There are a fair number of influential bloggers out there, but only a few who make me put on my thinking cap and analyze their actions when they do something new.
Derek Halpern is one, too.
I’ve mentioned Derek once or twice or thrice here on the blog, but for those unfamiliar with him he’s all about using psychology to get traffic, conversions, and sales.
Notice the key word in the above sentence?
No, not “thrice”…
Using a combination of research, A/B testing, and Jedi mind tricks, Derek figures out ways to persuade people to do his bidding. And he uses this knowledge to help businesses (including his own) make sales.
When Derek uses a particular color, there’s a reason for it. When he uses a certain wording in the subject of his email, there’s a reason for it. When he uses a semicolon instead of a comma, there’s (probably) a reason for it.
The reason? To get up inside your head!
So, needless to say, when Derek makes a change on his blog, I take notice.
In his latest post, Derek did something very different.
Instead of using the standard blog commenting system he’s used in all his previous posts, Derek used…
Finished screaming? Good.
I’ve mentioned this before in regards to blog comments, but I believe making your readers jump through hoops to leave them is unwise if you’re a newbie blogger hoping for comments. And if you’re an experienced blogger who wants as many people to comment on your posts as possible, I believe you should make commenting as easy as possible.
But what if neither of the above describes you?
Well, what to do depends entirely on your strategy.
“But Kevin, what kind of strategy involves making commenting more difficult?”
Excellent question, nameless person I invented just now for the purpose of this blog post.
And the answer is an absolutely brilliant strategy you’ll either love for its ingenuity or hate because it involves Facebook comments (and Facebook comments are evil).
Getting people to share your opt-in page without realizing they’re sharing your opt-in page
Let me preface what I’m about to write by stating these are only my assumptions and hunches. I can’t possibly know for sure what’s happening behind the scenes at Derek’s site. Maybe it’s because the wife and I have been watching a lot of “Psych” reruns on Netflix (a comedy about a guy pretending to be psychic so he can help police solve crimes), but I’ve been in “investigator mode” all week!
At first glance, one could assume Derek is trying something new in order to cut down on spam comments.
After all, commenting systems which require users to login (such as Disqus, Facebook, Google+, etc.) do a better job deterring spam than regular systems. And, with a blog as huge as Social Triggers, the amount of spam Derek received had to be astronomical.
Still, my hunch was Derek wouldn’t make a change like this simply to help with a behind-the-scenes, admin-level issue. There was something more going on here.
And, after a little investigating, I found something I’d never seen before.
Here’s what I found…
When a reader leaves a comment, by default, the “Also post to Facebook” checkbox will be checked. No worries, people are able to uncheck it if they so desire. Assuming they leave it checked, their comment is then posted to their Facebook wall like so:
The link posted to the Facebook wall in the above image is to something titled “Coming Soon…” But the post the reader commented on was titled “There’s only ONE thing that separates a business that thrives and a business that dies.”
Surely clicking on the Facebook wall link will take us to the “There’s only ONE thing…” post, right? Let’s see…
That’s not the page where the reader left her comment! Why did the Facebook link take us here?
Here’s my best guess:
In his post, Derek teases new training material he’s making available in a few days to his email subscribers. He encourages readers of the post to subscribe, to share the post with their friends on Facebook, and to leave him a comment.
When a reader clicks the “Share on Facebook” button or leaves a Facebook comment, they’re sharing Derek’s video you see in the screenshot above. They’re not sharing the post they just read.
The video they do share talks about Derek’s training in more detail, and offers a giant “Yes, I Want More Customers!” button underneath. Clicking the button will display an opt-in form for readers to join Derek’s mailing list.
As a marketing strategy, it’s brilliant.
A video will convert a higher percentage of readers into subscribers than a blog post. However, people are far more likely to comment on and share a blog post than they are a simple “landing page” with a video and button.
Whether or not it was his intention, Derek essentially combined the two into one, cohesive unit.
It’s quite clever.
“But Kevin, isn’t this a tad underhanded and dishonest?”
It depends on who you ask, and how you use it.
In Derek’s case, the blog post people are reading and the video link they are sharing are related. If someone is willing to share Derek’s blog post with their friends, they probably aren’t going to mind sharing Derek’s video on the same topic. Plus, they have the option to uncheck the box and comment without sharing to Facebook.
Where the strategy can get underhanded and dishonest is when you are connecting two unrelated items.
For example, let’s say you’ve written a review for the best baseball movie of all time, Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams.” However, when someone shares their comment on Facebook using Derek’s technique, the link points to a review for “Ed” — the 1996 “comedy” about a baseball-playing chimpanzee.
(There are other underhanded examples I could use, but the above is about as bad as it gets in my book.)
“How can I use this for my blog?”
You just need to put on your thinking cap and use your imagination!
Let’s say you have a wonderful product to sell like my friend Henneke. She’s set up a nice, clean landing page for her latest book, “Blog to Win Business.” If she wanted to implement Derek’s technique, she could write a blog post describing the book, and have Facebook comments for the post link to her landing page.
Let’s say you’re writing a series of related posts. There’s a part one, part two, and a part three. You could have all three parts of the series share the same Facebook comments, and have all links point to part one of the series. (This way anyone who discovers your series through a Facebook link will be taken to the beginning.)
Those are two ideas off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more.
Over to you
What do you think of Facebook comments?
What do you think of the technique used?
What do you think of the movie “Ed”? Wasn’t that a horrible film? Chimpanzees can’t play baseball!
Let me know your thoughts in a comment below!