Updated: May 17, 2021
Over the past week, I’ve completed the user-centric marketing course as well as made my way through most of the conversion optimization course on CXL.com. As I went through the course, I noticed a large opportunity in the Facebook ads served to me, since a majority of them lacked these basic customer-centric requirements. Yes, sure, they probably convert irrespective of whether I think they could do better or not. But why be content with good performing ads, when you can make them great performing ads, right?
While the CXL.com courses were strongly directed towards websites and their functionality, by listing out ways to ensure that once a customer lands on your website they can clearly understand your product/service and complete the desired action with the least amount of friction. I’ve taken out bits from both courses and listed out the 3 main steps you could take as a small brand to help you make the most out of your advertisements.
What Is Customer-Centric Marketing?
As the name implies, Customer-centric marketing is a marketing approach that revolves around the customer’s needs and interests. It is about prioritizing customers over any other factor. Apart from using solid data about customer behavior, we will also need to use a little intuition and common sense.
What Are The Benefits Of Customer-Centric Marketing?
No matter what approach you take with your marketing, you can not forget the customer. Below are the few benefits you as a small business owner are likely to gain from customer-centric marketing.
a. Gives You Leverage Over Big Competitors:
A common problem that big businesses have, is that the bigger they get, the further away they get from their customer (there are exceptions). Those in charge of making decisions for these big companies seldom spend any time interacting with the customer, and therefore, a majority of decisions taken, are based on assumptions. As a small business using a Customer-centric approach, you will be able to consistently put the customer first ensuring that they feel valued. b. Recognize Opportunities For Growth
It can allow you to take advantage of opportunities for growth as you will be able to identify unfulfilled customer needs faster than your large competitors. For example, a client of mine – www.cropupstore.com sells GMO fruit, vegetable, and herb seeds for home gardeners. We expected a majority of our orders to come from Urban India or tire 1 cities. However, we noticed, that the orders pouring in were from suburban or rural India. After a brief interaction with home gardeners in the city, we learned that majority of them would like “home gardening kits” made, as they weren’t equipped with the knowledge required to grow fruits and vegetables, like the sub-urban and rural folk. Figures right? The newfound opportunity – make easy-to-use home gardening kits.
c. Building A Community And Interacting With The Customer
Being a small business gives you the advantage of creating, engaging, and interacting with a community of your customers. A lot of gurus selling online courses know this well. They each have a Facebook group that you get access to once you sign up for their course that helps clarifies doubts, give advice and push each other to do better. A good example of this is a flexibility and mobility coach whose course I happened to sign up for. She has a group on Facebook called 'The Practice Community'. Every day the members from the community posts pictures of small milestones they’ve achieved in their flexibility journey, and when someone posts about not being able to see results or feeling discouraged, the members motivate each other to not give up (which is very common when it comes to fitness). This group is also very supportive of her and they stick around to buy all the new courses that she adds to her collection. Something that would be very hard to achieve, with her constant interaction with us in the group.
d. Increasing Customer Satisfaction
Your ability as a small business to quickly react, respond and rectify any unfulfilled customer needs would undoubtedly have a positive effect on your customer satisfaction levels. If a customer has consistent positive interactions with your business, they’re more likely to excuse a negative experience, as their overall satisfaction with your business is high.
e. Higher Customer Retention And Loyalty
People go where they are valued, and being a small business, it’s much easier for you to make your customers feel valued and heard than it is for the larger competitors to do so. Whether it is through sharing content that your customers relate to or reposting their content about your brand (UGC aka user-generated content) or replying to their comments, once they feel seen and heard they’re more likely to stick around and become referrers for your brand.
How To Start Creating Customer-Centric Advertisements And Content:
Below are 3 ways to gather the information that will help you in creating more content, that you can use when drafting your advertisements or campaigns.
Start adopting a customer-centric approach with Empathy mapping:
During the user-centric course by Paul Boag on CXL.com, Paul gave us sound reasons why customer personas fall short and why empathy mapping would be a better option. However, he takes it a notch higher where he not just informs us about empathy mapping but also alters the empathy map to better suit his needs which frankly, I quite like. Here is the link to his blog post on empathy mapping: https://boagworld.com/usability/adapting-empathy-maps-for-ux-design/
In short, his empathy map answer 5 main questions that personas don’t usually take into account, however, his map is more inclined to user experience on a website/app. I’ve gone a step ahead and reworked the empathy map to better suit our advertising needs:
Thoughts. What matters to the customer? What worries and aspirations do they have?
Influences. What people, things, or places may influence how the user acts?
Pain points. What pain points might the customer be experiencing that they hope to overcome?
Goals. What is the customer’s ultimate goal? What are they trying to achieve?
Feelings. What positive feelings would a customer have after they have achieved their goal?
The reason for including “positive feelings” in the above empathy map, is because most advertising policies and social media community guidelines do not allow content that would imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception to promote any product or service. So if you were a haircare brand and your USP is anti-hair fall products, you can not promote your products by stating - “ hair fall bringing you down?” hoping to connect with the audience. Instead, you’d have to word it as “feel confident with thicker healthier locks”, to comply with their policy. Once we know what positive feeling a customer is trying to achieve with our product or service, the easier it is for us to draft positive messages that resonate with them.
It's best not to assume the above fields and instead meet with a potential customer and have them describe the above points to you.
Build a better picture by Surveying Customers who’ve already purchased from you:
This was a point brought up by Peep Laja, the founder and principal at CXL.com, in his conversion optimization course he listed out a couple of questions that would help businesses draft their messaging on their websites. However, these 5 questions can be used to draft an ad copy or plan an entire campaign as well.
Describe yourself in a couple of words.
What motivated you to buy our product/service?
What kinds of doubts or hesitations did you have before availing of our services/purchasing the product?
What is the one thing that nearly stopped you from completing a purchase?
What products/services were you using before deciding on ours?
Once you’ve gotten about 100-200 respondents, go through their answers. Do note – Peep Laja stresses keeping them open-ended, so do not give them any multiple-choice options. He also suggests sending them the survey as soon as possible, so they do not forget and make up answers.
Pause and Refine your advertisements/campaigns post-launch
Advertisers are all too familiar with how fast-paced everything is and how we're often under a lot of pressure to move on to the next campaign, the next thing to do. But as Paul Boag points out in his course –
“ it's arrogant to think that we're going to get a campaign perfect the first time. And there isn't this binary moment where we launch a campaign that it either succeeds or fails, there is so much opportunity to test it, to improve it after it's gone live.”
So don’t stop, go back to your KPIs, see what else could have been done to make it better? Were there any shortfalls in the process? If so, great! Now you can ensure the next campaign works a little better than the current one. Ask for feedback from your community, see if the ideas could be conveyed a lot better, etc
Paul Boag's website defines him as a User Experience Consultant, Conversion Rate Optimisation Specialist, and expert in digital transformation. He helps savvy marketers, product owners, and UX advocates make the case that a useable, accessible, and people-first experience is the best path to business success.
As an instructor, he comes off as very friendly and warm, and would definitely be some that I would love to be mentored by. However, since he is often very lively in his teaching, it's very easy to mistake an important point as banter. I had to go through a couple of his courses twice or thrice even, just to find a valuable answer to the quiz that he happened to mention in passing. He reiterates severally on how important it is to meet your customers regularly, 1 on 1, and how important prototypes are.
As a small business or ads manager, standing out with your limited budget can be hard. It's best to focus on things you can do, rather than those that you can. Building a relationship with your small customer base, by being customer-centric in your messaging across all channels is an opportunity that you can definitely leverage against your larger competitors.
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