Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to Create the Conversations Your Customers Really Want

“It’s all about the conversation” is the social media battle cry. It is not as loud today as it once was but advocates still champion conversation as a marketing tool. The promise of people driving sales by discussing companies, products and services has yet to be realized. The day may come but until it does, we need to focus on the marketing tactics delivering results.
The recommendations we make to our clients focus more on conversion than conversation. We believe the primary objective of any business is to provide solutions to customer needs at a profit. Generally speaking, customers don’t want to have conversations with companies. They want fast and easy service at a reasonable price.
There is one exception. Customers do want conversations that provide solutions. There are great benefits to solution-oriented conversations for customer and company. They solve problems, improve relationships, and increase revenue. The best ones are one-sided with the company providing information that resolves issues with minimal effort from customers and prospects. They are available on demand or delivered via email, direct mail, and social media platforms.
One-sided conversations are a long way from the original social media vision of the new marketing world but they are delivering the best results now. The environment may be different tomorrow but companies seeking growth and higher profits today need to provide the content that customers want. To create the conversations that deliver conversions answer these questions:
What is the real value of _________?
The real value has nothing to do with the price. Tickets to a major sporting event are life changing to some, a waste of money to others. Your content has to communicate the value directly to the people who want or need your products and services while ignoring the rest.
How do I fix _________?
People who need repairs want to know how it is done so they can determine if they can do it themselves. The parts industry is capitalizing on this by creating videos showing how to do it yourself with links to the parts needed. The best ones identify the skills required and provide step-by-step instructions.
Does this REALLY work?
No one wants to make a bad decision or fall victim to a snake oil salesman. Providing detailed information on the benefits of your products and services reduces the fear of being victimized. Including testimonials significantly improves people's willingness to believe your story.
Who do I contact when _________?
Fail-safes provide comfort when people are trying new products or services. Making it easy for people to contact the right person or department the first time reduces your costs and improves the trust factor.
What if _________?
This is where your frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) come to life. Providing answers to “what if” questions prior to the sale or return minimizes people’s need to contact your company. It’s a win for company and customer.
What’s the downside?
It’s hard for marketers to point out the weaknesses. After all, the need to highlight benefits has been ingrained in every marketer. People know everything isn’t perfect. Offering a few “it won’t do this” comments makes the “it does this” sections more believable.
What’s next?
People need to know what to do next. Incorporating a good call to action that moves them forward is a service. If they have an issue, move them towards resolution. If they are looking for products or services, move them towards the sales funnel. Don’t leave them hanging at the end of the conversation.


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