How to Promote Without Being Salesy

If you’re subscribed to many online marketing related newsletters, you’ll notice that they tend to do an awful lot of promotions (a.k.a. product pushing). And if you’re subscribed to mine, you might notice that usually don’t do a lot of that kind of thing, at all.

Most people don’t like being “salesy” and pushing products on people. Ideally, we could run a business that makes us a lot of money, without having to promote stuff all the time. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with IM Impact.

How can you promote stuff and make money, without being salesy? Read on to find out!

IM Impact Business Model

Watch the video below to discover what you can take from the IM Impact business model and apply to you own business:

Here’s the post you need to check out, if you aren’t yet familiar with the New Traffic Paradigm.

Direct Promotion vs. Service Based Promotion

As mentioned in the video, one of the keys to what I do is that I focus on providing the most useful possible service to my readers. One of the consequences of this is that I sometimes promote stuff and you might not even notice.

As an example, let’s use my recent post about the two most important factors that determine the success of a website. This post contains an affiliate link for Visual Website Optimizer, which is a split testing tool. However, I doubt anyone looks at that post and thinks “eugh, Shane is pushing products again…”

The crucial factor is that the post was written to be as useful as possible. The idea for this post came from a combination of some comments I read on this site and some books I recently wrote. I felt like the lesson, the message in this post was a crucial one and that many could benefit from it greatly.

That’s why I wrote the post. Now, in any discussion about optimizing websites and optimizing content, split testing has to be mentioned, because it’s so crucial to the whole process. As you’ll see in the post, I mention that Google Website Optimizer is free to use, but that I personally prefer and use a different solution. And that’s where Visual Website Optimizer comes in.

After I published the post, I sent out an update about it to my subscribers. You could say that I indirectly sent a promotional email, since the link in the email went to the blog post and the post contains an affiliate link.

Compare that to the way products are usually promoted in the IM space: you get an email with a subject line like

“MUST HAVE Marketing Tool Revealed! If You Don’t Get This, You’re Leaving MONEY ON THE TABLE!!”

The email is all about how you have to sign up for this service right now and the affiliate link is repeated a couple of times. The next day, you get another email, reminding you that the “Offer is About to Close! Get in NOW!!!” along with more hype and several further repetitions of the affiliate link.

What’s worse, the typical promotion wouldn’t be for a tool like VWO in the first place. It’s kind of an advanced tool and it’s extremely high quality and in continued development. This is reflected in the price, although you can’t call it expensive, by any means. Still, it’s a lot easier to talk people into buying some “magic button” that costs only $7-$37, than explaining the merits of a subscription based service like VWO.

The Inconvenient Truth

Okay, so the above is an outline of how IM Impact can be profitable even if I’m not directly promoting anything for months on end. If you look at my previous posts, you’ll see many examples of posts that are 100% focused on providing valuable information, but also contain the odd affiliate link, if it makes sense in the context.

But let me be very clear about something: direct promotions are far more effective.

We generally don’t like parting with our money. The most effective way to get someone to make the buying decision is often to add a sense of urgency and to prod them on, a little bit. A message in the vein of “hey, here’s a nice and useful thing” just doesn’t pack a lot of punch.

As I said in the video: I could easily make more money by doing more direct promotions. But what’s important to me is your actual benefit from what I do, as well as your involvement in and engagement with what I do.

If you look at your subscribers and fans as walking credit cards, you can get a lot of money out of them, right now. If you treat them like the human beings they are, you can get an immense amount of value out of them and you can earn. Possibly even in the long run.

And long term, sustainable, service-oriented business models are what I’m all about.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you know examples of businesses that sell extremely well, without being salesy? Let me know by leaving your comment below!

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better marketer and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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