Your marketing communications- web sites, newsletters, direct mail, sales letters, etc.- REALLY DO often make your company’s first impression. Focus the content on the customer. Engage his thoughts. Appeal to his desire to solve a problem. Show empathy. Then, and only then, introduce your product/service as a solution.
The secret to building better customer relationships is customer-centric marketing copy. It’s your super secret customer handshake!
5 tips for writing customer-centric sales copy
Whether you’re writing web site copy, a newsletter, a press release, a sales letter or an email, the focus belongs on the reader, your potential or current customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Write down the features of your product or service. Then write down the benefits those features mean to your customers. The benefits list is where you’re going to get the meat of your content. Not from your features, but from the benefits.
1) Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes
Make that 5 miles. Good marketing copy addresses a need, but great marketing copy goes the extra 4 miles to prove you understand their situation, you’ve been there too and you know exactly how to help. You know your business better than anyone so it isn’t too far of a leap to guess when and why your customers buy from you. For example, 1800Flowers sends an email near the date you last ordered as a birthday or anniversary reminder. Sometimes, marketers are on the selling side for so long that they forget why customers buy.
Before you communicate with your customers for any reason, get a refresher on what they want and need from you. Be sure you know:
Their problem or challenge and why it’s a problem
If they are familiar with your company, product or service
Any “pain points” associated with their need/want
Changes in their view of your industry, your company or the world (think Exxon Valdez incident)
Who REALLY makes the purchase and who gets your marketing collateral (they’re not always the same person)
1st Warning: Don’t assume you know the answers already. Review them before each customer marketing contact and it just might be a light bulb moment that could change your marketing approach and the results.
2nd Warning: Don’t think this customer-centric approach doesn’t apply to your product/service or company. Whether you’re family-oriented travel company, a software program vendor or a business consultant, customer-centric copy is key to building relationships and earning first and subsequent sales.
2) Don’t be the “it’s all about me” guy
Customer-centric copy talks to the reader about the reader. This goes for online or offline marketing copywriting. It’s one of the rules that remain the same for both mediums. Speak directly to the reader addressing him as “you”, not “our customers.” Write about the emotion involved. Remember, humans respond to empathy and it’s their point of view that matters, not your company’s.
3) Your customers have a problem; they just don’t know it yet
Pharmaceutical companies didn’t invent this concept, but they perfected it. The drug companies started bypassing the doctor and marketing straight to the consumer. Patients made doctor appointments for prescriptions only. The frequency with which these ads appear has the power to create symptoms. The customer-centric copy comes full circle. Problem. Empathy. Solution.
4) Speak to customers in their language
Pharmaceutical media and print ads are written and spoken in everyday English. Children understand them. But the package insert is another story. By the time the patient gets to the insert, the sale is made and now the lawyers take over. But talking to people in their language FIRST made the sale.
Use their language as your keywords. If you’re selling cow nectar but everyone calls it milk, you better call it milk too because people don’t search for cow nectar, they search “milk.”
5) You can’t please everyone, so don’t sell to everyone
80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. The 80/20 rule applies to marketing as well as sales. Get to know that 20% and market specifically to that 20%. Are they the decision makers? Are they the end users? Are they the ones who will directly benefit? Do they have other people to convince? Anything new about your product/industry they should know?
It’s not how well you know your product that is going to determine the level of your sales and your success; it’s how well you know your customer. Where you go from here depends on how well your marketing content speaks to and engages him. And what should you do if you’re just too close to your product/service to get a clear customer perspective? Hire a professional copywriter of course.