customer-centric

Mouth-Watering Marketing for All Seasons

Pappardelle’s pasta shop in Seattle tempts taste buds with recipes and visually appealing pictures of orzo and other fall dishes.

Pappardelle’s pasta shop in Seattle tempts taste buds with recipes and visually appealing pictures of orzo and other fall dishes.

Changing seasons offers a mouth-watering opportunity to tantalize customers with familiar favorites.

My wife and I love pasta and always make a point to stop at Pappardelle’s pasteria in Pike Place Market when we are in Seattle. We received our fall invitation to return with a visually tempting email from Pappardelle’s that featured stone-ground coarse mustard penne mixed with beer-braised brats. It made me want to lick my computer screen.

Seasonal favorites are a great way to remind customers, even loyal ones, that they should return for more. For food purveyors, it is a no-brainer. But almost any business can conjure up a seasonal connection.

CPAs, for example, can point to the calendar, noting there are only a few months left to identify and execute some tax planning to reduce the bite next spring.

Garden shops and hardware stores can predict the coming rains and encourage customers to fertilize the lawn one last time this year and check out the downspouts.

Auto dealers can invite customers to a wine tasting to look over the remaining crop of last year’s model cars, for sale at a discount.

Appeals can speak subtly by their color palettes, and even more demonstrably with good imagery. Pappardelle’s email led with a fetching image of fallen leaves on a green lawn with a backdrop of trees with orange and golden canopies. Message delivered. What’s for dinner?

Once you grab a viewer’s attention, you need to keep feeding their appetite. Pappardelle’s included a recipe for its penne brat concoction, noted the return of its savory blends of orzo and promoted its monthly winner of a 4-pack of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. There also was a link for a coupon to receive free shipping. Where do I click?

This kind of marketing is very much customer-centric. You could let customers know what you have for sale or what services you offer, but that might fall flat if customers just glanced on by. Summoning succulent memories with a captivating picture of your product draws in customers and extends the time they spend looking at what you offer. I immediately entered this month’s contest.

“We have our Autumn Harvest orzo, a beautiful savory blend of pumpkin, sage and chestnut,” tempted the Pappardelle’s email. “Make sure you get a pound or two for this October and November because it’s sure to perfectly compliment whatever meals you’ll be preparing this fall.”

Just as important, the email noted, “It’s only September, but don’t procrastinate or it will be next year before you know it and you will have forgotten all about the pasta you wanted to buy.” Make your marketing mouth-watering enough so customers don’t forget or procrastinate.

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Gary Conkling is president and co-founder of CFM Strategic Communications, and he leads the firm's PR practice, specializing in crisis communications. He is a former journalist, who later worked on Capitol Hill and represented a major Oregon company. But most importantly, he’s a die-hard Ducks fan. You can reach Gary at garyc@cfmpdx.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @GaryConkling.

Landing Pages by Design

Lots of energy goes into designing a website home page, but not enough on landing page strategy and contents. If you use a click-to-read-more approach on your website home page, your landing pages take on even greater significance.

Landing pages are where viewers land when they click links on your home page. Viewers may go to a home page out of curiosity. They go to a landing page with the intent to find information of interest. You need to provide it, along with a call to action.

Too often landing pages are cast with the design format of the entire website. Continuity is a good thing when it comes to navigation, but it shouldn't be an overlord that tramples clarity for viewers. If home pages are intended to capture a viewer's attention, a landing page's job is to hold that attention. On CFM's website — we have landing pages devoted to each of our five business lines, They were designed with the client personas of each business line in mind.

Keeping someone interested is a function of relevant content, which is nicely displayed and in a hierarchy and language that makes sense to the viewer. Landing pages aren't playgrounds for creativity; they are the platforms that convey your key messages.