People don’t lie in bed thinking “if I just had more information” or “if I just knew more about product x.”
My first marketing boss told me that you need to know what keeps your customer up at night and help them with that problem. If you can do that, you are providing true value and that will inspire and build loyalty with your ideal customer. Todd Lebo
“People worry about how they are going to meet a sales quota, meet a project deadline, pay for their kids education, etc. So step one in content marketing is pick the right map and that map is inside the mind of your ideal customer. Customer logic.”
“ We’ve all been there before, you attend an event that sounds perfect and within the first two minutes you realize that it is just a sales pitch, thinly veiled as an educational event. We feel manipulated and betrayed and would never trust the source, let alone buy their product,” explains Todd. Reference: Forbes / Tech
So what keeps your customers awake at night? Do you know? And if you don’t know how can you find out?
That is what this post is all about so if you want to know how read on.
The traditional solution is to create a customer persona, an avata that is crafted from the data available in your existing customer database.
You know age, position, number of children, suburb, likes dislikes etc. and then you write the avata based on that information.
But how real is it?. Can you relate to that fictional person. Even if you ad a photo of someone are you able to empathise with them?
My question is, is the traditional avatar the best way to go?
I think there is a better way!
So how can you find out what your keeps your customer awake at night? What are their concerns?
I guess the only sure way to get it right is to ask them. But how can you ask a fictional character? A character constructed from data?
That is the major flaw in this traditional method because the persona is still a created person. They only exist in your imagination. The better way is to take a real ideal customer from your existing customer base and talk to them.
Persona’s and Avatars Vs Target Profiles
There’s an American Indian saying that goes something like this; “You can’t judge another person until you have walked two moons in their moccasins”. In other words, you have no idea as to what goes on in any one else’s mind. You can try, but you are still inside your head!
So when we create a persona based on a real person, say a Nigel or Jane, real people who have feelings that you can see and hear. You see and feel how they react as they respond to your questions.
Their frustrations, fears, overwhelm and uncertainty are in plain sight and you personally see how the issues they describe actually effect them.
As you listen to them, you get a sense of the extent of the problems they are facing.
This is real. You do not need to create your ideal customers persona in your imagination.
A target Profile is an accurate record of how a real living breathing human being is suffering from the problems that your product or service can solve for them.
And because Nigel or Jane are typical of your target market every person in their situation will ‘get it’. They will connect, relate to your message at an emotional level because it contains real emotions.
Find your ‘Nigel’ or ‘Jane’ in your existing customer base or someone who fits the fictional persona you have created and talk to them. And then write the Target Profile based on the interview. You will be amazed at what you will learn and how much easier it is to write for them.
I struggled for years creating personas but failed. As soon as I create target profiles based on real people in my target market and interviewed them it all came together.
Right now you’re probably thinking But I don’t know what to questions to ask.
That isn’t a problem because there are only three simple questions you need to ask. How easy is that?
The purpose of the questions is to help them uncover all of their problems related to their business.
(when they pause ask them if there are any other issues that cause them difficulty? Do not attempt to solve the problem at that time. Move onto the next question.)
What is your main problem?
Why is it a problem?
What will happen if the problem remains unresolved?
What one of those issues is the most urgent to solve?
These questions will give you a list of the most pressing problems your client is facing. Then you can write a crystal clear version of your customer profile, avatar or persona. Read more about Target Profiles
This is a technique called Negative Enquiry. The purpose of the technique is to keep drilling down until you get the the most pressing problem.
Get a lsit of as many porblems as you can uncover and do not attemt to solve or deal with the issues until all have been listed. When you are sure there are no other problems then start to address them. You will find that th last problem mentioned will be the most stressful for the client.
For more information email me, Alan Cox, or give me a call on +61 (0)414 288 050 and we can catch up for a coffee or a chat on Skype.
Consumers are more savvy than ever these days, so simply claiming you are “the best” is not enough. With testimonials, though, you don’t need to work to convince your audience you are awesome – because other people can do it for you.
Testimonials offer an independent indication that you have done a great job. They can also help reassure new or nervous customers, as well as distinguish you from your competitors. Using reviews and comments from your satisfied customers can transform your sales pitch into a credible, unbiased recommendation for your product or service.
If that’s not enough to convince you of the value of testimonials, adding them to your site is simple to do, and adding even just one good review of your product or service can generate more selling power than some of the best sales copy out there.
Building your audience or customer base all begins with building trust in your brand, and once a few people trust and enjoy your brand it’s only natural for them to spread the word – and conveniently create testimonials for you.
When Billy Joel sang that, “It’s a matter of trust,” he wasn’t talking about marketing. Nevertheless, marketers can definitely learn a thing or two from The Piano Man, especially when it comes to the importance of building relationships with prospective customers.
Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful trust signals you can use on your website and in your marketing campaigns, including landing pages, product and pricing pages, and even your AdWords ads. Persuasive testimonials from satisfied customers can sway even the most hesitant prospect, making them a potent weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Traditional Testimonials are like resumés
Have you ever read or written a resume that highlighted weaknesses and past mistakes?
I doubt it because we all know that resumes are written to impress the reader. Testimonials are the same — sickly sweet and no spice.
But, testimonials, even sugary ones, are important for business. So how can we get a more mature testimonial? How can we give them new life?
When you read the next 6 simple questions you will know how.
Introducing a Testimonial with a difference — the Lighthouse Testimonial
So what is a Lighthouse testimonial?
You know that every buyer experiences doubt prior to purchasing a product or service. There’s always an objection lurking like the Grim Reaper in the buyer’s mind.
People are skeptical. It’s a fact of life.
The purpose of a lighthouse is to be visible; To shine; To stand out. And that’s what a Lighthouse Testimonial does. It stands head and shoulders above every other testimonial out there.
How do we do that?
They shine because they are not all sugar and no spice. We actually include objections your customers face when they are making the decision to buy your product or service. And then the Lighthouse Testimonial will diffuse common objections to your product or service.
6 simple questions to powerful testimonials
Get in front of your client or at talk with them on the phone and ask them these six simple questions: (Make sure you get their permission and record the conversation.)
If you simply ask for a testimonial, your customers will always promise to send it to you but they hardly ever land in your inbox. And even if they do send one it’s bound to be the same as all the others.
So the best way to obtain a Lighthouse Testimonial from your clients is to meet with them or give them a call. Face-to-face meetings are best because you are able to ask questions prompting them to expand on their statements. What you end up with is a testimonial story.
The next option best option is a phone call. Make sure you ask your clients permission and record the call.
Why they work so well
Lighthouse testimonials are strong because they identify a problem; When the problem is named the buyer identifies with it and then your previous client diffuses the objection for you with their testimonial. That’s why they work so well.
They’re believable because they are not all sugary. Traditional testimonials are sickly sweet and they’re like drinking a cup of coffee that has 10 spoons of sugar in it.
Lighthouse testimonials are a new, refreshing and innovative approach to a proven and vital business tool.
When you ask the simple 6 questions you get a story from your clients that packs a punch; A punch that will help your business to soar.
“The main hesitation we had was the fact that you didn’t seem to have a finished product to show as an example that was similar to ours.(Objection.)
However, we found that you are very professional and easy to work with.” (Objection defused.)
The best feature of the video is the personal touch of the video. It wasn’t too corporatised. (The feature)
The client then described the benefits of having a video.
The video has assisted us to give our customers and new employees a better understanding of our business and has improved our corporate image.
Our opposition have been around for so long and are so well marketed that many customers didn’t know a half of what we did.
Once we go the corporate video it was different. The biggest hurdle was just them knowing if we could handle their business or not. Whether we could be competitive and handle their business.
The video does that for us. It’s great.
Additional benefits have included supplier presentations and the ability to post the video on the internet.
I would strongly recommend your service to others. You provided Quality, Value, and Professional service.
I would also like to thank you for your patience with the amount of changes and updates we did.”
David Grigg – Sales & Marketing Manager Heatley Industrial & Safety
Knowing the extent of your experience I was confident about your ability to give us the video we needed. The confidence proved to be well founded and the video has worked very well for us.
I have used the video in formal presentations to some of my larger contracts and instead of having to verbally explain our company, where we come from and what we do to the customer, it’s easier to plug the flash drive in and show them through the video what our company does.
It’s cut down a good 20 to 30 minutes of the presentation time. These formal appointments we have are an hour at the most. Any longer and we’re wasting their time. So the more time we’ve got to talk about the benefits of our business more than what our business is about the better.
These large corporate organisations appreciate the speedy presentation so we can get down to business faster. The video enables them to absorb a lot more of our specialty information rather than just the general information.
Having the video enable us to make a more professional presentation. Our other senior managers have all found the same. The video saves a good 15 to 20 minutes each presentation.
I helps us with the bottom line – we get more sales because we can spend more time pointing out the benefits of working with our company.
It allows us to sell our point of difference to the customer. The time we save with the video gives us more time to talk about the benefits of Heatleys and our point of difference.
The video with visuals, voice over and music enables them to absorb more information than listening to me speak for 30 minutes selling my company. It’s done in just a few minutes.
We want them to communicate what they expect from us. And this is where the extra time is a real bonus.
We have more time to listen. We get a very good idea of what issues they face which leads nicely into what we can do for them. How we can help them.
The larger corporations appreciate the concise professional presentation.
Jarrod Hodge Manager Heatley Industrial & Safety
Question: What would have prevented you from hiring my product/service?
Answer: Because your quote was so much lower than the others we didn’t think you could do the job properly I guess.
However, when we saw the examples of what you had previously done, they indicated that you could produce the sort of video we were after. It gave us an appreciation of what you could do.
Question: What did you find as a result of buying my product/service?
