We all read websites that start with ‘We at Company X do Y’…. then seen the products on the page, the great things the Team Do and how many awards the Company have won. Have you read our latest blog? Read our newsletter. Subscribe here. Get our Company Report.
Then you see companies who are on every social media platform but seem to have no followers, no engagement and nothing to say but ‘we did this, we’ve done that’. Ok I am guilty at times too but not ALL the time.
This approach is only relevant for the COMPANY and its employees. Please save that content for internal Communications and motivational management or PR. Honestly, your customers DON'T CARE!
It All Starts by Stopping and Taking a Step Back
Too busy to plan? No time to think? Yup, same for all of us who run or work in businesses these days. But to get things back on track and address the lack of enquiries, interest in your business and so on doesn't require a 100-page strategic document.
Take a step back and more importantly look at customers who HAVE bought from you already. No, not which company bought from you, the person, the people. Who initially made the call to ask for the brochure? To see if you had a product in another colour? Then who was next, particularly in B2B but also in B2C there are more than one influencer or decision maker. Can you see them?
This might all sound a bit basic, it is, but there’s a reason. We have all got too blinded by shiny new gizmos online, the newest ‘channel’ and get rich tools to get more customers. It is nonsense and leaves many business owners I meet with their heads in their hands haemorrhaging budgets on marketing that is akin to burning cash in the style of the K.L.F. (1990s group that burnt £1million just for ‘art’ reasons).
So, forget refreshing your website because someone has a prettier one, forget posting all day on Twitter or Facebook (when no-one ever likes, re-tweets, comments or shares let alone buys later on).
I recommend starting back at the beginning –
- WHO are your customers (that already buy)?
- WHERE do they hang out online or offline?
- WHAT do they consume aside from your products (think really laterally here)?
- WHY do they buy your products or read a particular magazine?
- WHEN do they do these things?
Known as personas or avatars, this fundamental of marketing is true for ALL Businesses, Service Providers, and Charities. It doesn't matter if you’re selling Jimmy Choo’s or industrial equipment.
You are selling to PEOPLE and it is to their motivational preferences and interests you must appeal to in all your marketing.
What does that all look like in practical terms? Have a look at this this help sheet which shows a full example.
This approach works for B2B too, get to really know your customers, what hurts them in their business? What does your product do to HELP them? Why is your product different and better than the others in your area of expertise?
So, if you’re a cleaning company – is it ‘shiny floors’ and the fact you use a polish from a vegetarian source that matters? It might be but more likely it is the timeliness, reliability of your staff, security, friendliness etc., that matter. If so, feature your staff in communications. Ask customers to give testimonials, explain how security is key and what you do to relieve your customers the ‘pain and worry’ about cleaners being in their premises unsupervised. What is your USP that is the ‘tonic’ to their pain?
If you’re selling homogenous products e.g. DIY equipment like hammers, what is the pain your customers feel? Is it knowing how to use the product correctly (to save time, avoid injury or mistakes) literally ‘pain’. If so, why not offer a demo? That would be unique. Could that be done in-store or online? Probably both – the local A&E might thank you too!
When creating personas, I literally draw a stick person, imagine where they work, what they read, where they might socialise, what their family might be like, their home, what holidays…I note these on the personas sheet, then build on it. Whenever I meet a new customer in that ‘persona’ I listen in between the lines for more info. Magazines, TV shows they like…a pattern forms. Then I know where to place marketing, to whom and when.
It may again sound unsophisticated. But its amazing what leaps in profitable results I have seen accomplished for clients by getting a ‘picture’ of their clients and ‘stopping looking in the mirror’ at their own company.