An Attention-Getting Interview with Jim Kukral
I recently read Jim Kukral’s book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue. The book is a page-turner to say the least. Jim discusses great case studies of companies that have stepped out of their comfort zone with off-the wall ideas you won’t believe! But, they worked, taking businesses from non-existent to successful, recognizable brands. The book is also comforting in a way, as Jim discusses a lot of timeless marketing tactics that have been in use for years, things that should be engrained in every marketing professional’s mind and utilized by all business owners.
Sarah: In chapter 1, Attention Marketing, you list some other things besides cash that can be considered revenue including; subscribers, e-mail sign-ups, leads, Twitter followers and Facebook friends, etc. Do you ever get any push back on this? I know a lot of CEO’s would beg to differ on that.
Jim Kukral: Sure, there’s always push back from people who don’t want to believe that “business as usual” is changing. People hate change, so they “poo-poo” new things. But there’s no denying that change is here, and CEO’s better start investing in getting attention for their social media channels and other Internet efforts. Look, there’s a reason that Redbox spent millions of dollars, one dollar at a time, to get over 3.5 million people to simply just “like” their Facebook page. Why? Because the cost of acquiring 3.5 million potential customers at a buck a piece is insanely low. I used to own a search engine marketing firm and we paid between $25-75 typically for a lead. Not a client. A lead! Big firms like Redbox and McDonalds and Starbucks, and even smaller businesses like Great Lakes Brewery here in Cleveland, Ohio, they all understand that you have to be where your customers are, speaking to them how they want to be spoken too. Deny these facts at your own peril.
Sarah: How has your book contributed to your success as both an individual and a business owner?
Jim: The day my book came out, I’ll admit it, I raised my fees. And you know what? I got 3-times the amount of business I did before then. Personally and professionally, producing a piece of content that is 75,000 words plus was an amazing experience that has taught me that writing books is something I want to continue to do. I have 6 books in the works right now, and another 20 in my head to be written over the next 3-years or so, give or take. Ha!
Sarah: I look forward to reading all of them! Would you say that your book and attention-getting tactics is for every size and type of business? Or are there some businesses that should stick to safe, black and white messaging?
Jim: As Matthew Lesko (the question mark guy) said in my book to me, “Nobody remembers the middle”. If you’re a business owner and you’re in the middle, if you’re like your competitors, and nobody is talking about you, and sales are flat, and leads are down and nobody is walking into your retail location… whatever. If those things are happening, then what in the heck do you have to lose by moving from the middle to the edges? Because people remember the edges, not the middle. Go ahead and stick with your safe, black and white messaging and that may continue to work well for you. But do not be surprised when a competitor comes out of the bushes and eats your lunch and drinks your milkshake.
Sarah: Please don’t drink my milkshake! In Chapter 6, From Idea to Success in Eight Hours, you talk about a website you created about the Cleveland Browns having a bad season and playing on Christmas Eve. The website was to get fans to boycott the game. It caught the attention of a TV station, which sent a crew to your kitchen! Was the story real? Did you really organize a protest and get fans to boycott the game?
Jim: That story is 1,000% real. I had a TV crew in my kitchen that night. I have the video news story to prove it. I never actually did go protest. Never planned to. The entire concept was an exorcise to see if I could manipulate the media, and it worked. The point wasn’t to fool them or waste their time or anything like that. It was simply to see if it could be done. Why? Because anyone can do it, if you do it right. I have tried many other things like that since, and one tip I can give you that I’ve learned is, make sure you choose a slow news day. I tried to do another thing once on some other day only to realize that that morning the Feds had arrested the County Commissioner and every single news crew and producer in town was covering that story. Try again another day.
Sarah: Some online marketing books are outdated within months of being published. While Attention does cover online marketing tactics, it seems you cover a lot of traditional tactics as well, in fact you have a chapter titled Getting Attention the Old-Fashioned Way. Old school marketers are constantly being pushed to adopt new online marketing tactics. Would you turn the tables and say that online marketers should also learn traditional marketing too?
