Top 10 Sneak-Attack Strategies for Beating the Competition Using Front Door Marketing

preparing for the marketing battle

The Secret: Let Your Competitors Spend All Their Ammo (Marketing Dollars) Fighting Online

solider and tank preparing to beat the competition

Why is marketing a persistent challenge?

Because you’ve got to continuously fight on two battlefronts: 1) Fend off the competition, and 2) win new customers. These are not the same thing. If you win 100 new customers, but your competition snatches away 100 of your existing ones, you haven’t taken any ground.

Beating the competition and attracting new customers have gotten a lot tougher these days because of the internet. New startups jump out of foxholes all the time. Most of them fail, but they don’t go down without a fight.

So how do you win – and win consistently – on both fronts?

You sidestep the whole battle by using front-door marketing. You sneak around it by heading straight to the customer’s front door.

You see, almost every business these days is trying to crack the online marketing codes. They’ve got SEO ninjas, funnel marketing tactical plans, Facebook and Google ad warriors, and mind control elite special operations known as ‘content marketing.’

But behind all that, off in the distance far away from all these endless skirmishes, sit your customers. They’re just going to work, coming home, walking in their doors, and living their lives.

When they turn on their computer or smartphone, they’re immediately at the center of the battle, getting pitched with popups and lead magnets from all sides. And you’ve got to work very hard to rescue them and get their attention before time runs out. Online is a tough fight to win.

But when they walk in their front door, it’s pure silence.

You have their full attention back here in their barracks.

This is the secret to beating the competition AND attracting new customers. You sneak around the big online battles, and head right up to their front door.

Here are the top 10 marketing campaign strategies that will help your business win and keep customers and beat the competition.

10 Front-Door Marketing Campaigns That Beat the Competition Every Time

1. Beat New Competition by Staying In Front of Them

If you have a brick and mortar store, and a new store opens up within your target customer radius selling the same stuff, you’ve got a decision to make.

Are you going to be Chamberlain or Churchill?

The battle has come to you, whether you like it or not. You can become a deserter and pretend it’s not there, or you can engage and win with front-door marketing.

With front-door marketing, you can make sure your customers keep you on top of their minds. Sure, the competition is going to try to make a big splash. But you can weather it by greeting your local target audience as they come home, with special offers, new incentives, one-time events, and free samples right at their door.

Target the neighborhoods near the new competitor’s store. If you have multiple stores, send front door marketing to neighborhoods that don’t already go to your other stores. This focuses your campaign and minimizes expense.

If you don’t have a storefront, the same is still true. Let’s say you’re a cable company. There isn’t a ton of competition, but when it’s there, the stakes are huge. Cable companies try to own whole neighborhoods and even whole cities. If a competitor shows up, the whole city is now under threat.

Send out front-door marketing and remind people of your great service and your trustworthy brand. Then give them something great to make it easy to stay with you.

Front-door marketing is the ultimate sneak attack for fending off new competitors and upstarts, because it’s personal.

2. Flash Sales to Overrun Them All

A great way to generate buzz and bring in a huge cash explosion is to plan a one-day or one-weekend flash sale. Front-door marketing is perfect for this because you can plaster an area of the city or specific addresses and turn your sale into an event.

The goal here is to blow away your foot traffic records and get a line going down the aisles and out the doors.

You can decide the type of sale that’s right for your business, but it has to be outrageous enough that it becomes a can’t-miss event. Get people to alter their schedules. Give them enough notice to plan for it, but not too much notice that they forget about it.

Following this up with some other advertising is smart if you can afford the expense, but the front-door hanger is what they’ll set on their mantle, hold in their hands, and keep in front of them as a visual reminder.

soldiers parachuting in to beat the competition with a sneak attack

3. New Product Launches for Surprise Attacks

Depending on the product and your budget, sending out free samples as part of a new product launch is a great strategy only possible through front door marketing.

Bush’s beans once ran a front door marketing campaign like this in the Southwest. They sent free samples of a new bean variety to Hispanic neighborhoods. The competition never even knew what hit them.

If you can’t quite handle the idea of sending free samples to front doors, you can also send coupons for free samples they can only claim by coming to your store. This reduces your expense, and it gets them in your store.

For restaurants, this is perfect if you’re changing your menu or have a great new special dish.

And this works just as well for service-oriented companies. Come up with a new bonus or added feature to your service, and tell everyone about it with a can’t-ignore-it door hanger. What other home service company hangs something on all the doors in their target neighborhood? While your competition dukes it out with competing coupon packs that never get seen, your ad is being held in people’s hands as they open their front doors.

