“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations,” observed marketing consultant Roy Hollister Williams.
It’s a simple and very hard fact, says Ross Beard in “The Complete Guide to Customer Expectations”. “You need to know who your customers are and what they want.”
Nowhere does that principle hold truer, I’d say, than in blog marketing. While blog posts are only (or at least should be only) one part of any company’s marketing plan, the “mechanics” of the process are different from, say, advertisements, billboards, mailers, or store signs.
What do I mean? Well, to a certain extent, potential customers self-identify; through the search engine process,they are delivered to your “digital doorstep”. The need or want – for information if not for products and services – is already there. “Inbound marketing is doing all the right things so that when people are out there on the Web, they can’t help but bump into you – almost by accident,” is the way Mike Volpe of HubSpot puts it.
Now, with the prospects having been brought to your page, it falls to your content to take it from there. Where to? The top three marketing goals for blogs, according to the Marketing Sherpa’s Search Marketing Benchmark Report are increasing website traffic, increasing brand or product awareness, and increasing lead generation.
So how can you, in the blog post content itself, demonstrate that you know what customers want? Remind readers of their own concerns, calling to mind the costs, the risks, and the problems that drove them to seek information in the first place. Only then should the blog content demonstrate that you and your staff have the experience, information, and the familiarity with the newest and most effective solutions available.
Stories and testimonials can show that you focus not only on meeting customer expectations, but exceeding them. Truth is, though, the usual “I’d-certainly-recommend-ABC-to-my-neighbors” type testimonials in raw form rarely accomplish that goal, as fellow blogger Steve Guise points out. Business blog writers need to find stories illustrating how someone’s life was truly improved through using the company’s products or services. Business owners’ passion needs to come through, so that the online searcher feels she’s found people who “get it” and who are therefore a lot more likely to exceed her expectations.
Go from meet to exceed in blogging for business!