There are a multitude of options available both online and offline to use as part of your marketing strategy, but if you, as a small business owner, can't put yourself in the shoes of your potential target, your marketing message will fall on deaf ears.
Even if you are doing everything "right" – if you do not look are your company offerings from the eye of your target audience, you might just be missing the boat.
I was recently editing an email blast for a client that exemplifies this concept.
The client was producing an email blast in the hopes of receiving donations for a private school to help get them out of financial debt. Her concern was valid – she didn't want the first response of the reader to be "Ugh! Another appeal for money". Unfortunately, we are all bombarded on a daily basis with TONS of emails, letters, phone calls, etc. either asking for money, asking for business, promising instant wealth, etc. This is part of the territory of doing business or trying to remain afloat in today's world.
So what can we do? We have no choice but to try even harder to make our message stand out in the crowd, we better make darn sure that our message is perceived in the way it was intended to be perceived, and we MUST be sure we are delivering value to our target market. We have to change our thinking from "me, me, me" to "you, you, you"!
So what are some ways to get your message read? Your message must be compelling enough to the reader to make them want to read on. In the case of an email blast, the subject is your first line of attack. In the case of this client, our subject read: "Don't let this happen to your children". Because our children are so precious to us, we want to read more to see "what" we don't want to happen to our children.
The next step is to find the right hook that will compel the reader to keep reading. Do they really care about a school they might not know anything about? Probably not. But, they do care about their own children. The approach we took was to find a recent story in the news about children who have gotten into serious legal trouble – sadly, this is not difficult to find. The email began with a brief summary (and link to the article) about a particular story and included quotes from the police chief giving his opinion about why certain young people today get into trouble, including not being raised with the values and morals necessary to develop into conscientious and responsible members of their community. Then came the plea for financial support….
Is this type of tactic immoral and trying to capitalize on the misfortune of others? No – because my client truly believes in the value of her school and is genuinely interested in providing the children with the right training so that they will NOT end up like the children in the news.
How do you make your marketing message stand out?