Allison Ross on 2014-01-16 13:01:44
Do you know what your potential customers want to hear?
Keywords: consumer behaviour, ecommerce, market research, online marketing, web design
As entrepreneurs, we're obviously thrilled about the products we sell. And why shouldn't we be? If we don't believe in what we're selling, we shouldn't be in the business of being in business.
But do our potential customers really want to know the many reasons why we absolutely love our products? Do they want to hear the intimate details of our prices, brands and benefits? In the same marketing message? And all at the same time?
As marketers of our own small businesses, one of the biggest mistakes we often make is to tell potential customers what WE WANT THEM TO HEAR instead of telling them WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW AT THE TIME THEY NEED TO KNOW IT.
So how to tell them exactly what they need to know?
Try this exercise. Suppose you’ve been handed R5000 to spend in any way you wish. Take a few minutes to decide what you’d buy.
Now consider the process you went through to decide on your purchase.
Did you have to think first about what you needed most or did you know exactly what you wanted to do with the cash? Was it enough money? Would you need more information on the item before you decide to purchase? Would you pay by EFT? Or would you rather save the money?
Without you being aware of it, your mind followed a pattern for deciding how to spend the cash. In a few moments, you’ve processed what you needed, why you needed it, where you’d buy it and how you’d pay for it. And at each step of the way, you were responding to marketing messages from clever marketers who knew exactly what you needed to hear when you needed to hear it.
In the same way, your content marketing strategy should consist of carefully crafted marketing messages that motivate potential customers from one stage to the next; from being people who probably didn't know you existed to being loyal, repeat customers. In order to do this, you need to tell them what they need to know when they need to know it.
Necessary questions to ask...
Imagine that the planning of your marketing messages starts with a conversation between you and your target market. Consider it to be an interviewing process in which they are the interviewers and you the interviewee; they're asking the questions and you're providing the answers.
Suppose you're trying to sell me a range of pampering products. So...
1. Why do I need this?
2. Why should I buy it from you and not your competitors?
3. If I buy it from you, how will you make it easy for me to pay and receive?
4. Once I'm a customer, how will you continue to keep me happy and coming back for more?
As a potential buyer of your pampering products, how would my answers affect your marketing messages?
Say I was feeling a little stressed by life's demands, and open to some form of stress alleviation. Any marketing message regarding stress relief would capture my attention so you'd be competing with businesses offering tour packages, yoga, meditation, massage, dance and other pampering products and services.
To get my attention, you'd have to first convince me through your marketing messages why I should choose pampering products as opposed to the other products and services that would offer the same benefits I seek. If I decided that pampering products are the way to go, your marketing messages would then need to convince me why I should choose your products and not your competitors'.
On the other and, if I simply needed to top up the pampering products currently on my shelf, I'd only be interested in information telling me where and how to replenish my stocks on a regular basis quickly and easily.
If you take this approach to understanding your potential customer and where they are in their decision-making process, it should be clear (hopefully!) that a one-size-fits all marketing message wouldn't necessarily get you the attention you seek. For more effective results, tailor your marketing campaigns at each stage of the decision-making process with marketing messages that appeal to their needs at that stage.
Although it sounds like hard work, planning your content marketing strategy needn't be a long-winded and costly exercise. It doesn't require extensive market research, focus groups or statistical analysis, which most SMMEs can't afford anyway. All it takes is for you to put yourself in your potential customers' shoes and answer the four questions for each of your products.
The options for matching the right marketing messages to the right marketing channels are endless once you see your products and services from your customers’ perspectives. When you understand how they buy, you’ll understand how to speak to them...it couldn’t get any simpler than that.
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