This is a fascinating case study that demonstrates the most powerful elements of great marketing communication in one highly concentrated form – Packaged Information.
The results of this case study were outstanding, a retirement village group received a 2,000% boost in qualified leads for their high end villas.
It all started with a phone call ...
We received a call from a client who told us he was now a partner in a very lucrative retirement village business.
Their marketing, he told us, was generating enough enquiries to pay for itself. But only because the profit on a sale of a retirement villa in their estate was so high.
He hated the fact that they were paying a small fortune for a qualified lead through their ads. He felt they were in a rut and couldn't get out of it.
We hear this a lot, industries getting caught in a rut.
They do things the same way, advertise the same way and sell the same way. And because they're in the rut, very often they don't realise how ineffective their marketing actually is. After all, everyone else is doing it so it must work!
As a student of 'direct response' philosophies, our client had insisted on one thing when he took an interest in the retirement village group: that the marketing be tracked and measured. In doing so, he realised their advertising wasn't producing.
A strategic approach...
He asked us if we could re-write their ads, and after studying what they were doing, we agreed. The solution however, required far more than simply writing a new ad. It required a strategic approach to their dilemma.
Sure, the ads were all wrong. We pointed out to him that prospects weren't going to be influenced by photos of silver haired happy models on the bowling green. That where they'd retire to was one of the biggest decisions they'd make in their entire lives and what prospects wanted was unbiased answers to their fears and uncertainties about making this life decision.
In other words, they craved information to help them (and their relatives) make an informed decision about where they should retire.
The result was a booklet, titled 'How to Choose the Right Retirement Village'.
It was designed to fit neatly into a standard envelope, in an easy to read style, all the questions and answers a prospect would want to ask, written for the layperson, and questions that they wouldn't have thought of.
The great thing about this, and for you when you create your own Packaged Information, is that something like this is really easy to write!
We simply sat down with the group's Sales Director, and 'interviewed' her. Then, from those notes, together we crafted the final product. In your case, you already know all the answers to all the questions that someone in your marketplace would want to ask. And you'll have a host of 'war stories'.
These are the anecdotes and examples that dramatise what you do, and bring your 'magic story' to life. Your 'magic story' is not something that says, "We were founded in 1992 and we have ten offices, and we have a big factory ..." That is merely trumpet blowing.
Your content in your Packaged Information must look through the eyes of the reader.
In terms of the retirement village, we came up with a list of thought provoking and genuinely unbiased questions to include in their Packaged Information.
Interestingly, none of these talked about the retirement group in particular, but rather added value by educating on the issues vital in the decision making process for the prospect.
And so on. 12 pages of factual, easy to understand, vital information!
Then the last four pages were designed as a 'Key Questions Checklist'. This was designed with three columns of boxes to check off the answers so that the prospective resident (and their relatives) could do an 'audit' as they went around the various competitor retirement villages. An incredibly powerful tool.
This was no ordinary 20 page booklet. This was Packaged Information at its best. It was so useful, it would be kept, used and referred to well into the future. But as well, because it was totally unbiased and packed with solid vital answers, it did something far more ...
Positioning yourself as the 'authority'
This piece of collateral positioned this retirement village as the authority. While all the competitors were saying, "Come and see our nice facilities!" ... this group were on the unassailable high moral ground. They were now on the same side of the table as the prospect!
Don't miss the power of that! Packaged Information, correctly done and positioned, has the power to put you 'on the map' as never before.
The selection of media to promote this information
We decided the prime medium was still going to be a press advertisement, placed in the same retirement supplement (as the previous poorly performing ads) that was distributed monthly with a Sunday paper.
The new ad was the same size, but totally different from the 'lifestyle' photographic ones surrounding it. The new ad was an 'advertorial' ... (that is, it loosely emulated the typeface and look of the surrounding editorial, but with 'Advertisement' at the top. As much like the look and feel of the editorial as the paper would allow us to do.)
Here's the ad.
As you can see, there were no pictures of happy smiling people or the village's bowling greens, swimming pool or other facilities. Apart from a photo of the Sales Director smiling, in a welcoming way, at the reader at the top of the ad, it was 'copy intensive'.
