Lead-Gen Content Marketing That Raises the Bar

It’s not everyday I get big UPS packages. When I opened a recent one, however, I was delighted and impressed to say the least.

The package was from SharpSpring, a marketing automation company that targets agencies like Elasticity. They sell us a group price for marketing automation tools that we can then use for any or all of our clients. Inside was an interesting set of gifts along with a wonderful little piece of content.

The inside of SharpSpring's package

The box contained a six-pack of Hank’s Gourmet Root Beer, six SharpSpring-branded bottle koozies and a very small purple T-shirt. The cover letter – a personalized, signed communiqué from founder Rick Carlson – was plain spoken and to the point: “If we’ve won you over with our shameless bribe … then please reach out … .“

This gift box was an attempt to simply get me to do a product demo with them.

But wait! There’s more!

Accompanying the letter was a one-page instruction sheet, comically written to show me how to place the root beer in the refrigerator, remove it when cold, place the koozie on and even use the purple T-shirt to open the bottle (to protect your fingers and hands from the sharp edges). It also had recycling instructions for the shirt, which included options to A) Wash your car; B) Use it as an oven mitt; or C) Make a hammock for your hamster.

And then there was the kicker: A WARNING call-out box at the bottom that said, “Do not attempt to use orange T-shirts for marketing automation purposes.” Orange is the primary color of at least one of SharpSpring’s competitors. Clever little dig, there.

Certainly many companies use gifts and gimmicks to get your attention. The ones that do often stand out. Why? Because, if done correctly, the gift box is a “holy smokes” moment. Here’s why this one worked:

  1. It was a gift almost anyone could appreciate. Sure, a bottle of bourbon might be more customized, but as the letter said, they elected to send root beer and avoid federal prosecution for shipping alcohol across state lines. (Legalities differ between states.)
  2. It wasn’t just a gift. The package included 3-4 items together with a story that explained each gift’s purpose, even if the purpose was a joke (like the T-shirt).
  3. It was engaging. Using humor and storytelling, SharpSpring pulled me in to really pay attention to the package and every piece of literature in it. As a result, I know more about them and what they do, and I am quite likely to want to see the demo.

There are gifts and there are well-thought pieces of content marketing that take the audience on a little journey. This package was the latter. Perhaps it can inspire your storytelling for your next pitch to a client.

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