#8 How To Hack Your Customer’s Mind
November 4, 2020
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In this week’s episode, we are going to talk about how to hack your customer’s mind. Deeply understanding your customer will allow you to craft much more persuasive marketing campaigns that address their most profound needs.


Introduction: Why get inside your customer’s head?

When you have a product or service that you want to sell, you need to identify your potential customers. Once you have identified your target market, you need to devise a way to persuade them to buy. There is a vast body of literature describing different tactics for persuasion. Regardless of what tactics you employ to persuade your potential customer to buy, one strategic element remains universal. Building a detailed understanding of your potential customers prepares you to persuade them more effectively than you can by just deploying generic persuasion tactics. Imagine what you can accomplish if you can get inside the minds of your most likely buyers. Then you can tailor your persuasive efforts to particular personalities and build a powerful connection by speaking directly to their personal hopes and fears, their deepest motivations and aversions. Continue listening to unleash the full persuasive marketing power of empathy!


Overview: How to get inside your customer’s head

To understand your customer at a deep level, begin in the shallow end and wade forward to reach the deep stuff. First ask yourself broadly: who are my potential customers? You might want to make different groups. Then ask yourself: what are they trying to do? Next, try to figure out what relevant information they may already have. Once you have got that down, do some research if you can to see what sort of things they are saying that might be relevant. If you can’t find samples of their actual communication, you can take a guess about this to help fill out your idea of who your customer is. If you can observe the sorts of things they do, that can help to. Finally, when you have an idea about all these questions, ask yourself how do they feel? What are the emotions they have that are relevant to your potential relationship? By thinking of your customers as complex people that you are entering into a relationship with, you can build the capacity to empathize with them at a deeper level. 


Who are your customers?

Ask yourself, broadly, who are you trying to reach? If you have introductory history books for pre-teen reading-level, maybe you are trying to reach pre-teen history buffs, or maybe you are trying to reach their parents. Maybe you are also trying to reach school administrators and teachers. All these groups will have different personalities to delve into. Before trying to build a profile of your ideal customers, consider what segments they might fit into and make a list. You might define your market segments with a mix of demographic (age, sex, location, income) and psychographic (interests, risk-averse, risk-seeking, etc) information. 


What are your potential customers saying?


You can get a lot of insight into your customer’s personality and their concerns by knowing what they are saying. There are a number of ways to get insights. Sometimes you can find examples of likely customers in social media groups or online forums. That is a very effective approach because you can observe undetected and see candid behavior. You could survey members of an email lead list or phone lead list, or do in-person surveys at a physical touchpoint. The downside of these approaches is you can ask people what they are saying, but they might just tell you what they think you want to hear, so catching them talking in their natural habitat is best. If none of these approaches are available, do not despair. You can still improve your basis for designing your pitch by simply imagining what your typical customer might be saying. This thought exercise will help you build a better picture of who you are trying to persuade. Bonus: notice not just what they are saying but how they are saying it. If you understand their voice, you can speak in it. 


What are they doing?

Words tell a lot, but actions can tell even more. What can you observe about your potential customer’s behavior? If you are selling racks and packs for mountain bikes, you can go out to the trails and watch people get ready at trailheads. What are they carrying? How are they carrying it? Often, it can be difficult to find a touchpoint where you can observe your potential customers in person. Once again, a guess is better than nothing. Try to build an idea of the actions that your potential customer might take that are relevant to your offer. 


What are they feeling?

The final stage is the most important. By now, you have figured out where, if anywhere, you can observe your customers communicating and taking action. Perhaps you have found some great spots from whence you can watch. Or perhaps you have been relegated to guessing. Now you arrive at the most important step in building your capacity to empathize with your potential customers and really get inside their heads. It is time to try to answer the question: what are they feeling?


Some economic theories are based on the notion that people are rational actors. Sociologists have a theory that this is just plain crazy talk. People are very emotional creatures and feelings are powerful drivers of decision making, whether people realize it or not. So being aware of your potential buyer’s emotional state, or making your best guess about it can help a lot. Ask yourself: what are their pain points? What do they hope to gain? What are their deep hopes and their hidden fears? Do your customers crave acceptance and fear rejection? Social proof hooks may be extra effective in this case. They will be even more effective if you can be more specific: whose acceptance do they crave? On other hand, if your typical customer does not care much what other people think and is a contrarian maverick but is deeply concerned about their physical health, a health focused approach will beat trying to convince them to follow a crowd.


You can develop your emotional profile of your various customer groups by extrapolating from other things you know about them, or you can approach customers directly and ask them about their emotions in focus groups or surveys. Once you are fully prepared with this knowledge, you can begin to persuade them in a very personalized way.


These digital marketing tips only work if you use them


We hope you find this insight on digital marketing excellence useful. This knowledge can improve your results, but you have to put it into action. So find a way to apply it and test it. Take a baseline measurement and compare your new improved outcome. Join the Viral Octopus collective and share and discuss your results with others who are striving for excellence. And come back and join us next week for more powerful new marketing tips and tricks. Don’t get left behind: Mind The Gap.