Those Connecting Questions: Tips from Image Marketing Consultants on Engaging Prospects

The beauty of posing those connecting questions to prospects is that we marketers send the clear message: We are here to listen to you.  Those questions which trigger that immediate connection can be asked in person, on the home page of your website, in the subject head of an email blast or blog post, or as part of a tweet.

Here are some examples of connecting questions which have converted browsers to buyers:

Do you want your family to be happier?

Can your child be doing better in school?

Would owning a house make you feel secure, finally?

How long has it been since you had a sit-down meal in a restaurant?

Why are you afraid to ask a decorating question?

Do you need to stop overspending on the holidays?

After the connecting question, there are many ways of listening.  One is simply to provide the “white space” of a pause.  After that, you can offer brief snippets of information, a complimentary consultation, a no-pressure demonstration, or a free sample.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, asks you:  Could you be selling more?  Could you be raising more funds for your cause?  Could you be spending less on marketing? Please contact her for a free consultation kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

 

Humor: Image Marketing Consultants Explains Risks v Rewards

Even Shakespeare’s tragedies had humor or what has been called “comic relief.”  Being able to laugh, including during crisis, seems to be a basic human need.  However, in contemporary marketing the jury is out on whether humor is appropriate for a brand, especially when times are hard.

Most recently, that issue has come up in regard to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s appearance on the late night comedy show “SNL.” He made fun of himself, including his blue fleece top.  That sure did get headlines in the media.  But not all were positive.  For instance, in FrontPageMag.com, Daniel Greenfield argued that Christie showed poor judgment taking on such a light-hearted role when thousands in his state are still without power and many had lost their homes to Sandy.

When deciding whether to incorporate humor in your marketing campaign, it is necessary to weigh the risks and rewards.

Risks:

Humor is a subjective entity.  Not everyone agrees that something is funny.

Timing is everything.  A humorous television commercial which was made about insurance before Sandy might seem in bad taste after the storm.

America’s Puritan background still prevails.  Those settling the New World believed in all work and no play.  That attitude has not gone away.

Rewards:

Humor provides entertainment.  Some contend that entertainment is a must in all messaging.  (However, that entertainment does not have to take the form of humor).

What people laugh at becomes memorable.

People tend to bond with what distracts them from their cares.  GEICO’s funny creatures helped turn an unknown insurance company into a brandname.

When it comes to most tactics used in marketing, there are no absolute right or wrong answers.  Each decision must take into account what segments are being pitched to, their values including their collective memory bank, and the most recent events which are shaping or reshaping their consciousness.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on marketing, partnerships, public relations, special events, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

 

Holiday Marketing: Thinking Outside the Usual Box

Black Friday is a week from today.  That means businesses will be competing aggressively for sales.

One of them – Toys R Us – has come up with an outside the usual box tactic for getting shoppers’ attention.  That’s having children anchor its TRU News Network to describe the hot toys of the season.  That simulated news is being run on television as commercials as well as through social media such as Facebook.  The target audience is anyone who needs to know what kids really want as that special gift.  They will get that information straight from the kids themselves.

The genius of the tactic is that it turns expectations upside down.  The good news is that it doesn’t take rocket science to come up with your own out of the box approach.

That can be as simple as playing with traditional colors.  Instead of green holiday trees for your business, you have black ones decorated with white ornaments.  Another could be a public interest message not to overspend.  The Federal Reserve reports that the average credit card debt for households is $7,150.  That could attract more than just shoppers.  The media could show up.  There are endless possibilities for special events such as Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus working out with a personal trainer at your spa.  In addition, you can always run a contest for the worst kind of promotion for the holiday season.

Marketing need not be expensive.  A good contrarian idea well executed could cost you pennies per acquisition of new customers or more purchased by current ones.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for marketing, partnerships, public relations, special events, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

 

Email: No, No Need To Bury Your Personality, Advises Image Marketing Consultants

Many leaders in organizations, both nonprofit and private sector, are staring at the emails on their laptops and wondering what tone they should use to respond.  Yes, they are fearful.

The electronic paper trails retrieved by the government powers that be from various computers associated with the military have alerted professionals to how easy it is for emails to be misinterpreted.  Even the amount of them, such as the 20,000 to 30,000 pages from Commander John Allen to unpaid military liaison Jill Kelley, can be viewed in a negative light.  The public reading about this in the media wonder why a leader was spending so much time digitally chatting instead of fighting a war.

The reality is that in 2012 digital communications are the preferred way of conducting our transactions.  All generations, not only Millennials, are choosing typing over talking on the phone.  It’s a must-do to have those emails differentiate each nonprofit and each business from all the rest of the entities seeking attention out there.  That means that they have to contain the organization’s unique personality or brand.  No, they cannot be devoid of a clear identity.  The Red Cross has a distinct image which differs from that of the Salvation Army and Goodwill.  Facebook will never be mistaken for Google or Microsoft.

Yes, caution is always needed in professional communications.  But trying to play it “too safe” is likely to alienate donors, prospects, customers and clients.  They need to know who you are as a professional entity.  That is the beginning of trust.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on marketing, partnerships, public relations, special events, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Partnership: You may have more to offer than you think, says Image Marketing Consultants

“Our new restaurant would be able to get a nice bounce in publicity and foot traffic if we were able to partner with the wildly popular arts theatre down the block.  But at this point I don’t think we have enough of anything to attract them to even consider an alliance with us.”

Not so fast.  That’s what Image Marketing Consultants advises small businesses and nonprofits which rule themselves out for partnerships.  Most organizations can find within themselves or create what could be incentives for others to join with them in promotion, adding resources, providing distribution channels, bringing celebrity power, and/or fundraising.  The trick is to figure out what you have or what you can make available that others may find useful.

For example, the new restaurant can distribute promotions for what’s playing through the menus, provide a small space for coffee when patrons are trying to kill time before the movie, name the special of the week associated with what’s showing,  mount an arty poster advertising the theatre on the wall, and give discounts with the ticket stub for after-movie dining.

As the economic recovery gets traction, organizations can dig for ways that they can accomplish their goals through the right partnerships.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for partnerships, public relations, marketing, special events, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.