“They love talking about themselves.”
Has anyone ever uttered those words as a compliment?
So why is it that when businesses create content, they generally talk about themselves? How great they are, when they were established, what wonderful things they sell.
If you’re cringing in your seat reading this, it’s OK. There’s a fix.
Instead of talking about your business, you need to flip that focus on to your customers.
When you write about them and put them in the spotlight, you make them your heroes, you show them you understand them, that you have empathy with them, that you can help.
All it takes to do this is a three-step formula. It will help you transform your marketing speak and attract more customers.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to grab a worksheet that will help you through this process.
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Let’s get started with step one.
Step 1: What’s the problem?
Why do customers come to you?
Yes, it’s because they want what you sell but what inspires that want?
For example. I’m currently looking for a recipe book, one of those that you write your own recipes into. It needs to be pretty and hard-wearing.
You could say my problem is that I want a pretty hard-wearing recipe book. But that’s what I need, not the problem that got me searching for one.
The problem, the thing that inspired that want is that I’ve too many recipe books, too many recipes scribbled on bits of paper, cut out from magazines, written into various ugly notebooks.
I want to get rid of some of the dusty old recipe books and my hand-scribbled notes and have one good book where I write all the best recipes.
How do you identify the problem?
Talk to your customers
What do people say when they come into your store? When they phone you? When they send you an email? Do any of them talk about what brought them to you?
If they don’t at the moment ask them, find the stories they tell you and use those as part of your marketing.
But what if I don’t have one-2-one conversations with my customers?
We’re doing more business online these days and that makes those one-2-one conversations harder to have. But we can still do it.
You can call your customers
Pick a few at random, set up a call and ask them what brought them to you. Or if you hate the phone, drop them a personal email and ask them a few questions.
You can survey our customers
Set up a one-question survey just asking people what got them to buy from you. You can embed this on your ‘Thank you’ page or send it in your follow up emails to your customers.
Wait, one question?
Surely you won’t be able to collect enough data with just one question?
The shorter the survey, the more responses you will get. Remember this survey helps you create better marketing content, you don’t need to know anything else and you’ll get quick results.
Make a list
Now you’ve started to understand more about why your customer comes to you, make a list of those reasons. That should give you the spark for an entire series of content.
Step 2: What other solutions have they tried?
In step one, you discovered the problem your customer had that brings them to you. Before you solve it you need to identify what they have already done to try to solve it, and why that didn’t work.
For example, with my recipe book, I could have tried writing it in a fancy notebook but my other half grabbed it one day to write a phone number in. Now it’s not pretty anymore.
I could have stored them on my phone but when I switched phones one I lost them all.
Perhaps I put all my recipe notes in a ring binder, but that made it hard to find the right recipe when I needed it.
This should be an easier section for you to fill out. When you started your business, you knew why what you did was the better solution.
- Are you more cost-effective?
- Are you more beautiful?
- Are you easier for people to use?
Draw a line down a sheet of paper (or download my worksheet) and on the left-hand side of write the alternatives to working with you. Or the right-hand side, write the problems with each one.
Here’s how I’ve filled out mine
Now we’re onto the good bit.
Step 3: How do you help them fix that problem?
This is the bit where you get to talk about yourself. Pick out the key things that were part of the problem and show how your product solves it.
Let’s go back to my example with the recipe book.
Our recipe book is wipe-clean and sturdy, so you’ll be able to keep it forever. It includes a tabbed menu so you’ll easily be able to find the recipe you need and the recipe template pages mean no one will be tempted to use it for jotting down phone numbers.
Now you have all three steps of your content structure written down, but it’s just a bundle of notes. How do you turn that into something? A video, a blog or social media post?
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How do you frame it?
I have three ways you can choose from to bring the elements of your sales content together.
Method 1: Are you…
Start by asking ‘Are you____’, ‘have you___’ or ‘Do you’ Fill in the blank by bringing in one reason customers come to you.
Have you ever searched through piles of handwritten recipes looking for the one you need?
Do you have a folder full of recipe cards and scraps of paper that make it impossible to find that all-important cake recipe?
Maybe you’ve got organised before and put them all into a ring binder, but you can never find what you’re looking for.
Maybe you’ve jotted some down in a notebook, but it got covered in tomato sauce and the pages are sticking together.
The Spiderworking recipe book will help you keep all your favourite recipes in one place. The tabbed menus make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for and the wipe-clean cover means it will withstand any tomato sauce incidents.
This method is popular because if you got the problem right, readers (or viewers) will nod along and agreeing as they read. They’re already saying yes before they get to how you solve the problem.
Method 2: You are…
A twist on the ‘are you’ method paints a picture of the problem.
You are looking for that cake recipe your mum gave you, the one that makes you think of home. Is it in that folder of recipes? You search but you can’t see it. Did you jot it down in a notebook? You start searching.
The Spiderworking recipe puts all your favourite recipes in one place. The tabbed menu makes it easy to find the one you need right now. No more scrabbling, it’s time to bake that cake.
Method 3: I am…
This is telling the story from your customer’s perspective. It works best in case studies and testimonials that can be adapted into ads, reviews and blog posts.
One of my favourite things to do is bake, and luckily my friends love it too. We’re always exchanging recipes. The problem was, I can never remember where I put them. Did that garlic pie recipe get shared on Facebook or WhatsApp? Where is that scrap of paper with the banana bread recipe on it?
Since I bought the Spiderworking recipe book, I know exactly where to find every recipe. I love filling it in and the tabbed menu makes it easy for me to find the recipe I want. Plus, it’s got a wipe-clean cover, which is great as I’m always getting cake mix on my recipes.
Before you apply to your own business, apply it to something you need to source or buy.
Get the worksheet
Don’t be the business that only talks about themselves. Focus on your customer instead.
When you talk about the problems they have in your website text, your blog posts, your video and social content they’ll feel you understand them. They’ll want to know more and they’ll trust you.
And once they trust you, it’s just one more step to get them to buy from you.
Try this system out on your website or your next social media post, video or article and let me know how you get on.