Marketers are juggling more projects and deadlines than ever. There's never been more pressure to create and maintain a brand that "sticks" with increasingly distracted audiences.
With so many different channels and metrics to consider, it can be easy to forget about the basics of marketing.
For marketers to keep their eye on the prize—their audience—marketers should always be asking themselves these five questions.
1. What are our target audiences' personas?
This is Marketing 101, but you'd be surprised how easy forgetting about this fundamental question is. Approaching every project thinking first and foremost about your audience should be second nature for you.
If you're just getting started, establishing audience personas will take some due diligence and a fair amount of market research. But it's well worth the effort if your campaigns are to have the most impact.
There are plenty of great resources for building audience personas. One important thing to remember, though, is that your audience can't—and shouldn't—be boiled down into just one or two average representations. Because your aim is to tailor your message to specific audiences, you need to dig deeper for a more granular view of those who will potentially interact with your product or service.
For example, if you are marketing project management software, you're obviously speaking to project managers. But there's a huge difference between a technical project manager, for instance, and a creative one.
Or, say your company makes a CRM platform. A lot of stakeholders from different groups in a company will likely interact with the CRM software, and you need to market to these different users separately.
By digging deeper into your audiences' personas, you can make your messaging more specific and concise—and on target.
2. What is our audience doing all day?
You'll have basic demographic information about your audience; however, for a deeper look into what they are spending their time doing during the day, you need details such as job title and seniority level.
When you identify your audience members' primary responsibilities at their job, you can zero in on the various pain points they face daily. With that knowledge, you can tailor your message to fit what your audience needs.
Also, part of what your audience is inevitably doing during the day is looking for information. Where are your audience members going to get information about their own industry and solutions to make their jobs easier? Which industry blogs and websites do they visit and what kind of information are they looking for?
When you have a better idea of what job functions someone performs, you have a window into where they turn to for quality, informative content. That is where your brand's message also needs to be.
3. What is keeping them up at night?
For better or worse, we all take our work home with us from time to time. The work-related concerns that follow your audience out of the office can offer insight into how to reach different customers. Of course, that's is easier said than done: Marketers aren't mind readers. Still, by doing some strategic research, you can learn a lot about your audience's needs.
Stay up to date on industry-specific forums, including LinkedIn groups, to learn about the specific pain points and industry trends that influence how decisions are being made. You can learn valuable information about budget issues, staffing shortages, shifts in priorities, and other information that can help you shape your message toward your target audience.
4. What will make your message stand out from the noise?
Think of all the branded messaging you see during a typical day. Like it or not, we're all being marketed to constantly. The marketing landscape is saturated.
Audiences experience a flow of content from every direction: emails, social media posts, traditional advertising, and many other channels.
So how can your message stand out? Keep it short, sweet, and simple.
Long, meandering sentences will quickly put your audience to sleep. Use provocative language in headlines and subheads to capture attention.
Keep your audience's attention by having a clear, focused message about the solutions you can provide to ease their pain points. Your audience, especially a business audience, is actively seeking ways to be more productive and efficient, so spell out exactly how your product will address those needs.
Another way to make your message stand out is to include an incentive, such as a free e-book or guide, relevant whitepaper, or another tool that demonstrates the value of your product.
5. What action do you want your audience to take?
The call to action (CTA) is perhaps the most important part of any messaging that your audience receives. You have very few chances to get your audience to take the action you want them to take, so think carefully about where to place the CTA and how it fits in with the rest of your message content.
Here are some key factors to consider:
- Use one CTA at a time. If you have multiple CTAs, your audience will likely become distracted and confused and less likely to convert. For instance, if your landing page prompts a user to download a free guide to your product but also includes a link for a free consultation, your audience winds up confused about which action to take.
- Does the CTA do what it says it will? For example, if the button or link promises a demo or free trial, but it actually navigates users to your blog or another page, you will drive potential customers away. Make sure not to over-promise and under-deliver.
- Is the CTA easily visible and engaging? Your audience doesn't have time to hunt around an entire page for a CTA. It's your job to guide them toward the action you want them to take. So avoid passive, boring language and use active verbs ("explore," "discover," "see," etc.) that will engage your audience members and convey the value of the action they're about to take.
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When you approach marketing decisions from your audience's perspective, you'll end up with much stronger, targeted messages that speak to your potential customers. And by asking these five questions every day, you will produce focused, targeted messages that convert your audience into customers.