However, quite a few believe that you just need to write about your product and service in a compelling way and BOOM! Done.
Except this isn’t exactly true.
Great Marketing Focuses On Customer Knowledge
In order to persuade someone, to motivate them and to sell them something – you need to understand that person.
This is why market research is so important. Larger companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research, asking research participants to test and compare the taste, smell, and appearance of many different types of products.
I’ve been in such research groups. I’ve taste-tested hamburgers, coffee, diet shakes, and cough syrup (thankfully, not all at once). All asked similar questions: What did you like? What didn’t you like? Was the aftertaste bitter? Did the hamburger bun look good or did it lack something in appearance?
Understanding your potential customer’s perspective is vital to the success of your business. And the only way you can discover it is either by research or asking them.
Here are a few questions you can ask:
- What keeps her awake at night?
- What makes her angry?
- What makes him afraid?
- What are her frustrations?
- What are the trends that may be affecting his life?
- What does he secretly desire the most?
Does your target market have their own language? (i.e. surfers have surfer lingo. Does your market have its own lingo?)
Try researching the Internet. Look for discussion boards and posted reviews about your type of product or service. Very often, you’ll find that your “perfect customer” is very vocal about what they like and don’t like.
Many A-list copywriters have been known to visit a bar and engage a few patrons in conversation. These patrons fell into the targeted demographic of their client and with a little loosening up with a few… ahem… friendly spirits in a glass… these patrons opened up about their desires and frustrations.
Those same copywriters would rush home to bang out some ideas on their keyboard, producing a rough draft of their sales letter.
When the letter had been polished, the copywriter returned to the bar and asked if a patron (again, in the same demographic) would read it. If the patron responded appropriately (“Where can I buy this thing?! I need it, like… yesterday!”), then the copywriter knew he had a winner.
Ask, ask, ask. Engage people in conversation wherever you go. You’d be surprised how some people will open up when they feel they have a listening ear.
Great Marketing Is Observant
I’ve mentioned before that my father was a highly successful manufacturers’ sales rep. He sold casters, which were a part of a manufactured product (chairs, carts, trolleys, etc.). My dad’s ultimate customer was actually the product engineer. But he couldn’t talk directly to the engineer. He had to first speak with the purchasing agent.
If my father tried to go straight to the engineer, the purchasing agent would feel miffed and as a result, block any further attempts to do business with the company. So my father had to appeal first to the agent.
Understand who has the real power and who has the ability to make things difficult if you don’t acknowledge their position in the food chain. Thank the people who have helped you. When they feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to help you in the future.
Great Marketing Knows What The Customer Really Wants
Because my father learned quickly that the purchasing agent would feel frustrated if sales people did an end-run to reach their prospect, he did something very smart.
He lavished attention upon purchasing agents. He made them feel important.
The act of making someone feel important is enormously effective in the buying cycle. If someone feels valued, there is almost no limit to what they will do to help you.
My father understood that purchasing agents wanted respect just like any other employee. So he gave it to them. And as a result, he got introduced to more and more engineers and made bigger sales.
The Key To Giving Your Customers What They Want
What your customer wants is often very simple. They want a solution to whatever problem they’re facing.
If you’re selling a fan, you can talk about all the features you want but your customer is only interested in one thing: will the fan keep their room cool?
If you’re selling trendy items like shoes or scarves, your customer may want comfort but also style.
The point is, you need to discover what motivates your customer (anger, fear, greed, love, etc.) and use it in your marketing copy.
So try talking to people in your target demographic as much as possible. Start conversations and ask questions. Whenever you can, become the investigative reporter for your customer.
Because the more you know your customer and his wants, dreams, desires, fears, and so on – the more you’ll know what to say to him to get him to buy.