If you listened to some experts you might believe that the only place to be is online but this isn’t true. Yes there are opportunities to make money online but it can be easier to cut through the noise when we do what others are not doing so today’s challenge is going to consider some offline marketing activities and tactics.
Build a database
Every marketing expert will tell you that you need to build a database of prospects and customers and who am I to disagree? There are a number of different ways to do this but you need to make sure that you operate within the data protection legislation in your own country, typically this means making sure that you have the recipients permission to contact them.
I think people are becoming more reticent about handing over their details because we are all struggling with the amount of information we are bombarded with. We therefore need to make sure that we offer something of real value in return for someone’s contact details and that we keep offering them value to retain their interest. It’s probably easiest to collect names and email addresses in return for an interesting e-book or a valuable report but then the only means we have of staying in touch is by email. It is very easy for someone to unsubscribe once they’ve taken advantage of your free offer.
What we really need is someone’s mailing address. One way to get this is to follow up your free online product with an offer of a sample or a physical product, for example a CD or DVD or a book (but remember that you’ll have to pay postage so the lighter the better). Another option is to rent a mailing list. Check that the company you are using is reputable and that they collect data legally. Typically mailing lists are compiled from membership lists, magazine subscriptions, company information etc. so it should be quite easy to be very specific about the kind of contacts you want. For example you should be able to refine a request by, for example, location, job title, type and size of company or interests of an individual. So if you are very clear about your target market you should be able to purchase a mailing list of people who fit your specification. Think carefully about what data you would like to pay for. Given that it typically takes eight or more approaches to turn a prospect into a customer it can be a good idea to purchase a name and mailing address together with email and phone number so that you can vary the methods by which you follow up your approach.
A word of warning, a mailing list does not belong to you so you can’t add the names to your database unless you get a response from a name on the list and then you can add that person to your database. Mailing lists are typically sold for single or multiple use. If you buy for single use you can only mail that list once, it will be seeded with names to catch you out if you use it more often. A multiple use list will usually specify how many times you can use it over what period. I recommend buying a list for multiple use as you will rarely make a sale on your first contact.
Another way to build your list is to run a competition in which entries have to be accompanied by the data you want to collect. Do be careful to check that you are operating your competition legally. If you decide to sponsor a competition in a newspaper or magazine make sure that your agreement with the publication allows you to collect entrants’ contact details otherwise you may find that the data belongs to them.
ACTION: Decide on at least one action you will take to build your mailing list.
Crafting your message
Whether you are going to send direct mail letters to named individuals, brochures, fliers, postcards or any other print material there are a few things that you will need to consider when producing your material:
- Focus on your prospect and their needs, If you really understand your target market you will be able to ‘speak their language’.
- Use your headline to gain your prospect’s attention. A question will make them think. A question that helps them ‘feel the pain’ is even better.
- Rub a bit of salt in the wound so that your prospect is really intrigued by how you can help them.
- Show how your solution will help them.
- Make sure your copy is benefit rich. Too many people focus on features not benefits. Turn your features into benefits: ‘We offer one hour delivery slots’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to stay in all day waiting for us’ (benefit); ‘our trousers are teflon coated’ (feature) ‘so you don’t have to iron them’ (benefit). Make sure that the benefits you describe are the ones that are most important to your target audience.
- Use testimonials and guarantees to make a purchase less risky.
- Make sure you have a strong call to action preferably appearing at several points throughout your communication. Use action verbs: Call, visit, ring etc.
- Consider offering a time limited incentive to take action now. Make this really clear.
- Check that you use ‘you’ much more frequently than ‘we’. Customers are not interested in your history but in what you can do for them.
- Resist the temptation to put your business name at the top of the page, a prospect isn’t interested in who you are until they are interested in what you can do for them.
- If you are writing a letter use a P.S. to encourage your reader to take action now. The PS might be the only thing they read unless you can make them realise that they could be missing out if they don’t read the whole letter.
- Long copy outperforms short in most tests. In other words longer letters allow you to work on your prospect’s emotions and make them want to take the action you want them to take. Remember people buy with their emotions far more frequently than they buy with logic.
- Consider using photographs to grab attention and to appeal to your target. If you can find a photo to increase emotional connection so much the better. Take a lesson from charities who show the suffering that they are trying to relieve in order to persuade their targets to support them.
ACTION: Draft one letter, brochure or flier and test it on a small sample of your target market, if it works send it to more people, if it doesn’t change one thing and test again.
I can’t write a challenge about off line marketing without mentioning networking. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it doesn’t work but I’m not one of them. I believe that networking with your target market will work but it may take time. Networking is about building relationships so never go for the hard sell and be as generous as you can. This post is long enough without me writing reams on successful networking so I’m just going to direct you to some articles on my regular blog:
Next steps, should you choose to take them…
- Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
- Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)
- Tweet this ‘I’m busy developing marketing ideas on @Glenda_S 21 day make money challenge #21DMMC‘
- Join us tomorrow to when we’ll be working out how to generate PR.