Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Recent research has shown that 83% of the most successful companies at a range of exhibitions (in terms of business generated and leads collected) were the ones that took the trouble to undertake pre trade show marketing such as mailing their prospects and customers before the show. (Source:CEIR – (Center for Exhibition Industry Research)

There are multiple ways to communicate with your target market.  Some methods of communication are much more effective, appropriate and cost efficient than others. Your budget will dictate how many touch points you can have with your target market. Also you should be trying to find ways to drive the right people to your exhibit at the lowest cost per qualified lead.

Remember, you need to let your prospects know where your booth is located on the showroom floor. Use tag lines such as “see us at Booth 1635 at the such and such Trade Show” in news releases and other communications such as direct mail leading up to the show.

Don’t make your customers and prospects hunt you down.

Recent research has shown that 83% of the most successful companies at a range of exhibitions (in terms of business generated and leads collected) were the ones that took the trouble to undertake pre trade show marketing such as mailing their prospects and customers before the show.

You can increase your ROI by integrating various pre trade show marketing tools to direct qualified buyers to your expensive booth. Diversity in your pre trade show marketing strategy will yield greater results and you will record a much higher success rate, with increases in both target visitor attraction and sales lead conversion.

Do not take a one-dimensional approach to your pre trade show marketing.

Trade show promotions are designed to engage your potential customers through a personalized, multi-step marketing strategy that facilitates your ability to reach your trade show objectives.

This includes pre-selling attendees through phone calls, personalized invitations, direct mail or email, to introduce your products and encourage them to visit your booth.

By knowing your target audience, you should target prospective trade show buyers for your products and/or services, prior to the trade show commencing, by creating a positive image and brand awareness.

To maximize your trade show effort tailor your messages to the concerns, needs and interests of your prospects.

Take the time to really determine your target audience!

And, don’t underestimate the power of a pre-trade show marketing campaign. An effective pre-trade show marketing promotion can deliver increases of 50% in conversions to qualified leads.

Always build a portfolio of activity that will drive the lowest cost per qualified lead and map out your timeline so that you give reasonable notice to your prospects.  It’s always a good idea to segment your list for better results and have a contextually relevant and compelling offer.

 

Despite the last few years’ challenging fundraising environment, we’ve been helping nonprofits meet their donation targets by boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of their fundraising campaigns with personalized URLs (PURLs) and dynamic landing pages.

When used in conjunction with traditional direct marketing channels such as personalized email or direct mail, personalized URLs lure donors back and help recruit new donors, as well. Our nonprofit marketers use personalized URLs and dynamic landing pages along with our advanced database-profiling system, which utilizes variables such as donation amounts and frequency, to drive highly targeted marketing communications. This ensures that your appeal reaches the right donors at the right time with the right message, increasing your chances of fundraising success.

Using Personalized URLs (PURLs) and Dynamic Landing Pages for Nonprofits

So how exactly are nonprofits getting results?

By printing a Personalized URL (PURL) on any communication (postcards, brochures, thank-you notes, and more), marketers can lead new or returning donors to personalized, dynamic landing pages whose web addresses feature the names of both your recipient and your organization. By making prospective and returning donors feel as if they are being addressed directly, nonprofit marketers can hold effective 1:1 conversations — and drive repeat donations.

The Call to Donate: Landing Pages for Fundraising Campaigns

Each custom PURL or QR code in your fundraising campaign brings potential and repeat donors to dynamic landing pages that act as customized “donor portals.” This PURL-landing page combination maximizes your chances of successfully recruiting donors by cultivating a sense of loyalty.

For example, messaging can be customized based on the recency and magnitude of the donor‘s past giving. Major donors could consider higher donation ranges for impact, while minor or infrequent donors may be asked more often for smaller donations.

Plus, the outcomes of your multi-channel PURL campaign are available in real-time from a unified reports dashboard, allowing you to keep a close eye on giving trends down to the level of the individual so that you can get a complete view of your results — adjust your fundraising efforts accordingly.

Permanent PURLS and Marketing Automation for Nonprofits

Nonprofits can also elect the option of “permanent” PURLs — personalized URLs that last for the lifetime of a client or donor. When used in conjunction with marketing automation in the nonprofit sector, permanent PURLs can work marketing miracles for your nonprofit organization.

