December 16, 2020

How to understand your customers as real people

About this episode...

How to understand your customers as real people

8 questions to help you take a step back, understand your audience a bit better and feel clearer about who you're writing for and why.

If you're in a bit of a funk and you want to start marketing, but you feel like things aren't quite clear and something's stopping you from writing content or creating videos, this is a really nice trick to take a step back, take a breather and just think.

You should come out the other side a bit clearer on who you enjoy working with, what you're about and how you can help people.

Read the full episode in the transcript tab.

Links to resources

The freelance group I mentioned: Freelance Heroes

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Transcript of the Marketing Morsels podcast with Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor:

Hello, welcome to your Marketing Morsels. I am Lauren Taylor. Thank you so much for joining me for my first podcast. I was originally going to talk about the story of how and why this podcast came to be, and the process I went through to make this decision. But I recently shared some questions in a freelance group. It was Freelance Heroes, if anyone's interested. And they are about how to take a step back and understand your audience a bit better. And people seem to find them quite helpful. So I figured, this was probably a more useful place to start, and we can come back to the story in another episode. So if you find yourself in a bit of a funk, you want to start marketing but you feel like things aren't quite clear and something is stopping you from starting writing content or creating videos, but you're not sure what it is.

This is really a nice trick to just take that step back and take a breather and just think. And it doesn't have to be really detailed, it can just be half an hour, just scribbling some notes on a bit of paper. But you should come out the other side a bit clearer on what you're about and how you can help people. So I'll share some questions with you, and then you can either pause me as we go through it and you can answer each one, or just keep listening as we go through them and come back to the podcast when you want to answer each one. So the point is to get into the head of your customers. So think about them as real people, even if your customers are businesses, which a lot of them will be. The people behind the business are the people making the decisions. And they're the people that you want to connect with.

Now, before you start creating content, writing blogs, writing social posts, or even just deciding what social media channels or marketing channels you want to be using, you need to know who you're speaking to and why and how you can help them. And more importantly, what they actually want from you and what they want for their own business. So let's start with the first question. These are short and sweet, they're just very top line, just to break you out of the funk. Keep your answers quick and dirty and just write whatever flows. Whatever first comes to your brain, just let it go and write it down. Your first natural instinct usually comes from your heart, so you should trust it. So first question ... I'm not stalling, I'm just rumbling. So first question, who do you help?

Now, this might seem like a basic one, but think of it in terms of, do you work with small businesses, freelancers, large businesses? Do you work with non-profits? Who do you help? And this can just be one paragraph, a few sentences, just really short and sweet. Think of it in terms of, are they business owners? Are they creatives? Are they moms? Do they create their own products? Are they small business owners selling ethical sustainable products? Just one or two sentences about who you actually help. And we're not talking about demographics here. Some things like age, gender, location, at the moment we don't care about that. That's useful for when you're targeting adverts, but for the best, we want to just get under the skin of who your people are. So start there. Who do you help?

The next one. What stage is their business at? So this is useful because if you're working with customers that are start-ups, they'll want different services and help from you versus someone that's established and is looking to take their business to the next level. So it's important to figure out at what point they're at with their business. Next one. What are they like? Now, again, we don't care what their favourite colour is, what their dog's name is. Secretly, we do care what their dog's name is, but it's not useful for this exercise. So here we're thinking about what their personality is like. What are they like as people? If you're working with small business owners or creatives, are they chilled out? Are they relaxed and friendly? Do they have a certain sense of humour?

I don't know if you can hear that little whoof, that's my dog dreaming. Anyway, thinking about what they're like as people. Are they kind, compassionate? Are they ethical? If you're working with larger businesses, the person that makes the decision about whether they use you, what are they like? Are they driven? Are they a bit more formal? Are they ambitious? If you get stuck, think about your favourites top five clients. Or if you're just starting out, think about the kinds of people you want to work with. What are they like as people? This just starts to build a picture of the kinds of people you want to be appealing to when you're writing website copy or you're writing social posts, whatever it is you're doing. That's what's stopping you from doing it at the moment, is that you're not clear on exactly who's reading it. Going through this process will help you figure that out and make it much, much easier for you to start writing your content.

