In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of understanding a few “basics” before launching any successful marketing campaign.
The feedback and response to that post was so great that I’ve decided to expand on the theme just a bit.
If you’d like to look back at the old post, by all means…take a moment to do so. Simply click here and then come back when you’re finished.
Now…let’s examine 3 more things you must know before you begin any marketing campaign:
1. You must know the research behind your product.
In order to help move the reader from the “this sounds interesting” stage to the “I’ve got to have this” stage…you’re going to need credibility. Lots of it.
For financial newsletters…obviously this means track record. You’ll need as many examples as possible showing how your service — or your “guru” — have a proven history of helping investors make money…time and time again.
For nutritional supplements, the game is a bit different. There are plenty of ways to build credibility quickly in the eyes of a prospect, such as customer testimonials…a doctor’s recommendation…or even a celebrity’s endorsement.
But the most powerful – and most convincing – way to show your reader that your product is proven to work is through the presentation of scientific studies.
Clearly, if your product has been successfully tested you should incorporate those test results into any direct marketing campaign you create. But in most cases, you won’t have readily available testing information on your specific formulation.
That means you’ll need to use the results of clinical studies performed on the individual ingredients that make up your formulation.
When it comes to incorporating these results, it’s important that you know just what the consumer is looking for. Here are a few guidelines…
* The source of the research is important – Think about it…if you have two studies showing the same results…but one of those studies was conducted at world-renowned Johns Hopkins, while the other was conducted at an obscure lab somewhere in Europe, obviously you’d place the emphasis on the Hopkins study and take advantage of the reputation of the source of your study.
* Double up on the credibility – Some of the more celebrated research studies were not only conducted at prestigious institutions…but the results have also been referenced in mainstream news outlets – in many cases with powerful quotes about the study that you can also use. In these cases, be sure to include a quote from the mainstream source as well as the study itself.
* Incorporate common sense – Remember that the larger the study, the more impressive the results will appear to the consumer…and the same goes for the age of a particular study. Clinical trials conducted in the 1970s can still be relevant…but a more recent trial will go further in convincing the reader of your product’s effectiveness.
One last note – it’s important when presenting the research behind your product that there is no ambiguity. Be careful to keep your research up-to-date and use as many sources as possible. The goal is not just to merely convince the reader that your product works…but to prove it beyond even a reasonable doubt!
2. You must know what your competitors are doing.
In my last post, I mentioned the importance of receiving the same mail that your customers and prospect receive on a regular basis.
Clearly this is important to help you understand what your customer sees – and what he’s responding to – but there’s another reason why you must keep an eye on your mailbox.
It’s vitally important that you understand what products your competitors are marketing – and how frequently. And since placing “spies” inside the walls of your competitors is both illegal and impractical…the best way to keep a close eye on their business is to keep close track of their marketing efforts.
You can easily do this by becoming a customer yourself and buying some of your competitors’ products. In addition, sign up for any of the free resources they provide their customers – such as free e-mail newsletters – and pay close attention to how you’re treated.
Here’s what you need to look for:
* Which products do they promote most frequently? This will give you an idea what they are having the most success with and how that compares to your own experience. If you’ve struggled, for example, to launch a successful weight loss product but your competitors are mailing promotions for their weight loss products frequently, that should be a signal that the market is ripe for those products…it’s just that your message – or product – may need tweaking.
* Which promotions are being repeated most often? This is a clear indication of success – only those promotions that are successful will be re-mailed time and time again. At the same time, those promotions you only see once will give you an idea as to what marketing tests may have failed for your competitors.
* How does your offer and guarantee stack up with the competition? For those products where you’re competing directly, keep track of the offers. If your product is priced higher…is there a good reason for this? If your guarantee isn’t as strong as your competitors…is that hurting your response? What type of bonuses or incentives do they offer and how do those compare with yours?
* What types of marketing messages are working? Are your competitors trying to use the same “big ideas” you’re using in your marketing? Are they focused more on the customer’s fear of a health problem or are they focused more on delivering a strong health benefit? Do your competitors’ promotional pieces look like yours? Are they incorporating more graphics than you? Do they use the same types of photos and diagrams that you use in your marketing pieces?
Keeping close tabs on what your competitors are mailing is not a way of saying you should closely imitate the competition. Not at all.
Instead, what you must do is understand what’s working – and what isn’t – in the industry and make sure you’re incorporating those lessons into your overall marketing strategy.
3. You must know that your customer is being treated as you’d expect to be treated.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of customers who have been mistreated by “fly-by-night” marketing outfits.
In fact, it only takes a few of these “bad actors” to have a significant negative impact on the industry as a whole.
* Failure to deliver the product as advertised…
* Poorly staffed customer service departments that are impossible to reach…
* Operational delays that push back delivery of the product…
* Or an inability – or unwillingness – to provide timely refunds…
Any of these things can put a supplement marketer on a fast-track to trouble with the Better Business Bureau…local media “watchdogs”…or even the Federal Trade Commission.
And you don’t want any part of that.
It’s simple – you should make a firm commitment before launching any new marketing campaign to treat each newly acquired customer with the utmost respect.
Make certain before the campaign is launched that your operations and fulfillment staff has everything in place to process the orders in a timely fashion. And make sure you have the ability to handle customer phone calls, inquiries and refund requests in a timely fashion.
One more thing: once the campaign is underway, don’t sit back and rest.
Put your operations and customer service teams to the test by placing orders yourself…and making phone calls. Take note of how you’re treated in each instance…and bring any shortcomings to the attention of your team members immediately.
Remember…if you’re hoping to build a long-term – and financially sound – relationship with each new customer, you must treat that customer as you’d expect to be treated.
Jody Madron is a results-oriented copywriter with more than 20 years of breakthrough marketing experience. To learn how Jody can deliver results-boosting copy — ahead of your deadline — visit www.MadronMarketing.com.