Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of marketing channels available for reaching your prospects, and the difficulty of choosing the right mix? You’re not alone! In an effort to systematize success and engineer growth, marketers are now thinking about the buyer journey in more detail. Buyers today exercise more choice over the media they consume, which makes it challenging for marketers to determine how to attract and engage their audience across the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer journey.

To help fill these gaps, its extremely beneficial have a solid understanding of who your buyer personas are. Buyer personas are representations of your ideal customer in your target market. These fictional individuals are based on real-life characteristics such as demographics, personality/demeanor, buying habits, goals, challenges, budget, technology, and their perception of the market.

Example of a fictional buyer persona (Source

Buyer personas help your team identify the problems your target market faces and their motivations to purchase from you. Not only do these personas influence how content is voiced and presented, but the subject matter has to make a relatable connection that adds value or solves a problem.

In regards to the correlation between buyer personas and marketing channels, think about where your target audience spends their time. During the buyer journey, what marketing channels do they utilize that aid them in making a purchase decision?

Below we’ve highlighted the marketing channels that have generated real results in various industry sectors:

Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies typically operate in the business-to-business (B2B) environment. As such, your buyer might be a C-suite executive or a procurement officer who purchases in bulk quantities. Appealing to this type of client persona requires marketing efforts that showcase company efficiency, production capacity, logistical competence, and client service records.

A professional, updated website is the first step to attracting new customers. It serves as the foundation for your company’s credibility and should be utilized for sharing informational resources to prospective clients. On your homepage, keep it simple and straightforward. Include a simple overview of what your company does, highlight product videos and demos, feature blogs, and partner with influencers who can promote your company as a subject matter expert.

To introduce manufacturers to prospective buyers, certain social channels deliver better results than others. LinkedIn, for example, is a B2B-centric social media platform that gives companies an additional online presence in the form of a business page. This links to employees' who have personal accounts, and who often held similar positions with other manufacturers. A well-managed page builds the profile of the company among other players in the industry, generates credibility in its market position, and raises awareness of its product offering. The ability to network, post content in groups and participate in discussions offers B2B companies neutral ways to connect, while advertising efforts can be carefully targeted by industry.

In-person events such as tradeshows and conferences are also a highly effective channels for many manufacturers. These events can easily take the biggest share in the marketing budget, therefore it is essential that your company sets a plan for every stage of engagement strategy: pre-show, during the event and post-show follow-up. Be selective in who you send, think about how to generate buzz and awareness, and how to nurture and engage with those who come to the booth. If there are opportunities to not just exhibit, but present, take advantage of it! Speaking at a trade show, whether it’s a keynote or a breakout session will help gain some awareness of your company, your expertise, your solution, services or product. This will also give booth representatives a hub for conducting conversations with attendees.

Technology

In addition to a strong website presence, the IT sector relies heavily on content marketing channels including social media, PPC, SEO, email, blogs, videos, and webinars to gain new customers. According to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Report on Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends in North America, technology companies use content at a much higher rate than other B2B marketers. Some reasons for this are:

  • Technology is a sophisticated purchase, which usually involves several decision makers in the process. Creating content that speaks to different types of buyers in a client organization can help educate and win over a critical mass of the purchasing team.

  • The length of the IT sales cycle often spans months or even years. Content enables marketers to build relationships and nurture buyers through stages of the cycle, while they ensure their product remains top of mind.

  • Being that it’s a highly competitive industry, some small tech companies can’t afford a large marketing budget. However, well executed and optimized content facilitates the use of organic SEO, helping to level out the playing field for both large and small tech firms, particularly in their local market.

Content consumption among IT professionals rose by 38% during 2016, according to a new IT industry report from NetLine, with a double digit percentage consuming more than 10 pieces of content or more, indicating marketers are aware of the benefits it offers. As the technology industry becomes more and more congested, marketers have to communicate their value proposition and establish a need for their product or service in a provoking way to gain adoption by users.

