A well-developed digital marketing campaign has the ability to put a business on the map and help them reach the right people with a compelling message that moves them to action. The problem is that most brands use the wrong message, which prevents them from engaging their intended audience.
The number one reason why digital marketing campaigns flop is quite obvious: Most brands have no idea who their customers are. Even worse, they think they know who their customers are, which cultivates a misdirected sense of confidence.
If you want your next digital marketing campaign to be successful, you have to adjust your ingrained notion that you know who your customers are. Instead, dig in and truly uncover who they are and what they want. This will set you up to deliver a message that evokes a visceral response in your ideal customer.
How to Uncover Who Your Customers Are
You can’t develop effective marketing content without a rich understanding of who your customers are. This starts with uncovering as much information as you possibly can. Here are some good places to start:
- Review your website analytics and study the demographics information that’s available. This will give you basic information on who is visiting your website, including details regarding gender, age, location, and other defining characteristics.
- Invest in a good social listening tool and monitor which people are interacting with your brand. Who are they? What do they say about your brand? What other types of content do they share? Who do they engage with?
- Conduct surveys to determine how your customers feel about important issues related to your industry. Consider having some one-on-one conversations and interviews with your top customers.
These are just some basic ideas. There are plenty of other creative tools you can use to uncover who your customers are and get to know them on a very personal level.
Develop Detailed Buyer Personas
The next step is to develop what’s known as a buyer persona. If you’ve done thorough research and carefully organized these insights, this process isn’t nearly as intimidating as it seems. In fact, you might even find it to be fun and creative.
According to HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”
There are dozens of different templates or layouts you can use, but try to keep each buyer persona to a single document page. On this page, include information like:
- Background. In addition to finding a picture of someone who looks like they’d fit into this persona, include information like job, career path, family, and lifestyle.
- Demographics. This includes information like age, income, location, and gender.
- Identifiers. What are their communication preferences? Which social media platforms do they use? How do they spend their free time?
- Challenges. Name this person’s biggest struggles (in relation to your market/problem). What’s holding this individual back from achieving the life they want to live?
- What can you do? What can be done to help this individual achieve their goals? How do you help them overcome limiting beliefs, roadblocks, and challenges?
You’ll obviously be making some assumptions with your personas. Not every customer will fit every detail exactly, but you’re creating a snapshot. The idea is that if you reach this person with your message, that same message will resonate with most other people in your target market.
Implementing Customer-Centric Marketing
Active Web Group – a Long Island digital marketing agency with more than 20 years of experience – is a firm believer in customer-centric marketing. And while they’ve helped hundreds of businesses clarify who their target audience is, they believe it ultimately comes down to execution. In other words, it’s what you do with this information that matters most.
Here are some specific ways you can use detailed buyer personas to implement a more customer-centric marketing campaign:
Communicate in Their Language
American consumers might speak English, but they all speak a different variety. It’s up to you to learn how they speak so that you can communicate in their “language.”
For example, if your target audience consists of baby boomer engineers, they’re going to speak a lot differently than a group of millennial art majors who are about to enter the workforce. From tone and vocabulary to humor and inflection, there are massive differences.
The goal here is not to be condescending or over-the-top. (There’s nothing more cringeworthy than a corporate brand cramming a bunch of “hip” slang into its copy just to try and appeal to millennials. And ironically enough, it usually has the inverse effect.) The objective is to communicate in a natural manner that makes them more likely to trust you.
Drop Actionable Value
Stop publishing vague content. Your high-level blog posts aren’t doing anyone any good. If you want your content to resonate, drop actionable value.
There’s a saying in the marketing world that specificity converts. Start publishing content that helps your readers solve their problems. This is why “how-to” articles perform so well. Give people insights that they can apply the moment they stop reading the article, watching the video, or listening to the podcast. That’s where the real value is.
Listen and Respond
Your customers want to know that you’re listening to them. The easiest way to accomplish this is by gathering insights and then applying what you learn.
In other words, don’t just conduct a survey where you ask people what type of content they want to read in next month’s email newsletter. Take the suggestions and actually develop content around these ideas (and then let your customers know that you did just that). When your audience sees that their voice is heard, they connect on a much deeper level.
One of the more powerful marketing strategies of the day involves sharing user-generated content, or UGC. As the name suggests, this is content that your audience creates and shares on social media. Then all you have to do is repost it on your channels (with attribution).
The benefit of UGC is two-fold. First off, it gives you free content and reduces some of the heavy lifting on your part. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about whether or not something resonates with your customers. These are your customers. Whatever they’re doing and saying is exactly what your other customers are doing and saying.
Give Your Digital Marketing a Fighting Chance
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your digital marketing, which platforms you use, or even how good your copy and creatives are. If you don’t have an articulate understanding of who your customers are and what their needs, wants, and desires are, everything else is useless. It’s time to dig in and finally give your digital marketing a fighting chance.