“My customers don’t listen!” This is a common complaint among business owners.
Getting your current and prospective customers to pay attention to your marketing message can be difficult. People are busy. And these days, everyone seems to have the attention span of a gnat.
But I’m going to ask you an honest question: Are you talking to your customer or are you talking at your customer? Because there’s a huge difference. And that might be why your customers aren’t listening.
A lot of business owners still think all marketing and advertising should be a broadcast medium, like TV, radio or billboards. They think they’re speaking to a broad audience that is engaged and hanging on every word they’re saying, as though they’re in a play or at a political rally.
This is speaking at people. The assumption is you have to be all things to all people to make sure your message is heard. While this can work in broadcast advertising, it rarely works online.
Why? Because you’re not speaking to a broad audience on the internet. Even though millions of people may visit your site or read your emails every day, you’re really talking to one person, sitting in front of their computer, possibly in their pajamas, looking for a solution to their problem.
This gives you a unique opportunity to talk to your customers. (Instead of talking at your customers like many of your competitors.)
“How do I do that?” I hear you cry.
Have a conversation with them.
“But, they’re reading words on a screen. I can’t actually talk to them.”
Actually, you can. Here’s how…
Write to One Person
As I mentioned earlier, even though your website is viewed by millions, you’re dealing with one person at a time. Why? Because the internet isn’t a great big huge audience. It’s billions of audiences of one. That gives you a unique opportunity to connect directly with your customers.
Instead of writing a broadcast style message, write directly to the person reading your website. Your copy should read as if you were chatting with a friend about this awesome product or service you discovered recently.
Really. Make your copy sound as if you were having a conversation with your customer. You’ll notice I do that throughout this blog post. I refer to you, my reader. I also refer to myself. And my language is casual and friendly.
Nothing is pushy. None of my copy sounds like I’m giving a speech. It’s just a conversation between two friends. (Even though we’ve probably never met. Hi, I’m Tanya, by the way.)
You’ll also notice that I fill in your part of the conversation every once in a while. A good example is at the end of the opening part of this blog post. I use quotes to say what I believe you’re thinking. It’s a nice way of “bringing you into the conversation.”
Use the Word “You”
I do this regularly in this blog post. A lot of good marketers do. It’s a really simple way to personalize your copy. Why does this matter? Because when you use the word “you” you’re including whoever it is that you’re talking to. (Did you feel included with all of those “yous” and “you’res?” See, it works.)
Here’s an example of a company that uses “you” in their copy:
I received this email from Orbitz last week. Notice that the word “your” is in the subject line and in the headline. This email is a good example of a conversational message, or talking to your audience. When I read this, I feel like Orbitz is talking directly to me. I feel like they care about what I want. It makes me more likely to buy my next trip through them.
Here’s an example of a company that doesn’t use “you” in their copy:
I received this Travelocity email shortly before I received the one from Orbitz, their direct competitor. This would be a good example of a broadcast style message, or talking at your audience. There is nothing in the subject line or ad copy that makes me feel any attachment to Travelocity. I’d even go so far as to say their ad feels cold and impersonal.
Focus Your Message on Your Customer
I’ve said this in other blog posts and I’ll say it again. Your entire marketing message should be focused on your customer and how they’ll benefit from your product or service. This doesn’t mean your copy has to be long and complicated. But it should be customer-centric.
Here’s a great example from Apple:
The tagline focuses on the customer. It tells you that you can do everything you want with a MacBook Air, as long as you want to. The message is attention grabbing, clear and concise.
Your copy can be as long or as short as you want it to be, but it needs to:
- Show your customer that you understand their problem.
- Position your product or service as the solution to their problem.
- Show the direct and long-term or future benefits of using your product or service.
Build a Relationship with Your Customer
Remember that the internet is a two-way medium. Your customers can contact you via email or your website contact form. They can leave comments on your blog posts. (Please do, by the way. I love hearing what you folks think of my posts. Please also let me know if there are specific copywriting or small business subjects you want me to write about.)
They can also post reviews of your product or service all over the internet. We’ve all heard about companies losing business because they have one or two bad reviews floating around on Yelp or Google Reviews. Having a good relationship with your customers can help you avoid this problem.
All of the techniques I’ve mentioned above will help you build that good relationship. Other ways you can encourage this relationship include:
- Sending all of your emails from a real person: You’ll notice my emails come from my email address and have my name on them. Lots of companies, large and small, send their emails from a general or info@ account.
- Give your company or brand a “face”: The Verizon Guy, Flo from Progressive Insurance and Tony the Tiger are all company mascots, or faces of their particular brand. Your “face” could be your company’s founder, a member of your team, or a character like the ones mentioned above.
- Respond quickly whenever a customer contacts you: I’m sure you’ve contacted a company about something and they’ve taken forever to get back to you. Or they’ve never gotten back to you. Did that leave a bitter taste in your mouth? The same thing will happen to your customers if you don’t respond to them.Responding quickly, or at least saying “we’ll get back to you within 24 hours” and sticking to that, goes a long way to building a good customer relationship.
Worried that you’ll never remember all of these techniques? Download my Customer Conversation Checklist.That way you’ll have all of these ideas handy when you start to write.
Now That You Know How to Talk To Your Customers, Start a Conversation
What will you do to start the conversation with your customers? Tell me about it in the comments. I really do enjoy hearing what you think about these posts, and what you’re doing in your own business. So let’s start a conversation.