Cut Through the Holiday
The Holidays seem to start earlier
every year, Your customers and prospects, whether B-to-B or B-to-C, are
bombarded by marketing messages from every direction. Let’s explore ways
to help you cut through all this clutter, get your message noticed, and
achieve your desired results.
Know Your Audience
No matter what time of year, any
marketing effort should start with some homework. Break your overall
target group down into segments. Don’t deal in generalities – get
specific. Look for answers to questions like these:
- Who are your target customers?
- What do they have in common
- If B-to-B, what specific industries
are you targeting?
- Are you focusing on a certain
- What buying criteria do your target
- Where do your target customers get
- How do your target customers get
Armed with this information, you’re now
better able to craft your message and your offer, and to choose the
marketing mediums which give you the best chance of success.
Hone Your Message
Your marketing message should answer
Why should your customers buy from you
and not your competition?
Some people prefer to call this your
Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. Whatever you call it, this question
is vitally important. Rather than assembling a long laundry list of
features and benefits, focus like a laser beam on the answer to this
Finding your USP can be hard work. Why
are you the clear choice? Is it customer service? Experience? Location?
Are you a one-stop-shop? Are you a specialist?
Two things to remember as you look for
- If your competitors can make the
same claim, it isn’t “unique.”
- Beware using price as your USP
(unless you happen to be Wal-Mart.) There’s always someone willing to
go out of business faster than you.
To boost the credibility factor,
include a testimonial from a satisfied customer.
Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Increase the response to your marketing
materials by including a call to action every chance you get.
What specific action do you want the
reader to take after seeing your marketing piece? Call you? Visit your
website or store? Don’t assume that they’ll know what to do. Tell ‘em!
Beyond a simple call to action,
consider making an offer that is both valuable and low-risk, such as:
- Free sample
- Try our product or service free for
- Discount coupon
- Free financing
- Free delivery or in-home set-up
- Fully guaranteed – full refund if
not 100% satisfied
- Sign up for email or hard copy
- Sign up to gain access to “members
only” section of website
Getting prospects to give you their
contact information is a great way to grow your prospect database.
Choose Your Marketing Vehicles
The selection of specific marketing
media – print ads, direct mail, email, and so on – should not be taken
lightly. Not only will this choice make or break your campaign, it has a
dramatic impact on your costs.
Earlier I encouraged you to know your
audience. When you do this homework, it will help determine which
marketing vehicles to use. The questions related to how and where your
target customers get their information will be especially useful.
Following are three of the most common
marketing vehicles and a list for each, identifying what you can do to
maximize their effectiveness.
- Send to a specific person by name,
not just a title like “Owner” or “Resident”
- Stand out from all the other mail -
make your mail piece an usual size or shape.
- Make your piece intentionally
“bulky” and impossible to throw away without opening. Insert a sample
or other dimensional item to build curiosity.
- Put a message on the envelope to
quickly gain interest.
- Remember that people sort their mail
over the trash can!
- Use color – especially if other
advertisers use black and white
- Don’t run an ad without a powerful
call to action or offer. Increase urgency with a deadline.
- An insert can be more effective (and
sometimes less expensive) than an ad in the same publication. Don’t
ignore this often under-utilized option.
- Create a compelling subject line.
Make the recipient want to open and read your email.
- Keep it brief and focused
- Use HTML format, colors,
eye-catching images and fonts to increase visual appeal
- Avoid attachments for bulk emails –
they’ll get trapped in spam filters and possibly put you on the bad
list, blocking all future emails to that recipient
- Make it valuable. Don’t wear out
your welcome by only sending marketing messages. Email is a great
medium for delivering useful advice and information to your customers
Close the Loop
So, how do you know if your marketing
is working? For any marketing effort, always: • Measure and learn from
your results. • Use this information to improve the effectiveness of
In Summary …
The time of year leading up to the
Holidays is a challenging time for marketers. But good research,
planning and execution are the tools you need to cut through the clutter
and get your message noticed. Happy holidays and happy marketing!
Bill Collier is the author of “How to
Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a Life” and is
the St. Louis area coach for The Great Game of Business. He helps
businesses teach their employees to think and act like owners. He can be
reached at 314-221-8558 or email@example.com.