Do you have a fantastic product/service but can’t seem to figure out how to find customers?
Not only is this the most common challenge faced by growing businesses, but it’s often a massive source of frustration. That’s because without customers there’s no revenue and without revenue you don’t have a sustainable business.
Imagine if you had a systematic way of identifying your ideal buyer and getting your product/service in front of them.
If you could identify and isolate particular individuals who are more likely to have an interest in what you are offering than others.
Perhaps they are actively seeking a product/solution exactly like yours.
Or perhaps they simply fit the profile of someone that would use your product or service…whether it be age, geographic location, marital status, job title, interests/hobbies, income, the websites they visit…you name it.
Imagine if you could reveal your product/service to them in the exact moment that they are looking to solve the problem that your product/service fixes?
In doing so your chances of making a sale would increase stratospherically.
Well here’s the good news.
It’s all possible.
Not only that but it’s now possible for even the smallest businesses with limited or even no marketing budget or expertise.
Used correctly, these are incredibly powerful marketing techniques previously only accessible via specialist marketing agencies and significant budgets.
Here are the steps:
Step 1 – Define the ‘Right Buyer’
You must start by defining ‘the right buyer’ (also known as ‘persona’ or ‘avatar’ or ‘ideal customer’).
These are the people most likely to benefit from your product or service.
By going through this exercise and identifying your ideal customer, you are narrowing your target audience and immediately increasing the chances that your marketing efforts will be successful.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do they tend to be male or female?
Do they live in a particular country/region/town?
Do they tend to be of a certain age?
Do they tend to have a certain household income?
Are they single? Married? Kids/no kids?
Do they tend to work in a certain industry, have a particular job title or work for for certain types of company or a particular company?
What are their hobbies or interests?
Do they read particular magazines or visit certain websites?
Is there a very specific problem they are trying to solve which perhaps they will google search?
Some of these questions you may be able to answer, others you won’t. Some may seem inconsequential but none of them are.
You should write down the answers to these questions.
It may be tempting for you to say that your product/service is for ‘everyone’.
This is fine, but you should still take some time to understand whether your product/service lends itself to a particular type of person.
For example if you were promoting a yoga class, you might say that yoga is for everyone ‘but tends to be more popular with women’ or yoga is for people of all ages ‘but is especially popular with young professionals 25-35 years old’.
You need to make some general assumptions in order to narrow your target customer and thus increase the effectiveness of your efforts and your chances of a positive result.
If you don’t know what types of people to go after, here are some resources that may help:
1. Look at the profile of your existing customers. It’s probable that people similar to them will be more likely to desire your product or service.
2. Look at the profile of your competitors or similar businesses. A tool like www.similarweb.com can help you understand the geographic location and broad interest groups of competitors customers by analysing their website traffic for example (plus a lot more interesting info!).
3. Media packs for magazines or websites related to your product/service. If you think your ideal customer would read a certain magazine or website, try and get hold of their media pack which will quite often contain information about their readers in terms of location, gender, income, occupation, marital status etc.
Think creatively and you will start to uncover a few useful character traits that will help you define the right buyer.
Write them down.
Step 2 – Define your offer
Now you know what types of people you are after…you need a compelling offer for them.
Remember that it’s likely that these people have never heard of you, so you need to be very clear in the few seconds you will have to communicate your message to them in an advert or blog title.
Your objective is to communicate sufficient value to them that their interest will be piqued and they will want to click your ad.
In general, you should try to convey something of irresistible value e.g. “A free 20 minute consultation” or “a free trial” which will make people much more likely to respond. Going straight in for a sale rarely works, especially in B2B marketing.
The elements you should try to include are:
Recognition of their problem (in their ‘language’)
How your product/service can help
What special value you can offer which makes you different (and which is compelling enough for them to respond)
Convey urgency/scarcity where possible (limited time/last few spaces remaining etc)
A good structure to use is:
30 character headline
30 character sub-header
90 character description
The reason this is useful, is not only can this structure be easily utilised in advertising platforms like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn ads; but it also forces you to think of a succinct way to articulate your offer.
You can have a number of variations which you can test to see which work best. Once you have nailed down what works, you should make sure it’s also clear on your website.
Here are some examples:
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Offering some free value may sound crazy, but it’s an immensely powerful tactic that will open up conversations with new customers who will quickly come to trust you.
Step 3 – Select your channels
Your channel is “the route to your customer”. It’s the place where you will try and engage with them.
Examples of traditional marketing channels are:
Word of mouth (referrals)
These channels are as relevant now as pre-internet, however the first 2 are relatively un-targeted & beyond the budget of most small businesses.
As such it makes sense to focus on digital methods, after all 88% of buying decisions start with online research.
88% of buying decisions start with an online search
Here are the 3 main marketing channels you should start with:
There are many other channels but with these 3, you will be able to reach a huge number of potential buyers.
In order to select the best channels (you could of course try all 3!), look at the ‘Right Buyer’ information that you wrote down in step 1.
The information here will help you figure out the best channel to start with.
Generally speaking, here are the channels that work best based on the information you have been able to find to define your ‘right buyer’:
Specific words or phrases people are searching for on Google – Google Ads
Demographics e.g. age, location, interests – Facebook
Firmographics e.g. job title, company size etc – LinkedIn
All 3 of these platforms are free to sign-up with.
You usually only pay when clicks on your advert. We recommended that you register on the platforms (for free) and try to setup your campaign targeting based on your ‘right buyer’ information. The platforms should each tell you roughly how many people you are able to target that for your criteria.
Step 4 – Setup your B2B campaign, set budget and go live!
So you have defined your buyer, defined your offer, and selected your channels. Hopefully you will also have a sense of how many people you can target. For example if I wanted to target HR managers in London area between the age of 25 and 50, Facebook tells me there are 1,300 individuals that fit that criteria and I can display my adverts/content to.
In terms of budget, generally speaking, some platforms will let you run campaigns for as little as £5 per day. Usually you will pay for each click (‘pay-per-click’ or ‘cost-per-click’) which can range from anything from 20p to £20 depending on various factors including the level of competition.
So if you set a budget of £5 per day and your average cost-per-click was 20p, you could expect to get 25 ‘clicks’ (and therefore visits to your website) per day from that campaign.
On some platforms you will pay per ‘impression’ where you are charged each time the ad is shown to your audience.
Ideally you will have Google Analytics setup on your website so you can track what people are doing once they have clicked your ad and landed on your website. Here you want to check the following ‘engagement’ metrics for your campaign visitors/traffic:
Bounce rate – this refers to the % of people that leave once they land on your website having clicked your ad. You want this to be as low as possible. A bounce rate of 30% indicates that for every 10 visitors, 3 leave immediately and 7 stay on your site and visit another page. A bounce rate of 30% isn’t bad.
Average session duration – this refers to the average amount of time people spend on your site. The higher the better.
Pages per session – this refers to the average number of pages that people look at once they land on your site. Again, higher is better.
You can use Google Analytics to find these 3 engagement metrics for each campaign and compare campaigns against each other.
Using this data, you should quite quickly be able to tell which campaign or channel is working best. Naturally if you have a campaign that works particularly well and starts driving leads/sales, you can choose to increase your budget on it.