Knowing what your customers want means that you won’t irritate them with irrelevant content, and inbound marketing means that you can tailor your content to your customers, and their pain points.
Knowing what your customers want means you can magnetically draw them in to both you and your products. Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, makes the important point that now more than ever consumers have so much choice: we don’t need to watch your advert on TV, there’s DVR for that. We don’t need to see your ad on a webpage, there are ad blockers for that. As marketers, and more specifically inbound marketers, our focus needs to be on earning attention, not forcing it.
So, how do we find out what our customers want? When dealing with customers, you need to know their purpose, their intentions and their goals in order to successfully define how to solve their problems.
Without blowing our own horn (too much), Inbound Marketing, and the practice of creating semi-fictional buyer personas, is the answer. If you know what your customers want and what their pain points are, you won’t irritate them with unnecessary content (otherwise known as ‘spam’). You’ll be answering their questions and giving them what they need, when they need it.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing organisations should provide an all-encompassing experience for potential and current customers. It’s not just about attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers - it’s about the experience in its entirety.
Simon Sinek, a renowned consultant who writes on leadership and management, the author of “Start with Why”, and a regular TED speaker, developed a concept called the Golden Circle. This looks at how a business differentiates itself in its industry and against its competitors. Traditionally, a business would start with the “what”. But, as hugely successful companies like Apple showed us, starting with the “why” can make you a huge success too. Focus on the customer and ask yourself - why is this business in business, why do we provide what we do? Communicate this to your customers and get them talking about it. This will give you a sharper idea of what they want to get out of your marketing efforts and business. By starting with the why, you’re able to attract the customers who share in your beliefs and need for your product.
So, how do you create this experience for customers from the outset (and, in turn, find out what they want)?
- Solve problems. Let’s face it: the reason customers come to us is because they have a problem, see an opportunity, or have a goal to reach. It’s your responsibility to offer solutions to your customers that align with their needs - even if they aren’t customers yet. They’ll appreciate the value-add and will trust you when it comes time to put money on the table. Take the time needed to help them identify what the problems are - time is money and in this case, money well spent.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the initial phases of client meetings. If you don’t understand a concept or term, ask for clarity. This will prevent problems in the future and shows the client you’re interested in their products and business.
- Provide recommendations, but not before you fully understand the problem. To understand the problem, you need to gather and interpret the available data. Data helps to define the problem. Offer your clients, and even prospects, recommendations on the situation they find themselves in. It’s important to be proactive and to anticipate hurdles and to address them beforehand. That way you won’t be caught in the dark. Your customers will be thankful, we promise.
It all ties back to what the customer wants - it’s about solving their problems and identifying what opportunities are out there for them. Know what they want, and giving it to them. Before you know it, your customers will be calling on you to help them.