The new year always brings with it hope—and this year is definitely no exception. For many of us “out with the old and in with the new” becomes a reality as we resolve to do things differently, try new things, and achieve new goals.
When it comes to marketing, I notice that January 1st is no different. Companies ask themselves, “What can we do differently to become better?” I hope you can feel some relief when I say that it’s not about what you can do differently. Rather, it’s about consistently doing more of the things that already work well for you.
Here’s why: Marketing changes slower than anyone realizes.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: At least 34% of the population has to adopt a new technology or medium before it even starts to become mainstream. This is a fact proven so many times that it’s taught in business schools all around the United States.
Understanding this fact and embracing it are keys to marketing success. Ten times out of ten, companies who embrace tried-and-true marketing strategies, paired with one or two new trends are by far, most successful. Those who distract themselves with trying to figure out the latest and greatest are wasting precious time that could be invested in tools and strategies that they already know, and that already convert… no guessing involved.
If you are doubting me, that’s okay! In this rapidly changing age of social media, it’s easy to be pulled into the hype of being everywhere and figuring everything out before anyone else. I assure you, though, that when one or two of my friends were touting their new iPhones back in the day, I missed out on NOTHING with my Blackberry. And by the time I knew an iPhone was becoming mainstream, it was cheaper to jump on the bandwagon anyway.
With all that said, here are a few tried-and-true marketing strategies:
1) Consistency is key.
Don’t email your fans, followers, and customers just when you think you have something to say, email them once a week. Don’t post on social media only when you have a reason, instead, set a goal of two or three times a week. I know this seems basic but it’s one of the biggest mistakes that I see folks make.
I encourage you to look through all the marketing that you currently do. How is it consistent? Where do you need to formalize that schedule? You might be surprised at the loose ends you find. And as you do find them, set simple goals to increase consistently (i.e. I won’t only put an ad in the newspaper when I am running a special program… I will put ads in the paper once a month instead).
2) The Cutting Edge is Lonely.
I touched on this above, but I will say one more time, please do not spend your limited and valuable time searching for the latest and greatest trends. The first person who owned a fax machine was so lonely. Not only had that person spent a lot of money to obtain the new technology, that person had no one to send a fax to because no one else had a fax machine! That person would have been MUCH better off using that money to, say, advertise more consistently. That said, next week I will share a few simple 2021 predictions for you to add into your marketing if you wish. But for now, let’s focus on one more tried-and-true tip.
3) Content is King/Queen.
You can have the best printer, copy machine, email marketing program, or social media follower base, but if you don’t feed them good content, none of that matters. When a blank page comes out of a copy machine, we don’t pin our hopes on it being a flyer that’s going to convert, ya know?
The problem is, good content is counter intuitive. Most of us are trained to agonize over a document or an advertisement for many iterations before we deem it perfect and ready for the masses. Online (and increasingly elsewhere) consistency (frequency), redundancy, and simplicity drive high-converting content. Agonize over every detail and you’ve lost the frequency you need right out of the gate.
Instead, ask yourself: How often and in how many different ways can you convey your mission, your promise, your value proposition? For how often, see tip #1. For how many different ways, I’ve pasted 52 “Power Prompts” as a little New Year’s gift to you below. Pair these with my advice on expertise and hope and you have a nice head start.
52 Power Prompts
The hardest part of copywriting is getting started. I designed these power prompts so that if you use them once a week, getting started is no longer a problem for an entire year.
Disclaimer: Any of these prompts can be made more serious or playful. The “I” or “we” can be replaced with a happy constituent, staff member, board member, or donor. Just be specific and interesting when you use them.
Okay, time to jump in!
- We remember _______.
- We almost gave up when ________.
- We were never as scared as scared as when we ___________ but then we ________ anyway.
- We’ve never been happier than when ________.
- We are so proud of ________ because ________. (This one is great for profiling a happy customer or a business milestone.)
- We’ll never forget when we made ________ mistake (and why).
- Our hero is ________ because _________.
- Talk about a great achievement related to a customer.
- The best advice we ever received was _________.
- When we can’t sleep, it’s usually because we’re thinking about ________.
- The last person (or thing) we think about before we fall asleep is usually __________.
- No one ever believes us when we tell them_________.
- Dear ______, You’re already ahead of the game because ________.
- The biggest doubt we hear from _________ is ________. (This should relate to a common customer objection and your job is to refute it with what you say next.)
- Our most prized possession is __________.
- Don’t tell ________ but we just __________.
- If we could go back five years, we would ___________.
- _________ was my most memorable teacher because _______.
- We love ________ because _________.
- The best advice we ever received was____________.
- Our favorite season is __________ because __________.
- Right now, _________ is really bothering us because __________. (This could be a fad, a trend, a current event, etc.)
- I wish ________ were a word because we use it all the time. (Here is your opportunity to introduce a signature phrase … bonus points if it eventually ranks on your SEO).
- If you want __________ done right you’ve got to __________.
- Our day doesn’t feel complete until we ____________.
- Whenever we eat __________, we are reminded of ____________.
- Our bucket list has ____________ items on it. The scariest one is __________ because ____________.
- __________ makes us feel vulnerable because ___________.
- You would never know this by looking at our website, but__________.
- _________ was a pivotal moment for us because we finally realized _________.
- My favorite ice cream flavor is _________. Not so much because it tastes good, but it reminds me of _________.
- Everyone is buying into the myth that _________. Here is why it’s wrong.
- To us, happiness means _________.
- _________ was really life-changing for us.
- We used to think ________ but now we think ___________. Here’s why.
- Our happiest moment last week was __________.
- Our scariest moment last week was __________.
- We are most confident when __________.
- I ate _______ for breakfast and that always reminds me of __________.
- My favorite kind of weather is _________ because __________.
- Our favorite holiday is __________ because ___________.
- __________ is something we’d like to forget forever.
- We can’t wait for _________.
- When it all comes down to it, do you ever feel like _________ is really about _________?
- My favorite color is _________. Not because it makes me feel ________ but because it makes me think about ________.
- We just finished watching ________ and now we can’t stop thinking about ________.
- The scariest goal we have right now is _________.
- My best friend understands that I _________.
- Today I have to tell you a secret.
- ________ isn’t really about _________. Why? Because _________. (This is another great way to address customer objections.)
- We never imagined _________.
- We always imagined _________.
Happy New Year! I will be back next week to talk about which mediums are currently converting best and how to allocate your marketing energy across them. I’ll also give you a few simple predictions for 2021, plus how you can capitalize on them.