By Jim Ackerman
It’s a whole new world out there, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising. It really is “all new” since 2008. It’s a digital world to be sure. So why are you marketing the same old ways?
Of course, we all know that the Yellow Pages – once perhaps THE go-to medium for jewelers of all shapes and sizes – has virtually disappeared. Maybe not from the door stoops, but certainly from use. They’re likely to become the first medium ever to become extinct. I know you’re not spending much there anymore.
And newspapers aren’t far behind. You’ve seen even the largest of them shrink from behemoth publications to skinny little tabloid rags. They’re not being read and they’re certainly not the advertising stand-by they used to be. You’ve probably cut way back.
Those are the big, obvious casualties in the advertising world. And the big, obvious replacements are the digital media. Now we market using websites, email and social media. But it’s HOW we use them that I believe is silly.
From observing jewelry ads delivered via email, for example, I notice most of them look like the print ads you used to put in the newspapers. They’re full color and often nicely designed by professional graphic designers whether originals or templates. Again, something akin to what you used to see in newspapers and magazines.
Is there something wrong with that? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, there is…
Remember, the medium is “email”. The name implies that it’s mail, delivered electronically. So instead of making it look like an ad, you might do better to make it look like MAIL!
I have two reasons to believe this is true…
First, direct mail tests continue to prove over and over again, that a snail mail piece in letter form (vs. a designed postcard or brochure, for example), will typically out-perform other formats in producing response and sales.
I know this may be difficult for you to believe and may run counter-intuitive to what you’ve always been taught, but in head-to-head split run tests with several jeweler promotions each year, this rule generally holds up.
Second, email that looks like a letter tends to be more successful in producing responses in the forms of click-throughs, conversions and sales
Now while this makes perfect sense when you stop to think about it – again, mail vs ads; which would YOU more likely read – the email services make it so cheap and easy to create good-looking email ads, I can understand you falling into the trap.
But now that I’ve revealed the market-researched truth, may I suggest you at least try the letter-looking approach in your email marketing. Go ahead. Conduct your own, split-run test.
The other area where jewelers are doing the same old things, just using new media, is in the aim of their advertising in the first place.
Almost all jewelers seem to be competing using the same offers to the same prospects for the same reasons with the same-looking ads. We’re all trying to find the prospects that are ready to buy today, tomorrow or at least this week, and we’re all “attacking” them, trying to get their dollars NOW.
Problem is, people – millennials in particular – aren’t buying that way anymore. Their process has changed, but your marketing hasn’t.
Research indicates the average person looking for an engagement ring may be in the market for as long as six months, and intently looking for three.
While all of your competition is frantically focusing on the last week or two of that process, the digital age has made it possible for you to “get in early” and market to these people in the tranquility of an uncluttered cyberspace and an unencumbered prospect’s mind.
You can use both traditional and digital media to drive “suspects” to a landing page instead of your store or even your website. On that landing page they’ll be able to sign up for a FREE something from you that will signal they’re now more than a suspect. They’re now a true “prospect”. That “lead magnet” needs to be something of real value.
Before the competition gets to them; before the competition even knows what hit them; you now have the chance to establish a relationship, render value, help them establish their own buying criteria which favors you and pre-empts the competition, invite them to make an initial purchase (converting them from prospect to official “customer”) and ultimately get them to make the “big buy” from you, without ever seriously considering doing business with anyone else.
This takes planning and system development, but it recognizes the new digital reality of the new world. It’s a new way of marketing, built for this new world, and while it may take a while to build the marketing program to exploit the new reality, it will surely lead to new and voluminous profits when you do.