Why you have to remember that your potential clients are the same as you.
Once upon a time marketing was pretty straightforward really you probably ran along nicely with some business cards, some materials to leave behind or mail out, a website and the occasional ad. if you were super organised you may even have had a mailing list!
But our target market is much more switched on and sceptical these days so I'm afraid that style of marketing no longer works so effectively.
Why would that be?
- Well I'm sure you'll not be surprised to read that it's estimated that nearly half of us bin Direct Mail entirely unopened
- And - because we have the technology to do so - I'm sure it won't be astonishing for you to read that the vast majority of us apparently skip through television ads.
- Talking of that vast majority, they also exercise their right to click that cross in order to get rid of an annoying or intrusive ad that pops up as they surf the web.
- And of course, thanks to the Telephone Preference Service, millions of us have signed up to filter out those unsolicited telesales calls.
Does this ring any bells? I'm sure most of you will recognise your own behaviour here...so....if you're behaving like that... why wouldn't your potential customers be doing the same?
If as purchasers, we don't like the old methods what are we doing? Well here's the more likely path we – and of course your potential customers – are following today:
Fred needs some marketing help:
As per those once-upon-a-time days he asks ask his personal contacts – but in addition to them possibly recommending a company they've used, he's likely to get these responses:
"There's a really helpful blog I'm following"
There's this great video I saw recently" or
"One of my contacts on LinkedIn has lots of recommendations"
Of course today, Fred's contacts are no longer limited to people who live in his area or those he's met out and about networking. He also asks the social media contacts he has met online for advice. They, of course, have many many other contacts themselves and may tweet:
"My accountant's marketing company is brilliant check out @imgreatatmarketing"
Fred will also look on the Internet - indeed for many of us searching via Google is in fact the default action.
Fred notices that one company has a video and a blog which has raised their search engine optimisation so that they come up on page one of Google. On their website he finds helpful case studies and advice. He signs up for their light hearted newsletter...
Now, some of you may be a bit cynical about the amount of online references I've just made so let's look at some stats from the office of National Statistics:
- In 2014 76% of UK Adults accessed the internet every day
- In 2014, 74% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008
So what 6 marketing lessons might you have gleaned out of this blog post so far?
1. Your target market is as cynical and time pressed as you are – so your company information needs to be succinct and authentic and, wherever possible, original.
2. Potential customers will use the internet to find products and services – so you have to play the game in terms of maintaining a good internet presence – websites, blogs, social media activity and so forth
3. People are more likely to recommend you if they like you. So it's hugely beneficial to build engaged relationships on social media by commenting, sharing or re-posting other people's content on a regular basis. If you do this your followers are more likely to recommend you rather than your competitors.
4. People have a sense of humour – just like you – so they may even appreciate being entertained a little -so don't come across Corporate with a Capital C. It's perfectly possible to sound supremely professional and engaging.
5. Future clients will want to do a bit of research about your type of products and services before they buy - this means your content has to contain their keywords.
6. Their research needs to reveal relevant information that informs and assists them so you have to create some great resources in the form of things like downloadable pdf's, videos, podcasts, blog posts and FAQ pages. This is called Content Marketing
Why does that kind of thing work?
- Most of us would rather get information on a business via helpful resources than via their adverts.
- Of course, we're not naïve, we understand that the reason an organisation is creating content is ultimately to get us to buy something. But we don't mind if we get something out of it. This is in step with a well-known marketing acronym – WIIFM – "What's in it for me?"
- Not surprisingly we do feel closer to an organisation that's gone to the effort of empathetically creating something for us - so we feel warmer about them and more likely to buy from them.
Does that all make sense? I hope you have enjoyed being introduced to your target market and gaining the insight that your similarities are going to be a great marketing bonus for your business.