“Just get it going. It will work.” Is that a strategy you might be familiar with? In the world of effective online marketing, as much as many of us hope we can pull off that strategy, the reality isn’t so kind.
Strategically speaking, there are a series of integrated steps that need to be thought through and connected (many times in a specific sequence) to our objective to give us the best chance for online marketing success. For instance, it is imperative that you start your approach with a clearly defined objective. However, this gets overlooked in the “just get it going, it will work” approach. We’ve talked about this issue multiple times, most recently in this post.
What Else Is Important?
Following the objective setting, your communication becomes very important. What we mean by that is we're communicating at different levels of the marketing funnel to different prospects. The challenge is for many of us, is this too fits under the “just get going, it will work” approach. If we are interested in generating an online marketing process that provides the best chance for success, we can’t use this approach. Here’s why.
Addressing Key Questions
Let’s start with the basics. First question, do you think your audience is currently online? The answer is yes. We all go online to satisfy a pain, need, or interest. With over 1 trillion Google searches per year, there are significant numbers of people looking to connect with the information they are seeking.
Next question, are all of these folks seeking the same “type” of information? Meaning, are some seeking basic insight while some seeking detailed insight and of course, they may be seeking it in different formats too. Think about this like you would a marketing funnel. Do people there seek information at the same levels. The answer is no.
If they are at the top of the funnel, they may be just learning about what it is their pain, need, or interest. A person moving down the funnel has already gained some insight and they're in more of an educational or exploratory mode. Finally, if the person is at the bottom, they're fully invested and now they're ready to verify and make some sort of action.
When you think about it like this, you realize simply “communicating” without considering who you are communicating to is missing some key layers. Addressing this will help you increase your online effectiveness.
Three Key Things to Focus On
When we dig into the communication, it should now be clear that we need to understand that there are multiple audience types as they go through the funnel that require different types of communication. So to help you prepare to communicate more effectively, let’s break down the key elements.
Communicating to the “unaware” person
- Location=Top of the Funnel - We’re going to call the person at the top “unaware,” not because they're clueless. They have a need, a pain, or an interest, but they are not exactly clear on what all the elements of it are. Here’s a simple example. If you are looking to buy a new TV for Black Friday, while some people may jump right on and buy, most are actually looking to learn first. They are looking at brands, sizes, specs, and gauging price ranges. Thus, they are in the unaware stage of what exactly they need. The best types of content for this audience include blog posts, infographics, lists, etc.
Communicating to the “explorer”
- Location=Middle of the Funnel - As they go down the funnel, they're exploring more, receiving more and more information, and ultimately becoming more committed to the concept of addressing their pain, need, or interest. Continuing with our example from above: These folks may have begun to hone in on a specific type of TV they like and are now looking for social proof to increase their confidence in what they are learning. Effective content for someone in this phase would include reviews and success stories. Share things that others have gone through to provide the path for this audience to pursue, as well.
Communicating to the “invested”
- Location=Bottom of the Funnel - If you have done this effectively, you've gotten your target audience fairly committed and now what they're looking for is some demonstration of value. They're invested and ready to go. The way you connect with them here is through some sort of personalization. Concluding on our example, this could be a sale, discount, or ease of making the purchase and having it delivered to their door. Which ever way you're doing it, you are going to personalize it to the invested audience.
Creating the Alignment
If you’ve been working with online marketing for any length of time, you have noticed that the “just do it” philosophy tends to win out over a strategic approach. Perhaps it is because people are too busy to properly focus, or perhaps they don’t even know what they should be addressing. Either way it is prevalent, given what we discussed here. Let’s leave you with this question. How are you going to adjust your online communication to align it most effectively with your target audience?
For more reading on the keys to online marketing success, see the links below:
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Optimizing Your Website
- How to Use Online Marketing to Increase Your Thought Leadership
- Online Marketing Starts with a Subtle Point That Most Marketers Miss