MCLELLAN: Serve snack-sized marketing
Friday, September 07, 2012 7:00 AM
Ever hear those radio spots where the announcers are talking so fast it sounds as if they didn’t take a breath for the entire 60 seconds?
That’s an example of “shove it all in” thinking, or trying to put five pounds of information into a one-pound bag.
We see it every day. Many business owners believe that they have to cram all the facts, figures and information into every single ad, sign, brochure and Web page. They are in a panic, imagining that they might never have another chance to tell their story.
Of course, when they create marketing tools that are overpacked, that’s exactly what happens. The audience turns a deaf ear. They’ve created their very own self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you think about creating a marketing piece, think bite-sized snacks. One piece, one message.
Have you ever overindulged on Thanksgiving and when you finally pushed away from the table, you felt you might burst? Contrast that with how you feel when you eat several mini-meals throughout a day.
Your marketing tools should be like mini-meals, tasty treats that your audience will look forward to because they are not too filling and were created to delight the consumer.
Here are some tips on how to create those bite-sized marketing messages:
Visually, one is better: Rather than using several small photographs, where the details are hard to grasp, choose one photo and give it a prominent position. Make it large enough that we can see and, better yet, feel the message you want to convey. Use visuals to teach us something your words can’t convey, and use a single visual for impact and brevity.
Write it, then cut by 33 percent: This tactic will give you heartburn the first few times you try it, but it works. No matter what kind of marketing tactic you’re working on, go ahead and write the first draft without worrying about length. Clean up that draft until you’re pretty happy with the flow and content. Then, do a word count. Whatever that word count, edit your piece down to two-thirds of the original. You’ll think it can’t be done, but you’ll be amazed at how many unnecessary words you’ve included.
Think series, not single: Whether it’s a blog post, white paper, brochure or radio spot, think about how you could break up the content and create a series of marketing tools, rather than just one. Remember the “one piece, one message” rule and be ruthless about dividing up content that would be better served in courses, rather than all at one sitting.
Ask yourself the takeaway question: As you sit down to create any sort of marketing tool, be it a blog post or a TV spot, ask yourself this question: If my audience is only going to remember one thing from seeing this, what do I want them to remember? Once you know the answer to that question, focus on that and only that. Don’t allow yourself to go off on tangents.
Be customer-centric: When you talk about what is really of interest to your audience, they’re much more likely to come back for more. Be ruthless in asking yourself, “Why would they care about this?” and if the answer is, “I don’t know,” or “They wouldn’t,” then cut it out of the copy. Don’t let your ego, company pride or love of hype clutter the message and get in the way of truly talking about what matters to your consumer.
Be a smart marketer. Don’t drive your audience away by drowning them in details. Give them plenty of time and space to slowly absorb your message. One bite at a time.
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