If you met our sweet Lucy, our 4-month-old hound/shepherd/lab mix, I’m convinced that you would be just as smitten as I am – her big droopy ears, her big tan paws and these soft brown eyes that stare directly into your soul. And if you can conjure up in your mind the colors and swirls of a marble cake mix – that’s her beautiful coat. She’s playful…she’s snuggly…she’s potty trained…Ok, maybe not exactly potty trained but, well, we’ve got time to work on that.
Lucy is a great addition to our family and has integrated well with Steve and Murphy, our other two pups. Our boys, Kevin and I love our Lucy and that love is most definitely mutual. What more could we ask for?
But we haven’t always wanted another puppy. Or more accurately, Kevin hasn’t always wanted another puppy. What you see before you today is the result of a long, persistent and ultimately successful marketing campaign. The psychology of conversion is truly fascinating.
Step 1: Identify Your Main Goal/Objective
The key to a successful marketing campaign begins with stating a clearly defined goal or objective. In this case, my goal was to get another puppy because a) I LOVE dogs and b) I wanted to find a playmate for our very busy 2-year-old dog, Murphy.
Step 2: Understand Who Your Target Audience Is
This is often one of the most challenging components of a marketing campaign and yet also one of the most critical. Many businesses try to skip this part because they believe their product or service can benefit everyone. Regardless of what you sell, however, this is never the case. If you take the time to narrow down your focus, your campaign will be more effective and you’ll get results quicker.
In this case, my target audience was pretty cut and dry. It was Kevin, a 47-year-old Polish male (insert your favorite Polish joke here) who thoroughly analyzes every decision he makes. He is equal parts stubborn and convincing and relies heavily on Excel spreadsheets when it comes to making big decisions.
Knowing the demographics of your target audience is imperative. Go the extra mile and spend time thinking about how they make decisions, where they find their information and how your products/services can impact their life. You’re guaranteed better results.
During this part of the process, it’s helpful to create buyer personas.
- Interview at least 3-5 people who fit the following criteria: current customers, prospective customers, people who aren’t familiar with your company.
- Ask them a list of predetermined questions regarding their job description, the company they work for, their goals, their challenges, how they gather information, their personal background and how they select and interact with vendors.
- Use your research to create your buyer personas. Check out this great HubSpot article for more details on how to create buyer personas for your company!
Looking for another great resource? This article will help you put wheels on the process!
Creating buyer personas allows you to engage in a targeted marketing campaign.
Step 3: Determine The Best Tools/Marketing Channels To Use
Once you’ve clearly defined your target audience, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Where do they get information? Do they read the newspaper or other publications? Do they prefer Facebook to LinkedIn? Go where they go!
There is an abundance of marketing channels at your disposal. Instead of spreading yourself thin by trying to reach prospects through too many channels simultaneously, choose a few of the ones you think will be the most effective for your buyer personas and drill down. Here’s some great info to get you started!
When it comes to social media channels, it’s helpful to take a look at demographics for each of the biggest contenders and see which ones best align with your persona demographics. Then direct your efforts towards those channels.
Since my campaign wasn’t a traditional marketing campaign, the channels I chose were a bit non-traditional. I chose a multi-pronged approach (which is what we recommend to our clients when we’re developing their campaigns). My campaign consisted of text messages, peer pressure/influencer marketing (thank you WFM team for your support!) and event marketing. The event? I organized a Canine Coffee Break with Spot’s Last Stop. They were going to bring puppies into our Wild Fig office to help socialize them. And of course the pups are up for adoption too. I know. I fight pretty dirty.
I figured that, as soon as my husband saw the puppies and how happy they made me, he’d be hard-pressed to say no. My team was also rooting for me and I knew they’d help seal the deal. Marketing is no stranger to obstacles, however, and COVID-19 put a kink in my plan and we had to postpone the event. Hint: Take some time in the planning stages to look for potential obstacles. It will help you avoid them more often than not. (Note to self: I should probably take my own advice next time.)
I knew I had to adjust my plan.
The Governor was about to issue a shelter-in-place order and I had to act fast. I changed my messaging accordingly:
Hey honey, I’ve been thinking. This really is the perfect time to get a puppy since all four of us will be home to help potty train him or her…
I went on to state my case and all the benefits of adopting a puppy.
I also sweetened the pot by offering to oversee all of the training (gulp) and I utilized influencers (our teenage boys). How could Kevin say “no” now? I knew my marketing strategy was taking hold.
Step 4: Develop Your Messaging
Once you have a plan for which channels you’re going to use to reach your target audience, it’s time to create your “before and after” personas. What does life look like for your ideal customer before they purchase your product? Perhaps they’re overwhelmed, sad, wishing they had more leisure time…Now, what does life look like for your ideal customer after they make that purchase? Are they more relaxed and content? Less sad or frustrated? Taking time to flesh out these personas will help you more precisely align your message.
Then, as you develop your message, keep these things in mind:
Did you know that it takes 8 touches just to get an initial conversation with your prospect? And it takes many more touches to convert. That’s why it’s critical to keep your message in front of your prospects at all times.
Timing is everything
Knowing when to ask for the sale is paramount. If you ask too early you could lose the deal for good.
I definitely had to be mindful of this when timing my communication. If my husband had a bad day or was in a funk, I refrained from talk about puppy adoption.
Step 5: Analyze Your Results
When all is said and done, how did your campaign go? Did you accomplish your goals? More specifically, what parts of your campaign were the most effective? The least effective? Then ask yourself about your customers: What did you learn about them? Did you target them in an on-point way or were your tactics a little off? Were you making any assumptions about your customers that turned out not to be true?
I’m happy to report that Operation Puppy was a tremendous success.
It wasn’t without its obstacles and it certainly required planning, precision and patience. However, the end goal was achieved – I sold my idea to Kevin – and our family is now reaping the benefits. Isn’t she just the cutest?