3 Essential Elements of Effective Marketing

When my daughter was 10 years old, she came home from school one day with a sad, skinny puppy in her arms. All I could think of was how expensive, dirty, and difficult it would be to have a pet. Logically, adopting this stray made little sense. Plus, we’d never had a pet before. How could we possibly know how to care for it? But one look at my daughter’s face and I knew we would keep the dog.

The Art of Persuasion

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived more than 2000 years ago. Among the wealth of wisdom he gave to the world was the art of persuasion. He reasoned that every good argument includes three essential components: ethos, logos, and pathos—that is, credibility, logic, and emotion. These are often referred to as the Aristotelian appeals, and they still matter today.

When you launch a marketing campaign, you’re basically making an argument in favor of your organization, event, or product. If you present the right amounts of credibility, logic, and emotion, your audience will not be able to resist your offer.

What is ethos?

Ethos refers to the credibility and trustworthiness of your campaign. It goes beyond the message itself and includes the ethics and character of the sender as well as the “packaging” in which it’s delivered.

The sender

Your audience asks, perhaps subconsciously, if the message is coming from a reputable source, such as a well-known company or an influential individual. They might also care about the way you do business, for example with integrity, social responsibility, or eco-friendliness. Choosing a well-known keynote speaker for your annual conference is an example of the ethos of your event and your organization. Donating a portion of your profits to charity is another.

The message itself

Communicating accurate, verifiable information is a great start to building trust with your audience. Go one step further and deliver valuable, useful content that can make people’s lives easier. Testimonials, citations from experts, and helpful information all contribute to your message’s ethos.

The packaging

Have you ever bought a certain type of wine simply because it came in an attractive bottle? Similarly, your audience is influenced by the way your campaigns look and feel. They will notice if your images are professional, your content is error-free, your printing is high quality, and your branding is consistent across channels.

What is logos?

Logos refers to the logical aspects of a campaign. It includes facts, figures, information, and product features. If I’m shopping for a car, for example, the miles per gallon and the maintenance record can help me make a sound decision. If I’m considering joining an organization, I might want to know about continuing education credits and networking opportunities. Costs, terms and conditions, and how-to information are all examples of logical appeals.

What is pathos?

Pathos refers to the emotional appeal of your campaign. Your goal should be to excite people, tug at their heart strings, or fire them up to take action. You must prove that your organization understands audience pain points and is ready with solutions. Storytelling is perhaps the best way to reach your audience emotionally. It’s proven by neuroscience to engage the brain better than logic.

If you think your organization isn’t emotional, consider how you connect people, improve their careers, save them time, and make their lives better. Interview members and event participants to mine for emotionally engaging details about your association.

How to use all three appeals

Any effective marketing campaign will use all three Aristotelian appeals in varying proportions. Your audience and the product or service you are promoting will determine exactly what those proportions are. Prospects, for example, might require more ethos in your messages than current members. New product launches might need more logos to help people understand their value.

A good amount of pathos is mandatory in any campaign. Often, organizations get stuck on the logical side of their membership and products. They focus on the “what,” like features, facts, and figures. In reality, logos is often not as important as pathos. If all decisions were made purely based on logic, no one would own a sports car—and I wouldn’t have adopted a puppy.

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How to Reshape Your Marketing to Reach Your Goals

When I was growing up, the only telephone in our house was a large rotary phone in the living room. It took forever to make a call by rotating the dial one digit at a time—especially when the phone number had lots of 7s, 8s, and 9s. But it got the job done and connected me to the people I needed to talk to. Today with my smartphone, I can check in with my family, order a pizza, and resupply my groceries in about the same time it would take to dial that old rotary phone.

Adding digital tools to your marketing mix is a bit like upgrading to a smartphone. If your goals include increasing membership, engagement, and non-dues revenues, it might be time to reshape your marketing with digital tactics. Innovative tools and technology can help you reach your objectives, often with a better ROI and less effort than traditional marketing methods.

Here are three tactics to consider.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing offers infinite possibilities for precise audience targeting based on your marketing objectives as well as a range of audience characteristics—from job titles to special interests, demographics, user behaviors, and more.

Ads for brand goals: Facebook, for example, allows you to create ads for specific goals, including brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, conversions, and more. You can upload your existing email list to target your known audience or to create a lookalike audience with similar characteristics.

Lead ads: Some social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, offer lead generation forms for easy lead captures. When a user clicks on your ad, for example to download a whitepaper you’re offering, they see a form that is automatically populated with their name and email address. They click “Submit” to receive your offer, and you receive their contact info.

Pixel code: Digital advertising also enables precise retargeting. By placing a snippet of code on your website, you can display your messages and offers in users’ social media feeds based on what they viewed on your site.

Email automation

Once you’ve captured contact info through digital marketing, you can nurture your leads with automated email drip campaigns. Email automation is commonly used to welcome new customers or subscribers with a series of background information about your company. Other uses for email automation include event promotion, membership renewal reminders, or lapsed member campaigns.

Email automation helps you reach more people in a more personalized way than traditional one-off campaigns. It also takes some items off your to-do list by automatically generating messages based on user behaviors. Advanced analytics and reporting show you opens, clicks, and conversions so you can refine your messaging based on what resonates best with your base.

If your email list isn’t producing the results you need, or its performance has declined over time, your list might be out of date. Sending to an outdated email list can hurt your deliverability, return on investment, and online reputation. Consider having a professional service scrub it for nonexistent accounts and spam traps. If too much of your list is unusable, you might need to invest in prospecting efforts to build it back up.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation software is an efficient way to manage your contacts, leads, social media, email communications, and the customer journey. It can help you segment your list, personalize messaging, schedule ongoing campaigns, and track results with real-time reporting. A recent study suggests that using marketing automation to nurture your prospects could result in a 451% increase in qualified leads. It works because it lets your members and prospects tell you what they need, when they need it.

Another benefit of marketing automation is that it offers detailed analytics and reporting capabilities. You can track your campaign performance over time to determine what works and what doesn’t. These valuable insights can help you improve performance going forward.

Efficient, personalized marketing

Reshaping your marketing doesn’t mean throwing out everything you’ve done in the past. A traditional marketing method such as direct mail might still have a place in your marketing mix. However, if you’re looking for an efficient way to provide personalized marketing that raises awareness, builds trust with your base, and drives conversions, you should seriously consider one or more of these digital solutions. A rotary phone still makes and receives calls to help you communicate, but a smart phone can do so much more.

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