How to get more people to buy from you? - A strategic look at push and pull marketing

Isn't this on every businessman's mind - how do I get more people to buy from us? The answer to this will invariably be "let's market more". But have you ever stopped to think whether your marketing efforts are effective? And more importantly, do you want to make it better?

Marketing strategies normally come under two categories - push or pull. Traditional marketing strategies are normally push, but, as you will see in this article, they are less effective than pull strategies. Of course traditional marketers will decry this because they trade in the push arena. With a national ad campaign coming in at millions of dollars, they will want you to continue your push campaign. I will take a strategic tour of push marketing versus pull marketing, and hope you too will come to the conclusion that pull is far better than push and that to have an effective marketing strategy, we need both done in a concerted manner.

What my Google analytics taught me?

Over the course of the last two days, I was in the company of Bill Belew, PhD. ( Bill is a content marketing expert from Silicon Valley and he teaches in universities and has his own consultancy helping people direct (not drive) more visitors into their website. Not only did he use hard data to show that push marketing is so much more inferior to pull marketing, he also showed me my own data using Google Analytics and how my pull marketing is working so much better (50%) than my push marketing (14%). This got me thinking about marketing strategies and the use of push and pull tactics.

What are Push and Pull Marketing?

Push marketing is basically a concept where you push your products under the nose of your target customer in the hopes of them purchasing your wares. You've seen them thousands of times, haven't you? Walking down the street, you see a street vendor shoving something at you and say, "You wanna buy? Cheap and good?" Do you, like me, usually take the long route to evade the guy? Well, that's push marketing.

Pull marketing is when you go out there and look for someone to buy from. For example, your toilet sprang a leak and you rushed out and Googled "reliable plumber" and got the names - and hopefully reviews - of all the plumbers in your region. You pick the best and you solve your problem. You pulled the services of the plumber.

Which do you think has greater conversion? The answer is obvious.

Where do you see push marketing?

Apart from the guy in the street, we see push marketing in billboards, advertisements, pop-ups, flyers, brochures - all the traditional (and sometimes expensive) marketing forms. Even networking events are push marketing - after all, I have never been to a networking session where everyone is keen to give you business; they are only keen on selling you something. Push.

But did you know that push marketing also comes in the form of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Whenever you post an article on Facebook and invite your friends to read it, you are also engaging in push marketing because you are "shoving" your wares under their nose. That is where I saw my 14%. I had an 86% bounce rate from my Facebook feed.

Contrast that with a 50% bounce rate from Google searches - 50% of the people who found me from Google stayed on my website for some time - almost 3mins. That's great! I have had good customers engage us through Google; much better than those whom we called and cajoled to meet with us.

Strategic thinking

The intent of marketing is invariably to "grow revenue". So even if many people "like" you on Facebook, comment on your LinkedIn article, retweet your tweets, ultimately, they don't come to much if they do not lead to a sale. There must be some way to generate revenue, something that pull marketing can do better. Hence when we look at both push and pull marketing, we come to the conclusion that there may well be a need for both - push marketing to give visibility, pull marketing to lead to conversions. But if we look at the numbers, only 7% (50% out of the 14%) of the people we push to will ever read our offers (but not necessarily buy), it really goes to show that we either need to have an unusually large database of people to reach out to, or to consistently do it. Either way, there is a need to rethink our marketing strategy.

I will dwell on some of this topic in later articles.

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Written by Ian Dyason

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