“Marketing isn’t important.”
“Oh really? What’s important then?”
“Effective marketing is important.”
“What’s the difference? How can you ensure that your marketing is effective?”
Effective Marketing Starts and Ends With Customers
It begins and ends in one place. And that place is not inside your business.
Effective marketing begins and ends with your customers. Considering who your prime prospects are and what they need, taking an outside-in perspective converts your marketing from expensive noise to a value-creation machine.
It’s also important to recognize that your prime prospects are on a journey. Most of the time, they aren’t interested and won’t see your marketing. All the marketing in the world won’t change a customer’s need state. But when their needs change, they will become aware of your marketing and your competition’s marketing, so your want to be there with the right message.
Effective marketing does three things; it targets the right prospects, supports their entire journey, and recognizes that the first purchase isn’t the end of the journey.
Knowing Your Best Customer
Best customers are the small percentage of your customers that drive most of your revenue. They are not the same as regular customers. They are generally heavy category users who have a significant need for your product or survive. This need generate heightened interest in category activity. They are more knowledgeable than the average and more aware of marketing, yours and your competition’s.
A deep understanding of their needs and how they differ from the majority will lead to effective marketing that attracts more of them to your business. Prepare a four-quadrant avatar for your best customers. The four sections are Demographics, Characteristics, Pain, and Gain. Focus is your friend in this work. Identify the aspects in each area that differentiate the best customers from average customers.
Your prime prospects are similar to your best customers and are the ideal target for your marketing. They likely fall into two to three subsegments. Once you have identified these subsegments, create an avatar for each subsegment. There will be similarities with the overall avatar so focus on the differences.
Map Their Journey to Purchase
Mapping the customer journey is a vital but often overlooked step. A customer journey map helps you choose what to say and when to say it. Consider the direct marketing axiom, “Get the right message, to the right person, at the right time.” Without a journey map, you throw content against the wall and hope. This isn’t a plan.
Most of the time, your offer is, at best, a dot among many that swirl around your customers without notice. Consider the events that will bring your customer’s needs to the forefront. This is the beginning of their journey. Asses the steps they go through on their journey to purchase. What information are they looking for? What challenges (obstacles) need to be overcome?
Document the events over their journey. The first phase is Consideration. They recognize that there’s a problem to be solved, and their interest in finding a solution increases. They begin to consider their options and become aware of category marketing. Once they have a path, their interest increases again, and they enter prospecting. In this phase, they are looking at their choices, which leads to a purchase.
Use the Avatar and Journey Map to Build an Effective Marketing Funnel
The avatar and journey map gives you all the information you need to craft an effective marketing funnel.
Demographics help you choose media channels. Characteristics set the tone for ad design and copy. Pain identifies the problem you will focus on. And Gain tells you what your lead offer should be.
The journey map gives you the guidance you need to draw your prime prospects into a series of interactions of increasing value that builds know, like and trust.
For example, your top-of-funnel tactics and messaging should address the issues your prospects are considering as they begin their journey. Mid-funnel tactics and messaging support the transition from consideration to prospecting. If the top-of-funnel tactics are designed to attract, the mid-funnel tactics should be designed to nurture.
The Most Important Sales Isn’t the First Sale
If the marketing funnel has done its job, the first purchase is the next logical step in your prime prospect’s journey. But your job isn’t over. Your customer’s interest is still high. They are still very aware of your marketing and your competition’s marketing. They are looking for reinforcement.
Have they made a good choice?
Do your value their business?
Your sales funnel is the marketing you have in place that’s designed to nurture the relationship with new customers and get them to purchase from you again. This is important because customers who buy from your twice and much more likely to buy from you in the future.
This is accomplished by focusing on the relationship. Share valuable content with your new customers. Demonstrate how much you value their business. What you do immediately after the first purchase builds relationship equity, creating loyal customers.
Is this effort worth it?
Loyal customers bring value to your business in five ways. This is true for all your customers, but the impact is magnified if you’ve attracted heavy category users.
Effective Marketing – Plan For Mutual Value
Effective marketing is an outside-in process. Know your customers, especially your best customers. Understanding their demographics determines media channels. Their attitudes set the marketing tone. Identify their pain; this drives messaging and their pain, which informs your offer.
Map the journey they take to purchase from no need, and therefore no interest, to having a need, which gets them looking for a solution (consideration and prospecting). The journey map should describe the events customers will experience on their journey and document obstacles that need to be overcome.
These two planning tools, the customer avatar and the customer journey map, support the choices made in your funnel. A funnel that supports the journey taken by your best customers leads to a purchase made for the right reasons.
Recognize that the most essential purchase is the second purchase. Bake this into your plan. Have a sales funnel mapped out that reinforces and builds a relationship with your customers. Their interest doesn’t vanish when they purchase. It remains high, and they are paying attention to what you do and don’t do. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
An effective marketing plan that’s crafted to generate mutual value, value for the customer, and value for the business starts and ends in the same place – your best customers.
Since 2010, James Hipkin has built his clients’ businesses with digital marketing. Today, James is passionate about websites and helping the rest of us understand online marketing. His customers value his jargon-free, common-sense approach. “James explains the ins and outs of digital marketing in ways that make sense.”
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