Segmentation – an offline marketing concept emerging naturally in an online marketing world http://www.SoCalBMA.org/Blog
I talk a lot about understanding your customers. It is one of the things that can really differentiate you from your competition. So much of what we do today as consumers is based upon creating circles or people with similar interests, common friends or links to others in the business world. It is based upon really associating with those we interact with. This same concept applies to knowing your customers. What are they looking for? Why do they buy from you? What influences them? What is the experience like?
The more you can really understand your customers the more relevant your business will be to them. Consider that most of the best technology innovations were built out of necessity. This understanding of your customers and what they need drives value beyond building the next best product. It can help you to improve your inventory management, showcase your products better, and deliver superior customer service.
Working in product management, I’ve been able to see how the closer the product team is to the customer the better the product becomes. It is the understanding and experience you get from working directly with the customer that helps you understand how to innovate and what really adds value for them. While many large organizations focus on the Voice of Customer (VOC) research, it should not be overlooked for the small business. The way you capture the VOC may be different but the value is the same.
Take time to experience your service, talk to your customers and shop your competitors. It will give you a perspective to enhance your business.
Like most small buisnesses, you’ve probably found email to be a low cast marketing channel. And, getting started with email marketing is fairly simple. There are a variety of services designed to help small businesses quickly upload their customerbase, create professional looking emails, and track campaign effectiveness. Here are a couple quick tips to boost the overall ROI of your email campaigns.
1) Target your campaigns. The best way to improve your open and click through rates is to target your campaign and message to the customers most likely to open them. Use your customer data and what you know about their interests, purchase patterns and relationship with you to target your campaigns.
2) Ask for the Opt-in. Respect your customers and how they want to communicate with you. Don’t assume that a purchase is an opt-in. Ask your customers to opt-in to your email marketing list. That way you have an audience that is most interested in building a relationship with you.
3) Build the right cadence to your emails. Don’t over communicate or under communicate with your customers. Look at your purchase patterns and then communicate in a timing that makes sense for how your customers buy. Sending a 40% off offer twice a week, every week, may result in your email getting overlooked or worse yet, prompting the unsubscribe.
4) Be mobile friendly. With Mobile internet usage projected to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014, it is critical that you consider mobile within all of your marketing channels. According to Hubspot, 46% of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit. Make sure you consider how your email campaign is going to be optimized for mobile, as well as how your website responds when they click the link within the email campaign. Your email and website work together to deliver campaign performance.
5) Compare and learn. Track the metrics around delivery, opens, clicks and ultimately conversions so you can see what works best for your customers. Then adapt your future campaigns.
Don’t overlook ways to improve the performance of your email campaigns. The value of the marketing channel is measured in its performance over time.
When it comes to marketing your small business – focus is critical. Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Those should be words to live by when it comes to marketing.
Understanding who are your most valuable customers and targeting them effectively is what makes a marketing campaign successful. Your message should speak directly to the needs of the target audience. If you broaden your target audience too wide, you’ll often miss the message with everyone. We’ve all seen those marketing pieces that when you finish reading you still don’t know what they do. The more you make the message try to appeal to a diverse audience the less effective it often becomes.
So to improve your marketing start with these simple steps:
- Create a profile of your target audience. Be as specific as you can in describing who they are, what motivates them to buy, what value you deliver to them.
- Listen to your customers. Find out what they talk about and how they talk about it. Use their own words to describe the problems and how you can serve their needs.
- Make your message clear. If you have a targeted message, you should be able to deliver it succinctly. The best content I read it the content that I can quickly skim through and fully comprehend the message. Make sure that your message is clear, concise and targeted for your audience.
Concentrate on your best customers and don’t worry about everybody else.
If your marketing plan includes a Back-To-School campaign, you’ll want to take a look at the changes in consumer spending patterns and adjust your plans. The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back to School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight ( http://blog.nrf.com/2012/07/19/nrf-releases-2012-back-to-school-back-to-college-consumer-spending-reports/) shows that parents will increase their spending for back to school supplies by 14 percent to an average of $688.62, up from $603.63 last year. However their spending patterns and behaviors are likely to change. More parents are indicating that they will be shopping for sales. Additionally the back-to-school season is on as parents are also spreading out purchases and beginning to buy earlier to better align to their budgets. http://www.cnbc.com/id/48241266/
What does this mean for your small business marketing campaigns?
- The season is already upon us. If you haven’t started your campaign yet, it is time to get going. Shoppers will be out early and looking for deals so you want to make sure you are top of mind.
- Use discounts and coupons to attract buyers. Consider cross-sales that align with your special offers to make the most of each transaction.
- Send out reminders to your loyal customers and last years’ buyers to attract them back to your business.
- Capture insights on all of your customers. Make sure that you sign up new cusotmers for loyalty programs and capture their email address at the point of sale so you can send them future offers.
Once we are into the school year, set aside some time to take a look at the campaign metrics and your overall back-to-school sales so you can adjust your plans for your seasonal campaign next year.
Here is a great case study in understanding who your customers and what they want. Taco Bell has been struggling with declining sales. But with an interesting change in their product and marketing strategy they have experienced the most successful product launch in the company’s 50-year history. The Doritos Locos Taco sold over 100 million units in just 10 weeks.
What makes this product so interesting? The product directly appeals to the core target market of Taco Bell. (It is the perfect combination of tacos and chips all for $1.29.) The Doritos Locos Taco is about understanding what your customers want and then designing a product that addresses those needs. As a product manager, or business owner, it is important to not get excited about building something that you personally find interesting. Or worse yet, building a really cool widget because you can. Attempting to create a market for a product that was designed without the market in mind can be costly and even devastating for a small business. Take time to profile your customers. Make sure that you are detailed enough that you can fully understand the differences in their needs and what makes them want to buy from you. Consider subtle yet very important differences. For example, let’s say you sell a premium craft beer. Is your audience people who drink beer or more specifically people who buy beer?
To be successful in product marketing, you need to understand your audience and what motivates them to buy from you. The perfect combination of tacos and chips – definitely a well positioned product that is paying off for Taco Bell.