For Effective Marketing: Know Your Customer!

Read the title again…it seems pretty obvious, right? But you’d be surprised how many Internet marketing campaigns fall flat because businesses are actually marketing to insiders—the people who are offering the products and services—not the people who need them. So, here are a few tips to ensure your marketing efforts are more impactful with your target audience.

#1 Help Your Customers Find Your Products/Services Using Their Words, Not Yours

One of the most common mistakes business leaders make is assuming that everyone, including their target market, talks about their products or services the way they do. But that’s not the case.

Industry insiders often have an entirely different vocabulary that laypeople don’t know (or may use incorrectly). Using terms from this insider jargon can severely limit your customers’ ability to find you online.

Here are some brief examples:

  • What most people will “gum disease,” dentists and periodontists may refer to as gingivitis, periodontitis or periodontal disease.
  • What most people will call “stalling,” mechanics may diagnose as catalytic converter failure or deposit build-up around spark plugs and/or fuel injectors.
  • What homeowners may think is a cooling issue—a broken swamp cooler, a mechanical contractor may classify as a plumbing problem.

While you can (and probably should) use your website as an opportunity to educate your potential customers, using your language instead of theirs means:

  • Search engines will not index your site for search terms real people are using because they are not used on your site
  • Real people will not find your site
  • Real people who stumble upon your site may not know that you offer what they are looking for

Bottom line: to know your customers means you need to know what terms they may use to talk about and search for ideas, products or services in your industry.

#2 Help Your Customer See the Benefit Your Products/Services Offers Them

You know your products and services. You know what your competitors offer. You know what’s possible. You know what’s up and coming. Your customers probably do not. So, if you tell them, for instance, that your new ointment contains positively charged silver ions, you may know that the formulation has significant immune-boosting potential. Your customer may think that the ointment will come out of the tube in shimmery silver ribbons.

Rather than tell your customer what your products or services have in them or include, focus on how those features benefit them. While the connection between feature and benefit may be obvious to you, it may very well be lost on your audience until/unless you make it plain as day.

#3 Help Your Customers Find Your Products/Services on Your Website

How industry experts talk and think about their products/services is different than how your target market talks and thinks about your industry. So, how you might go about searching for what your company offers online is not how your customer will go about their search. In other words, structure your navigation to be intuitive for your viewers, not necessarily yourself. After all, it’s your consumers’ dollars you want to secure.

To make it easy for viewers to find the products/services they want and complete the sales transaction (whether that means actually making the purchase or simply getting in touch with you to schedule an appointment), ensure that your viewers (almost) never have to make more than two clicks before getting to a real sales page.

How You Can Get to Know Your Customer

Sometimes it’s hard (or impossible) to step outside your industry expert role. If you are unable to successfully see your website, your products and services as your customers might, then find someone who can. Focus groups, informal surveys and a host of other strategies can help you better understand where your customers are coming from so that you can better position your company in front of them as a solution.