Despite the current events the world is facing and the nebulous nature of the future, we, as business owners and marketers, need to take action in the ways we can.
A great way to move forward right now is to ensure you have a strong foundation for your marketing success. By having strong fundamentals in place, you’ll not only survive the current situation, but you’ll also be prepared to thrive no matter what the market looks like.
So, today I’m going to cover some essential steps you need to take for sustained success.
The Value Exchange
Identifying Your Ideal Customers
Developing a Clear Message
Creating Your Customer Journey
Using An Editorial Calendar
Using Marketing Automation
Refining Your Online Presence
If you're a regular reader, then you know what I'm going to say next...yep, I’ve created a webinar training to walk you through each of these strategies. This training includes the recorded webinar, complete slide deck, and links to 8 more resources.
You can get the entire training package for free by clicking the button below, which will take you to the Built By Love Agency Hub. It's a centralized location for all kinds of free educational materials created by myself and my digital marketing agency.
1) The Value Exchange
In order to understand the concept of value exchange in your marketing communications, let’s first talk about how our brains are wired.
There have been 3 major evolutions that have happened to the human brain. And when you’re marketing to someone, your messaging hits all three levels.
The Three Human Brains
The Gatekeeper (aka Reptilian Brain): First, you have to get through the gatekeeper, or the reptilian brain. Frugal in its resources, the gatekeeper doesn’t want to expend too much energy, use calories, or work too hard. When presented with something, all it cares about is: Will it hurt me? Can I mate with it? Can I eat it? When a prospect receives messaging from your brand, whether it’s an email, video, or FB ad, it’s this part of the brain that’s wondering...should I invest the calories (aka the time and energy) it takes to send this information “up the ladder” to the higher functioning parts of the brain.
The Feeling Brain (aka Mammalian Brain): If you make it through the gatekeeper, the next level is the feeling, or mammalian, brain. This is where emotion is processed and where the prospect will weigh how your messaging makes them feel.
The Logical Brain: This is the “true” human brain in that it’s where the most intensive decision-making happens, where language, ideas, concepts, and visions thrive. This is where the final decision to buy your product or services happens.
Architect Your Approach
If you want to break through the gatekeeper and make it through the feeling brain to the logical brain, you need to architect your approach so that the brain isn't forced to work too hard.
Let me use a metaphor (we can thank Donald Miller for the one I’m about to use now…).
Everytime you give your prospect a piece of information you are handing them a bowling ball. You can hold one bowling ball or one CTA at a time. But as business owners, we always want to offer them something else...so we hand them another bowling ball. Now they’re holding two bowling balls, which isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. But then when you throw a third piece of information, offer, benefit, or feature at them, they’re now overwhelmed with too many bowling balls to hold. So what do they do? The reptilian brain says, “This is too much work, let’s get out of here.” And they go elsewhere.
So what to do? Here are some basic tips to start with.
Deliver details in small chunks:
- One Primary Call To Action (remember, you don’t want to give them too many bowling balls).
- Clear and Concise (be succinct and don’t drone on and on).
- Easy On The Eyes (used tons of white space).
Now, time to bring in the concept of value exchange. Every time you communicate with a prospect or customer is a friction point. You are either adding value or removing value. You need to think of your brand’s relationship with your prospect through the lens of “relationship banking.”
You cannot make withdrawals without a balance.
So, be sure to build a balance of trust and value before you make a withdrawal.
When it comes to email or other marketing communication, you can do so with a simple, value-first formula which goes something like this:
Give Value + Give Value + Give Value = Make an Ask
This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t give them a call-to-action or don’t ask them to shop in the first 3 emails. It just means that the way your communication is structured is with the intention to deliver value/education/helpful information first and foremost.
Here are some suggestions of value:
- Case Studies
- Selling Stories
2) Identify Your Ideal Customer
A basic, but fundamental part of your marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer. By identifying their age, where they live, their primary challenges, and what they want, you’re going to be able to communicate with them and connect that much quicker.
Here’s the benefit of mapping out your ideal customers:
- Framework for how to communicate
- Outline for complementary interests
- Tool for advertising criteria
Below is an image of the tool that my agency uses when mapping out ideal customers and avatars for our clients -- as you can see it is detailed and comprehensive.
3) Develop a Clear Message
Developing a clear message is one way to make sure you don’t hand your prospect too many bowling balls.
Here are some perspectives to consider to ensure you’re presenting a clear message:
- Customers don’t buy “things.”
- Decisions are not based on logic (they're based on emotion!).
