Go Below the Line

Post Date: May 2nd, 2011

Response is what you get Above-the-Line. Relationships are built Below-the-Line.
The seventh mistake of the seven marketing mistakes every business makes (from the book by yours truly) is that we don’t go far enough. We want to think that if we just find our target audience, identify our attraction factor, create a compelling offer or message and communicate it enough times, the prospect will “buy.” That’s what I call your Above-the-Line strategy.

The problem is that most prospects don’t do what we want them to do, when we want them to do it, just because we asked them so nicely or presented such convincing and compelling reasons to do so. Sorry. Unless you have a one-day-don’t-delay discount or deadline-driven offer with a short fuse on it, most marketing boils down to this: “Remember me when you need me.”

Rats. Does that mean all those strategies, tools and activities you do to create awareness, visibility and response above the line are wasted if the person doesn’t buy? Nope—you just have to go below the line. That means you must have plenty of ways to stay involved with your prospects—without becoming a pest—so that when they are ready, or they know someone else who is, YOU are top of mind. You are remembered and referred.

Think of your Above-the-Line strategy as the way you get people to raise their virtual hands, to identify themselves as interested in you, your product or service. Maybe right now, as in a sale, which is great. Or, maybe later, which is also great…if you are prepared to go Below-the-Line.

When you go Below-the-Line, you’re essentially asking yourself, “Self, how am I going to stay in touch with all those people who ‘raised their hands’ Above-the-Line so that I/my company/product/service is the one they remember when it’s time to buy or refer?” Your answer might include an electronic newsletter, blog posts, direct mail, articles, Facebook, Twitter, a good old-fashioned phone call or combination thereof.

The 4 T’s of going Below-the-Line

Whatever your answer is, it’s going to require a database. Duh. Sounds obvious, I know, but I’m not just talking about a sortable dumping ground for data. Your database needs to enable you to implement Terri’s 4T’s of Below-the-Line Marketing:

(Note that I am not one of the T’s, albeit alliterative to think so.)

Tag. When the person raises that hand, what, specifically do you want to know about that person? Think of it as tagging the record so that you can go back and search for those specific tags. You won’t be able to capture all the tags in one encounter, but you want your database to be ready to fill them in as needed.

The more tags or fields, the better. For instance, in addition to knowing that someone heard me speak, I want to know that it was at the SMPS chapter meeting in Wherever versus the national meeting the year before. Or the Possible Woman’s conference, or the American Nurses Association, or ASAE Great Ideas versus ASAE Marketing & Membership. I also want to know which people downloaded the free 10 No-Cost, Low Cost Ways to Make Your Marketing Stand Out tip sheet and which ones downloaded the free Help Them Hire You tip sheet for making your new business pitch take you from short list to client list. Why?

Target. Once you have the ability to go beyond basic contact info with your tags, you can now target or segment your database. I can target by any one or several of the tags I’ve been collecting. So what?

Tailor. If you have your tags in place, you can segment your database and then tailor your message specifically to that group. When I launched my Help Them Hire You Marketing Retreat, the message I sent to the people who bought my book was different than the invitation I made to who downloaded one of the free tip sheets, which was different than my blog post, which was different than the mention in my Anything But Blah Email Blast to subscribers. You get the idea.

Ties. When you tag your respondents, target them specifically and tailor your message in a way that shows you understand their world and how you, your product or service can make it better, you will build better ties. AKA you will build better relationships and enjoy better results than if you just send the same message to everyone on your list.

Tag, target, tailor, tie: Terri says try it. Today? Or maybe Tuesday, then?

Enough already. Share your examples or questions in a comment.


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Terri Langhans

Terri Langhans, CSP, COE
Certified Speaking Professional
Chief of Everything
Blah Blah Blah Etc., Inc.



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