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3 Reaching YourBuyers Directly

The frustration of relying exclusively on the media and expensiveadvertising to deliver your organization’s story is long gone. Yes,mainstream media are still important, but today smart marketers craftcompelling information and tell the world directly via the web. Thetremendous expense of relying on advertising to convince buyers to payattention to your organization, ideas, products, and services is yesterday’sheadache.

Chip McDermott founded ZeroTrash as a nonprofit organization to ridthe streets and beaches of Laguna Beach, California, of trash. Population andtourism had exploded, and the city had not kept up in providing sufficientinfrastructure for public trash collecting and recycling. McDermott used theweb to rally the community with a grassroots movement.

“The spark of the idea was that trash was becoming commonplace on thestreets and the sidewalks of Laguna Beach,” McDermott says. “We started totackle the problem with a Facebook page for ZeroTrash Laguna and quicklybuilt it to hundreds of members.”

People use the ZeroTrash Facebook page to organize events and toconnect local store owners with residents. Facebook was instrumental inlaunching the ZeroTrash First Saturday movement, where store owners andvolunteers walk the city and pick up trash on the first Saturday of eachmonth. The store owners love it because people support local stores andkeep the shopping areas clean. In turn, McDermott has tapped store owners

39Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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40 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

as sponsors who fund the purchase of supplies and tools like trash pickers,trash bags, T-shirts, and gloves.

Facebook serves to keep people updated about what ZeroTrash is up to.For example, on a recent First Saturday, the Laguna Beach communityhelped to remove another 590 pounds of trash and 375 pounds of recyclablesfrom the streets; McDermott used the social media sites to report these totalsto interested people.

After the initial success in Laguna Beach, ZeroTrash now also servesNewport Beach and Dana Point in Southern California and Chico inNorthern California, and is launching in Seattle, Washington, soon. “Wewant people to take individual ownership of each new local ZeroTrashcommunity,” he says. “How can they get people with a passion to takecontrol and start in their own communities? The obvious answer is to usesocial media to influence people.”

There’s no doubt that getting the word out about an idea, a product, or aservice is much simpler when you can rely on social media sites like blogs,Facebook, and Twitter. The web allows any organization (including non-profits like ZeroTrash, as well as companies large and small, governmentagencies, and schools) and any individual (including candidates for publicoffice, artists, and even job seekers) to reach buyers directly. This power isclear to nearly everyone these days, but many executives and entrepreneursstill struggle to find the right mix of traditional advertising and directcommunication with buyers.

The Right Marketing in a Wired WorldCentury 21 Real Estate LLC is the franchisor of the world’s largestresidential real estate sales organization, an industry giant with approxi­mately 8,000 offices in 45 countries. The company had been spending ontelevision advertising for years but, in a significant strategy change, pulledits national television advertising and invested those resources into onlinemarketing.

Wow! I’ve seen Century 21 TV ads for years. We’re talking millions ofdollars shifting from TV to the web. This is a big deal.

“We are moving our advertising investments to the mediums that havethe greatest relevance to our target buyers and sellers, and to where thereturn on our investment is most significant,” says Bev Thorne, chiefmarketing officer at Century 21. “We found that our online investments

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 41

provided a return that was substantively higher than our more traditional TVmedia investments.”

Thorne and her team learned that people who are in the market to buy orsell a home rely heavily on the web and that the closer they get to a real estatetransaction, the more they use online resources. “We are embracing Link­edIn, Facebook, Twitter, Active Rain, and others,” Thorne says. “YouTube isa central component of our activities, and we seek to utilize it even more.”

Many companies spending large amounts of money on television adver­tising (and other offline marketing such as direct mail, magazine andnewspaper advertising, and Yellow Pages listings) are afraid to makeeven partial moves away from their comfort zones and into online marketingand social media. But the evidence describing how people actually researchproducts overwhelmingly suggests that companies must tell their stories andspread their ideas online, at the precise moment that potential buyers aresearching for answers.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, no matter what business you’re in.We have been liberated from relying exclusively on buying access throughadvertising or convincing mainstream media to talk us up. Now we canpublish information on the web that people are eager to pay attention to.

Let the World Know aboutYour ExpertiseAll people and organizations possess the power to elevate themselves on theweb to a position of importance. In the new e-marketplace of ideas,organizations highlight their expertise in online media that focus on buyers’needs. The web allows organizations to deliver the right information tobuyers, right at the point when they are most receptive to the information.The tools at our disposal as marketers are web-based media to deliver ourown thoughtful and informative content via websites, blogs, e-books, whitepapers, images, photos, audio content, video, and even things like productplacement, games, and virtual reality. We also have the ability to interact andparticipate in conversations that other people begin on social media sites likeTwitter, blogs, chat rooms, and forums. What links all of these techniquestogether is that organizations of all types behave like publishers, creatingcontent that people are eager to consume. Organizations gain credibility andloyalty with buyers through content, and smart marketers now think and act

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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42 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

like publishers in order to create and deliver content targeted directly at theiraudience.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an eco-resort on a 265-acre rain-forest reservein western Belize in Central America, is a publisher of valuable content aboutrain-forest wildlife, nearby destinations such as ancient Mayan cities, and thecountry of Belize itself. This content marketing effort helps the Lodge atChaa Creek achieve high search engine rankings for many important phrasesassociated with travel to Belize. This work generates a remarkable 80 percentof new business for the lodge. Its story is among the best I know for learninghow content drives business.

