By Sharon A.M. MacLean who invites your comments following this blog. You can also find more modern marketing strategies for business here.
You’ve taken the time to identify your personas—a representation of your ideal customer—for online marketing. “Now what?” you ask.
Let’s first take a step back. You thought deeply about what keeps your customers up at night. Maybe it’s the anxiety stemming from competitors poaching their clients…or the lack of funds to meet month-end payroll…how about sales messages that fall on deaf ears.
The analysis also revealed:
- general personality traits of your customers and prospects;
- personal values;
- whether they have an affinity for doing business with you;
- their capacity for doing business with you.
The next step is to figure out how you can help each Persona. We’re not talking about generic answers, either. It’s more than increasing customer service or helping them to become more efficient. You’re looking for more specific ideas to help your Personas solve their specific challenges.
“People go online for 2 reasons, says Stephen Saber pictured above, CEO of TPNI Engage and Pulse Network. “To be entertained or to be educated.” The Pulse Network and TPNI Engage offers state-of-the-art marketing systems that help small business and enterprise clients to leverage social media, book publishing, special event management, video and mobile marketing to attract and engage customers. Full disclosure: I am a satisfied client who uses their systems for automated email marketing, podcasts, landing pages and newsletters. To name a few services.
“Your customers need to solve a problem,” says Stephen. “They need to grow their business and drive traffic, leads and sales,” so they’re looking for answers online. Yes, they want to self-educate.
The 4 types of Personas
It is tempting to throw everyone you know into the same database and send identical messages to the entire group.
Instead, try using a simple grid to place your customers and prospects somewhere in a 4-quadrant grid. Each quadrant shows conversations unique to their Persona profile. It’s the same as having a face-to-face conversations; each dialogue is different depending on who you’re talking to.
Here’s Stephen’s 4-quadrant grid along with my additional comments: Existing Customers; Lapsed Customers; Referred Friends; Desired Customers.
Quadrant 1: Existing Customers. These are your best clients. Individuals who land in Quadrant 1 have a high capacity and high affinity for doing business with you. Can you increase the amount of products and services you’re offering to them? How about the frequency for making a purchase.
Since you also know a lot about your customers, you probably don’t need to spend too much on additional study. That is not to say they should be ignored, but the research may be redundant.
Type of message: The communication—in 10 words or less—is simple and straight forward that solves their current challenge.
Quadrant 2: Lapsed Customers. These former customers are sitting in your database and, lately, you’ve not engaged them. Personas in Quadrant 2 have high capacity and the potential for the highest ROI.
Type of message: Remind them of what you do best. Their communication differs from Existing Customers because you haven’t talked to them lately. It’s just like an old friend you haven’t seen in years: You want to jog their memories about the good feelings you shared.
Quadrant 3. Referred Friends. Personas in Quadrant 3 may have great affinity, but undetermined capacity. They are great prospects because of their strong connection with friends of your business.
Type of message: Refer to common ground with your mutual friend and realize their circumstances might be vastly different. Ask questions about their current challenges.
Quadrant 4: Desired Customers. These are people you’d like to know but you’re not yet doing business with them. “It’s a fresh conversation,” says Stephen.
You don’t know about the affinity or capacity for Quadrant 4 people. It is important to qualify them, if only to ensure that scarce resources are not spent in attempting to build relationships or to pitch them. Low cost strategies are warranted and you do need to monitor the investment.
Type of message: It’s a brand new discovery conversation. Learn as much as you can about their business and paint points before offering solutions.Also learn – early – about their capacity and affinity for doing business with you.
Finally, determine the frequency of your messages and the best channels that reflect the Personas in each of your 4 quadrants.
Lifelong communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine for over 21 years for business people. She is certified in Integrated Online Strategies from the University of San Francisco and the Instant Customer Mastery Certified Professional Program