Answer: The video gives a quick overview of the Shire. It shows new employees and businesses thinking of coming to Newman a look a Newman and what the area has to offer.
Question: What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
Answer: The visuals and the sound. The combination of the vision and the sound is a good package.
Question: What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
I forgot to ask this question. So keep list of questions handy to remind yourself.
Question: Would you recommend my product/service? If so why?
Answer: I certainly would. I think you did a pretty good job for the time we had, the budget we had and we’re very happy with the result. You delivered on what was asked.
Question: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Answer: You were very easy to work with. You were efficient and got the job done – we’re very happy.
Gaby Pieraccini Manager Sustainability Shire of east Pilbara
We have since updated the video and for a further testimonial please contact Allen Cooper CEO Shire of East Pilbara.
Turn a good small business tool into a great business winning tool.
The best way to your target market is with personas. Or is it?
The words you write aren’t for everyone, but they’re for someone. There is someone out there who is relentlessly surfing the internet, looking for your products and services. You know this because you did your research first.
If you can communicate with this person, you have a guaranteed sale.
There’s no hard-selling or strong-arming; just a little persuasive copy. Copy that’s cool, that attracts the best customers.
Before you can write for this person, you need to know who they are. Copywriters spend a great deal of time researching their audience. You need to do this too, trust me it’s time well spent and it works, because I’ve written this for you and you’re here reading it.
One way to think about this person is that they’re your “best customer.” They’re not your only customer. But if you aim at the best customer, or the one who most needs what you’re offering, you’ll get attract in others just like her.
It’s estimated that for most businesses, 20% of their customers generate 80% of their sales. It’s your job at the research stage to discover exactly who those 20% are.
You need to create a demographic profile of your customers. The demographic profile includes quantifiable data about your best customer, like their age, gender, ethnicity, location, income level, etc. This data will be in your business plan and your marketing plan, if you’ve done them.
You also need to take into account psychographic, the stuff that’s not quantifiable. This includes things like attitudes, fears, likes/dislikes, interests, motivations, and so on. This data should include how the person feels about the purchases they make, the companies they buy from, your industry, etc.
I know, your ideal customer might be like you, but she’s not you. She doesn’t get excited when Glee comes on the TV, she does love the X Factor though. That might not seem like a difference, but is it?
From all of this very specific research data, you can create an avatar of your best customer. You’re going to actually create a human being to market your products and services too because when you write for a real person your writing is a whole lot better. It will be an imaginary human being, but an important person nonetheless because she’s going to keep your copy, your words, inspired.
Because a persona that has been created from numerous character traits is still a figment of your imagination, and as such the person lives inside your head.
Try this for on for size.
Find an existing customer or prospect who fits the persona you have created. Yes, a real person and sit down and interview them.
Persona’s Vs Target Profiles
Everyone talks about personas but even though they’re based on a number of real people they are still fictional.
They are created by surveying your customer base creating a fictional profile that encompasses the key elements of your targeted consumer.
And that is the problem. A persona create from a cross section of your Target Market remains a fictional person and can only exist inside your oun head!
You’re still inside your head and tapping (or tying to) tap into how your fictional ideal customers are thinking and feeling. It is almost impossible to separate self from your persona.
You keep your fiction character in mind as you write and it sort of works. But does it work as well as it could?
There’s an American Indian saying that goes something like this; “You can’t judge another person until you have walked two moons in their moccasins”. In other words you have no idea as to what goes on in any one else’s mind. You can try but you are still inside your own head!
But what if you created a persona based on a real person say, called Nigel. Nigel is a person you can talk to. You can see him and how he responds to your questions.
When you talk with Nigel you are tapping into Nigel’s emotions, his frustrations, fears, overwhelm and uncertainty? You see how these issues are effecting him. You can get a feel for the extent of the problems he is facing. You do not need to create your perfect customers persona in your imagination. Yes it is created based of research but that is still only data.
A Target Profile is an accurate record of how a real living breathing human being is suffering from the problems that your product or service can solve for him.
And because Nigels is typical of your target market every person in Nigel’s situation will ‘get it’. They will connect, relate to your message at an emotional level because it contains real emotions.
What have you got to lose?
Find a ‘Nigel’ or a ‘Jane’ in your existing customers or someone who fits the fictional persona you have created and talk to them. And then create a Target Profile.
I struggled for years creating personas but failed. As soon as I create target profiles based on people in my target market and interviewed them it all came together.
My business has three target markets and I have created three target profiles for each area.
Argh – Interview!@*%# I hate doing interviews and what do I ask.
Well there are three simple questions that can get you started and keep you on track.
Get them to list their all of their problems – (when they pause ask them if there are any other issues that cause them difficulty?)
What is your main problem?
Why is it a problem?
What will happen if the problem remains unresolved?
Repeat this process until you have address all of the problems.
Hit your Target Market with your Target Profile and cusotmers in a personal way.
Contact Alan for more information