Rima Aristocrat, Kelly Farrell, Catherine McGillivray, Praveeni Perera, Arti Sharma and Elcho Stewart are six dynamic women who will round up our Panel of Experts this year at our Ottawa Expo. These women are experts in their own right and have made themselves available to support aspiring entrepreneurs. The topic of this year’s panel is Women in Business, Technology and Healthcare. The Panel of Experts discussion will take place at The Westin Ottawa on October 4th, 2015 from noon until 2pm. Admission is absolutely free. Find out about our ladies below and for how you can meet them and ask your questions, go to www.immigrantsmallbizexpo.ca
A real eye-opener that I recently learned is that the marketing objectives for a product or service has a companion, parallel series of steps or objectives called The Buying Process-or at least we hope it does! If marketing is to be effective, we have to design it to speak to our customers at each stage in their buying process, or to look at it another way, to speak to them at each place in the sales funnel.
For example, the standard marketing objectives for your product or service might be:
- Domain Leadership
- Position the product or service in the vertical or market
- Make the value proposition clear, differentiate on the basis of value
- Sales Promotion
- Post-purchase customer service, retention
The parallel buying process might be:
- Buyer recognises they have a need or problem
- Buyer searches for information about their problem
- Buyer evaluates the alternatives to solve the problem
- Buyer makes a purchase decision
- Buyer evaluates their experience and satisfaction post-purchase
If you were to map these processes alongside a typical sales funnel, it would look like:
In traditional models, marketing would do their thing and at some point, sales would take over. In digital, marketing and sales activities come together and merge in the areas of social selling and content marketing. What tends to happen is that buyers complete almost 70% of their buying process before companies even know they exist. Customers do all of their problem recognition, and information search, and evaluation, and often make and transact purchase decisions, online. So the most critical thing you can do as a business is make sure that you are there, online, with relevant helpful content, at every stage of that buying process.
In other words, when your buyer recognises they have a problem, you want them to be exposed to your Domain Leadership marketing messages. Often, your domain leadership marketing messages, if they are well-crafted, can in fact be the trigger for the buyer to recognise their problem in the first place!
When your buyer is searching for information, you want them to find your positioning messages. When your buyer is evaluating alternatives, you want your value proposition messaging to be what they are looking at. And so on.
The only way to develop the right content marketing for your buyer – to be in the right place at the right time – is to know your target customer really, really well. By knowing your target customer’s pain points, needs, and the questions they ask when they have a problem, sales becomes a matter of letting them find out if there’s a good match.
What does this look like in practice?
The first step is to create a persona of your ideal client or buyer, and make sure to include as many questions as you can based on what you get asked at trade shows, in client meetings, on the phone, etc. The best way to really get to know your target customers is to conduct customer interviews: if you’re unsure about their needs, or about the potential value in your solution, ask them!
Then, think about what kind of content are they looking for at each stage of their buying process. What can you teach them to help them understand if they are the right match for your products or services, and if you are the right match for their needs? Different types of content work to address different phases of the buying cycle as well. Map these questions, and these content types, onto the buying and marketing process.
For example, let’s say you are a small business law firm. Your unique offering is that you really understand green tech and the pain points of the small business person in this complex area building a green tech business with all of it’s unique regulatory policies and practices.
Your ideal client is a factory owner who is converting what was formerly a tool and dye manufacturing plant into a green tech business, manufacturing wind farm parts. This client lives and works in a small town outside Sarnia, and they don’t really understand the programs and support available for green tech: they just know that to save jobs in their community and protect their own livelihood, they need to capitalize on their physical facilities and equipment to manufacture something new. They are looking for plain-language legal and business development support, someone who will be a partner in building the business and who can help with some of the complexities of policy and government investment in this area. Let’s map this persona and her questions against the chart we created:
Try mapping your ideal customer’s questions and needs against this standard marketing and sales process, along with the content type suggestions. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to come up with relevant, targeted content so that you can make sure your ideal customer is finding out about you during that 70% of their buying process when you’re not yet aware of them!
For more resources and information on Content Strategy and to download a detailed description of what content strategy entails, go to analyticalengine.ca/resources or download a Content Strategy Info graphic at http://bit.ly/1qY9tYp.
Christine McGlade is a Business Analyst, Content Strategist, and Usability Consultant. With over 25 years experience in the media business, Christine helps small business, social enterprise, and Not for Profits how to leverage the power of the Internet to grow their business. Learn more about Christine at analyticalengine.ca
I recently attended a networking event for small business owners in Toronto. The theme of the evening was digital marketing. Overall the event was well organized with informative speakers, good raffle prizes and a nice mix of marketers and small business owners.
But what surprised me was how few people were tweeting at the event. Perhaps it’s just that I’m used to going to events packed with social media managers and non-profit communicators, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of networking being done online.
For me, events are always played out on two fields: the action happening live in front of me and the commentary on that action online. Often I find this commentary as interesting, if not more so, then the speakers I’m there to see.
Live-tweeting events is a great way to give your business a boost online. Hashtags organize the conversations taking place, making it easy to follow the action. Plugging into hashtags makes new followers, mentions and retweets much more likely than your average day-to-day Twitter activity, especially if the event becomes popular and trends.
But there are a few things you need to do before you even arrive at the event to make sure that you get the most out of your live-tweeting experience.
Know the hashtag. This seems obvious to those more seasoned tweeters, but it’s important to mention anyways. The day of the event the organizers are probably promoting the event online. Visit their Twitter account to find out both the proper hashtag and their Twitter handle. Once you have that information do a search on Twitter and save the search so that you can access it easily later.
Follow the speakers. Find out who the speakers are going to be (event emails and websites usually have this information) and then find out if they are online. Make a note of their Twitter handles and be sure to follow them. Then at event time you won’t have to scramble to find them or worry about misspelling their names.
Prepare some tweets ahead of time. This is a great way to let people know that you will be at the event and gives them the opportunity to follow you. It also increases your visibility once the event starts. Tweet about your attendance on the day and days leading up to the event. Shout out to the speakers how much you are looking forward to their talks. On the day of you can prepare some tweets to be sent out during the event so that you have more time to actually enjoy it.
Know when to put the phone down. You need to balance the benefits of tweeting with real world networking. Send enough tweets and retweets to gain visibility and make a meaningful contribution to the conversation, but make sure that you also talk to people face-to-face. That’s the reason why you’re there!
Evelyn Senyi is the owner and chief marketer for Recurve Marketing, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency that offers creative, effective and affordable marketing strategies for Canadian small businesses and non-profit organizations. Follow Recurve on Twitter @recurve_ca and on Facebook www.facebook.com/recurvemarketing.ca.