Let’s talk about one of the biggest reasons your marketing and advertising isn’t delivering the results you want - and 3 ways you can fix it.
Look around. There are marketing messages everywhere trying to get your attention. From giant flashing billboards to those pop-ups everyone loves so much on websites, the ways advertisers try to attract attention range from cheap and gimmick-y to really clever.
But getting someone’s attention is only the first step. It’s what comes next that matters if you want to get through to your market.
Once you do get someone’s attention, you’ve got seconds to engage them. And then you have to work to keep that engagement.
Before you start shouting “Look at me! Look at me!” to everyone in your market, you better have a plan for what to do if someone actually does look at you.
So, how do you create engagement?
The short answer is you need to be relevant. But how?
Here’s three things you can do to make sure you’re relevant and be better at engaging your market.
The first thing you have to understand about your market is that they don’t care about you or what you’re selling. At all. Maybe that sounds a little harsh. But it’s true. And the faster you accept and embrace that idea, the better your marketing efforts will work.
So many small businesses I talk to have marketing and advertising that does nothing but talk about themselves and what they’re selling. And - just coincidently of course - they’re having a hard time getting customers.
Do you know when you’re at a cocktail party or a networking event and someone you’ve just met drones on about themselves? You lose interest pretty quickly. And you don’t think much of that person. Well, when you spend all your time talking about yourself in your marketing, you’re that person.
The first thing you can do to see if you’re falling into this trap is the “I/you” test.
Look at any - or better yet, all - of your marketing or advertising content. Your ads, your website, your social media posts, your sales scripts, videos, anything like that.
Count the number of times you say “I” or “we” or “At YOUR COMPANY NAME” or anything along those lines where you’re talking about yourself. Then count the number of times you say “you” or any similar language where you are speaking directly to your customer and their experience.
Compare the two numbers.
If you’re saying “I” the same or more than you are saying “you”, you have a problem. You’re talking about yourself way too much.
To fix that, spend a lot more time talking about your customer and a lot less time talking about you.
The second thing you can do is to look at how you talk about the thing you sell. Look at every statement you make about it and classify it as either a feature or a benefit. A feature is anything that describes the thing. Such as, “35 inch tires”, or “includes 5 sessions”, or “access to our content library”, etc.
A benefit is anything that describes what the customer gets out of it. It’s the “so what” of the feature. A benefit is not “You get 35 inch tires.” A benefit is why it matters that you get 35 inch tires.
Just as with the “I/you” test, count up how many times you talk about a feature and how many times you talk about a benefit. If you spend more time talking about features than benefits, you have a problem.
As a marketing mentor of mine likes to say, “no one wants to buy your shit.” They want to buy what your shit does for them.
Here’s how you fix that.
Take that list of features you made when you did the feature/benefit test and re-write it using this format.
[FEATURE] so that/so you can [WHY THE FEATURE MATTERS]
For example, “35 inch tires so you can easily glide over the roughest of terrain”
Then spend a lot more time talking about the benefits you come up with than talking about the features of what you’re selling.
So now that you’ve stopped talking too much about yourself and the thing you’re selling. How do you know what benefits your market cares about? If you aren’t talking about something your customer cares about, you won’t be relevant. And if you’re not relevant, you won’t be engaging.
That means you need to find out what your market cares about.
To continue the 35 inch tire example; If my market wants to look cool driving around town, talking about how my tires help them off-road isn’t going to work.
How do you figure out what your market cares about?
The easiest way to do this is to interview your existing customers. Ask them what they use your thing for and why they bought it. Dig for specific answers. This will tell you what matters to them.
If you don’t have customers yet, then ask people in your target market those questions about when they bought the thing you sell from someone else in the past.
Now that you know what to focus on in your marketing and social media posts - your customer and what matters to them. And you know what matters to them from asking. Everything you put out there needs to be laser focused on what your customers care about.
That’s how you engage them. Talk to them about them and what they care about. Only then will they start to care about who you are and what you’re selling.