Your Customers are Ignoring You! Learn How to Start Reaching Them Now in the Digital Ageby David Ferguson
Your customers are overwhelmed with information today. They receive a non-stop stream of data from the moment they wake up, to the moment they go to sleep and it comes in the forms of emails, Facebook newsfeeds, websites, TV, radio, billboards, social networks, and more.
If you’re anything like me you tend to ignore most advertisements these days. I can spot a piece of spam email in a millisecond with another millisecond taken to hit the delete key. I don’t think I have ever clicked on a Facebook ad. If you like any of the streaming media services like Hulu or Pandora, then you probably agree with me that the ads are so annoying. These services interrupt your TV show or music and make you less likely to buy the advertised product. And, maybe it’s just me, but I rarely watch live TV anymore because I’d rather watch a recording on my DVR so I can skip the ads. This turns that 60-minute show into a nice 40-minute session!
If you’re nodding in agreement with the above, then consider for a second the money you’re spending on marketing and imagine how effectively you’re reaching your sales targets. Yeah, they are probably ignoring your marketing efforts too.
But don’t despair! There are some effective ways to get through the noise and market to your audience. It’s called SEGMENTATION. Instead of blasting your marketing messages out to the broad audience and hoping something sticks, segmentation is about sub-dividing that large audience into smaller chunks and targeting them with a bulls-eye message that is specific to their needs. The key to getting through the noise today is to communicate something to your audience that they want to hear and segmentation is the key to doing that.
We’ll delve into this topic a lot on the Jesus Led Business Blog as an effective sales and marketing method that is critical to growing your business. For this specific blog, I want to focus on the first step toward building your segmentation strategy, creating ‘Marketing Personas’ for your product or service.
There are a lot of ways to create marketing personas for your product or service and it depends greatly on your business and what you do. A good place to start for every business is to understand who your customers are. Before you can segment and target a specific audience, you need to understand your customers/audience and define your parameters based on this understanding. Big companies spend a lot of money on this activity. They do scientific research, surveys, and focus groups. If these big companies are spending the money on this task, then it must work. But, the same benefits can be achieved by a small or medium sized business, or even a soloprenuer, without having to spend a lot of money (or any for that matter). Like anything, give it some thought, give it a try, and see how it works. You can always adjust your strategy as you learn more about your target audience.
Think about who buys your stuff. If you sell multiple products or services, I recommend you take the each product or service 1 at a time because you will have different marketing personas per product/service. Who are the people behind your sales? Are they mothers? Business people? Fitness geeks? Old or young? Do they live in certain places? To paint a better picture of your customers, I recommend you come up with profiles or personas of the 3-6 types of people that may buy your product. You really don’t want to focus on more than 6, and I recommend about 3-4 is the perfect number. If your marketing personas are too narrow, it may be difficult for you to create a segment large enough to target.
One of my companies is a software company that creates a business intelligence solution called Yurbi. The marketplace for this software is huge, but there is also a lot of competition blanketing the marketplace with generic, boring messages. If I were to send a generic email to a potential lead telling them about “dashboards” it would probably solicit a response like, “so what, everyone does that.” So, to better market the software, we leveraged segmentation techniques. One marketing persona we came up with was the “Service Desk Manager.” Here is a condensed description for this potential persona:
- They have job titles that include words like “help desk”, “service desk”, and “manager” or “supervisor”.
- They work for mid to large sized businesses and are business professionals.
- They work on process improvement and have certifications such as ITIL.
- They are very busy and have to stay on top of day-to-day activities, but also communicate status to multiple levels of management on a regular basis.
- They can’t buy anything new to help them, but they can recommend and influence decisions.
- They are responsible for never letting things fall through the cracks and being able to do more with less.
- They commonly use technology, from BMC, CA, HP, and other major software companies to assist with their role.
So now that we have created this profile of our customer, we can craft messages for our product on our website that speak directly to what this potential customer is interested in. Our marketing can include writing blog articles and content (like whitepapers and datasheets) that may attract their interest, sponsor tradeshows or events they commonly attend, purchase advertisements with partners who reach the same audience, and better qualify leads that have these qualities. The net result is a win/win.
By properly segmenting our potential customers, we can provide them value by giving them information that is useful to them (hopefully) and at the same time we can efficiently spend our hard earned marketing dollars and make sure we get the biggest return on our investments.
We’ll talk more about the topic of segmentation, as well as sales and marketing strategies in future blogs. Creating marketing personas is the first step in a multi-step marketing segmentation strategy. If you want to learn more about creating marketing personas, here are a few links that can help (but just pop the term in Google and start researching as well):
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And, in the meanwhile, continue to… Pray About It, Be About It, and Praise About It!
Thanks for reading and God Bless.