Brand awareness and search engine optimization are both important tools of membership acquisition, but they don't necessarily sell anything. Fancy bells and whistles are nice, but when you boil it down, as a marketer what you are looking for is a concrete response. Without a response from the customer, you are just throwing empty words or images out into a void, and what good does that do your business? One of the best ways to get the desired positive response your company seeks (and a possible long-term member), is to make a positive offer, or give the customer a reason to respond.
As most of us who graduated elementary school know, the scenario of cause and effect takes place when a certain action occurs and triggers a response or reaction (whether it be the desired response or not). "I wanted to speak to you, so I called you on the phone." In this scenario, wanting to speak to you is the cause, and making the phone call is the effect. If I did not want to speak to you, there would be no phone call. To use the scenario of cause and effect in membership acquisition, you must first have an action, or offer, in order to get a reaction, or sale. Without a cause, the customer is likely to be unsure of exactly how to respond, and may forgo responding at all.
Think of good offers as an open door, or invitation for the customer to become involved with your company. Don't make the customer wait outside wondering whether or not it is okay to come in, make the first move. With a good offer, not only is the customer intrigued to find out more about your program, they feel as though they are making a smart decision. Instead of simply spending money or making a purchase, they feel as though they are using their money in an intelligent way. Offers vary from business to business depending on the target clientele, but here are just a few examples of offers that may be helpful:
DISCOUNTS Discounts are a wonderful way to persuade first time members to join up. To the customer, the idea of saving money is a wise choice and takes the pressure off of the decision to make a purchase.
BONUSES Throwing something extra in is fun for the buyer and could be enough of an extra incentive to make a sale.
TWO FOR ONE If handled properly, this offer can turn one long term member into two.
FREE TRIAL PERIOD This can be helpful to get people to initially sign on, but be sure to offer some incentive to stay on.
Simple and clear offers take the confusion out of the membership acquisition process. Without it your creatives can have a suspension effect, or the unfocused feeling of drifting through space. Offers take the guess work out of sales and can be the beginning of a focused dialogue between you and the customer; and as history has proven, a focused and clear dialogue is a good foundation for any relationship.
Elana is a representative of Peak Advertising, a nationally recognized performance marketing agency. You can reach Elana with questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.