Most of the searches done online are in pursuit of an answer to a question. This is true for your ideal clients as well: they are online searching for the solution that you provide. The question is: do they recognize themselves in the description you use of the problem?
Recently, my ankles turned up red and tender to the touch. It wasn’t sunburn, although I had been in the sun and heat that day walking around Seattle. I didn’t go to the doctor to find the answer to what was ailing me — I did what most of us do and turned to the Internet.
Here’s a list of my symptoms:
- Both ankles red, but only on the inner side (not the outside, where you would expect to see a sunburn).
- Painful to touch, but no pain if not touched.
- Redness did not extend above my sock.
Using these symptoms, I was able to track down the name of what I was suffering from. It’s called Golfer’s Vasculitis and is caused by the blood vessels being irritated by the heat.
Imagine for a moment that instead of offering the service you offer your clients, you, instead, sold a soothing bath salt mixture that would be perfect for soaking ankles with Golfer’s Vasculitis. How do you describe the problem you solve with your product?
In the case of Golfer’s Vasculitis, it has only been recently given this moniker after being unreported in medical literature. This was due to the fact that people don’t normally seek medical attention for the redness — it goes away on its own. Most people, even those who suffer from this regularly, would not recognize their ailment in the name alone.
Consider a marketing campaign like this:
If you love to participate in walking events for charity, but find that walking in heat results in sore, painful ankles, we have the solution for you. At the end of every day of walking, soak your legs in our beautifully scented soak, made especially to sooth your sore ankles. Your pain will be gone by morning and you’ll be ready for another day of walking.
Someone reading this description wouldn’t have to know the name of the disorder, they would only have to recognize their symptoms.
In the course of offering the solution you do — whatever it is you sell — you’ve come to understand the problem in a deeper way than any of your client’s ever will. This deeper understanding often leads business owners to talk about the problem using language that isn’t in alignment with how their clients see their own problems — like using the term “Golfer’s Vasculitis” when simply describing red, painful ankles will do.
Is the language you use in your marketing consistent with how your client’s view their own problem?
There are three ways to check if your marketing is written in a way that enrolls your ideal client:
1. Ask someone who is a representative of your target market to read your materials and give you feedback. This person shouldn’t know you well, but should be comfortable giving you honest feedback (i.e., telling you things you may not want to hear).
2. Read forums and blogs written by your target market. Match the language in your marketing to the language they use in their own descriptions of their problems. Initially, this may be challenging for you as you have to embrace a more negative way of looking at the world in order for your audience to see themselves in your description. But it is worth it.
3. Take a look at who signs up with you; are they your ideal client? The purpose of your marketing isn’t to sell your solution to everyone who has the problem, but to enroll your ideal client. If your marketing isn’t doing this — enrolling not just any clients, but your ideal clients — then it isn’t accurately reflecting your client’s version of their reality.
Take a look at your own marketing and search for your own version of Golfer’s Vasculitis and replace it with terms your ideal client knows, understands, and relates to. You’ll find that it is much easier to enroll your ideal clients and grow your business when you use conversation marketing.