Play

Click here for WOMB7 Show Notes as a downloadable pdf

Imagine prospective customers searching for answers to their questions or solutions to their problems—those questions or problems that have to do with the products/services your business offers. Then imagine, that among the best results from their online search are a blog post, an article, a how-to video, or Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) which was posted on YOUR website. And when they reach for that answer, it is you, your business, providing the answer to their question. What would that be worth to you?

As a business owner, this is the result you want from your marketing efforts–to be the solution to your prospective customers needs. Now, for the question . . . IS that currently the result of your marketing efforts? Are the new, and return, visitors to your Website / your blog, individuals who need the products, or services, your business provides? Or, if your business is a ‘brick and mortar’ store and you do not have an online presence–do new visitors to your store return to your store? Do they purchase your products/services?

You may be wondering, how can you know if visitors to your Web site or blog are individuals who need your products / services? You can tell by how long they spend at your Web site. Are they there more than 6-8 seconds? If so, they believe that there is information there that they want. If a Web visitor is on your Web site long enough to check out, and read, your product/service pages or articles/blog posts, it signals greater interest, or need. If a visitor returns to your site and again spends time there, they are looking for reasons to to trust you as a vendor for their need. This brings us to the next question . . . do you continue to provide fresh content (information) which your target audience needs?

Being in the business that you are in, you probably know several things about your target audience, your ideal customers—those individuals who need your products or services. Such as, what types of problems would someone who needs your products/services have? What challenges might they face?

If you can list some of the problems and challenges that your ideal customers have and create a variety of materials (special reports, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) which solve each of those problems, answers those questions, or satisfy those curiosities, you can position your business as the one prospective customers turn to for answers. You can position your business as the business which solves their problems. And if, when your prospective customers are searching for solutions, the best and better results that come up are from your business, you become the solution to their problem. How powerful is that?

When your prospective customer is searching for information details about a product/service, they might also look for “How is a certain product made,” “How is service X structured,” or “What goes on behind the scenes of a business that makes your products or provides your services? When their best search results come from your business, you are again positioning your business as a source of solutions for them.

As prospective customers see, and continue to see, your business being the source which answers their questions, provides the solutions to their problems, and satisfies their curiosity, those prospects also begin identifying you as an expert in your field. It is then that a trust relationship begins forming with those prospective customers. When those prospects need to purchase the products/services you provide, which business storefront or Website are they are more likely to go to for that purchase? The storefront / Website / business owner that they have come to know as an expert and have grown to trust, of course! Don’t you want that business, that business owner, to be YOU?

Well, gone are the days when prospective customers are impressed by only how often they see your business name or how you are the “best,” the “first,” the “largest” business in your industry. Todays more sophisticated consumer, with global digital information at their fingertips, wants to know why they should do business with you in terms of how well your business understands what they need, or want.

To be competitive in todays marketplace, you must shift your marketing messages from being all about how great your company is, to being all about serving the needs of your prospective customer, your target audience.

 

Web Site Traffic:  Quality vs. Quantity

Focusing on providing solving the problems that your ideal prospective customers are likely to have may not bring the same volume of traffic to your Web site that some fancy possibly expensive SEO (search engine optimization) tactics may bring. It WILL bring more qualified traffic to your Web site. And that is what you truly need, traffic from those who are in need of your products / services. Not just a quick click through visitor that is gone is less than 6-8 seconds because you don’t have what they are looking for. Your business needs quality traffic, visitors who need, or want, what your business can provide.

Are you thinking that this approach sounds too warm and fuzzy, too wishy-washy, or too altruistic to be a change that will translate to money in your pocket? I assure you this is the best and surest way to increase your sales.

Some proof: in today’s marketplace, 78% of all shoppers use the Internet to research and make purchase choices, according to the most recent report from Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). This Cisco group addresses the trends and market transitions reshaping the consumer landscape. Two years ago, this same report reflected 57%. That’s a 21% increase within two years! Why does this matter to you? Well, there are several reasons. First, it illustrates why it is so important for your business needs an online presence—an effective online presence. If your business does not currently have an online presence already, that is definitely an item for your “Marketing To Do List”.

HOT TIP

Unless you can demonstrate an effective return on investment from any print Yellow Pages ads that you currently have, it’s time to give some serious thought to discontinuing that tactic, before your renewal comes due. In todays marketplace, those marketing dollars will most likely prove a great deal more effective, directed to another marketing platform.

How do you create marketing messages that speak to your target audience?

