Ahmad Raza — June 3, 2016
I remember my first job as a junior staff at our local grocery store. My manager made sure I understood that if we didn’t take care of our customers, somebody else would. In my mind, my ability to make that customer’s visit a pleasant trip was my most important responsibility. While I’ve held many different jobs since then, I’ve enjoyed earning a customer’s smile by exceeding their expectations.
Technology Means Customers Can Help Themselves
But the world is changing. Technology means that customers don’t need to head to a store. They can find everything they need with the click of a button. The idea of skipping the drive, the fight for a parking space and the journey through 20 aisles to find a single item is catching on. According to Desk, when it comes to customer preference for self-help services, “…a whopping 72% stated that they’d rather use self-service than pick up the phone or email support.”
Your customers don’t want to deal with you. They just want to be empowered to help themselves. So how do you cater to the self-help, independent customer?
1. Meet Them Where They Are
If you’re visiting a new town and you need to find a convenience store, what do you do? How do you find the name of an actor in a movie you’re watching? Where do you go to lookup recipes for tonight’s dinner? If you’re anything like the average American, the answer is your iPhone or Android smartphone. Or, more specifically, Google.
Answer Your Customer’s Questions
I don’t visit Google to buy a product. I visit the world’s most popular search engine to find information and learn how to do something for myself. If you want to market to the self-help customer, you need to be where they are looking for information; the kind of information that empowers them to take care of themselves.
Insightful, Informative Blog Articles and Landing Pages
The most powerful method for reaching a customer when they’re trying to learn about a product or service is by creating a website that gives them the information they need. Whether it’s a blog article or a landing page, the content you create needs to be incredibly simple, direct and actionable. Then, this content needs to be optimized so that Google can find it and deliver it to your self-help customer.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Attracts Motivated Customers
In a nutshell, that’s an overly simplified explanation of how search engine marketing (SEM) works. But will SEM work for you? Don’t take my word for it. Instead, trust the knowledge of the world’s leading retailers; 84% of them said that search engine optimization (SEO) was the most effective tool in their arsenal for reaching customers.
Self-Help SEM and SEO Tools
If you want to follow in your customer’s footsteps and do your own Search Engine Optimization, then by all means take advantage of the wealth of information freely available online. But don’t discount the paid sources of SEO knowledge. MOZ and Kissmetrics are two of the most powerful SEO tools out there for companies braving the internet on their own. Even the top SEO agencies use these tools, so ignore them at your peril.
SEO is remarkably powerful and its impact greatly improves the value of a website, but if you need customers right now, nothing beats pay-per-click (ppc) advertising. Google’s AdWords service is the undisputed champion of PPC because it provides users with some unbelievable analytics; something only the world’s most popular search engine can provide.
3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Campaigns
To keep things simple, a PPC campaign is an ad-campaign that allows your company to choose a short message and/or image to share with the world. Google, using their advance algorithms and user insights, serves up your message to website visitors around the world. Millions of websites display Google’s advertisement banners and every time someone clicks on your ad, you’re charged a fee. Part of this fee travels back to help support the website that earned your customer’s click, and you gain the opportunity to wow that new site visitor with the content you’ve prepared for them.
This is why your landing pages and blog posts need to be spot on. They have to answer your customer’s question and then convert that curious self-helper into a buyer of your product or service. While there’s a whole market of online marketing professionals ready to make your project a success, it is entirely possible to take care of your own SEO and content development; assuming you have the time and necessary resources.
Author: Ahmad Raza
Ahmad Raza is the creative head behind Samurais.co, a design and branding agency. His passion for finding creative strategies to convey complex ideas has manifested itself in more than seven years of successful business experience. Raza’s team operates with a diverse, international perspective to capitalize on trends and opportunities for… View full profile ›
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