Targeting Your Marketing Communications
As a business owner or marketer, are you employing the optimal methods of communication to best reach your target audience? While there are several communication tactics available such as social media marketing, traditional advertising, content marketing and face-to-face interaction, not all are necessarily going to get you the best results.
What is imperative is to align your marketing objectives to your communication strategy. There are several steps we can use to achieve this. Firstly, you need to outline your marketing strategy — specifically what you are communicating (product or service) and who you are communicating to (target market). This will direct your marketing objectives — the end goals of your marketing strategy that specify all communication methods. Here, we dig deeper to show you how…
Your Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is a business’s overall strategic plan for its brand to reach potential customers, create leads and convert customers. By defining your marketing strategy, you will outline your company’s value propositions, key brand messaging, target market, price point and other marketing factors. Ultimately, this will determine your communication strategy and distinguish which forms of communication are best to reach your target audience.
Defining Your Target Market
To determine which forms of communication to use, you need to understand your target audience. A target market is a group of individuals who are most likely to purchase your product or service offering. This is the group(s) to which all communications will be targeted. There are several components to consider when defining your target market such as geographic, sociographic, demographic, behavioural and psychographic factors.
Outlining Your Marketing Objectives
Once you have established who you will be communicating to, you need to define your marketing objectives. Marketing objectives are the end goals of your marketing strategy, guiding all marketing efforts and specifying communication actions. Marketing objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Your marketing objectives will determine how you will reach your target audience. Marketing objectives can include:
Brand awareness is a marketing objective that strives to increase brand recognition amongst target markets. The aim is not to convert customers but to generate exposure via various communication methods to distinguish the brand from its competitors and increase familiarity with its branding, messaging and product or service. Brand awareness is especially useful for launching new products or services or for reviving older brands.
Organic and Paid Reach
Organic reach refers to the number of people who will organically/naturally see your marketing content without having paid for distribution. Paid reach refers to the number of people who will see your marketing content having paid for distribution. While organic reach is desirable (as the audience is already interested in your business), paid reach is incredibly important for attracting new customers and growing one’s audience.
Website traffic refers to the data sent and received by visitors to a website tracked via cookies. It is measured in visits called “sessions,” and is a common way to measure an online business’ effectiveness at attracting audiences. Reasons for this marketing objective may be to collate user data via analytics or simply increase the number of visitors that engage with your website.
Lead generation is a marketing objective that intends to attract potential customers and convert them into people who have an actual interest in your business and its products and services. Marketers foster relationships with these potential leads by managing them throughout the sales funnel/buying process. This is achieved through personal interaction with the aim of converting leads into paying customers.
Online Conversions / Conversions
An online conversion occurs at the end of the sales funnel when the customer lead completes a desired action such as making a purchase. While the average e-commerce conversion rates are only 1% — 2%, it is important to continue to manage and communicate with these customers to ensure repeat clientele and positive word-of-mouth. Online conversions can include making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading an app.
Customer relations is a marketing objective that seeks to nurture positive customer relationships to form long-term brand trust and loyalty. Customer relations is generally used to manage the buying process from lead generation to online conversions, as well as after the desired action (e.g.: purchase) to continue the relationship. This will result in customer retention, loyalty, acquisition, and satisfaction.
The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is a marketing term that describes each step a customer takes from brand awareness to conversion/sales. It is important to understand the steps involved as different communication tactics are necessary during each stage of the buying process.
The four stages in the sales funnel are:
- Awareness: The customer first becomes aware of the business / brand.
- Interest: The customer becomes interested and begins actively researching / showing interest in the business / brand.
- Decision: The customer is ready to purchase the product or service, however, they are weighing up other competitors.
- Action: The customer completes the desired action / purchase.
In terms of digital marketing, the sale funnel can be outlined as follows: leads, sales calls, follow-up, conversion, sales.
