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Turn the knowledge you already have about your best customer into an actionable web plan to target future ones like them. Focus on the decision makers and their needs.
Your future customers are the ones you love to work with and fit like a puzzle piece into your business model.
In our last blog post, we captured demographic information about our best customer– a VP of Marketing that had a problem she was trying to solve. By living vicariously through her, we formed a foundation built around solving her problem by
listing out her concerns and identifying specific project goals. It was evident that those goals were a mix of her own perceptions and C-suite objectives. This foundation barely scratched the surface but was an excellent start.
In this blog post we’ll focus on exercise 3, working through a process to illustrate the decision making path
that includes our VP of Marketing and all the folks we must consider in our web plan.
Click through exercises 1 and 2 for a refresher of our best customer model.
My Best Customer Exercises 1 - 5
- Begin with straight forward demographics
- Brainstorm problems, pain points and goals
- Ask yourself- “Are they the final decision maker?”
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do they make decisions?
- Finally, brainstorm trust builders- what does each person involved in the decision making process need to feel comfortable doing business with you?
___ Exercise 3 - Are they the final decision maker?
Why is important to know whether our best customer is a decision maker? If they are not, then digging deeper is not an option. A web plan must take into consideration each person’s or entity’s needs involved in the decision making process. By addressing those needs, it becomes more likely that your product or service will be considered as a solution to their problem.
Remember our VP of Marketing?
- Job Title - VP of Marketing
- Age - 40-55
- Gender - Female
- Education - College
- Race / Ethnicity - White / Non-Hispanic
- Income - $80-150K
- Marital Status - Single
- Technology User (type) - Mobile phone, tablet, desktop
Let’s recount her goals:
- To have a full analysis performed by 3 potential digital partners.
- Final recommendations should answer the question-”How can we make the company look more progressive?” Open to other suggestions as well.
- Need a results oriented partner to help me get the
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heavy work done but my team can implement the strategy to save money.
How did our VP of Marketing become
aware she had a problem to sovle?
Last quarter, the CEO met with the board to discuss concerns over perceived branding issues related to a recent acquisition and split of their product offering.
The Decision Making Process
This trigger set off a series of events that started with the CEO. Our VP of Marketing was tasked with finding a solution and she brought in her marketing manager and his team. The events took place as follows:
- At last month’s management meeting, the CEO brought up a new initiative to start a Twitter campaign to make the company look more progressive. Specifically the division that was affected by the acquisition.
- The CEO tasked our VP of Marketing to provide recommendations to answer the question—���How can we can make the newly acquired company look more progressive?” The budget is at $125,000 but he wants to have potential vendors provide their recommendations and estimates.
- The VP of Marketing tasked the marketing manager to research digital companies that have experience in Social with a track record in getting results for companies within their industry.
- The Marketing Manager has a small team and is concerned with handling all aspects of such a project. He will perform the research and deliver 3-5 companies that fit the requirements, share those results with the VP of Marketing and work directly with the vendors to determine if they are a good fit for the project.
- The VP of Marketing will participate in the decision making process and report the findings to the CEO.
- The CEO will report to the Board of Directors and provide his recommendation. The Board will accept or approve the strategy and budget.
Our decision making process is a combination of 4 audiences all with different goals and objectives. By
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thinking through the full path to the final decision maker, we have identified:
- The Board of Directors
- VP of Marketing
- Marketing Manager
Our next blog post will walk you through a framework that illustrates how each audience makes decisions and identify the kind of information they may need to feel comfortable doing business with a potential partner.
Each decision maker has a unique style in gathering and processing information that falls into 4 decision making mindsets. Those mindsets are illustrated by asking each audience the questions below:
- Do you need a lot of information to make a decision?
- Do you make decisions on the fly?
- Do you have a “what’s in it for me” attitude when you make a decision?
- Do you value people first in making decisions?
In our next blog post, we’ll drill deeper into our 4 audiences to understand how they make decisions. With this information, we’ll begin to put together a matrix that drives planning toward action.
You know way more about this than you think you do.