The copy in the ad didn't even talk about the retirement village itself. Instead, the entire focus in the ad was to 'sell' the free booklet. Or rather, to 'sell' a prospect on having enough trust to give up their name and address to receive the free booklet.
The ad headline has an extremely strong 'Point-of-You' ... with the word 'you' (or 'your') featuring four times in the headline and sub-head.
The ad copy builds the immense value of having this informative booklet to make informed decisions and dramatises its content.
So, we had the ad set and ready to go. There was one more absolutely key element in this campaign ...
Preparing the team in strategies to optimise the leads
Before the ad appeared, we ran a training session along with the Sales Director and the entire team at the group's headquarters ... in sales skills, telephone handling skills, and the 'process' of the follow up – exactly what would be required to maximise the leads generated during the campaign.
How did the Packaged Information strategy work?
First time the ad ran (and each time thereafter), it produced in the order of a 2,000% increase in response.
Whereas the 'conventional' style ad had typically pulled between 8 and 12 coupons or calls, the new format consistently pulled over 200 enquiries.
What really delighted the management was not so much the mountain of leads, exciting as that was. It was the 'quality' of the leads.
These enquirers were indicating that they were serious about exploring the retirement options, and that they were receptive to receiving ongoing communications from the group. (Having permission to keep in touch in this industry is vital. The decision making period by prospects can be months or years!).
A powerful strategy will work over and over again
But the really exciting bit about this Packaged Information offer is this.
With their new found lead generating booklet, the management hurried off to the local radio station and booked five 30 second slots. They put a rough script in the hands of the announcer, so he had things to say about the booklet.
And went back to wait for the responses.
Now. Let's face it, 5 radio slots is a blink of an eyelid on radio. Surely you couldn't hope to get a response from 5 slots.
Well, this offer did! Those 5 slots generated over 300 phone calls with people clamouring for the booklet. The village's phones and their enquiry staff almost went into meltdown.
Let's just recap
This powerful strategy can work well for you too, so it bears recapping just what went on here.
We identified what the market place wanted. They wanted hard honest facts in a usable form to make informed decisions. They were totally turned off by the artificially posed pictures of silver haired models in happy shots.
Next, the Packaged Information was not laid out as an 'ad'. People are astute. They can see through a thinly veiled ad a mile off. But when you truly give them an unbiased, factual thought-provoking package of knowledge, they value it.
And they value you. You are not someone trying to sell 'at' them. You are seen as genuinely wanting to add value to them. Without holding back or being cute.
You are acknowledged as an authority. Because of what you've given them, they can clearly see that you know what you're talking about. That you have the track record. That you 'deliver'.
Think about it. Isn't that why we're offering this value-filled article? We know it'll add value to you. We also know, that when you apply it, you'll be blown away by the results. It could produce many thousands for you.
And we know, that there's a very good chance you'll see that this 'sampler' is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can help you achieve in your business.
Put it up on your website. One of the biggest problems (and opportunities) we see with new clients websites is that they have traffic, sometimes thousands of visitors a month, but they have very few leads.
Offering some form of Packaged Information can unleash a flood of enquiries from qualified prospects reading and absorbing your Packaged Information.
Swelling the numbers in your database
By offering Packaged Information that your market place craves, you will rapidly build a database of names. But not any names. Qualified names.
They 'put their hand up' because they want what you offer. With those names and permission to communicate with them, you can inexpensively build a fantastic pipeline of future business.
Nurture those people honestly, in a value added way and they'll become customers, and stay with you.
Packaged Information works for hundreds of businesses...
Today, we have hundreds of clients who have revolutionised their marketing results through creating and offering some form of Packaged Information - from special reports, white papers and buyers guides to checklists, data sheets and DVD's.
They include manufacturers, accountants, consulting firms, retirement groups, printers, mortgage brokers and more.
Presented properly, packaged information is pure gold to people who want your product.
And you can use it to position yourself far above the competition, and turn it into part of a long-term sales programme.
We have practical, expert help available for businesses of all sizes. Contact us online now or call us on 01536 747 310 for more information.
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To read more articles related to this go to the Generating Leads section of the Academy.