You want to get the message out to the customers that matter to you, while still keeping your marketing efforts broad enough to scoop up those stragglers on the fence who might need that extra push to your side of the yard. Here are some common sense strategies to maximize your marketing communication efforts:
Who are the Customers?
Any entry level marketing class would tell you that, first and foremost, you need to determine your ideal audience. The old axiom rings true when it says that if everyone is special, then no one is. There is no universal fishing bait that will draw in every single person in every single market. In fact, you aren’t selling things that are equally as useful to children as adults, or to males as females. There might be overlap, but don’t assume that it breaks down into equal market shares.
Do your homework and segment your market into easily identifiable, measurable groups, including:
Geographic - Know where your customers are and how their location affects the market. Weather, isolation, population density, proximity to your competition, and international laws are all factors informed by a simple geography breakdown.
Demographic - The individual traits of your clientele, including their age, gender, income, ethnicity and religion.
Behavioral - This combines the data to further divide your ideal market into attitudes, usage rate, and responses toward certain products.
Psychographic - This category is often referred to as the ‘lifestyle’ segment, and is considered among the most important. It considers the activities, opinions, and interests of a given group. It is the kind of information that will determine if a particular market is likely to spend money on luxury items. It focuses on how the individual, or group, identify themselves in society and the image they would like to project.
How to Maintain Effective Communication?
When considering the class of content most useful to distribute your brand or product message, again it’s important to be specific, by going through an easy to follow set of steps:
Define Goals - Know what success looks like when you find it. Avoid goals such as “increase sales” in favor of a more specific goal like “maintain 5% average growth across three consecutive quarters.” Lay out a very specific and measurable path toward your desired end.
Develop Message - Decide what you’re going to say and in which medium the content will be expressed. Text, image, and video content can be used individually or in tandem to create a multi-layered content campaign.
Select Channels - Choose your platform, whether it be social media, blog, company website, or traditional advertising channels.
Set Budget - Figure out the projected costs for your content campaign.
Determine Mix - As you’re likely to utilize more than one channel, you need to determine which channels to use, how often and for which class of content.
Measure & Optimize - Since the market is more like a living thing than a machine, you’ll want to adjust your strategy on the fly. Monitor your customer interactions, click-throughs, and other measurables and make adjustments as needed to optimize your success.
Communications is largely about the consistency and strength of your message. Following these steps will ensure that the flow of information remains constant throughout.
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com
How to Talk to Them, and Who Should do the Talking?
With Facebook and Twitter, communication with customers is more immediate and direct than ever before. Does your company have a social media department, and should they be responsible for social media inquiries? While this is certainly viable and efficient, customer service is usually best left to a customer service representative or department regardless of platform. While leaving social media as a customer service hotline, so to speak, but leaving the responses to the customer service handler(s) will ensure your customers are experiencing your company’s best efforts at solving their problems. Fragment your teams.
While some of your content will include a call to action for a specific product, consider directing your call to action toward customer engagement on some of your social media posts. Ask questions, invite opinions and discussion, and most importantly, respond as much as possible. Larger companies often have teams or outside companies whose sole purpose is to handle their social media engagement.
When to Talk to Them?
Companion to the actual content itself is the timing of its delivery. If you have an international audience, then your social media content release schedule should align with the local time of your target audience. If you have target demographics in multiple timezones that you want to reach with the same content, then schedule a repost, or callback, during the secondary time zone. Avoid overlap as much as possible without sacrificing the ideal time window. Know whether your audience is more active in the morning, or the evening. Do they browse during the day or after work?
Ultimately, your answers to any of these questions will be as good as the market segregation data you collected. Information is power and it has a trickle down effect that can be measured in real dollars.