As anyone who has built a website knows, there is much more to thinkabout than just the content. Design, color, navigation, and appropriatetechnology are all important aspects of a good website. Unfortunately, theseother concerns often dominate. Why is that? I think it’s easier to focus on asite’s design or technology than on its content.

The global hotel chains fall into this trap: big-budget design and poorcontent. If you visit the sites of any of the majors (Hilton, Starwood,Marriott, etc.), you’ll notice they all look the same. The content is all createdby corporate headquarters, so individual property pages rarely containoriginal content about the location of each hotel. The result is that mosthotel sites are just big brochures that pull product features like room typesand food offerings from a global database.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s website couldn’t be more different. The teambehind it includes co-owner Lucy Fleming, who oversees marketing;Australia-based writer and former newspaper editor Mark Langan, whocreates most of the written content; and an on-site marketer who focuses onsocial media and search engine optimization. The team researches whatpeople are searching on—terms like “Belize honeymoon” and “Belize all-inclusive vacation”—and then works to craft content for the Lodge at ChaaCreek’s site, as well as its Belize Travel Blog.The goal is to offer content that isvaluable for those researching a Belize vacation, content that will be rankedhighly in the search engines.

Can you see what’s happening here? Somebody goes to Google and wants tolearn about bird-watching in Belize. And because the content on the ChaaCreek site and blog includes stories about the birds of Belize, this searcher endsup on the Chaa Creek site or blog. For people searching for information onplanning a wedding trip to Belize, Chaa Creek publishes content such as “TenReasons Why Belize Makes for Honeymoon Bliss” on the Belize Travel Blog.

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 43

Notice that this kind of information is not about the lodge itself. Instead,the Chaa Creek publishing program focuses on delivering information topeople planning a trip to Belize. Then, when they are ready to book a place tostay, they’re likely to consider the Lodge at Chaa Creek, the place where theylearned about traveling in the country.

My favorite examples of this technique are the team’s articles about theMayan sites located in the vicinity of the Lodge at Chaa Creek, such as theXunantunich Maya Temples. Anyone using a search engine to find infor­mation on “Xunantunich Maya Temples” will see the article on the ChaaCreek site at the top of the search results. Clicking through, they learn thatthe temples are located near the village of San Jose Succotz and that the lowertemple is famous for its stucco frieze (a band of sculpture along the facade).Let me remind you that this is a hotel website. The team even created contentabout the Tikal Mayan site, located about two hours from Chaa Creek inGuatemala, a whole different country!

All this content drives people from the search engines to the hotel site.Many of them will then choose to stay at the Lodge at Chaa Creek. Indeed,some 80 percent of new bookings to the lodge come directly from thiscontent marketing effort. This reduces the lodge’s reliance on the old-fashioned techniques of its competitors, which get a large percentage oftheir bookings from online travel sites (for which they must pay a commis­sion) or advertising in travel magazines (which is very expensive). And it allstarts by providing would-be travelers with the information they’re lookingfor when they begin researching a trip.

Develop Information Your Buyers Wantto ConsumeCompanies with large budgets can’t wait to spend the big bucks on slick TVadvertisements. It’s like commissioning artwork. TV ads make marketingpeople at larger companies feel good. But broadcast advertisements datingfrom the time of the TV-industrial complex don’t work so well anymore.When we had three networks and no cable, it was different. In the time-shifted, multichannel, web-centric world of the long tail, YouTube, DVRs,Twitter, and blogs, spending big bucks on TV ads is like commissioning aportrait back in the nineteenth century: It might make you feel good, butdoes it bring in any money?

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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44 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Instead of deploying huge budgets for dumbed-down TV commercialsthat purport to speak to the masses and therefore appeal to nobody, we needto think about the information that our niche audiences want to know. Whynot build content specifically for these niche audiences and tell them anonline story that is created especially for them? Once marketers and PRpeople tune their brains to think about niches, they begin to see opportuni­ties for being more effective at delivering their organization’s message.

Big Birge Plumbing Company GrowsBusiness in a Competitive MarketPlumbers and other tradespeople used to generate business through theprint telephone directory (when I was growing up we called it the YellowPages). I remember my parents both turned to it when they needed, say, ahouse painter or an electrician.

We’re in a new world now. People go to search engines and consumerreview sites like Yelp to research companies. In this new world, it’s not theexpensive half-page Yellow Pages ad that grows business. It’s the bestwebsite—especially in a highly competitive market like plumbing.

When I was in Omaha, Nebraska, for a speaking engagement, I had anopportunity to speak with Lallenia Birge, who with her husband Brad Birgestarted Big Birge Plumbing Company in August 2012. Lallenia goes by awonderful title: “A Plumber’s Wife to Big Birge Plumbing Co.”