For example, nonprofits can use the reports dashboard that presents a lifelong view of an individual’s giving trends. But, what if, in the course of a few clicks, you could program your nonprofit-marketing activities to intuitively respond to twists and turns in donor activity?

By utilizing our marketing automation and establishing set communication outcomes to predetermined triggers (such as logging into the PURL portal, reading an email, or making a donation of a set amount), nonprofits can create highly targeted donor communications, maximizing marketing efficiency and achieving more potent donor-recruitment results.

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Creative Marketing Services is a next-generation promotional marketing firm based in Southwest Florida. We design creative, targeted, and cost effective promotional marketing solutions to help our clients build their brand, acquire & retain customers, increase sales & profits and recruit & motivate employees. To  discover how you can make your marketing more effective, visit http://www.mysalespromotion.com

Do you have a color strategy? Today we explore the world of color and share our insight from a branding perspective.

I was having a cup of java in a restaurant last week and noticed that the sugar dispenser had pink, blue, yellow, and for the first time ever – green sweetener packets. Well, I know that the pink is Sweet N ‘Low, the blue is Equal, the yellow is Splenda, but what was the green? Turns out it is Equal with stevia.

Clearly, then, Equal has a color coding strategy. In fact, we determine color in less than three seconds and we often remember the color before the brand name. I’ve heard many consumers tell me that they take a blue or orange pill or that they buy the blue oatmeal, but don’t remember the flavor name. So, how can you brand by color?

 1. Deploy consistently. Don’t change your logo, your envelope color or even your signature wardrobe color willly nilly. If your colors are red and black, stick with it! Even though the Starbucks logo has morphed, it has kept the forest green color. It’s brilliant the way publicity photos of author Sachi Parker are in pink–just like the cover of her new tell-all book on her mom, Shirley MacLaine.

 2. Be bold. Golf-club maker TaylorMade credits painting its R11 drivers white as the key to boosting its market share to eight percent. What can you do?

3. Look at the psychology of color. Color communicates emotion. Red and orange are high energy, frenetic colors which is why they adorn virtually every fast feeder from Taco Bell to Wendy’s to McDonald’s. If you’re looking to instill a calming feeling, head over to the soothing world of blue. By the way, red and brown houses are the least likely to sell.

 4. Consider utility. Although brown is not my fave color, it works for the UPS folks who are schlepping packages. White shirts certainly wouldn’t work.

5. Review your competitors. If all of the competitors in your space are projecting the same colors, it’s time to shake up the market and stand out. When it comes to bottled water, for example, it’s an ocean of blue from Dasani to Aquafina. But, then there’s Evian–a dose of pink and it stands out!

Creative Marketing Services is a next-generation promotional marketing agency based in Southwest Florida. We design creative, targeted, and cost effective promotional marketing solutions to help our clients build their brand, acquire & retain customers, increase sales & profits and recruit & motivate employees. To  discover how you can make your marketing more effective, visit http://www.mysalespromotion.com

 

Abbey Carpet Recruits New Members

Member recruiting campaign for Abbey Carpet & Floor.

Fifth Third Rewards with BrandFUEL!

Parting gift for attendees to the 2012 Fifth Third Bank Economic Outlook.

So how do you start? Drip marketing for new accounts involves four steps:

Plan – Developing a good plan is the very first step to ensuring that you have effective drip marketing for the whole year. Not only that. You should also have a plan of action for each month.  As with any good marketing, planning your drip marketing involves a careful and in depth understanding of your target market. Who are your potential clients? Where can you yield the most impact?

This means that your efforts should concentrate on those who have the most potential to switch from just a possible client to a definite buyer of your product or service.  Nevertheless, you should also drip market to the less productive fields as this will also gain you possible clients. You can utilize a lower-cost campaign or less frequent marketing. Just so you cover all possible areas for your drip marketing campaign.

Strategize – The second step is to implement your plan for your new account strategy. Not just to execute, but to do it strategically. Drip marketing works best if you “drip” your message consistently and at the right time. You need to have a plan of action throughout the whole year.  This means drip marketing every month. And sticking to it. For an easier time, you can develop simple yet effective systems that you can implement anytime.

