People hate advertising—all forms of push marketing, for that matter It interrupts their favorite shows. It clutters their screens. It overpromises and underdelivers.
And, more often than not, it has nothing to do with their interests.
But what if there were a way to get people to like your ads and other messaging? What I'm talking about is not a gimmick. It's not a deal with the devil. It's relevancy.
Consumers don't mind ads that are relevant to their needs. In fact, an ad actually becomes useful when it's truly relevant. Relevancy simply means "The right message, at the right place, at the right time."
The following four commandments define how Ozone, our agency, keeps relevancy central to our clients' campaigns. Since we primarily work in the digital space, our tactics are measurable, actionable, and adjustable on the fly. But these commandments can be applied to offline marketing as well.
Relevancy Commandment No. 1: Know Your Customer
The more you know about your customer, the easier the remaining commandments become. Using information captured from your marketing database, Web analytics, social listening tools, and your CRM system, you can better understand...
- How, when, and where your customers buy from you.
- Whether your message is missing the right audience.
- What your customers are saying about your brand, what questions they need answered, and how they're interacting with your company's website.
Armed with this data, you can come close to a true 1:1 digital relationship, without assigning a unique salesperson to each customer.
Relevancy Commandment No. 2: Deliver the Right Message
Knowing your customer also allows you to deliver the most relevant message in the most appropriate voice. We focus on three things:
- Offer. You want customers to take a specific action, such as purchase what you are advertising to them, so your call to action must be clear. You should also offer what your customer actually wants: Don't try to sell home equity loans to college students.
- Tone and voice. Use the right tone and voice for your intended audience. Engineers can digest longer, more technical copy than a CFO who wants to know how things will affect his company's bottom line. You can market the same product to both, but via segmentation you tailor the message to resonate with each recipient.
- Format. People are consuming digital messages in ever more disparate ways. Using responsive design and planning, you can deliver a message specifically tailored to your customers' devices—desktop/laptop, tablet, and mobile phone.
Relevancy Commandment No. 3: Get the Message to the Right Place
Relevancy means getting messages in front of your customers wherever they like to go. One of the best uses of my time at the start of a relationship with a new client is reviewing Web analytics reports to discover what sites drive the most traffic to the client's website. Armed with that knowledge, we can begin to create relevant messages for those audiences.
And, yes, social media is big, but it's important to know where your customers prefer to consume your content. For example, if a lead has indicated a willingness to receive messages by email, don't try to sell your enterprise server solution to that lead via Pinterest.
Relevancy Commandment No. 4: Deliver It at the Right Time
Finally, it's important to deliver the right message at the perfect moment:
- Did your lead just buy your product? If so, don't continue to bombard them. Get back in touch later with a new offer or a thank-you message.
- Have customers been away from your store/site for a few months? Send out a friendly reminder message that lets customers know what your company has been up to lately.
- What is your customer's buying cycle? If you are lucky enough to be in a somewhat predictable space where leads buy every X months, plan your messaging accordingly. Don't lead with your lowest price just as your customer is in their research phase, and test the messaging mix to see if you can accelerate and shorten that purchase cycle.
Follow, Test, Adjust
We follow those four core principles when working with our clients, and we've found them highly effective. But each customer is unique, to such a point that you might even say we have a fifth commandment: "Always be testing."
Adding testing into the mix allows you to constantly enhance your marketing as metrics emerge that back up your hypothesis—or don't. Be bold; don't hesitate to test something that goes against best practices.
For example, by sending out messages at 9 PM—not usually considered an ideal delivery time—you could identify a whole segment of your audience that conducts research after the kids go to bed.
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Relevancy isn't some kind of a miracle, and attaining it isn't rocket science. But you do need smart analysis and timing. If you know who your customers are, how they like to be spoken to, where they hang out, and when they're ready to begin a dialogue, chances are you'll provide them with messaging they'll actually enjoy.
And bring them one step closer to making the buy.