To effectively develop a marketing message that speaks to “someone,” you need a “someone” to speak to. You always need a someone to tell your story to, which is why it is said, “Don’t try to market to everyone because you’re then marketing to on one.” So, market to someone, that someone represents your target audience. For the best practice, make up a fictitious person who has the likes, dislikes, lifestyle, activities, and probable problems of someone that would be in your target audience. This fictitious someone is a representation of the individuals which make up your target audience. Now create a profile—an “identity”—for this someone.

You probably actually have two, possibly three, ‘someones’ who represent your ideal customer(s). Create a detailed profile for one, or two, someones who would have the highest likelihood of needing/wanting your products/services. With a clearer understanding of who your target audience is, you can truly write marketing messages from the perspective of that someone. Give that someone a name, a complete identity and you are now even better equipped to add “story” to your messages; because now you are actually writing to an individual! And if that customer profile actually reminds you of a customer you know, or someone you from your personal life, all the better!

BE that person/BE that company, which speaks to your target audience from their perspective, and reap the reward of more qualified traffic and a higher conversion from prospect to customer!

HOT TIP

If you are not certain which individuals make up your “target audience” OR you believe that your target audience is everyone then setting aside some time to focus on identifying who your target audience is—by developing a profile of your two most ideal customers—is an item for your Marketing To Do List! There is an online tool to help develop a demographic profile for your ideal customer, hence your target audience. This tool was designed for companies involved in business-to-business transactions. However, going through this process helps spur ideas and lines of thinking, if yours is a business-to-consumer businesses: http://upcloseandpersona.com.

 

Whether you utilize the UpCloseAndPersona tool or work through the process on your own, this exercise is not something you will finish in just a few minutes. It requires thoughtful effort and some time. Believe me, it will be time well spent!

Before closing this episode, there is something I want to mention in case you do not yet have an online presence and are looking into establishing one,. This is really covered later in Step 10 but I want to bring up the topic of owning your online marketing information, at least briefly.

 

Owning your own online marketing information

The social media platforms available for consumers and business owners are incredible ‘sharing vehicles.’ Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. allow a level of communication and information sharing that boggles the mind! On a personal level, we can just experiment to discover which one, or ones, we like best and enjoy those social environments. However, as business owners, we are participating in social media for different reasons, with different objectives.

As business owners, we aren’t simply participating in social media. We are participating in social media MARKETING. It is still about discovery; we must discover which platforms (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) are best suited for us to use, or to start with. We must also decide which social media types/channels (Blog, Email, Pinterest, Facebook Fan Page, Facebook Closed Group, etc.) within and across those platforms we are going to use, or start with.

However, as business owners, it is important to keep the future in mind. We must take into consideration access to, and retrieve-ability of, our online content six months from now, six years from now, and so on. It is not wise to plan having your ONLY business blog to be a Facebook Fan Page or Facebook Group, as Facebook may change something that significantly impacts your marketing. The same applies to any other social media environment.

It is vital that your business have online marketing channels where your content is owned by you and controlled by you! Content that won’t disappear because Facebook blows up one day or goes off the market completely. Your business’ intellectual property—your informational content—needs to be under your control, or you risk losing months or years of your online blog articles/posts because something happens with Facebook, LinkedIN, or a free blogging site that you chose to use for your business blog. Or somewhere down the line you decide to switch to a different platform; unless you own the content, you are not going to be able to take that content with you to your new platform!

Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIN, Twitter—these are all online ‘environments.’ These environments are created and controlled by someone other than you. They are great and powerful environments, but not under your control, so they are not the best choice to be the “core” of your online marketing.

 

12 Steps to Effective Online Marketing

Step 1 – Why Social Media Is YOUR Most Powerful Marketing Tool
Step 2 – Human Nature And Negative Word of MOUSE Marketing
Step 3 – Great Examples of the Power of Social Media Marketing
Step 4 – What’s Missing From Traditional Marketing Advertising
Step 5 – Anatomy of a Customer-Focused Marketing Message
Step 6 – Be Clear Exactly Who You’re Marketing To
Step 7 – Adding “Story” To Make YOUR Marketing Memorable
Step 8 – Boost Your Business Providing 1 or 2 Resources WITHOUT Selling
Step 9 – YOUR “Business Voice” What it is; why it’s important
Step 10 – A Sampler of Social Media Types/Channels
Step 11 – Which Social Media Will Work for Your Business
Step 12 – Working Social Media Into YOUR Regular Business Operations

Tune in to The Word of MOUSE Blog Show on iTunes, the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month for MORE Word of MOUSE!

Questions? Go to WordOfMouseBlog.com

Go to MIYPmarketing.com for more resources for YOUR small business!