You will not have to put extra effort for the next step every time you begin your campaign for the month. This would also help you re-strategize or fine-tune your plan if a system is not working after a few months.

Diversify – Repeated marketing campaigns over time become boring and unattractive. Make sure that you do not do it to your marketing campaign. Instead, change your approach- your offer and your message- as the season changes. You can also vary your segment or sequence.

Nonetheless, make sure you provide value to your drip marketing, as well as in your message. Your target audience will not even look at it if they do not find any use to your offer, even if you come out that often.

Keep Track – Finally, your drip marketing will not be effective if you do not have a strong and solid tracking system to measure your results. Make sure that you have the right systems in place to report on the outcome of your marketing campaign.

Drip marketing is all about having a plan of action. With the economy limping along, including drip marketing to your best new prospects can help you a great deal in making sure that you have an effective marketing campaign to capture all that you can.

Writing Benefit-Driven Copy

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Marketing

You’ve identified the benefits you offer your customers, but how do you turn a list of benefits into engaging copy?

As a copy writer, many of the projects we’ve undertake are for completely new products. The client has some general ideas about what they’d like to convey, but they need someone who can fine-tune their message, and create copy which engages their readers. As a result, over the years I’ve developed a process for doing this effectively. There are four main steps:

  1. Identify benefits
  2. Identify how you deliver these benefits
  3. Prioritize your benefits
  4. Write the content

STEP 1 – Identify your benefits

Branding aside, most new product introductions are about selling. Customers don’t want to know what you can do; they want to know what you can do for THEM. That means the first question you should ask is, “What benefits do I offer my customers?” This is usually the first step toward identifying the key message to be conveyed. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t describe your products and services. You just need to make sure it describes them in terms of benefits to your customer.

STEP 2 – Identify how you deliver these benefits

Of course, you can’t just claim to deliver benefits and stop at that. You need to support that claim. You’re going to need to convince your audience that you actually do deliver these benefits. Anyone can say they deliver benefits, but few can say it persuasively.

From step 1 you’ll have a list of benefits. Now you need to think about how you deliver each benefit in that list. This is where you start talking about features – price, product highlights, distribution channel, competitor weaknesses, external factors, USP’s, etc. It’s helpful if you draw up a table with one column for benefits and one for the features which deliver those benefits.

You’ll probably find this process much easier than identifying benefits. In fact, you’ve probably got most of this information written down already… somewhere. If not, chances are you uncovered a good portion of it when you were brainstorming for benefits.

TIP: If you’re having trouble identifying supporting features, before filling out the table, try listing everything you can think of which relates to what you do and how you do it. Don’t worry about the order. Just brain dump onto a piece of paper, a whiteboard, a Word document, anywhere… Don’t leave anything out, even if it seems unimportant. If you start getting lost, think back to the question you’re trying to answer: How do you deliver your list of benefits to your customer? Once you’ve done your brain dump, read through it and decide which specific benefit each feature delivers.

STEP 3 – Prioritize your benefits

Now that you’ve identified all the things you COULD say, it’s time to figure out what you SHOULD say and where you should say it. This is where your benefits-features table comes into play. Read through your list of benefits and prioritize them according to how compelling they will be to your reader.

The reason for this? Priority determines prominence. The most compelling benefits will need to be prominent.

TIP: Be aware that your list may include some benefits which everyone in your business category could claim. In other words, they’re not just specific to your company, but apply to the type of service you offer. For example, if you sell a Content Management System (CMS) for website creation, you may list “Greater control for marketing managers” and “Less expense updating content” as benefits. Every CMS vendor could claim these benefits, so you’ll need to question their importance. Will they differentiate you from your competitors? Generic benefits can be useful if none of your competitors are using them, or if you feel you need to educate your market a bit before launching into company-specific benefits.

STEP 4 – Write your content

So now you know what you’d like to say, it’s time to decide how to say it. This is about three things:

  • Subject – What is the subject of your site; features or benefits?
  • Structure – How do you structure your site such that your customers will read your most compelling benefits?
  • Words – What words should you use to best engage your audience (and the search engines)?

