Keeping Your Awareness and Engagement Efforts Focused

market research, marketing researchWe’ve written before about the sales funnel—the process through which potential customers become aware of, engage with and, hopefully, ultimately become actual customers of your company. The first part of this funnel is typically referred to as “awareness.” This is the stage at which the market—as you’ve defined it—becomes aware of your product or service. They may never be interested in making a purchase or even learning more about you, but they are aware you exist and have entered this first section of your funnel.

At the heart of the sales process is the drive to move potential customers through the funnel from awareness to action—i.e., making a purchase. A lot of resources are put into measuring the losses at each stage of the funnel and figuring out the sources of that attrition and how to reduce it. Unfortunately, a lot of these resources may be wasted.

Many companies throw their measuring efforts off from the very beginning by being overly broad in how they define their market. Consequently, the efforts they put into generating awareness are also overly broad. Remember, awareness is the stage at which the market—as you’ve defined it—becomes aware of what you’re offering. Many companies define their markets far too broadly. Some think of their market as the universe of potential consumers. Some might think of their market as those within a given geographic region or within a specific demographic. But, in most cases, the actual market is often much, much narrower.

Casting a (Very) Narrow Net

If you sell B2B IT consulting services, do you really care if college students are aware of your brand? Sure, they might be potential customers someday. And, and it doesn’t hurt to be recognizable. But, is it really worth dedicating resources to raising awareness of your business with this group? Probably not.

Thinking too broadly about your market creates problems throughout the funnel, beyond just the awareness stage. Consider engagement. “From my experience, the reason that people sign up for your email list should be very similar to the reason that they buy your products, or at least related,” writes Ben Jacobson in an article for The Next Web. “If they sign up for your email list because they want to win a free trip to the Caribbean and then you try to sell them enterprise-grade IT automation software, it might not be the best fit.”

Don’t Confound Your Measurement Metrics

Throughout the sales funnel, you will be confusing your metrics if you aren’t focused narrowly enough on your true market. You’ll be wasting time and effort trying to figure out why you have great awareness, but very low engagement percentages. Or why you can get so many people to engage with your brand but never convert them to a sale. The best way to increase your conversion numbers is to focus on likely prospects – your carefully defined market—from the outset.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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