How to Use the "Ride-Along Marketing" Strategy in Your Business

Ride Along Marketing StrategyThis month I want to focus on a marketing strategy few business owners take advantage of, but one that is inexpensive and easy to implement - and one everybody reading this can use.

Sound good?

Amongst “old-time” marketers, it’s known “bounce-back marketing.” A bounce-back is a follow-up offer that’s sent to a customer along with a product that has already been ordered. You’ve seen these before when a product you ordered is delivered with an insert, coupon or even a catalog.

The goal is to have the customer “bounce back” and order additional products and become a more valuable (and consistent) customer. It’s a smart strategy because the cost is minimal to present the new offer(s) because you are already shipping the product and the offer is being made to a qualified, current customer.

That second point should not be quickly dismissed, since the best customer to sell something new to is an existing happy customer.

But it doesn’t have to stop with a physical product... recently I was at a Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant (if you want to see excellent restaurant and customer marketing, become a Famous Dave’s customer). While eating our meal the manager came over, asked us how our meal was and then offered us a substantial, “limited time” coupon to “bounce back” some time in the future.
Very smart.

Bounce-back marketing is by no means a new, shiny-object strategy, but it is a time-tested way to add incremental sales quickly and relatively easily and inexpensively. The Internet Marketing folks know this strategy and have tweaked it by offering instant upsells after purchasing a product online.

While the concept is similar, creating upsells is not what I’m going to focus on in this article and instead I want to shine the light of opportunity on areas that are typically overlooked by traditional business owners.

I call my spin on bounce-back marketing “ride-along marketing” since I believe it helps clients quickly understand exactly what it is and I’ve used it in my business for years.

The idea is to look for existing opportunities to insert a ride-along offer, whether it’s handing it to a person face-to-face, including it with a product shipment or even including it with an invoice.

As you search for these opportunities in your own business remember what Wayne Gretsky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Everybody reading this article has the ability to use ride-along marketing regardless if they sell a physical product that is shipped or not - the key is to just do it.

I’ve identified five components that make up an effective ride-along campaign, including:

  • Awareness
  • Your offer, call-to-action and deadline
  • What media you’ll use for your offer
  • How will you deliver it
  • Follow up

Let’s look at each and see how you can craft your own ride-along campaign.

Awareness

If you have never considered a ride-along campaign, hopefully this article will motivate you to put one together, since there is little risk involved and substantial upside.

The key is to keep is simple and something you can do consistently & systematically
given your overall business process.

The Offer

You’ll want to give this some thought. Want are your goals with your ride-along campaign? Once you’ve figured it out, there’s a good chance you’ll want to create an irresistible, time-sensitive offer to motivate your customer to take quick action.

NOTE: In the case you have nothing else to offer, you can include an offer from a strategic partner that compliments the initial sale. You see this a lot with products you purchase from via catalogs.

Media

The beauty of a ride-along campaign is the delivery media can be very simple and inexpensive to produce.

The two different ride-along coupons I am including as this month’s templates can be easily modified and used for your own campaign.

Here are a few other ride-along media ideas any business owner can use:

  • Single-sheet flyer
  • Sales letter
  • Postcard-style flyer
  • Coupon
  • Gift certificate
  • Catalog
  • Invitation & Event Ticket
  • Feedback Form

Personally, I like to include one specific offer or call-to-action. I know newsletter publishers who pack their newsletter with multiple different inserts each with different offers. If you decide on the latter approach just make sure you don’t confuse or overwhelm your customer.

Delivery

To make this as simple (and consistently repeatable) as possible, you’ll want to create your ride-along delivery methods to coincide with processes you already have in place. For example…

  • Including the offer in a product shipment
  • Including the offer along with an invoice
  • Including the offer as a newsletter insert
  • Hand out the offer during a face-to-face sale
  • Including the offer in a strategic partner’s process

Follow Up

Following up on your ride-along campaign is optional, however if you can figure out an easy way to do so, it will improve response.

Final Thoughts

Ride-along marketing should be a no-brainer for every business owner. I challenge you to take some time to consider how, where and what you can do and then implement as soon as possible. Keep me posted on your results and let me know how it works out for you!

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Here's a few ride along graphics templates I also thought you'd enjoy. Click here to download compressed file.

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