If you’re spending money on SEO or SEM to drive traffic to your website, have you given visitors something to do once they arrive? Can they watch a video, download a whitepaper, use a tool or get an estimate? Actions make website traffic much more trackable — and more likely to result in a sale. If you’re investing in web traffic, make sure the destination is worth the visit. Invest in robust content with which people will want to engage.
Everybody wants referrals. But many people are uncomfortable asking existing clients or customers to refer new ones. So don’t. Instead, try this approach that one of our clients shared with us. When you talk to an existing client or customer, describe the kind of prospect you think you serve best — your ideal candidate. Go into detail. Then ask them this question: “Who does that remind you of?” This is so much less intimidating than just asking for a referral, and puts your existing client in the position of helping both you and the person they name. Everybody wins. (And be sure to let the referring client know how things go with the person they refer. That makes it much more likely they’ll do it again.)
A company in central Massachusetts that specializes in retirement living — independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and so on — is very particular about a lot of things. One of the biggest is that they never call any campus a “facility.” It’s always a “community.” This may seem like a small thing, but if you’re the likely target audience — a senior considering making such a move, or someone trying to help an aging parent find the best place for them — which speaks more to you, a facility or a community? It’s a great reminder that what we call things really matters. Do the words your team uses reflect how you want prospects to see you?
Recently, we mentioned that 90% of the people who see your ad will read the headline and nothing else. That applies to subject lines in e-mails, too (check your open rate lately?) as well as digital ads. Several people have asked how you can change that number. Simple. Write a headline or subject line that demands you keep reading. Ideas are everywhere. For example, a recent news story revealed that millennials are having sex less often than previous generations. What if a bank ran an ad with this headline: “Millennials Are Having Less Sex Than Previous Generations. We’re Here to Help.” Wouldn’t you want to read that ad? And when the bank talked about how they take the stress out of buying a first home, making it more likely you’ll be relaxed and in the mood, wouldn’t you appreciate their sense of humor? Now you try it.
It may be years away or much closer, but one thing is certain: sooner or later, the economy will cycle downward. That means two things for you now. First, there’s a tendency to give marketing less attention when things are booming and business is good. But that’s when you need to market robustly, to take advantage of that momentum and build the strongest possible customer base to carry you through any slowdown that occurs. Second, because marketing is the first thing to get cut when times are tight, you should try to set aside funds now in a “rainy day account” that will let you continue to market even if things slip.
Just a few short years ago, no one would have imagined that people would pay hundreds of dollars for headphones. Beats by Dr. Dre changed all that. Aside from having terrific timing, entering a market that was about to explode, they did one very smart thing. They didn’t sell the headphones. They sold a lifestyle, a look and a fashion statement. They didn’t have to pay celebrities to endorse their headphones; celebrities were seen using them. If you want to lead your market — even in a small market — stop selling products or services and start selling what really moves people to buy.
Statistics suggest that 90% of the people who see your marketing message will read the headline and move on. And that suggests that most of your time should be devoted to creating headlines that will grab attention, make someone curious, be a bit shocking or otherwise engage your audience. This is true whether it’s a print ad, a direct mail piece, a digital ad, an email or a billboard. If your headline can’t stop someone, you have to settle for 10% readership of your message. That’s not 10% response; it’s 10% readership. If headlines do the heavy lifting, use the strongest possible headlines.
With all of the press about millennials, one crucial fact is often overlooked: they’re still people. They have the same needs and emotions that people have always had. They just have different avenues to learn about and pursue their needs and wants. Millennials still respond to a powerful story, to memorable service, to convenience, to humor — in short, to everything that has always succeeded in marketing. So in your haste to retool your marketing for millennials, don’t throw out those core values that have always appealed to buyers. Because they always will. Just deliver them in ways that reach your audience.
While the tools for marketing are changing, two fundamentals aren’t. One is that two out of every three of your marketing messages will be overlooked or ignored. The other is that the value of repeated exposure depends on those exposures coming close enough together to build on one another. Place an ad once a quarter, and you lose any momentum you might have enjoyed. This is true in every medium — print, digital, broadcast or out of home. Deliver your marketing messages close enough to one another that, even with the “2 out of 3” rule, yours can register and impact your sales.
There’s a good chance that your website is showing its age. How do we know? Because websites age much faster than we care to admit. Changes in the way sites are coded, in the devices on which they’re viewed, in the way search engines find them and in the way people use them all happen at such a rapid pace that a site that was fresh and new four years ago often looks stale and performs poorly today. Is this a big deal? Absolutely. More than ever, your website is your lobby and your brand. For many, it’s the first impression you make. If it’s out of date, prospects make some quick assumptions about your company and your capabilities as well. How old is your site? Is it due for a makeover — or at least a tune-up?