Think Like Your Customers!

An essential part of all marketing campaigns is to think like your target audience. The common elements in most marketing campaigns that fail are the following; Assumptions have been made about the target audience, or they have been discounted as ignorant or sheep. If you have something to sell online – you have to put yourself in the virtual shoes of your potential customer and act and behave like them.

The average internet user makes around 12 searches per day on sites such as Google or Bing. Of those 12 searches, not all will be associated with the intent to spend money with businesses. Many will be associated with perhaps looking up some information about a hobby or interest, news on a celebrity, photos, or simply random stuff. Of the searches made associated with spending money on goods or services – such as looking for a plumber, or renting a car, or shopping for handmade pan flutes from Peru. There are a finite number of links that a potential client will click on before deciding if they do or do not want to spend their money.

Remember – only slightly more than 3% of internet searches end in money changing hands. Let us imagine you have a website that sells handmade pan flutes from Peru – and you appear on the front page of Google for a search term directly related to your business. There are nine other sites on the front page of Google with you – why should the searcher spend money with you…?

The assumption is that the consumer will always look for the best price. This, however, is where many marketing campaigns go wrong. Price is an integral part of the equation – but it is not the answer. Other factors that will influence a consumer to spend money with you, rather than someone else are the following points;

• How obvious is your customer service information?
• What is your shipping and returns policy?
• Does your site look confusing, too busy or messy?
• Does your site look dated?
• Does your site look legit?

Assuming that beating the price of all your competitors will seal the deal is a fatal mistake, that does the following; It makes assumptions about your target audience (that they only care about money), and that they are ignorant (they do not care about service or the visual impact of your site), and that they are sheep (give them the best price and they will do whatever you want).

To make the sales – you have to offer everything the potential customer wants, and you have to do it in a setting that makes them comfortable putting their hand in their pocket and grabbing their credit card.

Dude – Where’s my Customers…?

For a long, long, long while it worked great. You had a bricks and mortar shop that sold handmade pan flutes from Peru. Every year you paid for your advert in the yellow pages, and the phone began ringing with people looking for what you sell. Then, slowly the phone stopped ringing as much – and by now it may not even ring at all. Something very similar happened with 35mm film cameras. One day everyone was using a 35mm camera, and then all of a sudden (after Christmas) film sales and developing services just crashed. The customers had just disappeared!

Your customers, on mass, have gone online — and the vast majority of their time online is not spent hammering away on a keyboard searching for things (you sell) to spend money on. They spend their time on Facebook, Youtube, blogs, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. — and just about everywhere else except your site in fact! The deal here, is that to make money from internet users you have to think like them – which means you have to go where they go, and you have to engage in activities they engage in. Produce a blog about your handmade pan flutes from Peru – and people who are interested in pan flutes will pick up your posts from your tweets on Twitter, or your fan page on Facebook, or your video blog on Youtube. It sounds exhausting – and it is! However, it will never be easy again – and if one, two, or three of your nine competitors on the front page of Google are doing this, they will get the money – and you will not!

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