It pops up in your inbox. An email with the subject line “Exciting News!”. You eagerly open it only to discover the company is tooting its own horn.
“We’ve won the such-and-such award. Aren’t we awesome?”
Okay, in most cases it’s not that blatant, but the result is the same. Disgusted, you delete the email. You might even unsubscribe.
No matter how much you love the company, their good news is not your good news unless it has some relevance to you.
In order to connect with your customers, you have to change your point of view.
Where You Are Now
When you think about content, you’re thinking about those features in your business that are important to you. You might have expanded into a larger facility, updated your website, hired more employees or designed a new product or service. Your technical specs might be stunning, your packaging elegant, or your mission statement utter perfection.
While those are all excellent achievements, what do they mean to your customer?
It’s natural to be enthusiastic and want to broadcast your hard work and accomplishments, and as long as you are in your point of view, it makes sense. The trick is to step out of your perspective and into that of the potential customer so you can clarify your message.
What Your Customer Wants to Know
Consumers have three main questions.
- Do you know my challenges?
- Do you have a solution?
- Can you explain it clearly and concisely, in terms relevant to me?
This requires you to put yourself in their position and look at your product or service from that viewpoint. This can be challenging, and if you’re not sure how to do it, there is a formula you can apply to enable you to interpret the features of your business in a way that resonates with your prospective customer.
How to Bridge the Gap
The Features, Advantages, and Benefit (FAB) approach has been around for decades. These days it’s commonly shortened to just features and benefits. However, when shifting points of view, considering the advantage then transitioning to the benefit can make a more powerful statement.
These are the three steps:
- Describe the feature (F). What can your product or service do?
- What is the advantage of having this feature (A)? Because it can do this, that makes it possible for this to happen. Often content writers confuse the advantage with the actual benefit, but there are differences.
- How does that benefit the consumer (B)? Here’s where the connection occurs. Paint the picture for the consumer of how this will solve their problem and put them in the scene. Make it personal and emotional. Your product or service will give them relief, confidence, and peace about the problem it addresses.
Here are two examples that demonstrate how that works.
F – There is an app that allows the user to open their car door from their mobile device.
A – The user can open a door remotely.
B – If you are locked out of your car, or your kids/pets are locked inside, you can easily and quickly open the doors.
F – A company has moved to a larger facility with more staff.
A –The company can deliver products faster and has 24-hour assistance for questions and problems.
B – The consumer gets their products in days instead of weeks with less frustration because they can get the answers they need immediately.
Three Final Tips
- No fluff. Don’t clutter your message with flowery description or extraneous words. Unless it has a direct bearing on the matter at hand, eliminate it. With the volume of content today, people want to know immediately if your information is worth their time.
- Be specific. Avoid meaningless statements like “your satisfaction is our goal”, and instead tell them what that means. “We respond to your questions within 48 hours, we work with you until we get the problem resolved, or, we keep you informed of the progress with daily updates”. Specificity builds credibility.
- Use relevant subheadings and bullet points. Format your content so the reader can grasp the message right away. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group found that 79 percent of website visitors scan pages, with only 16 percent reading every word. In emails, users skim even more, because messages in inboxes have increased by more than 300 percent in the last four years. No one has time to search walls of words for meaningful content, so make it unmistakable.
Now that you have customer-centric, targeted, appealing content, there’s one last thing to include. A call to action.
Small Business Trends found that 70% of B2B websites do not have a call to action, missing the opportunity to convert a visitor to a customer.
A strong call to action is the final touch that will move your prospect from research to response.
5-Star writer Lynn K is a versatile and experienced writer. She’s written advertising and web copy, newspaper and magazine articles, newsletters and catalogs, as well as fiction and nonfiction books.
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