Marketing is fundamentally underpinned by consumer behaviour. You may find that benefits and flaws in marketing schemes are clearer at the receiving end. A common practice in marketing is to become your consumer and consequently ‘put the shoe on the other foot’.
As a consumer what do we look for in a business’s website?
* A clear indication of how this business is unique.
This is where your creative side can come out to play. It is important to 'start with a blank canvas' - any preconceived ideas of what your website should look like will decrease the 'opportunity of uniqueness'. There isn't necessarily a futuristic path for your website to aspire to. Going 'old school' could give you the edge in unique ideas, as could the other extreme of this scale. The key to uniqueness is extreme, boldness and confidence. Such confidence, psychologically, rubs off on your consumer.
* An immediate sense of how this company matches me and my individual needs.
A website needs to feel bespoke to each individual. In this case, a generic website needs to be mouldable. So, how is this achieved?
Whether you realise it or not, the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" is absolutely true! Images on your website are individually interpretable and your consumers are more likely to create links from the image to their individual needs. This is because they are understood through their own psychological processes: in theory, 'words are not put in their mouths'.
* Reassurance from third parties.
The inclusion of testimonials, client lists and recognition that you have received will make the consumer feel more secure and confident that you are a reputable company.
As a consumer what do we look for in a newsletter?
* Continuous references and links back to company brand.
References could include personalising the subject line of your newsletter to inject a part of yourself into your newsletter. This is the best way to show your readers you are sharing your knowledge with them and it is not coming through a third party, as well as constantly reminding the reader of your brand.
Using your brand name in your email address will create further opportunities in terms of the communication between you and your consumer. The relationship a person has with the sender is the number one reason why people choose to open emails that end up in their inbox. Make sure to use an email address and a sender name your customers will recognize.
The typical reader only gives an email a few seconds before they make the decision to either read or delete it. Branding your newsletter with a professional header is the best way to catch their eye and keep them from moving on to their next email.
* An easy option to unsubscribe from your newsletters.
I know this sounds like a ridiculous idea and you ask yourself why any helpful advice would tell you to make it easy for the consumer to opt out of your marketing tools, yet consumer psychology suggests otherwise.
If clients have the option to receive newsletters or not, then this makes it their decision, which avoids any negative feelings towards the company for sending information they have not requested. The unsubscribe option also omits a sense of confidence from the sender in terms of their content and gives the impression of someone who doesn’t want or in fact ‘need’ to force their information on anyone.
* Expectations of the newsletter from the outset.
Like you, your customers are busy. Three things they’ll want answered right from the introduction are: Why is this worth my time? What am I going to learn? How can this help me? Answering those questions will not only improve the likelihood your readers will keeping reading, but will also show them you value their time.
The fundamental rules of marketing are applicable across businesses. You have a role as a consumer. Use it in your business and marketing will become that much clearer.