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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ever since the first merchant promoted his product to make a meaningful trade, marketing has been an essential part of any sales or promotional formula. Today, the formula seems complex, but it doesn't have to be. At the core of any effective marketing strategy is value.

So how can you create value for your customers? Begin with a firm understanding of your market. Who are your best customers? Who has a need that you can meet with your products and services? Delivering value becomes easy once you understand what you customers need and you find a way to deliver it at a fair price.

If you're struggling to create real value for your customers, learn from the following example which is very easy to duplicate and delivers value for all involved. This company - we'll call them Services Unlimited (they asked me to keep their name confidential), has been delivering web design services for nearly a decade. They understand their customers and are always trying to deliver top notch service. However, business has been slow and they are looking to improve their marketing effectiveness.

One of the designers, who's established some great relationships with customers, suggests that the company share the materials he shares with his customers online. The material he's referring to is a guide on how to choose the right service provider. The agency likes the idea and repackages the guide as, "10 Things You Must Know Before Choosing An Agency!" before publishing it to the web. This is information that is valuable to their prospective customers and improves the agency's success.

The company promotes the online resource (pdf) via their web site, to customers, prospects, and through pay-per-click campaigns. Before being able to download the guide, entering a first name and email are required. Once the email address is confirmed through a verification email, users are given access to the downloadable PDF. This has been set up as part of an auto-responder, dripping messages on prospects at different intervals.

The purpose of the auto responder is to provide additional value, build a relationship/affinity for the agency and essentially move them through the decision making process. Now you might be wondering how successful a short list of do's and dont's may be, but done correctly, each touch provides value.

So How Did This Campaign Perform?
Okay, you are probably wondering what a free download and a bunch of emails could possibly do for a slowing business.. everything. The effectiveness of this campaign was better than any other direct marketing they had done in quite some time. The conversion rate of 5% was more than double what they were receiving on other campaigns. Additionally, many of the relationships they established were long-term and helped to shape much of the work they do today.

This company learning from their promotional efforts focused on value and now offer other promotions such as a 'web page makeover', 'free evaluation', etc. When you focus on delivering value, the business will come. Said another way, know what your audience wants and give them a taste - prove value before you ask them to take a chance!


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