Searching for a job. It’s a tough process to go through.  Looking for opportunities, updating our resume, reaching out to contacts. We get so focused on ourselves that we forget about the potential employer.  What are we going to do for them? Drive sales? Increase efficiencies? Build the business? We forget about their perspective and hope that they’ll read between the lines of our experience and accomplishments. We should really key into a specific challenge that they’re facing and show them how we’re going to address it. That would increase our chances of getting that choice position. It’s those initial conversations that are key.

We get into the same rut with marketing sometimes. The focus tends to be on what our product or service is all about and we forget about what is in it for the customer.  We fail to give them a reason to commit to us – they are the ones taking all the chances. Instead of just throwing our message out there and expecting them to love us, we need to give them a reason to take that step of faith. We want them to engage with us but we don’t give them a reason to do that. 

The key is to not only show them the direct benefits to them of our product/service but provide them with something for free as a way of bringing them into the “conversation.” It could be an outline of the criteria for selecting a product, how to assess a service provider, or even thoughts on whether or not to take on the task themselves. Don’t just focus on the transaction, look instead to the entire purchase process. Our approach needs to change if we are going to increase our success with bringing in new clients.

So if we start looking at things from that perspective, we may just find that we’ll address some of our own challenges:

Ad blocking.  Marketers are having a coronary about customers being able to block out their ads. It’s been happening for years on TV but now people have the ability to block ads on their web browser. And, as Seth Godin observed, people have been blocking ads for years by ignoring them. So what if we actually gave the customer some value in the ad?  Address a problem for them. Answer a question. They may just choose not to block the ad and pay attention.

Website traffic. Websites are key points of contact for customers and getting folks to come and check out your special site is not always easy. Providing customers with free content on a specific topic via a blog or a post or a white paper that is of use to them will not only encourage them to come to your website to find out more but it will also establish your site as the go to place for other relevant information in the future. In addition, sharing this content not only helps the customer but demonstrates your expertise and profiles your skills.

Sales funnel.  Encouraging customers to move from awareness to interest, from desire to action is not a new challenge. Being able to stand out from competitors makes it even more difficult.  However, if we provide customers with the information that they need to simplify their decision-making process overall or better understand the challenge that they’re dealing with, then we improve the chances that we’ll be included in their short-list when they take action to buy. If we become a partner in helping them decide on a solution to their problem, the better the chance we’ll be there in the end. The challenge is to get the right information to them when they need it at each stage of their journey – but that’s a subject for another post.

There are some companies and marketers who are great at customer attraction and we need to heed their example.  Content marketing, marketing automation, retargeting.  All fancy words for great tactics but the key strategy overall is to provide something useful to the consumer to encourage them to engage with you. Take the first step and provide them with something of value – meet their need and they’ll meet your’s.