sly : marketing

Dead End Marketing


I am hearing the sound of the walls moving. Her hair is dark and beautiful, she’s sitting on the couch and can’t touch anything. But still, she makes the house shake, just by using her mind. A man is walking down the stairs, he’s eyes are black. Another man is in the kitchen, he looks quit normal, but he’s not, not by far. He’s a werewolf, the man walking down the stairs is a vampire and the girl in the couch is a ghost. They’re living together in a house.

Sometimes they scare me, other times they make me smile. The reason I’m watching the TV show Being Human is because it’s very different, it’s not like anything I’ve watched before. It’s creative and it makes me think.

It makes me think about:

We are storytellers

All people are storytellers. And all people love stories.Β I was going to start out by saying that all marketers are storytellers, but, it’s not just marketers. And, we all love hearing stories that are targeted to us. You might not like the TV show Being Human, but somewhere out there, there’s a different book or a different TV show, service or a product you definitively enjoy.

And the reason you discovered it was the story.

And the reason you enjoy it is the story.

When I’m watching people, I think about the power of content marketing and how stories are shaping the world we live in. And that the reason I started my marketing business is that I want to be part of it. I really want to make a difference and help people to create the right content for the right stories.

All companies and brands are telling stories, politicians are telling stories, athletes are telling stories.

When you’re buying clothes, you’re thinking about how the clothes will make you look, how people will think of you, or who’re selling the clothes, or if the clothes will help make you warm or dry or whatever. You are asking questions. You are creating a story. You might be the only person in the world who will get access to the story, but you are creating it.

You think about stories when you’re making a decision.

You create stories when you’re making a decision.

As a marketer, you want to create a story that’s true and a story that fits your targeted audience.

But, before we get too comfortable, we need to test it. We always do.

Testing the story

I really enjoy being creative. But, when you’re trying your best to be creative, you’ll need a system to discover if you’re trying too hard, or if it’s actually working and if it’s part of who you really are.

I listen to what other people are telling me, and I watch their behaviors close.

The reason I published FuzzyΒ on Amazon (for the Kindle) was to test the publishing process and learn how to do it. I was never aiming for a best seller or to earn a lot of money from it, it was part of a process. I received a lot of feedback as part of the process.

The same happened when I added the Barack Obama method of email marketing. I did it all for testing.


I always test new things and marketing techniques every single week, and I’m doing it because I want to see if they can be part of my story (the real story of who I am). If I believe they fit my story, well, then I’ll add them to my testing. But, I am always tracking my results carefully.

My tracking is either based on “real” evidence, like when I can see that what I’m doing doesn’t actually work, or my decision to stop it, is based on my gut feeling.

Take a look at the Barack Obama way to get leads for a second. I used a plugin called Welcome Splash, that redirected all the new traffic to my blog to a welcome page that asked them to sign up for my newsletter.

This technique worked great when it comes to how many people that actually signed up for my newsletter. This was by far the best number I had ever seen. But on the other hand, what I discovered was that a lot of people who visited my site didn’t see any of my content other than the welcome page. If they didn’t sign up for the newsletter, they just left. And they’re never coming back, that’s for sure.

dead end marketing

One of my goals when it comes to marketing is to help people by using the power of content to tell true stories. When most people didn’t see my content, I certainly didn’t feel like I was helping.

I received more subscribers than ever. But, the technique wasn’t part of the story of who I really am.

I am being human.

43 responses to “Dead End Marketing”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I once took a 3 day intensive seminar from Robert McGee on Story. The class was 12 hours each day with two half-hour breaks each day. I learned all about the importance of story and how to write a story that people will love. There is nothing more important than story.

    You do a great job of writing stories, Jens, both in your fiction and in your blog. You have a way of capturing a reader’s attention and relating your message from within the story.

    Everyone tells a story, but not all stories are told effectively.

    • Wow. I would have loved to attend that seminar. I have never had any kind of writing class or seminar on writing. I bet you learned a lot from it.

      Thank you so much for your kind words and constant support.

