There’s an interesting discussion going on that’s followed Michel Fortin’s rejection of the long, scrolling, hype-filled sales letter. As Michel has made clear since, it’s not that a lot of copy (information) is no longer required, it’s the ability of the evolved web to allow us to deliver information in the way the prospect prefers.
Web copy, PDF, audio, video… plus combinations that are only limited by the imaginations of savvy online marketers. It’s not only about telling people a story they want to hear, it’s also about how they want to hear it.
Tony Clark has launched a series of posts about what he calls “video white papers,” and white paper guru Michael Stelzner has joined in on the conversation. In the second installment of the series Tony explains what he means by the term:
A few years ago, I began taking the concepts used in developing white papers for clients and applying them to video-based presentations. Not really canned slide-shows, not really product demos, and not just sales presentations, but a mix of the three. I started calling them video white papers, because like a good white paper, they focused on the audience and their issues, not the authors and all the amazing benefits they have to offer.
This is an interesting concept, and it ties in directly with what Michel Fortin is talking about. To make a sale, you’ve got to provide enough information. And why not increase your chances of making a connection by providing the information in various formats?
This type of educational marketing has been the cornerstone of my online marketing efforts since the late 90s. Tony sums up the approach nicely in part three of his series:
Useful content intended to educate, that also provides a marketing platform for related products or services.
It’s the only way that I’ve ever felt comfortable marketing. And guess what? Done strategically with great copy, compelling stories, and powerful offers, it works like you wouldn’t believe.
It’s what I had previously been calling “tutorial marketing,” up until I backed off the term because I thought it lacked the proper punch. There’s never been any doubt about the concept of tutorial marketing… in fact, it’s growing in popularity as interruption and high-pressure techniques continue to lose effectiveness.
And the term tutorial marketing itself?
Maybe it wasn’t that lame after all, especially since I haven’t come up with anything more descriptive to communicate the “don’t sell… teach” philosophy. It’s a nice juxtaposition of two things you wouldn’t normally associate together that when combined work really, really well.
After all, permission marketing wasn’t all that sexy… and it did ok.