If you have kids around the house, you probably find yourself saying things like “Why do I have to tell you five times before you do what I asked?!”
Or, how about the time you asked someone to do something for you and it didn’t get done?
Then, there are those pesky customers. You place advertising, you send direct mail, you have sales people selling—why aren’t they buying? In other words, why aren’t they listening? Why aren’t they doing what you asked them to do?
We don’t do what we’re asked because conversations and words disappear.
There is a distinct difference between the words that we say and the objects around us. Conversations use words, and words are not objects—words are invisible and as soon as you see them, they disappear. Objects take up physical space.
Do this experiment:
Pick up an object—any object. Place it down on the table, then walk away. Then come back. Assuming that no one has moved it, it will still be there. It’s an object—it doesn’t just walk away or disappear on its own.
Now, hold your hand in front of your face and say, “Hey all you customers, click on this link, walk through my door and buy something!”
Did you see anything come out of your mouth? Did people suddenly come walking through your door? No, because words are invisible. They are not objects.
So here is the problem: we think that when we say something or have a conversation that it’s just going to be there—like that cup. And guess what? It isn’t. We forget. We forget most conversations in the instant that they come out of our mouths.
This is why your marketing communication strategy has to be structured in a way that keeps your message—your conversation—alive in the minds of your customers, your employees and everyone with whom your company interacts. And this is the reason companies with strong simple mission statements are so successful: they have created an easy conversation to understand and to build a sales and marketing system around.
Have a reason for being in business that’s easy to “get” and remember.
FedEx gets it there overnight. Domino’s gets it to you in 30 minutes. Twitter lets you know what people are doing in 140 characters. These are easy messages to remember and easy messages to build a promise around. Your message or conversation has to be that easy.
This can be really, really hard. That’s because it’s difficult to put words around feelings or concepts that are floating around in your head. Try doing a collage.
Here is one I just completed today for a new website I am launching where small business owners can answer short surveys and also launch short surveys to get data from the community.
As you can tell from my description, I’m not quite there yet. That sentence doesn’t give you this exciting Eureka moment does it?
The collage will help you take what’s in your head and start translating it to a message that will be easy to remember and use in conversations.
Move the message from thoughts and words to objects.
The collage will get your concepts and ideas out of your head and onto paper. The next step is to start brainstorming the conversations your customers are having around the circumstances surrounding our product or service.
You can turn your collage over and start writing those conversations there. Here are some of the ones I wrote for my collage “Why is it that when we’re in a meeting talking about customer wants, we’re always guessing. Why can’t we just ask them?” I’m sure you can come up with a good list, especially if you’re in a group.
Now that you have those conversations outlined, start matching them with features that your product or service offers as solutions to those conversations.
Be sure to note any other words or thoughts that come up around that. Your goal is to start attaching the conversation to a physical object—something that your customers can see, smell touch and relate to.
Keep your advertising message alive:
1. Keep it simple
That means a basic Web page with a clean design. It looks engaging and fun to be a part of. My favorite examples are Mint.com, Nimble and 99Designs.
2. Use the most basic language
Don’t try to outsmart your customer. Your goal is to communicate and enroll them in a conversation that includes your product or service. Showing them how smart you are or confusing them with technical language only pushes them away. Mint.com is my favorite example of this. Finance can be very technical and scary, they make it easy and fun to play the game of managing your money.
3. Engage with three-dimensional marketing
Attach your conversation to an object. When your package shows up the next day, the FedEx message is attached to an important object—your package. Find ways to create the same effect. Use meaningful three-dimensional marketing. In the book Outrageous Marketing there are hundreds of examples like sending season ticket order forms in a box with a dressed up rubber chicken. THAT is memorable.
4. Keep conversations with customers going
Use blogs, social media and events to be in conversations with customers about the things that are important to them. E-mail is often as nebulous as words. Use handwritten notes to show customers you heard what they said.
5. Appear in unexpected but related places
Partner with a complementary brand, support a charity your customers care about—be in places that surprise and engage your customer’s curiosity.
Instead of being frustrated and angry about customers or people in general not “hearing” you, understand that this is just standard operating procedure for human beings. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you are heard in a way that gets your customers to act. Try these tips and you’ll start seeing a positive response.