You put in all this effort into SEO and Internet marketing and you are just not getting the results you want.

You complete all your tasks and yet you see no results. Your blogs go unread, your emails are unopened, and your ads are not clicked. Each day you continue to put in the effort, but you can just tell that you are not gaining any traction. This is frustrating. You are following all of the advice that you read about in the books you purchased, and yet your small business is in a flat line for its growth. Are you sending out too many emails? Bidding for the wrong words with your Internet advertising? Is the Internet just for big businesses full of smart people in black turtlenecks? You feel the top of your back tense up from the stress – this will be a long week.

There is a reason your Internet marketing is not working, and it is not what you think it is.

You Are Not Connecting With Your Customer

The actual channel that you choose to engage with your customer doesn’t matter if the message doesn’t resonate with them. You can send your marketing message via email, facebook, Internet ad, or messenger pigeon – if the message doesn’t resonate then it doesn’t matter. Small business owners spend so much time focusing on the newest and the fanciest techniques that they read about in a book, or heard their friend, that they do not stop to ask “does my customer care?”

You Are Not Seeing Your Internet Marketing Messages Through the Eyes Of Your Customer

When you create your internet marketing messages, you are creating them with your own thoughts and what you think will resonate. You probably take a look at your marketing messages and think to yourself “The messages are engaging, compelling, and would make me want to purchase”. This would be great if you were only marketing to yourself. However, this is not the case. The only thing that matters is how your customer sees the marketing messages. The words and messages that resonate with you may not resonate with your customers. Each of us has different perceptions of what a message means. It is similar to the concept of a Rorschach test. There is a simple inkblot on a piece of paper, but different people see different concepts through their unique personal lens. You need to realize that your marketing messages present a similar situation. Your message may be seen and understood completely different by your customers.

See Your Internet Marketing Through The Eyes of Your Customer

Binoculars

The key to Internet marketing, and really all marketing is to see through the eyes of your customer.  You need to find a way to climb inside the mind of your customer and view your marketing messages to see if your customers actually care. With every single marketing message that you send out, ask the question “If I were my ideal customer, would I care?”

How To See Your Internet Marketing Through The Eyes Of Your Customer

The basic premise of seeing your internet marketing through the eyes of your customer is to first define your customer, next attempt to see the internet marketing through the eyes of your customer, and then test to validate your assumptions.

  1. Select A Niche For Your Business

Note: If you have already selected the niche for your business, you can skip this step. However, I have found that many small business owners have never been informed about what a niche is or why it is vital.

You need to get very specific about who you are marketing to in order to able to see your internet marketing messages through the eyes of your customer. The most efficient way to get specific is to select a niche and tailor your messages to the niche. A niche is vital because a business really can’t effectively market to everyone – you need to pick a specific group and see your internet marketing message through the eyes of that specific group. If you try to market to everyone you end up marketing to no one. That specific group is referred to in marketing as a niche. More than likely if your internet marketing messages are not resonating you are marketing to your market rather than your niche. It is important to understand there is a difference between a market and a niche. A market is everyone that could buy from you while the niche is the people that you are going after. This can be a little difficult to understand conceptually, so here are some examples of the difference between a market and a niche:

  • Market – Coffee drinkers. Niche – High End Coffee Drinkers in the Philadelphia area
  • Market – Business Owners. Small business owners and entrepreneurs with 0-10 employees who aren’t professional marketers
  • Market – Car Owner’s  Niche: Antique car owners who work on their own engines

What niche do you want to select? I hate to give the consultant answer but ….. it depends! There are many different methods to defining and selecting you niche and here are some good additional resources to help find you:

  • Entrepreneur – Defining Your Market in 7 Steps. It is a little simplified, but a good outline of how to find your niche.
  • Miva Merchant  – Point three in this article is important – differentiate your brand
  1. Create an Ideal Customer Profile/Buyer Persona

Now that you have selected your niche your next task is to create customer profiles (also called buyer personas). Customer profiles are often a one page sheet that you hang above your desk (or keep in your Evernote) that you create to help you vividly envision your ideal customer. Using as much data as possible put together a demographic (things that could be found on a government census form like age, profession, location) and psychographic (less tangible traits like favorite movies, books, blogs, political views, etc) profile of your customer. Data can come from past customers, rival competitors customers, census results, surveys, and interviews. Once you have compiled the data create a fictional biography of what your one ideal customer would  look like. Use this customer profile to constantly remind yourself what your ideal customer looks like. Here are some resources on how to create a customer profile:

  • Hubspot – Hubspot has a great series on creating a buyer persona. Buyer personas are one of the cornerstones of the HubSpot inbound marketing methodology.
  • Firepole Marketing – This is a template to help you create your “one ideal customer”. It is the method that I use when crafting my marketing messages.
  1. Craft A Message Through The Eyes Of Your Customer

Now that you have your ideal customer, look at your current marketing messages and see if the customer would care. Some angles to look at:

  • Do you use the same language as the customer? You probably want to stay away from industry jargon.
  • Is your product or service discussing a problem that your customer actually has?
  • Does your customer even understand what you are selling?
  • Are you targeting to your one specific customer with an impact or are you being bland and trying to target many different niches?

If you find that your messages are off target, craft them again referring to your ideal customer profile sheet. Imagine as if you are talking to your customer in a relaxed atmosphere – maybe over coffee. If you were having a cup of coffee and passionately describing your products and services to this customer you would be friendly, clear and you would tailor your message to them.

  1. Test To Validate

You are on a great track to getting your marketing messages to resonate with your customers, but you need to test to validate your assumptions. You can test in a couple of different ways, I always recommend using analytics and hard data. Here are some examples of how to do this:

  • Write your new blogs with the customer in mind and see if the time on those blogs is longer than the previous blogs. You can get this data from Google Analytics.
  • Run two different ads on Google AdWords, one with your current value proposition and one with a new value proposition created with the customer in mind. See which has a higher click through rate
  • Send out two versions of an email, one with your current marketing and one created with the customer in mind and see which has a higher open rate.

What is your favorite way to get in your customers head?

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photo credit: matsber via photopin cc

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