A Successful Marketing Campaign Starts with a Core Message that Definitively States Your Position as the Leader in Your Market
A cautionary note before we begin: While the things described in this article may seem elementary at first, keep an open mind. The majority of businesses we have seen over the last fifteen years have marketing that must "fix" these fundamentals before we can achieve their business goals.
To evaluate your own marketing – including online or digital marketing -- it’s important to form a baseline and identify the reality of where your business stands.
To begin, start by answering a few questions:
- What does your marketing do for your business?
- Does your marketing successfully explain why potential buyers should do business with you, rather than your competition?
- Does your marketing attract your ideal customer?
- Does your marketing strategy include a compelling Market Dominating Position?
If your marketing message doesn’t capture the interest of your ideal customers, you are leaving it to chance that they will buy from you. They may even buy from the low-cost and low-service provider around the corner because you didn’t establish your message.
To be effective, your Market Dominating Position needs to accomplish the following objectives:
- Clearly tell people what you sell.
- Define how you are superior to your competition.
- Explain what clients can expect when doing business with you.
Your Market Dominating Position is the core of your marketing strategy that lays the essential foundation for your growth. To achieve significant growth, you must be able to communicate your distinct value to your prospective buyers.
We achieve that goal by identifying quantifiable, specific ways that you are superior to your competition. Then, we communicate those qualities to your prospects in a way they can quickly understand. This will likely include marketing strategies to help you break away from the status quo and innovate your way to leadership in both your local market and in your industry.
With a powerful marketing strategy, you will have a foundation for all future marketing materials. It will shape how your website engages with prospects and will work to turn more prospects into customers and then, turn more customers into repeat buyers and "referral-givers".
Advertising based on your Marketing Dominating Position overcomes the "curse of knowledge" and teaches prospects what to look for when they want to buy what you sell.
Professionals tend to be in the top .5% of the world when it comes to expertise in their industry. However, they often forget what it’s like to be an outsider without the knowledge they possess. We refer to this as the “curse of knowledge” - which is what happens when you incorrectly assume that your prospects have the background and knowledge that you have about your business.
We overcome this tendency as we work to create your Market Dominating Position.
With a Clear and Precise Message, We'll Find Your Audience and Engage Prospects by Showing Your Superior Value
We will develop your core marketing strategy that will become your unique marketing message composed of words and images, all stated with clarity and passion in a way that instantly and definitively communicates who you are, what you do, and what customers can expect when doing business with you.
This may require some innovation on your part. We can help you make improvements and innovate. We may need to get creative when we take into consideration what your customers want. Then we will deliver that message in a way that makes you the clear leader in your industry.
Many small to midsize business have a great story to tell. But they either don’t tell it or they tell the part of their story that doesn’t matter to their potential customers, like when the business first started or that you have “great customer service” or “great quality”. Maybe you do, in fact, provide great customer service. But if you can’t explain how that improves your customers’ lives, they will lump you in with everyone else.
If your business doesn’t routinely deliver a great experience, the time to innovate and become the best choice is when you create your marketing strategy.
If you don’t think your business is superior to your competitors, then we need to talk about INNOVATION. If you’re a business owner who’s stuck selling on price or even losing market share in a highly competitive industry, then your Market Dominating Position is more critical than ever. We will work with you to identify ways you can innovate your offerings to achieve a superior position in the marketplace.
When we are ready to go to market, your marketing will work to accomplish 5 things:
Capture the attention of your ideal customer
Educate and inform those ideal customers how to make the best possible buying decision by giving them the information they need to move forward and purchase from the best company possible, which is you
Reduce their anxiety as they near a decision
Generate a purchase
Instill loyalty for repeat buyers and referrals
If your strategy isn’t clear and you fail to communicate to your ideal customers what differentiates your business from your competitors:
- You will NOT appeal to your ideal customers.
- You WILL compete with your lower quality competition who is saying the same things you are.
- You WILL regularly compete on price, which means you can never charge a premium for your superior service.
We have all experienced the situation where a friend or co-worker told us about a buying decision that turned bad. As you’re listening, you’re thinking to yourself: “If you had just come to me and asked, I could have saved you a lot of pain and suffering. And referred you to a business that would have taken you on an excellent customer journey.”
Think about your marketing this way: it needs to do the job of that referral. Your marketing needs to be found online so your customer can access it 24/7.
We Work with You to Set Your Business Apart with the Perfect Marketing Strategy
Before we execute any tactics, we create a marketing strategy that captures attention, educates and moves the buyer along with their purchasing journey.
As you begin to think about your customer’s buying journey, you will want to ask yourself some questions. Answers to the Five Discovery Questions below are the beginning steps of creating your strategy.
