You know how many business owners wanted to punch me in the face because I told them nobody cares about their business? Fortunately, none have followed through on that impulse.
But a few made me flinch.
Whether it’s your website, blog, brochure, newsletter, Facebook page, press release or newspaper ad, nobody reads your content because they’re simply enamored with your business.
Why? Because nobody cares about your business. Don’t take it personally. And please, stop scowling at me because I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard this.
People read your marketing content because they’re looking for answers to questions. The first of these questions is usually, “What can your business do for me?”
That doesn’t mean people are selfish. It’s natural human instinct, so you should appeal to your audience’s self-interest with relevant content that focuses on their needs. More specifically, people want to know:
What problem can you solve?
What need can you fill?
How can you make their lives better, easier or more enjoyable?
Effective marketing – and effective businesses – do one or more of these three things. Depending on the type of business, these can be very broad questions with long answers. So let’s break them down further.
Your Content Should Answer The Questions Most Commonly Asked By Clients And Prospects.
Pay attention to all questions and conversations – in person, on the phone, on social media and via email – because any interaction could potentially be a goldmine for content ideas. This is the information your audience is talking about, so make your marketing content part of that dialogue.
Let’s use mortgage lenders as an example. If people are uncertain about whether or not they should refinance a mortgage, explain circumstances that make it favorable or unfavorable to refinance, as well as options that people may not be aware of.
If people regularly ask about out-of-pocket closing costs, you may want to show how someone could estimate their closing costs, or explain how closing costs may be rolled into a new mortgage and how little this can affect the new monthly payment.
Turning uncertainty into clarity will often turn casual browsers into serious business leads.
What Emotions Do People Feel When Experiencing The Results Of Using Your Product Or Service?
Remember, people make decisions based on emotion more than logic or fact. How people feel when they experience the results of using your product or service is just as important as the results themselves. Again, your customers are your most valuable resource.
Mortgage lenders could and should talk about saving hundreds of dollars per month by refinancing, or how much interest can be saved by paying off a mortgage in 15 years instead of the 25 years or so remaining on an existing loan. Those are logical reasons to refinance.
But it’s even more important to identify the emotional triggers that affect these kinds of decisions. Mortgage lenders should also talk about how people will be less stressed out each month because of a significantly lower mortgage payment, or what kind of financial and personal freedom they would have by living without a mortgage payment.
Emotion drives decision making. Logic is used to justify those emotional decisions. Use your marketing content to tap into the emotions people will ultimately feel as a result of doing business with you.
What Are The Results Of Not Using Your Product Or Service?
Agitation, frustration or hardship conveyed by painting pictures of not-so-favorable “what if” scenarios can be powerful motivators. People hate to feel like they’re missing out on something.
Suppose the parents of a young child could have paid off their mortgage before their child started college if they had refinanced into a 15-year mortgage. Instead, they passed on that opportunity and are still paying their mortgage each month – in addition to thousands of dollars each month for tuition.
Think that very real and non-sensationalized scenario might motivate someone to seriously explore refinancing?
What Preconceived Thoughts, Misconceptions, Fears Or Assumptions Might People Have That May Be Preventing Them From Doing Business With You?
As I’ve written previously, every business has at least one obstacle that needs to be overcome before a sale is made. Otherwise, we all would close every deal. All the time.
Use your content to alleviate these concerns, debunk myths and explain the reality of the situation in the clearest and simplest of terms. This enables you to build trust by honestly educating people, and it could potentially speed up the sales process later by getting these obstacles out of the way now.
If people assume they won’t qualify for refinancing, explain why they shouldn’t jump to that conclusion and educate them about programs that make it easier to refinance. Let your marketing content do some of the heavy lifting.
Be Careful About Where And How You Answer These Questions.
Don’t try to answer every question at the same time. It’s overwhelming and unnecessary, and can create more confusion. This is why an integrated content marketing approach is so effective.
A website or brochure that contains mostly high-level information might only allow you to provide an answer of a few sentences. A social media post forces you to be even more concise. And that’s fine, as long as you’re able to provide clear, powerful answers.
On the other hand, a blog, feature article or newsletter allows for more in-depth answers. These platforms enable you to establish your expertise and position yourself as an authority by answering specific questions in detail.
Once you’ve answered some of these questions, people will begin to trust you and view your business as a solution to a problem. A way to fill a need. A way to make life better, easier or more enjoyable.
When people understand what’s in it for them, they’ll begin to care about your business, making them much more likely to hand over money for your product or service.
What kinds of questions do you try to answer in your marketing content?
Join the discussion 8 Comments
Great post! You’ve given a lot of good information here. I think I knew most of it, but I really needed the reminder!
Thanks, George – I think we all need to be reminded to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. Sometimes my own blogs are reminders for myself!
You hit the nail on the head. It has to be about problem solving. Let people know you have answers to their questions. Then, they will think about hiring you.
Hi Jen – If marketing doesn’t solve a problem or fill a need, it fails. If I can’t do something to make their lives better, why should they even consider hiring me?
I couldn’t agree with you more Scott and I’m so glad no one has ever punched you in the face when you said that. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them so if you can’t answer that question for them then you’re just out of luck.
Thanks, Adrienne – I’m glad nobody has punched me in the face, too. The funny thing is, it’s not just clients. It’s sales people who think I’ve offended their clients!
Great post. I agree with you when you say most of the human decisions about buying are based on emotions. It is the job of the marketer to tap into those needs. Also it is quite important to adopt your products to the demands of the market ( after analysing cost – benefit ) .
Blogging does help a lot in creating a better brand image.
Thanks for the insightful article .
Thanks, Ashvini – As we churn out blogs and other content, it’s easy to forget that our readers are real people with real problems who need real solutions. We need to be able to identify and speak to all three.