Step by Step Marketing - Getting to know your Customers or Clients. Part Two: Language

In Part One, I explained how to segment your audience by breaking it down into groups of similar like-minded individuals so you could target your marketing and communications accordingly. If you haven't read it yet, it might be useful to do so now. I've linked to it here for ease.

So, you’ve now segmented your audience. You know exactly who they are, what they like, what they don’t like and hopefully you’ll have built some interesting personas.

Now you need to identify with them by speaking their language. The key here is to show you understand their ‘problem’ and that you can provide the ‘solution’. It’s good to empathise and sympathise, show you’re listening and that you really care. This will help to build rapport and increase trust. All of this probably comes naturally if you are in a front-line customer service or support role but it’s easy to forget if you’re not dealing with your customers face to face on a regular basis.

A good tip I’ve learnt is to see what your customers or clients are searching for when looking for the services or products you provide and then ensure you’re answering their questions using these keywords and phrases in your communications – search listening. This also helps you to better understand your audience. An excellent way to do this is to use a keyword research tool which aggregates search terms such as AnswerThePublic although there are many others. AnswerThePublic gives two free searches per day but you can upgrade for a fee. I recently read an excellent blog from which sets out alternatives to AnswerThePublic and gives the pros and cons. I’ve linked to it here. You can also see what your customers are looking for in the Google drop down list when entering a search term.

To put this in context, and as explained at an AnswerThePublic webinar recently, people live their ‘best’ lives on Instagram and Facebook but their ‘real’ lives on Google. People search for what they need regardless of how it positions them – completely different from Instagram where I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t post an image of you in your curlers/unshaven etc.

And, by knowing the types of questions your customers are asking, giving relevant answers and including keywords and phrases in your content, it’s likely that you will rank more highly on Google for that particular subject providing your content meets other factors Google uses to evaluate the overall quality of a web page (see below). Beware of ‘keyword stuffing’. Google algorithms are geared up to sniffing this out and will penalise you.

However, it's important to know that Google is moving away from soley using keywords as a factor in its evaluation. In 2013, Google introduced an algorithm, Hummingbird, which started to take a more semantic approach to search. In 2019 it introduced Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT for short. This helps Google Search to ‘grasp the subtle nuances of language that computers don’t quite understand the way humans do’. In other words, it allows Google Search to look for context rather than simply keywords. It can now understand a query more like a human and show a more relevant result on search. It also allows for colloquialisms[1]. And, in 2018, Google introduced E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) - Google's terminology for a set of website quality standards to be applied by its quality testers when evaluating websites. So, essentially, if your website is written with your audience in mind, rather than purely for search rankings, your website should rank highly as it should meet your audience's needs, provide high-quality, relevant content and, by definition, should demonstrate your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in your field.

But remember, you’re marketing to people not marketing your product. Sales aren’t merely transactions, they’re relationships. If you bear these two key points in mind in all your communications you will start to build that trust and rapport.

So let’s look at marketing and psychology. By understanding the basic principles of behavioural psychology you can hopefully influence your customers and get better business results. Essentially you need to put your customers’ needs and wishes at the centre of everything you do. And you will already understand their needs and wishes as you’ve segmented your audience into specific groups based on these fundamental points. This will help you to create ‘fans’ rather than just ‘customers’ – known as ‘fanocracy’ (hmmm I know – yet another ridiculous marketing term) or ‘fan culture’. This new way of looking at your customers is explained extremely well by David Meerman Scott and his daughter, Reiko Scott in their book – ‘Fanocracy – Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans’. It’s a good read and focuses on how, in our digital world ‘where our lives are increasingly cluttered and superficial, we’re missing something tremendously powerful: genuine human connection. The relationship we build with our customers is more important than the product and services we sell’. It talks about ‘fandom’ and meaningful and active human connection and how, by applying these principles, a company will change the way it communicates with its customers and create new experiences which turn customers into ‘like-minded enthusiastic fans’.

If you don’t have time to read the book, you might like to take a look at the summary and ‘nine steps to building your fanocracy’ here.

Essentially, it seems we’ve gone too far down the social media road and forgotten our customers and clients have lives outside the digital world. And we need to connect with them in this space. Good, old-fashioned face-to-face is making a come-back! Think about taking a stand at exhibitions, getting a speaker spot, running a webinar …. And anchor everything back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – the theory that we all have five vital human needs. A pyramid with the most basic needs at the bottom:


Your product or service will meet at least one of these needs so make sure you’re positioning your communications around this.

I’ll cover more about marketing and psychology in Part Three and I hope you’ve found the above useful. If you have any questions or would like further explanation on any of the points please do get in touch. And, if you'd like to delve deeper, I'd be happy to do so with you in a marketing 'Power Hour'.

Best wishes,