Small business owners are constantly pressed for time, juggling and balancing priorities, trying to figure out which strategies to implement to get them closer to success – they are some of the hardest-working people I know. Add to that the hundred other day-to-day responsibilities, figuring out how to implement integrated digital marketing strategies can be quite overwhelming. Launching into a marketing channel just because your competition is doing it or you read an article about it somewhere, doesn’t mean that it’s the best path for you. So, how does a company get to know what’s best for them? Audience research. You might be slow in launching your strategy, but at the end of the day you’re going to be very glad that you invested the time to understand how to carefully and successfully implement your integrated digital marketing strategies in the channels where you are going to get the “most bang for your buck.”
Understand What Your Audience Does in Social Media
It’s important to understand what your audience is doing in social media because that is what will decide the type of strategy you need to implement. If your audience is primarily consumers of media (i.e., they watch videos or read blog posts), then spending time on Twitter might not be where you need to be. To get an understanding of the types of social media users there are and how your own audience fares out, use tools that allows you to understand your audience’s potential areas for action in social media communities segmented by age, gender, and geographical location (by country and/or city). If you know your customer demographic, this can be a great tool to give you a head start in your research. Once you’re armed with your research, you then need to understand your customer’s buying cycle.
Understand The Customer Buying Cycle
There are 5 Stages of the Customer Buying Cycle
- Awareness: customer identification of a need and the realization that your online business can potentially fulfill it
- Consideration: customer evaluation of how your offering meets this need, including the evaluation of offerings from other websites
- Preference/Intent: a customer’s logical and emotional inclination towards one solution or another, ultimately leading to a purchasing decision
- Purchase: The action of ordering and buying from your website
- Repurchase: The emotional and logical process that (hopefully) leads to a repeat buy
Begin with effectively answering questions that are relevant to each stage. Then, create content that moves customers closer to buy. How do you know what your customers are looking for? The answer is in your search queries.
Map Customer Buying Cycle with User Intent
Behind every search query, there is an objective on the part of the searcher, which is the user’s intent. Your target is actively looking for information/solution which your business can solve. So, if you are able to figure out the reason behind their search and the stage where they are in the buying cycle, you will be able to serve your target markets better. Use Google webmaster tools and analytics to examine the search queries that bring customers to your site. On-site SEO is all about understanding why someone uses a particular keyword or keyword phrase to search and better optimizing your site to meet their needs. Be aware of the informational, navigational, and transactional keywords used by your audience to understand their goals and motives, and convert them to buyers. This will help you ;design your integrated digital marketing strategies. Industry-specific knowledge will always come into play when determining user intent. So if you’ve just taken on a new client from an industry you are unfamiliar with, make sure you take the time to get to know their field and the industry-relevant lingo!
According to Wikipedia, “A user persona is a representation of the goals and behavior of a real group of users.” Personas are used to target users in pretty much every aspect of online marketing: campaign creation and expansion, competitive analysis, offline advertising and onsite content targeting. It is important to differentiate between pure segmentation and persona creation. While segmentation is critical to behavior analysis, personas cannot be achieved by click-stream data only. This requires a deep marketing analysis: understanding who is your market and what they want from you. Behavioral targeting takes advantage of both techniques. You& can target different segments, such as new visitors, returning buyers, local returning visitors, or any segment that shows a special behavior. And you can target different personas, trying to show different content to people coming with different goals to the website. Classify the types of keyword phrases into user types or personas. Some of these might include:
- Ready to buy
- Seeking best price
- Seeking customer service
Once you figure out these user personas, you can then map keyword types to them. Next you should direct each persona to the proper landing page. The landing pages will need to contain content that is appropriate for each persona.
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about how to integrate SEO, PPC, email, content development, social media and analytics into your online strategy to help small business owners more efficiently launch successful marketing strategies.