- Who is ready to buy?
- What do your buyers consider to be important when buying from you?
- What do they need to know to buy?
- How do you make the case that your product is what the customer wants?
- What do your buyers need to see or sense to have enough information to buy?
We personally guide you through the questions before approaching your customers with reasons why they should purchase from you. As you formulate answers to these questions, you will easily see ways to innovate your business and create a Market Dominating Position.
We Place Your Marketing Strategy Before Marketing Tactics. Here's Why:
If you go to market without your Market Dominating Position and only a plan based on marketing tactics, then you end up spending more on your marketing for inferior results. Tactical marketing (or media marketing) identifies the method you use to deliver your message: websites, radio, email, digital ads, social media advertising, and more.
However, without a Market Dominating Position, your tactics will not have anything that differentiates your business from the hundreds of other competitors out there.
To overcome this problem, we’ll walk you through a five-step process.
Step 1. Narrow Your Focus
Nearly all great business success stories over the past 40 years resulted from simplifying. Some simplified at their outset to deliver something new, while others simplified to make a comeback. Amazon, McDonald’s, IKEA, Southwest Airlines, Apple, Honda, Charles Schwab, and Chipotle are few.
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.com, in his book, "Lost and Founder", admits that by adding too many features to Moz, the SEO SAAS product soon lost market share, and more narrowly-focused SAAS products passed them by.
For some of you what you read next will be a big relief, because you already know it needs to be done. Or it will make you very nervous because you can’t imagine giving up hard-earned business.
You will need to eliminate some customers and begin to limit or eliminate the services or products your business offers that don’t generate the right customers.
For the sake of this discussion, let's say you have 4 types of customers:
- 2- and 3-Star Review Customers (Any number of terms can be used to describe these customers; we chose stars as the descriptor.) These are the customers who see you as mediocre or just below mediocre. You have to ask yourself, “Under any circumstances, can I make them happy?”
Customers in the “Profitable” category are good, and those in “Refer” are also good. Those in the “Profitable-and-Refer” category are your ideal customers.
Here’s a little story to demonstrate what I mean.
I was at my dentist’s office the other day in the waiting room, along with 7 or 8 other people. At full volume plus, a patient was berating the dentist about how expensive his work was. The dentist had walked the lady from his procedure room to check-out; he does this when you have suffered through something more than a 6-month check-up. I always thought it was a nice touch after a little suffering in his chair, instead of just having the hygienist walk you out. I may be reading too much into this experience, but the full volume complaint about the cost, for everyone in the waiting room to hear, was her version of a 2- or 3-star review.
From past experience, I know the dentist’s process for pricing procedures, and patients must sign-off on their scope and cost. So, I know check-out isn’t the time or place to discuss the cost of the procedure; it had already been covered. I also know from talking to my wife, who goes to another dentist, that my dentist’s rates are competitive.
For the sake of this example, I will be generous and say this patient is a “Profitable”. Can you see how “Profitable-and-Refer” is a better indicator of your ideal customer than “Profitable” alone?
Step 2. Identify Your Ideal Customers
You have already done your self-evaluation concerning why customers buy from you by answering the Five Discovery Questions above. Now is the time to find out why directly from your customers.
Read customer reviews for your company. And for your competitors. You will be surprised at the amount of excellent information you will learn. Call your past happy customers, ideally those who referred you or who wrote a well-constructed 4- or 5-star review and find out what they liked about the experience.
Here are some questions you can ask them:
- What made you decide to do business with us?
- Why do you keep purchasing from us?
- What products or services can we add that you purchase from other businesses?
- What phrases or search terms do you use to find a service/product like ours?
- What do we do that our competition doesn’t?
- Do you refer us?
- Would you mind writing us a review?
Personally interview six, seven or eight customers or have key staff or DigitalMX make the calls. This process gives great insight into your business.
Also, don’t treat this as an interrogation. Go with the flow as you would in any other conversation and dig a little deeper, if necessary, to get the best information. You will learn a lot from listening to your customer’s version of their buying journey.
Here's something to be aware of while taking in what your customers tell you. Note the difference between what you think is the primary benefit of your product or service and what gets your customers’ attention.
Knowing the distinction between what you think and what your customers think about your products and services will give you invaluable insight when it comes time to market to your prospects.
More on this as we get into developing your Market Dominating Position.
Step 3. Create Your Market Dominating Position (MDP)
Your MDP is your unique business message composed of a combination of words and images that powerfully and precisely articulates who you are, what you offer, and what people can expect when doing business with you, with the goal to make your competition irrelevant and dominate your marketplace.
