When marketing outreach (such as advertising, PR and social) goes well, it makes you feel like you are the most special person in the world. The copy resonates, the imagery feels relevant and the offer is exactly what you’ve been missing in your life.
But what about when it goes wrong? It feels like a really bad blind date.
Recommendations will only take you so far
In every marketing study I’ve read in the last two years, ‘word of mouth’ or ‘recommendations from family or friends’ always rank as the top advertising channels. It makes sense. After all, who knows you better than your friends, family or a colleague facing the same challenge? We actively seek their advice and listen when they come forward with a recommendation.
What companies forget is that recommendations will only take you so far. It’s the same with a bad blind date. Your friend promises they’ve found your ideal match. Because they know you well, you turn up for the date. But that’s it, that’s where the obligation ends. Recommendations will get someone to the table, but they won’t guarantee a future of wedded bliss. You still have to do the heavy lifting to make a meaningful connection and convince the individual that you have what they need or want.
Stop talking about yourself. Seriously!
How was your date last night?
He talked about himself the entire time. I might as well have not been there.
Bad marketing forgets that there is someone sitting at the other end. Company websites, newsletters and blogs are the worst offenders. You’re hit with a mission statement, 500 words on the company’s products or recent employee promotions, and by the end the only thing you want is those few minutes of your life back.
The best newsletters, blogs, presentations and websites tailor the messaging around the problem they solve and the solution they offer. They don’t run you through their proverbial CV and hope that you make that connection yourself.
Make a real connection
Companies can learn from really good dates, those ones where you spend the whole night chatting about common interests without even realising that time is passing. The question is how do you bring that kismet magic into your advertising and marketing materials? The answer is personalisation.
Your website, your social media feed and your company blog should offer prospective customers opportunities to indicate their interests. Take note of this! It doesn’t have to be cumbersome or expensive. There are plenty of no cost and low-cost CRM systems which can track which links are clicked in an email, which pages are viewed on a website and which social media posts are garnering engagement. You can turn around and use that information to create personalised advertising and marketing materials.
Personalisation works even at its most basic. Starting with ‘Dear Bill’ instead of ‘Dear Client’ or making the imagery relevant to them are both easy ways to make an advert feel more personal. You can use your website to create different landing pages, allowing people to identify their business size, major interest or sector.
Plan for the second and third date
The average website visitor will look at more than one page on your site. The average social media follower will engage with more than one post. In most cases, you’ll have more than one opportunity to make a good impression on your prospective customer. Well, assuming you don’t screw it up in the first place.
When you plan out your marketing strategy – whether it is as small as website or Facebook page or as big a multi-million-pound omni-channel campaign – always think through the first three interactions you are going to have with your prospects. Your ad, blog or social media post are like a coffee date. Get in, say a few words, see if there is a connection. Your website or store or sales call is the second date. Plan to spend more time getting to know your prospects. Find out what interests they have, highlight your common ground and convince them that you are worth their time and effort.
Everything after that is your third date. Use the information you’ve gleaned from your time together to plan a personalised experience. Show them over and over again that you’re paying attention. Remind them you are still there but be careful of sending a stalkerish number of messages.
Put yourself in the other chair
This week take a moment to walk around to the other side of the proverbial table. Look at your marketing and advertising from your prospect’s point of view. If your content reads like a bad Tinder profile, maybe it’s time for a refresh.