The S/HE mantra. Are you “meeting” customers where they are?

Where can your customers SeeHear about your product or service, and how can they Experience it?  To make it simple for clients, I always ask them to consider a simple mantra for their customers: S/HE (See/Hear about/Experience) the product, or service.   I ask them to develop a  S/HE strategy that is creative rather than model what everyone else is doing in their industry.

A new client who offers services B2C, wanted to meet with me to discuss their marketing and online strategy.  The client’s focus was obsessive on tools: how to use Twitter, how to use Facebook, when to write a blog, when to write a direct email, should they use Pinterest at all?

I understand the concern and the difficulties faced by small business owners.  But when I hear all these questions related to tools, I always ask back: “where do your customers “hang out”? What do they read? What do they do?  Why do they buy from you?”

Most of the times, the client gives me the blank stare which I came to recognize as “hmm? do I need a customer plan? Can’t I put up a Facebook page, send it to all my friends (beg them to “like” it) and hope that some of them will become clients?” Well, no.

Why use social media at all if you don’t have a strategy?

Rather than be overwhelmed by the variety of tools,  why not think of what you want to accomplish, and then experiment with the tools, see which ones bring the results you would like?

For instance, if you sell travel (advice and booking, an overcrowded space) have you considered developing partnerships that allow you to reach out to your niche?  When you figure out a creative way to reach your audience, then you can start developing relationships. When you understand your audience, then what goes out to Twitter and Facebook has one purpose only: to help, delight and support your audience. Rather than putting out Tweets talking about what you do, and how well you do it, you send out tweets that relate to a campaign created towards specific customer needs.

If you have tangible products, then you may consider creating real life opportunities (local stores, your store events, workshops, etc) to have your customers S/HE (see, hear about and experience) your products, and then add tweets to get them there, and use Facebook to document the shared experience.

Customers may prefer to learn in different ways about your product/service:  podcasts, direct mail, webcasts, video, blog, etc.   Create opportunities to meet customers where they are.

If you are developing your company right now, can you tell me quickly how do your customers:

  • See your product (at a Meet Up, in a webcast you put up, in a magazine, on a website, in a demo,  in online photos, on Pinterest, Twitter, etc)
  • Hear about your product/service (word of mouth, referral from friends, online referrals, YouTube, your podcast, etc)
  • Experience your product or service: a free trial, discounts, sales, as part of a bundled offer, in a workshop, at an event, as a gift, etc)

Have you set up ways to “meet and engage” your customers when they csome in touch with your product or service? Are you prepared to create a great experience for your customers every time they see, hear about or experience your product? Once you do, the right channels or tools are easy to find.

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