Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Want Better Results From Your Marketing Content? Personalize It!

Okay, folks, here we are in a brand-new year! You may have all kinds of dreams and goals for your business in 2024, while your customers probably have their own to-do lists to take care of, both at home and in the workplace. So how do you and your audience connect more powerfully (and profitably) than ever? A lot of your success will depend on what sorts of marketing content you create, what techniques you use to make it as relevant as possible, and how you target that message to your ideal demographic. Take the following tips to heart as you start churning out those blog posts, email articles, direct mail pieces, and other critical marketing messages.

Drop the Shotgun

I got an email just this morning from a marketing company I'd never heard of or communicated with. Normally, I'm more than happy to hear from marketing agencies, web developers and so on because we can share insights and collaborate on projects. In this case, however, I ended up unsubscribing and dumping the email in the trash almost immediately. What did this marketer do wrong? They sent me a general message that basically said, "Since it's a new year, I'm going to start sending you a series of emails on how to make the most of your social media in 2024." Um, thanks, but who asked you to? When did I ever indicate that I wanted or needed this "free" help? Do you even know who I am? Come to think of it, who are you?

You can see why this approach flopped with me. The marketer was obviously shooting out cold email blasts at anyone and everyone associated with the keyword "marketing." If you take this kind of shotgun approach, don't be too surprised when your emails wind up in the circular file as well. We've all got too much junk mail in our everyday lives as it is. Instead, target your previous contacts and current clients, sending them personalized messages that ask for their input, include an exciting offer, or request a fresh meeting to get up to date on their needs. When writing emails aimed at future prospects, keep it short and sweet, focusing on a basic introduction to what you do and inviting them to inquire further. 

Communicate Like Your Target Audience

Once you've found your target audience, either on your own or with the help of a skilled marketing strategist, you're ready to start aiming specific messages at them. But where do they hang out? Which social media channels do your customers prefer to frequent? Do they shop local, or are they more likely  to place orders online? Do they belong to a demographic that prefers snail mail to email? These and other pointed questions can help you figure out where you should place that marketing content and how often your audience might need to see it.

How does your target audience communicate? If your content adopts the wrong style or speaks on a different educational level than your target market, you'll just turn off those prospective buyers. You must also ask yourself what tone your audience most wants to hear in relation to your products or services. Do they want something from you that makes them feel warm and fuzzy, or do they want to feel impressed by the power of your professionalism? Whatever tone they're expecting, don't disappoint them.

Show That You Understand

As you may already know, I'm a big fan of the empathy statement as an effective way to open a marketing message. Your readers/viewers want to know that you feel their pain and can provide the remedy for it. But don't fall into the trap of making big blanket statements like, "We understand your frustration when it comes to bugs (or house cleaning, or lost sales, or whatever)." Instead, throw out specific examples that will hit various targets dead center: "You can't invite your loved ones over for the holidays with cockroaches running rampant." "You work hard all day, only to come home to a messy house. Don't you wish that mess could just disappear?" "You sell the world's greatest (whatever their industry sells), so why is your competition beating you?"

Empathy works on both emotional and practical levels. Your customers want to seek answers from someone who cares and understands. At the same time, they want to know that you've anticipated their challenges well enough to come up with the ideal solutions. This is your chance to be a hero -- so make sure your marketing content sends that message loud and clear.

Send the Right Message at the Right Time

One of the most useful aspects of email campaigns is their ability to address recipients' reactions (or lack thereof). I once got hired to redo an email campaign for a business broker who was getting lackluster results after the initial message. That first email did a great job of exciting people about the idea of buying a business, with positive requests for more information pouring in. But then the broker sent a second email with a mountain of business documentation attached -- which promptly turned the interaction cold as a carp. I helped to resolve this breakdown, and others, by writing a series of emails that swatted away each and every possible rebuttal a buyer might have. For instance, I started with a piece that basically said, "Don't be intimidated by that paperwork we sent you last time -- it's just part of the process, and we're happy to guide you through it every step of the way."

Another tip: Take care not to put the cart in front of the horse when writing a series of marketing emails. Start as I mentioned above, with a brief introduction and an offer to discuss the matter further. As you send additional cold emails, acknowledge that the prospect is a busy person and you don't mean to bother them. Save the detailed sales pitches, product descriptions, and case studies for your pile of warm emails. Once your prospects respond to a cold email, move them to the warm pile and start feeding them the information they now clearly welcome.

Do you need help creating more personalized marketing content that individuals will respond to with, "Wow, how did these guys know exactly what I need?" Well, that's what an experienced freelance marketing copywriter is for -- so contact me today, and let's start hitting your customers where they live!