Times have changed. People are not buying the same way they used to a few years ago. Traditional methods of marketing are not working. The old marketing playbook is broken!
I am sure you don’t shop the same way as you used. I don’t. I am not convinced by the interruptive nature of advertising. When I need something I usually look online, educate myself, compare various brands, read reviews and other related information and finally make my buying choice. I buy from “brands” and not just businesses trying to “sell” to me!
In this new way of buying, you would notice that the power lies with me as the buyer. Businesses can not dictate how I would make my purchase.
So how do you market in a way that is not only current but also future proof?
Instead of interrupting your buyers, you should look at attracting them to your business, befriending them, converting them into customers and finally delighting them to become your brand promoters. We follow the “buyers journey” and make sure we communicate with the buyers appropriately.
Yes, it is as simple as A, B, C, D!
At SpellBrand we help businesses go through this journey with strategies, tools, and support that enable you to take strangers and convert them to your customers!
We call this methodology Brand Immersion Marketing™. Your brand is at the center of the methodology. You build your brand and leverage it to get sales and customers.
What is the Brand Immersion Marketing™ methodology?
Instead of buying ads, buying email lists, or cold calling, Brand Immersion Marketing™ focuses on creating a robust brand image and providing educational and useful content that pulls people toward your brand and website where they can learn more about what you sell on their own accord.
Understanding The Buyer’s Journey
We are HubSpot partners and use their software for our own marketing as well as for planning, implementing and tracking those of our clients. Our BIM methodology is a marriage between Inbound Marketing advocated by HubSpot and Branding Strategy that we specialise in and have practiced for a few years now.
This methodology is effective and works because it starts with understanding the BUYER’S JOURNEY. Your buyer’s journey has the following stages:
1) Awareness Stage – In this stage your customer would have realised and expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity. They would be researching on information that would help identify their problem or give life to an opportunity. They would be reading reports, guides, articles, ebooks, white papers or other educational content.
2) Consideration Stage – In this stage your customer would have gained some insight into their problem or opportunity and would have clearly defined it. They are now committed to researching and understanding all available approaches/methods that would help solve the problem or opportunity. They would be comparing different solutions or services. They are reading comparison white papers, expert guides and even live interactions. They would be watching webinars, podcasts and videos.
3) Decision Stage – In the final stage, your customer would have defined their solution strategy, method of approach and would be reading supporting documents, data, endorsements or recommendations to make a final decision as to which solution or service or vendor they want to go with. They will be making vendor comparisons, product or service comparisons, reading case studies, downloading trials or product literature or signing up to live demos.
If you understand and outline these stages of your buyers, then you can come up with ideas to connect with and support your customers through their journey and guide them to your solution, service or product. You do this with educating and helping the customer and not with just blind marketing pitches.
Click Here to read about the Buyer’s Journey in more detail with examples and key takeaways.
BIM™ is made up of four important phases based on the buyer’s journey:
Attracting strangers to your brand is the starting point of your marketing. To do this, we start off by building a robust brand. Identifying your core values and creating a mission statement with a USP ensures that you have a single beacon of light to guide your brand going forward. The biggest challenge many businesses out there face is the lack of direction and focus. Your mission statement gives you that focus. By understanding what your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is, you can better position your brand in the market place.
We then help you create a brand story that connects and resonates with your target market. To create the right kind of brand story, it is essential to understand and nail down the exact buyer personas of your customers.
Armed with a brand story and buyer personas, we then move on to creating the right kind of brand name (if required). We then research, brainstorm and create your perfect logo design and associated brand identity assets including social media images, any print items etc. We also create a brand strategy that aligns with your core values and USP.
The last part of the attract phase is understanding your business, your buyers and how and where they make their purchasing decisions. Based on this understanding, we create lists of keywords that will bring in the kind of traffic required to take your business to the next level. Using these keywords lists, we will create a highly optimised and beautiful website design.
The process of blogging and engaging on social media begins and fresh content is posted on your website on a regular basis to enable Google to index and rank your website for all the keywords that we have listed before. This is where traffic comes to your website. To get the kind of qualified traffic that ensures high conversion rates, you would need to become an authority in your field. This process includes Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), SEO (search engine optimization), inbound link building and social media engagement or social media boost campaign.
Once your awesome brand and website are ready and getting traffic, it is time to start campaigns that start turning your website visitors into leads. This is akin to befriending the strangers who visit your site. You do this by offering information and tools that are valuable to your target audience.
