Customer needs is a typical conversation I have with clients. Reflect customer needs

They tell me what they want me to write about, and I tell them that’s rubbish (ok, not in those exact words) and that their copy must give their customers want they need.

In other words, background about your business, comments like ‘industry-leading’, ‘cutting-edge’, ‘state-of-the-art’ and ‘ground-breaking’, and listing the features of your widgets won’t cut the mustard.

You’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to be different to everyone else in your field. You’ve got to stand out.

You’ve got to write about the things that are important to your customers.

How do you know what your customer needs?

That’s a dilemma that faces every business.

If you can’t tailor your products or services to your target audiences’ needs, you’re in trouble. If they aren’t the perfect fit, they won’t fly off the shelves.

Many companies make the mistake of assuming their customers want the same things they want.

Big mistake.

I enjoy cycling, in fact, some of my clients also enjoy cycling, but that doesn’t mean they all do.

Working out what they want is simple. You can:

  • Ask them
  • Make a note of the questions you’re commonly asked and make sure they are answered in your content
  • Think about how your product is used by your customers and the impact it has on their business

Your customers aren’t a mirror image of you

Making decisions about social media use and marketing based on your own beliefs and preferences is a recipe for disaster.

If you want your business to succeed, you must research your market and work out what they want, how they want it presented and what they’re willing to pay.

Even when considering dabbling in social media, you must work out where your customers are ‘hanging out’ because if you interact in the wrong place, you’ll simply be talking to yourself.

Some common misconceptions are:

  • MDs of B2B companies think that as they don’t use social media, their customers don’t either. Yes, they do—you have to work out how they’re using it and where they are.
  • Companies that use Facebook tend to update their status during the day, whereas most fans don’t log on until the evening or weekend.
  • Sticking with Facebook, just because someone ‘liked’ your page doesn’t mean they want to be bombarded with promotional emails from you. Guess what? The ‘like’ button is not an ‘opt-in’ button.
  • Website copy should inform the customer about your business, whereas it should be convincing the customer that your widget will make their life easier.
  • Customers will read between the lines and realise that because your widget is ‘ground-breaking’, it’s going to be perfect for them (hint: no, they won’t).
  • Your website has to be a carbon copy of everyone else’s in your industry because that’s what your customers expect (hint: they want to see a company doing things differently and has a fresh approach).

No matter what business you’re in –retail, IT, manufacturing, copywriting, shipping etc., the only way you can discover what your customers want is to ask them (or survey them).

A scientific approach wins every time; guesswork doesn’t.

Sally Ormond, Professional Copywriter