(This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post: Top 12 Reasons Your Marketing Failed).
1. Choose your list carefully
The list/audience is the most important part of your campaign. The best list isn’t the cheapest list, it’s the one that most closely matches your ideal customer AND contains names of people who have previously responded to similar offers. For example, if you are promoting an event, you’ll want names of people who have attended (and paid for) similar events. Banking CEOs will read different blogs, Web sites, or magazines than executives in the trucking industry. Don’t try to reach everybody; just the people who fit your ideal customer profile.
2. Offer something appealing
The more appealing the offer, the better the return. It should reflect your audience’s problems (and offer a solution). If you sell water filters, offer a free tap water analysis. Why this works: 1) free is always good; 2) it gets you an appointment to meet the prospect; 3) once people see what’s in their water, they’ll be more convinced they need a filter system.
3. Make it easy to respond
Keep registration and sign-up forms simple. The fewer fields, the better. Put your contact information (online and off) on your Web site, your brochures, and your postcards. When you get questions or inquiries, answer them quickly and personally. Avoid canned responses.
4. Use the right medium (or fish where the fish are)
Twitter or texting is great for youngsters, but older people are more likely to respond to a television ad or a magazine. Research the demographics of your audience and adapt your campaign accordingly. For example, Hispanics are more likely to open direct mail than non-Hispanics. If you’re not sure, see #6.
5. Write copy that offers benefits
A guarantee is great if it’s specific: Guaranteed. Period. Or, if it offers a clear benefit: risk-free guarantee; use it for 60 days, if you are not satisfied, we’ll return your money. More on this in #12.
6. Pick two or three channels
A small business doesn’t have the time or the resources to use every possible marketing medium. Besides, your customers may not be in all those places. Instead of going “wide”, go “deep.” Focus on two or three; test to see which gets the best response. Or, survey your customers and ask how they prefer to be contacted.
7. Create an emotional selling point
You may think you’re selling say, water filters, but you’re really selling safety, purity, and peace of mind. Focus on that, not how many particles per million your system filters out.
Put it in terms that speak to your customers about their hopes, aspirations, and dreams. What do they want? To save time? To feel better? It doesn’t have to be complicated. An employer with chronically late employees may dream of someone who comes in on time.
8. Talk about your customers’ problems (not your 25 years in business)
Instead of discussing what you do, or how long you’ve done it, reframe the discussion to focus on the customer. Understand their headaches, and offer them a painkiller.
For instance, trade show exhibitors often have to pay high shipping and delivery fees to transport their exhibits. The fact that your exhibits are 28% lighter may seem obvious to you, but it will be a godsend to your customers.
9. Stand out from your competitors
What makes you special or remarkable? Is your service worth talking about? Your guarantee? Your biodedegradeable detergent bottles?
- Tumi guarantees their umbrellas. If it’s broken, they’ll replace it. No questions asked, no arguments, no filling out your name, phone number, and mother’s date of birth. Just guaranteed.
- AppleCare will fix your Mac; even if they have to send someone to your office to do it.
10. Write a great headline
Many “award-winning” ads have failed in the marketplace. Why? Because the judges read every word, knew the industry, and were familiar with the contestant’s work. The public doesn’t do that. They’ll glance at the headline, and if it’s appealing, they’ll skim the rest. Here are some tips forwriting headlines that sell.
11. Specify exactly what your customers get by using your product
There’s a reason that Ivory soap is marketed as 99 44/100% pure. It stands out more than nearly 100% would. Many years ago, brewers advertised that their beer was pure. Big headlines proclaimed each brand’s purity in ever increasing type sizes. Then, Schlitz started showing a plate glass room with beer cooled in filtered air, describing how each bottle was washed four times in live steam, and how the brewer drilled down 4,000 feet for pure water.
The truth was that ALL beer was made that way, but nobody said so (since it was “obvious” to the brewer). It wasn’t to the audience though. Beer sales shot up and Schlitz went from 5th to #1 in a few months.
The pictures made the brewing process look different, the copy demonstrated that it WAS pure, and the ads created an emotional reason to buy the beer.
12. Demonstrate you solve problems the customer worries about
Use their language (not industry jargon). Small business owners won’t know (or care) that your computer security software has automated secure offsite incremental backup, redundant connection methods, and intrusion prevention with automatic addition of entries while under attack. They will care if you tell them that it cuts down on the threat of viruses, drastically reduces junk mail, and automatically keeps data safe from attack.