Firstly, who are your buyers?
Just knowing “who” your buyers are is much harder than it sounds. It’s tempting to say the first thing that springs to mind: everyone!
Of course, “everyone” is so vague that it could easily be substituted with “no one”. The key with your web strategy is to be specific. If you try to be everything to everyone, your marketing will be so diluted that it will be useless to the actual buyers you are hoping to attract.
Consider different buyer personas
Your buyer personas are typically also referred to as your target markets or user groups. They are the most important groups of people to your organisation – for example they are often your clients, distributors or employees.
However, the key is to be very specific and it’s important that you don’t necessarily think of them as simply demographics. They must take the form of an actual person.
Questions to ask
Which buyers are the best to work with? Which buyers refer us the most business? Which buyers are the most profitable?
Now describe one of these buyer personas
What do they do? What drives them? What are they like? Who do you know in real life that is like them?
For example, if you’re an interior designer trying to sell to doctors’ surgeries, one buyer persona might be the Practice Manager.
The practice manager works full-time and runs the practice, she manages the doctors’ appointment and co-ordinates the social activities. She’s in her 40s, lives to help those around her and the entire practice would be lost without her. Her motto is service with a smile.
Give this buyer persona a name
Let’s call this practice manager, Kate. You can begin to picture her, can’t you?
Naming your buyers personas may sound naff and trivial but it makes your web strategy a lot easier, effective and more precise.
Where is Kate spending her time online?
Does Kate turn to Google? Does she read a particular industry website or follow a specific blogger or thought leader? Does she send out feelers to her professional friends on LinkedIn? Who does she trust?
Bear in mind that 78% of people trust recommendations from friends compared with 14% who trust adverts.
The expression, “fish where the fish are” definitely applies on the web. Your job is to find out where Kate goes to solve her problems.
What is going to be useful, relevant and interesting to Kate?
Is Kate interested in your product that she hasn’t even heard of yet? I doubt it.
Put yourself in Kate’s shoes. Kate is probably much more interested in ways she can make her practice run better or improve the patients’ experience.
Create remarkable content for Kate
Now take your “marketing” hat off and put your “journalist” hat on. Marketers generally try to interrupt people with a clever advert in between interesting articles by journalists.
Your job is to report stories like a journalist, not interrupt like a marketer.
How about reporting stories like: how the artwork influences the patients’ mood, how natural light can enhance the waiting room, why fruit is a better option than Minties or why patients feel healthier in a room painted green not white.
Knowing your buyer personas and creating specific content for them, like we’ve just done for Kate, is essential for your web strategy. You are likely to have more than one buyer personas but the process is exactly the same for each.
Only once you’ve got your web strategy sorted out, should you consider which web tactics to employ.
Can you write an eBook that Kate can download for free? Or write weekly blog articles? Or start an email newsletter? Or start a Twitter profile that Kate can follow? Or create YouTube videos with information that will make Kate’s job easier?
Earning trust and being remarkable
If Kate finds your information valuable she will begin to trust you. It will take time, but as you earn more of her trust you are well on the way to strengthening that relationship to the point where she knows who you are and may enquire about your product.
Finally, if Kate finds your content so interesting and compelling that she remarks about it to her friends and colleagues, then congratulations – you’ve got truly remarkable content!
This is the starting point for all your future marketing on the web.
Adam Franklin is a social media speaker and Marketing Manager of Bluewire Media, the web strategy company he started with schoolmate Toby Jenkins. The pair co-created the Web Strategy Planning Template and wrote Web Strategy Secrets eBook (both free downloads). You can follow @Franklin_Adam