It’s no secret that I’m a movie lover. I love watching them, writing them, and shooting them. Creating a character and then taking that character through trials, misadventures, and eventual triumphs is one of my favorite things to do. And, I may or may not have spent some time daydreaming, inserting myself into a story where I’m the one who’s recruited to rescue the President of the United States after his plane crashes and he’s taken hostage by a group of prison inmates. Who doesn’t enjoy imagining themselves as the hero, the victor, the one who succeeds?
The same is true for your business and your customers.
Donald Miller, best selling author and marketer extraordinaire, puts it this way, “When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges.”
People are coming to you because they have a problem they need you to solve. Maybe their air conditioner is broken, maybe they need to open a checking account, or maybe they’re looking for a new pair of shoes—whatever the case, they want to come away successful and be the hero of their story. So, if your marketing can make your customer the hero of their story—and you as a helpful guide along the way—you’re going to be much more successful. There are a lot of ways you can make the customer the hero in the story, and here are a few quick ways you can practice.
Empathize with Your Customers and Put Their Problem Into Words
When thinking about your marketing, take some time to put yourself into your clients’ shoes. Think about why they’re shopping for a product like yours and how it might feel to need it. If you’re a plumber, maybe your customers have a leak they need fixed. You can fix that, but so can every other plumber. But along with that leak, they probably have a few other problems like feeling stressed over the damage or not having the extra time it takes to deal with the leak. “Coming home to a leaky sink is stressful. Let us take away that stress.” Empathize with the problems your clients are experiencing and what they’re feeling. Then, put those feelings into words, so you can then tell them how you will help them solve those problems.
Show Them What Success Looks Like
Once you’ve put your customers’ problem into words, do the same for the solution! I often like to do this with pictures (though, I am a filmmaker so…). Too often I see an ad for a mechanic that just shows someone standing in front of a broken-down car but doesn’t show a happy customer driving away in a car that runs beautifully. Think through what a satisfied customer looks like and use words that describe that customer or images that show what that customer looks like. When a customer sees this image, you want them to feel what it’ll be like if they buy what you’re selling. (In case you’re wondering, people buy because of what they feel—we’ve got a good post about that if you want to read more.)
Talk about yourself less.
There’s one area where I think Donald Miller gets kind of harsh. He says that no one cares that you’ve been in business for 50 years or that your grandfather started the company from nothing. Ouch. But the more I think about it, the more I can see that he’s right. If we’re going to make the customer the hero of the story, as he suggests, then all of our marketing needs to be about how our product will make their lives better. Sure, it’s good to reinforce that you know what you’re doing by showing your credentials—but do it all in the name of making your customer the hero. For example, it’s great to have endorsements from recognizable clients. That might seem like talking about yourself, but you’re doing it to show how you can help new clients too!
You are a guide to help your customers on their journey to security, financial success, or a less stressful life. Make sure that your marketing shows potential customers that they are the main character in the story, and if they choose you they’ll be the hero.
Create a story by:
empathizing with your clients’ needs and problems
not talking about yourself too much, and
showing customers what success will look like when they choose you.
These steps will help you create customer-centered marketing to connect with—and bring in—more people.
Need help making your customers the hero of your marketing? Schedule a free strategy call and we’ll help you get started!