Building Better Relationships: How to Win at Digital Marketing
Relationships are Everything
Snap! An advertising executive breaks a pencil in two after poring over the latest agency P&L report. It was 10 years ago when digital marketers were mere upstarts cutting into traditional agency profits; a passing fad or flavor of the month. Something to be mocked as trivial advertising. Fast-forward to today, and that same executive is ready to smash a tablet against the wall. Digital marketers are earning a larger share of marketing budgets again this year. Why?
They understand the relationship between the message and the customer.
People Go to Your Website to Solve a Problem
Your website needs to be the solution. In other words, if your website traffic isn’t converting, it’s likely because you’re attracting people who don’t care about the problem, or you haven’t stated a clear advantage to your solution. It’s the traffic, the message, or both.
Learn From Their Pain
To match your message to the right audience, you’ll need to know a little bit more than demographics. You need to understand their pain points.
Create online surveys using Facebook, AdWords, Survey Monkey or Survata.
Create a lookalike audience based on your current customer list, and ask them.
Pay for panel surveys or focus groups.
Try the old-fashioned idea of picking up the phone and calling customers.
There are a couple less conventional ways of gleaning consumer insights.
Amazon and Yelp reviews are a great resource:
Read your reviews
Read reviews left for your competitors
Read the top book reviews in your category
Enter keywords into keyword research tools.
Google keywords and look at suggestions in the drop-down menu.
Prove You Know Them
After researching a little about your audience, you’ll need to create messages that speak specifically to their frustrations.
Create messages that reflect their pain or passion.
Talk about the benefits they’ve said are important to them.
Speak their language.
The research you’ve done will provide great content.
Is Bigger Really Better?
Target specific audiences with specific messages. Get super-granular. Example: target men who live in Ballard, graduated from the University of Washington and are over 40 years old. Write a headline speaking specifically to their individual experience. Example: “Why Do U-Dub Grads Get Deeper Discounts on Car Insurance?” The conversions will be higher than in a broad approach, so you’ll need to create many niche campaigns like this one to get any type of scale.
Next, target a broader audience with a broader message. Test both broad and niche campaigns until you determine which delivers the best ROI. It’s usually a combination of both.
You’ve Come to the Right Place
A/B test different landing-page headlines. Remember, the message in the ad signals to consumers you have a solution to a specific problem. The landing page is the solution. The headline reassures them they’re in the right place.
Reward them for clicking the ad. Don’t make them struggle for the answer to their problem. Every time you ask them to jump through another hoop, you’ll lose 80 to 90 percent of them.
It’s All Relative
So you’ve mapped the customer’s hopes, dreams or fears to your message. Your landing page is rock-solid. Here’s what you should expect.
If you have a lower price point, the buying cycle should be short. If they don’t buy right away, you should let them go. They’re not really your customers. If you have a higher price point, the customer journey will be longer. Don’t worry if they don’t buy right away. Develop a retargeting campaign.
Relationships are Built on Trust
With pixel information or an email address they’ve volunteered, send useful content they’ll look forward to seeing. Again, it should map back to the original pain points of the customer, but don’t be pushy. You’re trying to develop a longer-term relationship. They should look forward to seeing this content – stuff that adds value to their lives, informs, entertains and delights them.
Remember, great content sells better than even the best offers.
So digital marketing all comes down to matching the right audience with the right message at the right point in the customer journey. Which proves that the money isn’t in a customer list. The real money is in the relationship you have with the people on the list.
Mike Johnston is a production executive and advertising creative in Seattle. He is available for freelance consulting, writing and directing. Contact Mike.
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