(Hat tip to Ky for the photo)
Knowing how and where your customers are sourcing their information is an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy.
It helps you to create and deploy the right content at the right time and in the right place. This allows you to better engage with existing and potential customers and, ultimately, optimise your marketing spend.
Here’s how to get to grips with your customers’ ‘listening’ habits and how to use the information:
- The first step is to create your buyer personas. Buyer personas are, to borrow HubSpot’s definition, ‘semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals.’ They help you understand your audience better and, in turn, help you to produce engaging, bespoke content.
- To supplement this, set up a simple web form or survey on your website to collect information about your customers. Ask how they first heard of you and what their interests are. HubSpot’s software can be useful for creating these forms.
- You can then gauge how and where your ideal customers are getting their information. Do they use a smartphone? Read magazines? Use LinkedIn? Which websites and blogs do they follow?
- With this in hand you can focus your marketing efforts on these hotspots to cut down on unnecessary content and cost. For example, if there is a blogger that a lot of your customers follow, approach them to write a guest post for you or leave a comment with relevant links to your own content on one of their posts (no spamming though!).
- This is particularly important for social media sites. Using them to listen to and interact with existing and potential customers is vital, but identify which sites are most frequented by your ideal customers and concentrate on those; you can’t be everything for everybody.
- It also helps to listen to your customers. Duct Tape Marketing suggests using these three simple tools to open your ears:
- Talkwalker lets you set up as many alerts as you want for online activity that you want to track, such as mentions of your brand or competitors, and it can email you real-time reports of what’s happening.
- Clever use of Google blog search can help you to find relevant conversations and see what your customers are reading and writing about.
- Forums can be useful for finding relevant communities and seeing which topics generate the most activity.
- They also recommend that location-based businesses use tools like Foursquare, Google+ Local and Yelp to gather real-time customer feedback on your business and local competitors.
- Listening to your customers not only informs you about their listening habits and most pressing issues, but it also allows you to respond to and engage with them in real-time.
Following these tips will help optimise your marketing spend, better understand your target audience and get you well on your way to creating a streamlined marketing strategy.