For career practitioners working in private practice or non-profits, it can be very challenging to consolidate your knowledge into a marketing message that resonates with potential customers.
Your message is important for attracting new leads and gaining new clients. Because of this, I know many career practitioners who’ve spent hours trying to put together the right words to describe their products or services, only to change them a week or a month later.
Fortunately, there is a story-based formula you can use to develop a marketing message that resonates. The process is easy and – dare I say – fun. This article, part one in a series of four that will be published over the coming months, will explore the first step in this formula: understanding what your customer wants.
The connection between brain science and marketing
Before we get into the details for the first part of story-based formula, it’s important to know how our brains work at a high level.
Our brains are continually scanning our environment to understand if what we are seeing, hearing or reading will help us survive and thrive. Being able to make assessments quickly is an essential part of this.
Imagine for a minute you’re in a forest, and in the distance, you see something move. Your mind instantly becomes alert and starts assessing the situation, trying to determine what the movement was. Why is this? Because we need to know very quickly whether to run away or if everything is OK.
Believe it or not, our brains do the same thing as we read or listen to messaging, albeit at a much lower level of urgency. Whether we are scanning websites, reviewing marketing collateral or reading product descriptions, our brain is assessing if the information can help us survive and thrive.
Consider a time when you were having a conversation with someone about their business, product or service. Did what they say interest you? During that conversation, your brain was determining if what it was hearing was valuable to you. It was doing this quickly because if the answer was no, you’d be looking for the exit.
The same process applies when a potential customer is reading the messaging on your website or marketing collateral. Customers want to know if what you are saying is beneficial to them. If they determine it doesn’t, they will look for an exit.
Understanding how our brains work will help us keep customers engaged in our conversations in person or online.
What jobseekers want
Unfortunately, the more time you spend in your business, the more you can struggle to see your message from your customers’ perspective. As a result, you end up with messaging that makes perfect sense to you but does nothing to help your customers understand the value of your services to them.
Today’s customers are very savvy, and they have one thing in mind when they visit your website or read your marketing materials: themselves. They are trying to see themselves in your solution. In other words, can you help them survive and thrive?
To help them answer this question and capture their attention, you need to make your message about your potential customers, not you. Clients may come to you to update their resume or LinkedIn profile, but what they really want is a promotion, to move to a new company or maybe to get away from a bad boss. You may know this already, but does your messaging reflect it?
“Making your customer the protagonist positions your brand as a mentor who can guide your customer on their journey.”
You can start to shape your message around client-centred language by:
- Reading customer testimonials
- Reading customer comments
- Listening specifically for customer wants during phone calls
- Asking why they want your service – what are they trying to achieve?
Using your customer's words when discussing what they want will make it easier for them to see themselves in your solution.
Highlighting your clients is the beginning of a story-based message.
A story-based marketing message
To shift your message to a story-based one, it helps to think about potential customers as the protagonist (the main character) in the story your brand is telling.
Making your customer the protagonist positions your brand as a mentor who can guide your customer on their journey. Positioning your messaging in this manner will help customers see themselves in your solution. Ideally, you need to express this using their words, not yours.
Take some time to read through your messaging and ask yourself, have you positioned your customer as the protagonist in your brand’s story or have you positioned yourself or your products and services as the main character?
When you make your customer the protagonist in your message, they will notice the difference. You’ll notice it as well in the form of increased engagement.
So, do you know what your customer wants?