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How to Use Participation Marketing to Increase Sales

participation-marketing

Table of Contents

I wasn’t always a confident speaker. 

I was a stuttering, nervous wreck sixteen years ago during my first ever “speaker presentation.” I fumbled onto a stage in a small room in Vegas filled with about 50 attendees.

It was a DISASTER. I was messing up left and right.

I blew it. Not one sale. I mean, it was bad. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t get the host even one sale. I was just about to vow to never speak again when one of the top speakers there called me over.

“Mind if I give you some tips?” he asked.

I practically shouted, “YES!”

He gave me some absolute gold advice that changed my career! But one tip stood out above all the rest. 

He said: “Command your audience. Make them participate. Get them used to doing what you say.”

I don’t know why, but that one lesson really made sense. It stuck out to me.

That was the first time I learned the power of participation marketing.

Suddenly, I would see speakers (again and again) say…

Raise your hand if you agree…

Clap if you relate to this…

Discuss with your neighbor for a minute…

By prompting participation, speakers gained AUTHORITY and ENGAGEMENT.

If the audience started zoning out, participation snapped them to attention. And by consistently participating, they became more likely to take ACTION like the speaker wanted.

So, I started using participation prompts in my own talks. And guess what?

It worked wonders!

Along with other tactics, it helped me become a top speaker who sells like crazy from the stage. 

Later, I applied the same participation concept to:

  • Webinars
  • Email sequences
  • Landing pages
  • Social media
  • Videos

And that brings us to today, where I’m sharing these powerful lessons with you.

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to rock participation marketing in your own business…

But first – wanna join a group of likeminded, badass entrepreneurs? Click here to check out my exclusive Expert Scale Facebook group, jam-packed with the hottest tips for growing your business.

Why Participation Marketing Works

why-participation-marketing-works

Driving your audience to participate through small actions may seem minor, but it can work marketing magic.

Here’s a look at the consumer psychology and benefits behind why participation marketing is so powerful.

Participation Marketing Establishes You as an Authority Figure

When you ask your audience to take even a simple action like raising their hand, and they actually do it, it’s like saying, “You’re the boss! I trust you!” Not only does this feel amazing, but it trains people to look to you as the leader.

Behavioral psychology principles like consistency and commitment come into play here. When someone participates by doing what you asked, they feel committed to keep following your lead. No one likes to be inconsistent or contradict themselves.

Having your audience participate also gives you more control over their attention and engagement. Rather than passively observing, they are hanging in your every direction, waiting for your next prompt to act.

This authority and control allow you to deliver your message more effectively. 

Participation Marketing Increases Audience Engagement

Ever been in a boring webinar or presentation and caught your mind drifting to your grocery list or what’s for lunch?

Well, participation marketing can snap people back to attention. This is especially useful during webinars where it’s easy for attendees’ minds to wander.

Next time you’re speaking at an event or giving a lecture or whatever type of presentation, simply prompt your audience to perform a small action. This breaks up any lulls and brings wandering attention back to you.

When you say, “Raise your hand if you’ve experienced this,” or “Type your biggest challenge in the chat,” your audience MUST engage.

No more zoning out or playing on their phones. You’ve forced them into an active role. The more you turn your content into a two-way street, the higher that sweet engagement climbs.

Participation Marketing Gets the Audience Used to Taking Action

Now, here comes the moneymaker!

participation-marketing-gets-the-audience-used-to-taking-action

When you consistently have people raise their hands, take polls, post comments, etc., it trains them to take action when you give the cue.

Remember Pavlov’s dog, who associated the bell with getting fed? Same concept! You’re training your audience that when you say “Raise your hand if…” or “Click YES below if…” it’s time to act.

Participation marketing subtly primes your audience ahead of time to take the key actions you really want. So when you ultimately say “Buy now!” or “Register here!” they’re so used to following your lead that it becomes natural for them to act.

Do this consistently, and watch those sales roll in!

Examples of Participation Marketing Techniques

Below are some participation marketing examples you can easily model for your own business or next speaking event.

examples-of-participation-marketing-techniques

During Webinars/Presentations

Webinars and live talks are the perfect place to pump up participation and engage your audience big time! Here are some powerful techniques to try:

  • Ask attendees to raise their hands or stand up if they agree with your point. But give very specific directions, like “Stand up right now if you struggle with [problem]” or “Raise your hand if you’ve experienced [situation].”

Seeing the physical actions reinforces your point. And getting people moving stimulates their attention. For example, a health coach could say, “Stand up now if you’ve tried and failed at getting fit in the past.” Audience members standing up admit the struggle and prepare them to hear the solution.

