Let’s start by painting some pictures we’re all familiar with…
You’re excited about the quality service your organization can deliver. You can’t wait to send out an email or postcard letting customers know about a new offer. You’ve got room in the budget and it’s time to start a digital advertising campaign that will drive more traffic to your recently updated website.
Ready… Set... Hold on.
Have you asked yourself the questions below and answered them from the point of view of the audience receiving the content?
Sometimes we get so excited about and so entrenched in our own marketing efforts that we forget not everyone’s been in the kitchen watching this recipe come together. The audience likely isn’t as excited as you are (yet) and they’re probably asking, “what’s in it for me?”
Speaking of audience, let’s get into the first question before you start questioning what’s in this blog for you.
1 – WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?
More importantly, what does the audience already know? Have they ever received anything from your organization before? Do they know the difference between you and your competition? Do they even know who your organization is?
Before you continue down the list, take a step back and imagine yourself as a member of the audience you’ve determined from the question above. Keep that perspective in mind as you go down the rest of the list and relate each question to your content.
2 – WHO IS THIS FROM?
This is the second most important "five-second rule."
Your audience needs to know who they’re interacting with within five seconds of looking at your content. This can be as simple as making sure an email sender name is clear or by using logo placement in the design of a piece. If your branding isn’t established and apparent right away or your company name doesn’t appear until the third sentence of the second paragraph, you’ve likely lost your audience’s attention before getting a foot in the door. Take a look at some of your content and see if you can tell who it’s from right away.
3 – WHAT AM I BEING ASKED TO DO?
No one wants to dig through a marketing piece to know what they’re being asked to do. “Apply today,” “Register now,” “Sign up here,” “Login to get started”—the list goes on and on. The CTA on any marketing piece should be one of the first things the viewer sees, and it needs to be clear and concise enough for the viewer to understand what you’re asking of them.
4 – WHY SHOULD I PROCEED?
This is the question that can often stump even the most experienced marketing minds. By the time you’re in the content developing stage, you’ve likely already determined why the customer should proceed. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting to relay that message! When the recipient is incentivized for responding or taking a next step, it often boosts overall response rates.
5 – HOW DO I PROCEED?
A good way to approach this is to think about how coffee shops and fast-food restaurants direct their customers to drive-throughs once they enter the parking lot. There needs to be an obvious way to follow the call-to-action (CTA) for the audience once they enter your figurative parking lot. It’s ok to rely on intuitive perceptions here. Buttons, links, logos and other navigation tools should be clear and obvious on digital pieces. Contact information like website URLs, social media pages, phone numbers and email addresses should be easy to follow on print pieces or larger advertising mediums.
6 – WHAT DO I EXPECT TO SEE?
Can we get transparent regarding transparency? Meeting content expectations increases conversions. This is the part where you double check to make sure the language on your CTA lines up with the language on the landing page you’re leading the audience to.
Are you sending out print pieces and emails for a campaign? They should both reflect the design of your branding and website, and they should reflect each other!
If you don’t regularly post on your organization’s social media pages, then don’t include them in the content for a new marketing campaign.
Does the URL you’re sending the audience to require they fill out a form after clicking on it? If the answer is yes—TELL THEM!
Asking yourself these six simple questions can have a great influence on your marketing content. Keep asking yourself these on every piece you create, and they’ll not only become second nature, but you’ll start finding even better ways to execute them.
Stop the hurdles of poor response rates before they start. Start implementing the audience’s point of view. Enjoy the results.
Interested in more helpful ways to improve your overall branding, marketing and design?
All you have do in keep reading:
– Sometimes You Need a Creative Escape
– 12 Logos in 12 Months: Reflections on a Year in Branding
– Into the Woods: A Refresher Course in Brand Refreshes