Retail

The retail industry is undergoing extensive change as sales increasingly go digital. Most retailers have an e-commerce presence, and some are closing down brick-and-mortar stores altogether to fully focus their efforts online. With the capability of selective targeting, social media and pay-per-click advertising are proven to be highly effective channels for reaching, engaging, and converting visitors into customers. Even better, the use of cookies enables retailers to use retargeting to “follow” their prospects around the web, showing ads time after time until a purchase is made. In addition, hosting creative contests or enlisting brand ambassadors on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest tend to spread like wildfire, giving your brand an extra bump to reaching an expanded audience.

Blast email offers produce poor conversions and often harm brand reputation as consumers unsubscribe to irrelevant promotions. Instead, retailers must deliver personalized and contextual promotional offers using consumer insights and marketing automation software. When centrally managed in a CRM software system and integrated with marketing software that tracks online customer behaviors, retailers are afforded the opportunity to design specific customer segments. From here, delivering highly relevant content or offers based on demographics and behaviors can significantly grow customer retention and reactivation.

Nonprofit

Like retail, nonprofit organizations primarily cater to a B2C market, however choosing the right marketing channels could require a completely different approach. Think about reaching community members or people with needs similar to your mission or offering.

The 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report infographic shows that a company website is the most important communication channel followed by social media, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube leading the pack in that order. The power of video, especially when it comes to digital marketing, should also not be underestimated. Your messages have the power to spread to enormously large groups of potential donors. Emotions are ultimately what drive people to act, so spending resources on video and sharing this content on social channels shouldn’t be put on the back-burner.

Unless your nonprofit has an extremely large following with hundreds or maybe even thousands of people sharing your content, targeted social paid advertising can help your organization reach groups of people that are most likely to care and donate to your cause. Perhaps there are individuals in your network that can serve as brand advocates by spreading the news about your organization. Whatever it may be, utilizing these resources can yield increased visibility of your non-profit even when spending little to no money.

Many nonprofits stay clear of pay-per-click marketing simply due because of the cost, but have you ever heard of Google’s Ad Grants program? These are grants that are given to nonprofit organizations to advertise on Google. To be considered, you need an AdWords account, a Google nonprofit account, and the customer ID from your AdWords account. Find the application process here and spread the word!

Higher Education

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for schools to accurately measure ROI on distributed materials such as mailers and brochures. Like non-profit organizations, education institutions find that digital marketing has promising potential to reach their target audience in a predictable and scalable way.

According to Go Digital Marketing, of today's current college students, 53 percent used search engines most often when conducting research on prospective colleges and programs. Furthermore, it is extremely important for education institutions to build healthy search rankings by implementing a strong PPC and SEO strategy. Retargeting ads can also be paired with your digital marketing efforts to promote top of mind awareness for visitors who may have come to your site, but have not yet made a CTA. Selecting a school, especially a college, can take several months. Retargeting ads serve as a great way to stay connected with these visitors by pushing out relevant, relatable content during each stage of their decision process.

Social media is another powerful marketing channel that encourages personable engagement with parents and students. Facebook leads the pack as 62 percent of students surveyed would follow an educational institution on Facebook over any other social channel. Facebook business pages are not only a great way to showcase your school’s voice and mantra, but visual representations like photos and video give visitors a inside look of day to day activities, school events, and community involvement. If social media is your top performing marketing channel, expand reach and visibility with social ads, giving you the power to target highly selective groups.

Professional Services

According to bizible, Professional companies, such as financial services companies, attorneys, and medical professionals, are most likely to get results from email marketing, SEO marketing, and WOM. In this industry, developing relationships and providing value is top priority. Therefore, making connections in your network as well as developing high-value educational content that communicates how your service or product can solve gaps and problems that of a prospective client is critical. Typically sales cycles are longer and deals are much larger, so focus on utilizing these channels to continually nurture and move prospects through the buyer journey.

Conclusion

When turning prospects into customers, understanding who your target audience is and the value you can bring them through your product or service offering is one half of the equation. The other half of the equation is choosing the right cadence and mediums of communication.

Creating a well-rounded marketing strategy takes time and expertise. That’s where your team could benefit from working with ours. We understand your industry as well as the vagaries of the digital world. Whether your team has a marketing strategy in place that needs some fine-tuning, or you are looking for a fresh perspective, we’ll set your company on the right path for success and growth.