A couple of months ago, a friend mine sent a video of a tiny cake with a note saying that it would be cool to do something like this for his business. He was sending this because we were working together to gain better leads. This was a marketing tactic that he wanted to try out. Instead of a cake though, it would have been mini brochures and business cards.
My first thought when looking at this teeny, tiny cake was, “How does relate to who you’re targeting? Would they care about this?”.
Now don’t get me wrong.
You can use tactics like this to get someone’s attention. But you need to have a reason for doing it.
This wasn’t the first time he’s sent this to me. He really, really likes the idea of miniatures. Cakes, furniture, buildings, you name it.
So while this wasn’t a terrible idea, it is one based on personal tastes. Whether you’re creating content or developing a new strategy to drive leads remember this:
It’s about your customer, not you.
This is your business, yes. But without customers to buy what you’re selling, there is no business.
And they are the ones you must focus on. Their wants. Their needs. Their concerns.
So when posing this to my friend, this opened up a dialogue about how to approach his marketing efforts from a “customer first” perspective.
Here is what it boiled down to.
How Will This Benefit the Customer?
No matter what you’re selling, how this product or service is presented will define the level of engagement people will have with your brand. Remember: buyers want to know what’s in it for them. Your marketing efforts need to reflect this.
First, you must understand what motivates them.
Some things to consider are:
- Determining what their pain points are
- Understanding what success or progress looks like to them
- On the flip side, identifying what a failure looks like
- What concerns/reservations do they have about your product/service?
From there it’s easier to figure out which angle to take because the customer’s needs are at the forefront. Using these insights will help to save time and take the guesswork out of their motivators.
Does This Feel Gimmicky?
The inflatable waving arm man. You remember him, right? He’s often found outside of car dealerships and brick and mortar retailers. There are even online businesses using similar tactics.
This is a (*cough*) lazy method used by companies who rely on in-your-face tactics to drive business.
The problem with this is these businesses are not trying to get to know their customers and build brand loyalty. They are hoping that a few people will trickle in. Once they take the bait, then they’re pounced on using hard sales tactics.
Using methods like this will ultimately leave customers with a bad taste. Even worse, businesses will lose the opportunity to create a memorable, meaningful connection.
It can be difficult to discern if your promotional materials will display the value of your brand or cheapen it.
One of the easiest ways to figure this out is to ask yourself these questions.
- Will this item solve an immediate problem for my customers?
- Is this something that will increase awareness of my brand?
- How does this bring value to the person receiving this?
So unless you want to jump on the hard sales bandwagon, there are better ways to get the attention without resorting to crazy sales techniques.
Stop Guessing and Start Listening
People like to talk—especially your customers. With all of the social channels and forums out there, you can pop into a conversation about your brand or industry. People will tell you everything from how they like the product/service to what can be done to improve it.
Keep in mind; you’ll need to be open-minded and take the good with the bad.
Positive feedback will let you know things are on the right track. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, creates an opportunity to make your customer’s experience better.
You can always adjust your marketing and outreach efforts if you know what your customers are saying.
Be Direct In Your Messaging
People trust companies who they feel understand their needs and make an effort to connect with them on an emotional level. You must tie the message back to your audience.
Using confusing or inconsistent messaging will turn people off. You want to show off the benefits and value of your brand in a straightforward way.
So how can you do this?
- Don’t dance around your product/service offerings – People won’t know how great it is unless you tell them about it.
- Make things personal – Speak to your audience as if they were a friend.
- Guide your audience – Become a trusted advisor to your customers.
Customers have a short attention spans. Your marketing materials need to show an immediate benefit and show why people should give you their attention.
Get Out of Your Own Head
It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming immersed in running your business. So much so that when you have the time to think about marketing, it’s difficult to separate your preferences from your audience’s.
Here’s a test you can try to decide if you’re making a decision based on what the customer would like or what you want.
Have I seen this in the past and liked it because it’s “cute” or “innovative”?
Just because you like it doesn’t mean that your target market will.
Is this something that will add to the marketing strategy or business goals?
Your efforts need to move your business forward.
Would my customer care about this?
Be objective. This material has to benefit them.
Am I doing this because my competitor has done it?
Using the tactics of your competitors doesn’t guarantee it will work for you.
If you answered, “yes” to these any of these questions, then it’s time to reevaluate your modus operandi.
Summing it up
Your marketing efforts always need to take into consideration the person on the receiving end. Knowing what your market wants—not what you think they want—makes it easier to come up with ideas they’ll respond to.
Remember: The customer comes first.
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