Communication Tactics to Achieve Marketing Objectives
Now that you have outlined your marketing objectives, you need to establish a communication strategy. From traditional advertising and social media marketing to content marketing and face-to-face interaction, each form of communication has certain advantages which will enable you to reach your audience. This can be used strategically to manage the buyer from the awareness to the action stages. Here, we look at the different forms of communication:
Traditional advertising is a form of one-way communication that utilises mass media such as print media or television to disseminate sponsored messages to mass audiences. Due to its ability to reach audiences on a mass scale, traditional advertising is generally large-scale and the most expensive form of advertising. Examples of traditional advertising include print, radio, television, and billboard advertising. Due to its impersonal and one-way nature, traditional advertising is ideal for large-scale brand awareness. However, as it lacks targeted messaging, you may reach a wide audience with few leads. This being said, traditional advertising is beneficial for large-scale brand awareness or launching a new product or service.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing utilises social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to share engaging written and visual content with audiences. This type of communication is organic in nature and facilities two-way communication which assists brands in developing online communities/customer relationships. Furthermore, paid media can assist brands in reaching wider and more targeted audiences. Social media has become business’ preferred form of marketing and is the first port of call for audiences when interacting with brands. Due to this, social media marketing can be used for the majority of marketing objectives including brand awareness, organic and paid reach, website traffic (linking posts to websites) and customer relations.
Email marketing is a form of one-way marketing communication that involves sending direct messages via email to customers. Mailers include text and media with impactful subject lines to entice users to click on the mailer and engage with the brand. This form of communication is valuable as it is highly targeted, reaching customers that have already shown an active interest in a business. In terms of achieving marketing objectives, email marketing is highly effective when it comes to increasing website traffic and generating leads. Utilising best practices of email marketing to continue to engage with potential customers can ultimately result in successful online conversions and help to maintain customer relationships.
Content marketing is the strategic approach of creating and distributing valuable content to reach targeted audiences. The intention is to create interesting content that does not overtly promote the business but provides value to potential customers and places the business as an authority. Content marketing can include blog posts, vlogs, videos, infographics, etc. Like email marketing, content marketing is beneficial for website traffic and lead generation as it can link to the website or position your brand as a thought leader (thus a preferred choice amongst competitors). Furthermore, existing customers can be retained as they perceive that they are still receiving value from engaging with the brand.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) marketing is the process of increasing the quality of your online content to make it appear higher in online search engine results when audiences search specific keywords. It is an organic/non-paid form of marketing as it focuses on optimising keyword research, meta tags, cornerstone content, link building, structure, and image attributes, to make web pages more visible. Thus, it is seen as more credible than PPC search advertising. Ultimately, SEO marketing can result in optimal organic reach and, in turn, increased website traffic.
Mobile marketing promotes brands on user’s devices such as smartphones and tablets. This form of marketing utilises mobile technology such as push notifications via apps and location services to tailor marketing efforts. Mobile marketing is especially useful as it is a low-cost way to reach audiences within proximity who are searching for what your business has to offer. Due to this, mobile marketing is most beneficial for location-lead generation and online conversions such as encouraging a user within a certain location to perform the desired action (e.g.: making a phone call).
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a mode of online advertising in which audiences pay a fee every time an advert is clicked. PPC search advertising allows for sponsored placement on search engines when someone searches a certain keyword. PPC display advertising is another form of PPC which displays adverts on web pages in the form of text or images. PPC advertising is beneficial as it is a low-cost means of directing traffic to a website. Marketers can allocate / bid a certain amount which provides flexibility in terms of reaching and engaging with your audience. In addition to website traffic, PPC adverts can increase brand awareness (display ads), paid reach, website traffic and lead generation.
Face-to-face communication is a traditional form of marketing that involves the seller promoting the business face-to-face with its customers. This includes various verbal and non-verbal cues that enable the seller and buyer to connect on a personal level, forming a repour between the brand and customer. Face-to-face communication can comprise direct selling (door-to-door selling), promotions, networking events, etc. A timely exercise yet highly personal and credible, face-to-face interaction is best for further down in the sales funnel including marketing objectives such as lead generation, conversions (sales) and maintaining customer relationships.
In conclusion, it is evident that our business marketing objectives must align to our communication methods. From the above analysis, we can glean:
- Traditional advertising is best for brand awareness.
- Social media marketing is best for brand awareness, organic and paid reach, website traffic and lead generation.
- Email marketing is best for website traffic, lead generation, and customer relationships.
- Content marketing is best for website traffic, lead generation, and customer relationships.
- SEO marketing is best for organic reach and website traffic.
- Mobile marketing is best for location-lead generation and online conversations.
- PPC search adverts are best for paid reach, website traffic and lead generation.
- PPC display adverts are best for brand awareness, paid reach, website traffic and lead generation.
- Face-to-face communication is best for conversions and customer relationships.
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