So next question. What makes them choose you? Now, this is a standard question for trying to figure out what's known as your unique selling points. With everything we're doing, we're going deeper than those surface level questions. So again, think about, we'll take your top five favourite clients at the moment, what reasons have they given you for choosing you as their partner? What is it they like about you? What do they get from you that they wouldn't get from anyone else? And even if that's just your personality, your style, the way you work, your honesty, they know that they can trust you. Again, think about, it's the human connection side of things. What is it about you that makes you different from somebody else that does the same thing as you? Because everyone has their own way of doing things, but your way attracts your people.

Another person's way attracts their people. There's plenty of room in the world for everyone. But what's going to help you figure out and attract the people you want is to understand why they come to you in the first place. And they don't come to you for this service or that service, they come to you because they want you. Now, what is it about you that makes them choose that? And if you get stuck here, go and ask your clients. They'd love to know that you care enough to ask them about this sort of thing. Next question. What's important to them? So think of this one along the lines of their values. But what we don't want is just the words integrity, honesty, which are all great and lovely. But we need to know why those are their values, why those things are important to them.

What do your customers care about, about their business, their working relationships, their clients, their part in the world. What is important to them? What impact do they want to have on their customers? How do they want to be known in their industry? How do they look after their team? This all adds to the picture of the kind of person they are. Next question. What do they desire? Now, you've probably heard people speaking about things like pain points, which is a gross way of talking about the problems a client has, that you can help them solve. But thinking about them as desires. And again, it's about going to the layer underneath that surface question and thinking about why. Why do they want those things? So in terms of desires, what do they worry about day-to-day? What's keeping them up at night? What's stressing them out? But equally, what makes them happy? What makes them feel confident and fulfilled?

Are they really busy and they need somebody to take a job off them and just look after it and do a great job? Do they want to learn something new for themselves so they can go off and do it for their own business? Do they want somebody that can answer questions whenever they're stuck, so they don't feel quite so alone and overwhelmed if they're stuck on something? Think about the kinds of things that will make their life easier and help make them happier. So next one. This is the second to last question. So this one is, what is success to them? So success means something different to everybody. So some people want to own a particular income, some people want to spend more free time with their family, some people are saving for a particular passion project.

So figure out what it is that your clients want from their business, their lives. What is their happy place? And think about this from the angle of, what is it that gives them purpose? What is it that motivates your clients? What drives them? Why does their business exist in the first place? Why are they doing what they're doing? Now, if you're thinking they want a successful thriving business, think deeper. Some people do want that, but they want it for a reason, because it's going to let them have a particular type of life. What is that? That's the answer that you want. That's what you can tap into. If you think about how you're writing your messages on your website to attract these kinds of people, they don't care that you can help them build a thriving business. It doesn't mean anything. What does it mean underneath?

It means that you can help them live a happier life. You need to appeal to that next layer of what it is they want from their life and their business. And then the last question is, take everything you've learned about what your customers want and turn it into how you can help them. So you now know what they're about, what makes them tick. What do they want from their business, their life, their future, their customers? So you can now take that and turn that into what you know, what experience and knowledge you have that you can share with them. Are you teaching them something? Are you doing a job for them so they can spend more time on their own business or on themselves? And be quite specific here. So say, for example, if you're a social media manager, you can help them with post writing tips. You can help them with creating funky looking graphics. Get specific.

And then this will help you build a picture of the services you offer. And again, you can start and shape the content that you put on your website and the kinds of things you talk about when you're sharing helpful, useful information on your social channels. You can really hone in on these subjects because you've done your research, you know that this is what your people want to know about. And as soon as your people start and see that you're sharing these kinds of things, they'll go, hang on a minute, they look awesome, I want them. And that's how you start and build a profile as a leader and an expert in your industry, because that's what you are. So just to recap on the questions, I'll read through them.

Who do you help? What stage is their business at? What are they like? What makes them choose you? What's important to them? What do they desire? What is success to them? And how can you help them? So before you do anything else, and I'd recommend just doing this with pen and paper, go and answer these questions. The whole point of this podcast is to give you practical advice. So go and brain on this for a bit. Get a cup of tea, go and sit somewhere quiet, get a pad, pen and paper, take yourself away from your screen and your phone and just sit and think for half an hour. And spit out the answers to these questions and then choose one thing that you're going to do differently based on what you've just learned.

So that's it for this week. I hope that was helpful. I'd love to know what you thought of this first podcast. Obviously it's brand new. And if you've got any questions or anything you'd like to talk about, please do let me know. If you head to my website, you can find all my social links and just drop me a message or an email. My website is laurentaylor.uk. And I will see you next week for the second episode. Thank you so much for listening. Have a good week.

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