When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to find myself on the wrong end of a lecture. Don’t get me wrong—I was a pretty good kid. The problem, at least as I saw it, was that my parents came from the old world where long [and often boring] talks were used to address missteps, wrongdoings, and of course, to occasionally secure [or was it manipulate?] good behavior.
In a modern world, us parents are encouraged to instead start conversations with their children. Why? Because asking Timmy why he pulled the cat’s tail [again], puts the focus on the mentee, not the mentor, where assumptions [Timmy is a mean kid who will grow up to take his feelings out on innocent cats] are delayed rather than made.
Now it would be unwise to suggest that a parent comes to a conversation with his or her child as a blank slate. In fact, having a theory or two about how your child might be feeling [Timmy is feeling jealous of his baby sister or Timmy needs a nap or Timmy is bored] can ultimately help you coach them toward clarity—and ultimately—a solution.
When it comes to your marketing, it’s worth considering whether you’re lecturing or conversing with your customers.
Your customers are not children, of course, but like Timmy, they do deserve the spotlight.
Because a lot of the world does not care about their problem.
Because some businesses want their money more than want their transformation.
Because you’re the kind of business that cares and here’s a way to show you’re different.
Just like a parent’s intention is to help their child, your goal is similar. And it’s so easy to miss this step because filling your website with helpful information feels like helping. But if it does not anticipate your customer’s problem then you might as well be holding a conversation with your back turned.
How to your website can become a conversation
It’s likely your customers have more than one problem. Start a conversation with your clients by using your headlines and subheadings to address problems
Consider the difference between:
Executive Function Coaching (solution) and Learn the Skills Nobody taught you in School (problem)
Continue the conversation by having separate pages depending on your customers’ varied problems. In a recent rewrite of a client’s home maintenance website, we created a springboard on their homepage to send different types of homeowners to the appropriate sales page. This process anticipated unique problems, as one client needed home maintenance services because they were a busy homeowner while another client needed services because they were renting their vacation home.
After you create a strong homepage focused on your customer’s problem, it’s time to think about content that anticipates your client’s questions. You might have 50 different ideas for pages, but instead try to group them into 4-5 categories. Not only will you engage your prospective clients in conversation before they meet or buy from you, you’ll also increase your SEO by becoming a go-to resource for these very problems.
Unless you sign up for a college course—and even then the jury is out—nobody really wants a lecture. But by anticipating problems with content that doubles as conversation, your marketing will become aligned with your purpose, or your big WHY, which means more energy and enthusiasm to continue to create solutions for the people you serve.