Subject

What is the subject of your marketing piece; features or benefits? The answer to this question lies in audience identification. If your audience knows a bit about the type of product or service you’re selling, lead with features (e.g. processor speed, turnaround time, uptime, expertise, educational qualifications, wide product range, etc.). But make sure you talk about their benefits, and make sure the features offering the most important benefits are the most prominent.

Here’s a simplified example…

Cool Widgets offers:

  • Standard Operating Environment – Significantly reducing the complexity of your IT infrastructure
  • System upgrades which are less expensive to license – Providing excellent TCO reductions

In cases where you’re selling to an audience who knows very little about your product or service, lead with benefits (e.g. if you’re selling something technical to a non-technical audience).

Here’s the same simplified example, reversed for a novice audience…

Cool Widgets offers:

  • Reduced complexity of IT infrastructure – We can implement a Standard Operating Environment for your organization
  • Reduced TCO – We can upgrade your IT to systems which are less expensive to license

Structure

How do you structure your piece such that your customers will be sure to read your most compelling benefits? The answer is, keep it short ‘n sweet. And make it scannable. This doesn’t mean you have to cut features or benefits. You just have to structure your piece to accommodate your message.

While every piece is different, as a rule of thumb it’s a good idea to introduce your main features and benefits on your early on. Summarize them – preferably using bullet points, but at the very least, clearly highlight them so that your audience can scan-read (e.g. bold, underline, color, link).

Conclusion

Effective marketing communication is about far more than just clever words. It’s essential that you identify the benefits you offer your customer, and that you can convince your customer you actually deliver those benefits.

I hope that the guidance and tools provided in this article will help you on your way to engaging copy which converts to sales.

 

When the economy doesn’t look good and consumer spending is low, it’s best if you hype up your marketing efforts as early as possible. This is an indication that the economy is turning bad. If you wait for things to look good or the market to be in a better condition, you run the risk of losing your customers. It’s like you gave your competitions the right to take advantage of you. In times when business is slow, you have to take the situation in your hand and turn the bad economy to your advantage.

Whenever there are disturbances in the economy or the business industry, you need to think of the best way to stay afloat and fight for your business. Cutting your budget today won’t do you any good but rather give your competitions the advantage. Today more than ever, you need to beef up your marketing campaign. As much as possible you need to be consistent with your message and marketing materials distributed to a specific market. If you are using postcards, be sure to consistently send them to your prospects. Don’t just send one card and stop. That won’t make you memorable in front of your customers. Make the best use of your budget to draw in customers, generate leads, and get the most exposure.

To make sure take advantage of your budget, you need to:

First, stay focused on your long term goal. Think of what your goal is and think of ways to achieve that without cutting down your budget. In times of trouble, it is often the businesses who continue their marketing efforts that thrive through the difficult times. If you want to come out ahead when the economy turns around, then you better take advantage of the poor economy to make your marketing campaign more extensive.

Second, think of the most result oriented marketing techniques. While your competitions are cutting back on their marketing activities, you should be conveying your resources to profitable activities such as postcard printing or any other direct mail marketing campaign. Make sure to keep your existing customers interested in your business. It would be much easier to get them to buy again from you rather than get new customers.

Marketing in the tough times will give you the following advantage:

– Good visibility. You will stay in front of your customers making you memorable to them. When the economy turns good, you will stay memorable to them.

– Improve your image. If you want people to see you as a reliable and credible business, make sure you present your business as one. Don’t show them that you are likely to lose your business when the economy is bad. You have to come out strong to them despite the poor market conditions.

– Keep your customers loyalty. Marketing in the tough times will let you keep your customers informed of your business. In turn, they will stay loyal to you.

Marketing during tough economy will let you stay on top of the game. Be sure to keep your communication with your customers open and you will come out strong and achieve more things when the economy picks up. Now is the right time to promote your business and set you apart from your competition.

 

A well-tuned marketing campaign is a beautiful thing. Your advertising not only connects with just the right prospects, but it seems everyone is talking about you, your product, or service. Sales come in at a nice pace. Profits mount as you quietly chuckle thinking how little you spent on marketing. Suddenly, moving your company forward doesn’t seem hard at all.

