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Spending time with the most important people in your business is the key to driving qualified, excited buyers to your business. See how we used “strategic mingling” to capture the imagination of a cold email list and turn it into a revenue-generating asset.

Tell me if you know anybody like this…

You go to a party and start to mingle.

You start talking to somebody, and they seem nice enough—but then they start droning on and on about something you don’t have any interest in.

You’re doing your best to be nice while not encouraging more of this line of talk, but the person just keeps rambling on.

Your brain starts to wander, and you find yourself thinking about an hourglass, watching each grain of sand fall out the bottom…

The sand in the glass growing smaller, and the time you spent listing to this person lost forever.

I call this person the “Party Droner”.

None of Us Wants to Be That Person

We never want to be the party droner—in fact, if you know somebody like that, I’d bet you try to avoid this person at social gatherings and business situations.

But when you see ads, or get marketing emails that you aren’t interested in and can’t relate to, that’s the marketing equivalent of a party droner.

Let’s call these messages “ad droners”.

(Yes, I understand there are arguments for brand awareness and exposure—but in this world of targeted online ads and email marketing, anything that misses the mark is a waste of ad spend.)

So how do you keep your ads from getting dumped into the ad droner category?

The best way I know how is to make yourself into a strategic mingler.

Hanging Around the Right People

I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this, so let me tell you a story about a recent project that illustrates what I’m getting at.

Last weekend we wrapped up some email campaigns for a big Oktoberfest event that spanned 3 ½ days.

Our goal was to drive buyers to particular offers from the organizer’s various lists.

No problem—this is something we do all the time—but there was one big challenge…

… these lists were ICE COLD.

Working with Ice Cold Mailing Lists

The biggest challenge with this project was the temperature of the list subscribers…

These folks were ice cold, and hadn’t been mailed to in quite some time.

To make things murkier, this list had been gathered over time from people who were no longer part of the organization, so we had zero visibility into what this list responded to in the past.

What did we do?

Five things:

  • Strategic Mingling to start
  • Warm up the audience
  • Experiment
  • Review the data and adjust
  • Strategic Mingling to close
  • Strategic Mingling to Start

Since we knew nothing about this audience (and didn’t have access to the people who did), it was on us to get to know the likely buyers.

We started by creating lists of likely interests, topics, activities, and local events that these people might be most interested in.

We gathered past news stories, past events, looked at feedback from similar events and products, and built a database of potential topics and areas that might grab the attention of the people on this list.

Warm up the Audience

Since the list was cold, my goal was to get as many unsubscribes as possible from people who weren’t going to be buyers.

So, at the outset, I let my big bad personality hang out, and made it very clear what the next several months of messaging would be about.

Not only did this push a number of list-members off the list (which has a bunch of benefits for the list owner and for these campaigns), it meant that the remaining people had a higher likelihood of becoming buyers later.

So, for this step I set the stage, let them know what to expect, and then started a warmup sequence to get them used to hearing from me.

Experiment

This was the campaign phase, but let’s break this down a bit…

The overall campaign was really a number of campaigns woven into a single narrative.

I mixed different topics, styles, subject lines, and calls-to-action together to see what people responded to.

  • Checklists
  • Stories
  • Shock-factor emails
  • Split-testing subject lines
  • Against the grain advice and commentary
  • Straight up sales pitches
  • Nurture-style, veiled sales pitches

With every email I could see what people liked, what they didn’t like, and when they started to fatigue from the overall sales-pitchery.

Review the Data and Adjust

Every week, we’d look back at the previous week’s emails and see what worked.

Since we wrote most of the emails in advance, we could adjust the message, subject lines, rewrite an email altogether, change the send dates/times…

Each email allowed us to paint a clearer picture of the ideal buyer, so that by the end of the campaign (and the start of the event), we had a fairly good idea of what the buyers are interested in (and what they hate).

Strategic Mingling to Close

This final step was the most valuable feedback we got—going to the event and mingling with the buyers.

Nothing trumps being with the people who make up your target audience.

Data only gets you so far—it’s the people behind the data you need to connect with.

So rather than work on other projects while the event was live, I decided to do some advanced research to learn two things:

1. Who is the audience, really?

  • Young?
  • Old?
  • Fun-loving?
  • Partiers?
  • What do they talk about?
  • What do they wear?
  • Are they showing up in groups? Alone? When?
  • What are they buying?

2. How close to the mark were the campaigns that just ended?

  • Were the topics on-point?
  • What conversations were being had that can be used in next year’s campaigns?
  • Did we overcommunicate?
  • Could the campaigns be shorter, and as effective (or more effective)?

Strategic Mingling Leads to Strategic Campaign Shifts

Getting to hang out with the event’s buyers allowed me to be a fly on the wall, and it was awesome.

I can’t tell you what I learned (sorry, trade secret!), but I can say that what I discovered by being at the event has already shaped what will happen next year.

From college girls saying, “We’re 22, it’s Saturday, and we’ve got no obligations tomorrow—wooo!!!”, to older couples chilling in the VIP tent with their beer and pretzels—next year’s messaging will be dialed-in to this event’s best buyers.

And these changes were only made possible by Strategic Mingling.

To Recap

Nobody wants to spend money on marketing that’s the business equivalent of the party droner.

Make your marketing interesting by spending real, face-to-face time with your audience.

Find out all about them, what they want, and why they’ll be excited about your product or event.

Even with a cold list, you can light a fire that drives revenue to your business like a thirsty herd to an oasis.

If you know your messaging needs a makeover, but you don’t know the right questions to ask to get it all dialed-in, click the link below to get a FREE copy of the questions we ask that help drive tens-of-thousands of dollars in revenue for our clients.

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