In today’s business environment, everything needs to be customer-focused. If you have gaps in your customer details, it holds back your success. It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with B2B or B2C, you are dealing with a human who is making the buying decision.
You need to have a clear picture of who that human is regardless of whether you’re selling a supplement, coaching services, or writing a book.
Do missing customer details hide your target behind a mask?
Ever seen one of those superhero shows like the Arrow? (Courtesy of DC Comics.) It’s their answer to the Marvel superheroes with all the different characters slipping in and out of the series instead of in separate shows.
The challenge is when someone new shows up, you really don’t know who they are. It’s very similar to having an incomplete avatar. You can say, “I deal with upscale clients who charge premium fees to coach people.”
Okay, that’s valuable but there is still a lot we don’t know. It’s like people with LinkedIn profiles with just the avatar silhouette instead of a picture and nothing filled out in their profile section.
We can’t tell if they might be a match for us to network with because we don’t know or can’t find out much about them.
What I learned when I mentored students
I’ve seen this situation over and over with career students and professionals. It’s really prevalent in the beauty and spa industry. The thought is “My client is everyone.”
Well, probably not.
While they may deal with people from 18 to 80, there is a sweet spot in there they haven’t identified. It’s based on their personal strengths and interests. If they want to be a waxing diva, they should be narrowing the age group to those 18-38. Acne specialists, probably the same. Anti-aging specialists focus on slightly different demographics.
And there are a lot more demographics, professional and personal traits as well as goals and challenges that could enhance their marketing efforts.
What many people miss about customer details
Having an incomplete avatar or customer persona can cost businesses money. It’s like trying to throw darts blindfolded or typing with a pair of welder’s gloves on. The results are more hit or miss and the rate of reader engagement drops significantly.
A detailed persona allows you to segment marketing and to speak one-to-one with the reader. It allows you to build a bond of know, like, and trust with them. This keeps them coming back and increases your lifetime customer value.
Here are three tips to completing your customer details
It takes a little digging but completing your client persona is well worth the effort. Think about the difference in a conversation between someone you don’t know with a friend. The goal is to make your target audience feel like you are a friend. To do that we need to know everything about them we can.
These are the numbers and statistics that can help us market to the person. Age, gender, location, income, and education are all components. Political alignment, military service, I find that it really helps my clients when I use the persona techniques to create an avatar. It becomes someone they can picture in their head.
In some cases, the business owner had a challenge and created a solution that they want to share with others. In that scenario, they may be their own ideal customer.
Unlike demographics which deal with statistical data, psychographics deal with mindset.
Attitudes, values, beliefs, challenges, and aspirations are all important components. They guide us to where and how the person gathers information and makes decisions.
Psychographics will determine what types of groups the person may affiliate with or events they may attend. They also indicate favored information sources.
Using psychographics can allow you to have content that really meshes with your prospect’s mindset and engage them.
In essence, both demographics and psychographic allow your marketing efforts to have significantly higher ROI analytics and sales.
In marketing your product or service, the shopper’s intent is everything. We need to know where the viewer is in their decision-making journey. For each phase of intent in the buying journey, you need individually crafted content. The higher the item’s price, the longer the searcher will spend in each stage.
In this phase, the person is learning about the product or service. They are gathering information. They are looking for informational sites, but they also check out reviews.
When you start typing something you want to search for information about, Google Suggest will activate and try to anticipate your need or goal. Based on how previous searchers had responded, Google will present answers it best aligns with the words you used in your search.
The best way to create research content is to plug in words you suspect the searcher may use. The higher the number of responses equates to how popular a search term these words were.
Whenever possible, tap into your prospect in the research stage. It becomes the opportunity to start building trust with them. You want to give them everything they need to make an informed decision. That’s quality content.
It’s great to link to additional resources on your website that may deal with information or friction solving. You can also add a link to a compare page, the next phase of intent.
Comparing can have some overlap with research. Reading reviews may give them research answers but it can also allow them to compare brands and see why yours is the best choice.
Creating pages that compare your brand to other well-known brands right on your website can be great. They help the searcher and build more trust.
With most prospects, there are issues that frustrate them. It can be as simple as being an established customer but being treated as a prospect by customer service. It is important to address friction points if you want to maximize content usefulness.
As with research, providing additional information links is a good idea. It might be content on how to use the item. Then make it easy for them to make a purchase.
Keep it simple for the shopper to make their purchase. Share testimonials and reviews to make them feel positive about their buying decision.
Share links that may address FAQs in case there is residual resistance. Also, share tips for having maximum success with the product once purchased.
Many companies miss the value of offering content that enhances successful ownership. This can lead to frustration or even returns.
How-to guides of all sorts make ideal success content. A link to a Facebook user’s group is another option.
This segment is an ideal place to include content that deals with the concerns or issues the customer service department hear from buyers.
Use it as a stage that lets the buyer know you are there for them now and in the future. Bond them into loyal repeat customers with high lifetime value.
When I work with clients
We start with evaluating their customer persona. If there are customer details missing addressing them first will allow the marketing to be more targeted, engaging, and have a higher return on investment. Need help with your avatar? Message me.
Life’s challenges are one of the biggest distractors we face as writers. It is so easy to get sidetracked. Sometimes it’s shiny objects that lure us to take on something new and we get derailed from our focus.
Other times life gets more dramatic to get our attention.
I’ve found this is often tied to prolonged stress. It might be coping with a bout of shingles because we’ve pushed too hard, too long, and depleted our reserves. Career changes, getting married or divorced, an injury or accident are full of stress.
But, I think the most challenging I’ve encountered is family issues.
Aging parent issues feel like Life up and slaps us across the face. In the past few months, the years of dealing with an aging mother have taken on new meaning.
