“Put money back into your wallet!”
One of the joys of commuting daily to New York City is passing through the depths of Penn Station where organized chaos persists. Amongst anxious ant masses shuffling about – one sound rises above all: the begging calls of the aggressive yet generous newspaper-pushers. These feisty characters stop at nothing to force a free ragsheet into your hands. Typically, they yell out the names, “A.M. New York, get your A.M. New York here,” or, “Metro! Metro! Metro!” Eventually, you program yourself to ignore and dodge them with cunning precision.
Yet, this one morning – they got me. How? Six words, “Put money back into your wallet!” Why not? In a world that is amazingly successful at picking money from my wallet, they wanted to put some back in. I snapped up the paper.
So how did they get me to do it??? Did I mention the “free money”? Who doesn’t want free money? I do. This tactic illustrates a key marketing/sales rule: the value based proposition. You know, sell the sizzle, not the steak. I didn’t want that dirty paper, but I did want that green paper. Simply put, there was something in it for me.
This got me thinking about other traditional principles often neglected in industrial online marketing initiatives…
We Make Stuff
One of the most frustrating experiences for anyone is arriving at a beautiful (or not so attractive) home page only to realize that nowhere is it stated what the company does. I suppose it’s easy to succumb to the seductive graphics and layouts that talented designers cook up. But if someone gets to your page and doesn’t know what you do, what’s the sense of having a website? Did you know that people will stay on a home page, at best, 5-8 seconds? That’s not very long. If they can’t quickly figure out what you do, nor have a reason to click in deeper, the only button they’ll be hitting is the back button. Don’t make this critical mistake. Say what you do. Put in the banner in as few words as possible, and elaborate in your intro text. You do have to sell the steak too. The same rules apply for other online marketing channels such as email and ads. Always make it a point to clearly state what you do.
We Do it Faster, Better, Cheaper
In conversations, manufacturers have no trouble explaining what they do. In fact, they love to talk about it more than anything. Yet, there are thousands of job shops, stampers, injection molders, etc. in the world. You must grab attention by rising above the herd and focusing on what you do best. The textbook calls this differentiation – where you answer the question, “Why should I choose you?” Perhaps it’s tight tolerances? Unique capabilities? Deep industry/application experience? Exotic materials? Short runs? Gigantic ones? Whatever it is – flaunt it. Don’t be just another stamper – be the “high volume exotic alloy precision medical stamping specialist”.
Application Specialists are Standing by. Call Now!
So now that you’ve defined what you do, why you do it better, and told the audience what’s in it for them, now you need to make the connection of viewer/visitor to lead. What’s the secret here? Simple. If you want that RFQ, ask for it! Encourage visitors to call now. Or submit an RFQ. (Perhaps with a CAD drawing?) For off the shelf products, invite them to specify and buy now. Just like those annoying infomercials, where “operators are standing by, so call now,” you need to encourage your audience to connect with you. You’ve already done the hard part of getting them on the hook, now you need to pull them onto the boat. Marketing gurus call this step conversion, arguably the most important part of the process. These concise invitations for strangers to become leads or business include “buy now”, “submit RFQ”, “contact us”, “call an applications specialist”, etc. (Oh, and please make sure I don’t have to search for your phone number on your site!)
We’re Only Expecting the Basics
There are other rules that are critical for success. We certainly can’t cover all marketing know-how in one blog. These are critical ones, and from experience, often neglected. Put yourself on the other side of the screen when you are making content decisions for your digital media. Imagine you are a person that never heard of your company viewing that website, email or ad for the first time. You will want:
- To know what the company does
- Why they do it better than the competition
- Why you should work with them
- A method to communicate with them easily
Keep in mind that these rules apply a bit differently to the various channels. For instance, in social media, while you will want to follow these rules for elements such as the bio or about us, you don’t want to spend to too much time talking about yourself in your posts. (More about that topic in a future entry.) For most channels though such as your website, ads, emails, etc. – these apply as outlined here.
Oh, if you are wondering how those nice fellas in the train station were claiming to put money back into my pocket? Macy’s coupons. Really. Which is ironic, since I don’t typically shop there. But I do still have that newspaper in my bag…