      I understand that some of my efforts to write a good blog post and a story might be failures, but that’s the only way I believe that I’ll get better. I just keep on writing and publishing what I write so people can give me feedback and help me become a better writer (and marketer) πŸ™‚

  2. Adrienne says:

    I got really nervous coming into the online business Jens because I have never been a good story teller. My Dad and my brother were, definitely.

    Then I realized that just by sharing some of my own experiences and yes, some of them involved telling stories, it worked. People can just relate when you’re giving them real life events. They can put themselves in your shoes and that’s what’s really important. It doesn’t have to be some really cool adventure that roped them in.

    Thanks for sharing your test with us. I was wondering how that worked routing your visitors to a page before bringing them to your post. It’s cool but I would also worry that they never saw my posts.


    • The best stories are the true stories that are based on your own experience and telling it like it is. And what you’ve done is amazing.

      I was so eager when I bought the welcome splash plugin, I thought that I had hit the jackpot. And I had, because my optin numbers was a lot higher than before. But then I started to think about who I am and why I am online and what I’m doing here. And I started to go through the details of the statistics after I installed the plugin.

      It worked great, but it just didn’t fit my story πŸ™‚

  3. I found your website on another site. It helped me do my research on this topic. I have read most of them and got a lot from them. You are doing the great work!

  4. Rahman says:

    I like your interesting approach to explain the concepts of marketing Jens. What you’ve written reminds me of one powerful way of offline and online marketing that’s nothing but storytelling in essence: “Word of Mouth Marketing”! The people who provide us testimonials are telling a (hopefully) sweets story about us, our attitude and our services. We can test and track them by placing them on our websites and find out how they work for us using analytical tools.

    The only difference is that we cannot double check and correct some parts of this type of storytelling, because we don’t them them. They tell it about us, but we may be able to revise it with their approval to make sure it meets the standards of an effective testimonial.

    • Absolutely. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most important parts of marketing. If you get people (your customers) to talk about your business in a positive way, you’re definitively going to have huge success.

      And testimonials and social proof is very powerful. Keep adding them to your site.

  5. Nilesh Srivastava says:

    Hey Jens, I must appreciate your way of story writing. If i become just 10% as you then it will be very proudful for me.

  6. Ashvini says:

    Hi Jens,
    I see that you have removed the static page where you asked people to sign up. I think it was quite good for you to test the strategy and get results of out it .
    In my opinion for blog such as yours, showing content matters a lot. I had decided to give up on putting the static page because I wanted people to see my content. I have seen a lot of sign ups in last month without making any changes.
    I really liked your way of testing it out and the way it has lessons for all of us.

    • Hey Ashvini,

      Thanks a lot. I need to do the testing to see what works. At first I thought that a static homepage and a landing page was a brilliant idea. But, as you said, the really important stuff is in my content, so that’s what I want to keep showing to my visitors. It means that a lot less people will sign up for my newsletter, but hopefully the content will make them come back to my site again and again πŸ™‚

  7. You’re right, every one of us is a storyteller and this trait should be present in every marketer. It is how you told the story or pitch no matter how crappy or worthy your product or service is.

  8. Shannon says:

    I believe personal stories are the most important part of marketing, personally. It’s important to be a story teller.

    Great post. πŸ™‚

  9. Lili says:

    Such a nice article! I really like your point on telling true and helpful stories, I bet that a lot of people can get some inspiration through these kind of posts. I also like your tips for testing and tracking those stories, your results seems to be amazing! Thanks for sharing your useful advices!

    • Hi Lill,

      Thanks a lot for your feedback. I believe that every single part of our story needs to be tested. We need to keep adjusting our story to fit who we are and to be as powerful as possible.

  10. Bill Dorman says:

    Hey, I thought when I commented over at Mark’s it was supposed to show up here too? Wassup widat?

  11. Maris King says:

    Yes, I agree! We are all storytellers. We might never be aware of that but that’s the truth and that’s what we keep doing in our lives! it’s always present within us whatever profession you have.