Fiercely independent, she never conceived of leaving her home. She figured my sister and she would always look out for themselves. They would always overcome medical and care needs.
If you’ve had to go through this with a parent, you understand. If you have a living parent, hang in there, you’ll likely face it someday.
Here’s a tip—It won’t be convenient.
Life’s challenges are messy
Two months ago, I relocated my reluctant mom to an assisted living facility near me. Twenty minutes is much better than two hours.
Then I got a call, “Your mom is on the way to the ER with chest pains and issues breathing.”
She didn’t want to go. “I’ll only go if I can be back home tonight,” she’d told her nurse. She was tired of being poked, prodded, and not having a say.
In reality, there is no way to fix aging organs. (Dr. McCoy from Star Trek isn’t here with his magic tool that repairs all.)
That said, nothing can prepare you for tough conversations.
“Is hospice something you think she’d want to do? There is no medical fix for her, her organs are wearing out.” My defenses buckled. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I knew the answer.
Per the doctor’s request, I went to the hospital to have a hospice conversation with my Mom. It was a discussion that had never even crossed my mind.
In the Progressive Care Unit, Mom looked small, frail, and scared amidst the tower of equipment. Screens blinked multi-colored statistics amidst persistent beeps.
I’d never talked with anyone about hospice before, let alone dying. Mom was frightened about the reality of what lay ahead. We cried together, I held her hand and kept telling her, “we’re here for you. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to take you home. Would you like that?… I love you.”
It’s amazing when you need the right words, they find you. I don’t know what angels sat on my shoulder, but I know I had help finding words that calmed Mom’s fears…and my own.
It’s been a long few days. My planned first blog article topic sits in my file with only a fraction of an outline completed. My work-focused brain had hit a brick wall. Mom needed me and it had to be now. No delaying. No avoiding.
I only had a tiny inkling of what I might learn about humanity and this phase of life. I would not try to escape it, I would face it and help my Mom do the same.
Step into the ring embrace life’s challenges
When you have to face one of Life’s challenges, do it!. Step into the ring and embrace the experience.
I had to find the time slots with the fewest work interruptions. It may not be my preferred writing time, but it’s better than messages or texts, coming in. I block notifications, but always half-expecting a call.
I’ve found writing is cathartic. It can release anger, frustration, and pain. It can also be a great way to save the moments, memories, and lessons learned.
Think about all the times we’re told to learn all you can about your audience. “Get to know them.” Life may be giving you a rare close-up of a future audience. You may be in your audience’s shoes. Or you may take a walk alongside them.
It’s a glimpse of life A-listers would relish. We may not love it at the time, but we can save the moments, the insights gained. Look for times to focus. Seek small time slots to move ahead with your work, your business, your career, and your own dreams. In my scrambled schedule, I’m finding time slots to study, write, and do marketing.
Take care of yourself— body, mind, and spirit. Go for a walk, enjoy the clouds, the birds, and life around you. Stretch, move, breathe. Let it refresh you and help you find focus.
Plan and fix something healthy and yummy to eat. Choose foods to keep up your strength and combat stress. If you don’t you’ll pull yourself down.
So when life demands your participation, step into the arena, pretend to be strong—and do what you have to do. You’ll find more about life than you ever knew.
Email marketing can be one of the best or worst techniques. Properly done, it engages, informs, entertains, and helps prospects move forward in their buying journey.
However, when it’s poorly done, you get deleted, unsubscribed, or worse—reported as spam.
The key is to get the right message to the right person in the proper framework.
As a marketer, I frequently sign up to learn more about a company. It’s a great way to build a swipe file and tells you a lot about the business.
I did this recently to help my disabled sister find a phone that would be easy to use. She needed a large screen, bigger buttons than a clamshell, and simple smartphone functions.
The emails descended like an avalanche.
“Sale! We’re having a sale!”
“Sale! We’re having a sale now through Friday!”
I wanted to know she’d have good support.
“Sale, sale…only 18 hours left!”
This was followed 15 minutes later by…
“Check our great sale and save a bonus of 25% off today only, plus up to $800 trade-in on your current phone.”
Her existing phone was seven years old. It’s an inexpensive clamshell with no camera, just the basics. She’d probably have to pay them to take it.
“Call our easy support number and schedule to pick up your phone before it’s too late!”
Okay, I succumbed. Maybe I’d be able to get answers if I called.
“Hello, welcome to XXXX! We’re experiencing higher than normal call volume. Please hold. Our next customer support person will be right with you.” Click, pause—the voice comes back on the line; “Your support specialist will be with you in 48 minutes.”
I hung up. It was the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time.
Mixed business messages undermine your credibility
When your business messages tell customers conflicting things, it has a substantial negative impact on your credibility. As a business person, consumer and marketer, I’ve seen this regularly.
In the scenario above, I wasn’t looking for a sale. I was still in the first buying stage – information gathering. That meant they sent the wrong message at the wrong time. When this happens, the shopper gets confused, frustrated, and disconnects.
There is art and science behind quality emails that get results. The art is creating a great message. The science is selecting the proper recipients, testing headline responses, and using google analytics or the like to monitor your outcomes. It’s also about employing the best SEO practices to maximize effectiveness.
Don’t overlook this email marketing secret.
Emails aren’t that different from some other aspects of a business. For example, if you have a meeting planned, its success is its purpose. If there isn’t a reason, then there shouldn’t be a meeting.
The same is true for emails. What is its purpose? Why is it being sent? Answer those, and you know who should and shouldn’t receive it.
Three considerations to maximize email marketing
There are three core considerations to maximizing your email marketing.
Identifying intent and segmenting your audience, This gets the right message to the right person.
Have enough email content diversity available so you can cover all possible scenarios.
