In online marketing, only one person matters: your customer.
If your customer doesn't understand something, or if they can't see why it matters to them, then you might as well be talking to a wall. And walls don't have much buying power.
Want to get a customer's attention?
Then market your business online as if all you care about is your customer: their wants, their needs, and their success. After all, if you make them successful, you'll be successful. It's a win-win.
Avoid These 3 Things to Stay Customer-Focused
1. "We" website copy.
If most of your website copy includes your company name or the word "we," it's time to re-think your strategy. What you provide may help your customer, but the simple fact that you provide it is not enough.
Let's look at two examples that both include the same call to action. One champions the company's virtues, while the other champions the customer's needs and how the product's benefits meet them. Which example is more compelling and customer-focused?
- Johnny Appleseed, Inc. provides nutritious and delicious apples. We pride ourselves on being the best apple company in the United States. Try Johnny Appleseed Apples today!
- Hungry for something fresh and tasty that won't weigh you down? Grab a snack that's high in fiber, low in calories and still delicious. Try Johnny Appleseed Apples today!
2. Your business rules and idiosyncrasies.
If your website is based more on your business rules than on how your customer looks for and processes information, you are doing your business a disservice. Here are two common pitfalls.
- Content organization. I get it. You're balancing business units, divisions, internal mandates, and a million other factors that threaten to influence your online marketing. But if those internal factors don't make sense to outsiders or align to your customer's needs, you need to keep them out of your marketing strategy. It doesn't mean you can't promote a new service or special product offering on your website; there are certainly creative ways to do that. But decisions about how your products, services and content are organized on your website must to be driven by your customer needs. If your website pleases your CEO more than your customer, no one wins.
- Product or Service Names. This is closely related to the point above. If what you call a product or service differs from what your customers call that same product or service, you're in trouble. It's especially important for search marketing. Let's go back to the apple example. Say that Johnny Appleseed, Inc. also sells rectangular containers for apples made of cardboard and wood. Internally, employees call them "apple containers." But, guess what? Google the term apple containers, and you'll see images of plastic red apple-shaped structures. In addition, that term only gets about 90 monthly searches in Google (as of this writing). The terms apple boxes and apple crates would be smarter choices. They have 1,300 and 3,600 searches (respectively). In addition, the first page rankers for those terms match Johnny Appleseed's product much more closely. If Johnny Appleseed focuses on ranking for the terms apple crates and apple boxes, they'll have a bigger pool of prospective customers within their reach, who are more likely to want what they're selling.
3. Flashy graphics and design.
You can have the prettiest website with the coolest graphics on the planet, but if you don't have content, substance and calls to action, you'll get nowhere.
You won't rank in search engines, your customers won't be able to find what they need, and they won't be able to contact you easily. What good is that?
Figure out what your customers want first, and build your website architecture and content around that. Then use design and graphics to complement and enhance it. If you start with design first, your website won't perform as well as it could.
Any other things to add to this list? What else have you seen on websites that serves the company before the customer?
Thanks for reading!