One Super Easy Way to Improve Your Marketing
If your marketing strategy is not performing the way you want it to, the problem might be simple.
You might be spotlighting your business instead of the customer.
And why would that be a problem? It’s you you’re trying to sell, after all. Doesn’t the buyer want to learn about you?
Sure. But not as much as they want to feel seen and understood. And creating a marketing message that does that is easier than it sounds.
I’m going to break down:
- Why a client-centered approach to marketing is essential
- How to find the type of messaging that resonates best with your customer
- How to promote your best assets without positioning yourself as the hero
Let’s dig in.
It’s Not About You
Let’s say you get a flat tire out on a country road in the dead of night thirty miles from town. Let’s also say you don’t know how to change a tire. (I know, I know, but we’re imagining here.)
You text two friends to see if one of them can help you. They respond simultaneously.
One says, “Oh man, it’s a good thing you texted me. I’ve changed a ton of tires. Probably more than anyone else you know.”
The other says, “Yeah, no problem at all. Just hang out, put on a podcast or something, and I’ll be there to help before the episode is over.”
Which friend will you ask to come?
Most people would choose the second one.
Because that friend is focused on you. He’s already putting himself in your shoes, realizing that you’re probably bored, maybe stressed, and definitely eager to get out of the situation. His response laid out what this solution is going to look like from your end.
The other guy has made your problem all about him … about how great he is at this thing that a lot of people can do.
This is where a lot of marketing falls short. Business owners make it about themselves. They think they need to list all their best qualities so customers will think of them as “the smart choice.”
The problem is, we make purchasing decisions from our emotions first. We want to feel seen and understood. We want to feel in control and good about ourselves.
We do want to know that we’re in capable hands, but we tend to feel most secure working with businesses who put themselves in our shoes. And that is why compelling marketing takes a “benefits first” approach.
Benefits vs. Features
In marketing, a feature is a quality of your service or product.
24-hour availability, 45-minute response time, IICRC certified technicians … these are all features of my business, 911 Restoration.
A benefit describes how your customer’s life improves when they choose to work with you.
In our marketing copy, this is often something like, “Discover a Fresh Start after a disaster.”
“Find peace of mind … take back control … feel at home in your house again.”
A well-written benefit helps the buyer immediately imagine a better life, an easier path, or a new identity. Benefits position the customer as the hero of the story. They’re protecting their family or simplifying their life or turning heads at the office party.
Now, features are important. You just don’t want to lead with them. If you currently have an ad that reads:
“We have thirty years of experience in the industry, so you can count on us to get the job done right.”
…you might consider reversing the order so it reads:
“Rest assured that your home is in good hands with a team that has thirty years of experience.”
See what a difference it makes? And how easy it is to adjust your messaging to cater to your buyer’s emotions?
Honestly, the hardest part is determining what your benefits are. What is the most compelling case you could make about your ability to meet your client’s emotional goals?
To figure that out, I suggest asking yourself three questions.
1. What Deeper Problem Do You Solve?
Think beyond “We fix broken roofs” or “We make warm sleeping bags that are also super light.”
Think instead about your customer’s emotional state when they’re looking for a product or service like yours. What do they really want? How do they need to feel? How will your product or service help them achieve that feeling?
This is a major consideration for us at 911 Restoration. We know that when people are looking for restoration services, they are overwhelmed, confused, and even afraid. They’re worried about losing business while their commercial property is under repair or they’re concerned that their home—their refuge—will never be the same again.
That’s why we put such a heavy emphasis on our “Fresh Start” promise. We acknowledge the stress they’re under and promise clarity, comprehensive support, and a new beginning.
We also mention our features. But we get to those later.
2. What Will You Help Them Accomplish?
You are not the starring role in your buyer’s life story. They are. This means that all acts of heroism and success belong to them. Your job is to make their heroism possible.
The difference is subtle, but it matters. Compare these statements:
- “Our diamond rings will make her fall in love all over again.”
- “Make her fall in love all over again.”
- “With four-wheel drive and state-of-the-art safety features, we’ll give you the adventure of a lifetime.”
- “Go on the adventure of a lifetime.”
- “We create an experience your kids will remember forever.”
- “Give your kids a memory that will last forever.”
You see the difference? You see how one statement is empowering and inspiring while the other suggests your buyer needs you to swoop in and accomplish things for them?
If you thought of your business not as the hero but as a tool in the hero’s mission, what would your services be used to accomplish?
3. Who Will You Help Them Become?
This is the question at the heart of many of the most successful marketing campaigns.
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we see our purchasing decisions as a reflection of who we are.
Are we fun? Successful? Discerning? Progressive? Traditional? Kind?
Apple’s old “I’m a Mac” campaign is possibly the most direct example of creating a connection between the identities and purchasing decisions of consumers. But we see this approach to branding in countless, more subtle ways every day.
Think about these slogans and what they suggest about the type of person who embraces their brand:
- “Just Do It.”
- “Think Different.”
- “Breakfast of Champions”
- “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful”
- “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”
If your business is a reflection of your customer’s character and values, what exactly are you reflecting?
If you can name it, you can connect with buyers on a whole new level.
It’s the Easiest Change You Can Make
Look at your current marketing campaigns. Do you see any instances where you brag on yourself instead of centering the buyer as the hero?
Try putting the benefits-first approach into action. Test it for a few weeks and see if you get better results.
And be sure to communicate with your team about any changes in messaging. Not only does this help you establish consistent messaging in client interactions, but when you know your greatest benefits to the consumer, you also know who you are as a company.
And knowing who you are and what you stand for is key for building a powerful business, inside and out.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Creating a Business that Makes an Impact
*Thinking of starting your own business but worried your marketing skills aren’t where they need to be? Consider joining the Fresh Start Family. 911 Restoration franchise owners get full marketing support from HQ in addition to ongoing training, mentorship, and everything else they need to succeed on their journey of entrepreneurship. Visit our website for more information.