Entrepreneur and author John Lamerton tells us how one of his companies achieved excellent sales from just one cost effective campaign.
In our sports betting business, we run several big marketing campaigns, which usually last two to three weeks.
Sometimes these are designed to bring in new customers (in the four weeks immediately before the Cheltenham Festival in March each year, we bring in nearly 20,000 new customers in our big lead generation campaign), but more often than not, they’re sales campaigns.
We ran one such campaign in October 2016, and at the time of writing, it was by far the best campaign we’d ever run in terms of return on investment (ROI). Everything just seemed to fall into place with this campaign – the stars aligned, and we totally smashed it out of the park.
It worked so well, that in the immediate aftermath, we decided to fully document the debrief, and use this campaign as the template for ALL future campaigns.
Here’s that template…
- Proper planning
Plan out the entire campaign on paper first. Write all of the copy. Look for holes. Fix leaks.
We planned this campaign three months in advance. We identified some potential leaks (places where people might abandon the sales process) with our registration forms, so spent weeks getting our web dev guys to completely overhaul the process, and rewrite everything from scratch. This was hard work, but worthwhile – making that change improved our sales conversion rate by over 50%, resulting in literally hundreds of sales, totalling tens of thousands of pounds, that we otherwise just wouldn’t have made.
When planning our Cheltenham lead generation campaign every year, we enter everything into a calendar, so the whole team can see the full schedule of what’s happening, and when. There are a lot of moving parts in this campaign, and we need to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
You can’t just rock up and go straight into a full-blown marketing campaign, hoping to wing it.
- Reason for the campaign?
It’s my dog’s birthday. My kid learned to walk. We’ve got a new product. We’ve moved into a new office. We were featured on the TV. It’s National Donut Day. The reason itself doesn’t matter – you’ve just got to HAVE one.
- Go overboard on value, don’t just discount
10% discount is not an offer. Let me just repeat that a second…
10% DISCOUNT IS NOT AN OFFER.
No-one actually values a 10% discount – it’s the same crap, bland, vanilla “discount” that everyone else offers. It isn’t persuasive enough to get enough people taking action, and that entire 10% discount comes straight out of YOUR margin, which could reduce your net profit margin by as much as 30%!
Rather than discounting the price, try adding value to what you’re selling. We added things that people who bought the product outside of the campaign didn’t get – mugs, tickets to racing, private access to our tipster etc.
- Multiple deadlines
Deadlines get people to take ACTION. When do you think HMRC’s busiest day of the year is? Yep, it’s January 31st – deadline day for everyone to pay their self-assessment tax.
When are most football transfers completed? Yep, you’ve guessed it – transfer deadline day.
So, you’ve GOT to have a deadline in your marketing campaign. But why stop at one?
In our campaign, we had FOUR separate deadlines:
- The first 50 people to buy got a free mug
- Buy before Wednesday lunchtime, and get entered into a draw to win a “money can’t buy” prize
- This special offer will be withdrawn at 5pm on Monday 31st October
- Once you’ve bought, stay with us until February 14th, and we’ll take you on a VIP trip to the races
This gives people the incentive to act NOW, regardless of what stage they are at in the buying journey.
- Follow up – LOTS
How many emails should you send during a sales campaign? Two? Three?
Whatever number you’re thinking of right now, I’d probably say treble it! Double it at least…
We sent eight emails in this campaign, over a 16-day campaign. And EVERY campaign we do has a minimum of seven.
That’s one to introduce the offer, and six to follow up and close sales. And every single one of them makes sales.
Just keep following up – “Till they buy, or till they die” as the old sales mantra goes.
- Counter objections and offer social proof
This is what to fill all those emails, direct mail, leaflets and web pages with – literally flood your marketing with testimonials (include a photo if possible, even better get video testimonials!), stats, case studies and stories, to showcase real people having real success using your service/product.
This was the secret sauce that made all the difference in our campaign.
- Multiple Media – Online / Offline
Send an email. Then call. Text. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Send them a WhatsApp message. Send them some direct mail.
Call again. Go and knock on their door. Shake their hand, look them in the eyes, and ask for the sale.
We usually try and include at least one piece of direct mail in every campaign we do – this ensures we stand out, as not one of our competitors does this.
We also make use of another “traditional” form of sales – we pick up the phone and actually speak to people – revolutionary, I tell you!
But it’s amazing how often our telesales team hear the line “It’s so nice to speak to a real person these days” or “It’s reassuring to know there’s a real person behind this website” – and you’ll soon find out what objections they’ve got, and why they haven’t bought yet – which you can incorporate into the rest of your copy, to close more people!
- Follow up MORE
Come on, admit it – you chickened out last time, didn’t you?
How many times did you follow up? Once? Twice? Get back on the phone now. Send another email now.
Till they buy, or till they die, remember?
- Next time?
Did this campaign work?
When are you going to repeat it, then?
Don’t leave a great sales campaign to wither and die – dust it off every six months, or every 12 months and repeat it.
About the author:
40 year old John is the author of “BIG Ideas… for Small Businesses”, a book that went straight to the Number One spot in the bestsellers list in the Internet giants’ Small Business and Entrepreneurship section, ahead of books by more established authors like Sir Richard Branson, Duncan Bannatyne and Lord Sugar – and remains there so far.
John is a serial entrepreneur and investor having made his fortune through creating more than 60 online businesses since 2000.