- Features don’t sell (unless new tech).
- No one cares about you/your business (they care about themselves)
- Don’t overwhelm. Be clear and succinct.
One of the most effective ways to make sure your message isn't confusing is through implementing the StoryBrand process. This is a method that takes you into the mind of your prospect and distills down what your product or service truly solves and how it makes their life better.
My digital marketing agency, Built By Love, is a Certified StoryBrand Agency, so we use this method for a number of our clients. If you want to know more about how it works or how it can help you clarify your message across the board, just schedule a consultation to learn more.
4) Creating Your Customer Journey
Now that you’ve identified your ideal customer and clarified your message, you have to understand and map out your customer journey. In your customer journey, there are critical steps they take to go from Awareness to Raving Customer.
Whatever those steps are, you need to identify them so you can have the right assets, the right communication, and the right cadence to deliver the right value to get them to progress to the next step.
Once you’ve done this (and tied marketing automation) to it, you’re able to identify the gaps, see where your marketing is failing, and make a plan to bridge those gaps.
This is a perfect way to optimize and tighten your marketing approach, and it also ensures that you don’t hammer your prospect with the same message over and over and over again, regardless of where they are in their journey with you.
My agency has created a proprietary tool to do so called the RAMP. I dive deep into this in the recorded webinar that's part of the "Essential Steps For Your Marketing Success" free training. Click the button below to watch it, and start the video training around 19:00 to skip directly to this part where I talk about mapping the customer journey).
5) Use An Editorial Calendar
Planning your content ahead of time with an editorial calendar can do wonders. That’s why I wrote an entire article about it last year, which you can read by clicking here.
An editorial calendar will help you solidify consistent content production; and second, it will help you focus and think more strategically about the purpose of your content.
Ideally, you could scope the entire year; or, if that feels like too much, try two quarters.
For each month, list out what’s outlined in the bullet points below:
- All holidays and industry related events your audience may be interested in.
- Core product/service you want to focus on each month.
- Promotion/sale you want to focus for each month. A rough idea is fine; later, you'll want to determine the terms of the sale, the exact dates, the PROMO code (if applicable), and the link to the product to be purchased.
- The various types of content you will use for each month, whether that’s a blog post, podcast, webinar, etc.
8) Using Marketing Automation
The average number of times that a prospect is contacted by a brand is 2, but on average, a prospect won’t respond until after 4 points of contact have been made.
Furthermore, on average, it takes 7 contact points before a prospect converts.
What does that tell you? Your brand needs to maintain contact.
Marketing automation can help support this aim, while saving you some serious time, money, and effort by:
- Supplementing sales and marketing
- Automating redundant emails and tasks
- Segmenting customized communication, offers, and opportunities
Plus, it can be done simply and easily. The key is to not overthink it, or try to overbuild a complex automation monster.
A great example of this is my agency’s “Core Funnel,” a marketing automation strategy that has been proven to work for my own agency as well as the clients we implement this for. The key is in its simplicity, it’s follow up, and it’s length. It takes customers through 50 days of engagement, with 20 touchpoints, 5 offers, all in one core funnel.
In the free recorded training, I explain each level of this Core Funnel and how it works so you can build it yourself. Click the button below to watch, and if you want to skip directly to the Core Funnel explanation, jump to around 30 minutes in).
7) Refining Your Online Presence
Always make sure your website and online presence are dialed in. You want them to be user-friendly, clear, and use images that are aligned with your messaging.
To help, here are some areas for review:
Does your Homepage deliver clarity for what you offer, who you serve and the success you can deliver your customers?
Is your website design and aesthetic in line with your pricing?
How quickly can your customers get to what they are seeking?
Do you offer lead magnets that deliver value and clarity in product decisions?
Do you have a CRM w/ email automation that has follow up to deliver value?
If you want to do a more in-depth brand review, I recommend checking out this article.
Actionable Steps You Can Take
Re-evaluate your transactional email cadence and equally, product focus.
Communicate assurances for your customer’s safety regarding your products/services they consume.
Deliver meaningful value-first emails.
Develop and distribute useful information to your customer-base.
Increase your communication cadence using the value-first approach.
Get the free training, "Essential Steps For Your Marketing Success” by clicking the button below. It will give you a video webinar, slide-deck, and links to 8 additional resources so you can easily build the rock-solid marketing foundation that will set you up for long-lasting success.
If you have any questions or want advice about implementing these fundamentals, please schedule your free consult. I am here to help with my expert guidance and support.