“I can’t text. I’m not charming via text. But it’s not just texting; it’s email, it’s voicemail, it’s snail mail … You have to go around checking different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
— Drew Barrymore, He’s Just Not That Into You
Are your comms less happily “Ever After” and more “Lost In Translation?”
For marketers crafting communications (“comms”) and hoping to woo consumers across all media platforms and channels, today’s array of technologies can just seem like more ways for prospects to reject your offer. How do you stay “charming,” and persuasive, across all media?
Think about something in your personal life and how you might talk about it to various people. When something good, bad, or interesting happens, we are compelled to share the news: It might come up in (1) phone conversation. You could (2) text someone. Share a picture on (3) Instagram and write at length about it on (4) Facebook. You might send an (5) email. You might go (6) online to seek out or provide feedback.
That’s six ways that you might communicate regarding one topic. A light bulb should be going off as you realize that each of those methods take on different tones and lengths, for example. But you would also tailor your message depending upon the relationship you have with each audience. There’s a big difference between the phone call and text versus broadcasting out to hundreds (or thousands) of followers on social media or going to a company’s website.
Cookie-Cutter Approaches to Comms Just Don’t Work
Many marketers assume that just because they are communicating, that they are doing so effectively. That is a damaging assumption. Some don’t want to look anything but serious. But if you are trying to attract someone’s attention on Facebook, for example, you may need to be a little different than your direct mail.
To save money, marketers often just take one medium’s words or approach and jam that into all other media. Each channel has a way that it needs to addressed – what attracts people’s attention in direct mail may not do it in digital. Think about how people use the medium, what will attract their attention when they are in that medium. There needs to be a synergy so that people still know it is you, but you may be going after them in totally the wrong way in different media.
Four Steps to Charming Communications
Your comms indicate to recipients how much you’re “into” them. To avoid Drew Barrymore’s dilemma, take a cue and adapt how the Producer-Screenwriter-Director teams help Meryl Streep successfully communicate in so many different roles. Take your customer relationships to the next level with these tips:
1. Timing and Cadence – Schedule your comms with good cadence. Not too far apart that the recipient feels forgotten, unloved, or uncared for. When someone makes a purchase from you, follow up quickly to thank them. Then stay in touch to make sure they’re happy, see if you can answer any questions, ask for referrals if they are happy, and be ready to extend the relationship to future sales.
2. Tone – What’s charming to one isn’t to another. Various channels carry and convey messages and tones differently. Are you desperate? Funny? Stern and serious? Stoic and tone deaf? Try to mix it up, but always with empathy and in the right context of the message and medium.
3. Personalization – If you’re going to do it (and you should), don’t get it wrong! Personalization is important and can help build stronger connections. It should reflect the relationship you have or want to have with your buyers. That goes as much for addressing your contacts by name as it is with tailoring your messages to reflect their specific interests, needs, or past purchases.
4. Relevance – Following on from personalization is matching your communications with your customers’ profiles. Why are you getting in touch? What do you want the recipient to do?
Charming Comms Starts with Understanding Your Audience
My colleague Catherine Roth recently wrote about the importance of Social Listening. “Hearing” what’s being said about you and the tone used can be a tremendous way to gauge your own communications. For example, don’t make light of something that isn’t a laughing matter. Understanding your customers’ attitudes, feelings, and tolerance should directly influence your own messaging.
Need help connecting with your buyers through better messaging? We have decades of experience eliciting response across the direct marketing spectrum.
Bonus: Direct Marketing at the Movies
I couldn’t help but come up with a list of movies to represent the many facets of direct marketing (by title or plot). Let me know what you think. Any others to add to my list?
- Telemarketing – When a Stranger Calls (1979 or 2006): The creepy feeling from this movie pretty accurately reflects how most people feel about the intrusion of telemarketers. Make sure yours are sincere.
- Out of Home – L.A. Story (1991): Do your outdoor advertisements connect with buyers the way this movie’s billboards connected with Steve Martin’s character?
- Radio – Pirate Radio (2009): This movie heralded the birth of FM radio from underground to mainstream. Should we expect a similar movie about Internet radio?
- Print – Postcards from the Edge (1990): I like how “edge” in the title implies that you can create custom sizes and shapes of your mailers.
- Email – You’ve Got Mail (1998): Can apply as much to direct mail as email.
- Online – The Net (1995): Even in 1995, we knew the opportunities and dangers of a world online.
- Social Media – The Social Network (2010): Birth of a social revolution.
- Omnichannel Marketing – The Matrix (1999): Do you offer your buyers the choice of the red pill or blue pill?
- Customer Service Persona – Avatar (2009): Particularly with chat bots and online customer service reps, if you give your agents identities, do they seem legit?
- Campaign Measurement – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997): The title speaks to tracking buyer and prospect activity as well as your campaign performance.
- The Offer – The Godfather (1972): “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”