You have a great product and you feel supremely confident that it’ll fly off the shelves.
You send out a marketing campaign featuring the product and … you get a trickle of orders.
Panic starts to creep in but you quickly catch yourself. Your rational brain clears its throat and wisely calms you down: “It’s ok, I’ve only just sent this out, this campaign is just a slow burner. It’ll pick up later in the afternoon.”
The afternoon comes and goes. No new sales. What happened?
While working in the wine industry I would have hundreds of different wines to promote some of which would virtually sell themselves and fly out the door.
Often times though, I would have a cracker of a product (quality wine at a great price) and it would generate only a smattering of sales.
This was incredibly frustrating.
“Dude, you’re not setting up the sale.”
After discussing this problem with my friend (who was a sales copywriter) he said something that would change my entire approach to marketing … “Dude, you’re not setting up the sale.”
7 words and a new epiphany.
The reason why some campaigns bombed was because I hadn’t taken the time in those promotions to build up demand.
For example, when I had a great wine I just presumed my customer would somehow ‘get’ how great that wine was instead of carefully thinking through how to frame that wine the most effective way in order to allow them to get excited about trying that wine.
The result was I had accidentally suppressed sales and worse, my customer missed out on a phenomenal drop of wine.
How to set up the sale
Your customers exist in two basic states:
- Fully aware (of your brand, product and value)
- Unaware (of your brand, product and value)
If the customer is fully aware of the value you are offering then all you need to do is present the product and ask for the sale.
If the customer has little or no awareness of a product’s value then that means there is no pre-existing demand for you to sell into which means you have to create that demand inside the marketing message. Make sense?
Imagine the graphic below is a marketing message (i.e. email, article or video). You’ll see that 80% of that message is geared solely towards building up demand so that when it’s time to present the product (i.e. the sales phase) all you need to do is sell into the demand that you’ve created.
Here it is from another angle (I know I may be getting a little redundant here but stay with me because this is important.)
Let’s imagine that you see a stranger on the street, you get their attention, drop to one knee, declare your undying love for them and ask them to marry you.
The conversion rate on that proposal would be incredibly low, why?
Before you can ask for marriage the person has to be sold on you as a potential lifetime mate (which is a big investment) this means you have to put in some ground work:
- Introduce yourself
- Build attraction
- Go on a date
- Build a relationship and setting up the stage for a potential future together
Think of steps 1 through 4 as the demand generation phase with step 5 being the sales pitch.
8 ways to generate demand
Here are a few ways to set up the sale and generate demand inside the marketing phase of your email, article, video or presentation:
- Finding the unique angle or hook (intriguing back story, new feature that helps deliver a result faster etc.)
- Demonstrate how it solves a major pain point of the customer
- Unique feature that separates it from the competition or gives new hope to the reader
- Relevant benefits
- Show how other people have benefited and/or are using/enjoying the product
- Leverage influencers or inside industry leaders
- Full case studies (typically, the more complex the solution the more in-depth the case study)
- Real stories that demonstrate how the product solved a problem and delivered a desirable result.
How I used this to sell to unaware customers in wine
When I was working in wine I would mostly leverage the wine grower’s backstory, or my own curiosity. For example, on one promotion I’d mention how I was allowed exclusive access to a wine that was produced by two industry experts who I couldn’t name for legal reasons and this lead to circulating rumours about who they could be (which built up intrigue).
I’d include how that wine tasting panel compared it to top shelf bottles (this built up a price expectation and leveraged the existing brands they were already familiar with).
At the end of the email, when it came time to finally sell the wine, I’d let the reader know the price and the special offer (which was a lot less than its top shelf counterparts) and that there was limited supply to drive immediate action.
While it didn’t guarantee a home run it certainly increased overall sales with a few times selling out entire stocks.
Before your next campaign
Before you plan your next campaign think about the awareness level of the person you’re trying to convert.
- Are they aware of the product or brand?
- Are they aware of how they will benefit from the product you are asking them to commit to?
If ‘yes’ then your job is simple, present your product or service ideally with a time sensitive offer. If ‘no’ you will need to shift their awareness and generate more demand before presenting the product.