They probably are—at least some of the right questions, before beginning a new website or other marketing project. What are you selling? Who is your audience? What do you hope to achieve? What do you want to include? What are your product benefits?
The problem would be if they stopped there.
The problem would be if their every query to the company contained the word “you.”
By focusing only on what’s important to company insiders, the final marketing piece will naturally appeal to the sensibilities of those insiders, and be approved on that basis. Which would work great if the employees themselves were the intended audience.
But of course, they’re not.
Now let’s dig a little deeper and ask questions that focus on the mindset, goals and challenges of the potential buyers they’re trying to reach. To get started, simply avoid the “you” word, and make sure all the additional questions include the pronoun “they.”
What are they trying to achieve? What’s standing in their way? What do they need to help overcome their obstacles? What other considerations are complicating their dilemma?
See the difference? Now let’s dig even deeper past the practical considerations, and enter the emotional realm:
What are they feeling in regard to their predicament? What pressures are they under from the people around them? What mistakes are they afraid of making? What underlying, unspoken needs are they trying to fulfill? What would make them proud?
And let’s not forget this biggie: What questions or concerns are they stuck on, in relation to what they’re trying to achieve?
Now, imagine a website or marketing piece that starts with the “they” questions. Now our written messages cut to the chase and reach the reader on a more personal level. Why? Because now it’s all about the person they care most about—themselves.
Marketing that shows authentic sensitivity and understanding of the buyer’s predicament makes a connection. Without that, the business just ends up talking about how wonderful they are. And from your own experience as a consumer or business buyer, you know that approach just makes you reach for the back button.
At this point you may have a question of your own: But if this is our website, don’t we get to talk about our company?
Yes, of course—when the buyer is a little further down the sales funnel, or further into the website. Initially, their mind is on the issue that triggered their search for a provider. Once you’ve connected, with messages that understand their predicament and suggest smart solutions, then they’re likely to be interested in the insightful, sensitive people behind those messages.
If the copywriter only asks questions about what the employees think, they may become complicit in that ‘insider’ bias. Instead, they should be asking about what the customer thinks—and then start there.
Not sure if your current website messages are optimized to truly connect with buyers? As we’ve seen, we’re all too close to our own companies to be truly objective. What would you learn from a Website Marketing Audit?