An emergency tactic up your sleeve ...

Image courtesy of Elvis Santana

We all know that feeling - the one of impending doom when the end of the month, but no money, is in sight. A major customer has cancelled a sale, or perhaps you've been too busy to worry about marketing and suddenly, when you need it most, business has dried up. Sean D'Souza has just the tactic to help save the day

If your business stops and sputters for any reason whatsoever, here is an excellent email tactic that you can use in your marketing. No matter whether you're marketing online or offline, here is how you can get your sales rip-roaring once again. All you need is an understanding of this powerful facet of customer psychology, and you'll be sucking in customers like a whirlpool in next to no time. This email tactic is specially important, if you're struggling to get customers through the door, but works well even in good times.

Richard was not a happy camper
Richard Palmer's fancy downtown clothing store was in big trouble. He arrived at the store, one morning in June, to find a road works project well under way. The bone shattering drone of jackhammers hit the pavement with a monotonous frenzy. And the cement dust swirled around outside, like it had a mind of its own. And it found its way into his store.

Richard was appalled-as much as with the dust and the mess it caused, as the fact that his sales were choking on it, as well. He watched in horror as his sales plummeted from thousands of dollars, to less than a few hundred a day, if they were lucky.

The reason for this fiasco was simple. In their eagerness to avoid the road works traffic snarl, potential customers stayed well away from his area of town if at all possible. And when they did drive into his area they avoided his side of the road. This went on for days, even weeks. And Richard didn't have the patience to keep seeing red in his account books.

Goodbye disaster, hello customers
Rather than drowning in his own tears, Richard turned to the immediacy of email delivery. Calling it the Jackhammer Sale, he promised each of his customers, discounts and incentives if they came in when the jackhammers were at their noisiest.

Segregating his customers, he offered preferred customers a free shirt, if they bought one. Other not so regular customers got varying gifts, all of which were reasonably tempting for them to make a trip to the store.

If Richard had any doubts about the power and immediacy of email delivery, they were put to rest that day. The roar of the cash registers drowned the sound of the pesky jackhammers for good. And he owed it all to the power of email!

The power of using email for immediate results
This emergency email tactic, is almost a sure-fire way to get customers racing to their door, yet most businesses never use this tactic. When faced with real discounts and incentives in conjunction with an immovable deadline, most customers will be spurred into instant action.

Those that need the product will burn rubber trying to get to your store on time, while those who were not even considering your product or service, will now be giving it some very serious thought, and maybe telling others about the great deals. Instead of languishing sadly in one corner of the store, your products will literally be flying off the shelves!

How this applies to services as well as retail
Nobody needs teeth fixed all the time, so says my dentist. Yet, he uses the power of email to make sure that his schedule is filled to the brim. When times are quieter, he emails his customers asking them to come in for a time-bound checkup and clean. About 65% of them respond almost immediately, even without the enticement of a bonus or discount.

His email enables patients like me to get treatment on time, before problems get worse, and they have to spend a few thousand dollars instead of a few hundred. We're happy, he's happy, and everyone ends up, not only feeling better, but in better dental health.

Your service based business could use the same principle as my dentist's Check Up and Clean email system. Inevitably, you'll find little things you can tweak and improve in your customer's business.

And at least 5% of them will want you to do a more detailed consultation. Bingo! Suddenly that time-bound email offer has brought in a whole lot of instant business.

Why you shouldn't ignore the concept of staggering
There's not much worse than too much demand and not enough supply. Too many businesses have been caught flat-footed trying to cope with a flood of customers. So, be sure to space out your messages to customers. Send each batch of emails out at pre-determined intervals, because if your offer is tempting enough, you'll be buried under mountains of emails and phone calls that will drive you bananas, and cause you to make mistakes.

The same principle applies to retail. The last thing you want is a zillion customers all at once. That may sound like manna from heaven but in reality, it's sheer disaster. Not only do you lose on the opportunity to cater exactly to the customer's needs, but you also throw away the chance to up sell and cross sell the customer.

So why email and not phone calls?
Two words. Time Intensive.

Phone calls could take you all day-something you really don't want to do. Even worse, the person at the other end of the line might not be around to take your call. That would mean a whole round of new calls at another time. Email on the other hand, gets read when your customer wants to read it. And you can work it out, so that batches of fifty emails or so, go out at pre-determined intervals. All it takes is the touch of a button, every couple of days or weeks, or whenever you choose.

Why this entire email exercise could be impossible for your business
Ask Maria. A while ago, a boating event in Auckland dried up all her business. People were more intent on getting onto the water and watching the big boats sail, than visiting her store. An enticing email campaign offering goodies and special offers, valid only for certain non-racing days, would get in customers on the days of her choosing.

Unfortunately, she had no email database.

While she could have snail-mailed many of her existing customers, that method was slower and more tedious to implement at a moment's notice. Instead of twiddling her thumbs, waiting for customers to walk through the door, she could be laughing all the way to the bank.

And you can too. Start asking for your customer's email addresses, and use the power of the email tactic. You'll transform every emergency into a winning business scenario!


  • Marketing
  • Hummin' Along

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Sean D'Souza's picture

Sean D'Souza is the driving force behind "PsychoTactics", and an expert on using an understanding of psychology to dramatically increase sales. 12 years ago, he joined an advertising agency called Leo Burnett. The skills he learnt while working with one of the best advertising agencies of the...