There are so many marketing strategies out there, which one is the best?
After 11 months in the marketing trenches of the interwebs, learning from the best, spending tens of thousands of dollars in courses, trips, and conferences, I’ve come up with, what I believe to be, the best marketing strategy of all time (BMSOAT for short).
I’ve struggled quite a bit to condense this strategy into an easy-to-read succinct one-liner but this morning, while I sat on the throne of caca, inspiration stroke me in the hypothalamus and the perfect one-liner came to me.
(Alert: If you are subscribed to my weekly newsletter you already got a hint of this strategy last week)
Here is the one-liner:
“Fart so loud they can’t ignore you”
Amazing right? All marketing wisdom encapsulated in a deceptively simple yet tremendously flatulent line even shorter than a tweet , or should I say.. a toot?
How is it possible to cram so much wisdom in just 34 miserable smelly characters?
Well, it is not possible, and whoever claims to be able to solve all your marketing problems in one line is a big fat liar.
However, just for kicks and giggles let’s explore this unorthodox marketing strategy.
(WARNING! If you are offended by flatulent prose you are welcome to skip this story by clicking HERE)
How an Epic Fart Could Make You Rich
If you could indeed fart super loud you would get lots of attention and, since the main goal of marketing is to get attention, a fart of nuclear proportions would put you in the map for years to come.
Picture this. You and your newly discovered BMSOAT deeply embedded in your hyper-bloated gut standing in the middle of Times Square, New York.
Thousands of unsuspecting humans surround you. All unaware that their boring lives are going to be changed forever in a matter of minutes.
Then you let It out. The biggest fart in the history of the Universe since the Bing Bang.
So loud, all the ad screens in Times Square explode together with all the glass windows in the surrounding buildings in a 4 km radius.
Who could ever forget that? Who could ever forget you?
Now let’s say you had a blog aptly called www.thebiggestfartinthehistoryoftheuniversesincethebingbang.io (the .com was taken of course).
Within minutes your site would be flooded with thousands, then, millions of visits from all around the world.
All the top news online publications linking back to your site.
Imagine having CNN, NBC, HuffingtonPost, Fox, New York Times, etc. pointing to your url.
That would mean top shelf SEO juice forever!
If you sold portable nuclear-fart kits you would be guaranteed to make it to the Forbes’ top 100 most disgustingly rich men in a matter of weeks.
Infinite wealth and fame. Finally, all your shitty dreams would become true.
And all you had to do is eat expired bbq pork burritos for 3 years straight!
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Ok, enough goofing around.
That was a fun thought experiment but, as you can imagine, very hard to carry out successfully.
However, as gross as it may seem, we will see later how the Epic Fart strategy does contain a kernel of universal marketing truth.
I promise that the rest of this article will be much less entertaining but much more impactful to your bottom line.
Let me explain how it works in a rather convoluted and disorienting way.
(NSFW Alert: if you are either at work, surrounded by minors, you can skip this section and go straight to the meat and potatoes of this article HERE)
(ANOTHER WARNING: if you skip the next part you’ll be missing important context that supports the strategy. If you are still sure you don’t want to be exposed to possibly offensive material at the expense of losing some context, please click HERE to skip to the kosher part of this article. Thanks and “de nada”!)
It’s the same strategy I employed to start my animation studio and land big clients in less than 4 weeks. Also the same strategy I used to start DonCar.es, a site that now supports two of my friends in Spain.
It’s the same strategy that many many other professionals, experts, business owners, and entrepreneurs have employed to accelerate the growth of their businesses exponentially.
Here is a nice diagram that illustrates this powerful marketing approach in a nutshell:
No, it’s not a joke. As you’ll find out shortly, this approach is easily replicable and almost infallible.
No, you won’t have to literally suck anyone’s balls, but figuratively… yes.
So figuratively speaking now, let’s take a 10,000 foot view of this approach.
First, let’s look at the variables at play.
We have 2 main characters: one Ball-Sucker or BS (unfortunately that would be you), and a Big-Balled Person or BBP.
The whole idea is to achieve a BS + BBP arrangement that it is mutually beneficial.
The onus is on the BS because, as it happens, BBPs have a plethora of BSs ready to suck their balls at the drop of a fart.
Now let’s back up a bit. This is a game of patience and carefully applied strategy.
Before explaining how this seemingly unorthodox strategy works, let’s first explore what makes a marketing strategy great.
What Makes a Marketing Strategy Great?
The Best Marketing Strategy Of All Time will be the strategy that best answers this question:
How can I get the maximum marketing impact with least amount of resources?
Let’s unpack this question a bit by defining “marketing impact” and “resources”.