Here’s a question we hear a lot from clients: Does participating in Social guarantee I will have more business? That’s like asking: Will hiring a sales manager double my sales? In both cases, the answer is, it depends. If you hire the right sales manager who knows your industry, understands your customers, and is driven, there’s a good chance you can affect sales. You can say the same about Social.
Here’s why. Investments in Social, sales or any outbound marketing strategy aren’t a panacea in themselves. First ask yourself– no matter what
strategy I employ to affect business, do I have a Web site that allows me to reach out to a lot of potential targeted customers in creative ways with one common set of goals– to convince visitors I can help them, prove I am a credible business and provide visitors with an easy way to take action?
If the answer is no, then neither a Social or sales strategy is the right place to start. Not yet anyway. But that does pose a different dilemma. How do you get a Web site that meets all of those requirements and where do you start?
You already know a lot about the folks you want to do business with– trust in your experience.
1. ____ Begin by visualizing your Most Desired Customer– envision who they are and create a model of your best customer, the one that will become the central focus of your communication.
- __ Start with demographics.
- __ Think about their motivations and what creates the triggers to needing your product or service.
- __ Are they the final decision maker or do they task others to get information for them?
- __ What are their pain points?
- __ Do they need help now or in the future?
- __ Do they use mobile devices to find information online?
- __ Where are they looking for answers?
Your online presence doesn’t begin with you, it begins with those customers. First you must know who they are then you build everything, from your Web site to your Social or sales plan, to meet their needs.
2. ____ Next we must visually translate the model of your ideal customer to an effective Web layout. Learning basic Web Design Thinking that makes it easy for those customers to find the information they’re looking for [in the way they make decisions] and then visually directing them to take action, moves them along the decision making process. Whether through a prominently designed radio button that uses language to persuade someone to “Buy Now”, through a contact form that is easy to fill out or
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a simply stated call-to-action, “Let us Help - 555-555-5555″ at the top of every page, their experience should be like a beacon guiding them through the process of deciding you’re the solution they need. Achieving an aesthetically pleasing Web design layout shouldn’t focus on being “pretty” , or even
proclaiming your brand, as much as making it easy for someone to decide if they trust you, that you can help them and make it easy for them to take action when
3. ____ Once you have a picture of what your ideal customer needs and how to visually communicate to them, make it easy-and even pleasant-for visitors to consume information from your site. Familiarize yourself with Content Optimization so that you’re using messaging and phrases your customers do. Speak to them, addressing their needs at that time. Whether you’re a law firm, an apparel or healthcare company, your content should speak your customers’ language. This isn’t solely an SEO strategy. Optimizing content should have the intent of persuading folks to take that next step toward contacting you.
If you offer products or services locally and you have a physical address that you advertise, you are in luck. Becoming familiar with basic Local Optimization to make your business bubble to the top of Search engine results in local listings is a good thing. Your customers don’t have to sift through a lot of non-targeted Search results to find you.
4. ____ And finally, how do you know
what is and is not working on your Web site? It seems daunting and even boring to look at reports but learning and setting up basic Analytics Reporting is the information that will set you on the profitable track. Analytics will tell you what pages visitors land on and linger on. It will tell whether your customers use organic Search, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or some other channel to find your site. It will tell whether they spent time looking at your services
or shared content that you’ve posted because it’s useful, clever or interesting, or whether it fizzles.
In a nutshell-
Targeted, Convincing, Credible, Actionable,
Measurable– a Web site that meets all those requirements will help you begin to plan creative ways, like Social or outbound sales, to market your business to profitability.
Is your Web site design layout speaking to your visitors as well as Search Engines?
The balance between the two is related to two distinct elements in Web site design; active content and images as visual cues.
Search Engines capture only keywords and keyword phrases. Images are essentially ignored.
Opportunities are lost when Web design does not take into account active content as a strategic element in design.
Learn how Eye Tracking and Heat Map studies have guided us toward SEO friendly Web design best practices.
- Active Content - Copy that targets your visitors needs
- Images as Visual Cues - Triggers that take your visitor one step closer to a desired action