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Newsletter #865: The “It’s How You Say It” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Sometimes just changing the way you share, phrase, or position content and ideas can make all the difference. How a few smart marketers are saying it right:

1. When asking for donations
2. When apologizing
3. When preparing for zombies
4. Check it out: Kids’ drawings made realistic

1. When asking for donations

If you’re hoping for a donation (or a sale, a subscription, etc.), don’t forget the most important part: asking for it. In a study of the Salvation Army, researchers compared passively ringing a bell to actively asking for a contribution. The result was a 75% increase in donations when volunteers asked, “Hi, how are you? Merry Christmas. Please give today.” Think about your online shopping carts, your sales pitches, and your email marketing — are you remembering to ask for it?

The lesson: Asking the customer to take action can generate immediate results. And even when the sale doesn’t happen, you’ll learn a ton from objections you weren’t getting before.

Learn more: Neuromarketing

2. When apologizing

Apologies are opportunities. Everyone makes mistakes, but your response is what people really care about. When a recent video of a FedEx driver throwing a customer’s package appeared on YouTube, their SVP of Operations quickly posted a video and blog post with the title, “Absolutely, Positively Unacceptable.” There’s no vague language or policy explanations — it’s a straightforward, genuine response to what was quickly becoming a huge PR crisis. The video has nearly 500,000 views and because it came out so quickly, most of the discussions have now shifted to how great the response was.

The lesson: When you find yourself needing to apologize to your customers, remember this plain-spoken example from FedEx as a guide on how to do it right.

Learn more: Church of the Customer

3. When preparing for zombies

How you describe and name your products can make a big difference in how the world sees them. It’s as much about what you say as what you’re actually selling. That’s why Gerber recently released an “Apocalypse Kit” of tools and knives designed to help you survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s the same set of items you might use on an outdoor adventure or keep around the house, but the name makes it something completely different — something you get for friends as gifts and show off to others.

The lesson: Try giving an old product new life with some repackaging, reorganizing, or renaming.

Learn more: Gizmodo

4. Check it out: Kids’ drawings made realistic

This fantastic project will forever change how you see kids’ sketches and doodles. In his new book, The Monster Engine, illustrator Dave DeVries takes children’s doodles and adds color, texture, and shading to bring their characters to life.

Check it out: Elezea

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  1. Adam S. January 5, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    “This fantastic project will forever change how you see kids’ sketches and doodles.” You weren’t kidding. That looks amazing!


  1. How to Apologize? See FedEx. | Bullet Blog - January 8, 2012

    […] thanks to Andy Sernovitz, and his excellent weekly e-newsletter, Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! #865, where I originally learned of this story. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the […]

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