Crafting a Message That Sells: How to Get Into the Hearts and Minds of your Customers
If you’re thinking about starting a business or have already started one, getting crystal clear on your ideal client or customer is critical to succeed. You need to deeply understand the market you’re going after and what that audience wants, needs, and values. People tend to have a general understanding of their audience but often skip over really digging into the nitty gritty of what their customer desires and believes. Apart from building the right product or service, understanding your audience's desires and beliefs will help you not only create something they love, but help you find the right messaging and tell the right stories that speak to their hearts and entice them to choose you over someone else. On that note, here are five things to get you thinking about who your customer really is.
1. Who are they on paper?
You’ve probably given your audience’s demographics some thought already, but I think it’s worth revisiting some data points you might’ve missed. When thinking about your customer’s demographics, it’s obviously important to think about their age, gender, and location, but it’s also important to dig beyond the surface level information.
Who is your customer?
These questions help you understand your customer on a human level. If you can do that, you’ll be in a much better place to build a connection with them by telling the right stories about yourself, product, or service that speak to their hearts.
This isn’t the only question you want to consider. Is your ideal customer employed? If yes, what do they do for a living? If not, why not? What’s their income level? Are they married, in a relationship, or do they have children? What about their travel habits? Are they away often? What about their personal style? What’s their “vibe” and can you articulate it? What are their hobbies? What do they do for fun? Do they have daily routines? If yes, what kind? If you had to describe their personality, what would it be?
These questions aren’t your typical demographics, but they help you understand your customer on a human level. If you can do that, you’ll be in a much better place to build a connection with them by telling the right stories about yourself, product, or service that speak to their hearts.
2. What do they believe and value?
Your customer’s beliefs and values are critical to understanding how they view themselves, the world, and what’s important to them. If you can crack this, you’ll be able to communicate with them on a level that truly resonates; they’ll feel like you get them.
To tap into this, think about how your customer might describe themselves. Unsure? Schedule some user interviews and ask. What do they believe about themselves? Find out how they view their current situation and place in the world.
If they have a problem you hope to solve, what do they believe about that current problem? Maybe they’ve tried to solve it before by purchasing something that didn’t work, and so they believe their problem is unsolvable. What’s important to them in their life, relationships, career, or business? When you dig into the mindset of your customer and what they believe about themselves, their problem, and what they value, you’ll be better equipped to speak to those things directly in your messaging and build a strong relationship with them.
3. What do they want (and fear) the most?
Understanding your customer’s pain points is essential as you build your product or service, but what’s often overlooked—yet just as important, if not more—is their desires and fears. People make decisions based on emotion and rationalize with logic. So, what deeper emotional desires and fears are you speaking to when you create messaging around your offering? What heartstrings are you tugging at?
For example, your customer’s pain point might be around creating a beautiful website that represents their brand without paying a small fortune since they’re just starting out. But if you take it a step further, what’s their deeper desire around having a beautiful website? Maybe it’s to be seen as an expert, be respected and admired, or inspire their potential clients. You need to be able to speak to their deeper desires in your messaging in order to make them feel like you truly understand their problems, wants, and needs, and to deeply resonate with them.
Equally, you need to dig deeper to understand their fears. What scares them about having a subpar website? Are they afraid of looking like an amateur or having their peers think they’re not good enough? Get into the nitty gritty of what’s behind the high-level pain points—that’s where you’ll find the stories to tell and convince customers to make a purchase with you.
4. What’s their version of “hell”?
“Hell” might sound heavy, but what is your client or customer trying to move away from by purchasing your product or service? What is (kind of) a living hell for them right now? When you think about it like this, it helps you get into the nitty gritty of what your customer is dealing with right now. Not only does this help you craft the right service or product, but it helps you create the right messaging that speaks to their hearts.
What is a living hell for your customer?
Answering this question helps you craft the right service or product and create the right messaging that speaks to their hearts.
For example, if you have a service-based business that sets up software systems for online entrepreneurs to manage their projects, marketing, clients, etc., your customer’s “hell” might be that they’re drowning in admin work, which makes them work in their business instead of on their business. This means they don’t have the bandwidth to think creatively, make data-driven decisions with ease, and scale their business effortlessly. Their hell might be spinning their wheels trying to keep up with everything instead of doing the work they love—the reason they started their business in the first place. When you have this clarity about your ideal customer, you can create messaging and content that directly speaks to that problem, which will make them feel like you get what they’re going through and are the best person to solve that problem for them.
5. What’s their version of “heaven”?
On the other end of the spectrum, what is your customer trying to move toward by buying your product or service? What’s their version of “heaven” that they’re trying to get to? What goals or desires are they trying to achieve in their life or business? If you can figure out what they really want or believe about themselves, you’ll be able to communicate with them on a level that speaks to their emotions; again, we make decisions with our hearts and justify them with our minds.
For example, if you create meditation retreats for Millenials, their “heaven” might be to get clarity on what it is they really want, the quiet space to think deeply about their life, and the ability to press pause on their hectic life and enjoy the present moment. So in this case, your messaging wouldn’t just be about the retreat, what it is, where it is, and what kind of meditations you’ll be running. You’ll talk about how your meditation retreats address these pain points, and discuss the transformation attendees will have that speaks to these desires.
Speak to their hearts to capture their minds
People make buying decisions with emotions and justify those purchases with logic; they buy with their heart and rationalize with their mind. If you can get into the mind of your ideal customer—if you can hone in on who they are, what they believe, what they want for themselves, and what they’re trying to move away from and towards—you’ll be able to craft a message that deeply resonates with them. If you can speak to your customer’s heart, their mind will do the work of rationalizing the purchase of your product or service.
About the author
Arielle took her messaging, positioning, and storytelling expertise from the startup world and built a brand story coaching business to serve women. Now she helps ambitious women tell their story and build their brand so they can grow their business and scale their impact. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to learn more. Want to stay up-to-date on marketing strategies? Subscribe to her weekly email newsletter.