Flip on almost any daytime talk show this month, and chances are you’ll find a segment dedicated to the hottest beach reads. Same goes for the magazines at the checkout aisle, many of which will have an article similar to Redbook’s “21 Books by Women You Have to Read This Summer.”
No doubt, it takes a talented writer to create a successful beach read that is both gripping and lighthearted. But credit also goes to the savvy marketers who know how to get that work to stand out in a crowd. Here's how you can take a page from their book and set your product or service apart.
Know Your Perfect Customer
With beach reads, there’s usually very little question about the target audience. Typically, publishers want to attract women of a certain age who lead busy lives and want some mind candy. Their summer reading habits are a way of letting loose.
Does that seem strangely specific? According to Angie Weber (@tenaciousAngie), director of operations for the brand management and consulting firm tena.cious (@tena_cious), it’s probably not specific enough.
“Too often, we think about target audience in too vague of terms,” says Weber. “We try to help everyone and that leads us to helping no one.”
Developing a precise idea of your quintessential client gives you a clearer picture of their needs and how to address them. Weber recommends stepping into their shoes and asking yourself, "What’s their exact age? Male? Female? Marital status? Kids? Income? Occupation? Spending habits? How do they spend their free time?"
Best-seller bonus: Position your business to attract your ideal market now.
“Even if you are not talking to your perfect client at this moment, you are creating better referral partners for yourself,” Weber notes.
Create a Customer Experience
Few people would confuse your average beach read with War and Peace. In part, that’s because of the packaging. Bright colors, clever titles, and cheerful fonts clearly indicate the book is lighter fare.
But Weber explains that packaging does more than just clue your customer in to what your product is. “You must remember that this is an experience for your customer. How do you want them to feel when they receive your service or product?" she asks. "If the packaging is wrong, it can have a huge impact on the customers' satisfaction.”
For an example, Weber points to a clothing company that sent its product in cute little bags with tissue paper. “Getting that package every month was exciting,” she says. “Then, for some reason, it started to send the clothing item in a white plastic envelope – no thrills or frills.”
That might seem like a small detail, but the details are the basis of the customer's experience.
Best-seller bonus: Ask for outside perspective. Weber notes, “Something might sound great to you, but getting an outside look might be eye-opening to how your audience really perceives it.”
Find people who share your perfect customer’s characteristics and ask them what they think of your plan.
And for tips on what not to do, check out "5 Social Marketing Mistakes That Cost Small Businesses Big."
Look for an Affiliate
Walk through the book section at your local big-box store, and you’ll most likely see summer novels on display next to beach towels and sunscreen. Why? Because the marketers know grouping these items together is the ultimate upsell.
Weber says affiliates can be that boost for small-business owners. However, she notes finding an affiliate is not as easy as it sounds. First, you need to locate a business with a similar clientele and a product or service that correlates with your own. Then you need to convince them to work with you.
Best-seller bonus: Again, knowing your perfect customer may give you some insight into the needs your business can’t fulfill. Reach out to business owners who share your audience and whose products support your own.
Weber then suggests teaming up for virtual or in-person events where you combine your offerings at a special price. “This way you have two people filling the ‘room’ vs. trying to do it all on your own,” says Weber. “It could be a win-win for both parties.”
Get more marketing techniques from a major player in "What Small Businesses Can Learn from Starbucks' Seasonal Marketing Campaign."
About the Contributor
Angie Weber, co-runner of the marketing and brand consulting firm tena.cious, has worked with hundreds of coaches, authors, and speakers to help them stand out in an overcrowded digital world. Her work gives her insight into the struggles business owners of all walks face, and she uses that insight to show clients how to engage and attract the right type of customers to get results for their business.