This is the third post in a marketing guide series of articles by Alexander Vaneck. This series is about Customer Lifecycle Marketing and takes you through the process of setting up your marketing from a customer-centric position.
If you missed the first two parts, you should definitely check them out before reading this Part 3:
Here’s Part 1.
And here’s Part 2.
Most of the ideas in these posts are tested and used by many. Check out the resources at the end of each article.
I wrote this because I couldn’t find any resources that connect all the dots. And to create a clear process of how to develop and think about marketing strategies.
Please comment below if you have any other resources on how to improve each Lifecycle stage. As with anything in business, it is a work in progress.
Marketing Guide — Reaching Customers
A recurring theme when working with the Customer Lifecycle is selecting the right metrics. Every Customer Lifecycle is different and unique. Your business has unique metrics it should track for each stage.
Some metrics you can track to measure Reach are:
- Visitors to your website.
- Ads clicked.
- Customers who walked in.
- Online views.
- Emails opened.
- Calls received or calls dialled.
- Letters received.
The purpose of every stage is to inflate the metric that you track. How you do it is secondary. You might use 20 online tools, or go completely offline. As long as the metric goes up.
So… “How do I find customers?”.
I see this question often. The answer is always the same. It depends on who they are.
There is no one true method to finding customer. Or how to have customers find you. I can sit here and throw a million theories at you, but that’s the truth.
Finding customers is hard. I’ve struggled with it in every business that I’ve worked on.
The only strategy that’s helped me again and again is communication.
Here are some ideas:
- Talk to your current customers.
- Reach out to potential customers.
- Have a conversation with them.
- Understand who they are.
- What do they do?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Figuring out what their problems are will give your solution direction. Figuring out what their need is will give you a branding strategy.
As with a lot in business, understanding customers is a continues process. You need to talk to them, stay up to date. and be on the lookout for changes.
If you haven’t already, read my article on how to create personas. It will give you a clear first step in understanding your ideal customer.
A process for finding customers
There’s two stages with finding customers;
- Your first 150 customers.
- All the customers after that.
Your first customers
I suggest that you as a founder are involved in reaching and getting your first 150 customers. You are the only one who can make changes to the business. And you are the only one who knows what to do.
I’ve chosen 150 because it is Dunbar’s number. It’s the total amount of people a person can remember. While also remembering their family situation, their job and everything that makes them.
Thus you will know these 150 people through and through.
Let’s assume you have figured out a persona that is based on reality.
Let’s call him Waldo.
One of most important steps of creating a persona is looking at how you can reach them.
Let’s think about this:
- Is Waldo part of a facebook group?
- Does he frequent other businesses?
- Does he go to local meetups?
Reaching those first few customers is an experiment to find if Waldo uses those channels. Start with a variety of channels, then look at your metric.
I’ve included some examples of channels you can start with:
”I know what Waldo is looking for online.”
- Start with Google Adwords and direct traffic to your website.
- Become the authority in your field, building SEO value and producing content.
”I know other businesses Waldo frequents.”
- Start a partnership with another business. Try to get access to their customers, or let them use your product/service as an upsell.
”I know what interests Waldo”
- Start an Instagram, Pinterest or social media group to connect different Waldo’s together. And let them connect with you.
I can’t find Waldo
You’ve chosen some Reach channels to start finding Waldos. Yet after a few days or weeks you conclude your metric has not gone up.
In other words, you’re not reaching them. You’re wondering, Where’s Waldo?
This means one simple thing: Your channels aren’t used by your Personas.
Go back to the drawing board and rework your personas. Think of more channels that Waldo could be using. Then implement them and try again.
In a perfect scenario you rework personas.
If you are sure your channels are correct, think about changing your message or copy. This can have an impact on how customers perceive you.
I have found Waldo
Great! You’ve found a repeatable way to finding customers!
Don’t stop now. Keep in touch with your customers and figure out if there’s more channels to be in.
Until you get those customers, you need to understand everything about your customers.
When you’ve reached that 150 customers mark, you will know enough about who your personas are. This means you now have a basic Reach strategy that works for your business.
From here, you can start thinking on how else you could Reach customers. And how customers can start reaching you.
For example, through loyal Customers or creating customers by helping them discover an interest.
These are ideas I will write about in future articles. For now, I think this gives you a push into the right direction.
Next to that, I thought it would be even better to provide guides and ideas on a couple of tools for each Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) stage.
Please write any questions or feedback in the comments below. I always appreciate talking about this work in progress.
Udacity Course, Business Model Canvas – Steve Blank
E-Metrics, Business Metrics For The New Economy by Jim Sterne and Matt Cutler (2000)
Do you use social media to reach your clients?
This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Kudos!
Thanks for this, think I’ve found a great customer Persona that I can use! Had never considered this, so cool!