Marketing Impact (MI): measurable desired results caused by the strategic use of available resources. Desired results can vary a lot but typically would be in the form of a substantial increase in traffic, followers, shares, likes, backlinks, press coverage, email subscribers, sales, and/or your existing resources.
Resources (RS): applies to any factor which in greater amounts can have a positive effect in marketing impact.
Think of a bonfire and firewood. Marketing Impact is the size of the bonfire and our resources would be any kind of flammable material that can help make a bigger, brighter, and more lasting fire.
There are 6 main resources you can always benefit from having more of.
They are: Time, Money, Audience, Network, Credibility, and Skills.
Let’s explain their relevance in the context of marketing:
Time: the more time you have, the more time you can spend devising and implementing the perfect marketing strategy to obtain more of your desired resources.
Money: money can save you time by speeding things up. If you have boatloads of money you can buy boatloads of ads and drive tons of traffic to your products by flipping a switch, or even better, hire experts to flip it for you.
Audience: do you have an existing audience? fans? groupies? a database of existing customers? tons of followers in social media? a big email list? thousands of YouTube subscribers? a popular Facebook fan page?. Your audience is your most valuable marketing asset. It’s where all your potential earnings reside.
Network: who can help you avoid mistakes? move faster? find shortcuts? mentor you?.
Behind all the top performers in the world there is a solid network of mentors, coaches, peers, friends, and supporters. They are the key people that will help you succeed faster.
Credibility: what are your credentials? your accomplishments? who can vouch for you?. Credibility is trust. Trust is the number one reason why your audience will listen to you, believe in you, and ultimate buy from you.
Skills: what can you create that provides value to people? are your skills in demand? how about your networking skills? or even better, your marketing skills?
When you have plenty of any of the resources mentioned above, playing and winning the marketing game becomes exponentially easier.
However, most people start from zero. Well, actually from one. Out of the 6 resources, everyone has 1 out the 6 by default.
Can you guess which one? Yep. Everyone has time. To be more precise, about 27,000 days are at the disposal of most healthy humans.
Your job in life is to be as efficient as possible at investing your limited time in acquiring as many as the other resources as possible to achieve your goals.
In marketing (as in life), if you are starting from 1, your time is your most valuable commodity. This means it’s time (no pun intended) to put that resource to work!
Well, it’s your lucky day because this article is a perfect place to start trading your time in exchange of some marketing skills… so keep reading!
How Suck-Up Marketing Works
From my own experience and research, this strategy seems to be the best one at having the most lasting marketing impact while requiring the least amount of resources.
There are many ways you can implement it, and below, I’ll show you 10 ways you can do so without spending a single dollar.
Are you ready to be enlightened in the ancient art of “Suck-Up” marketing which has been secretly practiced by ball hungry men and women since the times of Mesopotamia?
This is how Suck-Up marketing works:
- Target influential people/companies/websites in your industry (find Big-Balled Persons)
- Reach out to them, offer them something they find valuable (offer to tickle their balls)
- Deliver the promised thing and make sure you surpass their expectations (overdeliver)
- In exchange, get you/your company/product/brand exposed to their audience (get the shit you want)
- Rinse and repeat ad infinitum (back to Step 1).
Let’s unpack each step:
1. Target influential people/companies/websites in your industry
Make a list of at least 30 influential people/companies/websites in your industry.
To find your targets just search for keywords related to your industry on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube.
Once you find a target, double check they are still relevant by checking their traffic and social media influence.
You can check their traffic using a tool like SimilarWeb.com. Ideally you are targeting websites with over 100K unique visits a month.
BuzzSumo is a very popular tool to find the most popular content in social media for a specific set of keywords.
TIP: Be realistic. You are welcome to target top tier entities (Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Oprah, New York Times, etc.) but if you are starting out you’ll find more success by going after less popular targets.
2. Reach out to them, offer them something they find valuable
In this step you are going to go down your list of top targets and email them one by one to offer them something valuable.
If you cannot find their email address you can try several things.
How to find someone’s email address
- Send them a LinkedIn invitation. Once they are in your network you’ll be able to get their email.
- Search their Twitter feed for “@domain.com” using SnapBird.Org. If they ever posted their email address it will appear in the search results.
- Guess their email address. Email yourself a list of 10 variations of their possible email. Most people use their name, initials, last name or a combination. Install Rapportive on Gmail and hover over each email to see if any social media data is associated with any of the guessed emails.
- Get an intro. If you have a friend in common request an intro.
If none of the above works you can try to reach out to them directly via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat or any other social media channel.
Ultimately, you can visit their website and send a message via their contact form or email their support team (I did that and it worked!)
What should you say in your email?
Use this format:
- Introduce yourself.
