Wow, what shocking weather the world has taken a beating from recently, right?!

From tropical storm Harvey kicking Houston’s rear end to Hurricane Irma battering the Caribbean and Florida, it’s been pretty scary stuff. For me, that was amplified by a million because I was sitting quivering in Philadelphia being interviewed for Wharton Business radio, glued to the TV silently pleading, “Please don’t let her creep up on Atlanta. Otherwise my return to England is totally screwed!”

The latest beastly whirlwind is Hurricane Maria, causing chaos in the Caribbean … again. What are the odds?

So there’s your weather report. But, “What has this got to do with marketing communications?” I hear you ask. Well, let’s face it: Unless you get focused with your marcomms, you’re going to feel like you’re caught up in a whirlwind — it’s time to take control! (And avoid a disorganized, scattergun marketing hurricane).

Last post, we talked about how to identify types of clients that you’d like to see more of, i.e. those who give you a ton of profit. We all want profitable customers, it’s a good start, eh? Now let’s take that ideal customer and ask yourself the following:

  1. What are his/her goals as [job title] at [Company X]?
  2. What are his/her pain points that he/she faces on a frequent basis?
  3. What does this client value most in a vendor? What’s important to him/her?
  4. Where do they get their info from? i.e. if trying to find “a someone” like you or the particular service that you offer?
  5. What are their content preferences? What do they like to consume? i.e. webinar, blog post, magazine/online article, flier, etc.

When you ask these questions you start to get a holistic view of your perfect client, which is known as a “buyer persona.”

Ok, so your next task is to focus your marketing efforts on one or two key buyer personas. You may have created lots already but let’s be honest, you probably don’t have the time to focus on a million buyer personas (right now).

Leading With an Example

Let’s look at a specific example: You have a client who is a local airport in Louisiana, at risk of flooding. In this case your target client is usually the airport ground maintenance manager. Let’s call him Mike.

So what are Mike’s goals? What does he want to achieve when he’s working on those airport grounds?

Mike’s list might include:

  • Keep the airport grounds in tip-top condition
  • Be seen as innovative in his thinking (so he impresses his bosses)
  • Understand and implement more green infrastructure because he can’t build enough pipes!

What are his pain points? What are his main annoying obstacles that he has to combat?

  • Lack of current info on flood control
  • Not understanding how to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding
  • Conflicting messaging and methodologies from suppliers

What does he value? What makes his day just that little bit easier and more comfortable?

  • Transparency
  • Knowledge
  • Confidence
  • Fair price
  • Punctuality

Where does he get his information? Where does he turn to when he needs some knowledge?

  • Local city group on LinkedIn
  • Flood control council
  • Climate change professional groups and networks

What are his content preferences?

  • He favors webinars, as he’s extremely busy and doesn’t always have time to read.
  • He likes conferences, where he can chat with like-minded people.
  • He also catches up on industry standards with flood control and related publications.

So this is your guy, your holy grail customer. You have a good understanding of what makes Mike tick. Now, you need to find him! And then more of him … and this is where the magic begins.

Start Communicating

It’s time to set the communication wheels in motion. First, look at what you currently do to speak to your ideal customers.

You might send out direct mails, maybe advertise in the local online newspaper or even the good ol’ yellow pages (eeek!), send out the odd Facebook post, or share a cool/funny video on Instagram if you’re feeling brave. You’re doing “what you think is right,” right?

You’re wondering why on earth your marketing efforts just simply aren’t working. Why am I spending more time burning cash than actually gaining customers?

So let’s look at Mike again. Let’s devise some enticing headlines that are going to speak to Mike’s inner voice to spring him into action!

  1. Ten top tips for reducing flooding on your airport
  2. A story of how one maintenance manger reduced flooding
  3. Twenty hot companies to keep your eyeballs on who know all about green flood control

I bet you’re thinking, “Really Elaine? What has that got to do with me getting more survey jobs?” Everything! I promise.

You want to capture the attention of buyer persona Mike. You want to become a fountain of knowledge in your specialty and Mike’s profession. You want buyer persona Mike to come to you for information because you are an expert. The more focused your content, the more attractive you are to your buyer persona.

What shall we do with these headlines now? Enter your marketing communications toolkit, which is where all the magic happens. We’re going to decide how you communicate and what you communicate.

Step 1:

Begin with buyer persona Mike’s ideal content and where he finds it. Start there, start small and start being focused. Don’t blow all your pennies or, should I say, “cents” just yet. You’re testing the waters first.

Step 2:

Set up a campaign. I’ll be going into more detail on campaigns in the coming posts, but take note now. By designing a campaign based around buyer persona Mike, we can keep it all under one umbrella (which you’ll need to avoid the hurricane; get it?) Let’s call this campaign “Green Surveying” so it’s focused on all things related to buyer persona Mike’s goals and pain points. Can you see how this is even more focused than before?

Step 3:

What do you want to achieve with this Green Surveying campaign? Set yourself some realistic goals, i.e. to attract several new potential buyer persona Mikes within six weeks.

Step 4:

Start with a slow “drip feed” of short pieces of content using platforms or tools like LinkedIn and Instagram; using pretty photos of you out in the field actually “doing the job.” A mini video clip on the same platform will work wonders; believe me!

Using a mixture of different tools and platforms has two main effects:

  1. The same message (campaign) is being delivered on different platforms and is therefore seen from different angles.
  2. You get to test which platform works for you without pulling the plug on them all. For new tools and, depending on your marketing efforts, I’d say around six to eight months is a good indicator if starting from scratch.

Step 5:

Keep it consistent; there’s zero point posting several amazing video clips on Instagram on day one, then going to ground for the rest of the month. You’ll kill any efforts you’ve already made. Consistency is key!

Step 6:

Keep it simple. Don’t try and do 50 million things at once with convoluted messages. Keep your marketing communications simple to follow. You’ll soon start to gain momentum and confidence, and then you can up the amount of activity.

Well, that’s a wrap for this month, folks! I hope you’re learning a little something about the wonderful world of marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post where we’ll drill down into even more detail on campaigns.