Think Like a Minimalist to Get Your Marketing Message Across

I’m helping a client design a consumer rewards program, with the goal of increasing our competitive advantage and attracting new customers. Because the product mix has excellent margins, we can offer a program that provides high value to the customer. To give you an idea, joining the rewards program includes ALL THESE GREAT BENEFITS:

  • Minimalist Marketing StrategyFree product for signing up
  • Points on every purchase
  • Free product on your birthday
  • Referral rewards

Our marketing challenge is to motivate customers to sign up for the program through on-site signage and online advertising.

Because customers will only give your marketing messages a glance (if you’re lucky!), what they see needs to be arresting. Our marketing strategy for launching the consumer rewards program is to minimize what we tell customers– only try to communicate what the customer needs to know for the next step.

Marketing Communication Strategy

Step 1: Sign Up – Enjoy a free product today for signing up

Step 2: Repeat Purchases – Earn points on every purchase

Step 3: Feel Delighted by Our Brand – Surprise customers with a free product on their birthday

Step 4: Refer a Friend – Earn referral rewards

Although it’s tempting to tell customers all the great reasons they should sign up for this program and the many ways they will benefit, they may be too busy or distracted to notice a list of features. It’s the marketing communication corollary to Steve Yastrow’s sales tip, Don’t Load the Slingshot.

By sharing one compelling benefit at each stage of the customer lifecycle, we’re offering a reward for taking one specific action right away. Minimalist marketing goes against many companies’ instincts, but it matches customer behavior and attention spans perfectly.

 

For Better Marketing, Get to Know Your Customers

Marketing can be simply defined as the ways you influence customers to buy from you. And to influence effectively, you should understand your customers. Knowing your customers will help you communicate with them in meaningful ways and choose media channels they will actually see.

For better marketing, get to know your customers

Here are checklists of the kinds of demographic and characteristic knowledge you should have about your customers.

Customer Demographic Checklist

Understanding facts and figures about your customers is the first step to designing marketing campaigns that will appeal to them. You should know:

  • Size of your target market
  • Your current share of this market
  • Geography – where your customers live and work
  • Percentage of your customers who are men vs. women
  • Percentage of your customers at various ages/stages of their lives
  • Which media channels they find most compelling, i.e., radio, Facebook, Yelp, magazines, etc.

Customer Characteristic Checklist

Demographics are only the start, though. They can help you choose where to place your messages, and give some guidance on where to start with message development. For instance, a Boomer woman near retirement will generally require a different marketing approach from a Millennial man who just started a business.

To truly influence and persuade customers, you need a knowledge of their personalities, preferences and characteristics. Things like:

  • How do products/services like yours affect their lives?
  • What do they love about your industry?
  • What do they hate?
  • When do they make purchasing decisions?
  • How much research do customers complete before they buy?
  • What makes you special to your customers and differentiates you from competition
  • Who is your indirect competition? What different products/services might a customer buy instead of yours?

If you know less than half of the items on my checklists, your marketing strategy needs more research! Start talking to customers, and let them tell you how to persuade them.

Email Marketing is So Cheap

But it’s Not So Easy.

For $50/month, you can send marketing emails to 5,000 customers. If you send one message each month, it costs a mere cent per contact. Compare that to direct mail, which might be up to $1 per customer, if the volume is only 5,000 mailers.

Email marketing is so cheap that several of my clients have stopped direct mail marketing altogether. It requires careful planning to be able to do this, but the cost savings are enormous if you can.

Tips for Successful Email Marketing

  1. Lots of businesses engage in email marketing– which is why sending meaningful messages to relevant customers is critical to email marketing success.
  2. Know if your customers prefer video, picture, written or interactive content. Test different content formats to learn what works.
  3. It requires discipline to grow a great contact list. Everyone in your business should understand the value of getting a customer’s permission to add them to your contact list. Your information-gathering processes and tools must make it easy to gather email addresses.
  4. Your website should have easy-to-use forms for people to sign up for your newsletter or updates.
  5. Analyze your send reports and tweak your marketing messages based on customer response. No marketing campaign is perfect from the start. Watch the results and make improvements.

These are just a few tips to get you started with email marketing. Have questions? Reach out to me at amanda@zooinajungle.com

Charity Cross-Promotion FAIL

Often, a good marketing strategy includes teaming up with a charitable organization. It’s a promotion that’s good for everyone– the charity receives donations for its cause; the business gets a great marketing message, and customers feel good about helping out.

When crafting the marketing message, it’s important to be tasteful, use tact, emphasize the cause over your own gain and clearly explain how customers’ actions will help the cause. In other words, the message should be the opposite of this:

This graphic is the header to an email sent out by an insurance company promoting a move to paperless statements. How the marketers failed to see it’s also offensive, I don’t know. Here’s what’s wrong with it (and what all businesses should avoid in charitable cross-promotions):

  1. It’s obviously self-serving and doesn’t name the charity. Getting customers to “Go paperless” is likely one of this company’s goals. The main goal of a charitable cross-promotion should be to promote the charity.
  2. It has overtones of guilt. The implied message is, “If you don’t go paperless, you won’t be helping someone with cancer.” Charitable cross-promotions should never insult or try to coerce customers.
  3. It’s confusing. How can going paperless possibly help someone with cancer? The action should be tied to the cause. We’ve all seen this promotion work when the message is more like, “Save a tree by going paperless.”

For this company, cross-promoting with a charity completely failed. I hope the charity benefits, but the business and customers won’t.