Consider new and refined approaches to help get your audience's attention.
As a marketer, you're always looking for new ways to spark your readers' interest and get your message heard (read?). Lately, I've been on the receiving end of a few unique strategies that sparked mine.
Read on for five quick messaging tips that can help you win big at the marketing game.
No. 1: The stripped-down personal message
Sometimes what it takes to get someone's attention goes against what you think you know. I was chatting with a client who was working on an email blast to gain interest in a job fair. They hadn't been getting much traction on social media.
They explained lately, it seems that stripping out all the "salesy" language and pretty formatting has been getting readers' attention, because messages look a whole lot more like it was meant just for the individual reader. While my branding-oriented heart cried out in protest, I had to admit that sometimes it pays to go against the grain.
Think about how you might use more personal messaging to market your audience. Perhaps try and get your guests to send their kids, nieces, or nephews information about your upcoming hiring event (pro tip, consider calling it a hiring event or hiring open house rather than a job fair). Or maybe you send a text-driven email blast from your group sales manager to help her connect more personally with contacts from past groups, new companies, charities, or other organizations. Or maybe it makes sense to send this type of message to your current members, personally inviting them to participate in a focus group about a new offering. There are many ways to use a one on one type message.
No. 2: The visually fun message
A casual, visually fun message is another creative way to get your readers' attention. I've started getting messages from two noteworthy companies: ContentBacon and Morning Brew. Emails from them often get my attention, and I think it's because they use a really informal writing style, plenty of hilarious gifs, pictures, memes, and tongue-in-cheek headings. In our industry, there's a ton of opportunity for you to develop a unique and fun voice.
No. 3: The “Thanks for thinking of us” message
Now that we've gotten the look and feel out of the way, here are a few other message types that we've discussed before that can be effective in getting your email opened.
I like ordering promotional products from 4imprint.com because they always have someone available to help or give feedback on a project, they’re fast and they’re usually pretty affordable while offering high-quality items and printing. They understand that my time is valuable (and scarce), and they go out of their way to make their processes simple. In short, they make it easy to do business with them.
For a company that offers commodity-type printing collateral, I imagine that it would be really difficult to stand out from the crowd. But this company managed.
I get emails from them throughout the year, many of which I ignore unless I’m actively looking to place an order. However, once when I placed an order, I received a message with the subject line that read: “Happy You’re Back!” The 'from' address was from the CEO of the company. I immediately smiled when I read the subject line, which made me open it right away. Inside, the message was warm; he thanked me for choosing them once again, and told me what I should always expect from 4imprint.com, followed by a direct call to action for me if there’s ever a service issue. It was customer experience at its finest.
While not a direct marketing message, this email puts their business top of mind and sets them apart from the competition, ensuring that the next time I’m in need of their services, I’ll most likely use them again.
Theme parks and family entertainment centers can leverage this type of email in many ways – after a birthday party, group event, or even after a Tuesday visit where guests enjoyed a pizza in your café or a jump or laser tag session. Anywhere you associate a guest’s profile to how they interact at your facility, you can pull reports with guest information to use in any kind of marketing platform you desire (unless they’re opted out, of course).
The other piece of this is that after a while, your audience, like your family, can get a little tone-deaf to you. And before you throw rocks at me, I know this because every time we send a message to our clients from our CEO, Marcus, our open rates go up. Now I can take that personally, or I can understand that sometimes it makes sense to shake things up and send from someone else inside your organization in order to get the message out and re-engage folks.
No. 4: The “You’ve been on our minds” message
This a great message that really never goes out of style, in my opinion. As a marketing effort, you could use an email like this to encourage guests to return. Consider using your guest analytics to pull who hasn’t visited in a while to entice them back in with a unique invitation or special offer.
The key to making a special offer work is to make it time-sensitive. If you offer an open-ended offer, guests are less likely to use it, or if they do, they’ll use it when it suits them, which may or may not be when it’s best for you.
In Daniel Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink uncovers the secret to setting deadlines for special offers that will increase their redemption.
As a sales effort, I love this message as a way of warming up a prospective guest who has gone cold. Sometimes in sales, we accidentally forget to set a clear next step with a prospect, which can be embarrassing to overcome.
No one wants to call Marjorie over at the accounting firm and say, “I forgot where we left off in our last conversation. I thought you were going to buy, and you didn’t.” That won’t win anything.
But consider instead calling with or emailing a message that sounds like, “Hey Marjorie, I’m sure you’re in full swing with tax season upon us, but I wanted to call because I was thinking of you guys and how ready for a night off you all might be in April. What do you think about coming in for a company happy hour or family fun night when the dust settles?”
This type of messaging is effective because it’s custom, unique, and shows that you’re thinking of your guest and what could be in their best interest. If nothing else, you’ll walk away from the conversation with a clear next step of booking an event, knowing when to contact her again, or being able to take her off your list to make room for someone else.
No. 5: The “Let’s think about someone else, together” message
While we’re thinking about each other, why not think about someone else? Co-marketing is when you collaborate on an offer and two companies agree to post it.
I love using this type of message for fundraisers and charity events. Think of all the spirit nights, cancer research fundraising events, food bank initiatives, or anything else you wish to be a part of. You probably already know that you’d like to get your message in front of their recipients. But are you leaving the promotion up to chance? Consider writing your offer or special messaging from both your perspective and the partner organization’s perspective, and then asking both to share similar content.
Behavioral scientists have shared that people are most likely to make choices based on what’s easy or convenient, so the key to successful messaging for these types of initiatives is for you to do the heavy lifting to get your desired result.
You might be thinking: “But Sherry, if they want the donation, they have to have some skin in the game.” Yes, I don’t disagree, nor am I saying you should have to do all of the work. But remember that your facility’s involvement in community events and fundraisers also means:
- You’re making a difference in people’s lives
- Your team connects to something bigger than themselves, which keeps them engaged and motivated to deliver great service
- Your facility is top of mind for all those hearing about the event before, during, and afterwards
- In time, your facility becomes a pillar in your community
- Your business is introduced to more people than it had been previously, which then increases walk-in traffic and participation in other programs.
So, while it may not be your responsibility to write the messaging for co-marketing efforts, don’t you think it’s worth it? Consider crafting the message for you and your partners and sending it to them with some tips for publicizing the efforts. Not only will this give your event a better chance at being publicized, but it will also show your partner organization how easy it is to do business with you – making you rise to the top of the pack when they’re looking to book events or fundraisers in the future.
If you take some time to consider the messages that have resonated with you most lately, you'll find a lot of ideas you can use to further hone your own efforts. Happy marketing!
Have other insights for creating unique marketing messages or a success story to share? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter!