Digital Marketing Tips
Think about the last important purchase you made. Perhaps you bought a car, hired a babysitter, or switched coffee suppliers at your office. Chances are, you consulted the Internet to read reviews, get recommendations from friends and family on social sites like Facebook, and boned up on the features, options, and price of the product or service before you made your choice.
Today, purchases and purchasing decisions are increasingly made online. Therefore, regardless of what you sell, an online presence is necessary to capitalize on this trend. This new digital landscape is impacting organizations in more than just the lead and sales generation departments, though.
Savvy companies use the Internet to drive awareness and interest in what they offer, but also to convert casual buyers into brand advocates who buy more and encourage members of their network to do the same. In many ways, nothing in marketing has changed. Marketing is still about developing a mutually beneficial relationship with prospects, leads, and customers.
We call the development of this relationship the customer journey. In this chapter, you learn to create a customer journey for your organization and the role digital marketing plays in that journey. The rest of this book helps you to create and execute offers and marketing campaigns that intentionally move customers through the stages of this customer journey.
Creating a Customer Avatar Because the role of your marketing is to move people through a series of stages from cold prospects to rabid fans and promoters, you must first attain clarity on the characteristics of your ideal customers.
You want to get clear on their goals, the challenges they face meeting those goals, and where they spend time consuming information and entertainment. Creating a customer avatar will give you this clarity. Other terms for customer avatar are buyer persona, marketing persona, and target audience, but customer avatar is the term we use throughout this book.
A customer avatar is the fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. Realistically, unless your product or service fits within a narrow niche, you will have multiple customer avatars for each campaign. People are so much more than their age, gender, ethnicity, religious background, profession, and so on. People don’t fit neatly into boxes, which is why broad, generic marketing campaigns generally don’t convert well; they don’t resonate with your audience.
It is absolutely crucial that you understand and make your customer avatar as specific as possible so that you can craft personalized content, offers, and marketing campaigns that interest members of your audience or solve their problems. In fact, the exercise of creating a customer avatar impacts virtually every aspect of your marketing, including: Content marketing: What blog posts, videos, podcasts, and so on should you create to attract and convert your avatar?
Search marketing: What solutions is your avatar searching for on search engines like Google, YouTube
(yes, YouTube is a search engine), and Bing? Social media marketing: What social media sites is your avatar spending time on? What topics does your avatar like to discuss? Email marketing: Which avatar should receive a specific email marketing campaign? Paid traffic: Which ad platforms should you buy traffic from and how will you target your avatar? Product creation: What problems is your avatar trying to solve? Copywriting: How should you describe offers in your email marketing, ads, and sales letters in a way that compels your avatar to buy?
Any part of the marketing and sales process that touches the customer (which is pretty much everything) improves when you get clear on your customer avatar. After all, you’re aiming toward a real person — one who buys your products and services. It pays to get clear on the characteristics of that person so that you can find and present him or her with a message that moves this person to action. What to include in your customer avatar The customer avatar possesses five major components:
Goals and values: Determine what the avatar is trying to achieve. What values does he or she hold dear? Sources of information: Figure out what books, magazines, blogs, news stations, and other resources the avatar references for information. Demographics: Establish the age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, income, employment status, nationality, and political preference of the avatar. Challenges and pain points: What is holding the avatar back from achieving his or her goals? Objections: Why would the avatar choose not to buy your product or service?
In some cases, you need to survey or have conversations with existing customers to accurately flesh out your customer avatar. In other cases, you may already be intimately familiar with the characteristics of your ideal customer. In any case, move forward. Don’t wait for surveys or interviews to be conducted to create your first draft of an avatar.
Instead, go ahead and make assumptions despite having no data or feedback, and put completing your research on your short list of to-do’s. In the meantime, you can begin benefiting from the avatar you’ve created.
In some cases, you need to survey or have conversations with existing customers to accurately flesh out your customer avatar. In other cases, you may already be intimately familiar with the characteristics of your ideal customer. In any case, move forward. Don’t wait for surveys or interviews to be conducted to create your first draft of an avatar. Instead, go ahead and make assumptions despite having no data or feedback, and put completing your research on your short list of to-do’s.
In the meantime, you can begin benefiting from the avatar you’ve created. Giving a customer avatar an actual name assists in bringing this fictional character to life. In addition, your team members have a way to refer to each avatar among themselves. Using the five elements described in this section, we created a worksheet that we complete each time we create a new customer avatar.
The worksheet helps you hone in on the ideal customer and pair him or her with the right message. In the following sections, we go into more detail about this worksheet so that you can use it in your own business. Introducing Agency Eric: A customer avatar example In April 2015,
DigitalMarketer introduced a new offer.
We began selling a new type of digital marketing training product: Certification Classes. These new trainings include exams, certificates, and badges, and they appeal to a new ideal customer. Of course, having a new ideal customer means that a new customer avatar must be built.
