Content marketing isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, it’s been used to great success for years, by brands, businesses and… cartoons. To illustrate the marketing creed that value can be found pretty much anywhere, I’ve compiled 10 of the most valuable marketing lessons The Simpsons has ever shared – on topics from viral content to sales funnel optimization – and illustrated them with the most cromulent GIFs the web has to offer.
10. Sex Doesn’t Always Sell
The old-fashioned marketing creed of sex sells doesn’t always hold true – as illustrated perfectly by Stupid Sexy Flanders. Sometimes, sexualised marketing is an unwelcome intrusion into the customer experience. Instead of highlighting the allure of a product, sexualisation can distract from it, and negatively impact brand image. Avoid sexy for the sake of sexy – and use it sparingly, in the correct content.
9. Website Design Matters
Visitors care about website design. Branding, page load times, colour schemes, photos, banners and gyrating cartoon deities all influence a visitor’s first-impression of your website – and if you don’t impress, your chances of conversion take a serious hit.
8. You Can’t Predict Virality
Viral posts can work wonders for a website, sending traffic to stratospheric new heights – but we can’t predict virality. Viral content is a product of hundreds of factors, from dynamic social trends to individual tastes in humor. Whilst we can identify a few key hallmarks for popular content, we can’t create a magic formula for virality. There’s nothing wrong with trying to entertain – but don’t develop an unhealthy fixation on virality.
7. Nobody Likes Pop-Ups
Pop-Ups are interruptive, annoying and painful – but many websites still choose to use them. Thankfully, this particular bastion of consumer annoyance is heading towards extinction. With over 70% of browsers now using a Pop-Up blocker, their efficacy is falling, and websites that employ them are seeing diminishing benefits.
6. Social Proof is Incredibly Powerful
‘What, no GIF?!’
I know, I know, I’ve failed you – but the marketing lesson from this particular still is too important to ignore. Social proof is a hugely powerful tool in the battle to earn a visitor’s trust. From customer reviews to shots of your product in action, social proof can make or break your sale – as the good folks at Laramie unscrupulously illustrate.
5. Always Deliver On Your Promises
Marketing shouldn’t mislead. There should never be a disconnect between your marketing message, and the product at the heart of it. Consumers are sick of being mislead and lied to, and only respond to honest marketing. Focus on the benefits of your products – and if you can’t find anything remarkable about your product, why are you selling it in the first place?
4. Value is Subjective
Content marketing is founded on a very basic principle: provide value to your customer, and your business will see value in return. How your business achieves that value will vary hugely from person to person – and your marketing efforts need to be tailored to the subjective needs of your different buyer personas.
3. Traffic is Nothing Without a Low Bounce Rate
Getting traffic through the door is a huge part of successful marketing – but your efforts are in vain if visitors up-and-leave immediately. High bounce rates indicate discord between the promise of your landing page, and its content. Learn from this marketing lesson, work on a congruent message, and your bounce rates will drop.
2. Urgency Sells
Whilst sex doesn’t always sell, urgency does. Limited-time offers, discount code expiration dates and limited stock levels all impact a consumer’s purchasing decisions – and drive their decision to buy.
1. Always Leave a Way Out of Your Sales Funnel
If your visitor wants out of your sales funnel, they’ll find a way. Whilst you can’t prevent a premature exit, you can make an attempt to control the type of exit – either guiding a visitor to a carefully planned exit page, complete with secondary CTA, or forcing them to desperately mash their Back button, never to return.
Great marketing lessons can come from anywhere – especially The Simpsons. Which of these marketing lessons is the most important? Do you disagree with any of the points raised so eloquently by Homer, Flanders, Ralph and co.? Let me know in the comments!