Unfortunately, marketing rarely works that easily, at least at first. Rhonda, who is marketing director for a mid-sized business-to-business company, purchased an expensive series of television ads to boost product awareness. “I thought getting our brand in front of so many people would naturally increase sales, but it didn’t happen,” she laments. Big mistake!

Meanwhile, Ted, working hard to get a home-based business opportunity started, sunk his entire three-month marketing budget into a sales letter to 1,000 prospects. Only a few responded leaving Ted wondering what he did wrong. Another big mistake.

Most marketing gets held back by a few very common mistakes. Let’s look at a few along with ways you can easily correct them to get your advertising back on track.

Mistake #1: Your marketing gets lost in the crowd. Each of us gets bombarded by thousands of advertising messages every day. From magazines, to radio ads, to a TV talking in the background, to the flier left on your front door, the daily ad barrage continues. Prospects quickly learn to ignore marketing. After all, most of it has very little to do with their concerns. Prospects only pay attention to marketing that is radically different or marketing that speaks directly to their most immediate concerns.

Highly innovative marketing rarely works. It may be one of the most counterintuitive features of promotion. How many of the outrageous dot-com ads from the 1990s do you still remember? Instead, separate your ad from the pack by making it talk directly to something the prospect really cares about. It should point out a problem your product or service can solve. Make the language of your ad sound like the way customers would describe the problem, the solution, and the way they feel after the problem is solved. This is language that gets attention.

Mistake #2: Targeting an audience that is too broad. Before you can address the specific concerns of a prospect, you have to narrow the groups of people your marketing is reaching. Ted’s sales letter didn’t work because the list of addresses he mailed to weren’t people who had already shown an interest in starting a home-based business. Many were already owners of good-sized businesses. Others were managers in companies with little time or inclination to work from home.

Ted would do better to use a more tightly targeted list of people who had recently requested information on a home-based business or had tried one or more opportunities in recent years. An ad in your big city newspaper will reach a great many people, but very few will be in the market to buy high performance wire and cable. In this case, your ad would work much better in a trade magazine targeting electrical engineers.

TV and newspapers work very well to sell products used by a large, diverse mass of people. You can target TV and newspapers further by putting ads on specialized cable TV programs or in special neighborhood editions of newspapers. Likewise, you can get better targeting and lower rates by placing ads in regional editions of national magazines.

Mistake #3: Your ad budget gets blown in a one-shot marketing gamble. This is one of the most common and often heart-breaking problems. A new store will spend everything they have on one radio remote, full page newspaper ad, or direct mailer. If the first try doesn’t work (and it often doesn’t), there is no money left for a second or third try.

Which leads us to the next mistake…

Mistake #4: Marketing isn’t consistent. The old saying among veteran marketers is the first ad never works. You get consistent, long-term results by continuing your ad over weeks and months. It may be true that familiarity breeds contempt, but not in marketing. Familiarity develops awareness and confidence in prospects so they buy.

There are endless examples of a small inexpensive ad that appeared in the local Sunday paper every issue for years. Sales started slowly, and then built to a constant roar. I’ll never forget the owners of an auto parts supplier who strongly believed if the ad didn’t pull astounding results the first time, there was no use in continuing. They bounced from ads in one publication to ads in another with little to show for their effort.

Mistake #5: Marketing fails to tie different media together. Too many times the direct mail campaign a company does have little to do with the magazine ads they are running. Instead, make your ads in different media all relate to each other.

Take the audio from your TV commercial and adapt it for a radio spot. Use a still from the TV commercial in your magazine and newspaper ads. Take the still photo and some of the verbiage from your spot and use it in a direct mail campaign. The continuity will increase your chances of breaking through the marketing clutter to really reach prospects.

Keep in mind different media work in different ways, accomplishing some things better than others. Television SHOWS how your product or service works. Radio helps people know the FEELING of using your product. Newspapers and magazines are good at EXPLAINING how things work. Direct mail utilizes the power of the letter to talk to your prospects in a very personal one-on-one way.

Mistake #6: Finally, don’t believe the hype that the Internet is somehow dead or dying. USA Today recently reported the number of people using the Web has quadrupled since the Internet Boom in 1998.

