What Missing Our Flight Taught me About Online Marketing!


I’m writing this somewhere over the Atlantic, on my way to San Francisco.

Well, not directly to San Francisco. Due to an error by our travel agent, we missed our original flight. We are now going to be making an unexpected, two-hour stop in Los Angeles first.

But at least we’re on our way, to a well-earned (if I may say so myself…) family holiday on the West Coast.

My kids would frankly never have forgiven us had we not managed to get re-routed the same day.

Over the last few days, we have been discussing all the sights they are going to see at every opportunity.

I’ve shown them some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite (because they need a little help getting excited at anything that involves hiking….). Just for fun, we’ve watched videos about indoor skydiving, which we’re going to try as well.

As I started packing, the kids started planning their own entertainment for the plane.

As you can imagine, their excitement was at fever pitch by the time we left the house.

When we realised that we had missed our flight, my daughters quite literally burst into tears – which is probably what made the kind folks at Virgin Atlantic pull out all the stops for us.

It almost cost us big, but we’d done a pretty good job building up the trip in their minds, and creating anticipation.

It’s a pretty important strategy for your online marketing too. In fact, it’s the whole purpose of your online marketing.

Very often, companies think that the point of online marketing is to sell their product or service.

It isn’t.

It’s to build up desire for whatever you sell – to tease it like crazy, and give little previews of what it can do – so that when your followers and fans get to your sales page or get on the phone with you, there’s no sale to make…

….They are so excited by whatever it is you offer that they’re practically begging you to take their money. They can’t wait to get their hands on it.

I see companies make the same mistake when they launch new products or services. They simply announce that the new product or service is now available, and then proceed to sell hard.

That’s a bit like me telling the kids about the trip only when we get to the airport. Sure, that generates its own excitement – but nowhere near the excitement you get when you’ve spent a lot time building up the trip (or launch) beforehand.

You need to spend several days or even weeks previewing the fact that a new product or service is coming…. Hinting at how great it’s going to be… And what amazing benefits it’s going to deliver to those who buy it.

When you finally launch the product, telling them exactly what’s involved and how they can get their hands on it, the sale is easy. You’ve already spent days or weeks pre-selling it.

One caveat: Just make sure you can deliver. Creating insatiable desire for a product or service isn’t great if you then let down your buyers – as I very nearly learned to my cost today!


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