A short attention span. An I-deserve-it attitude. Voices that are amplified by social media. How can you make these work to make your brand stronger?
Let’s get some honest answers.
During the week, I split my time between teaching English at a school in Madrid, Spain, and writing.
Teach is a generous word when it comes to my preschool classes. Herding, shepherding, or trying not to cry in the corner as they dog pile and lick each other fits too.
But for all my corner cries, I have to thank the booger-filled tots. Watching them, I’ve realized that consumers are just like our pint-sized counterparts, just a few heads taller. (Although we have been conditioned not to cry when we don’t get what we want. We manifest our disappointment in other ways.)
It made me wonder:
From the outside looking in, what can I learn as a marketer to better meet what customers want?
So, between storytimes, here’s what I’ve got:
What Customers Want: 7 Things We Can Learn from Preschoolers
1. They want what others have
Eleven times out of ten, if one kid picks up an otherwise unremarkable piece of colored plastic, all of the other grubby hands start reaching for it too. Short story: if you want it, then I want it too.
This sounds a lot like product endorsement to me. It isn’t quite word-of-mouth, but it is pretty darn close.
And, when it comes to marketing your product, we all know that word-of-mouth is your best friend.
- 86% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations
- 76% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends
And then there’s the other thing …
Lesson: WOM isn’t a passive process. It doesn’t happen by itself.
Here’s what the little tykes demonstrate:
- If you don’t have it, nobody else can want it.
Does your product have what your customer values? Create a customer persona before you launch any campaign: you don’t know what people really (really) want until you know who they are.
- They want it because it’s a thing they want.
We’re talking perception of value. The more value the product has to them, the more they will be willing to fight for it. Believe it or not: you don’t need the bells and whistles to get a better conversion rate.
- If there’s nobody around, there’s nobody to tell.
So: ask for ratings and reviews. Create an official referral program. Encourage user-generated content. Make it easy to share your blogs and videos on social media.
- There’s no pretending.
One last thing about WOM: it’s authentic. And, because reviews (especially negative ones) are so tied up with emotion, your customer service had better respond in kind. In fact, it’s better to start out as you mean to go on.
Authenticity is a brand asset. Who knew.
2. They take the path of least resistance
This one has one important caveat: They take the path of least resistance as long as that’s what everyone else is doing too.
If the ‘trend’ is to shove through tables and stacked books to get to their seats, they’ll do that. Otherwise, they look for the clearest path and stutter-step in that direction with furrowed-brow determination.
And when it comes to marketing:
Lesson: Know your customer. What will make their user experience easy?
(If you’re unsure how to do that, check out Persona & Segments: What to Use When.)
Once you know what kind of service and experience your target customer is looking for, you can tailor e v e r y t h i n g. The website, design, colors, payment options, information, blog topics, social media messaging … you name it.
So: who is reading your blog?
3. They move on quickly
Their attention spans are short— I mean, short. If I try to do any activity for more than ten or fifteen minutes, I’ve lost them to the floor, which is rife for romping, rolling, and licking, in case you were wondering.
Lesson: To hold their attention, you have to present something exciting quickly, and often.
As with everything marketing, it comes down to the data. Test to figure out how often (and when) you should be in touch with your customers. Both potential and existing ones. When it comes to messaging (email, social media, mobile, etc.), here’s the deal:
Strike a balance with your messaging: stay in contact, but don’t overwhelm them.
This brings us to the customer acquisition vs customer retention debate. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense to chase new leads and neglect existing customers.
This is why:
- 60 – 70% is the probability of selling to an existing customer, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 -20%.
- 50%: that’s how much more likely existing customers are to try new products.
- 5x: that’s how much more it costs to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one.
The prospect of a new customer may be nice and shiny. But, creating and engaging a loyal customer base is a gold mine.
Move it! Move it!
4. You can’t wing it
If you shuffle in to class thinking, This week was crazy, I don’t have anything particular planned. Bet I can pop on a video and we’ll be good. Wrong. The finger-painting gods and goddesses will smite you.
Lesson: Be prepared for success. Don’t start without a good marketing strategy in place.
Don’t punch blindly. Your clients will sense it and squirm away faster than a paint-covered three year old. Plus, it’s a waste of your time and money.
What does building a good marketing strategy look like? Well, it starts by knowing your business and its goals.