  • Have people chat with their neighbors about a topic you raised. Discussing cements the learning so much better than just listening. Say something like, “Turn to your neighbor and chat for 30 seconds about your worst [problem] experience.”
  • Give them time to discuss, then have a few share what they talked about. The back-and-forth interaction is priceless for engagement.
  • Direct your audience to type short responses in the chat or comments. Ask them to type just 1-2 words like “ME” or a number. Seeing themselves physically respond drives it home. 

For example, “Type 1 if you currently deal with [issue].” Or, “Put ME in the chat if [concept] sounds awesome to you!” Then, read some examples out loud.

  • Get them to visualize your concepts with their eyes closed. Set the scene, then say, “Close your eyes and picture yourself experiencing [key benefit].” Visualization cements understanding.
  • Throw in quick polls and surveys to give their brains a jolt. Multiple choice or short answers, just a few seconds to respond. Surveys get instant engagement through participation.
  • Get creative with actions – high fives, waving hands, acting things out. Just give specific directions like “Wave your arms if you know [concept] is essential for [results].” Fun participation drives energy through the roof!

 

Just be sure there is always a clear purpose for the action tied to your content. Don’t prompt participation just for its own sake. It should support audience learning and connections.

be-sure-there-is-always-a-clear-purpose-for-the-action-tied-to-your-content

In Blog Posts and Videos

Reading a blog or passively watching a video makes it easy for attention to drift. But adding interactive elements keeps your audience glued to your content and primes conversions.

Try these participation marketing tactics for these formats:

  • Ask for comments on your posts and videos. Prompt readers to share their experiences, thoughts, and opinions below.

For example, “Struggled with this issue? Share your story in the comments!” Hearing real-life stories builds connections.

  • Embed quick polls and surveys. Super easy participation boosters.

Try a one-click poll like “What’s most helpful right now – A, B, or C?” Surveys intrigue readers to join in.

  • Invite readers to share related experiences in the comments. People love talking about themselves!

Ask questions like “Had a similar situation? Share your story below!” Relatable stories resonate.

  • Prompt social shares and tags. Ask readers to tag you and share your content if they liked it.

For example, “Found this useful? Tag me and share it with friends who need this!” Social shares drive authority.

With these tactics, your blog posts and videos will engage readers through active participation rather than passive consumption. Put them to work!

In Email Sequences

I’m a big proponent of email sequences. I probably have hundreds set up for my email marketing strategy since I segment my list like some mad scientist.

Anyway, email sequences are one of the best ways to put participation marketing into action.

To boost email engagement, use these participation email marketing tactics:

  • Send emails asking for feedback and input. For example, “I Need Your Help!” then ask:

What are your top struggles with [topic]?

What content would help you most right now?

What’s your #1 challenge with [goal]?

Invite them to hit reply and share! Making it a two-way convo builds investment.

  • Include links to quick polls, surveys, and quizzes. Made simple with SurveyMonkey and Typeform. Consider:

A quick poll to click their preference between two options.

A 5-question survey about their challenges.

A fun quiz to reveal their [customer avatar].

Place links prominently to drive clicks and participation!

  • Run giveaways or contests requiring participation, like photo submissions, captions, or hashtags. For example:

A photo contest where they show off using your product.

A caption contest for a funny image you provide.

A hashtag campaign where they post with your branded hashtag to win.

Prompt shares, tags, and links back to your content. Directly ask readers to share, tag you, or link back if an email hits home for them. Clear calls to action boost response.

Put these engagement power-ups into play! Driving participation through techniques like these boosts how invested your subscribers feel in your emails and brand overall.

On Landing Pages

Most landing pages just push a single conversion goal, like email opt-ins or purchases. Big mistake!

You can maximize conversions by getting visitors actively engaged when they get onto your landing page.

  • Add clickable buttons, images, and icons for visitors to dig deeper into key points. 

For example:

“Learn More” buttons opening overlays with additional info.

Icons throughout copy that visitors can click for more examples and data.

Empower visitors to self-select extra content they’re most interested in!

  • Include lead gen offers, surveys, and quizzes to build your email list. 

For example:

A lead magnet is opt-in in exchange for a free guide or checklist.

An engaging quiz that delivers customized product recommendations.

A survey that captures emails to provide results.

  • Encourage social sharing by adding prominent share buttons connected to your profiles. To incentivize, offer discounts or exclusive content for visitors who share.

