‘The buyer is in control but you’re still marketing as if that’s not true.’ These were the wise words spoken by HubSpot’s legendary Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Volpe at this year’s DMX Dublin.
If there’s one thing you’re sick of hearing as a digital marketer it’s that your customers come first. But let me ask you: when’s the last time you took this advice?
We reveal 6 ways to humanize your brand and how to win the hearts and minds of your customers – after all this is what will increase your clicks, conversions and brand sentiment.
1. Audience First is Not Just a Thing We Say
Putting your audience first isn’t just something you say. It’s a thing you must practice, it’s a mission you must live by. As Mike says, ‘It’s important not to start with the campaign but to start with your audience’s needs.’ However, according to Mike, marketers are still using techniques that simply do not work, that do not reach your customers in a way that matters to them.
Your New Marketing Motto: How do we make this into an inbound moment and create a little more love?
2. Get Out of Your Customer’s Way
Mike poses a very important question: ‘Why do marketers wake up and say ‘let’s make an ad’?’ Instead, he advises thinking like a media mogul and placing your customer at the heart of your strategy by creating an inbound strategy that focuses on providing quality content that adds value. ‘You don’t want to interrupt the content that people are trying to consume. Be that content’ – wise words from a marketing legend.
HubSpot’s results speak volumes. Half of their leads generated in any given month come from things they haven’t actually done in that month. Why? Well, because – according to Mike – blog posts he has written seven years ago still generate sales and revenue for the company. How many banner ads you create will stay relevant seven years from now? How many banner ads will you own seven years from now?
Lesson Learned: Content that you create based on your customers’ needs can generate results years later.
3. Context is King
As Mike says, ‘Context is personal. Not one size fits all.’ In a world of content overload, It’s never been more important for brands to remain deeply relevant. Mike’s advice? ‘Ignore context at your peril.’ Mike says that it’s important to provide context at each stage of your buyer’s journey. You can change your call to actions based on where your customers are in each individual stage of the buying cycle, for example.
Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights advises defining your audience by creating powerful personas and selecting the best targeting options for each audience segment using a marketing automation system. What does this mean? Well, essentially, you should drop in different content for different people based on the individual groups’ wants and needs.
Lesson Learned: Cater your content to your different audience segments based on their wants and needs.
4. Create Moments That Matter
Dennis Bree from Twitter spoke about being relevant in the moment. He says that it is important to focus on creating experiences for your customers. That’s how you’ll reach their hearts, that’s how you’ll jump inside their daily activity and get inside their minds. After all clever marketing is all about creating powerful and positive emotions that incite action.
Brands have started trying to react to the speed, change and pace of culture and we’re seeing a return to live storytelling. According to Dennis, 50% of Twitter users use Twitter for breaking news. That’s why Denis advises brands to rethink their strategies to include this very important question: ‘How can I be relevant in this moment?’ He advises businesses devise ways to be reactive in conversions and to plan tactics to inspire in the moment.
Lesson Learned: As Dennis says, ‘Publishing a story used to be an end point. Publishing a story is now the beginning.’
5. Get Into Your Customer’s Pocket
According to Mike, ‘86% of C-level execs have a smartphone.’ Not only this – but powerful decision makers who are on the move use mobile as their primary source of Internet access. It enables them to check everything on the move – from their inbox and news feeds to quick searches for local businesses. Going mobile is about reaching your customers in a way they want to be reached on the device they use and want to be reached on.
If you get into your customers’ pockets you get to integrate your relevant messages into their everyday lives. But it’s not just your mobile website that needs to be optimized. Every element of your digital marketing campaign should be built for mobile – from your emails, to your ads and content (native advertising is ideal for promoting your content is a seamless fashion on mobile devices).
Important Announcement: Google is penalizing brands who don’t have mobile-optimized sites in the biggest demotion ever on April 21st. Ensure your website is ready.
6. Ask (the Actual) Questions Your Customers Ask
And it’s not just your content, email and ads that need to cater to your audience’s wants, desires and needs. So too does your search engine marketing, no matter how technical your team are. As Jono Anderson from LinkedX explains, ‘Not all searches have commercial intent (and that’s fine).’ This is where inbound and content marketing plays a part in delivering relevant search results that answer the kinds of questions your customers are actually asking.
Jon’s says that many SEO professionals are being held to unrealistic KPIs – they are held responsible for where their website ranks, for example. Instead, we should take a step back and start with the customer. Say, for example your customer wants to buy a washing machine because it has broken down in the past week. What do you imagine their first search will be? It could be along the lines of, ‘How do you fix a washing machine?’ rather than the ‘Cost-effective washing machines’ term that most brands predict (and try and rank for).
You see: this example illustrates why it has never been more important to create content that answers questions rather than simply focusing on keywords that target sales.
Lesson learned: As Jono Anderson says, ‘Good SEO is when you manage the ecosystem and the experiences users have of your brand.’