Michael Nelson
December 3, 2013

Do Your Marketing Messages Connect with Your Buyer’s Needs and Desires?

Small business marketing begins with compelling desiresPeople buy for two reasons.  They are trying to eliminate pain points or they are trying to reach a compelling desire.  If your small business marketing doesn’t focus on how your service helps them address one of those two issues, you’re just rolling the dice.

Creating effective marketing, which I define as marketing that delivers sales, requires you to have an understanding of your service and your customers.  First consider your offering and determine its key benefits.  Don’t confuse features and benefits here (read more), benefits are what your customers buy, features describe the service.  Think of it in these terms:  features “so that” benefits.

Additionally, consider your differentiators and advantages.  Why is your service unique and how does it deliver benefits better, faster, cheaper?  Get clear on this before you spend another dime marketing your small business.

Next, you must understand what the pain points or compelling desires of your customers are.  Many marketers suggest creating detailed personas of your target market embodied in one fictitious person.  The more you know about this representative persona, the better your marketing writing and targeting will be.  If you can do this, that’s great, you have a nice advantage.

If you need a simpler way to proceed, consider circumstances.  Your customers will find themselves in circumstances where their pain points or compelling desires will lead them to consider purchasing a solution for their issue.  What are those circumstances?  Think about when your customers buy from you, what state are they in that drove the purchase?  Define the circumstance(s) as best as possible and then market to the circumstance. 

Here is an example that pulls the previous points together.  Consider a home owner who is doing some remodeling and is now hanging pictures, curtains, shelves, etc.  As the couple starts, they quickly realize that not only is it a lot of work to do manually, they need to drill holes in some pieces so the screws don’t cause damage when they insert them.  So, they grab the paper to see where they can go to solve their problem…

Now is the chance for your small business marketing to shine! Let’s say you manufacture drills.  Let’s walk through the features/benefits, advantages/differentiators and circumstances.  Your drill has many features that you’re justifiably proud of:  light at the front, quick charging battery, powerful battery, quick change chuck, 3.2 lbs, etc.  You translate those into benefits from the customers perspective.  You drill has a light so you can see what you’re working on even in low light, the battery charges fast so you don’t wait on it and you can get to work, the chuck allows you to switch between drilling and screwing in a flash, it is light so you don’t get fatigued using it.

Even in the example, you can see where I’ve used feature “so that” benefit (light so you don’t get fatigued using it). Your advantages and differentiators may be that your drill charges twice as fast as the competition and it’s the only one with a light at the front. market to a circumstance in your small business marketingConsider the circumstances and market to the circumstance.  Your customers (a segment of them) are working on small remodeling jobs, which are done by both men and women with potentially little experience with tools.  They want a simple solution, instructions, something easy to use, and because they don’t use a drill very often, they want something that can be ready to use quickly. In this case, you would create your marketing to focus on how your benefits help people in that situation and what your drill offers that the competition does not.

Your customers can then easily imagine how your solution helps them solve one of their compelling desires or pain points.  It could be both issues in this case as they may desire a remodeled space, but aren’t very experienced with tools. Your website could have videos showing people in the “inexperienced remodeler” circumstance and provide tips on how to do various simple jobs with your drill.  You could provide PDFs with articles on the same content that your customers could print out and take to the room being remodeled and refer to it.  You might show the frustration they might have using a tool from your competitor that doesn’t have the light or quick charging battery. In this case, not only would you help solve their problem, you would have made it easy for them and removed obstacles that you wouldn’t normally expect just from purchasing a drill.  Now you’ve probably created a brand advocate too.

When people compliment them on the finished room, your drill and handy tips will be a part of the story. This works just as well with any service or product.  You know your offerings well, take the time to get to know them well from your customers’ perspective, your small business marketing will thank you!

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Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson is a small business coach and circumstance marketing innovator who lives in DC with his lovely wife and three insane boys. Michael Nelson ”The Cogent Coach” Follow me on:  Twitter / Facebook /  LinkedIn / Google+