Right or left.
Up or down.
Yes or no.
Yes again, or goodbye.
So. Many. Choices. It’s estimated that adults make up to 35,000 choices PER DAY.
That’s a lot of competition for your persuasion efforts, so it’s worth every ounce of effort and courage to make yourself choose-worthy.
When developing a campaign strategy, consider the direct competition and how your product or proposition stacks up. Why would someone choose your auto/home insurance instead of one with a reptilian mascot? Why would someone choose your advice-filled magazine over another in the same enthusiast environment? Why would they value your benefits over another organization in your space? Maybe even go so far as to compare the “exclusivity” of your offer with a simple Google search.
But have you stopped to consider that you’re also competing with every other email in the inbox, every other ad FOR ANYTHING in in your prospect’s social feeds or searches? Every other piece of mail. Every commercial during someone’s favorite binge-watching session.
Blink. That’s about how long you have to make an impression that interrupts your prospect long enough for you to complete a sentence about why they should say yes to you.
Follow this path to make sure your marketing offer is “Choose-worthy”
As individuals, many options can make life more complex and rewarding. But from a marketer’s point of view, it’s as challenging as a game of Triominoes.
So thank goodness we have strong marketing experience and disciplines that pave the way to choose-worthy campaigns.
Who you target, what you offer, how you say it, and how easy you make it to say “yes” are all part of the path. And like every good path, you start at the beginning and make your way one step at a time to your destination.
Start with choosing your market with intelligent list selection
Not everyone is an equally good prospect for your product or service. You can’t sell diapers to a household with no babies. You won’t be successful selling auto insurance to someone without a car. If your best audience has something in common that can be identified by keywords or list selections or multivariate modeling, you are on the right path.
Those are the obvious ones, but there are many nuances to list selection. Keep in mind that aspiration is a very powerful human emotion. It’s probably why so many people buy cookbooks with no intention of ever making a single recipe. They have been seduced by the possibility.
Be honest with your market assessments and make sure they line up with your capabilities. You might lust after a big audience (buyers of red shoes, for example), but if you don’t sell red shoes, that audience isn’t yours for the asking. Unless, of course, you decide to retool your organization to be a really, really good creator of red shoes. It’s ok to reimagine your proposition to be more expansive, but don’t forget the ones who value what you have to offer today.
So we test. Test keywords, test mail- and email-lists, frequently validate your selection models. Be curious in your research and find where your prospective community members are “hanging out” today.
What’s your WIIFM; What’s your “Why Pick Me?”
Very few prospects will choose you unless you have something they want. You might get their attention with an immediate gratification premium ($20 Amazon gift card just for talking to us!), or something that advances their career (continuing education credits free for saying yes!). Maybe a dose of obligation (we gave you that free package of seeds, now you owe it to us to listen!).
But if your proposition doesn’t have a healthy dose of What’s In It For Me, their attention will drift after the endorphin hit of the bribe wears off.
Is your benefit portfolio in line with your constituency’s perception of need? Turn the table on yourself and give it a hard and honest look. Would you join your organization?
The good news is that you don’t have to know. You just have to know how to find out. Test with and without a premium (remember to evaluate the power of the premium on the entire group of respondents, not just the incremental lift). Test promotional pricing. Test featuring different lead benefits.
But most of all, listen. Before you set out to acquire, ask the ones you already have for perceptions of value. It’s not unusual to uncover that your current members love you for reasons you didn’t include in the initial invitation to affiliate. Then keep listening once they join to make sure what you’re delivering is what they expected. We recommend a survey early in the relationship (within the first 45 days) and then again at six months.
Are you saying what you mean and meaning what you say?
Getting the list right is job one, and there is no substitute for an appealing offer. But targeting a segment is an exercise in reducing your market and offers have to be cost-justified with response. The only way to increase your market (and your response) is to test your way into more effective messaging.
Being choose-worthy means communicating your value proposition to an audience that you want (and that would want you, if they give you a chance) as authentically and persuasively as possible.
This is where you should be spending your marketing dollars. Proven writers, direct-response design experts, resources who can show you how well they have delivered results. Never (ever) let the executive director write your promotional copy (voice of experience speaking — it’s no fun to tell the boss their package lost — and it will).
Communicating is a skill. Think about the last time you sent an email or had a conversation and found out later the recipient completely missed your point. And you thought you were being so clear!
Crafting compelling messaging is an art. Did you blink while you read this? That’s how quickly people look away from what you present.
Messaging is highly subjective. What you “like” might not be the version that produces the most response, so structuring meaningful A/B testing is key to learning what persuades the most number of people to say yes. “We don’t talk that way” isn’t a good reason not to test (see above: never let the executive director write — or choose — marketing copy!) otherwise reasonable and compelling language. You might learn something!
Caveat: while hiring a proven professional writer is a great idea, don’t leave them alone and expect them to deliver a miracle. Equipping a creative resource with all the background, previous tests (winners and losers) and insight into the audience positions you all for success. It’s also a very good idea to have your messaging vetted by someone who would be considered a “soul center.” Someone who does what your audience does, understands and respects your audience, and gets what you are trying to communicate. Don’t ask them to write the copy, just ask them to make sure you don’t mis-speak or mis-step.
Are you making it easy for your prospects to say yes?
You’ve found the audience. You’ve got an appealing offer. You’re getting their attention with great copy. Now is not the time to throw a wrench into the machine in the form of awkward user experience, asking too many questions before they have had a chance to know you better, or otherwise putting up barriers to entry.
Test your own enrollment process. Better yet, do legitimate usability testing with people who don’t know what it’s “supposed” to be like. Get your technology people on board and help them understand they are part of the acquisition and retention team, just as much as someone with “marketing” in their title.
Even though we have stressed the importance of attention-getting and hooking the prospect with a great offer, now is the time for patience. Relationships are built on trust and time. You’ve put resources and energy into getting someone to consider “yes.” Now it’s time to make it easy for them.
Choose to be worthy by building a strong marketing strategy foundation
Breaking through and achieving marketing success with a continuity proposition is your future. Make the effort to be choose-worthy. Crafting a campaign isn’t a task to be checked off your list; it’s your opportunity to acquire, engage and sustain members of the community you believe in. Good luck!