- Sell yourself a bit. Mention something impressive about you. Shared connections or interests.
- Praise their work. Be specific and genuine.
- Explain how you can help them with something concrete
- (Optional) Mention what would you want in exchange
- Thank them
Keep the email as short and to the point as possible.
I made point 5 optional because I personally like to provide value first before asking for anything in return.
When I started Grumo Media I actually provided value as a surprise but, as you can see in the actual email I sent, I never asked for anything in return.
For me this worked amazingly well. 2 weeks after this email I had over 40 companies lining up to get videos produced by me!
The problem with this strategy is that is very risky. I think it’s safer to establish a connection first before investing your time on creating something of value.
3. Deliver the promised thing
Hopefully by now you’ve already used some of your resource “Time” to develop some “Skills” because you’ll have no bartering power unless you have something of value to offer!
So what kind of things can you offer to your targets?
Here is a list of 10 things you can offer using only your time and skills:
10 Things You Can Offer In Exchange Of Exposure
- Guest Posts: this is the most popular way to leverage someone else’s audience. Large online publications are constantly looking for fresh content to offer their audience. Typically they have to hire writers to write articles so they love it when they can get great content for free.
In exchange they should allow you to put a link back to your website at the end of the post.
- Podcast interviews: podcasts are also constantly looking for new guests. You can find the top podcasts in your industry searching in places like Sticker, Google Play, or iTunes. Most podcast owners allow you to promote your products at the end of the interview. Sometimes the interview can be all about your new book, product or service!
- Making a promotional video: This is how I started my demo video company Grumo Media. I made a list of awesome startups that didn’t have a promo video yet. I chose Hipmunk as my first target and spent 2 weeks creating the best possible demo video. I gifted them the video and the rest is history!
- Writing a product review: this is also known as the “Poster Boy” Formula. You test an influencer’s product/service and then write/shoot an in-depth review. Ideally you include data supporting your results from testing the product/service (ie: sales, profit, traffic, etc.).
- Record a testimonial: if you ever tried to sell anything you already know that testimonials from happy customers are possible the most valuable asset in your marketing arsenal. A testimonial per se may not give you much exposure but will help you build stronger relationship with your target influencer.
- Business audit: this is a strategy widely used by companies offering web design and SEO services. For a small fee or free you can offer to audit your target’s website or product and offer improvement recommendations. In exchange they may be more likely to hire you, buy your product since they already had a chance to work with you and test your service.
- Speak at industry events: find the top 10 events in your industry and try to get in as a speaker. If you are just starting out it will be hard to get in the top events so you can work your way down. You can also speak at local meetups. Speaking events are great to gain exposure, credibility, connections, and if you are allowed to promote your product/service the highest converting marketing channel of all!
- Giving a free class online: the most common way to do this is via a webinar. People with large email lists are always looking for great products/services to offer their audience. The way this works is you offer to teach something to their audience for free and at the end you get to promote your product/service. Typically, the list owner will get a commission for every sale generated from the webinar. This is one of the most effective ways to generate revenue and build your audience at the same time!
- Get listed in ProductHunt/AppSumo/Groupon: Anytime you can get your product in front of many eyeballs you win. ProductHunt is the top destination for people looking for new tech products. Sites like AppSumo and Groupon offer products at a very heavy discount for a limited time to hundreds of thousands of people. With AppSumo I generated more than $10K in one day with this offer.
- Participating in TV contests: this may seem odd but if you are not camera shy TV contests are an amazing way to get tons of exposure. Santiago Segura, One of the most famous Spanish film directors today became famous by appearing on many TV contests. He financed his firm film with the winnings from one of those contests!
- (BONUS) 10X popular content: This comes from content marketing expert Sujan Patel. The strategy consist of finding content (articles, videos) that are popular or trending and then creating an improved/updated version of the same article (10Xing). You can find the content using Google or BuzzSumo and then you can approach websites/influencers that linked to that article using a tool like the Moz toolbar and ask them to share/link to your article. If the post you are 10Xing was a guest post, you could approach the same website and let them know you’ve written an improved version and ask them to publish yours too. Boom!
I personally have successfully applied 6 of the eleven strategies above. The one that yielded the best results was #3. You can learn exactly how that move played out in much more detail HERE.
Back in 2013 I applied Strategy #11 (10X content) to start a new site in Spain called DonCar.
DonCar is an online service that helps people pass their driving exam.
To start the blog I wrote an article that compiled the best tips on how to pass the driving exam from content I found the top search results.
Still to this day most of the traffic (60%) DonCar receives comes from that same article I wrote 3 years ago!
DonCar now gets over 60,000 unique visits a month and supports two of my friends who were unemployed due to the Spanish recession. Vamos amigos!
4. Get exposed to their audience
Most of the time this step will happen as a result of you delivering value in a way that exposes you to the influencer’s audience (guest posting, speaking gigs).
However, if the exposure is not inherent to your offer then you need to make sure you request or follow up with the influencer to make sure you get it.
Ideally you should’ve already negotiated how you will get exposure after delivering value.
The most typical way to get exposure is by having the influencer linking back to your website/blog/product.
If you are not able to get marketing exposure you maybe able to barter other resources (network, money, credibility, time, or skills)
Here is how else you could be rewarded for your work:
- Network: You may be able to get introduced to someone interested in your services. They could invite you to a networking event for free.
- Money: They may be open to pay you for your work.
- Credibility: they may not be ready to introduce you to their tribe but they may accept to give you a testimonial which could help you tremendously to increase your credibility.
- Time: they may be open to spend some time providing advice or even becoming a mentor.
- Skills: maybe they cannot hire you or promote you to their audience but may be willing to let you intern for them so you can get industry skills for free. They may be happy to invite you to take a training workshop with them or one of their contacts.
Don’t fret if you don’t get anything in return immediately. Just the fact that you provided value will put you in the influencer’s radar which can lead to future opportunities.
5. Rinse and repeat
A while ago the highly respected tech entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham wrote an essay saying that the most common trait among all successful entrepreneurs was that they were “relentlessly resourceful”.
This means that to find any kind of success you need to be ready to take a lot of rejection, don’t give up, and try again, and again.
This step is crucial because whether you are starting out or have found some success you’ll always be more likely to fail than succeed.
The odds are clearly against us. Most businesses fail within the first 4 years.
So how do you beat the odds?
Simple, you need to understand that everything comes down to numbers.
Let me illustrate this statement with two personal stories.
Two stories about the power of persistence
When I worked as a door-to-door salesman as a recent Canadian immigrant from Spain, the first thing we learned is that a good salesman had about 10% success rate. This meant that if you knocked on 100 doors you were almost guaranteed to get 90 rejections.
Day after day, for 4 months straight I got 90%, some times 100% rejection rate. But you know what? Almost every day I found someone happy to buy my stuff.
People don’t talk enough about it but failure and rejection are a big part of part of all success stories in all areas of life, not just business.
Dating is a big one. Back in 2008 I decided to try the online dating thing. I already knew I would get tons of rejection so I came up with a fail proof plan.
The plan consisted in making the odds work for me instead of against me. I knew I would get about 90% rejection or non-compatible matches so I made sure I went out on at least 20 dates.
7 Years later, I’m still married to the woman I met after my infamous online dating experiment.
The point I’m trying to make is that, for this marketing strategy to work, you’ll need to make sure you try it a bunch of times.
If you are lucky like me, you may only need for it to work once to bring enough business to keep you busy for a long time.
However, I’d recommend you keep rinsing and repeating on a regular basis and you’ll see how, slowly but surely, the positive results keep compounding over time.
Like I said in the beginning of this article. There is no magic silver bullet strategy that can be explained in one line nor implemented in one day.
Marketing is an endurance sport. You must make the best use of the resources at hand, learn how to apply them strategically and then, with a bit of luck and a lot of work, you may get further than anyone.
Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
You’ve may noticed that, for the Suck-Up marketing strategy to work, you’ll need to be able to offer something of value.
It’s simple economics, which applies to everything in life, not just marketing. Unless you can create something useful to others you won’t be able to exchange it for any meaningful resources.
The beautiful thing is this – The better you are at your craft, the less you’ll have to worry about marketing (the opposite being painfully true as well).
In fact, I’d argue – and Steve Martin would agree – that the best marketing strategy of all time can indeed reduced to a one-liner – “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Like Neil Gaiman said – just “make good art”.
Spend as much of your most valuable resource Time, relentlessly improving your Skills.
Once you become the best, or one of the best in the world at your craft, the tables will turn, and They will Suck Up to you.
And yes, if you can become the best farter in the world, you too will get extremely famous (and extremely single) without spending a dime in marketing.
Peace, Love and fartsy cookies,
P.S. In this article, when I say “marketing”, I mean mainly “online marketing” although most of the advice could be applied to any form of marketing.
P.2. I hope my somewhat crappy humour doesn’t disgust you too much. For some reason, probably childhood issues or PTSD after watching Swiss Army Man, my mind likes to impregnate my “art” with heavy doses of sewer-bound ingredients. I promise this is random and a quite infrequent occurrence.
However, if you enjoy this kind of literature, I have two other posts I wrote a long time ago that may satisfy your 4 year old self HERE and HERE. And to recover from that experience, I’d recommend you read this 100% fart free article HERE.
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