Understanding digital marketing
Despite a decent amount of time spent and even generations born into the digital age, there still seems to be a disconnect between how we think we should sell and how we actually want to be sold to. The president of Marketing Copilot, Marie Wiese, joined Women Who Dare to tell us exactly what you’re getting wrong and where you can improve to better communicate and sell to your ideal customer.
A little bit about Marie, a WWD advisor:
Marie Wiese found her innate talent at age twelve after writing a letter to a local Member of Parliament asking for a job on her grandmother’s typewriter. This lead to pursuing a degree in English and Public Relations to jumpstart a career in Canadian financial services where she first brushed with entrepreneurialism. After a run as the VP of Marketing and Sales, raising $25 million for a software company during the dotcom boom, Marie paved her own way in merging old school marketing tactics with new age digital marketing. Marie’s focus for the last fifteen years has been helping entrepreneurs turn their websites into lead generation and sales machines as the President of Marketing Copilot. Marie is an author and advocate for women in tech worldwide. Marie also recently launched a social enterprise with her daughter called GlamperGrls that aims to help writers, photographers and videographers live their dreams through work life balance and travel.
Here, we’re giving you the complete cheat sheet guide to the fantastic advice and experience Marie shared with us during her webinar with Women Who Dare. You can watch the entire webinar here.
Digital marketing, in the end, is about people:
Marie tells us that despite all the technical aspects of digital marketing, at the end of the day digital marketing is really about connecting with people; individuals. How well you do that determines how good you are at digital marketing. The ‘bad news’ is that we are no longer making face to face conversation with people; rather, it’s screen to screen. It can be more challenging to connect via screen. The good news is that we can reach more people on a larger scale and still make those connections if we approach digital marketing right.
Quote: “Digital Marketing is reaching out to people in a human way to learn if your value proposition matters to them.”
A shift in the buying experience:
Marie tells us a great story to illustrate the shift in the buyer experience we are facing. She describes the way her grandfather bought his campervan in the 1980s. He went through countless hours of research, trade shows, catalogs, books, and salesmen to finally purchase his campervan. It was a complete twelve month process along with hours spent with direct representatives of each brand.
She contrasts it to her buying experience today and how random and quite individual it really was. She explains what it all started when she went to look up a recipe for meatloaf, which lead into several other searches covering everything from Meat Loaf the singer to eventually coming across a campervan for sale. A little more research brought her to meeting two sellers, not sales people, and asking people on social media for their opinions. Her entire process took about five days, four different search engines, three devices, two social platforms, and not a single minute with a sales person.
There’s three reasons why this matters:
- Clearly, old school marketing doesn’t work like it used to:
- 34% of users click the top result
- 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices
- Three million blog posts are written each day
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn
People don’t want to be contacted the same way. In fact, sales calls from a salesperson is how people would least like to hear about your product. The buyer journey has completely changed. 97% of buyer are beginning with a search and they are 70% through their purchase before they get in touch with a salesperson.
- As a result, your website is now your most important sales tool:
A brief history of websites will show us just how we got here (and to make sure your site isn’t stuck in the past):
- In the early 2000s, websites were meant to be like online brochures.
- In the 2010s, it was about getting found.
- 2018 and beyond is about lead generation and nurturing leads into sales.
- The buying process has forever changed, therefore the sales process has forever changed.
In the past, our focus was on trying to catch as much attention as possible through methods like tradeshows, adwords, PR, buying emails and funnel it down into qualifying leads and, hopefully, closing deals.
Now, instead the goal should be to understand your ideal customer and where they look for information and position yourself where they can reach you. Luckily there are plenty of ways to achieve this through social media, PR, influencer marketing, SEO, and blog content. From there, you attract and nurture the ideal leads with a unique value proposition to close deals.
Educating versus selling:
Rank your site by Marie’s “Verison” levels and see where you’re at:
V1 – Your website is basically a brochure put on the web with basic contact information.
V2 – Your website is a brochure plus some SEO work done by the web team with basic product keywords in order for your website to rank for something.
V3 – You have a website and have acknowledged it plays some sort of role in the lead generation and lead nurturing process but you can’t yet explain how and when prospects and customers use your site.
V4 – You have acknowledged the importance of the online buyer journey and have dedicated resources and time to map it to your website and have a way to consistently push out content and measure it.
V5 – You have a documented content plan mapped to lead generation goals and a team in place to drive traffic, test and measure the effectiveness of your content in terms of lead generation and lead nurturing and you have a way to measure it against the sales pipeline.
As you might have guest, V5 is where you want your site to be for effortless selling in a way that is actually effective. That’s what digital marketing today should focus on.
Digital marketing today should focus on bringing your site and marketing plan up to speed by focusing on the right audience, not just any audience. You should make explaining what you do paramount and simple. Your web content should enhance the buyer process. Finally, you should focus of providing timely, measurable opportunities for prospects to start a conversation with your company.
Understand who your ideal customers are and how they find solutions like yours:
The key to making your whole system work is determining how you can get yourself positioned correctly in front of your ideal customer. This can be through social media, PR, influencer marketing, SEO, or blog content. Having a well planned strategy that involves all of them around your ideal customer is key.
Use buyer personas:
Narrowing down who your ideal customers are is the basis of all of the strategy we’ve talked about so far. Without knowing specifically who you are looking to communicate with and what they are looking to hear, building a good long term digital strategy is difficult. Use “buyer personas” after research to help you craft your strategy. Use these five areas to analyze and narrow down your buyer personas:
- Priority: The highest level priority your prospects hope to achieve.
- Success factors: What changes after buying?
- Perceived barriers: Why would they not buy something?
- Criteria: How will they choose?
- Buyer journey: Where will they go to weigh their options?
Drilling down your buyer personas using this information about them will help streamline your focus.
The most important sources of information: your data
You have all the data necessary! Look towards your proprietary and organic sources:
- Your website – use Google Analytics to collect important data
- Your email marketing stats – know what is working and what’s not.
- Your customer – get direct feedback whenever possible.
Articulate why these ideal customers should buy from you as opposed to other options:
So many companies online miss the mark when communicating the value proposition to their customers in a clear and simple way that shows a clear benefit to them. For example, a company is developing and optimizing “cloud services” but doesn’t realize this means almost nothing to their best potential client. Really what their customer wants to hear is that this company can reduce capital expenses, reduce risk by control of cash management, and get rid of hardware expense and resources.
Develop value-added content that helps buyers make purchase decisions:
Here is where understanding your buyer persona is key! Use what you know about where your buyer persona is looking online and what they are looking for to craft a solid content strategy. To develop a good content strategy, do proper keyword research, use your customers top 10 sales questions, and utilize emails from customers. Content matters because it builds trust with your target customers, positions you as a subject matter expert, improves your ability to be found for the right inquiries, and gives your sales team something to share with leads.
Good content provides buyers with opportunities to signal interest and qualify themselves into the pipeline.
Give leads the opportunity to say NO so you can get to your ideal customer.
After everything we’ve covered here, your takeaway as you being to optimize your digital strategy are:
- Start with people not digital channels to build your plan
- Understand what drives your ideal customer
- You can’t be everywhere so focus on where your customers are.
With a little effort in changing your digital marketing plan to focus on reaching the right customer effortlessly, your business can really take advantage of all the digital world has to offer.
You can get more information from Marie Wiese and contact her and the Marketing Copilot team at marketingcopilot.com or mariewiese.com. If you’re interested in learning more from Marie’s expertise and approach to digital marketing you can check out her book You Can’t Be Everywhere available on Amazon.