  12. Jack says:

    I think one of the reasons I like you so much is because I have a similar approach. I love using stories to make a point and I am a huge fan of testing out tools. tips and opportunities.

  13. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I was good at story-telling a long time ago and maybe one day I will be again with some practice.

    You are certainly are a great storyteller. I love the way you can turn everyday situations into something interesting that keeps my attention to the end. A lot of posts, on other blogs, I tend to scan over but I don’t with yours!

    It’s good to test things. I’m terrible at that and really need to start. I thought about split-testing my opt-in widget although maybe now’s not the time to do it as we’re moving house on Monday!


    • Hey Tim,

      It’s all about practice. And I bet you are really good. Think about things you experience and see how what you’ve experienced is related to your busienss/niche. I have found that there’s always something that’s related. I discover new things every single day πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Jens,
    I know your article is about story telling but what resonated the most with me is the fact that you track your results. I’ve written many times about tracking changes and testing tactics. I know it can seem mundane to many people but it really holds a key to having a successful blog. No matter how great our story telling is, (as you have proven), unless you’re engaging your clients (in a fashion that they want to be engaged), it’s a futile effort. The only real way to know for sure is by tracking what we can. Sure, our tracking methods may be unscientific at times but it does give us fuel behind those “gut” feelings.

    • Absolutely. Testing and tracking is very important and something a lot of people forget to do. I am buying a lot of different plugins and testing various methods just so I can see what works. But, even though I know that certain methods works better than all the others, like popups to get subscribers, I don’t use them because they’re annoying to me and hence, they don’t fit my story πŸ™‚

      • You and I are more alike than I realized Jens. I won’t implement tactics that annoy me either no matter how much other bloggers rave about them. I also tend to not regularly visit blogs that annoy me with popups. If I know and respect the blogger, I’ll make an exception but in most cases, I just don’t go back.

        • That’s exactly how I feel. I am usually testing a new thing / technique every week. But most of the times I end up with not implementing it. As for popups, I have a few exceptions too, but I really don’t like them πŸ™‚

  15. Good article shared. Such kind of article would be the main factor to understand about marketing ideas. Thank you for the article.

  16. Nina Corales says:

    I agree that people buy story. Those products that have a more truthful and interesting stories draws the attention of the consumers. And the best way to know whether you are delivering your story appropriately to your audience is by testing and tracking the story you have sent out. This will help you know how did your target audience respond to your story.

  17. Mei Mayore says:

    TV commercial is one way of delivering the story of your product. The presentation of your product is crucial in leaving a good story in the minds and awareness of your target audience.

    • Yes it is, but TV commercials are still very expensive and the effects are not that great anymore. At least not if you compare it to the costs πŸ™‚

      • Remy Santos says:

        I agree Jens. Today, we can create a story about our product using social media and all the platforms available on the web, which costs cheaper yet give the same impact to the brand of your product.

        • Yes. Storytelling, that’s exactly what most marketers should get better at. Often, when I see or read a good story about a product, I end up buying it, no matter if I really want the product or not. That’s how powerful storytelling is.

  18. Elaine Salt says:

    I agree with you Jens. Story will draw people’s curiosity through testing the story. And Tracking comes next as how they absorb the story and find its content useful to them. Story Telling to Marketing is a good combination as you share half of your self from your experience. It becomes more interesting and persuading. Thanks Jen!

    • Hi Elaine,

      I love storytelling and to me, that’s the reason why some marketers are successful and others are not. Stories helps us create relationships and trust. But the stories needs to be authentic.

  19. Nina Corales says:

    I agree, we all love listening to other people’s stories and experiences. And whenever we hear a positive story from our friends, family or neighbor we tend to crave for that same kind of experience. This is the reason why it is necessary that we provide a positive user-experience when selling a product. So, our present customers will tell their friends and people around them how much they love our products.

  20. Leny Turns says:

    It will be easier for you to sell your product if you will learn how to do story telling the right way. It is important that your story is truthful and persuasive.

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