In Direct Marketing, Aim for the Response
Creating an effective marketing message usually calls for a three-step approach. Define your audience, define your goal, and define your message – in that order.
1. Define your audience
Who are you marketing to? Who are you hoping to motivate and persuade? Sure, you want to get more clients – but get more specific than that. Go beyond the obvious. Take notes about each client you work with and then compile the notes. Review them prior to each marketing project you undertake.
Create a mental picture of your typical prospect. What do they look like? What do they want? What concerns them? What satisfaction do they seek? When you can answer all of these questions, you can move on to the next step, defining your goal.
2. Define your goal
Under this step you might add the steps of clarifying and simplifying your goal. The clear part is obvious – a clearly defined goal is a goal more easily attained. Simplifying doesn’t mean making your goal trivial but rather just reducing the goal to its purest form.
Strip away anything that’s not critical to the precise objective you want. If you have several goals for your marketing message to accomplish, you haven’t simplified enough! Boil it down to one specific action (like the example that follows later).
3. Define your message
Based on your audience and your goal, what must your message do to bridge the gap? What should you say or write to get your audience to move toward the desired action?
With a simplified process, all the fundamentals are there. Now it’s time to get specific. Let’s look at how these factors might come together to drive an actual message geared toward an actual audience.
Let’s say you’re a realtor, specializing in representing home buyers, so your audience would obviously be people shopping for homes. You’ve done some research on homebuyer demographics in your area, you’ve got a good mental picture of your audience, and you’ve made a list of things that are important to them.
Now it’s time to define your goal. Here’s the key to goal definition. Don’t confuse your ultimate goal with your message’s goal. In other words, don’t define a goal that your message can’t deliver. Instead, go for the low-hanging fruit.
Let your message do what it’s good at. Let it move the reader one step closer to a larger, more ultimate goal. That’s what marketing messages have been doing effectively for decades, moving readers toward specific, achievable actions.
For instance, if your ultimate goal is to gain a new client, the goal of your messaging might be to initiate first contact (a phone call or email) from that prospective client. This would be an excellent messaging goal for two reasons:
• 1st, it’s a goal your message can actually accomplish.
• 2nd, it’s a goal that can support your overall goal of client acquisition.
Here’s why: Surveys have found that 74% of people shopping for a real estate professional go with the first one they call. That means if you earn that first call from a prospect, you have a 74% chance of turning them into a client.
Think of it this way. You’re not selling a coffee maker. You’re selling the services you provide – services that have an impact on the finances and ultimate happiness (or unhappiness) of your clients.
Words on paper can sell a coffee maker. Words on paper cannot sell your prospects on your ability to deliver. Words can, however, sell your prospects on the next step they might take (in this case, calling or emailing you). After that first contact, there’s plenty of time to show them your ability to deliver.
Give your marketing message a break from unreasonable expectations. Let it do what it’s best at. Let it move the reader forward in your ultimate plan.