Have you ever been standing at a petrol pump watching the dollars tick over only to notice a little advert for milk on the pump handle? That is called wait marketing; a form of marketing where products are promoted to you while you wait around for something else to happen.
It is a very powerful method.
In this article I am going to talk about how you can use wait marketing on your blogs and online businesses to make more money. This article is part of an ongoing trend here on Blog Tyrant to talk about offline marketing methods that work well for blogs and websites.
What exactly is wait marketing?
Wait marketing really isn’t that difficult to understand. Basically, any time you are standing around waiting for something and you see an advert positioned in that very place you can be certain it is a wait marketing campaign. Some of the most common places you find wait marketing promotions include:
- petrol pumps
- shopping checkouts
- airport lounges
- fast food drive through areas
- traffic lights (think billboards, etc.)
When you become aware of wait marketing you start to notice it everywhere and begin to de-construct each advert to see how effective it was on you at that particular time. The wonderful thing is that these lessons can be applied to your blog in a very concrete and effective way.
Why is wait marketing so powerful?
As I said in the intro, wait marketing is an extremely powerful form of marketing. Why is that? Why do we react to ads that are shown to us when we are standing around do nothing in particular? The reason is simple; we need instant gratification.
The human brain is hardwired to seek pleasure and seek it as fast as possible. When something pleasurable happens specific brain cells fire out dopamine which makes us feel good and tells the other parts of the brain that this was a good thing to do. Sort of like making a mental note to seek similar experiences later.
In a world of iPads, iPhones, fast cars, movies, Twitter and Facebook the human population needs gratification faster and faster. Go sit in a cafe for 20 minutes and watch every single person pull out their mobile phone as soon as they sit down – people can no longer stand to be bored. They need to be entertained. And that is why wait marketing works.
Lets look at an example of filling up your car with petrol. As you stand there you are a little bit bored, its not really a task anyone likes to do. Your brain is looking for some sort of gratification and as such the bright sign on the pump handle or bowser promoting a cheap Mars Bar pops out. Instantly your brain tells you that that you need that to feel better. Instant gratification.
Making it as powerful as possible
Wait marketing is not always effective. Just because someone is standing around does not mean they are going to interact with any product you put in front of them. In the example of the Mars Bar you have to assume that some people will be on diets while others will exert self control. Another factor to consider is that people are often in “savings mode” when they go to a petrol station and as such a luxury impulse buy might not suit that bowser advert slot.
In order to make the wait marketing as powerful as possible you need to consider things like:
- Who is the target audience?
Who is your advert targeted towards? Is it mums and dads or is it the kids in the family? What about teenagers or pensioners or maybe single men who are looking to impress the ladies? Have a very careful think about who you want to interact with.
- What do they want at that point in time?
Not all products work all the time. Some people buy different things at different times of the day depending on the location. For example, you would be more likely to sell something toxic like cigarettes at an alcohol shop than you would at a health food store or fruit market.
- How much will the spend?
In the same way as people won’t buy the same products at every location, they also will spend different amounts depending on where they are. This is a very important consideration to make.
- How many times will the need to see it?
Sometimes you need to saturate a person with the product before the marketing sinks in. A woman might need to see an advert for new tampons 10 or 20 times before she will consider switching from her favorite brand. Consider how much you will need to show the advert before it will take effect.
I have a favorite example of wait marketing that I wanted to share with you all. It is honestly the best I have seen in years because it meets all the criteria above in a perfect way.
In South Australia we have a particular brand of Iced Coffee called Farmer Union that used to be totally exclusive to our State. As such we all drink it and are fiercely loyal to it. I once heard a senior marketing manager at Coke say that South Australia is the only place in the world where Coke is not the top selling drink – the Iced Coffee is. Their catchphrase is “its a Farmers Union Iced Coffee or its nothing” and it is completely true. I have walked out of shops without a drink if there was no Farmers Union available.
Anyway, one year after spending six weeks in India I was heading home to SA and was desperate for one of these drinks. As soon as I landed I was going to go and get one. We touched down, got off the plane and proceeded to customs where there was a massive sign right by the line up area with a picture of a frosty, water beading carton of Iced Coffee and the text, “Welcome home”. As soon as you leave customs there is a cafe with shelves of the cartons and almost every single person on my plane bought one.
How to utilize wait marketing on your blog
Now that I have given you a bit of an intro to wait marketing as well as a nice little example I want to talk about how you can use it on your blog to make more money. As always, if you have any other suggestions or have seen some nice examples of it please leave a comment and let me know.
Please note that traditional marketing gurus might not consider this stuff wait marketing per se. The idea here is to adopt the principles, not the exact methods.
- Pitch alternative actions after ebook sign up
The first idea that has worked really well for me is to pitch alternative actions to my readers after they sign up for the ebook. Depending on which service you use there can sometimes be a bit of a wait between the signing up and the time the ebook is delivered. In these moments you want to give the person an alternate action to take. For example, you might want to direct them to a page with some relevant other posts that you have written or even to a product page related to the ebook. Remember to keep it consistent with the action they are taking. Don’t send send someone who just signed up for a dog training ebook to a page about building bird cages.
- Waiting for comment replies
Similar to the first idea is the time when people leave a comment on your blog and then subscribe to the thread and wait for replies. What I like to do is redirect them to a separate page where I thank them for leaving a comment and encourage them to interact with the other aspects of my blog like the ebook, popular posts, etc.
- Pre-post send outs
I have seen this done once or twice and was amazed how effective it was. The idea is basically to publish a post on Monday telling people that there is a big event or article coming out on Thursday. Give them a taste of the event, build suspense and then offer them some other form of action to take as preparation. For example, you might say that the Thursday special is only going out to the mailing list so if you want to be a part of it you need to subscribe by email. Then once people have subscribed you can send them off in other directions while they are waiting for Thursday to come around.
Promote an alternate/compatible product
Let’s say I was going to release a SEO product in two weeks that required you to use Market Samurai in order to find keywords to input. One thing you could do is write a post about how Market Samurai is and why everyone should be using it and include an affiliate link. This way you are pre-generating interest in both MS and your own product and giving them an opportunity to make you affiliate commission before your sale day.
When it comes to blog wait marketing it is important to keep the message consistent. Try to send people to related areas or products and don’t ask them to do anything too tricky. Just like the Farmers Union example above, you need to have the cafe at the end waiting for people who want your product.
Do you use wait marketing?
If you use wait marketing on your blog or website I would love to hear about it. I would also really love to hear about any cool wait marketing adverts that you have seen out in the real world. Feel free to drop a comment with any questions you might have about how you can implement these tactics on your own blog.