Don’t create a disconnect for your customers

October 16, 2013

Don't create a disconnect for your customersI live in Des Moines, Iowa and fly in and out of the Des Moines International Airport (I’m pretty sure we got the International because of air cargo, not because I can hop on a flight to Madrid from here) a couple weeks every month.

Recently the airport went through a major renovation that added some incredible gate seating, more plugs/outlets than you could imagine, some nice restaurants and all kinds of technology.  All in all — they made a good airport great.

But.

All of a sudden, all of the airport announcements (the “don’t leave your baggage unattended.  If you notice an unattended bag, please alert the authorities immediately” sorts of things) are being done in a British accent.  I’m not sure how good you are at geography, but Iowa sits in the heart of the US.  I don’t think I’ve ever met an Iowan with a British accent (although I know there are a few who have migrated here, I just haven’t bumped into them) and we actually don’t have an accent at all.  We sound like the national TV newscasters try to sound.

So here’s the problem with the new announcer.  Her accent is so out of character and so out of place that it not only gets noticed but it overshadows the actual message.  The disconnect becomes the focus.

The takeaway from this story — don’t create a disconnect for your customers.

We’ve talked a lot of on this blog about the importance of consistency in your marketing.  Normally, people immediately assume that I’m talking about visual consistency — using the same logo, the same font and color palette etc.  But that’s only part of it.

A question you should always be asking is — does this sound like the brand? Now, in my example — I mean it literally.  The airport announcements do not sound like Des Moines, Iowa.  But it can also be about tone, word choices and attitude.  Is the writing conversational?  Does it use humor? Jargon? Slang?

Remember — whether it is your Facebook presence, your website, your radio spots or how your phone is answered — every one of those choices either connects me closer to your brand or makes me notice the disconnect.

Why does that matter?  Remember the know • like • trust model.  No one will buy from you until they trust you.  Every disconnect feels odd.  Every disconnect makes me wonder. Every disconnect makes trust more difficult.

You might want to review your own marketing materials.  Are you creating a disconnect that needs to be re-aligned?

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
More

Write so they will hear you

October 30, 2012

Tin can communication deviceMost people, when faced with the blank screen on their computer and a deadline for a new marketing piece looming, get a little uptight.

It’s intimidating to capture everything you want a prospect to know and share it in a compelling way. Your product or service is superb and you have so much to say — how will you do it justice?

Which is why most marketing copy is dreadful. Here are the most common mistakes:

  • We do a brain dump, sharing everything we know.
  • We want to demonstrate that we’re experts so we use impressive words and jargon that shows that we’re in the know.
  • We cram way too many words into the piece because it’s all important.
  • We talk about our company, our product, and our people…but not about the customer.

If you make even one of those mistakes, odds are your prospect is taking a glance at your first two or three sentences and then moving on. You haven’t invited them into the conversation – you’re just talking about you.

Remember, you are trying to start a conversation. Who would you rather talk to – someone who walks up to you and asks a question about you or a person who walks up and starts telling you all about them?

So how do we avoid those mistakes?  We can ask ourselves these questions.

How do they talk?
I can have the best deal in the world, but if I tell you about it in Japanese and you don’t speak Japanese – you can’t possibly want what I am selling.

You need to know your prospect well enough that you know how they talk.

  • Are they engineers who use very precise, detailed language and acronyms?
  • Are they teachers who speak about their students with affection and pride?
  • Are they purchasing agents who need to squeeze every penny from the deal and deliver the highest ROI possible?

Understanding the language they use and how they’re going to have to sell your offering up/down the food chain, will allow you to craft your message in their native tongue.

Your prospects are busy and won’t take the time to translate your marketing messages. If they don’t instantly understand it and see that you’re talking to them, they’ll pass it by every time.

Do they know they need you?
No one wants to buy something they don’t need or want. That sounds like a duh, but many times businesses try to sell solutions to a client who doesn’t realize they have a problem.

Often, we just go right to the solution without even mentioning the problem. Let’s say that I want to sell my home in the next 12 months. You own a landscape business and send me information about how good your work is, showing me pictures of gorgeous yards, etc.

But I dismiss it, because I’m not going to live in my house much longer so why spend money on something I won’t get to enjoy?

You’ve lost the sale, because I don’t know I need you. But if one of your marketing pieces was titled “5 landscaping tricks to sell your house faster” now you have my attention.

If the first line of body copy told me that 34% of buyers passed on at least one home because the landscaping was disappointing – you have just converted a “no” into an interested prospect.
Now you have my attention.

By paying attention to these two elements – you can effectively avoid all four of the mistakes I mentioned.

You’ll speak in their language and only talk about what matters to them – their problems and how you can solve them.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
More

Hello? Is there a human inside?

July 11, 2012

Honestly — haven’t you felt that way more than once when you’ve dealt with a business?

Either their marketing materials are so full of corporate speak that you can’t figure out what the heck they’re talking about or the service you get is lackluster at best and that’s being kind.

As consumers continue to get more jaded coupled with the fact that every business has plenty of competition out there — what consumers want and need from us is to know that we’re human.  They don’t expect perfection.  They just want to know that you’re real, that you care and that you’re not blowing smoke up their skirt.  That’s how they are going to choose.  They’re going to pick the company they like the best and they can’t like you if you are invisible to them.

So the question becomes — how do you show your human side?  How do you give your customers and prospects a sense of who you are and what matters to you?  If you and your brand are playful — how do you reveal that?  If you have a deep passion for what you do, where does that show up?

I don’t think too many businesses ask themselves those kinds of questions.  But we need to.  We need to actually make a connection long before the cash register rings.  Depending on your business — you might be able to do that in a one-to-one way.  But for most organizations, that won’t cover it.  They need to find a mass produced way of being real.

Yup — a mass produced way of being real.  How?

Here are two great examples.  One is the note from the company CEO that comes inside every package of Cold-EEZE.  The second is a grocery bag from Capital Market. (Hat tip to Tom Narak for sharing the grocery bag photo with me)

 

Can’t you just hear their voices?  Can’t you feel their spirit and don’t you have a sense of what it would be like to interact with them?  I don’t know about you, but I want go to that grocery store.  I’d expect to be completely delighted by the experience.

I can hear you now.  “But Drew, those are consumer products.  In the B-to-B world, we can’t do things like that.”  I call bull on that.  Yes, you can.  Every company has a spirit.  We can call it your brand or your true north or your core reason for being.  But it’s there.  And it’s your job, no… your responsibility to show it to us.

All of us, every consumer on the planet, desperately wants to know if there’s a human inside.

Show us.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
More