Incorporate SEO concepts to make sure both your recipient humans and search engine bots are happy with what they get.
Message Intent and recipient
Segment both message content and recipients according to buying stages. Segmentation is the way to get the right messages to the correct recipient.
The messages I received were sent to an entire list so I didn’t get the information that I was looking for. Your email software and tech team should handle list segmentation for you.
The buying process starts by providing information. When the shopper changes search questions to using the word compare, they have moved to the next level. Comparisons help you you share why your brand choice is absolutely the best one. Only then are they ready to move into the buying phase.
There is one additional phase that many businesses miss—but where successful ones focus. It’s called success.Tips or information to maximize their success with your product.
The more successful you can help them be, the more bonded they become with your business. Buyers in the success stage are more open to upsells and cross-sells that enhance the user experience.
The success step is your opportunity to turn a one-time buyer into a repeat buyer. Someone who is a fan that shares and recommends you to others.
Emails should cover all potential scenarios.
The most successful businesses have templates or drafts of emails that cover a wide range of scenarios. Then the sales team can quickly tweak them for the specific situation.
The messages need to be intent specific and cover the topic being searched.
The results are dramatically higher using sales-enabled emails over individually created ones. More uniformity of message and written by a specialist.
Marketing departments focus on brand awareness and generating leads, especially in B2B. It’s the sales department that handles sending prospect emails.
Emails need to cover topics from initial responses to providing more information. They need to be segmented by each step of the buying journey. Then tailored to the individual sales funnel.
With an arsenal of the right quality and topic emails, sales staff can achieve higher sales success more quickly and efficiently.
The biggest secret to SEO success is quality content that answers the question the visitor is seeking. The content must stay focused on the topic, i.e. the answer matches the reason the reader reached out.
The intent or question answered is generally the keyword.
Including appropriate links supports the viewer’s experience. Internal links to other articles/blogs provide additional information relating to the question asked, or the next question that may be raised.
Internal links guide the viewer toward the logical next step. Information, compare, buy, and success.
Judith Culp Pearson is an experienced SEO Content writer and marketer helping businesses improve their ROI and Customer Lifetime Value. If you’re looking to grow, engage more and build sales, you can message her via: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.
Visitors use Google to find solutions many times a day. Search engines seek the answers. When a person enters a question, the search bot responds with answers they located. Search engines seek content that provides relevant, helpful answers to online questions. Quality SEO content is what Google wants.
When you can’t find answers
I recently had to take on the challenges of helping an aging parent relocate. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t something she wanted. But the family, her doctors, and her rehabilitation facility all agreed that at 97, Assisted Living was essential for quality of life.
After some serious research, I found a place about 20 minutes from my home that I felt suited her. She’s not the resort crowd. Instead, family is her core trigger. Getting her relocated, I learned, was only step one. Now I had to reconnect her with an entire team of doctors.
Most medical offices focus on existing patients. As a result, their websites don’t have much online information about what new patients they may accept.
Google became my search buddy. “Doctors accepting new patients in city/state.”
I quickly learned I had to look for entry dates. But, unfortunately, they were not something easily accessible. And if you did find information, there was no way to tell how old it was.
The details of the information I needed were just NOT available online. So that left the old-fashioned method, phone calls.
After several, “Yes, we are accepting patients. But no, we aren’t accepting medicare patients,” I realized the problem was more complex.
The pandemic has left many doctors burned out. Many who had considered retirement did just that. If they weren’t happy with their location, they decided now was the time to take a break and look elsewhere.
That left an elderly senior with significant health conditions 80 miles from her existing doctor. I needed to find someone—soon.
I tried one clinic, but she had two messed-up appointments. Both visits sent her home without being seen. That made it hard to trust them to provide quality care.
So, she is on a waiting list and dependent on a “walk-in” medical center for now. If there is something better out there, Google doesn’t know about it—maybe the answers aren’t online.
Missing information is common
In my experience as both a consumer and a content consultant, I frequently see where information is missing. Have you ever noticed how many businesses don’t have their location above the fold? Ever had to hunt for a way to ask questions?
Maybe you wanted to do something, but Google only found limited options. For example, I needed to find a Citi bank branch so I could deposit a check. Unfortunately, there were lots of ATMs but no branches in my area. In addition, most ATMs did not clearly describe transactions handled.
We need to make sure websites can answer all the questions prospective visitors may ask Google. If we don’t, marketing efforts work under a handicap.
We need to ensure our content is current, helpful, and answers all the potential Google questions to be effective and search engine optimized.
Don’t miss this tip
An adage says, “the winner is the company who can pay the most to reach their prospects.” However, that only works if the content provides what the searcher is after. And if the search engine can’t identify the answer, it doesn’t share it.
It’s essential to use SEO techniques in all content, whether you want to draw traffic organically or boost it with paid ads, including positioning.
3 techniques to enhance content with SEO
It’s paramount that we recognize the optimizing for SEO has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. In the past, techniques were more manipulative, smoke and mirrors. Those techniques won’t work anymore.
Google and other search engines have evolved, and AI has become more sophisticated. So instead, focus on your goals, what your visitors are searching for, and is mobile-friendly. In today’s world, users want their search to work equally well on all devices.
Identify your goals
It’s essential to know what your objectives are. For example, some businesses focus on Google rankings. Others prioritize increasing web traffic. A third group is looking for more leads and sales.
If you don’t have clear objectives, it’s much harder to achieve them. So take time to clarify and prioritize what you want to accomplish with your marketing.
Identify searchers intent
It’s important to know what the person you’re trying to reach is thinking.
Who or what are they looking for?
What are their goals?
Where do they want to go or what do they want to do?