Jim: I specifically didn’t fill Attention! with stories about things that wouldn’t be relevant years, or weeks later. I wrote a timeless marketing book I think. One filled with advice and stories that can be read 10 or 20 years from now that will still over practical advice. To your point, yes, new-school marketers absolutely need to learn how to adopt old-school marketing techniques. There was marketing going on before the Internet people. Sometimes I think that the new breed of marketers don’t realize that. Of course, some of the things that used to work well in the past don’t work anymore either. Remember when magazines and radio and TV would try to sell you a “branding campaign”? They’d want you to commit to two years of running your ad consistently and tell you that “your brand message will creep into the minds of your customers over time”, even though they couldn’t specifically target the exact audience we needed either.. Ok, fine, and that kinda worked, although it was and is still too expensive. Now we’ve got ways to go direct to our potential customers. I can run a Facebook ad down to a woman who lives within 10 miles of my zip code, who’s been to college, who likes Oprah, is Catholic and is between the age of 35-60. If that’s my perfect customer, I’m going all-in to get my message in front of her.
Sarah: Regarding bonus items, you say that they should be related to the original product or to your business. But, it seems many companies just want to get people’s darned attention! So throwing in an iTunes gift card or Amazon gift card is often a tactic because people are already familiar with Apple and Amazon. Are there instances when that would be appropriate?
Jim: Well, a bonus item is an add-on to help increase a sales conversion ratio. Yes, it should be designed so that it adds value to the main product/service offering. In fact, I’ve found that if you make the bonus item more valuable than the main offering, you can get more people to purchase because, well, they just have to have it. I would say that using gift cards is a great strategy for promotional efforts like asking people to take a survey or something, but I wouldn’t necessarily use them as bonus items to a product or service I was selling.
Sarah: Throughout the book, you cover crazy, out of the box things people have done to make money. For example, the college student who sold 1 million pixels on a webpage for $1 a pixel. What is your suggestion for companies who have to report to higher-ups and boards of directors? It isn’t likely that these ideas are going to get approved without a really good persuasive argument with some statistics thrown in there.
Jim: Most big businesses operate in “don’t screw up” mode. Why? Because nobody wants to get fired. They’ve built a culture from the top around that meme. They teach their employees to just do their job and not take chances, because if they do, and it goes poorly, then they’re going to lose their job. As an entrepreneur, I simply cannot grasp why anyone would want to live their life that way, afraid to be creative or try anything new because “I’m going to get in trouble”. But, I get it, times are tough and people need to keep their jobs and play the “I’m not going to do anything to get fired” game.
I will say this. In my opinion, if you have great ideas and you work for a company that won’t embrace them, you have two clear choices. 1. Go find a new job/boss who is willing to try them. 2. Quit and do them yourself and see what happens. Or just do them in your spare time away from work. I’ve always said, Doers gets what they want, and everyone else gets what they get.
Sarah: I am happy to say I have a boss who is open to most, if not all ideas, certainly makes our jobs easier and more fun! I was an at event the other night and the presenter said his company was on Twitter, but not Facebook because they weren’t prepared for it yet. He said they wanted to get Twitter right and then move onto Facebook and other channels. What would you say to him or to other businesses that are hesitant to embrace social media or to move beyond one type?
Jim: I get the cautious feeling from a lot of people when diving into new things, especially social stuff. I’m a believer you can’t force anyone into doing anything they don’t want to do until they are ready to do it. It just won’t work. If that’s what that person believes, there’s nothing I can so or do to convince them otherwise. Of course, we can try. I would show them case studies with results of other similar businesses doing it and hopefully that would spur them on to making up their mind to do it faster.
Jim Kukral writes and markets books, and he wants to help you do the same. You can read more about Jim at his blog No Publisher Needed, and you can find his book marketing services at Digital Book Launch.
What is the craziest thing you or someone you know has done to get attention for business?
About Sarah Moraes
Sarah Moraes, Marketing Manager, heads the tactical planning and implementation of cross-platform marketing activities for Vertical Measures including; blogging, social media marketing, webinars, content marketing, email marketing and promotions. In addition, she published the Local Search Marketing for Business How-To-Guide, a part of the Vertical Measures How-To-Guide Series.+Sarah Moraes