These are 7 tips from Dolly Parton, to help you think like a marketer, convert like a ninja and sell like a superstar.
Dolly Parton absolutely nailed her Glastonbury performance and for many at the festival in 2014, she became the darling of the event.
But why was she so well regarded following her performance and what can the way she approached it teach marketers about optimising their websites for more conversions?
Continue reading to find out.
1. Tell your (personal) story
Dolly introduced most of her songs by telling a personal story and linking it to the song before singing.
She introduced Coat of Many Colours with the story of her mum and by the time she finished her story, many in the crowd knew what was about to come and immediately joined in.
Another instance was when she told the personal story behind Jolene, and how this referred to a woman that her husband was spending a little too much time with.
The point here is that Dolly’s open sharing and telling of a real story engaged the audience, much like a website should tell an engaging story to customers.
One website which tells a personal story and the story of its products very well is Saddleback Leather Company, you can learn a thing or two from them.
2. It’s all about your customers – get them involved.
Throughout the performance Dolly Parton got her audience singing along at any given chance.
This crowd participation is similar to the way that marketing now works, it is no longer a one way street, where we push marketing messages out to prospects and customers.
It is the new way products and services are now sold – it is all about your customers, not about you anymore, get them involved.
Dolly executed this beautifully, addressing the audience and using the word “you” often, dedicating several songs to her audience in appreciation of them being there and for her fans that watched every movie she was in, bought her songs and listened to her music.
The feeling of value was only enhanced when the performance finished with “I will always love you”.
Who is your website about? Is it about you, your products, services or about your customers?
It is very difficult to answer this question objectively, when it concerns your own website.
There is a free tool to find out how customer focused your website copy is.
See it here – Customer Focus Calculator – WeWe Monitor.
3. Go MI5 – do your homework, research your market and gather Intel on your customers
Not only did Dolly look the part of a Glasto camper, albeit a slightly more glittery one, but she truly embraced what Glastonbury is all about. She got into the spirit of things at Glastonbury.
But before that, she did her homework, she phoned friends who had performed at Glastonbury before and asked them what the experience was like, what the crowd was like, she interviewed her managers and aides, to get as much information as possible about the festival, the crowd, etc.
That is not all.
On the day of her performance, she got up very early and arrived at Glasto at 5am. She walked around, looked at the scene, then went back to her tour bus and wrote a song just for the people and the festival.
The song referenced the scenes of mud, rain and when she played it to them, it resonated and it got the crowd going.
The message for marketers? Understand what makes your audience tick. Understand what it is like for your customers.
I have a question for you, when was the last time you bought from yourself?
Visit your website today, add a product to basket, go through the whole checkout process and then pay. Wait for the product to arrive, open and use it. It is called “walking a mile in your customers’ shoes”.
This experience alone will teach you about your business more than anything else.
If you do not sell on your website, pretend to be a customer with a problem, call your customer helpline and pose them a problem just to see how it is handled.
- The exact challenges faced by your customers and prospects
- The bottlenecks in your sales funnel
- Where your website is leaking money
By fixing these issues, you will increase your conversion rates significantly.
According to a Qualaroo CRO guide, “At its most fundamental, conversion rate optimisation means figuring out what users are looking for when they arrive at your site and then giving that to them”.
4. Ask your customers what they want
Asking your customers for feedback on what they want to buy and how they want to buy it are fundamentals of marketing. Dolly exercised audience feedback excellently throughout her gig.
Dolly even surveyed her customers on what they wanted to hear and put together a medley of all the songs – now that’s people power! The result was a crowd singing along, engaged and loving every minute.
It goes without saying you should do this in your marketing, and to help you capture the voice of your customers, there are a number of free and inexpensive tools you can use such as:
You should be running a site survey on your site at every chance as you will capture some very useful insight that you and your team will never have thought about.
By surveying your customers they will tell you what they want to buy, how they want to buy, how much they are willing to pay, how they want to be served and more.
Ultimately surveying takes the guesswork out of marketing, and why guess when you can know?
A good performer always leaves her audience wanting more and when they think it’s all over, is ready for an encore that leaves everyone on a high.
Before singing Islands in the Stream the audience thought Dolly was stopping, but when she carried on with one of her biggest hits the crowd absolutely loved it and once again joined in.
What does that teach us? People love extras and freebies, even if they are expected, so why not wow yours with a bit of generosity?
For instance, your customers already love and trust Amazon, so why not partner with Amazon and reward your best customers with Amazon gift vouchers?
6. Don’t forget the bottom line… ask for the sale, then up-sell
Intermixed with the classic hits and crowd participation Dolly even managed to plug her new album, seamlessly weaving in free tasters for the crowd.
At one point, with a little help from one of her friends – Richie Sambora – they set the stage on fire, giving people a memorable experience that will undoubtedly drive album sales.
Such a mixture of the old and new will not only get Dolly new fans, but in a marvellous piece of up-selling, will even get those existing fans to go out and buy her new materials.
The lesson is that you should mix what your customers love with new things (like your products) as they are more inclined to be positive to the new.
Upsell your customers on related products. Not all of them will take you up on the offer, but the few that will, add to your bottom line.
I am currently reviewing an ecommerce website, where on the homepage, there are no clear next steps – after reading the page copy, visitors become stuck.
Your web pages should have at least one clear call to action, telling visitors what to do next.
During the after show interview, in her words she said “there was a lot of crowd out there, but I was just trying to pretend it was one single person”.
This is exactly how you should treat every customer interaction to your website. Treat them as individuals, not like a faceless mass.
Personalise experiences for your customers as the days of mass marketing are long gone.
By thinking of and treating the crowd as one single person, Dolly made each member of the crowd feel the experience was for them alone.
This should be the goal of any business and of course, their website.
When she finished, the whole of Glasto was buzzing, and will be left with positive experiences of seeing Dolly Parton live. By finishing with I will always love you Dolly yet again showed why she is a consummate performer adored by millions, a position many marketers would love to be in.
When customers interact or buy from you what feeling are they left with after the experience?
Here are resources to help you personalise website experiences for your customers:
- Evergage – real-time personalization tool
- 15 Website Personalization Tools
- Personalization Article
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO – the process of optimising website functions to maximise conversions) has a lot more in common with showbiz than you think.
By borrowing some of the best practices from the showbiz world, you can turn passive website visitors into customers and customers into raving fans, in the process making a lot more money.
What you should write on your website to improve conversion rates:
- Tell your (personal) story
- Make your website (and copy) about your customers, and get them involved
- Do your homework, research your market, customers and competitors
- Ask your customers what they want and how they would like to be served
- Over-deliver, wow your customers with services, be generous: reward your best customers
- Don’t be timid, ask for the sell and then upsell; remember this: “timid salesmen have skinny kids”
- Personalise website experiences for your website. For example, if I have already bought from you, I do not want to see the same information as that shown to new visitors.
Lastly, take action; implement at least a few of these tips today.