We’re now calling post-COVID life “the new normal.” How long will this “new normal” last? What does the new normal mean for businesses, especially for startups? When attracting new customers or even when serving the ones you already have, there are several things that will remain true, no matter how the “new normal” evolves.
In order to re-open a business post-COVID, the key fundamental to keep in mind is mastering your marketing message. Your message is the backbone of marketing; it’s the bridge that connects you with your customers in order to find solutions to their issues or provide for their needs.
The goal of creating and offering a product or service is to provide for the needs of your customer. As the creator of your product or service, you know the product better than anyone else, including what is solves and how it works.
Sometimes, however, the communication and connection with the customer can get lost. Many entrepreneurs are so in love with their own product that they forget who needs to know about it and why. It’s kind of like going on a first date: you’re far more likely to get a second date if you keep the conversation focused on the other person rather than talking about yourself all night.
The same is true of your company’s marketing message: if you’re going on and on about how great your product is, it won’t matter to your target customer unless you show them exactly how it solves their unique problem or need.
So, how do you create the right marketing message?
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Connect with your customer
In order to connect with your customer, you first must fully connect with your own company mission or vision.
Ask yourself the following:
- Why did I create this thing in the first place?
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- Who am I trying to help?
Knowing these answers may seem elementary, but in order to fully resonate and connect with your customer, you must connect the dots each and every day to why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you want to serve.
Once you’ve connected the dots with the mission and vision of your business, then you can connect the dots to your customers. Know their wants and needs, as well as their desires and frustrations.
Speak their language
The more you understand your customer, the easier it is to communicate with them.
Think about slogans of the brands that resonate well with you. Why do they? Other than being super catchy, I would imagine it’s because the slogan resonates with you on an emotional level, and the product probably solves a need you have.
In the book “Ogilvy on Advertising,” David Ogilvy states, “Tell your reader what your product will do for him or her,” and in the language people use in everyday conversation. Knowing what your customer needs, then translating that into everyday language, will enable you to connect with your customer.
Know how to communicate depending on where the message is being displayed
Messaging is all about attracting people to your product, service or business. It’s about catching their attention, even if they were not specifically looking for you.
One way to ensure you’re doing this is to think about where your message is showing up and speaking directly to the customer at that particular moment. This means a lot of different things. Not only do you need to know your message and how to best communicate with your customer, but you also need to be able to tap into the customer’s state of mind.
For example, a few weeks ago, I was searching for a speciality item that only a few stores carry. Because I very much like to shop locally, I found a store 20 miles from where I live that carried this product.
Excited to drive there, I first checked the company’s Facebook page to see if they offered curbside pick-up. To my shock, the last post this business made on Facebook was nine weeks prior. Confused by the lack of communication, I was first concerned that perhaps they had permanently closed down. I didn’t believe this was true since the business had quite the reputation in the community and seemed to have been doing quite well, but COVID has impacted so many businesses, it was a possibility. I then checked their website: it looked the same as usual. I then called, but it went right to an answering machine. No message, no communication of the store’s status, no indication of how COVID was impacting the business.
I decided to risk the trip and drive there. When I walked up to the door to see if it was open, there was a tiny handwritten note on the door that dictated the same message as its last Facebook post nine weeks prior. Frustrated by the lack of communication, I had to find my specialty item elsewhere.
What could this store have done differently?
For starters, they could have updated their status online via their website and Facebook page, for starters. They could have offered suggestions for things to do at home using their products, or served my needs by anticipating my needs ahead of time. While of course no one can plan for natural disasters or pandemics, it’s important to always keep your customer’s perspective in mind in order to retain existing customers.
Your marketing message doesn’t have to be complicated if you can just understand your customer. You should reflect on the dynamic of these relationships and how to best communicate with your customers.
The more you focus on the customer, fine tune your message and make crystal clear how you and your product will help them, the more your customers can relate to you and your brand.
Your messaging will surely evolve depending on the journey your customer takes. If someone has already purchased from you, your message will also adapt to the new relationship you have with a customer as it evolves over time. Do they still need your product, or can they refer someone else who does?
Messaging is the bridge between what you have and what the customer wants.