Huge numbers of consumers and businesses worldwide now understand the Web is a wonderful place to find a large variety, get things done fast, and uncover a lower price. Use your web site to give visitors all the information they need to understand and buy your product or service. Have your TV spots, radio commercials, print ads, and sales letters all send people to your web site where they can spend as much time as they need perusing your in-depth material.

Marketing is one of those aspects of life where the tried-and-true often works best. Use these proven solutions to common marketing mistakes to insure your advertising and promotion efforts bring the results you expect.

10 Deadly Marketing Mistakes

Posted: July 18, 2011 in Marketing

Center Your Focus On Your Prospects, NOT On Your Company.

It is all too easy to focus all your advertising on you and not on your prospects. We all do it, just look at any ad and ask yourself what the ad is really saying. Is it talking about the prospect or about the company? You must focus ALL your marketing communications on the prospect, period. To overcome this common belief is the single most important step to selling more of your products or services. Remember the prospect is interested in one thing and one thing only: what’s in it for them. Forget about how great your company is, save that for later; always begin with your focus on the prospect and their concerns.

Know Everything about Your Prospect and Their Problems

The more you know about your prospect, the easier it will be to convince them that they need what your product or service offers. Every qualified prospect has a problem that your product can easily solve to ultimately make their life easier in some way. Your job is to uncover this problem, or set of problems, and show your prospect, using fact based on benefit that they must buy what you are selling in order to immediately solve their problem and lead a more productive life.

To see what I mean, simply ask yourself why someone should buy what you are selling. Use your answers in your marketing communications. It’s that simple, yet how often is it just not done? Remember this fact, people buy because they have a problem, rarely do they buy just for the sake of buying or because you’ve been in business over twenty years. Think about your own personal reasons for buying virtually anything, you’ll see what I mean.

Know What Specific Benefits Your Product/Service Provides.

Study the true benefits of owning your product or using your service. A true “benefit” differs greatly from a “feature”. Features are about the product: Benefits are about the prospect. You will sell far more of your products or services if you focus on what is important to the prospect, not to you. The prospect is only interested in the benefits he/she will receive by owning your product. In other words, the prospect is interested in your product because of the problem it solves and nothing else.

Your prospect has little interest in what features your product/service offers because they will never take the time to uncover the hidden benefit(s) behind each of the features of your product or service.

Look at it this way, how does the fact that your company has existed for twenty-five years help me paint my living room? Tell me that I will save time and effort by using a new type of roller that your company sells and I, as your prospect, will be interested in what you are selling. Include a special offer if I buy the new roller today, and you’ve made a sale! (more about special offers later)

Qualify Your Prospects BEFORE You Spend ANY Money Marketing Your Products to Them

It astounds me to no end to see how many times I get expensive promotional mailings sent to me without EVER having first been qualified as being; A) interested in the product, B) able to afford the product or C) having ANY need, currently or in the future, for the product! I know that I will never buy anything from that company, no matter how glitzy a promotion they present me with, so why don’t they know that? Simple, they never took the time to qualify me as a potential prospect.

There are many ways to qualify a prospect, the most simple methods being things such as having the prospect return a business reply mail card from a card-deck, calling an “800” number to request your information or catalog, or by buying a related product from either yourself or a similar business. If you don’t take these simple steps to qualify your prospects, your marketing efforts are being wasted on people who will NEVER buy what you are selling for any number of reasons. Smart marketing starts with qualifying leads.

  Never Focus Your Marketing Communications at the Entire World

Focus on a specific prospect or group and speak to them directly. All too often, marketing communications try to satisfy all the people all the time and as a result end up alienating most prospects most of the time. Face it, you will never be all things to all people all the time so focus on a specific prospect, be able to describe them in a specific situation where your product could directly make their life easier. Ask yourself what are the problems(s) that your prospect is trying to solve and why is it important that he/she solve them with your product.

You will sell more of your products/services to a smaller, more focused, number of prospects and save money in the process by cutting your cost-per-sale dramatically. Stop wasting your precious marketing dollars talking to the world! Focus! Focus! Focus!

