The layout and design of your marketing piece must be aesthetically pleasing, but the information you deliver is far more important. Effective messaging “interrupts” and engages the prospect, educates and offers additional information to facilitate decision-making, and lowers the risk of taking the next step. These components – Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer (IEEO) – combine to create a powerful formula for marketing success.
In the Interrupt stage you are tasked with getting your target audience to “snap out of it” and pay attention to what you have to say. Interrupting can be much more difficult than it sounds in this age of information abundance. What will get qualified prospects to read your marketing message? Appeal to their “hot buttons,” those things that are causing them a problem. Hot buttons are typically portrayed in headlines, the first opportunity to interrupt. Use words and phrases to mirror the intensity of the consumer’s emotional level as you describe scenarios that exemplify the frustration or annoyance you are going to help them solve. This sets the stage for your future clients to become engaged.
To Engage the prospect, use a subheading to promise information is forthcoming that will help the reader make the best decision possible. Present your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): this is what made your current clients buy from you, and what will make others buy from you as well. Position yourself as the expert and source of the solution to the problem.
It is now time to Educate the customer, turning the corner from an emotional sell to a logical sell. Create relevance by framing what you are offering as a solution, following the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) approach. Provide enough detailed, quantifiable and specific information to allow consumers to logically understand how and why your product or service solves their problem, but don’t stop there. You may have just given them enough information to make a purchase from your competitor! Prove that you offer the best value available by defining key issues, presenting a convincing argument and sharing credible evidence that you are the only possible source to meet the prospect’s needs.
The final step is to compel the consumer to take action through an Offer. Present a low-risk way to take the next step. Insert a business reply card (or better yet, a GURL or PURL weblink) to facilitate the ordering of a special report or informational brochure, or to schedule a personal consultation. Include links to your website and social media and ensure that your phone number also is there if the buyer just wants to “skip the line” and make a call. The buyer must feel in control as you nudge him closer to the final purchasing decision.
At any one time you may have hundreds or even thousands of prospects at various positions along this buying spectrum. Most of them are in the “information gathering” or “thinking about it” stage, so avoid the common mistake of investing all of your print marketing dollars in those who have already made the decision to buy. Effectively separate yourself from your competition by marketing to those in all phases of the purchasing process on an ongoing basis.
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