Use trackable bitly links to monitor social traffic. Sharing = more eyeballs!

  • Implement live chat so visitors can get real-time personalized help. 24/7 live chat is ideal, but at bare minimum, use a chatbot to immediately answer FAQs.

Fast responses build trust and increase the likelihood of converting, so prioritize rapid reply times!

With these participation techniques, your landing pages become more dynamic two-way interactions versus static one-way educational resources. The improved engagement will show in your conversions. Give them a try!

Best Practices for Participation Marketing

best-practices-for-participation-marketing

Want your participation prompts to hit the bullseye every time?

Here are some tips I learned from more than a decade of using this strategy:

Give super clear directions so people know exactly how to participate.

Don’t just say, “Participate now!” Tell them precisely what to do, like “Put a thumbs-up emoji in the chat if you feel me!”

Any confusion means missed opportunities. Be crystal clear.

  • Make participation fast and easy. It should only take a few seconds.

Asking for complex responses is a wet blanket. A short phrase or click is perfect. Remove ALL friction!

  • Tie prompts directly to your content so their relevance is obvious.

Random participation, for the sake of it, misses the mark. Link actions to your points for maximum impact.

  • Find the ideal balance between prompts and value. Too many hollow prompts without substance frustrate audiences. Space out prompts thoughtfully. Make sure participation enhances your core content.
  • Track participation metrics to see what works and what falls flat. Then optimize based on the data!

Keep fine-tuning your participation marketing approaches for the highest engagement and conversions.

Follow these rules of thumb; your audience will eagerly eat up every participation opportunity you offer!

Real-World Examples of Effective Participation Marketing

Here are some real-world examples of smartly using participation marketing techniques to drive engagement and increase conversions:

Webinars/Events/Conferences

Moz's "Whiteboard Friday Webinars"

What they did: Moz, a company specializing in SEO software, regularly hosts “Whiteboard Friday” sessions where they explain SEO concepts on a whiteboard. They also solicit topics and questions from their audience in advance.

Why it worked: It breaks down complex topics in an engaging format and addresses the direct queries of their community.

Cisco's "Webex Webinars"

What they did: Cisco often incorporates interactive polls, breakout sessions, and real-time Q&A during their webinars to keep the audience engaged.

Why it worked: These elements break the monotony of a traditional presentation and make attendees feel involved in the discussion.

HubSpot's "Inbound"

What they did: HubSpot’s annual Inbound event integrates participatory sessions such as live Q&A segments, interactive workshops, and user-generated content showcases.

Why it worked: The event becomes a collaborative space, making attendees feel like contributors rather than just passive listeners.

Email Marketing

BuzzFeed's Quizzes

What they did: BuzzFeed often sends out emails with fun and engaging quizzes, asking readers to participate and share their results.

Why it worked: Interactive quizzes can capture readers’ attention, encouraging them to engage with the content and even share their results, generating organic buzz.

IKEA's "Help Us Improve" Feedback Emails

What they did: IKEA occasionally sends out emails post-purchase, asking customers for feedback on products and services.

Why it worked: By actively seeking feedback, IKEA makes customers feel valued and involved in the company’s continuous improvement process.

Airbnb's "What Type of Host Are You?" Quiz

What they did: To engage potential hosts, Airbnb sent out an interactive quiz that helps determine what kind of hosting might suit them best.

Why it worked: It educates potential hosts and nudges them closer to listing their property.

Dropbox's "Space Race" Referral Program

What they did: Dropbox sent emails encouraging users to refer friends in exchange for additional storage space.

Why it worked: The incentive structure made users active promoters of the service.

Bonobos' "Pick Your Sale"

What they did: Bonobos, a men’s clothing brand, sent out an email asking subscribers to vote on which items they’d like to see on sale.

Why it worked: Giving subscribers a say in the sale items gave them a sense of participation and anticipation.

It's Time to Pump Up Your Participation!

its-time-to-pump-up -your-participation

Let’s recap the key points:

Participation marketing helps boost engagement and authority by getting your audience to take small actions, as you suggest.

Prompts work across ALL channels – webinars, blogs, videos, emails, landing pages…you name it!

Specifically, use participation to:

  • Establish yourself as the leader
  • Grab and hold attention
  • Train people to take action

Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and pump up your engagement and conversion in your next speaking event!

I can’t wait to hear your success stories once you implement these strategies. You got this!

And if you ever want to chat participation marketing, hit me up! Join our FREE Facebook group today.

It’s not just me sharing my top-dollar advice on marketing and business. You’ll also be able to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs. 

See you inside!

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