State The Specific Problem A Prospect Has And What That Problem Is Costing Him/Her Every Minute It Is Left Unsolved.

Selling on fear is a powerful, yet widely misunderstood, marketing tool that is the most effective and most important element to any marketing communication you will ever write. In order to get your prospect to take notice of what you are selling, you have to blatantly tell them what it is costing them for ignoring your message.

This can be done as a headline, followed by a sub-head explaining the solution: in other words your product or service. (Remember explain the main BENEFIT of your product as the SOLUTION to the problem you have just stated).

 Use The First Line Of Your Document To Attract Attention.

All too often we get caught up in a very common marketing trap. Look at your marketing materials, what is the first thing you see? Is it your fancy company logo, your address, something about how good you think you are? Chances are that is exactly what you will see. The problem is that the prospect doesn’t care about how your logo looks, or how good a company you think you are, all they care about is what’s in it for them.

Begin any marketing piece with a strong statement that will capture the attention of your audience immediately. The first thing your prospect must see in order to gain their attention is a statement of the problem they have followed by the solution you have, backed up by the cost of not solving the problem immediately.

Once you have the attention of your prospect, then you can take the time to explain your product in greater detail. Gain attention first, spell out details later.

Motivate Your Prospect to Act Immediately: While You Have Their Attention!

Now that you have created a need for what you are selling, you have to motivate your prospect to take immediate action, while they are still excited about your product. Wait too long and you know what will happen: the average consumer will soon forget all about what you can do for do for them and quickly move on to the next exciting offer. Convincing a prospect that you have a great solution to a problem they have is only the first step to making the sale. It will do you no good to have the prospect ready to act and not have a reason for them to act immediately.

This is accomplished by using expiration dates, special “limited time” offers, two for one sales, cash discounts, etc… You have to tell your prospect that you have a solution and if they order today, you will add some FREE bonus, grant a discount of XX%, double the order at no charge, pay for shipping, etc… It is of no value to you to get your prospects motivated to buy and not give them ANY compelling reason to act TODAY!!!

Use Testimonials in ALL Your Marketing Communications

To a prospect who is receiving your marketing materials for the first time, your company has little or no credibility; you are virtually unknown to the prospect. Getting around this hurdle and convincing your prospect that others with similar problems HAVE truly benefited in a positive way from your product is the fastest and most effective way of gaining your prospect’s confidence.

Every time you get ANY positive feedback from a prospect, ask them if you can quote them, even if it is just on the telephone. Keep a file of these quotes and have it handy the next time you sit down to create a new marketing piece. Failure to use testimonials will result in undue difficulty in gaining a new prospect’s confidence and will directly impede your sales. The rule of thumb is two testimonials per page, although more might be acceptable, but never less than two per page.

Offer a Strong Risk Reversal or Guarantee of Satisfaction

The common belief that offering a guarantee will simply entice more returns is false; by offering a guarantee of satisfaction you will invariably sell more of your products or services without necessarily increasing your net percentage of returns. Your prospects will be converted into customers more easily and will be less likely to return your products because your guarantee implies faith in the product or service by your company. This may be the final step in getting many stubborn prospects to commit to purchasing your product.

Remember that a return rate that remains below 10% is considered acceptable and should not be of any concern to you.

Simplifying the Purchasing Process as a Final Step

All too often ordering a product is difficult, if not at all worth the effort. All the marketing in the world is useless if purchasing your product is not made easy. If you are selling through the mail, include an order coupon that is large enough to fill out without having to crunch too much information into too small an area.

Provide an “800” number with responsive people to answer questions and take orders. Provide a “postage- paid” return envelope so that orders can be returned the same day.

These simple courtesies go a very long way into closing the sale while the prospect is thinking about it. We are a people accustomed to immediate gratification and it is not only necessary, but it is expected.

Conclusion:

As you can see, marketing is a multi-faceted process that requires a great amount of preparation and is often over- looked as being anything more than a nuisance to the person responsible for creating the marketing communications. I can promise you this: if you follow the 10 guidelines I’ve just presented to you, you will immediately increase you response rates and ultimately your sales. How high a response rate depends on how well you’ve applied the concepts to your marketing.