The most important question you need to ask yourself when creating a new marketing campaign is this: what does my prospect already know?
The prospect’s level of problem awareness was covered in this article: Increase Sales by Leveraging Your Prospect’s Problem Awareness Level [Part 1 of 2].
Before you create any marketing campaign, the most important question you need to ask yourself is this: what does my prospect already know?
Your prospects have different needs: they differ in their levels of awareness of their problems as well as solutions and products available:
- The Most Aware– This prospect is already in your sphere of influence. He is your raving fan.
- Product Aware– This prospect knows what you sell, but he’s not sure if it’s right for him.
- Solution Aware– This prospect knows that there is a solution to his problem and he’s trying to find the right one.
- Problem Aware– This prospect knows that he has a problem; he is suffering and he is in pain, but he doesn’t know that there is a solution. He’s using the search engines to look for content that can educate him about a potential solution for his problem.
- Completely Unaware– This prospect is at the lowest level of the problem-awareness cycle. He is probably in a browsing mode trying to entertain himself online. He has no knowledge of who you are, what problem he may be having or what solution may help him.
Most of your prospects are not aware of solutions as well as products or services that can help them solve their problem. They make up the BIGGEST universe of potential customers… and most of your competitors are ignoring them!
Most businesses focus their advertising on their most aware prospects. They’re easy to target because they know what they want and they’re using query-based search engines to find it.
The problem with focusing your marketing only on most aware prospects is that Google-based search traffic and other search-engine-based traffic is limited and expensive (due to the high competition).
To increase your sales, you need to educate unaware prospects about their problem as well as solutions (your products or services) that can help them. So, you can tap into this monster source of potential new sales.
Some of your prospects don’t need more education about their problem. Some already have a high awareness level of their problem as well as solutions available. You can just educate them about the benefits of using your product or service to solve their problem.
By understanding the level of awareness of your prospects regarding their problems, you can create more appropriate and more converting marketing campaigns.
Once you have a better understanding of what’s going on in the mind your prospects and the problems they’re facing (based on the information you obtained from your market research), you can present solutions that they want.
By meeting your prospects where they are in the buying process, you can lead them toward a sale with less resistance.
Using Permission and Interruption Marketing Strategies
You can have competitive advantage in the marketplace if you create a marketing strategy for your offer based on your understanding of the different problem awareness levels of your target audience.
By choosing the interruption-based or permission-based strategies appropriate for marketing your offer, you can meet your prospects at their level of awareness; this can dramatically boost your sales and conversions.
What Is Permission-Based Marketing?
Permission marketing (also known as permission-based marketing) refers to any marketing strategy where you get the prospects’ permission to deliver promotional messages to them. For example, prospects that opt-in to subscribe to your email list or newsletter have given you (or your company) real permission to send them emails.
Search marketing involves prospects who are entering keywords on search engines looking for information that they want to get. It is considered permission-based marketing because it requires searchers to click one of the links listed on the search engine results to get to your site in order to get the information they’re looking for.
It doesn’t matter if your website or blog is listed on the paid ads or organic search results, the only way for any searcher to find information about you is by entering a keyword on a search engine and clicking a link to arrive at your site; this is considered implied permission because the searcher was actively searching for information and had to click a link in order to get to your site — (s)he actually wanted to get information from you.
Email marketing, search engine optimization or SEO-based marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are also examples of permission-based marketing strategies.
What Is Interruption-Based Marketing?
Interruption marketing (also known as interruption-based marketing) refers to any marketing strategy that involves interrupting a person’s attention to show advertising while (s)he’s involved in another activity; for example, advertising shown to people watching a TV show or YouTube video, reading posts on Facebook as well as reading a blog post or an article on a website involves interrupting their attention.
Some companies use interruption marketing for branding purposes. They try to get the attention of anyone and everyone to generate interest about their company, products or services. Some examples of brand-related interruption marketing include TV and radio advertising, magazine and other print advertising as well as sponsored posts on Facebook, Google display ads on websites and blogs.
You can also use interruption marketing to sell products and services. For example, media buyers pay sites with massive traffic to display banners or text advertising on their websites or blogs.
Traffic Sources for Interruption and Permission Marketing
Media buying is the most common source of traffic for interruption-based marketing. Media buying is also known as display or banner advertising.
The most common sources of traffic for permission-based marketing are email marketing, content marketing using search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising.
Media buying used to be reserved for companies with big marketing budgets. Until recently, media buyers were required to spend at least $5,000 for their display advertising; and many were able to spend millions for advertising.
Google has changed all that — even marketers with tiny budgets can use display advertising as well as search marketing to build their businesses.
The Google Display Network (GDN) serves over one TRILLION impressions for advertising every month (this is in addition to Google Ads (Adwords) search advertising). In contrast, there are over 11.944 billion searches on Google every month (Source: Expanded Ramblings).
GDN allows advertisers to place ads on a network of sites that reach over 90% of Internet users worldwide (Source: Comscore).
To advertise on GDN, you can use keywords related to your products to show your text ads or banner ads that will get the attention of people enjoying articles, videos and other content; instead of keywords, you can also choose specific URLs, topics or interests to have your display ads shown.
As you can see, there are lots of traffic sources to get more leads, customers, sales and profits for your business using interruption and permission marketing.
If you need more permission-based email traffic beyond your own list of subscribers, you can also promote your products or services by doing solo advertising on various email newsletters (ezines) and solo ad sellers’ email lists.
If you need more permission-based traffic beyond what’s available on Google Ads (was Adwords) Search Marketing Network, you can use the same strategy on Bing.com and Yahoo.com as well as many other pay-per-click search advertising platforms.
With some important variations, you can use interruption-based pay-per-click advertising method on Facebook.com.
There are many display text and banner advertising platforms in addition to the Google Display Network; for example, here’s the link for 50 Ad Networks.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to keep this in mind…
If you’re starting out, it’s extremely important to focus on ONE source of traffic, leads, customers, sales and profits until you can master it or at least improve your skills using it; afterwards, you can add another source until you master that also.
It’s always important to learn how to maximize your results on any traffic source you use.
Increase Sales? Meet Your Prospects At Their Level of Problem Awareness When You Create Marketing Campaigns
By understanding the problem awareness level of your target audience, you can decide whether permission-based or interruption-based marketing is going to be more effective in reaching your potential buyers. You need to test your ideas and analyze the profitability of your campaigns to determine what is working or not working for you.
Permission-based search marketing is the wrong strategy for targeting problem-aware and solution-unaware prospects.
For example: permission-based search marketing is the wrong strategy to promote a solution to a prospect that knows he has a problem, but doesn’t know that there is a solution. Why? He will not be searching for a specific solution for his problem, if he’s not aware that it exists.
You can still use a search marketing strategy for this type of prospect, but you need to focus your campaign on his awareness of his problem. Instead of bidding on solution-based keywords, you can bid on problem-based keywords; in addition, you need to create problem-based advertising copy that can get the prospect’s attention.
It might be more effective to create interruption-based marketing campaigns, such as, display advertising to get the attention of a problem-aware prospect who is not searching for a specific solution for his problem. If your ad (which mentions his problem) gets his attention while he’s browsing online, he might click it to learn more about a potential solution that you’re offering.
How do you know which marketing strategy will be most effective?
You need to do a marketing test to find out. You need to create a marketing campaign specifically to find out if you can get sales and conversions.
Tracking and analysis of your traffic, sales and profits will guide you on what you need to do based on what works and what doesn’t work.