Clickbank Shares “Imperfect, Vulnerable” Stories from the Marriage of Brand and Performance Marketing



Two fitness and wellness entrepreneurs shared their success stories, while balancing the speed of performance marketing with the depth of brand marketing.

“How do we marry brand marketing and performance marketing holistically?”

This was the question that Clickbank’s Vice President of Marketing, Kari Homan, posed to an early morning audience, at her session about “bridging the divide” between the two marketing strategies. Her answer came from two Clickbank users and business owners who sung the praises of their product to effortlessly blend the two strategies.

Start With Nothing, Gain Everything

Emily Lark, founder of Back to Life and a digital marketing innovator, shared the story of how her business started with nothing…twice. Her fitness-based business grew quickly, only to see her reach dashed after Facebook cracked down on her admittedly “long, salesy, and hard-selling” videos.

Essentially starting from square one once again, she rebuilt her reach and influence, with a different style of video content: connection-based story marketing. No longer was she in front of a green screen, reading carefully scripted copy. The first video in her second attempt was her, on the couch, with her iPhone. But the stories she shared, connected. And the results catapulted her brand to unseen levels of growth.

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Danette May, author of “The Rise” and CEO of Mindful Health LLC, had a similar “start from nothing” story. With $47 to her name, the single mother dedicated to health and wellness started attracting prospective customers with a recipe—in exchange for their email addresses.

From there, she attracted people through ads, membership in Facebook Groups, and devoted herself to giving customers huge value without once doing a hard sell. When it came time to offer high dollar items, like products and experiences, she had a customer base ready to buy in- to the tune of millions of dollars.

You Can Play a Long Game, Even with Short Attention Spans

In bringing together brand marketing and performance marketing, Homan shared at the top of the session, you have an opportunity to blend strategies that drive short-term sales and growth, as well as long-term revenue and traffic quality. It’s only through the use of both that you can build a sustainable marketing strategy – one that doesn’t wither as long relationships convert, but also one that doesn’t have to work so hard to continually bring in leads to thrive.

For Lark, telling impactful stories provided a twofold benefit: they captured attention quickly, but also endeared customers to her in a way that she could take them on a journey. Her tips for doing the same: starting any story you tell with a moment of vulnerability, and then telling the full story in a way that shows your transformation from that vulnerable moment. If the aims of your product align with that transformation, customers will come along with you—and that often means buying your product or service.

May did something similar when she incorporated Facebook Live into her community building strategy. From sharing her daily routine of making smoothies to demonstrating gym workouts (and she emphasized how she “did [each] imperfectly”), her own moments of vulnerability shone through- even in a venue notorious for not holding people’s attention. The takeaway? These strategies can work if our outreach connects emotionally with people who could become our customers.

Monetizing the Mission

What May and Lark’s strategies have in common is a view of their daily work as not just a job, or even a career, but a mission. While they’ve each been able to successfully monetize their work through strategic use of social media, they’ve also created communities of people who have mobilized around their own personal health and well-being. Each woman readily credits the medium with her success, though Lark likened it at times to the “superhot, super dysfunctional girlfriend or boyfriend [who] treats you so bad, but you can’t bring yourself to walk away.”

Through their ups and downs with social media, May and Lark have done what any good relationship really needs: brought themselves fully to the process, embraced the vulnerability and imperfection that comes with deep connection, and found the people who support them along the way. And in that way, they’ve demonstrated the happy marriage of brand and performance marketing that shepherded their successes.

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