Digital marketing can be daunting. Between the myriad of channels (paid or organic search, SEO, cold calling, social media, email, content, etc), it can prove challenging for a business to identify where to start. If you’re just getting started in digital marketing, we recommend focusing first and foremost on developing clear customer profiles. The more well-defined your customer profiles are, the easier it will be in testing out marketing micro-campaigns that generate results.
Here are five ways to develop strong customer profiles:
1. Target by Job Title
When targeting an organization, especially for a B2B sale, break up the organization into the top, middle, and bottom. For certain types of sales, it makes sense to go straight to the top to the C-Suite (CEO, CMO, CSO, CTO, CIO). If your sale is simple and you just want time for a quick chat, target the C-Suite with a simple case study highlighting the strengths of your product or services and why you think it would be a good match for them. They will most likely respond by setting you up with an assistant but at least that gets your foot in the door. For complex sales, going straight to the C-Suite might backfire. Instead, target the mid-level management or the regular employees with free trials or doing a call to understand their needs. By listening to their pain points, you can offer advice as a trusted consultant and slowly build up the relationship wherein they will advocate you up the command chain.
2. Target by Industry
A smarter approach would be to target by industry. A great place to start is — surprise, surprise — LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a page with the industry codes they use (Industry Codes). Review the list of potential industry codes and pick out the industries that you think your company would be the best fit for. By focusing on related industry, you can develop content unique to your customers rather than using a ‘spray-and-pray’ approach. Case studies, blog posts, email marketing, videos, that cater to the pain points of that industry are much more likely to get picked up by targeted customers than broad, open-ended content.
3. Target by Company Size
One of my favorite ways to develop a potential customer is by focusing on the company size. Earlier on in our company’s history, we spent a lot of time networking and meeting people — only to discover after we submitted proposals that they didn’t have a budget. One of the easiest ways to avoid spending too much time and money on potential leads is by targeting well-funded organizations to begin with. While there are some websites that can provide an estimate of company revenue such as Owler, the data is crowdsourced and not entirely reliable. However, companies often times will disclose (again, on sites such as LinkedIn) the number of employees — which can be used to deduce to estimate the company size. A company with 10 employees probably has somewhere around $1 million in revenue. 20 employees, $2–5 million. 50 to 200 employees, $10-$20 million. By targeting companies with sound revenue, you can cut straight to the chase in conversations around pricing and not have to deal with potential sticker shock compared with companies that are just getting started or don’t have the budget for your particular product or service.
4. Target by Location
One of the oldest adages in real estate is “Location, location, location!” Nothing could be truer when it comes to marketing. Even though digital marketing will open up the entire world to you in terms of potential customers, targeting customers in your locality will result in a higher chance of successfully closing business. Customers like face-to-face interactions, especially during the business development cycle. By focusing on customers in your locality, you open up the possibility of in-person meetings, which makes it easier to close business with said potential customers.
5. Targeting by Past Customers
One of my mentors fresh out of law school used to advise me “Nothing succeeds like success.” In other words, if you want to start attracting new customers, focus on past customers. Past customers will either give you additional business or send you referrals. For this tactic to work, you need to have: (a) excellent customer service and (b) consistent communication. If you didn’t deliver a great product or service to a past client, don’t expect them to be interested in working with you again or sending you referrals. Do great work first, then make the ask. Additionally, make sure to add past clients to your newsletter and follow them on social media. If you find relevant opportunities or beneficial content, send it their way.
By creating strong customer profiles, you naturally develop effective marketing and sales programs that will drive leads and close sales. Otherwise, you’ll just be grasping for straws because you’ll be searching for a needle in a haystack.