We know they are searching. The answer to discover is the intent behind the search. Then we can make sure to include those answers in our content in a manner that will make the search engine act on it.
Smartphones have changed the way we get information. Now we want answers no matter where we are or what type of device we happen to be using. That makes it essential for every business to make sure their website is easily accessible.
Good web hosts can make sure your pages load quickly and are friendly to phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Blending these techniques with top-quality content that is fresh, relevant, and SEO optimized can maximize long-term organic growth and enhance paid advertising.
When I work with clients
We first identify their marketing goals. Then we evaluate their site for accomplishing them with SEO techniques. Finally, we look for issues with the technical and creative aspects of content that may impact SEO results.
We get all caught up in categories. We get hung up on names like B2B and B2C. Instead, we need to focus on how to humanize marketing messages by speaking directly to our prospects. We need to write H2H.
Humanizing marketing is making it personal so readers connect with us more easily. When our prospects connect with our message, they identify with our brand and what we stand for. That leads to increased sales and higher Customer Lifetime Value.
“I need help!”
I see posts in chat groups and get emails like this regularly. Usually, the comment goes something like the one my friend Teri sent me.
“I’ve got a new prospect in my niche, but they are B2B. I’ve looked in all the training I’ve taken, but nothing really focuses on B2B.”
“So what can you tell me about the prospect? How big is the company?”
“He’s a very committed eager business owner. So I want to be sure an offer him the best B2B approach.”
Ah-ha! This scenario is a common issue where I see many people get confused.
B2B defines as businesses that sell to other companies. Her prospect matches that.
However, most B2B courses are focused on manufacturing. They are often larger companies where a whole buying process exists, more like dealing with a committee than a person. Each stakeholder comes with different needs and views.
This buying process isn’t the scenario Teri is facing. She’s not dealing with a committee. Teri’s dealing with a single person. It’s much easier to deal with one decision-maker. She needs to focus on her prospect’s target market and help him craft messages to reach them effectively. The tone of the message content will be the only shift from standard B2C writing.
In my writing and coaching, I’ve seen this a lot.
For over twenty years, I’ve dealt with a branch of my business that sells B2B. But like Teri’s prospect, we aren’t classical B2B manufacturers. Instead, we deal with licensed professionals who buy our products to use in offering services to consumers. So technically, it’s B2B, but it is closer to B2C in the decision-making process, just like my friend’s situation.
The writing tone to small business owners is less formal than classic B2B. Our audience mindset is a combination. They think both like a consumer and a business owner. It’s essential to their success as they have so much on the line. Instead, they want H2H communications.
What I shared with Teri is to quit worrying about the labels. Instead, focus on humanizing—writing human to human.
Business success is dependent on engagement. Without engagement, we can’t connect with another human being—our message gets lost. Companies don’t sell to companies. It’s the humans inside those companies connecting with other humans. Marketers and writers need to focus on those humans.
Keep this secret in mind.
In the fast-paced world of marketing, there are lots of parameters to consider. First, it’s critical to get the right offer and message. Then you need to deliver it to the right person. We become obsessed with subject lines, graphics, and coming up with the latest and greatest.
I’d like to suggest hitting pause. Think about the individual you are trying to engage. What are their goals, needs and how can you help them. Then talk to them—one human to another. Humanize it.
An honest, person-to-person approach is the best marketing.
3 techniques to humanize
Humanizing your marketing is all about having a conversation with another person. There is NO generic feeling. There should be NO sense the same message is going to a group or list.
Instead, the focus is more like sharing information with a friend over coffee or a glass of wine. The tone reflects your audience, ranging from more casual to professional. I liken it to attending a conference and visiting with a colleague at the end of the day. You are engaging one professional to another but in a very conversational way.
Humanize—Speak specifically to a person
Segment your audience, dividing groups to speak to them in a more specific way. Grouping allows you to hone into their interests, concerns, and needs. Segmenting makes your message more targeted, engaging and improves ROI.
Sometimes segmenting may seem a little elusive. That’s because most B2B businesses attract diversity in prospects, even if they employ targeted marketing. Segment them based on the company’s size, differences in what they offer/need, or the different pathways they found you. These pathways may impact their level of awareness about your business.
Segmenting by the level of awareness is a primary technique to share the message in the proper order and intensity. First, categorize your segments for your particular audience. Then, use the targeted approach to enhance message engagement and ROI.
Post your photo. When readers see a person’s picture, it’s easier for them to connect. You want your business to be the people that make up the business. If you have a team, you can showcase your team, their goals, successes, and even outside activities.
You want communications that come across as authentic, honest, and genuine. Share your story, how and why you built this business. Maybe you were your ideal client. Now you’ve overcome a health, weight, or fitness challenge. Those stories let your prospects see hope and a chance for themselves.
In today’s world, prospective clients also want to know what a business stands for. So share your values and opinions. For example, let them know how you give back, support the community, and help protect the planet.
Be a giver
I learned this from one of the most engaging marketers I’ve ever listened to, Brian Kurtz. Author of “Overdeliver” and founder of Titans Marketing, he excels at giving prospects and clients more than they expect.
Like all the presenters at this conference, he finished with an offer. Buy the “offer,” and he included a collection of “extra bonuses” that were mind-boggling. His sales rate was astronomical. Why? It was too good a deal to pass up.
Have I gone through all of the bonus segments? No, but I got great value from an excellent investment. (You want your prospect to respond the same way.)
If you want to connect with your target audience, be like Brian. Be a giver. Give them so much extra value that any other choice looks crazy. You may not be the cheapest out there, but if what you offer is five-ten times the price in value, you will get their attention. You have become a unique and no-brainer decision.
The bonus value doesn’t mean the offer requires a slashed sale price.
