With our last blog tip, we started a series that originated when Christy was teaching at the SBDC in Grants Pass. Over several years, she developed “WebEssentials for Small Business”, which became 2 nine-week series that alternated terms. While technology and online marketing have changed, there are time-weathered principles that haven’t changed. Enjoy!
We’ve danced around the topic of your target audience in previous tips. Today we want to walk through a short 4 part exercise that will help you simplify the process and help you focus not just on your market, but how to successfully communicate to them. Pull out a notepad so you can follow through with the exercises.
Identify Your Customer
Your customer isn’t everyone! For example, one of our services at Design! by Kiltz is to build websites. Yes, everyone needs a website — from the 9-year-old who has just caught a frog to their grandma who doesn’t do Facebook but who wants to show the world pictures of her grandkid’s frog. BUT, we don’t build websites for everyone — we focus on business owners who are serious about growing their business. The same principle applies to you.
So, WHO are your customers? Men, women, younger, older, single, with partners and/or kids? Where do they live? What type of education do they have?
HOW do your customers communicate? What words do they use when talking about your products/services? What is their preferred method of communication? Depending on age, different generations are more comfortable with in-person communication or phone calls vs. the more virtual world of email, chat, or texting.
Climb into your customers’ brains and explore “them”… What do they like? What do they want to know? What matters to them? What pain points and problems do they stress about?
Exercise: Write down at least 5 characteristics of your customer.
What Solution do You Offer?
You’ve heard this before… You don’t sell a product or service!! You sell a Solution! You sell a benefit!
I remember a business plan class I took years ago. The instructor, in talking about this aspect, had everyone in the class tell what they “sold”. As they gave their answer, he looked them in the eye with a straight face and said “so what?” He kept repeating “answer / so what?” until the student dug down to the true benefit they were selling.
Exercise: You can role-play with someone else, or you can look in a mirror… Ask the question “What do you sell?”, then answer it. Either have someone else challenge you with the “So What?”, or look yourself in the mirror and ask that question. Dig down until you’re satisfied that you’ve hit your core benefits.
It is critical that you understand your benefits because your customers couldn’t care less about “you” or “your product/service”. Once you are able to verbalize the benefit, then you’ve given your customer something that will resonate with them.
In the 1st exercise, we mentioned pain points. And, now we’re talking about solutions. Put the two together.
Find the pain!
Emphasize the pain!
Provide a solution to the pain!
People have a problem, and when they come to your website, they “think” you have the solution. Maybe it’s saving time, simplifying life, peace of mind, knowledge… and the list goes on. Make sure you are 100% focused on the solutions you offer, not on you.
Exercise: From your role-play exercise above, what solutions do you offer?
How Does Your Customer Buy?
Another way to ask the question would be “What is your customers’ buying process?” What information do they need to know prior to the sale? And, how do they take that information in?
These questions are critical to your entire marketing strategy. If your customer starts their research by watching YouTube videos or asking for recommendations on Facebook, then it is important for you to start your educating process on YouTube or Facebook.
Exercise: List out the information that is important to your customer PRIOR to the sale.
Next, let’s uncover the things your customer wants to accomplish once they’ve landed on your website.
Exercise: Update your website to showcase or list the top 3 tasks your customer wants to accomplish (in order of importance).
Visualize & Create the Sale Process
If you’ve done the exercises above, this step is relatively easy. We need to combine the information that is important to know before the sale (your customer profile, your solution, and how they buy) with the top 3 things that your customer wants to do on your website.
Take the information from the exercise of uncovering what was important and group it under the relevant 3 things your customer wants to do on your site. Now, organize your website information so that your customers’ needs are met first.
Example: A custom home builder will have two types of people – those that want to see pictures of what he has built (do I like what you do?) first, and those that want to see the details of his services (what can you do?) vs his portfolio.
If the top 3 things are: see his work, see a list of capabilities and know-how to contact him for an estimate, then on the home page he’s going to want to make it really easy for people to get to the portfolio and to the services. From each of those 2 areas (portfolio and services), he should link to the other, and include a Call to Action button that takes people to a free estimate form. What he should not do is:
Do not… I repeat… Do not! hinder the flow with other stuff like talking about how great you are or “Welcome to my website”. Focus on the top 3 things!
Exercise: Take the results of the exercise above and pull up your home page. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. At first glance, clearly and simply, are they able to take the 1st step of what is important to them? Follow the funnel through the process – is it easy? What “bumps” have you discovered? Take these findings and have a conversation with your web guru if you don’t feel like tackling them on your own.
How Do You Communicate with Your Customers?
The last element we want to focus on is the words you use to communicate. Through the exercises above, you know what your customer is interested in and how they talk about your services/products. Now – how do you talk to them?
Years ago (2003ish) Christy started following the work that Gerry McGovern was putting out. He coined the term “Carewords©”, which outlines a specific way you can communicate with your customers for success. Let’s look at a few of those pointers:
- Customer Carewords© helps you create customer-centric, task-focused websites that generate higher conversion results from your key audiences.
- Customer Carewords© goes beyond keywords for Search Engine Optimization.
- Keywords are about traffic and Carewords© are about conversion.
Carewords© are not keywords!
The words we use when we search are not always the words we like to read when we arrive at a website. The words that will help us navigate a website to decide if it will address whatever need we had that brought us there can be subtly — and sometimes substantially different — to the words we used when searching for it.
- Some words bring you to a website, and it’s very important to understand what they are.
- Then a whole new set of words kick in, and Gerry calls these Carewords©.
- Search words tend to be brutal, short, precise, cheap. Carewords© are softer and more subtle.
- One set of words to bring customers to your website. Another set of words to bring them through it.
Exercise: In a previous tip we walked through basic keyword research. Take your list of keywords and look at them in consideration of the Carewords©. Create a second list of Careword© phrases. And, the last, obvious step is to integrate your Carewords© into your website.
The goal of this web tip was to help you see your customer as they really are, and take a close look at your website to make sure you’re not creating detours or rabbit trails that your potential customers can get lost on. We would love to know your before and after results of working through the exercises and updating your website! Drop us a line with your success story. 🙂
Your Online Partner… for Success
Would you like to have someone with experience help with a review of the results of your exercises? Reach out – and schedule a free 30-minute session with Christy.