When I took Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing course a little over a year ago, I learned how a good marketing strategy moves a potential customer along the buyer’s journey, from visitor to lead to customer. The insights I gained in developing content for each stage of my customers’ journey helped me think carefully about how I promote and sell my services. But as my business grew and evolved (and as I myself grew and evolved as a business owner), I realized that marketing is less about selling and more about connecting.
What’s more, marketing is less about connecting and more about connecting with the right people.
As with many new business owners, I once felt I had to reach every possible customer I could. Within a few months, I learned a valuable lesson: the number of people you reach has nothing to do with the customers you attract.
Bernadette Jiwa agrees that good marketing speaks only to the people who matter. In fact, she believes in marketing that turns wrong customers away! “What’s worse than not attracting enough customers is attracting the wrong customers, people who will divert time and energy away from your ability to delight your best customers,” she explains. “Your marketing only has one job to do for your wrong customer—to make them seek an alternative.”
In the early stages of owning a business, you may feel the pressure to take on any and every client who walks through your actual or virtual door. I certainly did. Over time, though, you’ll likely discover those customers you enjoy working with the most. These are the customers who value who you are and what you do. They are the customers who may need some information but likely don’t need much persuasion. They already understand why they need the services you provide.
What results is a marketing strategy that speaks less about the tangible what and more about the emotional why behind your business.
For me, the services I offer help my customers put their best writing foot forward. Some customers simply seek affirmation that what they’re writing is conveying the message they desire. Others want their content to serve a particular purpose and aren’t quite sure how to make it happen. Still others desire nothing more than for someone to take the writing off their hands.
What matters is not the actual editing or content creation service I complete; instead, what matters is how my customers feel when I’m finished. That’s why the message behind my marketing focuses less on what my services actually do and more on the end result. Organized content, clean and concise sentences, and grammatical accuracy…all of that is important. Even more important, though, is that my customers feel confident they are making the impression through writing they want.
Developing content that speaks the right way to the right customers takes some experimentation, no doubt. But the more you understand the emotional connection behind why your customers buy, the more you’ll be able to market to them with purpose. Similarly, the more you’ll see them respond in return. As Jiwa notes, “[H]ow the recipient [i.e., your customer] feels, not only what she thinks, determines what she does next.”