There are many ways to offer a bonus or extra value. For example, consider a free report, checklists, guides, infographics, podcasts, or a recording from a live event. Amaze them with the extra value you include and a moderate-priced offer. In addition to a sale, you get their contact information. This pure gold allows you to add them to your list/funnels.
Focus on what will appeal to your prospective client. Then when you write for those clients, do the same thing for their target audience. Help them be a giver so they can reap the rewards that extend far beyond an initial sale.
Judith Culp Pearson is a freelance copywriter marketer. She specializes in helping businesses build relationships that result in loyal customers with high customer lifetime value. Contact: email@example.com or schedule a call here:
The face of marketing to B2B buyers is rapidly changing, and there is a lot of somewhat confusing information out there. After sifting through mountains of information, I found three keys B2B buyers desire when looking for a solution.
In one sentence—B2B buyers want their experience to mirror their B2C personal shopping experiences.
My own experience as a B2B buyer
One of the hats I’ve worn was as the buyer for the B2B division of my company. As a distributor, we purchased from the manufacturer and sold to professionals who used the product in their retail businesses.
The twist is that I also handled customer service. So I felt keenly aware of our customer’s pain points and needs. I wasn’t randomly shopping for new items to add to our professional collection. I was only open to things that could seamlessly integrate into our B2B buyer’s needs.
Regularly, I got pitches from all sorts of companies who thought they had the hottest item on the market. Many were duplicates of what we already carried. Others were selling items unrelated to our niche. A third group sold devices only legal for medical professionals to purchase—less than 5% of our buyers.
Many were non-US-based firms wanting us to import their items. They’d gotten our contact information from who knew where and were mass marketing. It was immediately clear from the pitch email the sender knew nothing about our business.
I didn’t know the email sender.
Their spam approach screamed at me.
There had been no attempts to build trust.
It felt like a guy trying to get you to jump into bed at the first meeting. Ick. Turn and sprint away.
The companies I built relationships with were for the long term. We wanted products that our buyers could trust would be there and always meet specific performance standards. They were companies we learned we could depend on.
Trust was a huge factor. Support and accessibility to information, quick customer support, and a willingness to work with us to resolve any challenges.
We’ve done business with one of these firms for well over 20 years. It’s not something the buyer thinks of, but I can’t even guesstimate the CLV of our monthly purchases over that time frame.
B2B Buyers and Marketers have a lot in common.
With years as both a marketer and a B2B buyer, I’ve noticed the two have a lot in common. Both are putting their business, reputations, and jobs on the line with every purchase they make.
Both buyers and marketers are deluged with proposals and pitches. They both have to sort through masses of emails to identify any nugget that might be of real benefit to their business situation.
Recognizing those experiences and the similarities have helped me help my marketing clients. We build the relationship as team partners to discover solutions and create a strong ROI. Perfectly done with a successful marketing campaign or project, it’s a win-win for both.
Here’s a secret to keep in mind…
Stakeholders view things differently—it’s vital to recognize that each person with a stake in the decision views the process a little differently. They come at it from different departments, different needs, and even different goals. As a result, their risk factors may be higher, and decisions more complex.
They may need different types of answers. Communications need to help each person feel comfortable with the decision.
We need to keep in mind, each stakeholder probably feels their reputation and job is on the line. It’s not about our marketing. It’s about their comfort zone. So focus on answering their needs with relevant information, including the know, like, and trust factors. Easily accessible information and answers are the best paths to help them decide to buy.
3 key ways to help your B2B buyer
When we focus on the B2B buyer’s needs, it is all about quickly and efficiently helping them find what they need. Depending on the type of B2B that you work with, this can be very complex.
The higher the ticket price, the more information, details, and data are needed to support the decision—and the more people will be involved. It’s a longer, more complex process with higher stakes.
Content – useable, findable, relevant
Buyers need detailed information designed for quick, easy consumption. They may or may not be the technician or engineer working with a complex piece of equipment. However, they may be responsible for identifying possible solutions and then sharing them for input before making a decision.
Keep in mind B2B buyers want content as quickly readable as when they do their B2C shopping. So make layout and content designed for easy reading and rapid assimilation. Include whitespace, supporting graphics, and bulleted lists.
Offer cross-links and “also relevant” links to help them find additional information.
Be sensitive to what’s happening in the real world. We’ve been through a lot of turmoil in the last 18 months. Now things with a twang of nostalgia offer comfort and a sense of security. However, include nostalgia only if it fits and makes sense.
B2B buyers are looking for instant information. They don’t want to send an email and wait a week for an answer. The best interaction helps them quickly find what they need, now.
AI, chatbots, and the like can fill in an interactive gap. Of course, the better they interact and offer more specific answers, the more valuable they become.
Include all the frequently asked questions your customer service team hears. The more you include, the happier the buyer will be.
Analyze surveys or questions that have come up on social media. These offer tidbits of information the buyer needs.
Make the interaction smooth. Create a feeling of ease that includes transfers across support services. In addition, increased seamlessness increases the buyer satisfaction rate.
Retention saves B2B relationships and dollars.
Having a great experience and a trusting relationship make the buyer’s next purchasing decision more straightforward. If there is plenty of retention-focused TLC, you become their trusted resource.
Trust is imperative to keep the buyer coming back. Help them feel valued, respected and that you are there as a team partner to solve problems.
The results? A higher customer lifetime value and wins for both buyers and marketers.
Judith Culp Pearson is a result-oriented relationship-building and empathy-based marketer specializing in B2B wellness and information. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beauty and Wellness comprise over a 4.2 trillion dollar market and growing exponentially. But the terms can be a bit confusing or vague. So, as a marketer, how do you pick the best words to reach your market? A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that while there are some commonly associated definitions, there is also a broad diversity.
