A Successful Customer Focused Mindset
Foundations Of Customer Focused Marketing
The Core Mindset Of Customer Focused Content Marketing
A Successful Customer Focused Mindset
Posted on Nov 17, 2016 by Emily Tomlinson
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Many small businesses know they need to be creating content in order to attract visitors, but not everyone knows the fundamental reasons why or the customer focused mindset that can make everything fall into place. Its not quite as simple as just writing blog posts for Google, we need to understand the rational behind customer focused marketing in order to demystify the subject and become proficient.
With an understanding of the foundational concepts of content marketing, you can quickly get ahead and by incorporating the fundamentals with what you already know, you'll soon learn to identify opportunities for creating beautiful, purposeful, evergreen content that will organically increase strong leads and conversions on your website and take your content marketing to a new level.
Getting Smart About Your Content
In this short blog series, we'll walk through some of the often overlooked concepts and offer practical insights for you to begin implementing a consistent, manageable inbound content marketing plan yourself. When we've finished you'll have a clearer vision for your content marketing and most importantly the rationale behind it. We'll show you how to prioritise which content types and topics to present on your website in order to turn strangers into brand advocates. Ready? Let's get started.
Many small businesses view online content marketing merely as an offering to the SEO gods, or as a chance to hard sell their products and services. Whilst this is true to some extent, they are self-limiting outlooks and give you very little in the way of direction and framework to work with. By adjusting our thinking to be smart with content and especially people, small businesses can get ahead and sustainably compete with larger ones.
When we think about permission based marketing we are seeking to helpfully and unobtrusively market to customers on their terms, in their language and in their own good time. We aim to form long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and ensure they enjoy interfacing with our brand and recommend us to others. This positive customer loop and customer experience driven mindset are what will set your business apart.
Obviously we want new visitors to buy our services or convert in some way when they visit our website, but we first aim to establish trust and demonstrate our value to them by helping them with their immediate problem or desire, which depending on the timing of their visit to our website might not necessarily be to buy, but perhaps to initially research their problem, or shortlist possible solutions. We can't be sure what our visitor's exact intent is, but with smart content marketing, we try to get a good insight into the possibilities through customer trends in order to cover as many content and problem scenarios as we can.
If we always remember our mantra to build human relationships with our visitors by helping them solve their problem, we give ourselves some base parameters to consider whenever we think about our content marketing, e.g 'How does this content help my visitors with their problem?'. We try and see things from the visitor's point of view and design interactions with our content and services from that viewpoint. Just as we are often put off by eager or pushy shop assistants in the real world, our website content needs to help people understand and make their own informed decision in their own time, rather than 'sell at them' immediately.
Solve Your Customer's Problems Before They Arise
How does this content help my visitors with their problem?
We've defined a foundational customer focused mantra question to guide our approach to content marketing, and in future will continue to draw from and build upon this philosophy. If you're not considering your customer every time you sit down to plan and write content you'll go can easily go off course and create the wrong content. Writing for you or your peers is not necessarily what attracts and converts customers so we need to carefully consider our content and strategy from their viewpoint - people just want to solve their problem or get more information that progresses it for them.
By exploring our customer's viewpoint further and making it part of our content thinking, we'll soon uncover insights that open up new streams of traffic. Not only that but by helping lots of customers over time, we might come to be regarded as an influencer within our own industry, which in turn will help attract even more visitors!
Getting To Know Your Customer Personas.
We've started by considering our fundamental approach toward customers and setting key goals of building good, lasting commercial relationships with them. We know that by nurturing trust, delivering informational value and not being pushy in our marketing we give people the space they need to make good decisions for their situation, which may or may not be purchasing from us (or anyone) at that moment. We need to take this a step further and start to think about who our customers actually are and how we can use that knowledge to refine our approach to content marketing and service design in general.
How and why do we build up our customer knowledge? In our quest to create happy customers it makes good sense to parse out data trends about their experience for meaningful insights that allow us to create predictable models used to inform many aspects of our business marketing. Being able to identify and model customer's behavioural trends, demographics, common desires, objections, search style, social channels and other data points related to their experience is a crucial step to improving our services.
A Customer Persona Example - CEO Jenny
As a quick example, imagine we surveyed a hundred customers and noticed that everyone who purchased was female, left handed and a CEO. This is useful trend data to know!
Parsing customer trend data out of spreadsheets and back to a human level, we can start to think about Customer Personas. Using our female, left-handed CEO example we can model a fictional customer persona based on real data. Our CEO Jenny customer persona is born.
Over time our CEO Jenny persona will become known throughout our business and is essentially our ideal customer (or at least our first identified ideal customer). We will get to know more about her through successive surveys and may for example also discover that Jenny is 35 - 45 years old, likes to read blog articles related to her industry during her lunch break and that she typically finds those blog articles via people she regards as influential on LinkedIn. Interesting!
Solve Jenny's Problems Before They Arise
Every new, relevant insight we uncover is woven back into our stored Jenny customer persona which evolves over time and helps us make better customer focused decisions. Anyone within our business can now ask themselves more specific questions when strategising, planning and producing marketing e.g
How does this content help Jenny with her CEO related problem?
Depending on your business you'll likely have more than one customer persona and it may take a bit of time/accumulated data before you can start to identify certain trends. The idea is NOT to create imaginary friends but to use real data from relevant people. Ideally, we survey and analyse positive and negative feedback data from our existing customers, but don't fret, because there are cost effective ways for new businesses to collect useful customer persona data.
Customer Data Insights You Can Use
So we've been thinking about customer persona research and how it can help us model ideal potential customers on the internet. We've also talked about identifying and solving customer's problems ahead of time using smart content design and marketing strategy. Lets have a quick look at some more concrete ideas and examples. To apply some of this in a practical sense we might start to consider questions like:
- What is the primary problem Jenny faces?
- What smart content can we produce to attract and help Jenny?
- How does that content link into our products or services?
- What online channels does Jenny use?
- What time is Jenny on her preferred channels?
Immediately we can see how this kind of thinking is useful. In a broad sense we can figure out what kind content Jenny needs to solve her problem and we know where and when she might be online to notice and engage with it, but this only scratches the surface and doesn't tell us much about what problems and solutions might look like. In the next section we will introduce a new aspect called the Buyer Journey that will take this a step further and help us to make some more informed decisions based on Jenny's own modelled circumstances.
We're taking it slow at this early stage and talking a lot about this foundational customer focused mindset because it seems to be what everybody skips, hacks or misunderstands. Too many businesses are writing content that does not help their customers and losing sales because of it. In the next part we'll introduce some new concepts and topics to our customer personas - if we can get this mindset in our heads we make the rest much easier to understand.
The Gist So Far
The gist so far is that with a customer focused mindset we can employ customer research and content strategy to attract customers to our website, and by using content that addresses their immediate problem without necessarily selling our products or talking about ourselves, we create more natural, human associations that lead to rewarding relationships for us and our customers. We know that we need to gather unbiased real world trend data from our existing customer base or by conducting smart surveys and model the collected data into tangible customer personas that can be used by our business to identify customer's problems, trends and other insights that can inform our content strategy.
Something in the previous paragraph may be bothering you - 'solving their immediate problem without necessarily selling'. It sounds a bit fuzzy doesn't it? In the second part of this blog, we'll introduce the Buyer Journey and define what we mean in more detail.
Part 2 - The Buyer Journey