Knowing exactly what your clients & audience wants and expects, is the first step in being able to provide it successfully.
All your fancy promotional pieces, teaser postcards, snappy lead generation adverts etc, will not be effective if they are promoting the wrong benefits and features.
I was prompted to write this short piece after dropping into the Marketing Forum. Someone who wanted to break into a specific market, Libraries, had asked what libraries were looking for.
The answer is simple. Ask them!
And this simple strategy can be used in a huge range of markets. And it works on many levels.
Lets take the library example.
How many are there in your market area. 20? 50? 2?
You have to obtain the mailing addresses anyway so this can be the first step.
Then compose a short letter on letterhead explaining who you are and asking for their “help and advice”. (Dale Carnegie often said that one of the quickest ways to form a relationship with someone was to ask their advice.)
I would explain that you were planning to put together a specific show the following year and were doing research. You would be grateful if they could take a few moments to fill out the survey.
Here are some thought starters –
What are they looking for in a library program? Is it for – education/ traffic building/ or .. etc Who have they used in the past?
What did they like/dislike about their program What sort of size crowd do they get.
What sort of program would they like to see offered that isn’t being offered now?
Who makes the decisions about booking programs?
Are there any “official” guidelines you should be aware of? What sort of Promotional & Support Material would they like provided?
Any other bits of advice they could offer?
OK, you would need to re write them to suit. Note, the open ended “any other advice” question is great for getting honest responses.
I would do the survey questions on a separate sheet but make it SIMPLE. Don’t ask all the questions.
Perhaps just 4 or 5.
If you wanted you could ask different targets different questions, to get an overall picture of the market. You can try different styles of questions
e.g “on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate ….”
Important points. –
Make sure you make it easy to respond.
A stamped self addressed envelope.
Make sure they can respond anonymously if they want to.
Offer an incentive to respond! I usually give copies of my “Whimsy Audio Tape” but you might have a book or voucher or something.
Obviously to receive the Bonus they have to supply the contact name address.
Now, you don’t have to mail out to your whole target list. Send them out in bunches and see what happens. Alter the questions as you go as you come up with better ones or need to fill gaps.
The Survey works on many levels!!!
1/ It makes you create a Mailing Data list, which would have been the first step of a campaign anyway.
2/ You are getting your name in front of people. You will be surprised how many people will suddenly ring straight back and try and book you immediately. Your professional approach will show and will impress them!
3/ When you do get back to them later, they may not remember where or when they heard about you, but there will be some extra name recognition.
4/ You may have easily established who makes the decisions at that particular venue and using what guidelines. You know who to ring when ready.
5/ And best of all, you know what they are looking for in a program. You adjust your promotional pieces to match, you use the Words and Phrases that they use, and you echo their concerns. You provide the solution to their problems.
You will definitely improve the effectiveness of your mailings and promotional pieces using surveys if you “hear” what they are saying back to you and adjust to meet this.
But excitingly , you may discover that a particular market is actually looking for something quite specific that you had not thought of or has been overlooked by the other performers in your area. If you are able to fill this need then the possibilities are endless! If no one is doing it, then suddenly your market has become much bigger.
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