A friend (and former coworker in the tech marketing space) sent me this article by Dick Lee titled "Say Hello To Your Inner Customer." For those of you who hate clicking links or reading marketing articles, the story is that a businesswoman found a flower arrangement on her work desk with a card saying:
It's been awhile.
Missing you. I've changed ...
for the better. Done
a lot of growing lately.
Hope to see you soon.
The card was unsigned. The woman was worried. Did she have an uncomfortable situation with a former boyfriend? A stalker? A secret admirer in the office? Who was giving her romantic gifts with anonymous notes?
She finally tracked down the delivery to her florist, who had sent it as part of a targeted marketing campaign to "woo" affluent, influential female business customers. The rest of the article covers the inadequate response from the florist to the woman's complaints.
But for our purposes, let's stay with the first part of the story. Here is a company that thought up a clever (I'll use that adjective advisedly) marketing tactic aimed at a specific demographic they wanted to attract. They looked at their business from their own perspective and created an internal story that resonated with the creative team and business management. What they didn't do was check their thinking from their customers' perspective.
The same problem often surfaces when companies decide to include webinars as part of their outbound marketing mix. They know they want to put on a webinar to attract potential leads. The first task is to choose a subject. And right here, many companies fail. They think about what is the most important or valuable thing that they want to say. And that becomes the title of their web seminar. Instead, they should think "What is the most important or valuable thing our potential customers want to hear?" You can always slip in your important message once you have an audience. But you won't get an audience unless you offer them something they crave.
I have the same problem going on right now with my Webinar Success website. Now I'm the first to admit quite cheerfully that website design is not my specialty nor area of personal expertise. I put together a lot of information that I wanted to convey to my potential customers. There is an overview of the services I offer, links to technology vendors in the industry, background information on webinars, a discussion of business needs that webinars fill, links to industry news, and detailed descriptions of service offerings. After I built the site, I asked various friends and colleagues to look it over and tell me what they thought. Most people of course said, "Nice job." They are my friends, they are polite, and they aren't potential customers.
But in looking at my web logs, I find that most visitors take a quick look at the home page and go away without ever visiting any of the detail pages. I'm obviously not thinking like my customers. I'm thinking like myself. Maybe I'm not presenting the information they want. Maybe it's there, but not prominent enough. Maybe I don't have enough zing on the site with rich media audio/video. Maybe the navigation is difficult to use. The point is that my assumptions are unlikely to tell me the correct answer on my own. I've created a "mystery flower arrangement."
So I just took the first step in getting inside my customers' heads. The website now features an invitation at the bottom of the home page, advertising landing pages, and the contact page asking visitors to answer a very fast 5-question survey about their impressions. I start by asking why they visited in the first place, ask what they were looking for and whether they found it, and then ask for feedback on the current site design and utility. Questions are quick checkbox format, with room to expand in text if anyone is so inclined. All answers are anonymous, although I can link a survey response to a web log visitor path if I want to dig down to that level.
If you feel like looking at the site and answering the survey, please go right ahead. All feedback is useful. If you are interested in how I built the survey, I used online software from SurveyMonkey.com. You can sign up for a free account or a nominal $20/month charge for more functionality.
Going out of your head is usually a phrase that has a negative connotation. But when thinking about how you are presenting yourself to your potential market, it's an important skill to develop. I'll post a followup when I have enough response data to glean a consensus opinion about my website. In the meantime, don't forget to market your webinars using your audience's priorities rather than your own.
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