John E. Fike Copywriting Services; Copy, Content & Custom Publications for Companies Who Make Life Worth Living

"Is Your Marketing an Empty Envelope?" RT@actionplan.com

I received this article in an email from Robert Middleton. It made such a clear statement about clear, targeted marketing messages that I had to post it. FYI: I have no affiliation with either Robert Middleton or Samantha Hartley.


"Is Your Marketing an Empty Envelope?"

Imagine you're walking along one day in a park. You look down and see an envelope, which you pick up. It's fine quality paper with a logo on the back and full postage on the front. Impressive.

To your surprise, however, the envelope has nothing written on the front - no recipient's name, no address. And you can tell, on closer inspection, that it's empty.

This envelope, I'm sorry to say, is like most small business marketing. All the investment is spent on the vehicle or marketing strategy, represented here by a nice, stamped envelope. This is like purchasing advertising, web sites, brochures, Chamber memberships and trade show booths.

But, what's missing is a target market (address) and a message (letter inside the envelope). Who should get this envelope? What do you want them to know?

In marketing terms, this missing piece is a differentiated brand message stating who your services are for, and why they need to purchase from you. Without a brand message, you may as well toss your money out the window, because your marketing strategy is doing nothing for you.

Not having a brand is like sending out sealed, stamped envelopes without addresses or anything inside.

This is why so many small business owners find marketing expensive, difficult and a waste of time. If they just did Step #1, things wouldn't be this way.

Marketing Strategy #1: Identify Your Brand Value

A brand is the unique identity of a business. It's not just what we communicate; it includes all the impressions and beliefs your target audience has about who you are and what value you bring them.

Well-branded businesses attract attention with clear, compelling, authentic messages. This can actually shorten the sales cycle, because prospects more quickly understand why they should do business with you. They also appreciate your value, so you can charge premium prices and expect both repeat business and referrals.

No Brand? You're Not Alone.

If your client attraction marketing strategies aren't working, you're not alone. Recent polls I took of large audiences at my seminars consistently showed less than 10% of the business owners felt confident they knew who their ideal clients were and how they were different from their competitors.

Frankly, I was horrified. Over ninety percent of them were wasting money on marketing strategy, sending out sealed, stamped envelopes without addresses or anything inside!

Your Edge in Any Economy: Brand Your Business

Before you waste another dime implementing strategies that deliver NO message, invest in identifying your brand. Here's what you need to do:

1. Develop a Vision of where your business is going, and the role your brand will play in getting it there. If you can describe what success will look like, it'll be a lot easier to build a bridge to it.

2. Assess the alternatives to your brand. When people don't choose you, what do they choose? How, why and for whom are you actually the better choice?

3. Define your target market. Exactly who needs what you offer and will most value how it helps them?

4. Identify your specific point of difference or Unique Selling Proposition. In other words, what's your special sauce or secret ingredient? Whatever you choose, it must be clear, compelling, authentic and consistently communicated.

5. Package your differentiators, verbally and visually. Here's where you create your audio logo, saying who you're for and what you do that no one else can do as well. Develop a look- and-feel for your brand, too: a logo, color scheme and visual style, imagery and a "voice" to use in your marketing communications.

6. Select the marketing strategies you'll use to deliver the message of your brand to your target market. Great ways to emanate your brand message include writing articles or speaking on signature topics, networking and blogging.

7. Finally, cascade your brand through all your "touch points." Every place your brand is seen or experienced by your target audience should be consistent with your core brand identity.

Well-branded businesses attract more prospects with less effort, get superior, charge higher prices and enjoy more profitable and joyful businesses.

If creating your brand right now seems like a luxury you can't afford, consider the money you're currently wasting on ineffective marketing strategies. Why wait any longer?

So, How's Your Brand Doing?

Stuff your envelope with a unique brand message that will differentiate your services, attract perfect clients and build the highly-profitable business of your dreams! There's just a few days left to enroll in the Enlightened Marketing Branding Action Group.

To find out more about Samantha's Group, please go to the link below:

http://tinyurl.com/branding-action

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posted by John E Fike @ 5:58 AM, ,

Overcome Your Targeted Marketing Reservations

The evidence is conclusive. Marketing and copy that targets specific segments of your customer population gets significantly better results than marketing and copy that targets "everybody". This is because marketing that targets "everybody" is so generalized and non-specific that it actually targets "nobody".

If marketing and copy don't speak to the issues and motivating circumstances that influence an individual, then that individual can't be motivated to buy. But everyone has different issues and circumstances than everyone else. While it's impractical to hand-craft sales and marketing to target each individual, we can successfully group customers according to what they have in common.

So, while both the stay-at-home mom in rural America and the Silicon-Valley CEO both have need of email, they have very different uses for it. You can't write a sales copy for your email service that will address the needs of both without significantly watering down your response--you'll lose many potential customers in both markets. But you can run one campaign for the stay-at-home mom and folks with needs similar to hers and another campaign for the technology CEO. The result will be a better response from both sectors.

Why we don't get it. . .
Despite the clear-cut advantage to running multiple targeted campaigns, many marketers are still trying the shot-gun approach and trying to hit "somebody" by aiming at "everybody".

For a handful of marketers that occurs because they're not aware of the advantages of targeted campaigns. But for most it's an issue of perspective. Running multiple campaigns targeted at different market segments requires more work and more investment than a single campaign. Therefore multiple campaigns appear to be an unnecessary waste of time and money. Therefore, we need to re-examine the perspective.

There are three main reasons that targeted marketing is a smart financial move:
  1. A non-targeted campaign typically costs more to acquire a certain number of customers than a targeted campaign, because you have to shoot wider and market to a higher number of prospects in order to make your sales goal. With targeted campaigns you can usually reach your goal with smaller outreach. So you spend less to acquire the same number of customers.
  2. It's usually also true that different campaigns often share resources, so your second and third campaigns don't really cost as much as the first campaign. For example you don't really need to develop a whole new web site for every customer segment, just and additional page or two. Both of these factors mean you get a better return on investment by running multiple campaigns at targeted segments than you do by trying to hit everyone.
  3. Lastly, targeted campaigns help you identify the most profitable market segments. Once you identify those markets, you can focus your marketing resources on those segments and decrease your cost per sale because you're acquiring a higher-percentage of profitable customers.

Does sedgmenting your marketing involve higher costs up front? Probably. But it also yields higher returns and profit margins on the back end. A good way to start segmenting your marketing is to keep your non-targeted campaign going while you target just one segment of your customers with a small campaign. If you see success with that campaign, you can increase its size. If you don't see an advantage to targeting that segment, you can target another. As you identify market segments that yield a higher ROI than your non-targeted campaign, you can cut back on the non-targeted campaign and put those resources into your targeted campaigns and increase your overall customer acquisition rate while decreasing your cost per sale.

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posted by John E Fike @ 8:49 AM, ,