As a result, we defined four distinct buyer personas who would be interested in certifications and training from our company:
The marketing freelancer: Wants to distinguish herself from the other freelancers she is competing with in the marketplace.
The marketing agency owner: Wants to add to the services he can offer his clients and to sharpen the marketing skills of his employees. The employee: Wants to distinguish himself at his place of employment or to secure a new job or promotion within his existing job. The business owner: Wants to sharpen her own marketing skills and the skills of her internal marketing team members.
The next section describes the approach to filling out each section of the customer avatar worksheet so that you can define your customer avatars. Getting clear on goals and values The customer avatar creation process begins with identifying the goals and values of one of your ideal customers.
Make note of the goals and values that are relevant to the products and services you offer. Being aware of your customer avatar’s goals and values drives decisions that you make about Product creation: What products or services can you develop to assist the avatar in meeting his or her goals?
Advertising: How can you describe these offers in your ads and sales copy? Content marketing: What blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, and other content vehicles might your avatar respond to? Email marketing: How can you tailor your email subject lines and body copy to be consistent with the avatar’s goals?
At DigitalMarketer, our Agency Eric avatar owns a digital marketing agency and manages a team of marketers providing services to clients. One of Agency Eric’s goals (shown in Figure 1-2) is to increase the capabilities of his team.
Agency Eric knows that a more capable team will result in satisfied customers.Because Agency Eric has this goal, he is likely to open and respond to an email that promotes our company’s Content Marketing Certification with the following subject line: Need Content Marketing training? Finding sources of information and entertainment.
This section of the customer avatar worksheet is critical to determining where your customer avatar is spending his time on and offline. What books does he read? What celebrities does he follow? What blogs does he read? This is vital information when considering where you will advertise and how you will target those advertisements. We cover digital advertising and ad targeting in Chapter 10 of this book.
The key to truly understanding where your customer is getting information and entertainment is in identifying niche sources. Identifying these niches is fairly simple using the “But No One Else Would” Trick. To use this trick, you simply complete sentences like: My ideal customer would read [book], but no one else would. My ideal customer would subscribe to [magazine], but no one else would. My ideal customer would attend [conference], but no one else would. The idea is to find the niche books, magazines, blogs, conferences, celebrities, and other interests that your ideal customer would be attracted to — but no one else would. For example, if you sell golf products, you wouldn’t assign Tiger Woods as a celebrity.
Tiger Woods is a celebrity your customer avatar would follow, but a large percentage of people interested in Tiger Woods are not golfers and aren’t likely to buy your golf products. Instead, choosing a more niche golfer like Rory McIlroy allows you to hone in on your ideal customer and exclude people who wouldn’t find value in your product. If you find these niches when buying traffic from ad platforms like Facebook (covered in Chapter 10), you can often laser-target your audience by focusing on prospects who have these niche interests, while excluding less-than-ideal prospects. Honing in on demographics Applying demographic information brings your customer avatar to life. In this section, you add information to your avatar such as age, gender, marital status, and location.
Although the usual demographics are critical, the exercise of filling in the “Quote” field (shown in Figure 1-3) can be particularly helpful to get inside the head of your ideal customer. The Quote field is how this avatar might define himself or herself in one sentence, or it’s the motto the avatar lives by. For instance, our quote for Agency Eric is “I surround myself with people smarter than I.”
This sentence says a lot about this avatar’s character and motivation to purchase our marketing training products. Brainstorm ideas for your avatar’s quote with your team or someone who knows your business well.
Balancing Your Marketing Campaign
Calendar You may be thinking, “Which campaign should I be using in my business?” This is the wrong question, however.
The right question is, “Which campaign should I be using in my business right now?”
Every business should deploy each campaign type at different times to different people.
So consider a few questions: Do you want more leads and customers for your business? Do you want to sell more to the customers you have or activate customers and leads who haven’t purchased in a while? Do you want to turn customers into raving fans willing to buy anything you offer, and give you testimonials and referrals? The answer, of course, is yes on all accounts.
But this point is critical to understand:
One campaign can’t replace or do the job of another.
An Acquisition campaign can’t do the job of a Monetization campaign. Likewise, a Monetization campaign can’t do the job of an Engagement campaign.
Each campaign excels at meeting one particular goal.
To maintain a healthy, sustainable business, you need to allocate time on your calendar for all three major campaign types.
If you run nothing but Acquisition campaigns, you’ll never be profitable. If you run nothing but Monetization campaigns, you’ll never add new leads and customers and, as a result, you won’t grow. If you run nothing but Engagement campaigns, you’ll have a loyal audience, but you’ll never convert your audience into customers.
If you have no sales but do have a massive following on social media, a popular blog, or podcast with lots of subscribers or downloads, you have mastered the art of creating Engagement campaigns. The good news is that you have accomplished one of the most difficult tasks in digital marketing: building an audience. By adding Acquisition and Monetization campaigns to your marketing mix, you can transform that audience into a profitable business. Choosing the Campaign You Need Now In this chapter, we make the point that your business needs all three campaign types: Acquisition, Monetization, and Engagement.