That study focused on semantics and looked at term associations based on age groups and gender. My concerns were as a marketer. How do we choose the correct terms to reach our target market? Do people understand what wellness encompasses? What about beauty? How do people actually think about it, define, it and engage with it?
What do those in Wellness say?
This spring, I interviewed over a dozen different people in the wellness industry. Marketers, beauty and supplement manufacturers, coaches, fitness experts, nutritionists, and more. As much diversity of the sector as I could connect with.
My core question was how we could make wellness more understandable in our messages. Do people really “get” how diverse it is? The responses were all over the place. Some had found phrases or words that connected with their specific segment of the public.
Others were all about expanding the dialogue about how to better share wellness concepts. They agreed there is an opportunity for a lot of improvement.
Effectively marketing beauty and wellness depends on the audience.
As with all marketing success, communication is the key. First, you have to hone in on your target audience. The more you know about your ideal client, the easier it is to select the best terms to connect, engage and move them forward. This identification is essential considering the diversity found in this study.
In this study, they found that some terms are cross-generational. Others terms are age-related. The more life experience, the more it colors the way we think. And yes, it makes a difference whether you are selling to men or women.
When working with clients, experienced marketers focus on these differences. The more we understand how our target group thinks about beauty and wellness, the more we engage them.
Here’s a secret they discovered
We can’t discount the survival genetics built into our primal brain. Ancient ancestors’ survival depended on selecting a suitable mate. Attributes of attraction were those that indicated the ability to survive and procreate. Those would have been considered beauty.
For both sexes, this meant appealing, attractive features, good teeth, and a strong constitution.
The most desirable men had a body built for successful hunting and protection. The most beautiful women had a body configured for pregnancy and to nurture children. Attributes related to healthy and fertile mates.
Those with less desirable features or lacking other attributes slipped down the selection pyramid from the top choice. These preferences are still clearly evident among animal groups today. A puny, weak animal isn’t going to have the opportunity to procreate. It was about the survival of the species.
Look at any magazine or marketing advertisement today, and you can still see these biases in action among humans. It’s only been very recently we are embracing and recognizing the value in those who are unique or different.
Three considerations for key term selection
The study findings divide into three categories. First, there were terms common to all age groups and both men and women respondents. Second, generational dependent words. And third choices that were different between genders.
Generally accepted terms for beauty and wellness.
The survival considerations that guided our ancient ancestors evolved over the millennia. Greek and Roman influence involved more intellectual pursuits and lifestyle, as well as that of seeking pleasure.
Beauty today is most often associated with lovely, feminine, gorgeous, elegant, stylish, and sexy. Elegance and grace are different from sexiness, but there is a clear overlap in the association with beauty.
Key wellness alternatives include fitness, aerobics, health, lifestyle, nutrition, thrive, holistic, and meditation.
They also verified what the marketers I interviewed noticed.
Generally, there is more clarity and uniformity on the term beauty.
At the same time, there is more diversity in the meaning of wellness.
The term beauty is more related to physical and cultural attributes. On the other hand, wellness relates more to active practices that promote health and thriving.
Generational differences on beauty and wellness.
The study included people from Gen-Z, Millennials, Gen-X, and Baby Boomers. It acknowledged there are individual differences within each group despite the commonalities.
Life experiences influenced the term associations. The study proposes that with the accumulation of life experience, we increase the tendency to segregate semantically. As a result, the terms become more specific.
Our increased lifespan, and therefore increased level of experience may also contribute to differences.
Another attribution for the difference is age heightens socio-cultural awareness and related stereotypes. Most often, these are related to the words attributed to young, beautiful, healthy bodies.
In the past, men identified with looking rugged, macho, and exhibiting athletic superiority. However, younger men today are increasingly concerned with personal image and appearance. These shifts may result from the changing employment culture’s impact on social values.
Variations by gender
It’s interesting to note that semantics, the meaning of the words used, were more structured among women than men.
When considering the terms beauty and wellness, women segregated them more. For example, education had been classified initially as a wellness term. But among both women and boomers, it was attributed to beauty.
Another example is that delicious, exotic, and talent were initially classified as beauty terms. But in some groups, they are more associated with wellness. So again, it’s about researching and knowing your specific group.
When I work with clients
I help them match their message, the terms used, and the SEO to their targeted audience. It’s complex and requires segmenting the audience, tracking, and testing to assure the best outcome. https://www.jculpcreativecopy.com. For the complete details and the full article, you can read it here.
Your business is constantly evolving. If you don’t keep your website on pace with those changes, it leaves customers in the dark—or even misinforms them. Your website is dated.
Your website is not a static brochure. Instead, it is a living document reflecting your business and how you interact with visitors and customers.
Current relevant information?
One of my colleagues has a service-based business in the beauty/spa niche. She has always been super focused on keeping her clients safe and protected before and during the pandemic. I know she has worked hard to exceed every recommendation by the state health department.
Recently, she completed a major expansion, so I visited her website to see what changes she might have implemented.
I was more than a little stunned to find absolutely nothing about safety precautions on her website.
Some services include breaking the skin barrier as in skin pigmentation (aka permanent cosmetics or tattooing.) Yet, there was nothing about current policies, extra disinfecting steps, or protocols to keep staff and customers safe.
Unfortunately, it came across that they either don’t think there are any concerns or that they aren’t doing anything.
A key attribute of what makes her Unique is entirely missing. Despite what I knew, it made me pause to consider how I would feel about going into the business. There were no confidence builders—trust factors. Her website is dated.
Dated website or missing information will cost you $$$
I’ve seen this with many businesses I’ve worked with over the years. A company creates a website, and then the focus shifts away from it. The website stops getting attention. It’s no longer a daily, weekly, monthly maintenance component, like ordering supplies or doing a social media post.