4. Referral and ‘Bring-a-Friend’ Campaigns

Need new customers? Use your existing ones to bring them!

What does a campaign cost?

Get a custom-built sample campaign with real targeting data, ad creative, cost estimates, and distribution plans.

Use the Project Estimator

Your best enemy spies are your own customers. They can turn their friends into traitors against your competition way easier than you.

Send front-door hangers with coupons to your existing customers, but make it so they can only be redeemed by groups or families. This is a superb strategy for restaurants or any kind of experience-based business.

If you don’t have a store front, offer a referral reward and explain how they can claim it when they refer someone to your business.

5. Grand Openings: Re-Draw the Front Lines

This is the most common use of door hanger marketing, and for good reason. It works!

It’s especially effective if you send a series of coupons that are valid in consecutive time periods. We call these multi-tiered coupons. For example, a big box retailer might offer three coupons that are good for two months each. If the customer uses them all, you’ve got six months of business and a good chance at a loyal customer. A restaurant might do better with a new coupon every month. A grocery store, one coupon per week.

6. Give Me Customer Loyalty, or Give Me Death

Competitors will never stop trying to take out your best customers, and lure them across green pastures to win their business. You want customers so loyal they’ll put you in their wills. You want them to request your food as their last meal.

Use front-door marketing to preserve and deepen customer loyalty. Ideally, you should have mailing addresses for your best customers. Offer them upgrades, exclusive deals, and other perks to keep them coming back to you, and make the competition irrelevant. 

Customers just want their needs met. If you keep doing that, they’ll stay with you.

7. Reach Specific Cultures and Languages – the Codebreaker’s Secret

Nothing gets more traction with customers than something that speaks to them. If your target audience speaks a different language, or has distinct cultural norms or vernacular, warm yourself up to them with front door marketing that’s just for them.

Power Direct uses sophisticated data systems that make it possible to target specific households known or very likely to be within the cultural or language demographic you want to reach.

With almost any other form of advertising, this is nearly impossible, or far more expensive.

increasing the troop volume to beat the competition in marketing

8. New Customer Acquisition – Increase Your Forces

Deepening customer loyalty is critical to growth. But so is acquiring new customers. And this is the hardest type of marketing, especially in industries where people get stuck in routines, such as clothing and grocery stores.

You have to break them out of their routines. Give them a reason to try something new.

The only way you’ll have a chance is by getting their attention in a powerful way. And front-door marketing gets attention like nothing else can.

So devise a campaign that will draw new people, and put it where they can’t avoid it – hanging on their front door.

9. Special In-Store Events

A can’t-miss local event has power to draw a lot of people. How this looks depends on your industry. But it could be things like celebrity appearances, book signings, musical guests (like a restaurant with a live band), special parties or outdoor events

Almost any industry can do this if they think creatively enough. For example, we’re working with a cable provider to help draw consumers to their retail stores where they have the opportunity to meet professional football players and receive a free poster. While at the store, the cable provider has the chance to interact one-on-one with consumers and demo their latest product offerings. 

Whatever the draw, people need to hear about it. And almost everyone will hear about it if you put it on their front doors.

10. Boost Your Online Sales – the Surgical Strike

Finally, even though a lot of this article has implied overcoming online marketing, the reality is, your business probably has an online marketing branch as well. You are in that battle, and you need to win it.

The online battle is about getting traffic, and converting that traffic. So how do you get traffic?

Use front-door marketing.

Send out door hangers that present a compelling offer or sale that can be claimed by going to your website. Create a special URL, include a coupon code, and make the sale.

You’ll get far more targeted traffic using this approach than you will using online ads, and for far less expense.

Slip Behind Enemy Lines – Go Directly to Their Front Doors

You may have noticed, but all these marketing campaigns can also be done using most other media channels, from TV to direct mail to billboards.

But front-door marketing, either with print media or staffing brand ambassadors for person-to-person outreach, is the surest way to get your campaign seen by far greater numbers of your target audience, and for far less expense.

That’s why we presented these as ‘sneak attack’ strategies. All the other advertising is competing for attention. For eyeballs. For screen time. For impressions. For click throughs.

Front door marketing avoids all of this. Your ad gets seen, almost guaranteed. The person either responds or they don’t. But you don’t have to worry about competing for attention. You’ll have it. Then, all you have to do is sell them.

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