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The marketing landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. Everyday, companies are vying for people's; time, attention, and ultimately, their wallet. Torrential amounts of content are being generated daily. From videos, blogs and podcasts, to traditional print media, or even superbowl commercials.
It is of perpetual importance to make sure your marketing strategies are as compelling, practical and financially efficient as possible.
Fear not! Success is not only possible, but well within your reach. Utilizing data-driven strategies, best practices, as well as being agile and adaptable, will help you to rise to the top and plot your path to prosperity.
If your focus is to reach your target audience, you should have already conducted the research needed to identify your target buyer persona(s). Without that data, you really don’t know who your target audience is.
Make sure you know them, understand their pain points and can put yourself in their shoes. Doing this will enable you to form a deliberate and specific plan to get your message and products to the people who want them.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself when you’re getting started:
- Do you know your buyers persona? Have you given them names and backstories to flesh them out?
- Demographics: Who are they? What is their age, gender, profession and income etc.?
- Think about their pain points, are you addressing them properly?
- Psychographics: How do they think? What are their interests, values, attitudes, likes, dislikes etc?
- Behavioural: What do they do? How do they consume media? Is it online or offline? What sites or publications do they view as reliable?
Content vs Promotion
Quality content is key to building an audience who trusts and relies on your products and services. Making reputable and shareable resources will ensure that your content works for you, but all that hard work will still be for nothing if no one sees it.
Promoting and marketing your content is of paramount significance to any successful brand. The 30 – 70 rule, states that you should spend 30% of your time creating content and 70% promoting it.
Don't concentrate on only one buyer persona, when you could be helping others with similar pain points. Many make the mistake of identifying just one segment and targeting them only. If you over-index all your content for a single buyer persona, you could be missing out on huge market segments just because they don't match your ideal customer. So don't be afraid to stray from the comfortable in an effort to generate new business from secondary or tertiary sources.
Make sure it reaches everyone possible, and don't be afraid to repurpose the same content into new mediums or for new devices. It is much easier and cheaper to repurpose content with different segments in mind, than it is to constantly create new content. This strategy will also make the creation period even shorter and less costly, potentially increasing ROI. Even if the new target group represents a lower revenue potential, the lower intrinsic costs of repurposing content, would make profitability and positive ROI possible.
Make Content that Matters
Each buyer person needs individual content for each step of the buyer's journey.
“Chekhov's gun” is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make "false promises" by never coming into play. This absolutely applies to content! It should never be created without an end goal in mind. Don't create content for the sake of putting something out.
Think about why people will want or need this, you should know who it is for, the stage in the buyer's journey and how this will guide them down the path to becoming a customer.
Plan out the conversion process with compelling CTAs to meet these requirements.
Know what previous steps will have lead them here and where they could or will be going next. Having a clear content road map will not only help streamline your content journey, but will show you where there are gaps.
Avenues of Delivery
To simplify things, we can say that reaching your audience can be done in two main ways utilizing our core sense of sight and hearing. Each has its positives, but your persona research should give you insight into which will be most effective for you.
Website pages, Blogs, Landing pages, and Ebooks are the most common ways in which information and products are disseminated.
Landing pages should be as simple as possible, where people are able to identify the purpose at a glance. Short and simple is key. Highlight the main benefits to encourage conversion and make them aware of the result after converting, making the page “smart.” The page should also be “specific” by addressing one concern and offer one solution or product. Make it “measurable” by making sure the traffic is being tracked, as well as any conversions. Make it “timely” by letting people know when to expect the next step. Will they get a call? Download a widget? Or get something in the mail? There are many ways to optimize a landing page.
Website Pages and Blogs
These should be longer and have a lot more information than a landing page. This is where and how you generate demand, so that people want to complete their buying journey with you. This is where the majority of people will come into contact with your business and one of the main ways to reach your targeted audience. With the right messaging and SEO work, this is the backbone of successful campaigns.
Emails are great ways of targeting your audience. You normally acquire an email address from trackable sources, i.e. landing pages, or people signing up to be alerted for deals ect. So you can easily segment these groups and create content just for them. You can also set up email drips, which can be very successful if you take the time to plan out a buyer's journey strategy.