And don’t forget to keep it SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound).
So you’ve got your marketing plan in place. But what happens if, God forbid, something goes wrong or your services are temporarily derailed by something external (hello, Covid).
Although we never want something to go wrong, it’s inevitable. So, what’s your emergency plan?
- Have a plan B, a plan C, and, while you’re at it, a plan D too.
You don’t know how many times I’ve had to pull out my plan D when my first, second, and third lesson ideas flopped. Even if you never have to use it, you’ve got the planning done. Result: no stress in the future. And all those unused lesson ideas? You bet I’ve got a folder on my computer full of them, waiting for a rainy day.
What’s in your rainy day marketing kit?
- Some non-time sensitive content is key. Don’t let content fall by the wayside while you’re tending to the fire.
- And, while you’re at it, don’t forget a financial safety net— you’re going to want a little extra cash to cover X, Y or Z.
Get started with the right marketing strategy. And don’t forget your contingency plan.
5. They thrive with consistency
Back in the day, friends who have worked in preschool gave me a piece of wisdom. Of course, I didn’t believe them. (That was then. This is now.)
“You end up doing the same thing every day. It’s hard at first, but once you get the gist, you simply switch out the specifics, but the framework is the same.”
And they’re right. We start every class with a song and dance, then go over the date and weather before moving onto the “target lesson.” And that’s it.
But, here’s the thing: Customers are also fans of consistency.
What does that mean?
- It means that your content, aesthetic, and messaging should have the same tone, quality, and purpose. Yes, across the board.
Why? Because consistency builds trust with your customers.
Now, let’s talk about regularly. Back in 2014, the average business posted a few times per week. Jump to 2020, and fresh content is favored just a few times per month. Why? It’s sim
ple: quality over quantity. Just because blogging output has slowed down, it doesn’t mean you can forget about it.
- B2B that blog consistently generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.
Lesson: SEO is not a one-and-done task.
In fact, you should even be revisiting your older posts to tweak SEO, update statistics, and, in general, give them a facelift. The age of the post lends even more credibility.
Be SMART: blog consistently.
6. They love rewards
You know what makes a three year old giggle? A *sprinkle* of fairy dust (glitter) from a taped-up salt shaker. They get absolutely giddy. Why? They love to be showered with a “reward” for their good behavior.
Clients are no different. But what does a reward look like? Particularly if you don’t have the budget to hand out freebies?
Lesson: Your customers are VIPs
You can make your client feel valued without shelling out major dough by:
- Asking for feedback and reviews.
- Everyone likes to feel heard. Talk to them; find out how you can better meet their needs (which have probably changed some since you originally took them on as a client).
- Encouraging user-generated content.
- It’s a win-win: they feel valued and you get customer engagement.
- Giving them something they can use.
- Maybe that’s a discount, an exclusive ebook, or early access to a new product or service… Give them the VIP-status that they love.
But what do you get out of it? Customer trust. Customer loyalty.
The name of the game: Acknowledge and Reward.
7. Eye contact is key
This one sounds weird, but hear me out.
Are you familiar with Dr. Edward Tronick’s controversial “Still Face Experiment” from 1975? This breakthrough in developmental psychology revealed just how important eye contact, affirmation, and reassurance is to developing children.
While I’m in no way conducting any such experiment in my classroom, I have definitely noticed the power of making eye contact with my students. Even the rowdiest toddler quiets down if I just meet their gaze and make them feel seen.
They need to feel like their presence is noticed, that their individuality is recognized.
The same sentiment goes for your clients. Make them feel seen (and not traumatized) by catering the customer experience to them.
Lesson: Make it personal.
Keeping it personal applies to your content too. Create useful content for them, their needs, and where they are in their customer journey.
Don’t throw away resources by posting irrelevant, impersonal content. And if you need help with this last bit, why not hire a professional writing agency? We’ve heard good things.
Personalize the customer experience at every stage: from messaging to services to follow-up communications.
Go. Blog. And be happy.
In the meantime, I’m going to cut out 125 paper pumpkins. I shudder just thinking about all of the glue-covered fingers– the horror, the horror!
If you’re up to your eyeballs in finger paint, reach out to Give Me Articles. We’d be happy to take care of your writing needs so you can get back to more important things, like glitter glue.
#digitalmarketing #blog #coffeetalk