One of the key things in your marketing efforts is to really understand your customer. You need to go deep into knowing who your customer is, what their problems are, and how your product or service is going to solve those problems. The more deeply you know this, the better your marketing will be.
Maybe you’ve tried to get leads but it didn’t turn out well. A common reason, we find, is marketing that doesn’t resonate with actual humans. Instead of looking for leads, look for people you can genuinely help with a fair exchange of trade.
This is the thinking behind our tagline, ‘Digital marketing that puts people first’.
Marketing is a people business, and the technology – all the posts, clicks and analysis – comes second. We don’t want to get so deep into technology that we forget about the very real people who are looking at our website or our posts.
Point 1: Tell a story
This comes from Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand, more often referred to as just
Story Brand. The idea is that marketing should follow a story arc, and the book goes through the
process of developing this arc.
As humans, we have been telling one another stories since the dawn of time. Think cavemen sitting around a fire, sharing stories about what happened during the day. We’re just hard-wired that way.
A story has four basic elements:
- There’s a hero, living his or her life
- Something goes wrong
- Most of the story is about resolving that problem
- There’s a conclusion
Most movies you have watched will roughly follow this arc. For instance, in The Hunger Games,
Katniss is the hero. She gets thrown into the Hunger Games and the question is, will she live, or will she die? That’s her situation or problem. The rest of the movie is about how this is resolved, and then there’s a conclusion.
We apply this approach to business: we tell stories when we’re talking about a product or service. There’s a business which has a problem and it’s your job to bring a resolution.
Point 3: Write the story out
In our Playbook process, we take the client’s story and write it out. We do the usual thing of creating a client persona (age, gender, location etc) and then we take it a step further. We write out the story so that the business gets a clear idea of who their customer is.
Let’s look at another customer of ours, and we’re free to share this story. Amy and Evan have a commercial plumbing business and we did a Playbook process with them. We asked them to describe their favourite customer, someone they’d like replicated a thousand times. Obviously, there are going to be customers who are far from this ideal, but when you’re writing your story, talk about the customer you’d like to have.
Amy and Evan have three kids, and they have spent their lives building a plumbing business with a focus on hard work, good quality and good customer service. They have 70 staff, they love the work they do and are super busy, with a lot of repeat business.
However, new leads from their website and socials were low.
So, we did an SEO review for them which showed quite a few things they were doing incorrectly. After an in-depth discussion, they took the time to complete a Digital Marketing Playbook. They put into place our recommendations for SEO, Facebook PPC, Google Ads and social posting, and now, five years on, Limcora has become a market leader. They’re smashing their competition with their strong online presence, and they get a consistent stream of good strong new leads.
Amy and Evan have time to focus on business growth, knowing that for the technical aspects of their marketing, their business partner TheOnlineCo. has them covered.
This is just a single example, and in our blog posts and our podcast, we want to talk with and help more people just like Amy and Evan.
Point 4: Pinpoint your actual customer
There’s more that you can put into the story of your customer beyond the usual ‘persona’ which is the traditional method of identifying a customer. This covers age, gender, occupation, location etc which give you a large, vague, fuzzy picture. It tries to gather everybody and make all of them feel as welcome as possible. It’s non-specific and describes a group.
To define this picture further and to really understand your customer you need to know their pain points. What is their need or problem? What do they want and not want? What would drive them to make a purchase, and what are the barriers to that happening? Who are their key influencers, like their friends and family? What opportunities are there for your business to reach them? What keywords do they use when they are searching online, which would help with your SEO?
These are the sorts of questions that TheOnlineCo. will prompt you to think about in terms of understanding your customer. It’s a big picture view of knowing who your ideal customer is, and if you could have more of them your business would be awesome.
You can get invaluable insights from talking with your actual customer, maybe even informally like over the phone. People are usually willing to share feedback, and it can really change your business. You may even get a few testimonials out of the feedback.
Point 6: Combine the big and little picture for maximum effect
You’ll want to combine the big picture (the persona/hero) and the little picture (the story) for maximum effectiveness. It’s powerful when you weave in between the two, and your different marketing tactics will use them differently. The persona will be heavily used in Google Ads and Facebook PPC, covering targeting, broader messaging and pain points. The story will be used for writing blogs, posting social content and LinkedIn messaging. There will of course be some crossover.
So, combine the big picture and the little picture to make sure you’re effectively speaking to people as well as appealing to the broader market.
When you’re setting Facebook PPC campaigns, for example, go back through the Playbook, and read through the story and the persona profile to capture both sides. Keep referencing back to your story and your persona in all the marketing you do, just to make sure that you’re continually trying to hit the right person with your marketing.