6 Steps To Customer-Centric Writing
Most business owners come ingrained with a laser-like focus on their business. They'll swell with pride and "shout it from the rooftops" to tell you about their newest, exciting product or service. However, like the majority of people in business, they tend to take a business-focused approach, focusing on promoting the features or specs of the product and making sure that you know how this new product or service is the best of the best.
Herein lies the rub, as they say. While shouting it from the rooftops might seem like a good approach, customers don't necessarily want to hear about your business. Instead, they want to hear about how your company will help THEM. They are more concerned that you understand their need and are offering a solution to address it.
Here's where customer-centric writing and promotion comes in. Instead of writing with the focus on you and your business, you can stand out from the crowd by thinking about how your new product or service will benefit your customers. Writing with your client in mind demonstrates that you understand their needs and want to help them achieve their goals. Writing with empathy creates better connections, improved communication, and happier outcomes. Happy customers become your business's greatest fans.
Here are six steps to help you shift your perspective to be more customer-centric:
- List at least three to five main features of your business.
- Arrange the list beginning with the most important feature.
- Now look at the list, select the first feature, and dig down to what that feature means to your customer. For example, if you are in the tire business and one of the features is that you're within walking distance of a mall, then you might put "location" on your list.
- Step into your customer's mindset. What does your location mean for them? How will it solve their problem? The benefit is they can drop off their car, shop, have lunch, or meet a friend instead of sitting in a dull waiting room.
- Take the next feature you listed and then go through the same process. Rinse and repeat with the rest of the features.
If you've never looked at your business this way before, it's likely that you might not be sure of what your customers do want and need. How can you find out? That's where tip #6 comes in. Even if you've been in business for a while and think you know the needs of your customers, it's good to refresh your viewpoint.
- Pay attention to the questions they have and ask them for more information about what they're trying to do. Don't assume you know what they want, find out by talking to them.
Your customers are individuals, with goals and dreams unique to them. They come to you for help to make these happen. What does your company do for them? That's the direction your marketing writing needs to take.
When you practice customer-centric marketing, you not only differentiate yourself from competitors, you establish the basis for customer loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
by Ann Handley
Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.
If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.
Yeah, but who cares about writing anymore? In a time-challenged world dominated by short and snappy, by click-bait headlines and Twitter streams and Instagram feeds and gifs and video and Snapchat and YOLO and LOL and #tbt. . . does the idea of focusing on writing seem pedantic and ordinary?
Actually, writing matters more now, not less. Our online words are our currency; they tell our customers who we are.
Our writing can make us look smart or it can make us look stupid. It can make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it can also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring.
That means you've got to choose words well, and write with economy and the style and honest empathy for your customers. And it means you put a new value on an often-overlooked skill in content marketing: How to write, and how to tell a true story really, really well. That's true whether you're writing a listicle or the words on a Slideshare deck or the words you're reading right here, right now...
And so being able to communicate well in writing isn't just nice; it's necessity. And it's also the oft-overlooked cornerstone of nearly all our content marketing.
In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.
These lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets -- like web pages, home page, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Ann deconstructs the strategy and delivers a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It's designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content -- whether you're a big brand or you're small and solo.
- How to write better. (Or, for "adult-onset writers": How to hate writing less.)
- Easy grammar and usage rules tailored for business in a fun, memorable way. (Enough to keep you looking sharp, but not too much to overwhelm you.)
- Giving your audience the gift of your true story, told well. Empathy and humanity and inspiration are key here, so the book covers that, too.
- Best practices for creating credible, trustworthy content steeped in some time-honored rules of solid journalism. Because publishing content and talking directly to your customers is, at its heart, a privilege.
- "Things Marketers Write": The fundamentals of 17 specific kinds of content that marketers are often tasked with crafting.
- Content Tools: The sharpest tools you need to get the job done.
- Traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough. Everybody Writes is a field guide for the smartest businesses who know that great content is the key to thriving in this digital world.