I'm having a new cork floor put in my house. It's warmer to touch than wood, eco-friendly (harvested cork trees live for 150 years or so) and cork can be gorgeous.
Cork's also famously sound absorbent -- a fact which has not escaped me given than I've got two older stepchildren moving in shortly.
So last Monday I went online, clicked on every cork link in the search engines and sent away for a gazillion samples. By mid-week my mailbox was swamped with fat manila packages from a horde of cork competitors. Then Lumber Liquidators' sample box arrived and it was such a thing of golden glowing glory that it was impossible to look elsewhere.
o Instead of using the flattest-possible package, they used a shoebox-style box. Dimensional marketers have known for years, fatter in the mail can be higher-impact.
o Instead of bland cardboard, the entire box was colored a cheerful taxi-cab yellow.
o A big red headline next to my address label proclaimed, "Samples You Requested!"
o Logos, phone numbers and warranty slogans were printed on the sides of the box.
o Details on the company's 50-year residential warranty adorned the bottom of the box.
... but wait, there's more: when I tore open the box to get at my samples, I discovered the ENTIRE inside was also golden and printed with compelling marketing copy.
o My personal sales rep's card was taped to the inside front flap under the red headline "Give me a call to order!" Plus the 800-number was printed beside it, in case I removed and lost the card (entirely possible in my household).
o The inside sides of the box were printed with lengthy testimonials from named satisfied customers.
o The inside bottom of the box featured another headline and blurb on the satisfaction guarantee.
Although I've shopped online for nearly a decade, I must admit I was feeling a bit nervous to be ordering 1,000 square feet of flooring from a company I've never visited in person. That was before Lumber Liquidators' golden box arrived. A company that puts that kind of work into making potential customers feel secure through its sampling packaging is a company I feel secure doing business with.
It's also made me wonder -- what lessons can all of us take from this? Whether you have an actual sampling campaign, a catalog or brochure request form, or you use the Internet for other types of lead generation, how can you create something physical to send your most qualified prospects that will stop them in their tracks?
Chances are, just like me, those prospects requesting info are doing so at all of your competitors' sites at the same time. Your follow-through materials need to be just as competitively designed as your search campaign and landing page.
If you're spending top dollar for qualified traffic, why then suddenly clamp down the budget to communicate with those leads only in the absolute cheapest way possible? If you're only sending follow-up email, only offering a PDF, or only a Webinar... perhaps it's time to consider adding some real-world punch to your follow-up program.
I know as we budget for 2006, real-world has become a significant line-item.
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