I hate to break it to you, but what we do is simply advertising. That we do it online with our customers subscribing to email marketing lists and, critically, willingly sharing their personal details, in no way changes that fact. Bring back sales staff from the 1980s and they will recognise what we do instantly, and will probably feel jealous of our advantages.
I’ve just come from a couple of car dealers. I’ve been sitting in plush showrooms, with carpets, coffee and comfortable chairs, where the focus is not so much on the product as on building emotion. In one showroom, there was no car sales literature on show, and the only advertising was for high value watches. The cars seemed something of an afterthought.
One name for this method of sales is effective conditioning. If we feel comfortable in the surroundings, and have a positive emotion, then this will transfer to the product.
We see this in classic soap powder adverts. There’s an immaculate kitchen, bright sunlight streaming through clean windows reflecting from the fashionable work surfaces. A smiling couple and a giggling baby. It is captivating, especially so for the target audience. There, to one side so not blocking the sun, is the packet of soap powder.
What the advert is suggesting, albeit crudely, is to be as happy as this group, you need our soap powder. It’s basic. It works.
Most people will wonder; why do these people pick products emotionally rather than objectively? A valid question you might think. However, it should be worded differently; why do we pick items on emotion?
It’s fair to say that no one really knows. Or rather, a lot of psychologists have put forward a lot of differing ideas as to why, which all go to show that no one knows. The important point is that making people feel good is good sales technique.
It’s a big ask in a marketing email though. You have a header, a headline, a bit of copy and an image; there does not seem to be a lot of opportunity for giggling kids and sparkling sunlight reflected off worktops. However, it’s not impossible over a period of time.
We form a relationship with our subscribers, and we need to ensure our emails are a nice place to be. Don’t think of them only as a way of selling. The founder of Revlon said that in the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.
Ask yourself what your customers want, what they dream of, and then work out how you can associate your product with that fantasy. Each email to that particular split email marketing list should reinforce it. It will soon build.
The sales staff in the car dealers did exactly what we do. They formed a relationship, albeit one that was not too close. They asked me about myself, my needs, and, importantly, worked out my budget. They showed me vehicles that more than fulfilled my needs and budget. They made me welcome. It was a pleasant experience. Do that, and you’ve cracked it.