Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?!

Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?!
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Does your marketing focus on your business, your services and your qualifications?  In other words, are you inadvertently using your marketing to brag?  Do you fill in the blanks with meaningless advertising clichés like “highest quality”, “professional staff”, “conveniently located,” and “for all your (fill in the blank) needs”?

Step back for a moment, try to look at your marketing from the perspective of a potential client and ask yourself, “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Industry awards, years of experience, status as the number one something-or-other, graduate degrees and professional recognition are very impressive to colleagues and make parents proud.

But are these things relevant to a potential client? Will they make someone more likely to hand over money for your product?  Is this the kind of message that will strengthen a brand and increase revenue?  Is this the best use of a marketing budget?  No, no, no and no.  Save it for your resume.

Whether it’s a website, blog, email blast, display ad, radio or TV commercial, brochure or direct mail piece, benefits created by your product should never take a backseat to ego inflation, empty marketing lingo or “industry speak.”  These things don’t build trust or motivate consumers to call, click or email.

You need to give them compelling reasons to contact you by focusing on their needs and speaking in terms they understand.

What’s In It For Me?

Don’t take this personally, but potential clients don’t care about your business. Well, not yet. Your business becomes relevant only after you’ve shown them what your business can do for them. Instead of providing a laundry list of everything you have to offer, show your target audience how and why they’ll benefit by doing business with you.

Effective marketing messages focus on the client by selling the results of using a product, not the product itself.  Show your target audience how your product can solve a real problem or fill a real need in their lives and they’ll want your product.

When you consult with a financial planner, you receive sound financial advice, which is the product.  Ultimately, isn’t the result more important?  For example, the result may be the peace of mind you feel when you’re confident that your money has been invested wisely according to your own risk tolerance.

This is why auto dealers want you to test drive cars. You pay money to own a car, but what you’re really buying is the result, which is the driving experience.  A test drive allows you to experience the result of owning a car.

If you’re a dentist, don’t talk about your office and state-of-the-art equipment. Talk about my smile. If you’re a realtor, don’t talk about your sales volume or thousands of listings. Talk about my home. Now your product is relevant because it solves a problem or fills a need.

Client-focused messaging should be applied to any marketing tool in your arsenal, large or small.  Take something as mundane as an on-hold or voicemail message.  Many businesses take this for granted, even though it offers a rare opportunity to keep the interest of a prime prospect who has already made the decision to contact your business.

Unfortunately, the typical on-hold or voicemail message will tell people to listen to all options because they’ve recently changed, recite an empty slogan, or give business hours and location.

Why not take that 10 seconds to clearly and concisely convey what problem you can solve or need you can fill for the caller? This is much more likely to convince this person to stay on-hold, leave a message or call back later to do business with you.

When you miss any opportunity to make your business relevant to potential clients, you’re leaving money on the table.

By the way, you can say the Pledge of Allegiance in 10 seconds. If you can’t communicate the single largest benefit of using your product in 10 seconds or less, you need to fine tune your message.

It’s Not Just What You Say, But How You Say It.

We’ve all had uncomfortable conversations with someone who has a job that we’re vaguely aware of but don’t necessarily understand. Maybe this person is in a high tech, medical or legal field. They’re very friendly, knowledgeable and extremely passionate about their job, but they may as well be speaking a foreign language. We just smile and nod as if we have a clue.

It’s awkward and a little embarrassing, right?

When it comes to marketing, your potential clients won’t use a dictionary or thesaurus to figure out what you’re trying to say. They’ll move on to the next option.

Big words and industry jargon may seem like poetic brilliance to you, but it can cause confusion and create obstacles that didn’t previously exist. In some cases, it’s a turn-off.

Your marketing should speak the language of your target audience. Relatable, everyday language brings the complexities of your business down to earth for the average person. It allows people to let their guard down and makes them more open to reading, seeing or hearing what you have to say. It also makes your business less intimidating and more approachable.

At the end of the day, people need to have a certain comfort level with something or someone before they’ll be willing to spend money.

Today’s consumers have easy access to more information than ever. The marketplace is saturated with more options than ever. A client-focused message that speaks to your target audience in terms they understand will make your business a more attractive option, resulting in a stronger brand and more revenue.

A self-centered message will give these consumers a reason to explore other options and could quickly lead to a “going out of business” sale.

Does your marketing message focus on the needs of your potential clients?  Are you speaking their language?

Scott McKelvey
Scott helps business owners enhance their brand, build relationships and increase revenue by developing marketing messages that focus on the needs of their clients. Scott writes content for all things marketing, from websites and blogs to web videos and brochures. As Creative Director for New Jersey’s largest radio stations and TargetSpot, the nation’s largest internet radio advertising network, Scott has helped local, regional and national brands maximize ROI by combining powerful messaging with strategic geographic and demographic targeting. Scott's philosophy is simple: Show your target audience how your product can solve a real problem or fill a real need in their lives and you'll build a base of loyal customers. Visit Scott's site for more about his writing philosophy and experience.
Scott McKelvey
Scott McKelvey