How to Maximize Your Customer Appeal: The 4 Rules

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How can you make your offer appeal to your target customers? What are some things to keep in mind as you design your marketing message?

Once your business has something of value to offer, you must think about how to make it appeal to your target customer. The product might meet the customers’ needs, but it’s appealing marketing that makes people buy it.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your customer appeal.

How to Appeal to Your Customer Base

The point of marketing is to make your offer as attractive as possible to your potential customers. To maximize your customer appeal, keep these four rules of thumb in mind:

1. Keep Your Message Short and Direct

Just because people are interested in your offer doesn’t mean they have unlimited attention to devote to your content. If your marketing message doesn’t get to the point, people will lose interest.

(Shortform note: Research backs up the necessity of getting to the point in your marketing: The average attention span is just 8.25 seconds—if you don’t engage people’s attention within this time, they’ll automatically switch their attention to something else and you’ll lose your chance of appealing to them.)

2. Pay Attention to When Potential Customers Are Susceptible to Your Offer

Even if people are interested in what you have to offer, they’ll only pay attention to your content when it suits them. For example, they may willingly engage in your content when they’re shopping online but might block your content if you spam their browser with advertisements while they’re working.

(Shortform note: How can you find out when your customers want to hear from you? Management experts suggest that you can achieve this by tracking, collecting, and integrating data—such as demographic, psychographic, or clickstream—about potential customers and the circumstances in which they make purchases of similar products and services. This will help you to tailor your offer to suit the preferences of individual customers.)

3. Provoke a Positive Emotional Response by Clarifying the Benefits

Clearly demonstrating the benefits of your offer encourages people to imagine how good their lives will be after accepting the offer. It also makes them feel like they’re missing out as long as they don’t have it. One way to do this is to offer free samples or trial periods so that potential customers can directly experience the benefits of your offer.

(Shortform note: While it’s true that free samples and trial periods offer a way to experience the benefits of your offer, people are unlikely to feel emotionally engaged or sign up for these free trials unless they feel like they need those benefits. To provoke this feeling of need, the authors of Positioning suggest over-simplifying the value you intend to offer so that your customers can immediately understand the benefits they’ll receive. For example, if you offer a professional cleaning service, focus on a simple benefit your customers get from using your service—they get to come home and relax knowing that all of the chores have been taken care of.) 

4. Make Use of Endorsements to Establish Trust

When people see someone they like or respect advocating your offer, they automatically take notice. Additionally, they subconsciously transfer their positive feelings about this person to your offer: “If so and so’s representing this, it must be good.” 

(Shortform note: Because they help to establish customer trust, endorsements also increase a company’s sales by an average of 4 percent. Marketing experts suggest that effective endorsements hinge on two factors: First, how well you know your potential customers’ interests—this guides your decisions about what type of endorser to look for. For example, if you know that your customers care about the environment, you’ll look for someone who has already expressed an interest in similar issues. Second, how authentic the endorsement seems—the easier it is for people to believe that the endorser actually uses your product or service, the more authentic and appealing it will be.)

How You Market Your Product Depends on What You’re Selling and Who You’re Selling To

As you develop your marketing strategy, consider which of the following five markets best suits your specific offer. Or, if you’re looking for a business idea, choose a market based on which strategy most appeals to you. Then, focus your research on products and services that fall into your chosen market.

Mass Market: You’re selling to one large customer base with similar needs—you need to appeal to and engage as many people as possible. For example, Colgate (a product-based business) benefits from advertising in the mainstream media because toothpaste is an essential, widely-used personal care product that everyone needs.

Niche Market: You’re selling to a small customer base with unique requirements—you need to target these specialized needs. For example, Lush (a product-based business) targets customers who care about vegetarian products and eco-friendly practices, so its social media strategy focuses on engaging “green” consumers.

Subdivided Market: You offer slightly different products and services, so you need to employ different approaches to meet customer needs. For example, an estate agent’s customers each have different budgets. The estate agent (a brokerage-based business) may spend more time and resources attracting and developing relationships with wealthy clients looking to buy and delegate management of lower-income renters to employees.

Diversified Market: You offer distinctly different products and services to unrelated customer groups, so you have to employ separate customer targeting strategies. For example, Johnson & Johnson (a product-based business) provides healthcare products to consumers as well as medical devices and equipment for hospitals—both groups have unique needs.

Multi-Sided Market: You serve interdependent customer groups so your approach needs to appeal equally to both parties. For example, online marketplaces (an attention-based business) need to appeal to and accommodate both buyers and sellers to operate efficiently—they can’t serve one group without the other group’s active participation.
How to Maximize Your Customer Appeal: The 4 Rules

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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