See things from your customer’s viewpoint

Magic lightI have banged on incessantly about the importance of knowing who your ideal client is; what industry they come from, what size of company they run (by turnover, number of staff or sites) and so on now we’re on to the next step; what are their problems?

If you don’t know what your perfect client is suffering from you won’t be able to let them know how you can help them.  So, what;

  • Irritates them?
  • Wastes their time?
  • Keeps them awake at night?
  • Diverts their attention from what they really want to be doing?

Everything that takes their attention off developing their business is an annoyance and in order to present them with a compelling proposition you have to get inside their skin.  That takes a bit of effort.

Most business owners are excited about what they do – or they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be in that particular business, but how does an outsider see things?  Let’s look at an example:  You might be excited about your latest line in storage boxes, but how does your potential customer see them?  A box is just a box, isn’t it?  The details of the design, the refinements of the way the boxes interlock, the state-of-the-art materials that make them lighter are amazing to you – but your customer isn’t likely to see it in the same light.  What will that box do that they don’t get from other storage systems?  Why is the interlocking system important?  What difference do the new materials make?  When you put it all together – SO WHAT?

It’s not about what the box is; it’s not even about what the box does; it’s about the problem it solves.  The thing that causes your potential customer grief – that you are going to take away.  That might be a facility to store more in less floor space SO THAT they don’t need to pay for additional storage to get everything in.  It might be that there is a scanning system that makes it easy to track down critical paperwork quickly SO THAT their staff don’t disappear into the storage area for hours trying to find one piece of paper.  Are you beginning to see how it works?

Ah, you knew all that, didn’t you?  But are you actively doing anything about it?  Have you actively researched the biggest challenges your clients face – that you can solve?  Are you using that information in your marketing material, on your website in your sales conversations?  Having the information and taking action are two different things – so it’s not enough to understand your customer’s viewpoint – you have help them to see what you can do to make those problems disappear.

Time to get your magic wand out and start making those frustrasting problems vanish!


13 tips to get your marketing targeted accurately

SniperThe challenge for most small business owners (and some big ones) is that they have only a hazy idea of what their perfect customer looks like.  Here are my tips to get your marketing targeted with laser accuracy.

  1. Think of your best ever client – the one that loved everything you did and that you loved working for – and describe them in detail.  This should give you a good place to start.
  2. Identify the type of company, size, number of staff, annual turnover, geographical location, ethos, values and beliefs, job title of the person you want to be working with.
  3. Find out where that person networks, online and offline.  What groups do they go to?  Where are they active online?
  4. If they don’t network anywhere, invite them to somewhere you go that would be appropriate to them – and explain why you think it would be a good forum for them to be in.
  5. Show your expertise in their online groups by offering help, not just to them, but to the whole group, by answering questions, suggesting solutions etc.
  6. Get introduced by a mutual connection.
  7. Offer to do a 10 minute presentation at a networking group you both attend.
  8. Ask if they’d like to have a 1-2-1 so you can get to know each others’ businesses better.
  9. Ask good questions – that show a real interest in their business and their challenges.
  10. Check out what they read professionally – get articles published in their most read publications.
  11. Don’t sell at them.
  12. Try to connect them with other useful people you know.
  13. Ask them what you can do for them.

If you have more than one niche then repeat the process with each niche.  You’ll find that this approach takes time, but has a much more targeted marketing focus than simply spreading yourself around everywhere.  It also means that you’ll end up talking to more perfect clients, rather than a lot of unsuitable prospects!


How good is your marketing hub?

Marketing hubMarketing spans many activities from audience research, product or service development right through to sales.  However, when most people talk about ‘marketing’ they’re talking about the promotional part of the process.  This is the bit where you are trying to ensure as many people as possible know what you can deliver for them and are excited enough about it to want to get in touch with you.

This part of the marketing mix can include blogging, social media, direct mail campaigns, lumpy mail, promotional flyers, exhibitions, networking, pop up banners, brochures, business cards, newsletters, list building and so much more.  However, there is one thing that sits at the centre of all this – your website.

If your website isn’t ‘sticky’ (attractive with a compelling message) all the other activities can be a waste of time and money.  In today’s world we’re conditioned to check people out online and, for most people, that’s the company website.

So you’ve paid a designer to create an attractive marketing flyer, you’ve paid a copywriter to write a powerful message, you’ve paid the printer to print a few hundred and you may even have paid someone to distribute them for you or invested in a mailing campaign.  Now what?

If you happen to be very lucky you may find that one or two people are actually looking for exactly what you are offering and are on the phone right away (you did include your phone number on the marketing flyer, or course).  Quite a large percentage of the recipients will file the card into the nearest bin!  Some people will think ‘that might be useful sometime’ and file it in a marketing file.  The rest will be mildly curious and want to find out a bit more about you and your company; these people will look online and most will go to your website (which, of course, was also on the flyer, wasn’t it?)

This is where you win or lose.

If the majority of people arrive on your website, look at it for a few seconds and leave again all that money you’ve invested in your marketing flyer have been wasted.  If they stay on the site, sign up for your free report (so they’re on your list and you can continue to market to them), read your blog, look at a few other pages and like what they see, it doesn’t mean they will get in touch and buy today – but they’ll be open to listening to you some more in future and may become a customer down the line when they need what you have to offer.  The stats say that, on average, you have to ask people at least 5 times to buy before they actually say ‘yes’.

So how good is your website at getting people to stay on it?

Check out your analytics to find out how long people stay and make sure there’s a means of capturing their email address for future marketing mailouts.  If your bounce rate is more than 50% you need to start work on making your marketing hub much more attractive.  The problem could be the layout, the colours, the message, the number of options people have, the titles on the menu tabs, the headline (or lack of it) – or many other things.

Remember, everything points at your website – your business card, social media profiles, all your marketing material – it really is the hub around which everything else revolves.  Make sure you’ve got it right.

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