When a website sits static or doesn’t have what viewers are looking for, search engines start skipping it. Lack of activity, updates, or revisions and it starts to disappear.
A sluggish, slow, dated website discourages visitors, and your business can enter a downward spiral.
Consider all the components behind the scenes and those that are visitor-facing. What can you delegate? What do you have time and the skillsets to handle yourself?
I know I’ll never keep up with daily or weekly behind-the-scenes tasks. I want my web host to handle those. Backups, system and component updates, performance checks
Remember that poor performance, slow-loading images, and dated or missing information each carry a price tag. You may have to pay for it to be there. You will also pay for it not being there.
Consider what concerns your visitors and customers may have specific to your business niche. For example, for restaurants and services, it may be health and safety.
For others like suppliers, vendors, or manufacturers, it may be product availability.
Guidelines keep changing and will continue to do so. So we must continue to address these issues and make sure the most up-to-date information is readily available without them having to ask.
Nothing happens until it makes your calendar. So the easiest way to keep your website on target is to add web checks and updates to your task calendar.
I note on my calendar tasks that I need to do and how frequently they need action. For the delegated tasks, you do need to periodically spot-check their completion.
Consider things like:
Images tagged with alternative descriptions
Images optimized for quick loading
Videos optimized for loading speed and performance
Broken links repaired
Backlinks and cross-links to optimize SEO
Treat web updates and optimization with equal importance to any other aspect of your marketing.
Three techniques to improve content
Confidence building pages
There are three vital confidence-building pages—the about you page, the spam protection page, and the privacy page.
The About page tells your visitors how you help them. So often, this is misunderstood and turns into a blurb all about the company. It accomplishes much more if it focuses on how the company serves and benefits the visitor and customer.
Your spam protection page shares how you protect visitors from spam and establishes use policies. Similarly, the privacy page shares how you maintain customer privacy and protect their personal information.
Some companies share or rent list information. Other businesses set themselves apart by never sharing list data with any outside marketers.
What changes can you share?
People love updates and being in the know of changes and happenings. When we feel like an insider, we feel like part of a team, a tribe. It enhances our feelings of status, importance, and inclusivity.
Share what’s new, exciting, and changing. For example, will you offer live or virtual events, a podcast, a report, or feature a new product?
Staff stories are great to share. Include your team member’s achievements and accomplishments.
Share how a new or favorite product or service developed and evolved to offer enhanced value and benefit to the customers.
Today’s customers want to know how you protect your community, staff, and the environment. Share your values and how you give back to impact purchases and loyalty.
Don’t forget customer successes. Real people’s stories have the strongest impact on buying decisions. They allow the viewer to see their problem solved and offer hope.
Testimonials are a bonus to every page,
It used to be that testimonials had a dedicated page. Now we’ve learned they can play a significant role and help viewers along their shopping journey when included on every page as appropriate.
For inspiration, check out Amazon. Most buyers don’t just read the product description. They also click on the reviews and see what people have to say—positive and negative. Don’t be afraid to have a weakness or a less a five-star comment.
Less than stellar reviews are opportunities. You can learn from them and improve your product. Resolving questions or problems helps the person who puts forth the issue and those considering a purchase.
Reviews and testimonials are a super valuable resource for any business. Free, unsolicited feedback to help you grow your business.
When I work with clients,
I always do a quick website analysis to identify what might be slowing down—anything from how it operates or creates bumps for the viewer. I help them create a tracking calendar to stay on top of both backside front-facing issues. And I help them continually add new, relevant, and useful value content for their target audience. www.jculpcreativecopy.com.
Telling your story is the first essential step to sales. People need to know you so they can like you and start to trust you. So to help them get to know you—tell your story. Who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you unique.
Avoid being like these guys.
Internet and phone providers have about the worst reputation for engagement and finding ways to bond with customers.
I recently had to deal with helping an aging parent transition to assisted living. Ugh, in anyone’s book. But mom didn’t want this even though she needed it. So I had to help her make it happen.
She just needed internet and a telephone line. But, unfortunately, as an existing customer of the company that provided service in her facility, it got way more complicated.
Their automated system kept trying to tie me and my account into what I created for Mom.
While they spend fortunes on marketing, it’s all about the product. People put up with the system because it is an essential service in today’s world.
There is NO way to reach support on their website or phone tree. Not even a contact number anywhere on their website. You have to Google to find one. Everything wants doing online.
AI wraps you into a maze without resolution.
I spent a frustrating two weeks trying to get internet and phone established. When I did finally reach someone, they told me the new account had been incorrectly set up.
It’s no wonder so many people are disconnecting from cable and looking for alternative providers. But, unfortunately, the system is very broken and unfriendly. No news to you, I’m sure.
No differentiation in your story? – no USP
As a freelance marketer, I’ve seen businesses spend vast amounts of money trying to sell their products.
One sale after another becomes a pricing competition when that isn’t the deciding criteria for many people.
Today’s marketplace is crowded. As a result, products or services can tend to look alike. So they up the advertising budget without considering why prospects aren’t buying.
In the customer’s eyes, they may see no difference between brands X, Y, and Z. No differentiating uniqueness from one business to another. That’s why your unique story is so important to share.
It’s an asset that businesses often overlook.
Keep your target customer in mind.
When building your brand and your product, it’s essential to keep your target audience in mind. Each generation has differences. However, today’s buyers all care about similar things—value, culture, and customer care. Our cable company failed in all three.
3 Things your story must share and prove
All customers are looking for products and services with value. Products that aren’t high enough quality to warrant repeat sales will undermine business success.
Buyers want to know what you stand for and how you give back. And they want to know how you take care of them as your customer.
