Change Your Focus and Connect With Your Customers
**As first seen in the Paducah Sun’s Business Journal and paducahsun.com
Businesses everyday sit on the sidelines as they watch competitors do what they know at the core they could do better. But, many neglect to tell their customers that.
Last month, we discussed how the driving force of any marketing plan is the belief that what you are selling is worth your customer’s time and money. Marketing’s focus isn’t on sales, it’s on empowering your customer to choose you, the choice you make everyday when you walk into your business.
Marketing helps you move past the ideas that features are what grab people’s attention. Yes, those are selling points, but start thinking about how those features impact your customer’s everyday life. People connect with stories. How does your product or service fit into their life and make it better?
But, it can be hard to know practically where to start. Here are 2 principles to remember as you begin refocusing your marketing mindset.
- Stories connect brands with their customers.
Think about your favorite brand. What comes to mind? Do you have a memory drinking a soda with your dad after mowing the lawn? Do you think of your first road trip in your very own car as you drive by the local car lot? Do you remember holding your baby for the first time as you drive by the hospital? These memories and stories, whether the organization realizes it or not, are a part of that brand’s image.
- Your story isn’t just about you.
Remember that your story is more than one sentence long only because of your customers. Your story started with an idea, your idea, but then it grew as your relationship with your customers grew.
So, don’t be afraid to tell your story and celebrate customers who are a part of it.
Remember these stories don’t have to be fictional. Ask your customers, interview them, and ask them for pictures and testimonials.
If you believe your company is an asset to your customer, then show them through every story you tell. Each of your marketing tactics should accomplish at least one of the following:
-Bring comedic relief
There are so many avenues you can do this through, with TV, social media, blogs, print articles, advertisements and more. But, let’s dig into these goals a little bit:
-Inform: People have questions, and some are super simple and easily explained if they have the courage to ask. So, think about those questions you answer often. Could you turn those into a blog, Facebook post? Or could it even be a theme for your next advertisement?
-Empower/Inspire: Empowering your customer doesn’t mean you’re telling them to buy from you. Instead, you’re using stories and information to help them better their lives in some way. In return they begin to view you as a brand they can trust. Ideally, the stories you tell will inspire them to take action that improves their lives.
-Bring comedic relief: Who doesn’t like to laugh? And today, we all need a little more laughter in our lives. So it’s ok to share a little of your brand’s personality with your audience. However, be cautious with this goal. Remember to speak the voice of your brand, which doesn’t always match the voice of an individual. Avoid any hot button or political topics. Or, just because a hashtag is trending on Twitter, don’t jump on it without knowing the context. You can be witty in person, but what message are you really conveying if you try to share that wit on social media? Remember you’re speaking for your brand, not for yourself anymore. Comedy is a funny thing that honestly takes a lot of serious thought. So, before you post, always share it with another to ensure you’re not stepping on toes or alienating your customer.
-Simplify life: Will your product or service simplify their life? Then show them in every way possible. Think about your customer and how they would use it in their daily life. Then convey that in advertisements, how-to videos and more. The key is to tap into what your ideal customer’s life looks like every day, the struggles they face and what they wish they had more time to do. Then, show them how your brand can fit into that lifestyle to help them achieve more of their goals.
Honestly all of these goals can stand on their own or blend together. What’s the theme that connects them? It’s the focus on your customer and not necessarily on your brand (though each piece of content should remain consistent to your brand).
Your customers are the biggest part of your story. It’s not about the price they paid, it’s about the experience they had in the research, buying process, and then successfully using the product.
Begin the shift to telling compelling stories in your marketing that speak to the needs of the customer. Let stories forge a deep connection between you and the people you want to serve every day. No matter the blog, ad, video script or email that is written, stop focusing on sales, and start focusing on connecting to the right customer, at the right time.