It’s a terrible day when the truth becomes trite and that’s what has happened with one of the most important truths in marketing: Know your customer.
Ask a marketing guru what’s the most important thing, and the person will say that it’s to “know your customer.” We have heard this so many times that we have stopped “hearing” it.
I want to bring this truth back among the living and I think the way to do that is by example. I want to use an example that puts the need to “know your customer” into perhaps its sharpest focus.
If you’re at all familiar with the culinary world, you may know that some chefs, when auditioning new chefs, will ask them to fry an egg. Frying an egg reduces the craft of cooking to its most essential and basic skills. Any chef who can produce a perfectly fried egg on demand is a worthy hire.
In the world of digital marketing, I think producing the perfect landing page is the equivalent of serving the perfectly fried egg, so we will look at landing page essentials and relate them back to the concept of “knowing your customer.” I’ve written before on these pages about some of the layout basics of landing pages. Here I want to focus more on psychology.
I think you will see how critical it is to be able to get into the mind of your customer when you face head on the challenges of producing the perfectly fried landing page. A great formula for a landing page is to combine four elements: A value proposition, an incentive, a deadline and a call to action.
Your value proposition
Gene Schwartz was one of the best direct mail copywriters of all time. He wrote headlines like:
- World’s first effortless exerciser
- How to make 13 ½ percent on your savings or more – All fully insured!
- Why haven’t TV owners been told these facts?
- How to eat your way out of fatigue
Look at each of these headlines and try to picture the consumer to which they would appeal. Next, work back from that image and identify where that consumer would find the “value.”
In the first headline, I picture someone who is overweight and – to put it politely – a person who has never enjoyed breaking a sweat. Being able to understand what makes that person tick gave Schwartz the clues he needed to appeal on an emotional or psychological level.
To sum it up: Understand the area in your customer’s psyche where the benefits of your product or service overlap and find emotional language to express or imply the value.
Every machine operates best when a little oil is applied. Adding an incentive to your landing page is the oil. Your job is to understand what kind of incentive will strike a chord with your customer.
Sometimes you can toss in a little something extra. There was a time when banks gave away toasters, gas stations gave away free glasses and hamburger restaurants gave away toys with children’s meals – okay, the burger joints still do this; the other premiums are long gone.
However, if your customers are somewhat risk adverse – perhaps you’re the new kid on the block and you need to establish credibility – an unconditional money-back guarantee might be the answer. These virtually always prove to be cost effective ways of drumming up new business.
In Popeye cartoons, Wimpy’s famous line was, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The gag was funny because Wimpy said it all the time and everyone knew that “Tuesday” was no real deadline for payment.
Again, some understanding of how your customers think and relate to your product will help you set the right deadline. The deadline can be a point in time, like “today,” or when some event occurs, such as “The first 15 companies who contact us…” or “Extremely Limited Supply.”
The call to action
There are two elements in the typical digital call to action today, the graphic and the wording. Graphically, it’s critical to make your CTA standout and be obvious that it’s something to be clicked on.
Your CTA button will have a word or short phrase on it and here’s where you need to understand how your customer is thinking. You can come up with some very good wording for your button by completing this phrase “I want to ____________.”
For example if you’re selling a weight loss program, the phrase “lose weight easily” might work on your button. Give some thought to this. Avoid tired phrases like “Click Here.”
I hope that by discussing these four landing page fundamentals, you begin to have a new, and more focused appreciation for the need to “know your customers” and an improved ability to apply that knowledge.