We are all consumers, not just of products, but of information. Google estimates that there are over 100,000,000 gigabytes of data on the internet. And that number is growing every day.
As marketers, our job is to cut through the clutter and bring relevant information to the forefront. But paying for first position on SERP isn’t just about generating clicks. It’s the right clicks from the right people. And that’s where taking a consumer approach to your campaigns is essential to success.
A consumer approach means putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Whether you are promoting the latest fashions and gadgets or offering innovative business solutions, understanding your customer’s mindset is key to creating impactful campaigns.
Here are a few things you can keep in mind to create a consumer-focused strategy:
1. Define your audience
Establishing your target audience is the first step in creating a consumer-focused strategy. By narrowing your focus to the audience that is most likely to purchase your product or service, you can more easily step into their shoes. Are you targeting C-suite executives focused on growing their business or mothers of young children looking for fun and affordable things to do? While both people may ultimately purchase your product or service, their motivators may be significantly different.
When defining your audience, be sure to think through:
- What would motivate my audience to make a purchase?
- What pain points does my product or service address for my audience?
- What behaviors does my audience exhibit that I should factor into my campaign?
- What imagery should I use to convey my message?
- What language or phrasing should I use to relate to my audience?
- What are the best platforms to reach my audience?
2. Understanding Motivation
Consumer motivation is the subconscious driver behind all buying decisions. Tapping into that motivation is the goal of marketers as we create engaging campaigns that drive sales. As you begin to formulate your campaign strategy, identify the reasons why a consumer may choose to purchase your product and service. Be prepared to gear every aspect of the campaign to address those reasons. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is most often referenced in regards to motivators. But while this five-stage model goes more deeply into the reasons behind our needs as human beings, from a marketing standpoint, we can regroup these stages into three primary motivators:
These motivators may often overlap when consumers make their buying decisions.
Physical motivators address the basic needs of all living things: food, water, shelter, and safety. These needs must be met as part of our daily lives. As marketers, we leverage this need to promote products and services. We identify which need our product or service addresses and build our campaign around why it satisfies this need. Think of prominent brands and slogans that make use of this tactic. Snickers chocolate bar frequently builds their media campaign around hunger with messages: Snickers Satisfies.” “Hungry? Grab a Snickers.” or “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” The message is clear: your basic need for food can be met with our product. While other products can certainly address this same need, their goal is to create a subconscious connection between hunger and their brand.
Emotional motivators are created by the need to feel something. It could be a sense of enjoyment when making an entertainment purchase, a sense of achievement or belonging when motivated by social status, or a sense of community when contributing to philanthropic causes. These motivators satisfy an “inner” need and address a psychological desire. Companies offering luxury items, travel, and other “non-necessity” products and services must tap into the brain’s desire for more than just the basics. Harrod’s positions itself as the World’s Leading Luxury Department Store. Instantly, our minds envision designer fashion, high-end products, and a superior customer experience. There is a level of status associated with purchasing from Harrod’s. Consumers can feel a sense of belonging to a more affluent class of society while also experiencing a boost to their self-esteem. The strategy for your campaign must similarly create a link between your brand and the consumer’s desires.
This third category of motivators is a bit unique as it does not directly address a true need or want. An enhancement motivator taps into a higher-level desire of wanting our lives to be easier, faster, or better in some way. Typically the basic need or want has already been satisfied, but we are now subconsciously looking for ways to make improvements. Expedia’s business model is entirely designed around enhancement motivators: making travel planning easier and more affordable. Visitors to Expedia.com are already in the process of making a buying decision but are looking for ways to make that purchase easier and cheaper. Whether it is to compare airfare costs or to bundle a flight with a car rental and hotel stay, the Expedia value proposition is that of convenience. When building campaigns around products and services designed to address enhancement motivators, the messaging must be crafted to highlight how the purchase will make the user’s life better.
3. Campaign Elements and Copywriting
While platform selection will dictate what elements will be included in your campaign, three areas of focus will be vital to your success:
Together, these elements are the culmination of your efforts in understanding your audience. They create both the relevance and connection to your audience that will separate a high-performing campaign from a low-performing one.
Much has been written about how to find the right keywords for your campaign. PPCHero.com has a number of blogs on this topic including:
PPC Keyword Research Guide: How to Find Keywords for Your Paid Advertising and How To Use The Google Ads Keyword Planner.
For our discussion, it is more important to focus on why keywords are so important to a consumer-focused strategy. Keywords are insights. They are the direct confession of consumers to reveal their true intentions. Think of someone looking for a new apartment. The phrase “apartment for rent” is pretty straightforward. But with simple modifiers, that search query becomes much more powerful and useful. Adding the word affordable or luxury will have a dramatic impact on the results. Accordingly, integrating those modifiers can dramatically improve click quality and lead to higher conversion rates.
Picture it: A frustrated parent, making dinner with one hand while holding a crying toddler in the other. A confident professional shaking hands with a customer. A young couple moving into a new home. Each of these images stirs up emotions in your mind, creating feelings of empathy, trust, or excitement. Yet not a single product or service was mentioned. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a digital picture is worth exponentially more. Digital ads offer marketers unprecedented access to consumers in ways never before seen in history. So what does your ad’s imagery say about your product or service? What do you want consumers to feel when thinking about your ad? Remember that with the vast amount of information bombarding us as consumers, images are often the first impression marketers make with their audience. Successful consumer-focused strategies create the opportunity for target audiences to envision themselves using the product or service before any words are read.
Writing convincing copy is an art. Writing it within character limits for headlines and descriptions can often feel like magic. Luckily, digital marketing allows us the opportunity to run multiple copy variations and tests without incurring additional costs. But that doesn’t mean we should abuse this privilege and skip out on doing the work to craft meaningful ad copy. There are a few basics when it comes to copywriting for PPC ads:
- Start with the basics – say what you want to say, but be concise.
- Address the desire or pain point – speak to the consumer’s need for your product or service and show you understand their perspective.
- Qualify Your Leads – Use one-word modifiers like luxury, affordable, easy, or fast, to improve your targeting.
- Clear Calls to Action – tell the consumer what to do next and lead them to conversion.
- Test & Learn – experiment with different copy to find what works best for your target audience.
As you review your copy, step back from your role as a marketer and think like a consumer. If you don’t find it engaging, neither will your target audience. If it requires too much context or industry knowledge, look for ways to simplify. Successful campaigns make wanting to learn more an easy decision.
4. Platform Considerations
Selecting the proper platform for your PPC ads is more than just finding the most popular apps. Not only should you consider your audience, but the platform’s audience as well. Imagine scrolling through LinkedIn and finding suggestions for Do-It-Yourself wedding decorations. Or falling down the rabbit hole of TikTok videos to suddenly watch an ad for Enterprise Cybersecurity Software. While these ads may be perfectly designed, they may not be perfectly placed. Consumer-focused strategies not only include talking to users in the right way, but also in the right place. Testing new and emerging platforms is a great idea, but it may require changes to your approach.
A consumer approach to developing your campaign strategy offers many benefits. It increases the effectiveness of the campaign through more thoughtful targeting and design. It also helps build trust by delivering relevant information to the right people at the right time. Before kicking off your next campaign, spend some time thinking about your target audience, how best to relate to their needs, and their motivators.