As a business development manager, I often get asked how to select the right channels for your audience. They’re asking how they can cast a net to move prospects into their sales funnel. Everyone is balancing the cost of digital marketing with the statistics of sales.
Where should effort be placed, and what campaign should be pruned from the marketing and sales plan? That is the real question.
I am also known to be a tough-love business coach. So, my initial response is to hit the pause button and do your homework.
Who is Your Customer?
The first question to answer is not “which Marcom channel?” but is “Who is your customer?” If you do not know who your customer truly is, you are wasting time and budget.
It is also important to know who your customer is not. That’s right. Who have you been pitching (spending budget to capture) that is not jumping into the top of your sales funnel?
“Creating buyer personas, and continually using them to guide your business, can help keep you centered on the needs of your customers” – Social Media Today
Later, I will discuss Audience Channels. First, I have a 4-step method to discover your company or product’s Buyer or Customer Persona. This exercise is your homework. Before crafting a plan and picking audience Marcom channels, you must know your buyer.
Build a Customer Persona in 4 Steps
Here are some easy-to-follow steps to create a Customer Persona. Since you are building Customer Personas and have a future goal of crafting a Marcom channel plan, be sure to ask about digital marketing preferences.
- Do they read your monthly newsletter?
- Are they regular users of Instagram or LinkedIn?
- Do they read eBooks for pleasure or for business?
Step One: Interview Your Customer
Here is a list of ways to listen to your customer. Pick more than one way and then compile the results.
- Create a Social Media Survey for a quick snapshot. Which channel received the most response?
- Email a digital survey to your database (Consider offering an incentive to participate).
- Ask customers to fill out a survey while they are visiting your location. Consider using a tablet for easier data capture.
- Call your top customers and partners and ask specific questions.
- Host a round table or mastermind group for those in your market segment.
- Dig deep into your current Marcom statistics. How many clicks, when, who, etc. If you need assistance, ask a digital marketing specialist to review your stats.
Remember to also document which did not like your product or service. You need to also create a Negative Customer Persona. Who are you going to stop chasing?
Step Two: Dig Deep into Your Market Segment
List your competition and then browse their social media and web pages.
- Who is following your competitors?
- What demographic appears within their marketing pieces?
Also, read current publications within your industry segment. Then, absorb the national news and pop culture. Are they talking about your customer base or industry?
Step Three: Investigate Purchase Data
Become a data profiler. Your Marcom data is essential, but so is your sales data.
- Who is buying and who is not?
- What are they buying, and when?
- Is there a correlation between digital campaigns and sales?
If you can not find a relationship, then your recent campaigns have missed the target.
Step Four: Create a Customer Persona One-Sheet
My tough-love advice is not to skip this exercise. Step Four puts all of your hard work into focus. As you put together this one-page document, the Customer Persona begins to emerge. Keep in mind that more than one customer may develop.
Create a one-sheet for each of your Customer Personas. Now is also an excellent time to make a list of customers that are NOT buying your product or service. Is there a group that you should no longer target or shift partial funding away from in the future?
Share the one-sheets with your both your marketing department and your sales team. Work together to build a plan to fill the top of your funnel with new leads.
The Right Channel for your Audience
Now, you are armed with the data to make educated choices. If I asked you to boil the data down and pick three marketing channels, you should be able to make an easy decision. This is a homework assignment that I often give clients.
As inspiration, here are some client discoveries made during the 4 step process:
- Our customer base prefers Twitter over Instagram—Age 45 Customer Persona
- 65% of the customers have and maintain a LinkedIn account—Accounting Firm
- Most of our purchases are on the weekend—Gourmet Ice Cream Shop
- Our customers use Facebook Groups—Travel Company
- Our customers only interact with our Facebook posts on Thursdays & Friday nights—Brewery
A Customer Persona One-Sheet is a powerful tool. Do not skip the homework to rush into digital channel marketing. Know the facts, and you will create a winning campaign. If you are wondering how many times you have to “touch” a customer before they buy, read my Marketing Automation blog – Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution for the Win.
Do you need some help with developing your buyer personas or setting up a marketing automation plan, we’re here for you. Contact us today and let’s talk.