5 Questions Every Marketer Should Ask (and Answer)
Has digital marketing officially moved to the mass market? Yes, and I have no doubt in my mind.
I know that digital marketing has moved to the mass market when my brother-in-law, a pianist at Juilliard, asks me to help him create a website to start promoting his services online. I know that digital marketing has moved to the mass market when my dad, who can barely operate a computer, asks me to help him with “do SEO” for his new website. I also know that digital marketing has moved to the mass market when while watching football over the weekend I get interrupted by IBM and Adobe’s commercials about analytics, online marketing and cloud computing.
I was caught a little unprepared for my brother-in-law’s request and questions so I jumped right into talking about website, social media, forms, leads and a bunch of acronyms he didn’t really understand (CPC, SEO, SEM, etc.). Now, my brother-in-law is a really smart guy, a genius actually, so when after 15 minutes of my rambling I saw that he was just nodding and not really understanding, I stopped. I decided to approach it like our agency partners approach new customers and like my Inside Sales team approaches discovery calls – I started asking questions.
After a very engaging 1-hour conversation, that covered way more than just online marketing, I felt like we both learned something. With more and more businesses (including my brother-in-law’s) starting to “experiment” with digital marketing, I realized that conversations like that are only going to continue, so I jotted down the first five questions I would ask any business that’s considering embarking on an online marketing journey.
Want to Start an Online Marketing Campaign? Answer These Questions First
We sometimes forget to ask this simple, three-letter question. We might think the answer is so obvious that it would be embarrassing to ask, but this should be the first question you ask yourself, you boss or your client when they tell you they “want to start doing [insert any type of online marketing activity].” If the answer makes business sense (i.e. “I need more leads” or “I’m trying to create some awareness for my services”), then you should move to the next question. But if the answer has nothing to do with business or you’re not really getting an answer, you should stop here and not move on until you get the answer you’re looking for.
2. What are you selling?
The first thing you need to figure out is what is the actual product you are selling. The answer might be very straightforward and simple, but sometimes the answer isn’t as clear and your job as a marketer is to make it as clear as possible.
Knowing what you’re selling is just part of your job, making it something that people would want to buy is a whole different story. What is the problem or need that your product is helping to fulfill? Before you move forward, you will need to answer that question, or at least have a good idea on what the answer might be.
3. Who’s your audience?
Buyers, personas, target audience, prospects, leads, potential clients, whatever term you prefer the question is still the same – who are they? In answering this question you will need to provide a few additional insights about it: How old their are? Where do they spend their time? How do they research? Are they users, decision makers, gatekeepers? The more insights you have about your audience the better off you are.
4. What is your story? What makes you different?
All marketers are story tellers, even the bad ones, they’re just not telling the story well enough. Before you jump into creating content, running PPC campaigns and display ads, choosing keywords and going to trade-shows, step back and make sure you have a story to tell. Write it down and then rehearse it in front of the mirror, to your family and friends, to your colleagues and only then to your prospects. Remember to ask yourself if your story is unique and what makes you different than the other shoe store, software provider or pianists that will compete with you for the same audience.
5. What is your best case scenario? What does success look like?
Define what success looks like so when you face it, you realize it and can celebrate it. Is it 1,000 new customers? 10,000 followers? Being mentioned in a known trade publications or a famous blog? Whatever success looks like for you (or your client) make sure you define it before you start, and once you are successful, celebrate and set new goals.