Make sure they know what to do

After somebody has read your marketing collateral, what do they do next? Depending on the nature of the piece, we presumably know what we’d like every true prospect to do; it could be ‘click through from this email to the website’, or ‘ring me to arrange a sales visit’, or any number of things. So how do we get as many of them as possible to do it?

Although the answer is common sense, you wouldn’t know it from looking at most adverts, emails or web pages. So it’s worth taking a step back and considering where we might be going wrong.

On reaching the end of the marketing piece, even if it’s only a ten-word advert, our prospect will consider themselves ‘not interested’ in what we’ve said, ‘possibly interested’ or ‘strongly interested’. Some sales directors seem to be unhealthily obsessed with the first category: “Just get me their phone numbers, we need to call them and convince them they’re wrong”. But it’s the second two categories which should concern us. We need them to take action.

The prospect will be making a quick, subconscious decision about what to do, and whether it’s a good deal for them. These are the wheels which need to be oiled, even if what you want them to do is as simple as ‘click here’ or ‘read this brochure’.

First of all, make sure they know what to do. This is our ‘call to action’. In a print advert, we automatically end with something like “Phone us now for a quote”, but it’s surprising how many items of marketing collateral leave the prospect to work out what they should do next. If we ignore our responsibilities that way, some prospects will take a less than optimal action, such as deciding: “I’ll come back to this later”. A few will even just walk away. What a waste.

Once we’ve got things in motion by telling them what to do next, they’ll be weighing up the ‘value proposition’ of that action. How much effort will be involved? Will there be any inconvenience? And what will they get from the deal, in return? It’s our job to reassure them that it’s a win for them, even if in reality it’s a win for both sides. I’ll look more at this tomorrow.

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