Sometimes it’s the obvious things that we miss. Of course we all know to have the who, what, when, where and how of what we do up-front and center on our website and marketing. But sometimes, the most obvious gets overlooked. Perhaps it’s time to check your site and make sure you have it covered.
Have you defined your audience in specific terms? To be meaningful, who you do business for and with must be narrowly and specifically defined by gender, age, location, interests, education-level, affluence-level and probably industry, business type within that industry, and job title.
We even recommend you define your “who” as a specific person (or persons). Define a customer profile (or profiles) with specific attributes and interests, even give them a name, so you can bring that person to life and dimension in your mind. It’s okay to have multiple customer profiles, but if you have more than two or three, you’re very likely being too broad and trying to be everything to everyone.
You don’t need to share all the demographic characteristics with the world in terms of marketing but you certainly need to define it internally with as much detail as possible. Then once it’s defined, you can translate it into a functional positioning statement to use in your marketing. Like this: XYZ is a leading _____________. We help __________________ accomplish ______________ by (doing, offering, delivering) _______________ and ______________. Certainly, a good positioning and reassurance statement can be more complex than this, but its a great start.
Its very important to have the “who” of your positioning statement defined and expressed clearly in your website. Of all the considerations, “who” is second only to “what.” Your customers need to picture themselves as customers and relate to what you offer them. Without knowing and defining your “who” properly, you can’t make a connection.
What customer problem do you solve? What value do you offer? How has your client changed or improved because of your service? Have you defined those clearly? This is the most important element of your marketing and your positioning statement that goes into your website, and in our experience, it’s often the hardest to get right. Most businesses think that if they understand it, their customers will too, but that’s often not the case. Try to explain what you do in the simplest terms. Rather than trying to make it sounds more “official,” make it sound more simple. Paradoxically, it’s both more impressive and more understandable even to highly sophisticated customers.
Try as hard as you can to avoid industry jargon. It’s hard — industry jargon comes into use as an easier way to explain complex ideas and practices. But customers are by definition different from you. They come to the conversation from a different viewpoint. It will serve you better to use simple words to express complex concepts, not jargon, no matter how universal you think it is.
When it comes to where, there are several considerations. Where do you conduct business, deliver services and fulfill? Where do your customers live, purchase and gather? Where do you need to be to connect with those customers? These are considerations no matter how local, national or international your business. The answer might be websites online or physical places where your customers gather. It’s often not as important to define in your website or marketing as the other considerations, but addressing this will help you decide how to conduct your marketing. The mechanics of where can change over time, as you advance from one marketing campaign to the next, but it’s very important to be mindful and keep track.
When is tricky, but should be addressed, too. When goes far beyond your hours of operation. When is about how urgent or timely your offering, how quickly you will solve your customer’s problem, how quickly they will feel relief or resolution, what the process will look like along the way. It gets more into the intricacies of your deliverability, the logistics and mechanics of how you complete what you do. But when is important — it helps your customer see the end result. It completes the picture for them. It bridges the idea of what you do into the completion of what you do. If it’s missing from your website and marketing, you might be missing an opportunity to help your customers see the end benefit of what you offer.
Like where, how is about acquiring your customers. How will you be different from similar businesses? How will you do what you do in a fresh or distinct way, even if that difference is subtle? How will you build your business over time? Will you grow in size or just become more well-known and more recommended? Your how can be quite important to express in your website and marketing. If how explains the way in which you are different, it can be the deciding factor for customers. It can be the basis of your brand differentiation. It can be your reason for being in business in the first place.
The important thing is to address each and every one of the who, what, where, when and hows. Beyond that, there’s only one other core question to consider — the why. And nine out of 10 times, why is the culmination of the other considerations — who your customer is, what you offer them, where you will connect with them, when you will make your offer, and how you will make it.
— Chris Quinn, principal and brand strategist