You Don’t Need to Read Minds to Market Effectively

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - SEO Tips>Ad Management, SEO Tips>Content Marketing

How Ottawa Advertising Agencies Help You Understand and Engage Your Audience

One of the biggest mistakes in ad management and marketing is to base your efforts on your own behaviour or anecdotal evidence. Just because you prefer using a certain channel for purchases doesn’t mean your customers will, too. This is a massive assumption and making it amounts to setting yourself up for disappointment. When it comes to implementing an effective marketing strategy, you need to know your target audience and tailor your marketing strategies to their needs and behaviours. And therein lies the real challenge! You need to get into the mindset of your target audience. You need to understand how they think, and how they make decisions. Easier said than done, right? Believe me, SEO TWIST and many other Ottawa advertising agencies are all too familiar with the challenge. It’s our job to shift our perspective and get into the mindset of your customers. From there, we conduct extensive research to determine the best ways to meet their needs. How do we do it? We start with target personas.

What Is A Target Persona?

A target persona, sometimes referred to as a buyer persona, is an outline of your typical target audience member. This is usually your ideal customer. Think of target personas as characters you use to play out common marketing scenarios. They’re typically developed around pain points, the main problems or challenges that your customers are facing. By determining some of the most common pain points, you can reverse-engineer some of the most common situations that would bring customers to your site. You probably already have a good idea of who your audience is, but if not, it’s time for a bit of research. Behavioural data from Google Analytics can help determine the age range and gender of your audience, including location data. From here, you can make some observations to help inform your target personas. Keep these questions in mind during your research:

  • Where is your audience located?
  • Which social media platforms do they use?
  • What communities are they a part of?
  • Where do they go for information?
  • What publications do they read?

Getting concrete answers means you’ll need to get some feedback from your customers. From here, use your insights to inform your target personas. Remember those pain points, and build personas around the big ones. The info you’ve gathered will inform details like salary, family situation, interests, and much more.

A father sits on the floor by a coffee table as three children play cards with a dog looking on.
Meet Nick, our sample buyer persona.

Developing a Target Persona

Say you’ve got a car cleaning and detailing company. What does your ideal customer look like? Enter the target persona. Your ideal customer might be the head of a household in the suburbs, ideally with two vehicles. They’re in their mid-30s to late-40s, married, with three young kids and a dog. They work in real estate or finance and have disposable income, and their two vehicles need semi-regular cleaning and detailing work, say every 4 months. What pain points are preventing them from coming to your business? Let’s dive a bit deeper with this persona. We’ll give him a name, Nick, and with a bit of creativity, we’ll say Nick wants to take a bit more pride in the dream vehicle he’s saved for. All the same, he doesn’t want to spend tons of money on detailing work when the dog and kids are jumping in and out of the family cars on a daily basis. He’s DIYing his car cleaning and detailing but has trouble finding the time for it. Our persona, Nick, is looking for a fair-priced car cleaning and detailing service but is a bit apprehensive about the cost and quality of work. Using this persona can help you target people in this demographic. While the backstory we’ve given Nick is very specific, there’s plenty in there that will speak to an even broader group. Fair-priced, dependable work? Time-saving car cleaning services? Sign me up! This persona can then be used as the target of your marketing efforts. It helps inform the language you use in content, your CTAs, and even pricing, discounts, and sales. Of course, that’s not the whole story with getting into the mindset of your customers.

A cashier stands behind the register in a bookstore, reading a book.
Not as many customers as you once had? There may be a reason for that.

Is Your Brand Trustworthy?

Consumers are more aware than ever of online scams, and web browsers put a high priority on user security and safety. Google Chrome, in particular, will wall off websites it deems unsafe or untrustworthy; you actually have to opt in to visit in these cases. But even before that, if a site looks untrustworthy, or even feels off, it’s an immediate red flag for most users. Broken links, faulty forms, or a simple lack of professionalism won’t do your business any favours. You want to make a good first impression, after all. It’s necessary to develop your target audience’s trust if you want a chance at winning them over. Customers will choose to buy products and/or services from a company they trust will deliver on their promises. Ask yourself the following questions, keeping in mind your customers’ perspective, to see how reliable and trustworthy your brand appears to your target audience:

  • How easy is it to find and purchase your products? Can your website be easily found online, through search?
  • What is the quality of your customer service? Are all interactions, including product returns and replacements, positive experiences for customers? Are you confident that your customer service is the best?
  • How do your products and services compare to your competition? What can you learn from them?
  • How up-to-date is your website in terms of user experience and technology? Is your site mobile-friendly? Do you have an active online presence?
  • How do your digital marketing efforts compare to your competition’s?

By answering these questions, you can find ways to improve your products, services, website, and online presence and build trust. You can also tailor your marketing efforts, such as communications, ad management, specials, and outreach specifically to your target audience. Of course, in some cases, you’ve got to rebuild trust.

Rebuilding Brand Trust

Rebuilding trust is an ongoing process, and it doesn’t stop once you’ve rebuilt your brand’s image. It’s part and parcel of your services and must be if you want customers to continue their support. Anticipating customer needs and answering their questions quickly and efficiently is a great place to start, and your social media accounts are the perfect place to engage with your audience. When in doubt, keep these tips in mind:

  • Maintain and highlight your business’ values. Chances are, your customers will share some of these values, which presents a perfect opportunity to build trust and loyalty.
  • Provide secure checkout options and proof. Customers want to know that their credit card information is safe. Secure badges or notices that the page is using a secure server will instill this trust.
  • Maintain a professional, relevant web presence. This starts at your domain name or web address (just use your brand name) and filters through every aspect of your brand. That means a responsive, functional site with professional design and functionality your customers can count on.
  • Be available, personable, and attentive. Empathy goes a long way. Understanding why your customers might be frustrated is the first step towards rebuilding trust or solving any challenges. By approaching customer service and engagement on a more personal level, you can easily humanize your company, creating a greater level of trust by offering personalized service and support.