Many businesses focus on price as value. However, price is only a small part of value. Today’s shopper is more concerned about the value they receive for the price paid instead of just the price itself.
Therefore, in your story, you need to share all the components of “value” included in your offer.
The more value enhancements you offer, the higher the price the buyer is willing to pay.
Bonuses, reports, guides, support, quick delivery, rewards, and your culture are all part of your value. They are also what makes you unique in an ocean of similar choices.
It’s essential to include these in your brand story. To keep the message simple, straightforward, and targeted, you may find that you need to break it up. Tell your story in easily memorable segments.
Millennials lead the movement in choosing businesses they deal with to have a positive planet-friendly and people-friendly approach. They don’t want to do business with those who cause harm to others so that they can buy.
In your story, share how you give back to the planet and the community. Company size doesn’t matter, that you are concerned about others does. Share this culture with your audience.
A friendly giving culture that isn’t just words but really happens can be the tipping point in deciding where to purchase.
Customer service is a huge issue. It’s one many companies have struggled with during the pandemic. Some companies already had excellent customer service and continued it.
Others are still struggling to make it happen. It comes across almost like they are using the pandemic as an excuse for whatever they don’t want to address.
If the only message they receive is “sale,” that’s not customer support.
Look for every opportunity to stay connected with buyers. Create social media chats. Generate email thank you sequences, updates, e-newsletters, nurturing, and rewards.
When I work with clients
I look for all the things that set them apart and make them unique. We craft and share these stories to help buyers get to know, like, and trust them. We cultivate those buyers into long-term relationships with a high customer lifetime value. email@example.com.
Stories differentiate you. Whether you are an online store, brick and mortar store, or any other type of business, you need to share your story. Your personal story will help you stand out in a sea of businesses.
Sometimes we can’t see our own story
Several years ago I attended a women’s business conference. During the conference, the leader stood up and addressed the group.
“Ladies, I have a request of you. If you could write a letter to your younger self, what advice would you give her?
“Send me your letters. Let’s gather them and create a book of shared wisdom.”
There was a buzz around the room as we digested this. Interesting. This was an amazing group of women and I wanted to be a part of it. What could I write?
I couldn’t see that I had any wisdom story worthy of sharing. I’d had a pretty normal life, nothing weird or special. Somehow I missed the things that made me unique. Things like being raised in a home with a disabled sibling, facing cancer, divorce, and building successful businesses from the ground up.
A little saddened, I didn’t participate. I wanted to but didn’t know what I could write. I missed out.
Later they published the stories in a book.
When I read those stories, I realized those women were a lot like me. We had some shared experiences and some unique ones. We all experienced challenges, dilemmas and had to grow with the choices we made.
It made me realize I had not one but many little stories that I could share…just like this one.
Sometimes it’s hard to see your own story. We can be so close to them we miss how they could create a connection with our target audience. And many times they are challenging to write because we are emotionally so close to them.
It’s easier to tell someone else’s story
I’ve found over the years, it’s much easier to write a client’s story than it is to write my own. We’re raised not to brag or talk about ourselves. Writing your own story can feel like that’s just what you’re doing.
As a content writer, storytelling is a key component to help businesses grow. As an outsider, I use a discovery call to uncover potential client stories. And when I hear the hint of one, we dive into it.
Clients are often surprised at the outcome. “Well yes, I guess I did do that.” They hadn’t seen themselves the way others see them.
If you’re having trouble identifying your story or telling it, you’re not alone. Sometimes the best answer is to get a professional to help you craft it, then share it like crazy.
Secret about stories
We’re all hardwired to listen to stores. It’s ingrained in our brain. When you share your stories, people will pause to read them. So by including a story, you are guaranteeing that your number one objective, getting their attention, happens.
With the right message, your readers will feel a connection with you and your brand. They feel you understand and “get” them. That leads to feeling you are safe to do business with—trust.
They feel like you could help or benefit them. It can be a physical, mental, or emotional feeling better.
3 Story considerations
Before you can write it, you have to pick what the story will be. Your selection is tied directly to your in-depth knowledge of your target audience. Then it needs to follow a natural story path and in it, something needs to change.
In my story, it was my mindset that had to change for me to tap into all the stories I could share.
Your story has to be relevant to your audience. You can find examples all around you. In the news, on social media, in magazines, or even YouTube stories.
If you’re writing for a construction company, a story on how you learned to make chocolate silk cake, is not relevant.
Instead, share how you innovated or came up with a new technique that is more earth-friendly and controls cost would get a lot more attention.
What are the key concerns or pain points for your audience? What are they most concerned about? A story that addresses one of these needs will have the triggers to catch their attention and start to build that connection.
Need to follow the story path
Generally, it is a “hero’s journey” story type. It starts with being faced and frustrated with a problem. Then moves into deciding to do something about it.
Few problems are solved smoothly. We follow the hero and connect with him because we’ve had a similar problem.
Often this becomes being the little guy against big odds. We empathize and root for them.
Maybe those odds seem pretty insurmountable. (Think Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.)
But in the end, as the goal is achieved, we cheer for the hero and want to know more about them—and your brand.
Need conflict resolution
Your story needs to have the problem, challenge or conflict resolved. Don’t pick one where you don’t yet have that accomplished.
It’s through conflict, those challenges, that we learn. It also makes your audience side with you and cheers you on. The bigger your challenge, the bigger the enemy, the more they get excited for you to win.
When I work with clients
We work to keep it simple and short. The more simple it is, the more it will be remembered. If you let it drag on or get it too complicated, you’ll lose readers.
Judith Culp Pearson is a freelance copywriter marketer. She specializes in helping businesses build relationships that result in loyal customers with high customer lifetime value. firstname.lastname@example.org