Though it seems obvious that marketing communications are about the customer, it's a hard habit to break. All too often emails, presentations, websites and brochures are about how awesome you and your company are. Often the focus is on what you think is important and what you have to offer: “Our Services, We offer…, We deliver…, We know...”
Many business leaders and marketers think this “me-centric” messaging technique is catering to their audience, when in many cases it actually isn't. When crafting your fine-tuned messages, it’s like any relationship, be sure to put your audience first.
Making it Meaningful to the Audience
In the digital age, we function on the concept of instant gratification. Technology and social media allow us to have the information we want, when we want it. Coupled with the age old consumer question “What’s in it for me?,” it’s overwhelmingly important for us as marketers to connect with and speak directly to our audience in a way that resonate with them – and to accomplish it ASAP. While you may fight the urge to be formal and traditional by talking about your brand and what you do, cut to the chase by going straight into how they’ll benefit from what you have to offer.
An Email Marketing Template
To illustrate the concept, I’ve crafted a quick template that you can use as a guideline for your next introductory email:
Subject/Title: A local geographical reference, a trigger event, a referral, or competitor name-dropping. Be sure to note that your upcoming teaser must match. Keep it relevant and focused! For example – HIMSS Conference in Orlando or Bob Smith-BCBS Referral
Salutation: Joe, (I can’t stress enough the impact of speaking to your audience on an individual basis, instead of those generic mass messages. A little effort goes a long way here.)
Opener/Teaser: Referral, reference to your trigger event, or nothing, if you go straight into your benefit. For example – Bob Smith from BCBS referred me to you because of your expertise in consumer marketing. (Note: it’s not about your widget or service that is going to revolutionize the world.)
Benefit: For example –You can increase patient engagement up to 50% by keeping patients informed and involved with our mobile app.
Closer: Call to action. Use only the smallest step needed to generate a reply and keep the conversation going. Remember to use the “Law of Least Effort.”For example – If you like, I can send you a brief overview of how the app works.
Signature: Name, title, company, phone, website – Include all the good stuff so they can get back to you in the method that’s most convenient to them. Social media links are a plus!
*Before your signature, ditch the outdated valedictions “Regards” or“Sincerely.” They’re stuffy, impersonal, and trite. I promise no one will miss them.
Keeping your brand communications targeted and customer-centric can make all the difference when it comes to gaining new business, nourishing current relationships, and breaking through the healthcare haze.