Some other terms for Market Dominating Position include unique selling proposition, remarkable brand promise, customer persona and customer avatar.
To create an MDP for your unique business requires us to know the primary concerns of your target market. Customers who are ideal from both a “Profitable” and “Refer” standpoint, as defined above, make up the foundation for developing your MDP.
Armed with their feedback and your own answers to the discovery questions, you are ready.
Once we begin, you may be surprised to learn that this may or may not have to do with the advantage your product has over your competition. Also surprising -- we may discover your business has both a primary and secondary MDP, depending on the nature of your services.
Don’t think these principles won’t work in your industry
Our examples may not be from your industry, sales channel, or delivery method for your product or service. Their purpose is to help you understand a principle that often vexes business owners and professional marketers.
For example, if you are a SAAS company selling software to a business, you would do well to understand the motivations of the decision-makers. You may be prepared to show how your software enables seamless integration with accounts and other software, how it can reduce time required for bookkeeping by 75%, how it can integrate all aspects of your business so that employees at every level can work more efficiently.
Your core message may be:
- New Software Cuts Time Spent Bookkeeping By 75% And Fully Integrates Account Management and Communication
However, the owner or decision-maker may not be directly motivated by these advantages. Maybe he spends 65 hours at the office each week when he wants to spend no more than 20. The owner with this focus will “tune out” of the message above because it does not address the time spent at work issue.
For this owner, the message should be:
- Owner Cuts 40 Hours from Personal Work Week with New Business Management Software
The key is to utilize the principles of marketing that have always worked and will continue to work and use them within the existing marketing and advertising infrastructure to deliver your message to your decision-making audience.
Every business has a target audience they want to reach, and SEO provides one of the most effective ways to connect with it. Still, have you ever wondered who else is out there that you aren’t reaching? Is there someone who wants or needs your products and services, but the connection doesn’t occur because they don’t know you exist?
SEO works to identify a larger core audience, expand your visibility and extend your reach. SEO provides a direct path to the audience that doesn’t know they need you and your products and services.
When a consumer initiates an online search, the results can be overwhelming. How can you set your business apart from the crowd? The answer is trust and credibility, and we’re not just talking about reviews and testimonials.
Google’s goal is to provide only the best, most relevant results to their users. This means they’re always looking for indicators that a website is credible and trustworthy.
A strategic, well-planned approach to SEO helps the search engines to identify your website and business as one that’s authentic and focused on the customer experience.
Why the Partnership Between SEO and Web Design Is Key to Online Success
Today, when so much of life happens online, knowing how to reach out and connect to your audience in the digital world is essential. To get the most out of your digital marketing efforts, you might ask where you should direct your energy. Is it more beneficial to focus on web design or to go all in on SEO?
The best answer is neither one by itself is enough. You will need an approach that includes both. You’re just not going to make it very far without a strategy to increase visibility through search engine rankings. And the traffic you do get to your website is going to click off fast if your website isn’t attractive, compelling and informative.
If you want to optimize your digital marketing efforts, then it’s time to look at how and why SEO and web design are equal partners in growing your business.
SEO is how your business gets found online, and it’s good to have at least a basic understanding of its foundational elements, including what matters most to search engine algorithms because, by extension, this is also what’s most important to digital consumers.
Search engines direct their users to the most appropriate results of their search queries. If Google sends searchers to a website that doesn’t contain the content they need or is so poorly designed that they’re instantly turned off, this reflects poorly on the search engine.
You could think of it like this: Friends and family will stop trusting your recommendations for good local restaurants if your suggestions always send them somewhere with horrible food.
The quality of your web design has a significant impact on SEO. When customers engage with a business online, it’s the website that serves as a representative of that business in the digital world. A website has the huge job of delivering the brand’s message, its relevancy to the searcher’s need and the trustworthiness of the business -- all on its own. Search engines look for indicators that demonstrate a website’s ability to deliver these qualities, and many of these indicators become SEO ranking factors.
For instance, audiences respond positively to well-written, quality content that is relevant to what they are searching for. And that’s why content marketing is one of the biggest players in a successful SEO strategy. No matter how well-written, compelling and enticing your content may be, it still needs a delivery vehicle, and your website is it. Building content into web design so that it loads quickly and is easy to consume will encourage visitors to hang around long enough to read what you have to say and how your products and services can solve their problems.
Factors that search engine algorithms consider when displaying search results include “dwell time” or the amount of time a visitor stays on your site, and “bounce rate” – a number that indicates how many people exit your site without ever moving past the first page. The better these numbers, the more trust search engines have that you’ll provide the type of experience their users are looking for.