First step to gain a direct response from the customer:
After reading about what direct response tools were in marketing, I started to think about items connected to cookies that would spark interest in my site without looking like an attempt to only sell my clients cookies. I wanted to use something that would draw them in for information and my free offer. It took some time to come up with something that had not been done before. Here is just a small list of the items I ran through before settling on the hot chocolate sampler: coffee mugs, water bottles, spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons, cookie scoops, magnetic baking conversion charts, etc. I also did not want to do either a buy one, get one free or discount coupons. I wanted the clients to receive something free and delicious for merely providing their contact information.
The flyer above was my first direct response tool. This could be used old school as a marketing flyer and handed out or posted on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, and the company website. The idea behind the marketing flyer was to offer an alternative to coffee, tea and milk, which are often drinks of choice while eating cookies. The offer is from December to March, coinciding with colder temperatures in all the states I’ve lived in. It is the type of beverage which can bring back good memories of playing outdoors in the winter snow and coming in to a warm cup of hot cocoa. It has also become a seasonal beverage with many coffee companies offering a variety of combinations starting in November and continuing through the holiday season. From this initial flyer, my goal was to develop a list of clients I could then market my cookies directly to.
Second step for direct response after customer ordered the hot chocolate sampler:
The second direct response tool I created was an email in response to the clients who ordered a sampler kit. As a small business looking to keep marketing costs down, I thought this could be a good way to communicate and have no expense but my time. Of course, if the flyer took off I could find myself married to the keyboard. I wanted the email to be as personal as possible considering I do not know the person. To do this, I could use their address to discern their city, state and weather. Since they ordered the hot chocolate, this was a perfect time to thank them for the order and tell them a little about the company. It was also a good time to introduce my cookies, point out other client’s favorites and display the current available menu. Even with this information, I thought the client might need incentive to place their first cookie order and I added 20% off as a promotion.
My ideal clients for this assignment were cookie eating adults aged 30-60. I spoke with two men and three women for feedback on both examples above. Two provided in person feedback, two provided email feedback and one called and gave me feedback. Four of them would have given taken me up on the free offer and one wavered for reasons listed below.
Here is the feedback on the flyer:
- Yes, I would respond to the free offer. Looks good to me.
- If I was looking for hot chocolate I would possibly take the free offer but only if I was looking for hot chocolate. I don’t purchase or respond to free offers if it is marketing and I do not need the item.
- If the site was secure, meaning if they have the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate or, for you Cece, the padlock in the browser bar.
- You could get me with this ad through social media if it was enticing and then I would look for the company locally only.
- Focus seems like it is on the hot chocolate and not the company.
- The picture was too big and dates of special were too small.
- Lose the winter picture and replace it with a picture of people/bakers holding baking equipment.
- Use only one picture of hot chocolate.
- Simplify the flyer.
- Use different wording, “Treat yourself to a free cup of hot chocolate.”
- The focus should be on the skills you are trying to instill in the employees-can you offer something related to that?
- Instead of the company at the bottom, move to the top, highlight it somehow and link it closer to the free gift offer.
- Flyer is sending mixed messages.
Here is the feedback on the email response:
- That’s fine.
- I don’t read my emails often.
- I communicate by email so it would work for me.
- Next response should have been on Instagram
- Move and enlarge the 20% promotion
- Could the flyer be turned into an ordering form I click on and send back in a reply email?
- Contact information is too small and company logo is too large.
- Letter seems personal with comments about the weather and using the name of the person.
- Could you turn the flyer into the return email so it looks like the customer is reading another flyer instead of an email plus the product listing?
With this exercise, I learned I need to be much clearer with my directions about the assignment, one of the potential clients had a ten-minute discussion on the logo. Much appreciated and maybe I should have had her critique the logo during week 4. What I found interesting was the people who were more tech savvy had definite thoughts about the security of their information when turned over to any type of site. As buyers, they were more cautious than the others providing feedback. On the flip side, I had a reviewer who has an extensive entrepreneurial background as well as design and she wanted to rework the flyer, logo and concept of the company, hence my first comment above. I found it much more challenging than I thought to come up with an effective marketing tool. If I choose to go with a flyer like this it will require making some of the changes suggested during this assignment. I still like the idea of a hot chocolate sampler pack especially since more people are drinking hot chocolate and looking for something different than tea or coffee. It could also become a stock item if the promotion went well and helped increase cookie sales. For me, it is a natural complement to cookies.
Here is a website if you want information about SSL’s.