“Don’t let your money go down the drain! Call Big Birge Plumbing Company.For all your plumbing needs!” The clever, if punny, writing personalizes BigBirge Plumbing Company, making it stand out from the rest of the market. Whenthe vast majority of plumbers either don’t have a site or just maintain a basic onewith straightforward facts and contact info, being different gets you noticed. TheBig Birge Plumbing Company site uses fun original photos, has a great design,and showcases the company’s humorous personality.

Here’s how Lallenia introduces herself on the Meet Big Birge page: “Hi!Unlike my husband, I do NOT have years and years of plumbing experiencenor have I dug ditches in 100-degree weather. Honestly I’m pretty sure myhusband has had to use our drain cleaner at our house more than most of his‘regular’ customers (pun intended). I did not realize you aren’t supposed toflush wax down the toilet or not place all the food scrapes [sic] off the plateinto the garbage disposal! (Whoops!)”

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 45

The fun carries over to the design of their trucks (Lallenia with a “gasp”expression, peering into a toilet filled with money) and to their social mediapresence, including Facebook.

In a crowded market—there are more than 400 plumbing companies inthe Omaha area—Big Birge Plumbing Company has grown very quickly inless than five years in business.

“Our very first year, we received Best of Omaha due to our marketingonline via social media, and the image we display,” Lallenia says. “This is amajor award in our city, and we came out of nowhere. We have won it twoyears in a row now.”

Big Birge Plumbing Company shows that anyone with a smartphone and afocus on reaching buyers online can grow a business, even in a verycompetitive market. When I checked recently, Big Birge Plumbing wasranked on the first page of the Google results for “Omaha Plumber.” That’samazing, considering the company is only a few years old. You can achievethe same result in your market.

Buyer Personas: The BasicsSmart marketers understand buyers, and many build formal buyer personasfor their target demographics. (I discuss buyer personas in detail inChapter 10.) It can be daunting for many of us to consider who, exactly,might be interested in our products and services and is visiting our site andchecking out our content. But if we break the buyers into distinct groups andthen catalog everything we know about each one, we make it easier to createcontent targeted to each important demographic.

For example, a college website usually has the goal of keeping alumnihappy so that they donate money to their alma mater on a regular basis. Acollege might have two buyer personas for alumni: younger alumni (thosewho graduated within the past 10 or 15 years) and older alumni. Universitiesalso have a goal of recruiting students by driving them into the applicationprocess. The effective college site might have a buyer persona for the highschool student who is considering college. But since the parents of theprospective student have very different information needs, the site designersmight build another buyer persona for parents. A college also has to keep itsexisting customers (current students) happy.

That means a well-executed college site might target five distinct buyerpersonas, with the goals of getting younger and older alumni to donate money,

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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46 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

high school students to complete the application process, and parents to makecertain their kids complete it. The goals for the current students aspect of thesite might be making certain they come back for another year, plus answeringroutine questions so that staff time is not wasted.

By truly understanding the needs and the mind-sets of the five buyerpersonas, the college will be able to create appropriate content. Once youunderstand these audiences very well, then (and only then) you should setout to satisfy their informational needs by focusing on your buyers’ problemsand creating and delivering content accordingly. Website content too oftensimply describes what an organization or a product does from an egotisticalperspective. While information about your organization and products iscertainly valuable on the inner pages of your site, what visitors really want iscontent that first describes the issues and problems they face and thenprovides details on how to solve those problems.

Once you’ve built an online relationship, you can begin to offer potentialsolutions that have been defined for each audience. After you’ve identifiedtarget audiences and articulated their problems, content is your tool to showoff your expertise. Well-organized web content will lead your visitorsthrough the sales cycle all the way to the point when they are ready tobuy from or otherwise commit to your organization.

Understanding buyers and building an effective content strategy to reachthem are critical for success. And providing clear links from the content tothe place where action occurs is critical.

“Slacker.” “Hippie.” “Freak.” “Get a job.” “You look like a girl.”“Unprofessional!”

After hearing these and all sorts of other snide comments about theiratypical personal grooming choices, Chris Healy and Lindsay Barto foundedThe Longhairs. This global community advocates for, educates, and cele­brates men with long hair.

Why? “Because longhairs are badass,” their site says. “From Samson toJesus to George Washington, real men let it ride. Don’t let ’em convince youotherwise.” Healy and Barto realized early on that women are taught frombirth on how to care for, style, and manage long hair. But men haven’t hadthat luxury. So the duo created a blog to serve this unmet need. And now thatthey’ve gathered a vibrant community on their popular blog, they arestarting to sell products, initially Hair Ties for Guys.

“Content is absolutely the cornerstone of our community,” Healy says.“In fact, we began with no product—or really almost anything at all. We just

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 47

started with three or four blog posts, and we had a pretty good idea that therewould be lots of content that we could come up with. I think the first fourblog posts were ‘Long Hair at High Speed,’ ‘Six Tips for Guys with Long Hair,’and a couple of other really basic ones. But we decided from the verybeginning that content was going to be the backbone of our community andour business.”

