Your inbound marketing strategy has one primary goal – to get the individuals in the target market to want to take things further with your company until they make an actual purchase decision. To do that effectively you must follow a logical process. That process is the basis of a blueprint. That blueprint has three principles, you expand all of them depending on specific factors. Those factors are determined by two elements. The principles are:-
- Address the target market, specifically, with the most appropriate message
- Follow the essential inbound marketing process of Recognition-Attraction-Involvement-Conversion-Decision
- Make everything meaningful to the people in the target market
The elements are:
The personas you are addressing and the decisions you want them to make.
Address your target market specifically and directly. If you want to sell your services to, for example, the civil engineering industry, use your current customer knowledge from that marketplace to get the marketplace’s attention.
Here is a critical step in your blueprint – your sales team and your marketing team must co-operate. Your marketing message must reflect what your sales team knows are the current issues which your prospects need solutions for, or help with. Inbound marketing is about current issues from the buyer’s viewpoint, not from the seller’s viewpoint.
Choosing shipbuilding problems or medical equipment design processes will not take your civil engineering target from ‘Recognition’ to ‘Attraction’ because it is not meaningful to them. Yes, demand-flow in shipbuilding involves transportation, inventory, motion and dealing with defects for example. But a civil engineer wants their demand-flow issues to focus on their version of LPM (Labor, Plant, Materials) problems, they do not want to spend their time converting general, or standard, issues into specifics. They, like all targets, want that done for them. Unless it is, they stop at ‘Recognition’ and never get to ‘Attraction’, never mind ‘Involvement’ and ‘Conversion’.
That is why, when you create your blueprint, it must align marketing intention with current sales knowledge of the actual problems your target audience wants solved.
You have your current market, you know the right-now, on-the-ground issues, so your next step in the blueprint is to find a hook that your target audience will immediately ‘Recognize’ and get ‘Involved’ in. You want them to respond in some way – because that will be the next step in your blueprint. Response proves involvement. The more involved they are in the problems you can solve and they currently have to overcome, the more closely they will align their needs with your solutions. That will take them to ‘Conversion’ and then to ‘Decision’.
Use, for example, a recent or major newsworthy event – good or bad – to get ‘Attention’ and ‘Recognition’? You could also choose a recent conference, or newly published academic paper on major industry needs/developments/solutions, etc. Your target audience must immediately relate to it. Your choice of subject must ‘touch’ the individuals who read your blog, watch your YouTube video, download your PowerPoint webinar presentation or check in to the LinkedIn mastermind group you all belong to, so they want to visit your web page, or take the action-steps you set up.
To move them towards it, your next step is to build on it. Expand on the newsworthy topic by exploring how your service or products would have or could have done about it or with it. This ‘Involves’ your target audience. Ask them appropriate questions or throw out ideas for comment as part of your involvement stage. This will draw them in and strengthen the relationship. At this stage it is much easier to get the individual to request more information, to visit your specific web page dealing with that issue, or requesting a visit from a sales team member.
To make that decision more certain you must really capitalize on the Buyer Personas. The original issue and the questions you ask, or the ideas you want them to comment on have to be aimed specifically at two aspects of Buyer Persona. The two aspects are:-
- Job function and
- Human personality
Your target audience is employed to address real problems by researching their causes, gathering data on them, creating possible solutions, considering alternatives, and then arriving at the best solution. So that is the path you take to expand on the newsworthy event, conference or paper you have chosen as your marketing issue.
Use the principles, processes and practices that your target audience uses every day. This strategy takes your message out of the general, or the interesting, and puts it front and center of their real world.
Some of those civil engineering personas (to keep that example) may be more focused on, say, the cost aspect of transporting too much concrete and rebar to the job site, or on over-production of black-top. Others might be more interested in solving the quality issues associated with better use of plant and materials in order to improve productivity. When you target the specific job function (based on your sales team’s knowledge) your marketing message will resonate. That will encourage answers to your questions and comment on your ideas. Involving those job functions by ‘talking their language’ encourages their decisions to, say, visit your web site. The ‘landing page’ they reach must focus in more detail on the issue form the specific perspective of ‘cost’ or ‘quality’, so the person gets exactly what they expect, and the journey continues. This strategy efficiently takes the people who hold those jobs, down your sales funnel from ‘Involvement’ to ‘Conversion’ to ‘Decision’.
Human beings hold down those jobs. As well as attracting and involving the ‘job description’ the next step in your blueprint is encouraging involvement by doing the same for the actual people who hold the jobs.
Know who makes up your target audience, and then use words, terms, sentence constructions and styles that will subconsciously resonate with them. Your audience works with new challenges, so use innovative descriptions. Here are some simple examples:-
- They are technically competent, so utilize diagrams and flowcharts
- Many have good oral and written skills, so make doubly sure you avoid all spelling and grammatical mistakes
- They are team leaders so focus on ideas, questions and thoughts that demand a leadership response from them – and demonstrate your own corporate leadership, technical competence, and innovative approaches to build ‘Involvement’ and encourage ‘Conversion’
A good marketing message, on its own, is not enough. Simply focusing on ‘your message’ will only resonate with a minority of your target audience – the minority that just happens to resonate with both message and style. Focusing too much on the mechanics of marketing – a technically efficient web site, high quality webinars, etc, will, typically, attract the minority who are already motivated to explore new solutions. At the other extreme – focusing totally on the personas and less on the message is like an entertainer who only delivers punch lines with no lead-in. For your marketing to succeed, it must incorporate everything listed and explained in this base blueprint.
For more information on how to create a buyer persona for your business contact us at MediaWorks.