Case Study: How to Shock & Awe your Way into More ROI

Boost ROI

We are all making snap judgements about people, brands and businesses.

It’s ok to admit it. It’s actually part of our DNA. Call it part of our fight or flight response. We are attracted to certain people, to the way things look and the way things make us feel.

So it makes sense that when we see something or feel something from a person, brand or business we make a snap judgement about them.

And just as you make a first impression about someone or something, so do your prospects about you.

This first impression can come in the form of an ad or commercial, it can be an email interaction or something on social media.

It can also be handing someone a business card or getting a letter in the mail.

The bottom line…

How You Show Up Matters…A Lot.

When was the last time someone actually gave you their name and email address to get that special report you have on your website?

And even if they did, when was the last time (or only time) they read your report and had to stop everything they were doing to call you and hire you on the spot?

So why then do the experts say that you need a special report on your website or in your customers’ mailboxes? Why do the experts also say you need a “hook” to turn window shoppers to interested and engaged prospects?

Because they work.

But only if you create a “hook,” special report or mail item that turns heads, grabs attention and screams from the rooftops, “Hey! I’m different. Pay attention to me!”

The Shock & Awe Technique

Shock and awe is a guerrilla marketing tactic that works for almost any industry and any field – but is especially effective for fields that are service-based, such as finance, law and medicine.

Here’s what you do:  Isolate 15-20 industry influencers. Then, send them something in the mail or via email that they would NEVER expect to receive. The point is to create buzz, not necessarily value.  The more they talk about you, the more attention you will get in the market.


Shock & Awe for the Finance Field

Ambitious AdvisorsFor a group of financial advisors under our “Ambitious Advisors” program, we created monthly special reports designed to go against the grain and stand out from the boring reports like “5 Things to Know About 401Ks” they get in their inbox and immediately trash every month.

Instead, we had our talented, rock-star design team created reports like “The 5 Threats to Your Financial Freedom” that played on gun control and terrorism but gave serious advice on getting ahead of the game financially.  Some thought it was controversial, but that is exactly the point. It got people talking.  Also, the graphics and content were high-quality enough to show that we meant business either way.


Shock & Awe for the Medical Field

Sometimes, shock and awe doesn’t have to be controversial. It can also mean just going that extra mile to present material with a little class and sophistication.

For an Atlanta-based orthodontist who wanted to promote multiple locations, we designed a glossy, attractive and value-rich brace maintenance guide. Packed with recipes and printed on high quality stock, this was something we knew her patients would hold onto, share with others and say to themselves, “Man, my orthodontist really cares about my teeth.”

Talk about luxury marketing. And at $3/book, the referrals she got from the campaign nearly quadrupled her ROI.

Keep Calm Book

We have used this tactic with stuffed animals of celebrities, jokes about competitors and even mini-iPads that play a video as soon as the recipient opens the package (Think Jeb Bush’s political campaign).

Shock & Awe for e-Commerce

Ever heard the phrase, “Build it and they will come?” E-commerce is a relatively new field, with brand new e-commerce success coaches making 6 figures in their first year. How do they do it?

They build a trifecta of value-rich content: eZines, paper newsletters, video newsletters, postcards, magazines and blogs that have consistent branding and provide a common message: We are THE experts at the e-commerce game.

The proof, of course, is in the pudding. If they can sell themselves, they can sell YOU.  We helped put a lot of e-commerce professionals on the map in 2015 by applying consistent content and image standards to their print and digital materials.  Here’s a newsletter we created for one of our most successful clients.

Ecommerce ROI

The same technique is incredibly effective for referral marketing as well. For Groundhog Day, for example, we sent our doctors’ client lists a stuffed groundhog and a reminder why it’s important not to keep your head buried in the sand but to keep looking forward towards that next healthy year or decade.

Why does it work?  There’s a good message and a piece of memorabilia that you would never expect getting in the mail from your doctor – they are bound to talk about it with their friends – “You’ll never believe what my doctor sent me in the mail.”

Cheryl Slayton

Cheryl is a content expert who enjoys developing full-scale campaigns or ad hoc content projects. She has worked with clients in a broad range of industries, including but not limited to finance, medicine, law, real estate and e-commerce. From print marketing to web copy, sales letters and email campaigns.

Cheryl knows how to create copy that converts. She is currently the founder and CEO of and loves using words and concepts to help her clients generate new leads.

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