The site is beautifully designed. That’s not surprising when you learn thatHealy and Barto also run Round Two Creative Group, a creative studio in SanDiego, California. But consistency is their key to success. As I write this,they’ve blogged every week for more than 100 weeks.

“The blog content is written within the three categories of our mission,” Healysays. “We advocate for men with long hair. For millennia men who are leaders,warriors, scientists, and politicians have all had long hair. Only in the pastcentury has it become ‘unprofessional’ to have long hair. There are employerswho won’t hire men with long hair, and the stereotypes are well documented.One of our content categories is the Longhairs Professional Series. We interviewCEOs, business owners, and other successful professionals with long hair toillustrate that you can in fact be a successful professional.”

For example, there is a conversation with Dave Littlechild, a successfulbusiness professional from the United Kingdom. Littlechild has lived aroundthe world building businesses, most recently as executive vice president fordotmailer, the largest email marketing software firm in the UK.

The educational content of the blog is focused on addressing that maleknowledge gap about long hair. “We’ve got no idea what to do or how tobrush it,” Healy says. “Is it okay to do a ponytail? How do I braid it? None ofthese things we know about. Before The Longhairs, the only place to learnwas women’s blogs, websites, magazines, or asking our moms and our sistersabout it. And frankly, some of the videos can be a little uncomfortable formen to watch. We help guys by teaching them, ‘Hey, you don’t need to be ahair expert, but there are a few things every guy with long hair needs toknow. We got it. You need it. Here it is. Let us help you out and show youhow to do these things.’

“And you know, since probably very few people are encouraging you togrow your hair out, you’re probably not celebrating it with your mom or withyour buddies or your sister. So we have some fun by celebrating on the blogwith ‘Hair Whip Wednesdays,’ and ‘Famous Long Hair Fridays.’ You know,it’s a club and it’s a community. We should celebrate it. So we do that withour Celebrate Style content.”

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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48 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Many of the new visitors to the community come through search. AsHealy and Barto pored through their stats, they realized that people werecoming for some of their more unusual posts. “We wrote a blog post about ayear and a half ago called ‘The Uncomfortable Truth about Awkward-StageHair’ that documented that phase when guys start to grow out their hairbetween about four, five, six months until about a year and a half,” Healysays. “Man, it just looks bad. There’s nothing you can do about it. But that’spart of why long hair is a minority among men, because you have to getthrough that awkward phase. It turns out a lot of guys are searching forinformation on awkward-stage hair: how to deal with it, how to accelerate it,how to make it go faster. Now, if you Google ‘awkward-stage hair,’ we showup in the number one position.”

While the blog posts are the primary content on the site, Healy and Bartoalso publish videos, record podcasts, and use photography. The contentdrives people to where they can get updates via email and become part of thecommunity of Longhairs.

The flagship product of the Longhairs community is Hair Ties forGuys. “That was the original idea before The Longhairs even existed orwas an idea,” Healy says. “We were thinking ‘Hair Ties for Guys’—man,we need that. It tells you what it is. It’s sticky. You’re not going to forgetthat!”

Once the community launched, they started work on Hair Ties for Guys.The process involved a great deal of product testing and searching formanufacturing sources, but after more than a year they released the firstofferings. Today they have six collections of Hair Ties for Guys.

“We have some fun names, including the Outdoorsmen, the Kokomos,and the Up All Nighters,” Healy says. “Instead of what you would find in thewomen’s hair care aisle (pastel colors and maybe some more femininedesigns with flowers), we do rocket launchers and shotgun shells, camou­flage, surfboards, fishing rods, and stuff that guys are into. And guys lovethem. The reach has been extraordinary. We have now shipped Hair Ties forGuys to 47 states in the U.S. and 36 countries around the world.”

Now that the Hair Ties for Guys product is doing well, Healy says he islooking at new products to offer the community.

The potential market for his products is huge. Healy estimates that menwith long hair make up somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of thepopulation of the United States. If you also include men who live in othercountries and have disposable income, the target market is in the tens of

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 49

millions. Guys with long hair is a distinct buyer persona that had beenignored by nearly all other companies.

As Healy and Barto say in their introductory video, “In the end, long hairis about more than just hair itself. It’s commitment. It’s identity. It’s alifestyle. It’s all of those things and more. So even if you’re not a guy withlong hair, if you’re a mother of a boy with long hair, if you’re a wife or agirlfriend of a man with long hair, if you’re a few months removed from yourlast haircut and you’re ready to press on, if you have an ailment and you’renot capable of growing hair, The Longhairs are here for you. Because longhair lives in the heart.”

Content sells products to guys with long hair. A well-written blogtargeting a specific audience with a well-defined buyer persona has thepower to sell your product or service too. It’s about tapping into a sharedchallenge and rallying the community around it.

Think Like a PublisherThe new publishing model on the web is not about hype and spin andmessages. It is about delivering content when and where it is needed and, inthe process, branding you or your organization as a leader. When youunderstand your audience—those people who will become your buyers (orthose who will join, donate, subscribe, apply, volunteer, or vote)—you cancraft an editorial and content strategy just for them. What works is a focus onyour buyers and their problems. What fails is an egocentric display of yourproducts and services.

