Imagine a marketing world where you can create an ad for TV or Radio and run it for a day to test the results. Then after the results came in, you could change it or tweak it and test it again for another day. And continue this process until you get your desired results.
Then you could pick the exact target market that sees your message. I’m not talking about selecting what channel your ad is shown but quite literally selecting the specific people that are watching or listening to that channel. The TV and Radio stations sell space based on their viewers. But if the station has 1 Million viewers and you are only looking for 200,000 of them that are interested in things related to your product then why should you pay for the entire 1 million viewers? With Facebook, you don’t have to. You literally get to pick, “I want to pick fans of ESPN but only those who like Soccer.” Or “I want to pick fans of HGTV but only those who like Fixer Uppers.” While the TV salesman can tell you that you can show your ad during these topics or shows, what you find is that if you are lucky enough to find an opening you pay a SUPER PREMIUM for them because they only have limited space. This alone generally puts this form of advertising out of reach for the average small business.
The channel matters but in my 20+ years in Sales and Marketing, I have found that, unless you have a bad reputation, the main reason people don’t respond well to your promotion is that your offer isn’t good enough to cause them to take action. With that said, sure, if your message is written poorly or if your video is of low quality or if your printed ad is not eye-catching, you could see a negative effect to the response of the promotion. Think about this. If someone gave you a piece of paper with these words on it… “Free Car to the First 15 people that arrive before 10am tomorrow morning.” Would you care if the paper looked pretty? As long as the paper told you what the offer was and where you could get it, I would bet that it would tempt you to show up to see if you were one of those lucky 15 people. The quality of the offer will always trump the quality of the production.
So speaking of offers, today, a FREE trial is almost expected in the Service sector. So to offer a Free 1 day trial may not be appealing enough for them to act. However, extend it for 14 or 30 days and limit it to a certain date or number of free trials given and now there is a real reason to act. Throw in some physical [Bonus] items and now we are getting somewhere.
In a commerce/product based business, one of the best strategies to employ is to offer a small “in demand” item to begin the relationship. In the online marketing scene this is called a “tripwire” and is essentially the equivalent to starting a relationship by asking someone out for coffee.
For many of us in business we fail to realize that business is not that much different than a relationship with your spouse or significant other. So ask yourself a question, if you were dating, what do you think the chances of getting a yes to a marriage proposal before introducing yourself? Zero right? What about asking for a serious relationship after the first date? Probably not likely, right? So, I’m sure you are getting the idea of where I’m going with this.
When you start off the relationship by giving first, you are more likely to make it to the first date. “Can I buy you a drink?” is a very common introduction. Most would likely say “yes” to that offer even if they aren’t quite sold on you just yet. Once they accept that offer, you can now begin a conversation and see if the relationship could move forward. It usually doesn’t take long to realize if a future date is possible. So by the time you ask, you probably already know the answer based on how the conversation goes.
Landing the date could be equal to landing the first sale. Now that looks different to everyone but it could be selling that first sandwich, selling that first car accessory, or even getting the real estate listing. It’s what you do now that really makes the difference. This is now the time to outshine the competition. Do you buy flowers? Make reservations at a high end restaurant? Open the door…whatever that looks like for you. For business, this is now where you will turn them into a long term customer or quickly show them how good the competition looks. Either way the hardest part is done and now you have to go above and beyond to keep them.
While this article could continue on discussing the next phase of the customer journey, I think it’s best saved for another time. For now, take your time constructing your promotion and remember that above everything else you do, YOUR OFFER HAS TO BE THE CENTER OF IT ALL. Then, create everything else around that.