Are You Selling What Your Customers Need?

Are you selling what your customers need

This isn’t a critique of the actual item or service you offer, but rather how you present it. If you’re not speaking in your audience’s language and addressing a need they’ve identified, you’re facing an uphill marketing battle. Here’s why:

Years ago, I worked with a client who used a term I’d never heard before. She wasn’t marketing to NASA or some niche filled with jargon. Her target audience was a common one, albeit younger than me. She insisted she was a leader in using this term, pioneering its usage. I had to ask her what it meant.

She explained it simply, and I followed up with a straightforward question: “Is that what your audience calls it?”

“Not yet,” she replied.

I understood her intention. She wanted to stand out in the market by coining a new phrase. However, this wasn’t a catchy marketing slogan or a unique product name; it was just a more complicated way of describing what she sold.

Why Complications Hurt Marketing

The problem was, no one was searching for that term. Her intentions were good—differentiation—but her approach misused valuable SEO real estate on a term no one knew or searched for.

We ended up incorporating more search-friendly and recognizable words in her headlines, using her unique term within the body content and explanations.

When marketing to your ideal audience, you need to understand how they search for you and the vocabulary they use. If you’re targeting a local market, consider the common vernacular and market using those terms.

For example, in my hometown, we called sweet, fizzy drinks “soda.” Across the state, my cousins called it “pop.” In parts of the South, it’s “Coke,” regardless of the type. These regional differences matter when marketing locally.

If you want your audience to find you and understand what you’re selling, you need to appeal to them using the language they know and use. Trying to change how they think about what you sell requires education, which takes time and can initially create a disconnect or friction in the buying process. Worse, they may not find you in search at all.

The Right Time for Cleverness

Don’t get me wrong; I love a clever marketing campaign. But cleverness should not interfere with clarity or your message. Use it in ways that enhance rather than detract from your searchability. Clever works well in ads because of the entertainment factor. Entertain your audience, and they’ll remember you. However, if you use a clever title or header on your website that doesn’t match what your audience is searching for, you won’t show up in their search results.

For example, if I sold roses, my main header on my website shouldn’t be “long-stemmed romance” unless people buying flowers refer to them that way. They don’t. Your poetic, creative mind isn’t helping your wallet in this case.

If you’re selling what your customers need, you should also use the language they use to find you. There’s a time to educate them on a new term or differentiate yourself in a novel way, but that comes later, after you’ve built some momentum.

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