We're all busy. We know customers come first and it's normal to give priority to the people who pay the bills and focus on the work that brings in revenue. However, what if a small investment could make that work much more profitable?
It's hard to take a step back and look completely objectively at your own business, particularly if you're too busy being busy. Perhaps you've already got a great looking website with lots of information and you're blogging regularly, but even then it's likely that, with a bit of strategic thought, you could make those assets work much harder for you and help you bring in more of the customers that you really want.
It Starts With People
As always, any marketing strategy has to start with an in depth understanding of your ideal customers. Once you know who you are targeting, what their goals and challenges are, and the questions they want answered you can figure out what content to create, what to prioritise and what route you want them to take through your website.
Without this knowledge, it's very easy to create the content you want to write, rather than the content that's going to attract, engage and convert your ideal customers.
In two recent examples we demonstrated the value of starting with a digital marketing strategy to ensure that all subsequent work was focused on the right audience with the ultimate aim of attracting profitable customers.
Too Much Too Soon
One of our clients came to us for digital marketing advice. Their website looks good and has pages and pages of really useful content with detailed information about how a project works, what the process it and what it's like to work with them. However, once we dug a little deeper, we discovered that their ideal customers are wealthy, high powered business people who work long hours and travel regularly. They don't have the time or the inclination to get involved in the ongoing details. They want someone to take care of everything for them.The detail may be fascinating, but it's not necessary for these people.
Moreover, when they first make contact with our client, they don't know what they want yet. Therefore, the website's main job should be to help with the initial decision, providing ideas and answers to "why" rather than "what". Inspiration, aspiration and reassurance are the key areas to address to get them to make an enquiry rather than detailed explanations of what happens once they become a customer.
Without the background work we might have worked on optimising and improving the existing pages to get them to attract more traffic or convert more visitors to leads, without realising the main problem was the overall focus of the content. What we really had to do was to add more "top of the funnel" content and refocus the site to attract and engage the right type of visitor at the right stage of their decision making process.
Too Much Passion
Another digital marketing strategy we developed recently was for a small but ambitious business. The company is doing well but they would like more high value projects rather that just ticking along with lots of smaller projects.
The owners are extremely passionate about their subject, blogging regularly about what they do. Several of their technical and in-depth blog posts are appearing on page one of google for a number of keywords. But... they are addressing technical people like themselves.
When we investigated their ideal customers, they were non-techie business owners and sales and marketing mangers who know what they want the technology to do for them but are not interested in how it works.
With that knowledge we were able to recommend new content that attracts the right sort of potential client.
Even the main pages on their website would be improved by refocusing on the benefits of the technology rather than the technology itself. It's easy to do, but it's not obvious until you do the research.
Don't Take The Easy Route
As a further example of how important it is to take a step back and look at your strategy, a few years ago I reviewed the marketing communications of a small, local business. The owners told me that their priority was to attract new customers in the area. I asked what they were currently doing to achieve this. They proudly showed me their shiny postcards... which they were sending to existing clients!
It sounds obvious, but without going through the thought process, it's easy to keep doing what you're doing.
Without defining your objectives and understanding who your ideal customers are, it's impossible to know if what you are doing is helping your business or not. By establishing your goals, developing buyer personas and creating a strategy, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.