When it comes to marketing messages, we can sometimes feel like they’re a necessary evil to be sent reluctantly and apologetically. We all know how annoying they can be when done badly – watching your inbox become alarmingly clogged with updates from a company you can’t even remember buying from, and being disappointed when a text turns out not to be from your pal but from Kevin’s Car Wash telling you to come and try their new wax service.
But wait, cheer up, because marketing doesn’t have to be this way. Here are seven tips for making your marketing stand out and hit the bullseye, without driving your audience to go on an unsubscribing frenzy.
1. Target portions of your contacts, not the whole list
Whenever you’re sending out marketing messages, whether by email or text, bear in mind the important truth that if your recipient isn’t interested in your message then you might as well not have sent them anything at all. So before you get trigger-happy with the send button, decide which sector of your contacts is most likely to see the value in your communication. If you’re informing people about an offer on dog grooming, for example, there’s no point getting in touch with cat owners. Your message will be totally irrelevant and may even win you a long stay in their junk folder. Not to mention, the more closely you can tailor a marketing message to its audience, the more effective it will be.
2. Offer something of value
The key to good marketing is providing value and usefulness. With that in mind, always ask yourself where the value is in your emails and texts before you send them out. Sure, you think your new hairdryers are the bee’s knees, but how much is it really going to benefit your customers to hear about them? There are only really a few things that warrant contacting your customers, and the bulk of those can be grouped into two categories: special offers or inviting them to try new or improved services. Providing real value is the key thing that turns a bog-standard ignorable marketing message into something you’re actually pleased to receive.
3. Get straight to the point
When you’ve got your valuable information to share, don’t beat around the bush – just share it! Nobody reads every word of a marketing email beginning to end, they only read enough to understand the gist and will rapidly lose interest if it isn’t immediately obvious how they’ll benefit from your message. So be clear, be concise, and don’t worry too much about trying to dress up your announcement. In fact it’s best to spell it out as early as the very first line of the email, which appears as a preview for many people.
(This is less of an issue with SMS marketing as texts are so concise anyway, but it’s still worth remembering to be upfront about the reason for your communication.)
4. Don’t be afraid to be characterful
When you hear the phrase ‘marketing email’ you probably don’t immediately think of fun and delight. True, it’s important to be clear and to-the-point, but there’s also something to be said for being memorable, and just because you’re being direct doesn’t mean you can’t put a bit of personality in your message. It depends on the nature of the business and clientele, of course, but don’t necessarily think of it as unprofessional to be friendly or funny when marketing. If you can make the reader crack a smile when they get your message, they won’t be bothered by getting updates from you. Plus, they’ll be much more likely to engage with the message if they think of your business as a cheeky friend rather than an automatic marketing machine.
5. Less is more
Don’t assume that sending out a barrage of marketing will mean that, according to the law of averages, a percentage of them will stick. Maybe that was true once upon a time, but these days it’s too easy to screen out messages we don’t want to see. Spamming your contacts with marketing will only bug them and make them delete your messages on sight.
This is particularly true of SMS marketing. Although it’s been estimated that 98% of texts get read and 83% within the first three minutes (making it an amazing way to reach your audience) there’s a reason for that high reach rate – people check their texts quickly because they’re expecting news from friends, and getting a marketing text instead is almost guaranteed to be disappointing. That’s why SMS marketing should be used extremely sparingly, and only for special occasions, for it be most effective. When you get a special offer by text, you want it to be a really great deal, like 50% off, or a free gift of some kind. It has to be worth it.
6. Pick your moment
You should also think about what time of day, and even which day of the week, you choose to contact your customers with marketing. Sending them a text when they’re on their way to bed is a quick way to get your message totally forgotten. Schedule your communication to go out at optimal times when you know your client base will be most active online or have the time to really pay attention to what you have to say and act on it.
7. Signpost the way to follow-up action
Sending an aimless marketing message, like sending an irrelevant one, is as good as no marketing at all. So you’ve got a third off on window cleaning this week? So what? If there’s no clear call-to-action, like a link to where they can book online, then once they leave the message 99% of people will forget all about it. It’s all about making it easy to act on the information right then and there to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
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Published on 18 July 2016