Okay, so your sales are down and you’re wondering what you can do that’s new, fresh and innovative to snap your customers out of their ‘bad economy’ lethargy.
What should you do? Should you look for the newest ‘hot thing’ to roll out, or should you use an existing strategy?
The answer is simple: use a proven strategy. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. A new ‘hot’ thing that has no track record may or may not perform, whereas a strategy that has been used successfully before has a reasonably good chance of succeeding again, provided you use the underlying principle that made it successful.
Most of the people I see who are experiencing slowing traffic and even slower sales are people who are not using consistent marketing strategies. They may have marketed consistently in the past, but now they’ve fallen prey to the wet blanket mentality that’s so prevelant in recessionary times.
They’ve become fearful and stopped communicating with their market. What they don’t realize is that if they had continued communicating, their traffic and sales may have slowed anyway but not to the extent that it inevitably does when they stop communicating.
My clients who continue to implement sound marketing strategies consistently irrespective of whether the economy is good or bad, reap rewards consistently.
Of course the economy affects them too, but not nearly as much as it impacts those who pull back on promotion until things ‘improve’.
Remember that saying, “faint heart never won fair lady”? Well, it’s just as true in business. Let’s face it, business is not for wimps, especially not now. When the crowd says ‘pull back’ the winners say ‘push forward’. It’s a lot easier to push forward if you have a proper, proven plan that has previously produced profits (all those ‘p’s!.. not intentional, I promise. But they do emphasize the point! I think I should copyright it as the 6 P’s… what do you think?)
Seriously, that’s the key to staying strong when others are falling by the wayside. Just because cash flow is tight, it doesn’t mean that you can’t market. There are a number of ways you can generate business at extremely low cost. The most important thing is to implement these strategies consistently over a long period of time. The second most important thing is to carefully monitor costs and response so that you can maximize the strategies profit pulling potential.
If you simply assume that your market is not buying now – for whatever reason – you’ll be losing out to your more optimistic and proactive competition. Sure, things may have slowed, but people ARE still buying. It’s your job to let them know why it’s advantageous for them to buy from you as well as why they should buy now. (BTW the fact that you need to get your cash flow going quickly isn’t a reason… at least not for your customers.)
Here are 3 examples of proven strategies I’ve used time and again with highly profitable results. In fact, with one email I implemented for a client long before email campaigns became fashionable, they received a $100,000 order within 24 hours. As the product had extremely low production costs, this amount was almost all profit. With other clients, using sales letters and coupons, I’ve helped them generate profits ranging from $16,000 to over $60,000 within 4 weeks on a single mailing to between !,500 and 1,700 people at a cost of less than $1 per unit.
1. Sales letters:
A powerful sales letter can be worth way more than its weight in gold. You can roll it out to as little as 20 prospects at a time – or you can send it out to 20,000. The only limit is the size of your list and your budget.
A timely letter that demonstrates to the reader the significant benefit they’ll enjoy from purchasing now can be enough to move them toward action. Maximize the impact by planning at least 3 to 5 follow up sales letters that reiterate your message from various different perspectives. Make your offer compelling and even up the ante by adding bonuses with subsequent letters. Don’t forget to put a time limit on your offer. Not only does it add some urgency but it also protects you from having to honor an offer you made 3 years ago that’s no longer available.
Although there are some significant differences between a printed and mailed sales letter and an offer made by email, but there are enough similarities that you can use these mediums interchangeably. If you have literally no budget, you can achieve a similar effect to a sales letter by making a few tweaks and sending out your message virtually free by email.
If you have the budget for sales letters, consider using email as additional follow up. Remember, on average, prospects need to have about 10 to 12 contacts before they become interested in responding, so it makes sense to ‘layer’ your contacts to avoid annoyance and reach the level of contact necessary.
Successful emails are the ones that sport intriguing subject lines that compel the reader to open them. If the headline is boring, they won’t open the email. If it sounds too hyped, they won’t open the email. If the headline features words like ‘free’, ‘offer’, ‘special’ as well as most of the other common terms used in spam email, it will likely not get delivered, and if it does, it will probably get caught in your prospects spam filter.
The subject line then has to be followed by a great sales message and a valuable offer. It’s best to put a link in the email to your website where the offer is reiterated together with your ‘proof’ – credibility builders such as testimonials, guarantees and endorsements.
3. The coupon:
Honestly, although I’ve been involved in writing and marketing for over 20 years, the sheer profitability of this strategy still delights me! Used correctly, it’s possible to dramatically increase the profitability of both your sales letters and your emails by including a coupon. In the case of the sales letter, make the coupon a separate item on a different colored paper. This will ensure it receives the attention necessary for it to work. The best colors, believe it or not are pink and yellow. Don’t ask me why, but that is what statistics and my experience bear out. In the case of an email, even if it is a plain text email, include a clearly demarked coupon area at the top or bottom of the email and instruct the reader to print it out and bring it in to the business to redeem it.
Cash value coupons are often the most effective. Recipients treat them as if they are cash. They are perceived to have almost the same value and as they are ‘free money’ there’s a stong motivation to use them to purchase something. If you have an offer that doesn’t allow a cash value coupon, at lease use a coupon to reiterate your offer and instruct the reader as to how to take advantage of it.
Just these 3 strategies alone can significantly boost your sales and profitability when they are implemented correctly. Keep reading this blog for further tips on how to construct your sales letters, emails and coupons to make them consistently profit pulling machines!