in the morning and goes straight to their growing roots. So rather than crossing my fingers and hoping for rain or spraying them from above with a hose, I’m looking at getting an efficient drip irrigation system.

Your PPC prospect is very much like that eggplant seedling. They’re searching, not for water, but for information that will solve a problem. Most websites are like hoses with the nozzle on “jet”: way too much information to handle, and no easy way to make sense of it.

Some sites just go for the sale, and provide insufficient information on the problem, possible causes, possible solutions – and how to discern the right one.

The best sites use the drip method, giving prospects tiny, targeted, usable doses of information. We’re often reluctant to do this, because it takes more work than just vomiting up everything we know, and because it feels stingy, like we’re holding back just to make the sale.

But our prospects want us to drip just the right information, in the right amount, at the right velocity and at the right time. If we do that, their capacity for solving the problem increases, and they are better able to make the spending decisions that keep us in business.

There are three aspects of drip irrigation marketing:

1. Topic

When you titrate information by drip irrigation, you have to become selective. You have to exclude a lot more than you include. So you’ve got to think about your best prospect and figure out the precise bit of information that will help them grow their capacity to make good decisions.

As an example, let’s look at the search I’ve been on this past week: drip irrigation systems. I understand the basic workings, but I’m confused on a number of points: how to moderate the water pressure from my well to the field, how to set up an automated timer, how to set up a flexible system that will work with the pond we’re planning to dig, and many more. How would an advertiser know just what topic to drip?

These questions indicate a general lack of familiarity with drip irrigation. In my case, the best drip would be a short video (1-3 minutes, ideally) on the topic of water pressure. How does their drip irrigation take water pulsing out of a well at six gallons a minute and gently deliver single drops at precise increments and intervals?

Once I understand the general principle, I’ve grown my capacity to ask more sophisticated questions and understand the answers.

Not all prospects to the drip irrigation web store will be so wet behind the ears. If they’re smart, they’ll use a “choose your own adventure” navigation to allow me to steer myself to the first drip of information most appropriate for me.

 2. Amount

Drip irrigation providers may be tempted to produce a comprehensive 19-minute video on all things irrigation. They may start with the general workings, and quickly move on to installation, battery backup, alarm warnings for low water pressure, and so on.

While that seems generous and useful, it’s way more than I can take in. Much better to split the content into eight or nine different videos, each with a single topic. Include a well-designed PDF transcript with photos and diagrams with each video. Less is more.

3. Follow-Up

Just as a single drop of water isn’t sufficient for my infant eggplants, a single topic isn’t enough to get me to total mastery. But it is enough to empower me to move forward in my search. And what I’m looking for is the next drip.

If the first drip was the right topic and the right amount, then I’m kind of hooked. I’ll sign up for your free report. I’ll browse your video library. I’ll even click the “chat with a drip irrigation expert” box.

The more educated and empowered I become, the more capable I become of making a buying decision. The more I view you as my mentor and guide, the more I trust you, and the more likely I’ll buy from you. Even if I can get the exact same thing somewhere else for less.

While PPC competition tends to drive prices down toward break-even, there’s no reason for you to go there. Quality information is the difference between selling a commodity and selling a value-added consulting service on top of that commodity.

In the old days, quantity of information was a differentiator. Now, we’re all drowning in data, specs, and opinions. What we need is not the well pump of information, but a strategic and appropriate drip of sweet, life-enhancing wisdom.

If you provide that for your prospects, they will return again and again, mouths open, ready to consume.

By Howard Jacobson