To implement a successful strategy, think like a publisher. Marketers atthe organizations successfully using the new rules recognize that they arenow purveyors of information, and they manage content as a valuable assetwith the same care that a publishing company does. One of the mostimportant things that publishers do is start with a content strategy andthen focus on the mechanics and design of delivering that content. Publish­ers carefully identify and define target audiences and consider what contentis required to meet their needs. Publishers consider all of the followingquestions: Who are my readers? How do I reach them? What are theirmotivations? What are the problems I can help them solve? How can Ientertain them and inform them at the same time? What content will compelthem to purchase what I have to offer? To be successful, you need to considerthese same questions.

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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50 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Staying Connected with Members andthe CommunityAs the demographics of the United States have changed over the pastseveral decades, many mainline church organizations have struggled toattract and maintain members. Like any business or nonprofit, thechurches that succeed are those whose leaders understand the problemsbuyers (here: churchgoers) face and use the power of publishing valuableinformation to reach them directly. Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland is aplace where ancient church practice has blended with new patterns ofsocial interaction to build a vibrant community both online and offline.Trinity Cathedral is a historic landmark and home to a vibrant, inclusivecongregation in the heart of a city struggling to revitalize after decades ofdecline in manufacturing jobs. The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of TrinityCathedral, leads the effort.

“The official way you count attendance or membership in the EpiscopalChurch is to count average Sunday attendance,” Lind says. “For a long time,I and a group of my colleagues have been saying that’s not an accuratemeasure of the work we’re doing. In fact, our vitality would be bettermeasured by average weekly touch.” To touch people regularly outside ofSunday services, Lind publishes an email newsletter, her own blog, audiopodcasts, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed. “Reality is that most peopledon’t go to church every week anymore,” she says. “That’s just a reality oflife. My attitude is that you can fight it, or you can be a part of it.”

Lind’s publishing efforts help create a virtual community within thecongregation. Trinity Cathedral employs a full-time communications personand also relies on Rebecca Wilson and Jim Naughton of Canticle Commu­nications (a firm that serves mainly church organizations) to help with webdesign and content publishing efforts. “We do everything as if we arerunning a web business to try to attract people to us,” Lind says. “Thereality is I’m not going to get everybody to church every week. If you can’t getto church on Sunday, you can listen to the service on a podcast or you canread it on my blog. If you’re teaching our kids or you’re singing in the choiror doing something else at that hour, you can listen to it on a podcast. Whatwe find is we’re reaching huge communities of people [with] our podcasting.People are listening to us all over the globe. I get emails from folks inAustralia or Germany, thanking me for a sermon that I preached andwanting to engage.”

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 51

Music is a particularly important aspect of Trinity Cathedral’s podcastingefforts. “If you go to England, one of the things that people do is go to thegreat cathedrals to attend choral Evensong to listen to the men’s and boys’choirs sing,” Lind says. “Well, we do that at Trinity every week, and we thinkthere’s nobody in the country podcasting choral Evensong. So we startedpodcasting that, which is a way of making us unique. People listen to reallyextraordinary choral music every week, and they count on the podcast.”

Marketers at companies whose buyers include a segment of older peoplefrequently assume that the elders are not online and that they won’t engagewith a web publishing effort. I’ve always pushed back on this notion. So doesLind, who has demographic data to show how misguided those conventionalideas can be. “We find that in our 1,000-member congregation, all but about10 adults are on the Internet,” she says. “Only 10 adults are not using theweb, and that includes our elders. Most of our elders are actively socialnetworking and on the Internet. When we suspended our print newspaper,I got just one complaint.”

Trinity Cathedral attracts a very diverse group of people in the Clevelandarea, and the web publishing efforts aid in building the community of peoplewho become members. “Our market is clear,” Lind says. “We’re trying toattract progressive people of faith who are concerned about the city and whowant to be a part of an intentionally inclusive, diverse, engaged congrega­tion. We’re trying to attract change agents. We’re intentional about trying toattract the 20s and 30s, but there’s also great value in the world of the empty-nesters, and also in the ‘third half of life’: boomers, those reinventing aging.I think of one of our audiences as those who listen to NPR—thoughtful, butnot necessarily highly educated. We attract a lot of really thoughtfulworking-class folks that you wouldn’t otherwise think would be coming.We’re racially diverse. We are always interested in families that are wantingsomething other than the bland suburbs for their kids—so a lot of alternativefamilies, blended families, adopted families, LGBT families, single moms,single dads.” Lind considers each of these markets as she creates informationto publish on the web.

Developing and maintaining the publishing program at Trinity Cathedralis a major effort for an organization tight on resources. But reaching buyersthrough the blog, podcasting, social networking, and the email newsletter isessential, given the changing ways people relate to their churches. Just likeso many leaders of for-profit businesses, Lind has had to convince stake­holders of the importance of online marketing. “When I got to Trinity, there

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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52 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

was one computer in the place, and it was barely used. That was in 2000. Partof the dilemma is the amount of money that has to go into communications,which is an enormous paradigm shift for churches. Frankly, my communi­cations director is as valuable as a priest. That is a shift that is sometimeshard to explain to people.” But it’s one that will be essential for traditionalchurches to understand if they are to survive and thrive in the age of thesocial networks.

