5 How-To’s for Your Holiday Promo Message: marketing tidbits to mull

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.]

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.]

I’ve learned from a number of recent conversations, apparently, just after Thanksgiving is the time when lots of you are writing and addressing your gift certificate promotional cards. So, here are a couple message-writing tips to digest along with your Thanksgiving leftovers.

1. Avoid “Not” and “Don’t”

This is one of those tricks you get in parenting class. [And Cherie reminds us here in the office all the time!] When you say, “don’t use your hair as a napkin” to a three year old, the kid hears “use your hair as a napkin.” The same goes for adults, I’m afraid. While reducing “not” in your daily vocabulary takes some practice, you’ll find that you end up using more evocative, benefit-oriented statements. “Don’t delay! Call today!” becomes “Call soon for the best appointment times.”

2. Keep It Clear

If you’re sending postcards to promote your services, the most effective promotional messages are 3-5 sentences. There should be a headline, the promotion itself, and a call to action. Keeping it simple also enables you to keep focused on your goals.

3. Remember Your Audience

Whoever is the focus of your promotions this season, remember to talk to them. Let’s say you want to both sell gift certificates AND remind people of your treatment benefits during this busy, busy season. You could certainly send out a single card that said, “Buy 2 gift certificates, get the third for 1/2 price. And remember, massage is relaxing retreat this time of year! Treat yourself!” Or you could send out one card that read, “Marvelous gifts for a marvelous price … and marvelously convenient. Buy two gift certificates, get the third for 1/2 price. Call before Dec 10th and I’ll even mail them directly to the recipient or to you … for free!” And then another card could follow with, “Stiff shoulders? Sore feet? No end in sight? Take just one hour to make things more manageable. Call soon and we’ll set up a time that fits in with your schedule.” Not only do you contact your clients twice, but both messages offer timely solutions.

4. Be Aware of “Words That Sell”

I read an article earlier this month about food. The author was pointing out the rise in use of words or phrases like “fat-free” and “simple/simply” on food labels. While the use of these words was viewed in a negative fashion, as they were used in misleading ways, there is nothing wrong with using whatever word or phrase piques people’s interest today. They can become a sort of shorthand. Consider what these words evoke in you: green, healthy, cherish, bliss, guarantee, you, create, yes, benefit. You can also have fun with over-used words (remember the Great Plethora Epidemic of 1986?) in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way: shocking, literally, whatever, unfriend, stimulus, i-anything.

5. Urgency is Good

… when used in small doses. You do want people to act now. You want some action after you assembled, addressed, and sent out all these cards. Well, give them a reason to act now. If they call before Tuesday will they get a free lavender spritzer? If they buy before the 17th will you give them a preferential appointment time? Should they call before the limited number of spa packages is sold? People (all of us) need a little prod now and then.

So, mull it over. Bear in mind that you don’t have to follow ALL these tips … but you will have a stronger message and more response if you do.


[Adapted with permission from a Natural Touch Marketing blog article.]