How to Connect with Your Customers
We get hit with marketing messages CONSTANTLY these days. Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to about 10,000 marketing messages every day. And as marketers are presented with more and more channels to reach their customers, than number is steadily rising. Consumers switch between screens up to 21 times an hour, and Microsoft claims that the average person's attention span is now only eight seconds. It is increasingly important to make your brand stand out, and the fight for your customer's attention is tougher than ever. So how do we do it? How do we create a story and a narrative and a strategy to grow our business and sell our products and services? How do we connect with our customers?
It's just not enough to market your product. You can promote and brag and share and pay for all the ads you want on Facebook, but if your message is not getting through to your customers, you're not going to get anywhere. But there are three ways, used in conjunction, that will make connecting with your customers much easier, much more effective, and make your business much more successful!
Create a CLEAR message
Most companies waste enormous amounts of money on marketing. They try to create these clever campaigns that just end up being vague and confusing. People buy products based on the words they read or hear. And, to quote Donald Miller, the author of Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Your Customers Will Listen, "People Don't Buy the Best Products and Services. They buy the ones they understand the fastest." If folks can't figure out how your product or service helps them survive and thrive quickly, then they'll check out. If you present them with a message that is unclear, something that doesn't help them, something that takes to much time and energy to process or understand, you will lose them. Cute and clever confuse, while clarity makes money. People respond to simple and straightforward messages that will do something for them.
Sell your SOLUTION, not your product
Your customers do not care about your sales goals. They don't really care about your products! What they care about are having their problems solved. The purpose of your marketing campaign is not to sell your product. It is to sell a solution to your customers. Your product will not appeal to them. But the solution to an external problem or a philosophical problem, or the real motivator, an internal problem- a feeling or frustration- is what will sell your customers.
So what is your customer's problem? How is it making them feel? And how is your product or service going to solve it? There is a great and simple method that can walk you through the process of establishing the problems, what has worked and what hasn't, and then presenting your customers with new solutions that will appeal to them. The great thing about it is that it can apply to absolutely any business- small or large, product or service based. Strategic consulting experts call it "Whiteboarding," because you literally start with a clean white board and draw four quadrants to write in, but I like to refer to it as a Solution Analysis.
First, think about your customers. What problem do they have that you are trying to solve? And this step may take a long time to work your way through; to peel back the onion far enough that you really get to the root of the problem. But establishing what the problems are before you start brainstorming solutions is key. How do you know if you're solving a problem if you don't first establish what the problem actually is?
Secondly, before you jump straight to solutions, think about what your customers may have already done to try to remedy their problem. What products or services have they already used as a potential solution to their problems?
And thirdly, still before we discuss solutions, we need to think back on those products or services that your customers have already tried. How did they work? Were they successful? Or were they the reason they're seeking you out for another solution?
And finally, based on your customer's initial problems, the things they have already tried, and their results, brainstorm some solutions that you think will work. Solutions that your product or service can offer them. THAT'S how you establish your marketing campaign. Based on your customer's problems, their attempts at solutions, and the results, how can we better position ourselves and how can we better solve their problems with the solutions we can provide through our products and/or services.
Your number one concern- should be helping your customers solve their problems with your product. Instead of going to bed at night with all your own problems and issues running through your head, you should be thinking about your customer's problems. Marketing a solution will create a connection and make your message clear and effective.
Make your customers the HERO of their story
In Don Miller's book, he writes that in every good story, there is a main character. That character has a problem. The character meets a guide who gives them a plan and calls them to action that results in either failure or success. The problem for marketers is that everyone self-identifies as the hero. Everyone wants to be the hero. But as you market your product or service, you NEVER want to play the hero in the story. You are the GUIDE. The CUSTOMER is the hero of the story! The hero is weak. They are full of self-doubt. The guide is wise! They've been there, done that, they know what they're doing. They are empathetic and competent, and guide the hero to take action and to success. You want to allow your customer to be the hero of your story, and your marketing strategy is the guide to the solution that you are offering in your product or service.
In being clear and simple, providing a solution, and making your customer the hero of their story, you can connect to your customer with a memorable and resonating message that will appeal to them. Believing you have a solution for them and offering them a way to use that solution create connection and success in your marketing campaign.