Know the Goals and Let ContentDrive ActionOn the speaking circuit and via my blog, I am often asked to critiquemarketing programs, websites, and blogs. My typical responses—“What’sthe goal?” and “What problems do you solve for your buyers?”—often throwpeople off. It is amazing that so many marketers don’t have established goalsfor their marketing programs and for websites and blogs in particular. Andthey often cannot articulate who their buyers are and what problems theysolve for them.

An effective web marketing and PR strategy that delivers compellingcontent to buyers gets them to take action. (You will learn more aboutdeveloping your own marketing and PR strategy in Chapter 11.)

Organizations that understand the new rules of marketing and PR have aclearly defined business goal—to sell products, to generate contributions, orto get people to vote or join. These successful organizations aren’t focused onthe wrong goals, things like press clips and advertising awards. At successfulorganizations, news releases, blogs, websites, video, and other content drawvisitors into the sales-consideration cycle and then funnel them toward theplace where action occurs. The goal is not hidden, and it is easy for buyers tofind the way to take the next step. When content effectively drives action, thenext step of the sales process—an e-commerce company’s Products button,the B2B corporation’s White Paper Download form, or a nonprofit’s Donatelink—is easy to find.

Working from the perspective of the company’s desire for revenue growthand customer retention (the goals), rather than focusing on made-up metricsfor things like leads and website traffic, yields surprising changes in the typicalmarketing plan and in the organization of web content. Website traffic doesn’tmatter if your goal is revenue (however, the traffic may lead to the goal).

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 53

Similarly, being ranked number one on Google for a phrase isn’t important(although, if your buyers care about that phrase, it can lead to the goal).

Ultimately, when marketers focus on the same goals as the rest of theorganization, we develop marketing programs that really deliver action andbegin to contribute to the bottom line and command respect. Rather thanmeeting rolled eyes and snide comments about marketing as simply theT-shirt department, we’re seen as part of a strategic unit that contributesto reaching the organization’s goals.

Real-Time Business at American AirlinesReaches Buyers DirectlyWhile on a recent American Airlines flight I was introduced to a well-behaved German shepherd named Kobuk. His handler is Elizabeth Fossett ofthe nonprofit Maine Search & Rescue Dogs team. She told me how Kobukhad searched for hours to find a 77-year-old woman with diabetes anddementia who had been lost in the woods for several nights: no water, nofood, and none of her medications. Kobuk had just traveled across theUnited States with Fossett to attend a ceremony at American Humane. Forsaving the woman’s life, he was being honored with the 2016 Hero DogAward: Search & Rescue Dog.

Of course, I had to get a photo with Kobuk!And then, naturally, I had to share it with my followers. So I tweeted the

photo with the text “Psyched to meet Kobuk – 2016 @AmericanHumaneNational search & rescue hero dog – on @AmericanAir.” Within a fewminutes, American Airlines thoughtfully tweeted back to me: “@dmscott Ohwow! We’re sure that was a great moment. #smile.” Seeing that response—and many others like it over the years—there was no question in my mindthat the airline’s people pay attention to every message they receive and,when appropriate, craft a personal response. There are no generic “thanksfor sharing” type responses on the @AmericanAir feed.

American Airlines is also fast to respond to Direct Messages on Twitter,and to similar communications in other social networks. As a frequenttraveler on the airline, I sometimes tweet questions. A response typicallycomes within 15 minutes.

I was impressed and wanted to learn more about how the world’s largestairline uses real-time communications. I flew to the company’s Dallas/Fort

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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54 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Worth headquarters to spend the day with Jonathan Pierce, director of socialmedia and content services, and more than a dozen of his American Airlinescolleagues.

I went there expecting to discuss how the airline uses real-time socialnetworking to engage with customers and solve their problems. But I hadn’texpected to learn how important these interactions are to the entirecompany and its brand. I was fascinated by how real-time customer datais used all the way to the CEO level as a major source of data informing howto run the company. For this, American Airlines is at the forefront of a newway to manage business.

Rather than living in isolation in marketing, marketers andbusiness leaders benefit from real-time content and socialnetworking. At forward-thinking organizations, salespeoplecurate real-time content, customer support offers real-timetroubleshooting, and management uses real-time engagementmetrics to inform business decisions.

“We try to create customer value, and we try to create business value,”Pierce says of his company’s approach to real-time social media. “We’rebuilding relationships with customers through social and building relation­ships internally through the value provided by our work.”

While Pierce was showing me around, I took interest in the team’s socialmedia wall, a dashboard of real-time metrics displayed on a series of largevideo screens. On the day I was there, 5,130 people had mentioned AmericanAirlines on social networks in the past 24 hours, and 2,666 of themgeotagged their mentions with their location. The monitors showed ascrolling set of tweets as well as recent images that people posted. Thesocial media wall, as well as reports that are sent to management daily,weekly, and monthly, aren’t interesting just to a geeky visitor.