A final thought: it’s awkward, not to mention sort of arrogant, to proclaim just how amazing you are. (You are amazing, we’re not doubting that! Humblebragging isn’t terribly popular, however.) Let others do it for you! Social proof, whether testimonials or reviews, speak volumes to your audience and are an amazing way to build and rebuild trust. Of course, sometimes, you need a fresh start.

A woman sticks a post-it note to a board during a presentation.
Whether you’re building trust or rebranding, it’s important to have a plan.

Should You Rebrand?

Rebranding can help you get your business back on its feet if you’ve been experiencing a lull in sales. Here are three situations where rebranding might be the best way forward: 

  • Your brand is associated with a bad reputation.
  • Your target audience has changed.
  • You need to evolve to keep up with the competition.

If one or more of these apply to you, it might be time to give your business a new lease on life.

How to Communicate Your Brand to Your Niche Effectively

Communication is key to reaching your target audience. So consider using these tips to communicate your brand effectively:

  • Know the social media platforms your target audience is using—and engage with them directly on these platforms.
  • Know the type of content your audience is looking for—i.e. answers to questions with engaging, informative content.
  • Be up-to-date and on-time with your offerings to accommodate the demands of your industry—i.e. time your posts on social media based on events, trends, or ideas that will drive readers to your content.
  • Stay consistent with your content—know when the best time is to post content and always post valuable, quality content on a regular basis.
  • Be responsive—spend as much time and effort engaging with and responding to your audience’s comments and questions. This real-time response will show how much you value and are committed to your audience and will build loyalty and trust in your brand.

Contact a local web marketing company for help in reaching your target audience effectively. An internet marketing company will help with market research, ad retargeting, rebranding, web design, and content marketing so you can better understand and engage with your customers, and build their trust.


Microsoft Launches Responsive Search Ads Beta to All Advertisers


Microsoft Now Enables RSAs to Advertisers

Microsoft Advertising globally opened responsive search ads, allowing all advertisers to start testing responsive search ads in their Microsoft Advertising accounts. Responsive search ads (RSA) were initially introduced by Google last year. The system serves up a combination of headlines and descriptions provided by the advertiser.

 What Are Responsive Search Ads?

During the open beta, advertisers can input up to 15 headlines and four lines of descriptions in each through the web interface, Editor, the bulk API, or existing RSAs from Google Ads campaigns.

Microsoft Responsive Search Ads
Source: Microsoft
Microsoft suggests using 8 to 10 headlines that do not include similar phrases, along with different descriptions. Since the combinations can serve in any other way, headlines and descriptions must work together in various orders. The best performing ad combination are identified and reported to the advertiser, while the underperforming ads do not serve up again. The combination can contain up to three titles and two descriptions. An ad strength gauge appears in the RSA editing window as a rough indicator of RSA performance. One responsive search ad can generate more than 32,000 ad combinations, and marketers can adapt the text ads to closely match what someone is searching for when they search for it.

How to Get the Best Out Of RSAs

  • “Create responsive search ads in the same campaigns with your current expanded text ads to avoid impression and click loss when testing effectiveness of responsive search ads,” says Microsoft.
  • The more headlines and descriptions provided, the higher the probability of the ad being more relevant.
  • Microsoft recommends pinning positions 1 and 2 for headlines and position 1 for description if order is your concern.
  • The company also encourages using and regularly reviewing the RSA performance widget to understand how responsive the search ads perform.

Google and now Microsoft both enabling RSAs is expected to make machine-learning powered format the new standard. RSAs seem to be the direction that text ads and ad testing will continue heading, with the ad systems actively determining creatives at the time of auction and adjusting based on historical performance.

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Google Ads Is Getting Rid of Average Position on September 30


Google To Sunset Average Position Metric

As announced by Google earlier this year, average position will soon no longer be part of Google Ads. Google will begin sunsetting the average position metric the week of September 30. Instead of average position, Google says advertisers should transition to using the position metrics introduced last year. These four new search ad position metrics focus on search top impression rate and search absolute top rate to indicate the percentage of impressions and impression share your ads received in the “absolute top” and “top” of page ad slots. Google’s reasoning behind the decision to eliminate average position is that it feels the metric is no longer useful.

The New Metrics

Google’s next chapter for metrics will focus on clarity. Google feels it has introduced newer metrics that better inform advertisers about what they primarily care about: that their ads are shown in places where they will drive more business. The following are four new metrics introduced by Google:

  • Impression absolute top %
  • Impression top %
  • Search absolute top impression share
  • Search top IS

The metrics tell advertisers two things: how often their ads are at the top of the page when they get an impression, and what share of all the top of page impressions they’re getting.

google search
Source: Google
In the announcement post, Google Ads product manager Pallavi Naresh gave the following rationale for the decision: “These new metrics give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does.” Having a clear idea of your prominence on the SERP is essential to making informed bidding decisions. Evidently, Google feels the four new metrics are more insightful as far as bidding strategy is concerned.

What Can We Expect to Change

Starting from the beginning of the week of September 30, functions like rules using average position, custom columns using average position, saved reports that filter on average position and saved filters with average position will be permanently disabled. Average position will also be removed from any saved column sets, saved reports that use the average position column but don’t filter on it, and scorecards that use average position in dashboards. We will also see the return of ValueTrack parameter for easier information tracking about ads.

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