I keep emphasizing on the need for high-value content. Value to the recipient, that is.
Each communication is a means of cementing a relationship or creating/ acquiring an additional one. Over tens or even hundreds of newsletter mailings, you create/ shape your audience profile. As you add topics, probe depths or flirt with boundaries, your audience profile ebbs and flows and mirrors your current content profile.
This is more complex than it sounds, even! Let us say someone “opted-in” to receive your newsletter months ago on the premise that he will get weekly educative information on personal finance strategies. Now, as your newsletter becomes richer (broader in scope) in content and starts covering stock markets in greater depth, has more coverage on real-estate market or bullion trading two things will happen. Your could add new readership, for sure. But, you may even lose some of your core readership who joined your fold to get sound advice with how to manage their small savings, for example.
Each content area potentially is a micromarket. It is a content play for attention in each of those micromarkets. Your attention paid to each micromarket should reflect a conscious decision to influence these markets. If you are allowing shifting audience priorities to dictate your content, there is nothing wrong with that. But, let that be your choice. As with any choice you make, you live with the consequences and compromises.
As content tag shows up as a cloud of words in my blog, if only we could capture the expectations of our audience as tags! Over a period of shifting timelines, this will be instructive to see how that changes.
And, what are you telling her?
So, you know
that even in the same enterprise, actual human beings involved in taking decisions may need to be communicated to differently.
Firstly, they have unequal information and priorities regarding you and your products that satisfy their needs. This means some among them may be at a stage
of low awareness whereas some may be experienced users of your product for a long time. Some would have reached a stage of comparing solutions from different vendors whereas others may not even be convinced they have a problem/ need; as a result they may not even have started any active research.
Secondly, roles even within the same organization are constantly shifting.
Depending upon where they are and what their role in the purchase process is, communicate appropriately and differently so that customers hear only the most appropriate product benefits.
Sounds good in theory; only the very best of salesmen manage to do this consistently and well.
Multiply the problem by the number of companies that potentially you could be selling to. This now becomes a daunting task of reaching many messages across to many individuals across many companies. Internet makes it possible to not only target a broad audience; it also makes it possible for us to target really small segments of buyers across many companies very cost effectively with messaging that is personalized.
Customers, especially in a B2B setting, spend precious little time searching for a product till they have a need. The implication is that even if you spend a lot of money and creative energy getting to be known, you are pretty much wasting your time if your message reaches a customer who is not in “active search” mode. This is why the most expensive marketing campaigns tend to be for new customer acquisition.
Contrast this to the situation where you have a specific group of customers who have purchased your product in the last 6 months and your objective is to ensure continued satisfaction. Will your communication be different? Of course. What do you think would be a few things you would like to tell your user base? Would that include a short introduction to your company? I hope not!
While the customer is in comparison mode, the opportunity is in trying to get into a close dialog and close communication. Anticipating the information needs at this stage and highlighting your advantages are key. What are some of the innovations you have seen in this space?
Why you must tailor your message to suit your audience
I talked about the fact that customers are in various stages of awareness/ interest regarding your product/ solution or company. Let’s try and understand that a little more closely.
All customers are created equal in the beginning. They do not know you exist far less know about the existence of your product or service to solve some need of theirs. So, what causes them to change?
At any given time in your audience, there is a mix of customers in varying stages of awareness of your products and service. What tack you choose to take in your messaging to this market depends on:
- What is your objective?
o Is it making sure as many potential prospects know about your products or your company?
o To ensure that you make the “shortlist” of those prima-facie able to solve a problem?
o To ensure that you are actively being compared with other products/ companies?
o Or, communicate a time-limited promotional message to ensure purchase?
o Or, are you now wanting to build loyalty with the customer (s) who have purchased your product once?
- Who is the specific customer you are talking to (Are you addressing the contact that has the biggest potential impact on the sale of your product? Sure?)? What does he want to hear? What do you want to tell him?