“The CEO walks by and says, ‘What’s going on today?’” Pierce explains.He’ll sit with us and chat. He knows what we do, and he cares about what’sgoing on. Everyone on the executive team also get a daily Social Pulsemessage, which includes the hot topics of the last 24 hours. And they all get aweekly scorecard with key data, number of mentions, our response time, the

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 55

top stories of the week, the top proactive posts, and what were the things thatbubbled up. We also share stories about our team members, because it’s veryimportant to the leadership that we tell them.”

The reporting and social data wall have become so important to manage­ment that they use it to gauge real-time reaction to new initiatives. “Youknow you have a good thing when we’ve launched a product or done anannouncement and the VP of marketing will come up here and stand andwatch the screens for the first hour to get a sense of what the customerreactions are,” Pierce says. “It has gotten to the stage now where leadersknow customers will give immediate feedback through these social plat­forms, and this is where we can gain insight immediately. We can coursecorrect and get a sense of reaction quickly based on the immediate insightsthat come out.” As I was learning about this use of real-time data, I wasthinking how the vast majority of large companies would have convened afocus group or hired a team of researchers and then taken months to gatherdata. At American Airlines, big data in real time provides immediateintelligence that is used up and down the company to run the business.

The real-time social networking at American Airlines is all done in-house.There is no external social agency involved. “That’s a very deliberate move,because the process and the time line to brief an agency and getting them upto speed with the business just takes too long,” Pierce says. “We’ve got theluxury of being able to get to market much quicker.”

The team operates around the clock with 25 team members, several ofwhom are fluent in Spanish and another in Portuguese. “Our permanentteam come from all different backgrounds at American,” Pierce says. “Thelast time we checked, the average seniority for the team was about 16 yearswith the company. We like to refer to them as super representatives, becausein this job you’re going to get every kind of question and comment that youcould imagine. They have to know so much about everything. And if theydon’t know the answer, they have all the resources they need to find theanswer.”

The real-time social networking team handles all sorts of issues forcustomers, such as rebooking flights, handling lost bag inquiries, andanswering questions. But they also serve as the outward face of the brand,commenting on tweets like mine with Kobuk the hero dog.

Perhaps you noticed that, unlike the large majority of organizations thathire people who are already so-called social media experts or hire youngpeople because they grew up using social media, American Airlines takes

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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56 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

people who are experienced in the business and teaches them the socialmedia aspect.

“Training in the first week is tone of voice,” Pierce says. “How a reservationsrep or an airport rep communicates with you is different than how we talk onsocial media. We start new hires in the private feed, responding to DirectMessages on Twitter for example, so they can get their social media legs andbuild their confidence before they manage the public feed. We can put folks inthere who are real pros at helping the customer, while we are developing andtraining them on being the face of the brand online.”

Once a new person on the social team has gotten experience respondingvia Direct Messages to individual customers, they might begin working onthe public feed.

If a customer provides his or her American Airlines AAdvantage frequentflier number when communicating through Direct Messages, as I have done,the team adds the number to the person’s internal social profile maintainedat the airline. That way, a person’s social profile and customer profile aremerged. In my case, the team knows me as more than just @dmscott onTwitter, who has more than 125,000 followers. They know I’ve also been afrequent flier for 20 years and have flown over 2 million miles on AmericanAirlines, making me among their best customers. All of this informationpops up on the social media representatives’ screens as they interact withsomebody on a network. They can go back and look at the history of all socialengagements between the airline and that customer. This is another exampleof how real-time social networking has become a fully integrated aspect ofAmerican Airlines’ business, much more than for a typical company thatuses social networking just to promote products. I’ve interacted on Twitterwith hundreds of companies I do business with, and I don’t know of anybesides American Airlines that have merged public social networking feedswith private customer data to understand the total picture of the people theyare interacting with.

Besides the global social media team, there are many individual employeeswho are active on social networks and who serve as unofficial brand ambas­sadors for American Airlines as a result. For example, @taylortippett is anAmerican Airlines flight attendant with well over 100,000 Instagram fol­lowers, and Brad Tate is a Dallas/Fort Worth–based first officer who tweets tohis 12,000 followers at @AAfo4ever. “We’ve got lots of pilots who take great,amazing pictures,” Pierce says. “In fact, we use a lot of that content for ourown proactive engagement.”

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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Reaching Your Buyers Directly 57

Toward the end of the day I visited the American Airlines IntegratedOperations Center (IOC), where 1,600 employees operate in one arena-likeroom. The 150,000-square-foot facility is where real-time flight operationsfor the entire airline and its 1 million yearly flights are conducted, includingdispatch, crew scheduling, air traffic control, maintenance operation con­trol, customer service, and other functions. It was here, in the nerve center ofthe largest airline in the world, where it became crystal clear to me howimportant real-time social networking is to running the airline, or managingany large business. In fact, in the center of the room is what they call “thebridge,” which is where the operations manager for the entire AmericanAirlines system sits together with a handful of key staff. And right next to theoperations manager is a representative of the social team.

