On my recent vacation to Italy, my friends and I spent a LOT of time eating, which seems to always be our #1 activity on a trip. We also did a lot of walking and touring the beautiful city of Venice and the amazing Amalfi Coast.
Along with all that was the inevitable shopping. Now, I am not a big window shopper or store browser, but my friend is, so I try to keep up with her. I entertained myself on this trip by noting how many sales and marketing tactics I could spot. Yeah, I know! I am a marketing geek, what can I say?)
In this Facebook Live Broadcast (a spontaneous one that I shot from the terrace of my Sorrento apartment, complete with lemon trees) I share the Italian version of these marketing tactics:
Lead Magnets – how providing a sample of your products and/or examples
of your expertise can hook your ideal customer.
My favorite (and this is really a personal favorite) was a shop called Nino & Friends which had locations in both Venice and Sorrento. It was a beautifully designed shop filled with whole bean coffee, cookies, candies, olive oils, vinegars and other condiments.
There were many lovely young ladies in the shop with trays and stationed at strategic locations in the shop, eager to have us sample the yummy treats from the shop. Their sole goal was to get you to taste the products, knowing that once we tasted them, we’d have to buy. Trust me, they were not wrong! We bought numerous boxes of those cookies for our apartments and they were delicious.
This reminded me of how we put lead magnets on our websites to give our visitors a small sample of what we offer. A lead magnet that demonstrates our expertise and provides value to our ideal customer, in exchange for their email address.
Qualifying the Prospect – is this prospect really your ideal customer?
In a town called Ravello on the Amalfi Coast we stopped at a beautiful ceramics shop. A very personable young man greeted us and welcomed us. After quickly sizing us up he asked if we would like to see something special and took us downstairs in the shop.
He introduced us to her mother, who was the artist who owned the business and was the artist who designed the amazing ceramic designs in front of us. There were many that were very unique.
Suddenly mama starts peppering my friend and I with questions:
“Oh, where are you from?”
“We’re from California”
“Where in California?”
“ The San Francisco Bay Area”
“Oh, Berkeley??” She really perked up at the possibility.
More questions started up:
“Where are you staying here?”
“Um. In Sorrento”
“In a hotel or an apartment?”
As we left I was laughing about the game of “20 Questions” we had just gone through my friend said “Well, you know why she was asking us all those questions, don’t you? She wanted to pre-qualify us to make sure we were actually likely to pay one hundred euros a plate for her beautiful ceramics!”
By asking us where we were from, she knew whether she could ship product to us and at what cost. She also was determining, based upon the location and type of hotel or apartment we were staying in, whether we likely had the money to buy the exquisite ceramics.
Her son had actually started the prequalifying process when we entered the shop, because all the less expensive products were there. He quickly determined that we probably were likely prospects to purchase the more unique pieces and sent us downstairs to let Mama have a go at us.
Just so you know, we did NOT buy anything. The pieces were gorgeous, but quite expensive!
Lesson number 2, know how to prequalify your prospects so you can then guide them to the right offer.
How to do this? Make sure your home page has a message that speaks directly to the pain point of your ideal customer. It should be a statement that would assure someone arriving on your site that they are in the right place to find an answer to their question.
Next, clearly show them where to go to take the next step, whether it’s getting on your email list, booking an appointment or taking some type of assessment. I think this is where most website homepages fail.
Social Proof – Using testimonials as social proof
(I know that in the video I referred to this as “status” but upon further reflection I realized it was just the shop owner pulling out the social proof by offering testimonials from high profile customers.)
At the ceramic shop, the owner proudly informed us that Oprah had purchased 132 place settings of one of her designs. Given that a single dinner plate was 100 euros (about $112 USD) we had to assume that a place setting had to be close to, what, maybe 325 US dollars? Which meant the shop owner had quite a big order from the Big O!
She also pointed out a ceramic topped table and proudly informed us that Rachael Ray bought this exact patio table and showed us a copy of an Instagram post that Rachael Ray had sent showing the table on her back deck at her house in the Adirondacks.
So, of course the implication was that you, too, could own the same table and dishes that these celebrities owned! I think that also indicates a little bit of throwing down the status card!
Scarcity – How a Sushi Cat purse demonstrates “scarcity”
My other favorite lesson was demonstrated in a little purse shop in the town of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. My friend, Miyo, is an accomplished shopper and a very stylish woman (I always feel like a slump next to her). We walked by this open fronted shop and Miyo immediately spied this very unusual purse. It was a rather boxy shape and it looked like a little sushi restaurant, with the sushi chef and the customers all being black cats.
There was actually a series of similar purses, one that looked like a bakery and another looked like an English pub. But this was the only one with cats on it.
The shop owner comes up to us and tells us “I designed all these other purses, but those come from so and so in Rome”. I guess we were supposed to recognize the name!
We wandered around the shop, but Miyo kept coming back to that little sushi purse. The owner, obvious recognizing a live one, says, “Well, you know, that’s the last one I have like that. I had twenty of them and all the rest are gone, that's the last one”.
OMG! The LAST sushi purse in Ravello!
Of course, he was using scarcity to encourage her to buy it NOW, quickly, before it was gone.
Needless to say, she bought it and it’s fricking adorable! Check out the photo below
We laughed as we walked away and I said “We have to come back past here again and make sure he just doesn’t grab another sushi purse from the back of the store and put it out on the shelf!”
Do you see sales and marketing lessons wherever you go? Now, granted, I am pretty much a marketing geek, but it does pay to watch and learn, no matter where you are or the product being sold. This is why so many successful entrepreneurs look outside their industry for ideas and inspiration.
So, what marketing lessons have you learned recently and what’s the most unusual example that you’ve seen in marketing tactics?