To run a sustainable, healthy business, you need to be acquiring new leads and customers, monetizing them, and engaging customers who advocate and promote your brand.
That said, if you’re new to creating digital marketing campaigns, you should focus on building a single campaign first:
If you’re starting a brand new business or have no existing leads or subscribers, build an Acquisition campaign.
If you have existing leads and customers, but they aren’t buying as much as you would like, build a Monetization campaign.
If you’re happy with the number of leads and subscribers and the monetization of those leads and customers, build an Engagement campaign.
If you simply don’t know where to start, begin by building an Acquisition campaign, because every business needs to understand how to acquire fresh leads and convert new buyers.
In the subsequent chapters of this book, we offer a number of ways to develop awareness for your brand, products, and services and convert that awareness into leads and customers.
Viewing Your Digital Marketing through the Campaign Lens.
From this point forward, plan your digital marketing strategy and tactics by aligning them with the goals of the three major types of campaigns: Acquisition, Monetization, and Engagement.
Never again will you decide to open a new social media account without knowing the ultimate goal behind it. Most entrepreneurs and marketers who are frustrated by digital marketing don’t see the big picture. Frustrated digital marketers don’t understand, for example, that blogging is an outstanding tactic for growing awareness but utterly useless for monetization.
They don’t realize that posting and communicating with customers on a business Facebook page can create an engaged community, but better, more effective ways to generate leads and customers are available.
As we cover specific digital marketing tactics through the remainder of this book, we frequently return to the idea of keeping your business objectives, and the campaigns that meet those objectives, in mind.
As you continue on your quest to master the art and science of digital marketing, stay focused on what really matters: growing the business.
Crafting Winning Offers IN THIS CHAPTER.
Gaining more leads by deploying the gated offer:
Turning leads into customers Filling out checklists to ensure high opt-ins and conversions Increasing your bottom line Whether you’re asking people to buy something, give you their contact information, or spend time reading your blog, you’re making an offer.
The way in which you make your offers — and perhaps more important, the sequence in which you make them — will make or break you online. You should think of creating and nurturing relationships with your customers in the same way that you develop relationships with your friends and family.
Your business might sell business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C), but all businesses sell human to human (H2H). Real, individual people are buying your products and services. Consider how perfect strangers become a married couple. The marriage proposal is an offer that is made after a sequence of other offers are made and deemed successful by both parties. Sure, the occasional marriage proposal on the first date occurs, but most relationships begin with a series of positive interactions over a period of time.
Although most people aren’t likely to propose marriage on a first date, many businesses do the equivalent of that with their prospects. They ask cold prospects to buy high-ticket, complex, and otherwise risky products and services before the relationship is ready for that offer.
On the other hand, a customer who has received tremendous value from your company over a period of time is much more likely to make a high-dollar, complex, or otherwise risky purchase. In this chapter, we unpack the different types of offers you can make, the goals of those offers, and the order in which you should present them to prospective, new, and loyal customers.
The offers explained in this chapter focus on Acquisition and Monetization campaigns (discussed in Chapter 2).
Offering Value in Advance:
Doing business online is different from doing business in person or even over the phone. In many cases, the prospective customer has no further information about your business than what is presented to her online.
To acquire new leads and customers, you need to build trust and lead with value to build a relationship with your prospects or customers. A successful relationship is a two-way street. Both sides of the relationship must benefit from the relationship, and because your company wants to begin this new relationship with a prospect, it makes sense for you to provide value first.
Prospects won’t become loyal customers if you don’t first provide some value that builds trust in advance of asking them to buy.
The good news is that you can provide this value with something as simple as an insightful, informative blog post or podcast that helps them solve a problem.
You offer this value for free and with no strings attached to begin a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. We call acquisition offers that lead with value entry point offers, or EPOs. An EPO in a dating relationship equates to offering to buy someone a cup of coffee. This coffee offer, which has begun many healthy dating relationships, is a relatively risk-free proposition that provides value upfront. When your goal is to acquire a customer
(and not a spouse), the EPO is a way of allowing large amounts of prospective customers to get to know, like, and trust your business without much risk. There are three types of EPOs: Ungated: You usually present this type of offer in the form of a blog post, video, or podcast, and it does not require contact information or a purchase to get value. Gated: A gated offer requires contact information
(name, email address, and so on) to get value.
Deep discount: This offer requires a purchase but at an extreme discount, usually 50 percent or greater. It pays to provide tremendous value to your prospective customers when you’re trying to gain their trust. This idea can seem counterintuitive to some people because they don’t see the immediate return on this investment.
The goal of your marketing is to transform people from being completely unaware of your products or services to being raving fans who promote your products and services to anyone who will listen.
The foundation of the relationships you build with your customers is built on offers that provide value in advance of the purchase.
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