There are no sure things in acquisition marketing. No 100% response rates, no universal enrollment, no guaranteed wins. But if you think of your acquisition campaign as a structure that needs “persuasion architecture,” there are ways to construct your campaign for greatest success. 

You’d never build a house without first considering who will live there and what they need, would you? The same applies to an acquisition campaign. Consider these “building blocks” to get your prospect to give you that all-important first YES.

Create a Blueprint for Success

Your prospect audience is full of unique individuals. Some will be motivated to act because of how you present your offer, and others will respond positively to another element (like your content). The hard truth is most of your prospects will NOT say yes. But what if you could get your campaign to persuade 5%, 10% or even 100% more than it does today? 

How well do you really know what motivates your prospect audience? Ask yourself these questions before you start the blueprint that will become your campaign: 

  • Do they need your product or service to save money, or to help them enjoy and improve their experiences with what you’re offering? It’s very difficult to create need, but if you can help your prospect perceive what they need and recognize that you have the solution, you’re on the right track.
  • Will they know more and become knowledgeable because of what you publish or provide? Can you give them a taste of that knowledge without delivering the entire library of content? Most people need proof, but don’t give it all away for free.
  • Are there other people like them already benefiting from affiliation? Testimonials are golden. Do you have a process to collect and then share what your satisfied constituents say about their affiliation with your organization?
  • Who else is offering to fulfill this need for them? Can you do it better? Are you competitively priced, and are you superior to the competition in some way? And most importantly, are you authentic? Be prepared to deliver on what you promise or you’ll never see that next yes.

Building Block #1: You’ve Got Something They Need–Or Want

We need oxygen to survive. Maybe what your audience needs isn’t quite as basic as that. But if your organization can deliver something that meets a need, it’s just a matter of making it easy for your prospect to understand and respond. 

Do people “need” a discount? No, but who doesn’t like to save money? And if they spend less, they have more to spend on other things that make them happy or fulfilled.

Does your organization provide a service that’s baked into the affiliation, like emergency assistance? No one wants to think they will need rescuing, but like a good neighbor…(you can fill in the rest of that advertising jingle).

Do your prospects need the “stamp of approval” that affiliation with your organization can provide? Does it define them in a way that others will recognize and respect?

Can you give them the tools to succeed or increase their enjoyment, or at least get to mastery level faster? 

Building Block #2: Exclusivity and Privilege

Your organization may not have world-wide acclaim, but if you have content, resources and tools that aren’t easily available anywhere else, play that up in your campaign.

YouTube how-to videos abound, but if you have peer-tested, easy-to-follow lesson plans/tips/how-tos, you will save your audience time, frustration, and ad-driven dead ends. Strive to stand out with the QUALITY of your content in a sea of lesser-quality online advice.

Knowledge is power. Knowing something that other people may not is a leg up in many environments. Does your content entertain and educate? 

Front of the line. Don’t underestimate the power of privilege. Give your prospects special access, early notice, bonus content, “only for people like you” packaging. 

Is it really exclusive? If you bury your best benefits in a haystack of meaningless distraction, you do yourself a disservice and set your new participant up for disappointment. 

Building Block #3: You’re Among Friends

If you’ve been to summer camp, you know the feeling of arriving the first day, wondering if you’ll ever make friends. And then it happens: You notice someone doing something you also enjoy and you know you’re going to be ok. 

Joining your community should feel like that. Consider how you can reassure a prospect that they will be among like-minded people. 

Testimonials. Tell stories of how individuals have used their access to network, grow, enjoy. Caveat: be careful with photos. People are visual. If your photos don’t “look” like them, they immediately think your community isn’t going to be welcoming, no matter what the testimonial says. 

Problems solved. Can you describe scenarios where your community has delivered an ideal solution? For one thing, this makes great content. Everyone loves to read about other people’s disasters or challenges, if you can provide a successful solution. Friends helping friends.

Mentor connections. Is your community full of people willing to take a new participant under their wing and show them around? There’s nothing more reassuring to a prospect than to know they won’t be dumped into the mix without a guide.

Networks. Can you promise to link the prospect up with experts, peers, resources? If your community is broad, can you overcome resistance by showing you are deep as well?

Plain language. Nothing turns a prospect off faster than insider jargon. Lofty language isn’t how you win friends. Talk the way your members talk in your campaign. 

Building Block #4: Competitive Advantage

Don’t strive for perfection, but look for ways to illustrate your superiority to what your audience perceives as the competition. It might even be Facebook or Youtube (we’ve all heard prospects say, “Why would I join for a fee when I can just find a free group on Facebook?”). 

Social networks can be great, but they have limitations. Instead of trying to beat them, show how your controlled space on those networks provides a superior experience. Put yourself in those environments as a best-in-class leader, with expanded content offered to the community.

No one ever won by putting the “other guy” down. But you can lead the prospect to perceive that your community offers more resources, deeper knowledge, better connections, and more unique benefits (as long as you can deliver on the promise). 

Building Block #5: Choose-ability

As a general rule, your prospects will affiliate because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. Do you make it look like an enjoyable experience to be a part of your community? Or does it seem like it’s going to require a lot of effort on their part? Will they be required to volunteer, or does volunteering look truly optional, and like it might be fun and rewarding? 

Do you make it look like the initial enrollment is daunting and overly personal? If you wouldn’t ask a new acquaintance a sensitive or invasive question if you met them at a social event, don’t include those types of questions on your initial enrollment form.

Your prospects are presented with choices all day long. Make the act of choosing your community easy and personally rewarding, and your campaign will deliver more YES responses.

Building Block #6: It’s Not About You

A successful campaign is always worth celebrating, but it’s not about you or your marketing prowess. Success means you presented something a prospect wants. It means you promised them something they found attractive and potentially valuable, and they agreed to give you a chance to prove it to them. 

This is why we are so adamant about creating a “You” culture. A successful campaign might make your metrics look better, but that’s a by-product of a strong blueprint and well-crafted building blocks. The real winner in a successful campaign is the prospect who said yes. And now, time to hunt for that NEXT yes!