How many times have you seen some form of advertising for a company, whether online or offline, that seems to do nothing but try to say how great that company is? They’ll say that they have been in business for many years. They’ll say that they’ve had hundreds of very satisfied customers. They’ll say that they’ve won this consumer award or that.
These are all great things, but they all rest on the same fatal flaw: they assume that the typical consumer is a lemming or a sheep. They assume that we will blindly follow where other people have gone before, because if it’s popular, if it’s been around and if it’s winning random awards that you’ve never heard of, it’s got to be good, right? Of course, many of us are smarter than that.
And even when you don’t start to think about it on a more conscious level, you implicitly realize something else about that kind of marketing. Those advertisements are focused on the company itself.
“But of course they are! They’re the ones trying to sell something!”
See, as a customer with no real skin in the game, I really don’t care all that much about Samsung or Volkswagen or IKEA. I don’t care if they’ve been around a long time or hundreds of people have been very happy. What I do care about is me. I care about what I want. I care about how these products and services will make my life better.
And I’m certainly not alone in this kind of mindset. We all go about this world with a “What’s in it for me?” kind of perspective on a lot of things. What does this mean when you’re in the position of the brand, company or advertiser? You need to flip the switch and see things from the customer’s point of view, not from the company’s point of view.
This is why you’ll hear so many times that you need to sell the benefits and not the features. What does having more megapixels really mean for me? How does this solve a problem I have? As the Internet marketer, you need to first identify the issues, concerns and needs of your customers. Then, you need to frame your advertising such that your products and services address those issues, concerns and needs in a way that makes the customer happy.
A while back, I wrote a post about some common sense lessons that you need to forget. One of those was “If you build it, they will come.” However, it’s not enough to build it. It’s not enough to tell your customers that you’ve built it. It’s not enough to say that other people have watched you build it and other people have bought it.
You need to tell the customer how this thing you build will make them happier, more efficient, more productive, healthier, richer, or otherwise improve their lives. It’s not about you. It’s not about your product. It’s not about your brand. It’s about them.
Consider what your shopping experience is like in the offline world. You walk into a typical retail store and the salesperson typically greets you the same way: “How can I help you?” or “Can I help you find anything?” The salesperson is trying to identify the need so he can more accurately match it up with a solution.
The “real life” salesperson is at a disadvantage, because he really doesn’t know exactly what that customer wants. As an Internet marketer, you are armed with a lot more information right off the bat. You know what search query led this visitor to your site. You know where they are located. And you can gear your results specifically toward those exact needs. A person looking for “Galaxy S5 thin cases” isn’t going to be interested in an iPhone charging dock, but you can display the S5 cases that you have to sell.
Better still, if you can proactively address any objections or concerns that this customer may have, you’re one step closer to landing that sale. You can tell them that you have a money-back guarantee, so they don’t have to worry about being stuck with a product they don’t like. You can tell them that your online software is easy to use, so they don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed. You can tell them that you have 24/7 live chat for technical support, so they’ll know there’s someone to help them. You can tell them how your SaaS integrates with existing services like Dropbox and Google Drive, so they’ll know they won’t have to forge their own unified solution.
Yes, personal stories still have a place on the web and they still have their place in the world of Internet marketing. But one of the biggest lessons that needs to be taken to heart is to stop focusing on what you’re all about and start paying more attention to what your customer actually wants.