A List! A List! My Kingdom for a Customer List!
In case you haven’t noticed already, successful marketing isn’t a shot in the dark. And neither is it simply about big ideas, charm and smooth talking.
It’s a science. And as such, it’s more perspiration than inspiration.
In these blogs I write, I give my take on both tried-and-tested methods and new innovations. I don’t claim to be the inventor of these solutions, and I wouldn’t dare to. I simply want the world to know about them, and fancy myself as someone who can communicate well enough to spread the word. That’s my job.
But the first rule in marketing, as far as I can see, is Thou Shalt Stay on the Radar and Communicate. Without obeying this rule, each and every marketing strategy is useless. And the first thing you need to obey this rule? Why, it’s a customer list of course.
In my previous three posts (10 Examples of Value Added Content…, Lead Magnets: “You had one easy job… and Give and Thou Shalt Receive: How Value Added Content…) there’s a fair few examples of how to build up your customer list in painless ways. But what then? Once you have this sacred list, what do you do with it? How do your harness the power of this treasure at your fingertips?
Well, the first and obvious thing is to write a regular newsletter. I’ll be talking about this more in my next blog though (or one after perhaps?), so less of that for now.
And then there’s email campaigns, which focus on individual products or services. But more of that later, too.
The greater power of a customer list, however, is not merely in the ability it gives you to contact people. What you have with a good list is not just email addresses or phone numbers, but – if compiled correctly – a whole heap of information about your customers.
Armed with the knowledge of age bracket, occupation, salary, lifestyle/hobbies and a whole lot more, you can build up pictures of individual customers. And with this knowledge, you can base your marketing on fulfilling the needs of your customers. If you discover that most of your customers are male, for example, you would try to create marketing messages aimed solely at men – and so maximise the chances of being heard.
But if you look closely at the various attributes of your customers, you may be lucky enough to find specific, common ground across the board. You may find that most are not only men, but aged 50+, earning £30-50K and fans of, say, golf. If this is the case, it’ll be easy to envisage your ‘average customer’, and tailor your marketing appropriately. When you connect, you connect with one person in mind, so have a better idea of what to say and how to say it.
Yet even if your customer base is quite diverse, you can still figure out who this average person is. One surefire method of doing so is to create an avatar. This is done by working out the average age, occupation etc of all your customers, and giving these statistics to this ‘character’. This character can then be given a name and face (fill your boots and draw a cartoon image if you like!) and voila: you have your avatar. Whenever you embark on a new marketing quest, satisfying this avatar is your ultimate goal.
In order to fully understand the avatar, however, you must fill in some gaps yourself. From your various lead magnets and surveys etc, you have asked the right questions and collected the right information. But let’s face it: there’s some stuff the customers just don’t know about themselves, or perhaps are unwilling to share.
That’s why you have an avatar. Once he or she is in your life, they take on a life of their own. Like Anthony Hopkins’ ventriloquist doll in Magic (although not as terrifying), your creation actually starts to influence you, rather than the other way round, and you have a living embodiment of all your customers rolled into one. It sounds a bit bonkers I know, but your mind needs more than facts and figures, don’t you think? If you can personalise something, you’re more likely to be emotionally-driven – and it’s our emotions which help us connect to others (ie customers).
There is, of course, so much more you can do with a customer list, and you may be an expert in harnessing its magic already. If this is so, then this blog can be merely a reminder to remember why you have a list in the first place. After all, it’s not called an ‘address book’, is it now? It’s so much more than that.
And the King Arthur connection? Well, he couldn’t have done anything without his horse, is that good enough for you? No? Ah well, you can’t win them all. Tune in next time for my discourse on newsletters, and I’ll try and make it up to you.