by Ted Janusz
Has this ever happened to you? I was riding along in the car with my teenage son and started to say something I had vowed I would never say, “When I was your age . . .” Stephen’s eyes rolled to the back of his head. You see, Stephen doesn’t particularly care to hear his old man’s reminiscences of the good old days…yet again, so soon.
Yet count the number of times a sales letter begins, “Our company was started by my great-grandfather back in 1905. We now have 10,000 installations and 25,000 satisfied clients . . .”
As a potential prospect, such a lead-in fails to grab and sustain attention. Potential prospects are arrested by, “What’s In It For Me (WII-FM).” As a marketing consultant, I was recently asked by an accounting firm, after the fact, to review their new marketing materials. They handed me a professionally- designed, glossy folder that profiled each of their partners – where they had gone to school, degrees they had earned and achievements for which they had been recognized. The accounting firm was very proud of these slick new materials.
Guess what. A prospective client doesn’t really care about the number of degrees confered or awards won. Rather, it’s all about, “What can you do for me? How well do you understand my pains andmy issues? What steps can you take to solve them? That’s what prospects truly care about – What’s In It For Me. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, companies able to demonstrate What’s In It For Me win business.
My favorite formula for writing result producing marketing materials for companies is:
○Identify the Problem – The circumstance causing the customer to initiate contact
○Implement the Solution – Propose and implement the remedy
○Document the Results – Detail the quantifiable benefits the customer received
○Record the Testimonial – The customer explains the way in which their relationship with us helped them.
Two Million Tons
Many companies will attempt to secure new business by mailing out marketing pieces.
Americans now receive close to two million tons of 3rd class or bulk mail per year.
There are two reasons for this: 1) Americans have more printing machinery than any other country on earth. 2) Despite recent rate increases, Americans have one of the lowest postal rates in the world.
Unfortunately, unless targeted recipients are specifically on the lookout for your material, it will likely get mixed up and lost in those two million tons. What’s to be done instead?
“Without a doubt, the most powerful thing you can give away is a free e-mail newsletter,” says Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing. “It’s easy to produce, relevant to the reader, and easy to pass along. If you don’t have an e-mail newsletter, start one today.”
As advertising guru David Ogilvy said, potential prospects are much more likely to read an article you’ve written than an ad you’ve devised. “There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements,” he continued. “If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.”
Advantages of E-mail Newsletters
Advantages of an e-mail newsletter include:
○No printing costs
○No mailing costs
○Less lead time required, recipients receive pertinent information seconds after it’s released
Services like Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com) and I Contact (www.icontact.com) can help with the production and issuance of an e-mail newsletter.
These services provide professionally-designed templates for e-mail newsletters. Select appropriate graphics, insert content (which, ideally, should look like a case study, editorial or advice, rather than an ad), enter contacts’ e-mail addresses and press the enter button.
These services subsequently provide metrics such as:
○The identity of those who opened the e-mail newsletter
○How many emails bounced back
○The identity of those who may have opted-out of receiving further e-mail newsletters All of these benefits can be had for as little as $15 a month on Constant Contact.
For example, I recently sent out an e-mail newsletter, using Constant Contact, to 1,300 subscribers. I invited them to a breakfast presentation I was to give in Ceveland. On Cleveland’s coldest day of the year, nearly 100 of them braved the weather to attend. The total cost to promote the event: $30. Printing and mailing as few as 30 marketing pieces could have easily exceeded $30.
Most Important: the Subject Line For an e-mail newsletter, the most important component is the subject line. The average white-collar worker now receives 160 e-mails daily. To be sure that your intended recipients want to open your e-mail newsletter, include a WII-FM. If the subject line does not entice the recipients to open the e-mail, all of your effort spent on its writing and on the development of graphics will be wasted. For that reason, be sure to include the name of your association or company in the subject line.
Offer Value In composing the body of the newsletter, consider the words of Eric Grove, a vice president at Constant Contact: “It’s no longer just a, ‘I’m going to blast it out and try to drive immediate business.’ It’s all about asking, ‘How do I send out a communication that builds my reputation with my customers so that they want to come back?’”
David Meerman Scott, the author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR gives this advice: “The vast majority of e-mail newsletters just serve as advertising for a company’s products or services. Each month you get a lame product pitch and a 10-percent off coupon. No wonder that house e-mail lists suffer from significant opt-out numbers.
But consider using a different type of e-mail newsletter, one that focuses not on your company’s products and services, but on simply solving buyers’ problems once per month.”
Copyright @ 2010 Ted Janusz Ted Janusz is a professional speaker, author and marketing consultant, who presents "Web 2.0 - How to Harness the Power of Social Networking to Promote Your Business." Janusz has been invited to appear on the Geraldo show on FOX News Network. A speaker at the 2008 International Association of Administrative Professionals conference, he has also presented dozens of Creative Marketing Conferences across the country for Rockhurst University and was a keynote speaker for the 2009 Independent Computer Consultants Association conference in San Francisco. Janusz was selected by eBay to conduct “eBay University” seminars nationwide. His Website is: www.januspresentations.com