Think about a memorable conversation you had recently. What made this exchange so memorable? Chances are the conversation was engaging, held your interest and there was an equal amount of contribution between both parties. This is how your marketing should feel to your audience.
Now think of the last advertisement you saw. If the description above does not apply, then it probably wasn’t a memorable experience. Consumers aren’t interested in the countless ads they come across because they’re unappealing and impersonal.
What if there was a way to get people to be more interested in the content you’re producing? Luckily, there is. The secret to successful marketing is treating marketing not as a sales tactic, but as a conversation between you and your target audience.
Identify Your Target Audience
Marketing as a conversation starts with knowing who you’re talking to. In other words, it all starts with your target audience. It’s crucial to know who you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts so you can tailor your messages to what they want to see and hear.
The people that make up your target audience should influence every part of your marketing campaign. The goal is to tailor your advertising to peak their interest and draw them into the conversation. By creating a buyer persona, you get a better understanding of your ideal customer’s general characteristics – then you can build your target audience accordingly.
According to Microsoft’s media consumption survey in Canada, the average attention span of a person is 8 seconds – which is shorter than that of a goldfish. There isn’t a lot of time to draw in your audience. Understanding who your audience is will help you deliver relevant advertisements, increase engagement and drive conversions.
For years, traditional marketing was about shouting mass advertisements to unengaged and uninterested strangers. Every day, a typical consumer is surrounded with 4,000 to 10,000 different marketing messages. People started finding ways to tune out ads because mass media made them feel impersonal, annoying and intrusive.
Advertisers are already at a disadvantage in reaching their potential customers. To level the playing field, they must invest in precision and create personalized messages for a specific audience.
Start a Guided Conversation
Actively continuing the conversation is fundamental to understanding what your customers want and need.
Marketing as a conversation should guide your customers through every step of the buyer’s journey. The best way to do that is with a clear and progressive call to action.
A call-to-action (CTA) provides users with the means of moving forward in the buyer’s journey. A successful CTA helps guide your target audience to take on a desired customer action, whether that be signing up to download free content or utilizing an offer to purchase an item.
A clear, clickable button shows your consumers exactly where to go to proceed with your product or service; in other words, it continues the conversation!
Be Ready to Listen and Adapt
Here’s the thing about marketing and conversations: you can’t always plan how they will go. In a two-way interaction, you’re constantly responding to and changing over the course of the conversation.
Just as conversations are dynamic and change course, so should your marketing techniques. The best way to keep up with your consumers is to listen to them and adapt as you go.
See how users respond to your ads, where they engage most, what kind of campaign drives the most sales, etc. This will help you understand what they like and where the conversation is going so you can adjust your marketing techniques accordingly.
Adaptability is key – It’s vital to adapt your advertisements to your consumers’ ever-changing wants and needs. Learn from your past techniques and adjust your future campaigns so that you’re investing your marketing dollars where they will be most successful.
Say What Matters Most
Traditional marketing techniques try to reach consumers with over-the-top content, which isn’t always effective with today’s users. People don’t want to be talked at or interrupted with aimless noise, as Daniel Newman explains in Forbes magazine. Instead, they want to be part of a meaningful conversation.
Marketing as a conversation focuses on personalizing the ad experience to a specific audience. Instead of being ostentatious and all about the “razzle-dazzle,” think about marketing as a conversation to attract your specific audience with content that they actually care about.
Focus on appealing to someone who has already expressed an interest in your product, so that you are delivering relevant messages to them.
Sure, a pop-up ad is hard to ignore. But an annoying pop-up ad can interrupt the user experience. Allowing the person to engage with a relevant advertisement in a helpful way is more effective.
Starting the Conversation with People-Based Marketing
Marketing centered on a conversation aligns with the practice of people-based marketing. With people-based marketing, you can better identify and understand your audience to ensure that your marketing campaigns are created in a way that increases the likelihood of engagement.
Put people at the heart of your marketing efforts so that you’re always keeping up with your consumers and staying one step ahead of your competition. The conversation starts with knowing your consumers and tailoring what you’re saying, and how you’re saying it, based on their interests and needs.
By layering mobile data, online data, and offline data, you can better understand your consumers and easily mold your advertisements around your audience. This ensures that your advertisement is not out of place or interruptive. After all, a good conversation doesn’t have one person yelling at the other.
At Bridge, our people-based marketing techniques coincide with the idea of marketing as a conversation.