Do you stop to think about whether your marketing messages make sense? It’s so easy to get lost in your own ideas and completely forget that you are not the target audience. In my career as a marketer, I’ve seen even the most senior marketing managers make this mistake. It’s a trap business owners, sales teams and marketers need to avoid. Whilst we may know a lot about our customers, we need to remember that we are not customer and our personal opinions are irrelevant.
When it comes to developing customer communications here are some key points you should remember.
Purpose and determining offers
What is the purpose of your communication? Start with your sales objectives and goals. You need something measurable to determine success however, be careful to not let purpose control how you develop copy. The purpose and objectives should set the foundation for the ‘type’ of communication you are going to engage in with your customers. It does not determine the creative execution.
For example, your goal may be to increase existing customer revenue for the month. This might mean you need an offer to attract existing customers into spending more than they normally would, or to win back inactive accounts. The purpose should drive the offer.
Establishing how strong an offer needs to be should be determined by the revenue you are expecting to make from the campaign. As a marketer, or business owner, you should also review data from past purchasing behaviour of your customers.
Reviewing data sources to identify how much your customers spend on average, frequency or trends like what has influenced past purchase decisions can help you to determine how strong your offer should be in order to meet your sales objectives.
Overall, purpose should be used to assist in data analysis and determining offers.
Target audience and positioning your message
The creative execution is all about your target audience. After spending all that time determining your offer, it’s easy to forget about your target audience and get straight into developing content for the offer. Everyone falls into this trap. You’ve just come up with a great offer and all you want to do is communicate the details and say Buy! Buy! Buy!
Messaging needs careful consideration. Engaging interest and positioning your offer is determined by who you are talking to, not what you are saying. It’s about your target audience and remember, you are not the target audience.
When developing the communication, think about the demographic, sociographic and decision making process your customers take.
What type of language or tone of voice do your customers respond to? How long are your customers spending on your website? Are they viewing the content from their phone or desktop?
When you work on your content strategy, act as though you have less than 30 seconds to engage interest. Forget the lengthy copy and get straight to the point. Headlines, images and call to actions (CTA) are your strongest assets on creative executions. If a customer likes what they see, they might read more or act immediately.
The details can close a sale but without the interest, customer may never reach the detail. Interest is engaged visually so let your creative team work their magic. If you don’t have a creative team, engage one! There are plenty of freelance graphic artists and designers that can bring your concepts and messages to life. They just need a detailed brief.
It is also important to consider whether you are trying to shift purchasing behaviour. For example, are you trying to get your customers to purchase something they do not need at the moment, but may need in the near future? Locking customers into their future purchase decisions requires different considerations. The purchases are less impulsive because the decision is based on whether there is certainty that they will need the product in the near future.
The positioning of your messages will change depending on how and what your customers think. The copy and creative execution is not based on the offer itself but rather, why the offer is relevant to them. This is where customer segmentation helps. If you are aware of multiple influences within your customer group, and you can categorise your customers into distinct profiles, you could tailor a specific messaging to each group making your content more relevant to each target audience.
Making it easy to complete desired action
How complicated did you make it to redeem your offer? Did you add layers of eligibility in your offer requirements?
You need to make your offer easy to redeem. Reduce as many steps as possible for customers. If you need to take registration, make it a one click registration and not a form. If you want customers to purchase by a certain date or time, add a countdown timer or create urgency in your headlines and creative. Do your customers need to login or enter a promo code? Pre-populate these details using tracking codes in the emails you send.
Making the redemption process easy to complete and understand is critical to the campaigns success. Your creative execution may be great, but if you make it hard to fulfil the desired action, your customers will give up.
Prioritise what is important. Is it the sale, the data integrity or the registration of interest? Look for ways a customer might drop out of the conversion funnel and how you can make it easy for them to pick back up from where they left off.
Psychologically, without repetition or some form of emotional stimuli, we forget 90% of what we learn within 30 days (with majority of the forgetting happening in the first few hours). The more complex you make the process, the harder it is to remember.
Emails only have a 3-7 day lifecycle and purchasing behaviour will happen within 1-2 days of receiving the email. If your campaign is a stepped campaign i.e.:
1. Register for offer, and
2. Complete some form of action within next XX days
You may only capture one component of your campaign (usually the first). Why? because customers feel as though they have time to complete the rest of the requirements, but then completely forget to come back. This is why flash sales are so effective. They cause the audience to act immediately, rather than giving them the opportunity to forget that the offer is available. However, if you do need to run a long-term campaign such as a competition or extended sale period, reminder messages are a great way to re-engage interest.
Overall, taking the time to think about your purpose, target audience and fulfilment requirements helps you to develop strong marketing messages that are relevant to the target audience. Put your customers first.
Don’t get lost in your own ideas and your communication back to the basics of marketing. Provide an offer that is relevant and what your customers are interested in. Then tailor a message that is relevant to them, consider what they need to know and why its beneficial to them. But most importantly, make your offer easy to access.