Your offers can take many shapes and forms depending on your target audience including content offers (check lists, tips etc), eBooks and White Papers (on industry information, how-tos, tips, strategies etc), webinars, videos and more.
These offers are put through a funnel on your website that start with a powerful “call-to-action” which leads to a well designed and worded “landing page“ which has an “effective form” to “capture lead information” such as Name, Email address etc.
The more offers and landing pages that are relevant you create, the more leads you get. As simple as that!
If you create content offers that are valuable to your visitors then they would part with their information to access these offers. Once a lead is in your CRM database, then you need to analyse and understand where they came from, what they did on your website and what their behaviour is. Understandably it is hard to track each and every lead manually and so we offer a set of tools to make this seamless and effortless.
Understand what content pulls your buyers through the sales funnel, and use that context to personalize your marketing at scale.
Once you’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, you need to transform those leads into customers with targeted, automated email nurturing and social media interaction.
Tools to close leads into customers include:
USE LEAD SCORING TO DETERMINE WHICH LEADS ARE READY FOR A SALESPERSON.
You’ve got contacts in your system, but how do you know which ones are ready to speak to your sales team? Using a numerical representation of the sales-readiness of a lead takes the guesswork out of the process.
SEND TARGETED EMAILS TO LEADS TO PULL THEM THROUGH THE SALES FUNNEL.
What if a visitor clicks on your CTA and fills out a form on a landing page to download a whitepaper, but still isn’t ready to become a customer? Nurture them with a series of emails focused on useful, relevant content until they’re ready.
GO BEYOND EMAIL BY USING AUTOMATION INFORMED BY CONTEXT AND LIFECYCLE.
If a visitor downloaded a whitepaper from you in the past, you might want to send that lead a series of related emails. But if they follow you on Twitter and visited certain pages on your website, you might want to tailor the messaging.
CLOSE THE LOOP BY INTEGRATING YOUR MARKETING TOOLS WITH YOUR CRM.
Know which marketing efforts are bringing in the best leads and whether your sales team is focused on the most qualified leads by integrating with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Your job is not done when you convert your leads to customers. You have to delight your customers so they become promoters and evangelists of your brand. Such promoters ensure your brand grows organically and through referrals as much as it does with search or paid campaigns.
By providing exceptional customer service, you will delight your customers. To make this happen, you must create an awesome culture with in the company and educate your employees to understand the importance of delighting your customers through service.
Listen to your customers – both the happy ones and the angry ones. Especially the angry ones. Your complainers are your best customers! They help you identify the weaknesses in your business and innovate and improve.
Keep innovation on top of your agenda. A static company that does not spend any time, money or effort on innovation (i.e improving your business) is bound to be washed away when the tides turn. Involve your customers in your innovation efforts. Poll them. Survey them. Ask them for advice. Involve them.
Reward your loyal customers in any way you can and appropriate to your business. Send them personal post cards, gift coupons or even cookies! Let them know how valuable they are to your business. We can help you come up with strategies for this.
Finally continually monitor and engage your customers via social media. Our social monitor tool can help you automatically monitor your customers on social media and inform you when they are active. Depending on what they posted, if appropriate, you can then engage them to let them know you care about their activities online!
Brand Immersion Marketing Strategy
Big brands and companies do one thing really well – brand immersion. They take great pains to immerse their audience in their brand and they do this with a consistent brand image, message tone and story. In this post I analyse how brand immersion can be done and how it would help make your brand “sticky”.
Immersing your target audience in your brand is critical to building brand awareness, recall and then eventually brand conversion. This takes the shape of non-interruptive contact with your potential customers and delivering the brand message clearly and emphatically.
Is your current strategy interruptive?
If you examine your current marketing strategy and tactics, 9 times out of 10, it would an interruptive strategy. You may be rudely sending out marketing messages, interrupting your prospects and hoping they would covert to becoming your customers.
Interruptive marketing methods include:
- Telemarketing (act of promoting a good or service over the telephone)
- Print advertising (promote a product via newspapers or magazines)
- Direct Mail (promotional circulars sent directly via mail)
- E-mail spam (electronic mails sent to large mailing lists)
- TV/radio advertisements (promote a product via television and radio)
All there marketings methods used to effective in the past. But not as much any more. In fact some of them are dying out. Depending on the industry, telemarketing is a great example of the worst form of interruptive marketing. Do you not hate getting a cold call from a sleazy sales agent trying to sell you something? Most often due to the low cost nature of telemarketing services, the agents are poorly trained and do not really care about your brand. All they care about is their commission which means that they will be so pushy, people would end up hating your brand.
