You want people to understand what your business does, why your cause is important and how your service is valuable. The traditional sales method is to lay out the facts in a presentation, lunch-and-learn or a brochure. But how well does the traditional method work anymore? Are your facts memorable?
The answer depends on the facts and the manner in which they’re delivered. But a good rule of thumb for getting your point across is “don’t just educate, entertain.” People are more likely to pay attention to and remember information they connect with on an emotional level. If you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy this year, consider these five engaging ways to reach your customers and prospects.
Have some fun. There are times when having fun can really set you apart from your competitors. Trade shows are a great example. At a theme trade show, there can be fierce competition to have the most interactive booth or the best costume, which basically means companies are fighting to be the most memorable. If you’re not in the fight, you’re probably invisible.
Even if your trade show doesn’t have a theme or a booth prize, and even if everyone else just wears polo shirts and hands out literature, your goal should be to have the best costume and most interactive booth. Sound like a waste of time or money? Consider the value you get giving out literature and talking to people who are very likely to throw it away and forget what you said.
Use a new voice. You know your water savings message inside and out, but your audience doesn’t. If you often use technical, industry terms, or sound like you’ve said the same thing a thousand times, your words may be going over your audience’s heads. Think about your promoting your message from the perspective of someone who has no idea what you do. How would you help them understand?
Tell a great story. Everyone has a story to tell. You may have a lot of information to share, but wrap it in characters and suddenly it matters more than just data. Journalist Charles Fishman did this expertly in “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.” In his book, you go from waist-deep in floodwaters to a helicopter view of the drought-cracked Australian Outback, learning the stories of farmers, casino owners, and whole villages whose lives are changed by having too much or too little water. Fishman’s intense research could have made for a very heavy book, but by focusing on stories he kept it light and made his readers care about the subject long after the last page.
Give it a new spin. If your subject is already familiar to your audience, you have the perfect opportunity to make it new. Just about everyone has experienced an obnoxious running toilet, but have you ever thought to chase one? Every year for Fix A Leak Week in March, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association dress a runner in a toilet costume for their four-mile race and hundreds of runners chase him. The costume is funny enough, but the promo videos with the toilet guy talking about the importance of fixing leaks are unforgettable and he’s become a local celebrity.
We have an opportunity to help customers save water. However, the overall interest level in water today is still very low. As an industry we have an obligation to make the subject more interesting or we will not accomplish our water savings goals.
At the same time we need to create interest without being perceived as extremists. A creative message will help us solve the problem.
Visit the Water Bloggers Facebook page (Facebook.com/WaterBloggers) to see a collection of the most creative water-related marketing campaigns.
The author is regional marketing specialist at ValleyCrest Landscape Cos.