Personally, I've seen marketing so pointed, so in-tune to what I've been thinking that I can't help but wonder if they're inside my head. That is quite an impressive feat!
You've heard me talk at length about the importance of prospect research. Knowing your Ideal Client's desires and dreams. Knowing their fears, problems and frustrations. And being absolutely clear about where they hang out. All improving your chances of connecting with them with your marketing and products.
Yet, you can still take this even further.
A popular methodology called “relationship marketing” has evolved in recent years in the business world. Relationship marketing emphasizes customer engagement, retention and lasting relationships versus only sales transactions. It requires laser-focused communication and personal interactions that go way beyond sales pitches.
In their growing use of this method, industry experts discovered that if you use the deep understanding you gain from your prospect research, and express your target prospect's desires, concerns and frustrations in their words, you will connect on a deeper level, and get better response from your marketing. This method is referred to as “VOC,” or Voice of Customer.
It's proven to be so effective in marketing, with a 25 – 50% increase in revenue for those who implement it, that there are many gurus and authors dedicated to the craft. I am here today to show you how it will give your expert business the boost you have been looking for.
You'll discover the secret behind the psychology of VOC…
The quickest ways to tap into your prospects' unfiltered thoughts…
And how to implement this intelligence into your business for bigger profits…
Speaking Like Your Customers
Yet, even though you address them head on, there's still room for a disconnect. And the possibility they will tune you out.
You see, your clients experience the world through their own unique lens. And they express themselves differently from you. So, when you are writing to them, you have to be cautious of writing from your perspective.
What I mean is, even though you may be expressing the feelings they have, you may be spinning them into your words. Inadvertently alienating them from your marketing and your business.
Don't get too upset about this yet. Because just by researching your prospects and having a level of what I call “customer intimacy”, you are doing the right thing for your business. And your clients will notice.
However, since you are already putting in the work of doing prospect research, there is a benefit to going the extra mile. So you can understand exactly how they express their hopes, desires, problems, and frustrations. Are they casual about it? Are they angry? Are they defeated? Are they jaded from interacting with other businesses who just sell, sell, sell? What words do they use?
When you use expressions and phrases that are reminiscent of how they actually speak, they will feel like you are “one of them.” You show you get them on a personal level, you understand them.
And with that, they will trust you a lot more than they would otherwise. It will lower their defenses, allowing you to show them how you can help solve their problems. And they will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Hanging Where Your Prospects Hang
However, there is one more benefit in knowing where to find your prospects. And that's being in a position to hear what they have to say.
When you discover where your prospects hang out and talk to each other, you've found a treasure trove of information. There you'll hear everything they like, everything they don't like, and what they feel deeply about, all in their own words, completely uninhibited.
And that's the beauty of VOC research – the raw, unfiltered truths and concerns you learn about your target prospects, your Ideal Client. The kinds of things you can really use to connect with them on their level.
So what are the best ways to get this intelligence? Here are a few key options:
#1) Personal communication: You can always communicate with your target market in person, on the phone, or through Q&As. Giving your time to learn from them directly will pay off in a big way.
You can also attend events where they hang out, and chat with them between presentations or at the hotel bar later on. It's a great way to get to know people in a casual environment (and we all know a little liquor can act as a truth serum!)
If you feel shy about communicating this way, that's okay. There are plenty of less direct ways to get this Voice of Customer education.
#2) Social media: Although there have been claims about privacy becoming all but non-existent, that hasn't stopped people from getting on this bandwagon. People post whatever comes to their mind, including their deepest thoughts, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.
So, the first place to go is the social media modality of your target market's choice and search for posts related to your field. Most have a search function, so choose a few keywords related to your field and see what pops up.
You'll also want to “follow” industry leaders in your field and see what their followers have to say, good and bad. Keep note of the things you hear; you never know what you might be able to use in your marketing later on.
#3) Forums: Depending on your field, there may be many incredibly active forums running. Especially in the self-help, online business, and health and wellness niches.
If your target market hangs out in a forum, that's a fantastic place to hear them talk amongst themselves. And since the conversations are separated by specific topics, you can easily find the subject you are looking for. I've learned quite a lot about other's personal problems and fears I might not have learned about otherwise, through this method.
#3) Amazon.com: This may sound a bit strange, as it's a marketplace for all sorts of goods. However, there is one key element to Amazon that allows you to learn a lot about the people in your market: customer reviews.
Talk about unfiltered, right? People are allowed to give star ratings, as well as written reviews about products they've bought. And as you know people tend to be brutally honest in both directions.
So, start looking at books or products in your field that your target market might buy. For example, time management books if you're a productivity coach.
See which books rank the highest and see what people have to say. Make sure to read a good sample of each star-rating (though I would say the highest and lowest ratings would give the most unabashed information.) You may find common themes throughout.
Out of all of these options, you are sure to find conversations perfect for you and your target market. Having this specialized intelligence will not only add fuel to your marketing, but also the creation of your own products and services!
Using Their Words to Improve Your Profits
When you've found good information you can use, you'll want to compile it into a document for future research. That'll allow you to refer to it whenever you need ideas for an angle for a sales piece, or perhaps a topic for a new module in your course or coaching program.
The thing is, if you use any of these quotes you've pulled from people's reviews in your materials exactly as written, you run a slight risk of that person seeing them, and wondering how on earth you found them. It's unlikely, but a bit creepy.
So, the best way around this is to use the essence of the speech patterns, word choices, etc… in your materials. If they use the word “procrastinate” a lot, then you want to use that word. If they never use it, you'll want to use an alternative.
This will position you to connect with your prospect on a deeper level, while avoiding the risk of being a little too “big brother.”
Another fantastic use of this research, as I alluded to earlier, is in creating the best possible products and services for your prospects… Books, courses, and presentations catering exactly to their concerns and desires.
Especially with product reviews, you can learn a lot about what your prospects like and don't like about your competitor's products. If you see a common thread, it would be good to apply that insight to the next offer you create!
For example, if people really like the anecdotal way one wellness coach shares information in her book, you should consider putting more stories in yours. If they complain there isn't enough “proof” of why things work, then you should find more ways to prove what you are teaching truly works.
Online reviews of products are like a free critique for your products and services. You can learn so much about what works and what doesn't, without any expense on your end. And you will gain valuable insights.
A Simple Method With Big Results
It may take a little extra time, but VOC research is absolutely essential to improving the bottom line of your Expertpreneur® business, and getting more customers. They will truly believe you understand them on their level.
Pick one modality you enjoy spending time on, whether it be blogs, forums, social media, or Amazon.com, and dig in. Set aside an hour for research, and see what you find.
I think you'll be amazed by what a treasure trove of information these places can be. And how much you can learn about your Ideal Clients in their own words.
By taking the time to do this, you set yourself up for success far beyond your competition, and become the go-to destination for your target prospects.