Yes, print may be dying, but to a select few this is still a very viable way to market. Like I said, this will only apply to a select few, but if you know your buyer persona reads a certain magazine, newspaper, or even coupon book, you can use that to your advantage. As always, monitor your success and track your ROI by making people use a code or other trackable widget.
Without a doubt, one of the most effective marketing tools of the last decade, social media, is one of the first things people think about when communicating, or distributing information. In most cases, there are no fees to use the service, making it an incredible source of ROI if you can create a vocal, loyal community. Remember to keep people engaged by being creative, funny and interact directly with customers whenever possible. As a rule, you want to keep social posts short and sweet. No one whats to read a long post or a watch 10 minute video with attention spans falling and competition for people's time at an all time high.
Online media is changing and people would rather watch a video than read a blog. To an advertiser, this is good news. Instead of telling people how great you are and why they should like you, you can show them. Seeing is believing. Videos can engage attention better than reading, as it involved more of your senses and allows for less distractions. Just remember to make an impact within the first 5–7 seconds by doing something to make people keep watching. It isn't a coincidence that Snapchats are 10 seconds and YouTube ads are 5–20 seconds. This is usually all the time you will get before people move on, especially when using interruptive advertising. Two minutes and under is the sweet spot for a successful video campaign.
Webinars like TED talks are usually long form, educational style. People from all over the world can log in to watch you, ask questions and interact over video. These are great ways to reach people, and you can use emails or social media to let people know when it is happening live, combining channels of advertising into a streamlined effort.
Reddit, Influencers and Forums
You can usually work with people who already have similar audiences to your target personas, and leverage their platforms and authority to promote your message. The right tweet or instagram post could lead to a big influx of site traffic. Most deals have influencers taking a cut of the business instead of an upfront cost, as this ensures there will be benefit to both parties. Likewise, it is possible to go viral on platforms like Reddit, and other forums, but the right research into the behavioural habits of your audience will help you to discover the right platform.
Finally, another great way to reach people is to pay for a good position. Whether that’s on Google, Bing, Facebook, Youtube or any of the other major search services, most will have an option to pay for exposure. If used properly, paid content placement can be used to devastating effect. As I mentioned earlier, you want to spend 70% of your time promoting, and investing in promotion can put your message in front of millions of people who would potentially never have seen it. But make sure you understand the value of a click or impression, or you can quickly spend far more money than you will ever earn back. Paid platforms should be used sparingly and only on campaigns designed to be used in this way, once you fully understand the opportunity costs and intrinsic values. Track everything to make sure you know where your money is going and the effect of the investment.
Podcasts and audiobooks share many of the same pro’s and reach the same segments discussed. However, audio books are usually of a higher quality, heavily scripted and very edited. They’re typically a very high quality product and a great feather in the cap of any business, where and when they’r applicable.
Podcasts should be easy to consume, you just have to listen. This type of content has an element of performance, so it may not be for everyone. But practice makes perfect! So give it a go and with a few tweeks, you could be a podcasting machine. Podcasts can also be very cost effective to produce, as they are usually less time intensive. They’re unscripted, require very little editing and can convey more information than other sources. Having a small group involved usually leads to the best content as different viewpoints and specialities make for a better product. Just be sure not to talk over people, and have a leader in charge of the structure and time limits.
Word of Mouth
This is often overlooked, however, word of mouth is worth more than gold to business. People are far more likely to believe a friend or favorable review from a colleague or peer. Are you asking for reviews or asking for referrals? Let people advertise for you by delighting people with your service and attentiveness. Never forget about people who have already completed their purchase, as they are still very valuable to your business.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Are you selling carpets by sending samples to people who sign up to your website, based on their view habits? Or to people who have visited your store? Targeting like this can be very effective, as long as it’s not too creepy.
Do you sell grippy phone cases and have demo stands where people can interact with your product? Be sure to make it fun and interactive. Does your new home smell like fresh baked bread? Does your paint store have a wall where people can test colors?
When you’re thinking outside of the box, have fun with it, do something unique and stand out.