Big Idea: How to find skittish buyers and coax them to your sideBy Burkey Belser
January 23, 2017
Stories from the merger. Issue 1: Our merger with Finn Partners has delivered on all fronts. Not only was the integration smooth and swift, but we have found ourselves a bit like kids in a candy shop. Or maybe it’s like Marco Polo back from China with the secret to paper, the printing press and pasta. There are so many skills, technologies and talents now available to us we simply (hate to admit it, but true) did not have before! Here’s one, in particular, you should know about:
Find Your Buyers
The end game for all our work in marketing is simple and always the same—find qualified buyers or members. Tried-and-true methodologies for services marketers (advertising, trade shows, events, seminars) are still valuable. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but we are all looking for greater precision and greater efficiency for our marketing resources. Obviously, the Holy Grail is the right message in front of the right buyer at the right time. We’re not there yet, but as buyer behavior aligns like magnetic particles around the Internet, we learn that we are getting smarter at the same time our buyer is becoming smarter.
Most of us scatter buckshot trying to find prospects. Other times we target them more closely but either way, this has been the less-than-satisfying pattern of client acquisition for years. Remember the old saying, “I know half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half.” There is a better way. New technologies allow us to observe our clients in an extension of their natural habitats—online. We can discover much more about them than ever before—where they hang out, what they read, what they are talking about and interested in—so you can match your marketing to your market. Sound exciting? We think so, too.
Digital Demand Mapping
Digital Demand Mapping (DDM) delivers insight into how and where people are searching for and talking about a specific topic. This research allows you to then speak to and engage those audiences in the right places. DDM can help you find the right language, channels and content topics to build awareness for your organization. It’s got four steps:
• keyword research
• conversation channel identification
• conversation influencer identification and
• competitor analysis.
Knowing how people search for information gives valuable insight into what content will resonate with them. “Key” is the right term here because those “keywords” unlock the searcher’s mind. One keyword or phrase from one user is hardly enough to unlock anything, but keywords from a wide sample of searchers build the ultimate key you seek. Think 3-D printing—bit by bit but super fast.
Likewise, listening to the ongoing conversation gives a very clear picture of not only what information is being exchanged but also what information is not. “Not” is just as important. You may be producing content that is interesting to you but falling on deaf ears.
Keyword research is used to define and set parameters around priority conversations (social listening), inform messaging and content development and guide search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Unless there are good reasons to go wider or narrower, keyword research and social listening are done at the national level.
Conversation Channel Analysis
Once the parameters of the conversation have been fixed, we listen to the conversation trends and volume over time to understand where the conversation is taking place and to identify trends, subtopics and how the volume fluctuates. This information allows you to make informed decisions about what to slip into the conversation and engage your target audiences with messaging and content. No more throwing pasta at the wall to see if it sticks!
Influencers are individuals with significant cloud in key conversations who can serve as conduits for delivering messaging to target audiences. Personally, I find this extremely interesting. We all know the “voices” in traditional media but voices online can have outsized influence on a narrow, narrow topic. It’s the ultimate atomization of markets allowed by the Internet. “Influencers” are defined by three metrics: reach, resonance and relevance to a topic area. DDM research identifies the Top 50 influencers in the priority area you select.
DDM audits your competitors’ presence in comparison to your imagined footprint. We identify who your main topic competitors are. Those may be true business competitors or content and governing organizations that your audiences rely on for information. The research assesses what they do well and where they may be weak. You get the report.
Okay, Armed and Ready. What’s Next?
We have already used the results of Digital Demand Mapping to:
• define online properties where we choose to advertise or contribute content. Perhaps more important, we now know who clients should “listen to” and follow.
• adjust client pay-per-click advertising language, quickly and as warranted
• create content marketing campaigns that address topics proven to be of interest to targets
• providing the engine and analytics for lead generation campaigns (Listen up, BizDev!)
• improve the entire sequence of marketing automation so the engine hums quietly in the background, basically pinging with content those near and distant stars who are waiting to hear just the right message.
For example, at first blush this chart is overwhelming but slide on over to the left of the image and you’ll note four icons in the first vertical row. Imagine this multi-service firm has focused on its most important revenue drivers—healthcare, retail, travel and hospitality—as well as seeking the best and brightest laterals and students to consider them for employment. Got it?
Now go to the health care row. Research told us buyers should be targeted online (and sometimes, in parallel, offline) with display ads on Property A, B and C, for example. Video ads should be part of that advertising mix. LinkedIn was a good social media choice. Email marketing (the most effective and most underrated marketing tactic) is directed at the organization’s mailing list. A referral program is established and nurtured. And, of course, all of this leads back to the website where unique landing pages are deployed with relevant content. Calculating our investment in that row, we can determine the Cost Per Acquisition (the last vertical row) of each lead.
I know, I know, you want to contact us right away, right? firstname.lastname@example.org. 202-775-0333. Ask for Monica.