People know that the most important part of networking is to show interest in the person you’re meeting, so why is this approach forgotten when it comes to marketing?
Showing interest means asking lots of questions and actively listening to the answers.
If you’re interested in others, they will generally show interest in you.
When it comes to marketing though, most businesses fall into the trap of talking endlessly about themselves instead of the customer.
Many don’t realise they’re doing it, or how off-putting it can be.
Much of small business marketing is self-focused. Many businesses will use ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘the company’ and their brand name in their marketing collateral without mentioning their customers at all.
How many companies talk about what their customers want, what they need and how they are set up to meet those needs?
Any content that you produce – whether it’s an article, checklist, website, brochure – needs to be pitched from the perspective of your customer.
Even the ‘About’ page on your website needs to be about how your experience positions you as the ideal authority to solve your target customers’ problems.
Anything else is indulgent filler.
So what can you do? How can you make sure that what you write is going to help your customers?
By getting to know your customers – and their problems.
This could be an actual customer that you enjoy working with, or an amalgamation of a few of your customers.
Be clear about who they are from the basic demographics (age, gender, marital status), to more specific information (income, what they like to watch, read, listen to and do).
Deep-dive into your target customers’ issues to switch your viewpoint from what you’re trying to do to how you can help your customers solve their problems.
While it may seem like splitting hairs, it’s an effective way to shift your focus. You can then write content and create products based on solving those problems.
You may find that some of the solutions you come up with may not all involve you directly, but may instead lead to partnerships and collaborations to offer a more complete solution for your customers.
Knowing exactly what a customer or potential customer actually wants from your website will help guide its design.
For example, I recently visited a client’s competitor’s website.
What I found was a good-looking website, but it wasn’t clear from their home page or ‘corporate planners section’ what it was that they actually did or how they did it better than anyone else.
How does your site measure up?
Could a random person visiting your website be able to work out quickly what it is that you offer? Why they should hang around to see more?
Those are the questions you need to answer from the customer’s point of view. Take an interest in them rather than telling them how great you are.