Print advertising is also loosing its power. A half page print advert, which costs a ton of money is not getting the same ROI as it used 5 years ago. And yet, companies continue to pump money into such form of advertising. When asked why they do that, usually the response would be – how else do we reach our potential customers?
Understand your customers
Start off with getting a deep understanding of your customers. If you have been in business for a number of years, it is even more important that you understand the current world view of your customers. Times are changing and people’s tastes and the way they search for and shop services or products is changing. Understanding where your customers are going to find services such as yours is critical before embarking on any marketing campaign. Of course, if they are indeed found reading the magazine you are putting your advertising dollars into, then so be it. I am talking about the rest of the 90% of businesses.
Work hard to study your target market and then create buyer personas. These will be worth their weight in gold. These personas will give you insights into your potential customers that will dictate where and how you need to market to them.
Once you understand your customers, then it is time to build relations. You can not expect to just turn up, interrupt your customers, give your sales pitch and then walk away expecting them to chose your brand and make the purchase. Would you do that? When was the last time you bought some thing from a company that just appeared out of no where and demanded you buy from them?
Building a relation with your potential customers is at the core of brand immersion. It is important you understand that building a relation does not mean making a sales pitch to them.
A quick look at the major social media channels in your market segment will reveal the fallacy of equating building relation to pitching to people. Most companies start a Facebook business page or a Twitter page and then start broadcasting sales messages, announcements, discount offers and so on.
These business owners then complain that social media marketing does not work and it is a waste of time and money. Of course it would be if you treat these new media platforms as you would the traditional interruptive marketing avenues. A Facebook business page is not the same as an advertisement. People would not “like” your page and then be happy getting sales message updates from you.
The art of marketing on social media a vast topic and I have written several articles about it. In this post I will not dwell too much into those topics. I just wanted to illustrate the point about the wrong way of building relationships with your potential customers.
Understand what motivates your customers and then try and connect with them on that level. If you had discovered, during the buyer persona building exercise that your customers enjoy humor, then your brand should promote humor in it’s messaging and on all the different touch points. If having time to spend with their family is important to them, then research and find ways they can do that and share those tips with them.
These aspects may not have any thing to do with your service or product. Here is an example to illustrate this point.
The super beer brand Stella Artois uses vintage film to connect with its audience. It also sponsors the Cannes Film Festival. It understands that its target market loves film – especially the bygone era. It understands that its customers love the nostalgia associated with the 50s and 60s. It understands that they crave the “James Bond” life style and intrigue of those times.
One example of a Stella TV advert features a debonaire guy driving an Austin Martin into the drive of a huge mansion while a butler awaits at the gate. It then builds a story of this guy’s life style as a rich and suave aristocrat with access to money, women and more.
In 2012, Stella Artois ran a huge campaign in it’s Facebook page and offered over 2000 pairs of tickets to the awesome Pulp Fiction movie which was screened at 10 locations in the UK. Fans would get a red carpet treatment, a Stella and an immersive experience.
Now that is marketing at its finest. The film had nothing to do with Stella. But it connected with it’s customers through their love for film.
You may not have the budget of Stella Artois to sponsor international events or create Hollywood quality adverts. But with in your business, you can surely think of ways of connecting with your customers outside the scope of your sales funnel. Do not feel compelled to always “sell, sell, sell”. A lot of business owners feel guilty if they are engaged in any activity that does not look like marketing or selling. They create that atmosphere in the company and train their marketing people to have the same mindset.
Instead think outside the box. Spend time, effort and money building relationships with your customers that does not involve trying to sell them your service or product. Let them know you care about them – and genuinely DO care about them.
The goal is to include traditional advertising, public relations, word-of-mouth advertising, digital marketing, sampling, coupons, retail partnerships and other ways of surrounding the consumer with a consistent message about your brand.
Brand immersion is about enveloping your product or company issue so that the marketing, advertising, and public relations departments or representatives work holistically towards delivering the same brand message across multiple distribution channels.
Your brand identity, your website, your marketing message, the tone of your messages and the attitude of your brand should all be consistent with your brand story. They should all come together to immerse your potential customer so that you become a defacto choice when they are looking to make a purchase.
When your potential clients are immersed in your brand, they will not feel interrupted.