The More They Know…

Did you ever hear the expression “Knowledge is power”? What does this imply about the knowledge you gather from your customers to make them into better customers?

It’s illegal in most states for the police to practice “profiling” and make traffic stops based on what a driver looks like, but you do it all the time with the cookie crumbs you gather behind your site’s visitor traffic. Perfectly legal.

Cookies give you data, but knowledge is a different animal. Data tells you how many of which kinds of chickens are running free-range in your barnyard. Knowledge tells you which ones are ready to turn into yuppie suppers in California. The chickens well, they don’t even know that knowledge exists. Knowledge gives you power in your own life and influence over the lives of others.

Your site visitors aren’t chickens. They are increasingly baby boomers and female. These specific groups research products for quality and value. They’re fussy. They’re demanding. Because you’re my client, I’ll give you one insider hint: They like to talk. Call it complain, call it kvetch, call it whine call it feedback. They like to give it, and it’s a gold mine of information.

They’ll tell you why they like your competitor better than you. They’ll demand that you improve your product or your customer service and suggest exactly how to do it. They’ll give you advance warning of an enhancement they’ll need next time they order. They’ll answer any question you ask them that they think will get them an improved product. What would you have to pay a consultant for that “analysis”?

So you should give them information that empowers them, too. Along with responding to their feedback by improving your service (“Gee, they listened to me!”), giving them the knowledge they need to evaluate your product and use it effectively builds trust quickly.

The directions for using your product or service absolutely must be clear and helpful. Text alone rarely does the job. Use illustrations. Use examples. Give “smart user” suggestions in addition. Silly example: If you sell blow-dryers, along with the basic directions, provide a chart of what size and style of brush works best with which length of hair. (Then do a commission deal with the hair brush site you link to.)

Usually, doing the right thing is also doing a smart thing.

Getting them from the info-bit teaser on the opt-in email to your site isn’t as easy as it used to be. The link and accompanying blurb have to hook them. Juicy lures on that hook can be:

  • You.” In combination with any of the other lures, “you” is particularly seductive.

  • Quotation Marks. Authority so-and-so has news you can use: “Catchy first part of quotation goes here…” FULL ARTICLE
  • Question. A question piques curiosity. They bet they know the answer, or they need to find it out.
  • Unexpected statement. Anything counter-intuitive, bizarre at first glance. Theyve gotta explore what this is about.
  • Confirm or conflict. Start with something you’re sure they know then draw them in to find reinforcement or to explore the challenge or contradiction.
  • Breaking news. Relate to a major news story in a way that involves “you.”

In addition, Kim MacPherson suggests types of practical information your readers will find valuable on “The Art of Being Human” in your email advertising and newsletters. Kim recognizes what the individual is after. (i.e, “Give me information first. Give me stuff I can use.”) Finally, one of the tools she suggests even involves actual human beings!

One thing you can count on about your customers being human (your best clue about what people really think) is their actions, not their words. That’s why you gather all that passive data on site wanderers.

Homework: We’ve spent a few weeks talking about applying a “training attitude” to add informational value to your site and newsletter content. Next week, we’ll start a two-week consideration of specifically “training” content. Think about your own experiences with “remote learning,” CBT (computer-based training) or WBT (Web-based training) the good, the bad, the ridiculous. Meanwhile, if you need coaching, you know where to find me.

Recess: If it’s later than 10:00 a.m., you need to take a break. Deskercise of the day: your face. (You don’t want your face to freeze like it is right now, do you?!)

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