THE most important question you need to answer in your marketing
By Olivia Abbott-Hawes, Sovereign Copy – The Gift Club’s resident copywriter
In this article we’ll look at why focusing your marketing on your customers’ wants and needs is the secret to conversion. You’ll learn how to answer ‘the big question’ and take away some actionable tips. You should read this if you are involved in any part of the go-to-market process or responsible for driving business success.
New product launches, campaigns and sales propositions take a lot of time and planning to execute. There are usually many facets to consider and multiple channels to promote across. After all that work and expense, you need conversions.
To market anything, you need to think about where, when and who you’re targeting. No good in running a campaign on Facebook, for example, if your B2B C-Level audience doesn’t hang out there.
Once you’ve got those bits nailed, you need to think about the copy and design. Both need to cohesively deliver a clear message that explains or demonstrates why your product or proposition is the bee’s knees.
To understand what you need to write, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and answer this question: What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
The bottom line is that everyone is selfish. A prospective customer wants to know as quickly as possible whether your product/service/solution is the one that will make their life better. Why make their quest for this information harder? The longer it takes your potential customer to understand the benefits you can provide, the more likely you are to lose them to a competitor.
WIIFM – answering your customers’ inner thoughts
There are a number of questions you can ask to ultimately answer the big one.
What challenges do your target audience face and which ones can you solve?
For your B2C audience, most restrictive considerations are likely rooted in the financials and most buying decisions are driven by emotion.
Is the cost-of-living crisis going to limit their budget? Is the size of their family or their property going to limit the choices they can afford? Will their purchase bring them joy? Could it cause them to feel a negative reaction?
For your B2B audience, the challenges will likely range beyond the monetary considerations of implementation costs and a requirement to prove ROI. Depending on industry, product, and objectives, a business may need to consider hundreds of factors before committing to a purchase:
- The number of employees/customers to service
- Warranty and claim periods
- Risk and impact of downtime
- Data requirements – GDPR and data recovery
- Supply chain issues
There’s also an emotional aspect. Those personally making the purchasing decisions may consider whether they have job security, should their choice of product or service backfire. If it goes well, could the right option help them to do their own job better or even gain them a promotion?
By thoroughly understanding your audience’s biggest challenges, you are able to use your marketing to lay out the business case that combats them. Doing this clearly and concisely prevents your audience from needing to think about this stuff. If they don’t need to think, they’re more likely to buy.
What benefits will your target audience enjoy?
Every product or service is created to fulfil a need, so naturally there will be at least one benefit you can promote to your audience. The more benefits, the easier it should be to sell.
Does your solution promise a fast or unique experience? Is it a simple journey to completion? Will initial purchase unlock future discounts?
Is there anything topical that has made or will make your proposition desirable? For example, COVID and the subsequent demand for better fund distribution solutions for Local Authorities and educational institutions.
On the flip side, are there any economical or industry-related reasons that your target market may be reluctant to spend budget? Is there something you can show your audience to convince them that your product is worth the risk?
What gives your product or business the edge?
Why should someone choose YOU? What is it that sets you apart from all of your competitors?
Here’s a clue. It’s not going to be the fact that you’re an award-winning business. Nor is it going to be in recognition of that £10,000 your employees raised for charity (sad, but true!).
Yes, many purchases are now increasingly influenced by your ethical and environmental impact. But unless these are the core attributes of your product, you need to identify the cold, hard USP that does more than warm the cockles of your customers’ hearts.
- Your end-to-end solution can consolidate six lengthy processes into one, simple action.
- Your turnaround time is 3 days when everyone else’s is 3 weeks.
- Part of your service is fee-free while all your competitors only offer paid plans.
When answering all of the questions above, you might find that some of the answers overlap. When they do, those are the things you should place front and centre of your marketing campaign.
Your typical customer’s challenge is that their reward redemption website is super slow, and they never get timely support from their current provider.
The big benefit of your product is that it’s a super-fast portal with a customer service instant chatbot feature.
And it just so happens that your USP is your unusually fast customer service SLA.
That right there is probably what you should lead with.
Getting to the bottom of things
So, you now understand that you need to answer your customers’ ‘WIIFM’. But how do you do this?
Depending on what field you work in, there may already be tonnes of resources at your fingertips via the good old WWW. Check out what your competitors are doing, search for customer reviews, look for case studies and research papers. Get on popular social media sites and do a bit of social listening by searching for terms related to your company or your industry.
It never hurts to think about what you would personally want or need to know ahead of purchase. Ask yourself some of the questions above. Talk to your colleagues and project teams about them. Chances are, if you can’t see the value of your product/proposition/service, then no prospective customer will either.
Look at the content you create and analyse the performance of each blog or social post. The function of a blog is to inform and educate your audience, so use your articles to answer frequently asked questions and demonstrate how your business outputs are meeting common challenges.
Use keyword tools such as Semrush to determine which terms and phrases will boost the visibility of your content in organic searches. Use listening tools such as AnswerThePublic to find out what types of questions and which related topics people are searching for.
If you’re branching out into a new market, or you want a deeper understanding of a particular area, you might consider the following methods:
- Run existing customer feedback forms (consider incentivising these?)
- Commission independent surveys
- Hold focus groups for honest feedback and be open to constructive criticism
The final summary
Think back to the opening paragraph of this article. You were told what you’d get by continuing to read, and why it would matter to you. It was in reading the first paragraph that you mentally committed to learning more. This is how answering ‘WIIFM?’ works.
Working with your internal teams to answer this question properly is vital to your business success.
Putting out marketing that shows you are ready to meet your customer where they are will undoubtedly increase your conversion rate. As a double benefit, it’s also likely to boost your chances of receiving great testimonials and generating social proof. Why? Because at the end of the day people like to feel understood.
Of course, once you have taken the time to study your audience and define the perfect strategy, you do also need to write your marketing campaigns, product pages, packaging, and sales decks.
If you need some help with that, then reach out to me – Olivia, your friendly freelance copywriter. You can find out more about the services I offer, and arrange a free 30-minute discovery call, over on The Gift Club’s Marketing Services page.