On putting your customers first
"A brand is not what you want it to be, but what people know it to be. It's what people expect, experience and remember about your business"
Your customers' perception of your business is shaped by every last interaction they have with you. It's how they feel when they visit your website, the experience they have when they visit you in person and by the way you look after them along the way.
Your brands’ power increases in direct proportion to how quickly and confidently your customer decides to buy. The more confident they are in your ability to provide what they need, the more likely they are to buy from you.
When you consider that the likelihood of converting someone from a casual passerby to a paid-up brand advocate hinges on how you make them feel, doesn't it just make sense that you'd put the customer experience at the heart of everything you do?
What does my customer need to know?
Seriously, ask this first. Perhaps you're writing content for the brochure you send out in answer to enquiries? Consider what the reader needs to know about how working with you will benefit them. Because it's not about promoting your latest idea or newest service. It's about how all of this makes their lives better, richer or easier.
What is it about what I do that my customer really loves?
Take a moment to properly consider this. For a long time I thought that our clients loved us for our design work, which of course is true - but actually, the thing that they really love us for is the role we play as an objective, entrepreneurial business friend. Once you know what your businesses die-hard fans love about you, you can clearly and confidently articulate this through your marketing, demonstrating your value to those who are yet to leap on board.
What can I do to make my customers' experience truly memorable?
Absolutely anyone can elevate their customer experience to something very special. Thoughtful touches tend to mean the most; I love to grow flowers in my garden and I buy my seeds from the wonderful Higgledy Garden. Ben includes a handwritten note with every order, and often pops in a couple of freebie seed packs that he thinks will complement my selection. The freebies are lovely, but it's the note in his beautiful handwriting that really makes me smile - and that doesn't cost him a penny. Buying from Ben is such a pleasure that I've never bought seeds from anyone else since discovering him. What can you do to enrich your customers’ buying experience?
How can I add more value?
Adding value doesn't mean giving things away or doing more work for less money. It means thinking about what it is that your customer really wants, and delivering that. Maybe you’ll restructure your services to deliver extra value, as we’ve just done? We’ve added an extra consultancy session at the end of the branding process to help our clients plan their brand launch. We’ve had to increase our prices to cover the cost of this but that’s fine; ultimately it delivers so much more value and really sets our client up for success once they’re let loose with everything we’ve created together.
Where do my people hang out?
Habit is the death of invention, and this is never more true than in marketing. Think about what influences your customer; do they read industry magazines or blogs? Is instagram more their thing? Are you likely to have more impact meeting them face to face - and if so, where? Once you’ve decided where you need to position your business in order to be found, you can set about planning how to stand out in a meaningful way.
How do I want them to feel?
Excited? Inspired? Reassured? Confident? Remember that the way your customer needs to feel may well vary at different points in the buying process: you might want them to feel enthused and inspired by your website and brochure, while you need to be perceived as logical, ordered and efficient when it comes to sending out contracts and invoices. Ask yourself how you want to make your customer feel before you start crafting each piece you work on, and then design whatever you're creating to convey the right mood whilst telling them what they need to know.
Have these tips inspired you to shake up your marketing? Brilliant! Let me know how you get on...