“Every passenger on a plane is a reporter now,” says Pierce. “They’ve gotphones, and they are sometimes tweeting about things faster than our teammembers can tell us what’s going on. That’s really useful. Maybe there arepeople arguing on the plane, or it’s delayed, or they pulled somebody off, orsomebody’s not comfortable on board. We find out immediately. We’ll letothers on the bridge know what we’re hearing about the situation on thisparticular flight.”

Having a social media representative sit on the bridge was originally doneon a short-term trial basis, but the benefits to the entire airline becameobvious very quickly. The arrangement was made permanent after just aweek. “It still amazes me to see something going on at the IOC and theoperations manager will turn around and say, ‘What have we seen on social?Is there anything going on?’” Pierce says. “They’re communicating with ourteam just as much as we’re communicating with them. It’s a really greatpartnership.”

I went to American Airlines to learn how the airline uses real-time socialnetworking to communicate with customers who tweet cute photos likemine. I wasn’t expecting to learn how important real-time customer com­munications are for running the entire airline. American Airlines is anamazing example of the new rules of marketing and public relations at workthroughout an organization. But it’s not just large organizations that canoperate this way. I’ll share many more examples in these pages of companiessmall and large that are making the new rules work for them, too.

In the following chapters that make up Part II of the book, I introduceblogs, news releases, podcasting, online video, viral marketing, and socialmedia. Then Part III presents a guide to creating your marketing and PR plan

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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58 The New Rules of Marketing & PR

(Chapter 10), followed by detailed chapters with how-to information oneach technique. Content turns browsers into buyers. It doesn’t matterwhether you’re selling premium wine cabinets or a new music CD, oradvocating to stop sonar harm to whales, web content sells any product orservice and advocates for any philosophy or image.

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR : How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/bu/detail.action?docID=4915575.Created from bu on 2022-05-03 22:58:01.

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How it Works

  1. Clіck оn the “Place оrder tab at the tоp menu оr “Order Nоw” іcоn at the bоttоm, and a new page wіll appear wіth an оrder fоrm tо be fіlled.
  2. Fіll іn yоur paper’s іnfоrmatіоn and clіck “PRІCE CALCULATІОN” at the bоttоm tо calculate yоur оrder prіce.
  3. Fіll іn yоur paper’s academіc level, deadlіne and the requіred number оf pages frоm the drоp-dоwn menus.
  4. Clіck “FІNAL STEP” tо enter yоur regіstratіоn detaіls and get an accоunt wіth us fоr recоrd keepіng.
  5. Clіck оn “PRОCEED TО CHECKОUT” at the bоttоm оf the page.
  6. Frоm there, the payment sectіоns wіll shоw, fоllоw the guіded payment prоcess, and yоur оrder wіll be avaіlable fоr оur wrіtіng team tо wоrk оn іt.

Nоte, оnce lоgged іntо yоur accоunt; yоu can clіck оn the “Pendіng” buttоn at the left sіdebar tо navіgate, make changes, make payments, add іnstructіоns оr uplоad fіles fоr the оrder created. e.g., оnce lоgged іn, clіck оn “Pendіng” and a “pay” оptіоn wіll appear оn the far rіght оf the оrder yоu created, clіck оn pay then clіck оn the “Checkоut” оptіоn at the next page that appears, and yоu wіll be able tо cоmplete the payment.

Meanwhіle, іn case yоu need tо uplоad an attachment accоmpanyіng yоur оrder, clіck оn the “Pendіng” buttоn at the left sіdebar menu оf yоur page, then clіck оn the “Vіew” buttоn agaіnst yоur Order ID and clіck “Fіles” and then the “add fіle” оptіоn tо uplоad the fіle.

Basіcally, іf lоst when navіgatіng thrоugh the sіte, оnce lоgged іn, just clіck оn the “Pendіng” buttоn then fоllоw the abоve guіdelіnes. оtherwіse, cоntact suppоrt thrоugh оur chat at the bоttоm rіght cоrner

NB

Payment Prоcess

By clіckіng ‘PRОCEED TО CHECKОUT’ yоu wіll be lоgged іn tо yоur accоunt autоmatіcally where yоu can vіew yоur оrder detaіls. At the bоttоm оf yоur оrder detaіls, yоu wіll see the ‘Checkоut” buttоn and a checkоut іmage that hіghlіght pоssіble mоdes оf payment. Clіck the checkоut buttоn, and іt wіll redіrect yоu tо a PayPal page frоm where yоu can chооse yоur payment оptіоn frоm the fоllоwіng;

  1. Pay wіth my PayPal accоunt‘– select thіs оptіоn іf yоu have a PayPal accоunt.
  2. Pay wіth a debіt оr credіt card’ or ‘Guest Checkout’ – select thіs оptіоn tо pay usіng yоur debіt оr credіt card іf yоu dоn’t have a PayPal accоunt.
  3. Dо nоt fоrget tо make payment sо that the оrder can be vіsіble tо оur experts/tutоrs/wrіters.

Regards,

Custоmer Suppоrt

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