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big shoesDo you want more customers/clients? The obvious answer is a resounding "YES" – why else would you be in business?

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?

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About the Author

Julie Weishaar Provides Internet and Video Marketing Solutions For Business

7 Responses to “Make Sure the Shoe Fits….”
Read them below or add one

  1. Thanks Sherryl. This is they the email subject and headlines are also the most difficult to write.

  2. Great example Julie. Writing a good subject line for an email can be key to getting it read in the first place…. a lot like writing a good headline for your blog post!

  3. AngiePerez says:

    I think you outline the steps of writing an effective email blast very well.
     
    First, relate to what people already know. Then take that interests and show them how they benefit. Next, have a hook that gets you in the door and close. That's classic AIDA, which is an acronym for ensuring that your copy, or other writing, grabs attention. The acronym stands for:

    Attention (or Attract)
     
    Interest
     
    Desire
     
    Action.

    A slightly more sophisticated version of this is AIDCA/AIDEA, which includes an additional step of Conviction/Evidence between Desire and Action. People are so cynical or skeptical about advertising messages that coherent evidence may be needed if anyone is going to act! (By providing the reference to the article, you were essentially providing your evidence).
      

    • Thanks Angie – I am impressed with your “technical” Knowledge :) I never heard of those terms specifically but between my knowledge of marketing and psychology, they make perfect sense. I guess whatever you call it, great marketing minds think alike – that would be yours and mine LOL. Great point about people being cynical/skeptical – all the more reason for any marketing message to be compelling and have value for the intended target.

  4. Using something in the news as a hook to your email blast or blog will not only get you more traffic, it will reinforce your own message.  It will alert readers that the subject is important because it's in the media and provide that valuable third-party endorsement for your own message.

    • Thanks Jeannette for your input. You know, the reason I put the question in the blog post about whether or not this an ethical procedure is because that is exactly what I asked myself when I contemplated the idea. But the sad reality is that not referring and linking to the misfortune of others will NOT make it better for those who are in trouble but it might help others from getting into trouble.

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