Are You Speaking Your Customer’s Language?

A simple way to ensure your marketing hits home and resonates with your target audience is to use your customer’s language in all outbound comms. Sounds simple right? It is but it isn’t and so many get this wrong because they focus too much on their product or service. They do this because they don’t understand their clients enough, so this is what we are digging into this week and I want to give you some pointers to help you get this right.

Time Stamp

[01:16] There is a time and a place to talk about your product and service in your marketing, but it isn't right at the start!

[01:40] This issue typically starts with your website. Is your website full of ‘we’?!!

[2:55] Think of your marketing like going on a date - you wouldn’t start by telling them all about yourself!

[3:30] Do some research: Jobs to be done interviews

[4:34] A story about MacDonald’s Milkshakes

[6:14] Record the interviews so you can use their specific language in your marketing

[7:02] Your research should uncover what matters to your clients and what keeps them awake at night

[7:30] You want your messaging to hit a nerve with your customer and make them feel you really understand them

[7:55] The importance of building KNOW, LIKE and TRUST

[08:50] Don’t use jargon in your marketing

[09:30] Understand what transformation your client is looking for

[09:50] Now, go back and check all this against your website!


“Your reader isn’t interested in your product or service until you have proven you can help them” - Rob Da Costa
“Don’t use jargon in your marketing. You won’t impress your client you will just lose them!” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

A simple way to ensure that your marketing hits home with your target audience is to use their language in all of your outbound communications. Now this sounds easy, right? Well, it is. But it isn't. And it's amazing how many people start by thinking about their products and their services in their marketing and the points that they want to get across. They do this because, fundamentally, they don't understand their clients enough. And they certainly haven't done enough research to understand the language that their clients use and then use that language back in their content.

So in today's podcast, I want to cover this topic in some detail and share some thoughts on how to get this right. So let's get on with the show. 

I'm Rob Da Costa, and this is The Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started to grow and sold my agency, I know just how it feels during the ups and the downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing my and my guest experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable sustainable and enjoyable business.

Let's be honest. It's hard to get your marketing rights so that it hits a nerve with your target audience and spurs them into action. I think that's why so many businesses and marketing agencies get this wrong. Instead, they lead with messaging about their product, its features and the benefits of using it. Of course, this is all very relevant, but it's not so relevant until the reader is suitably engaged and interested. And they're thinking, Hey, tell me more and that's the point.

You would talk more about the bits and bites of your product or your service. Now we typically see this issue starting at the beginning in a company's website, and after you've listened to this podcast, I challenge you to go back to your website and see if you are falling foul of this, too. So a while ago, I wrote a blog and also sent an email entitled “Is Your Website Full of We?”, which, if I set myself, is a great name for an article, and it really got the reader's attention. Why? Well 1, because the subject line was good, but 2 because it hit home.

And what I mean by that is so many websites start by saying, we do this and we do that. And here are some case studies of what we do. And fundamentally, your reader isn't interested in what you do until you've proven to them that you can help them. And that starts by showing that you understand them. You empathise with the pain and the challenges that they face so that when they're reading your website, they're thinking, “Tell me more”. And of course, that's where they click through to find out what you do specifically and who you've done it for and more about your business and more about the services.

But on that homepage, that piece of real estate needs to not be full of we but needs to be full of stuff that your potential customer is going to read and go, “That's exactly what's going on for me. Tell me more.” and as I say, that leads them to click through to other pages on your website, and I always say to people to think of your marketing as going on a date. Imagine you were sitting down with your day, and the first thing you did was tell them all about yourself and I'd be looking at their phone.

They're going, I just had an urgent text message. I need to leave because my pet hamster is not feeling well, and your website and your outbound market marketing need to behave like you're on a date. The first thing you need to do is make it clear to the other person that you are interested in them, and that you understand the challenges that they're facing, and then you can tell them about how you can help them. So one of the ways that you can better understand your clients and specifically the language that they use is by doing some research.

And a great piece of research is doing some jobs to be done. Interviews now, jobs to be done sounds like a strange expression, But what you're trying to do is find out exactly why someone bought from you, and at that point of sale, what was the job that they were trying to get done, that they felt your product or your service could do for them? And it's never what we think it is. So, for example, if you're selling a website world, the customer isn't buying the website.

The job they're trying to get done isn't buying a website from you. It might be the fact that they are losing people when they go to their old website, or it might be the fact that they don't have enough traffic and they can't convert them. Or it might be the fact that they're simply not selling enough on their website and they need to make more money. So the job they're hiring you to do is, produce a new website. But that's to help them make more money.

So it's super important that we understand what our client's jobs to be done are now. You might be listening to this thinking. I already understand that Rob and I just want to tell you a story that you can Google and probably find more eloquently explained than I'm going to. But a long time ago, McDonald's found in the US that the sale of their milkshakes was dramatically falling off and they tried asking their customers what they wanted in the milkshake, and they introduce new flavours and all that kind of stuff, and it made absolutely no difference to their cells.

So then brought in a consultant and the consultant said, I know what I need to do is interview your customers at the point of sale and understand what is the job they're trying to get done when they buy milkshakes. Now, if you're listening to this in the UK, you're probably gonna find the answer quite strange as I did. But when this consultant did his job to be done interviews, he found out that the reason why people were buying milkshakes, which they predominantly sold in the morning, was because people wanted a breakfast that would last a while and there wouldn't be messy.

So he found, rather than competing with Burger King and Wendy's and KFC and all of that stuff that McDonald's was competing against a bagel or a doughnut or a banana. And so they changed their marketing strategy to talk about how it could be a fulfilling breakfast. And it wasn't messy. So in your commute in the car or the train, you wouldn't make a mess on yourself, and that had a massive impact on their cells. And that's all because. But Donald's thought they understood what the job that someone buying a milkshake was trying to get done.

But they didn't understand it. And by doing these job to be done interviews, they found out what the customer really why, why they were buying and that helped them change their marketing strategy and their marketing messages. So I encourage you to go out and talk to some of your customers and understand the job that they're trying to get done when they buy from you. Now the really important thing is that if you do these, record the conversations so that you can use the specific language that they give you the absolute sentences and words and phrases that they give you.

And you can play that in your marketing. And in fact, that's where if you're familiar with me Running Agency Implementation Group, which is like my mastermind coaching programme, the term self-running agency came from doing jobs to be done interviews. Now, people didn't tell me that they want to build a self-running agency. I'm paraphrasing their feedback, but what they told me is they wanted to build an agency that was less dependent on them. And that led me to come up with the concept of the self-running agency, which has flown over the last few years.

So it just goes to show the power of really understanding your clients and using their language in your marketing. So when you're doing your jobs to be done in the future or trying to establish things like what matters to them right now and how are they feeling right now? And how do they want to feel in the future once you've solved the challenge that they're facing? And what is it they think about every day? What keeps them awake at night? And what specific words do they use to talk about their situation and how they want to resolve it?

If you ask that kind of question, you're going to uncover a gold mine. What you want to have to happen is someone to read what you listen to your content and think, that's exactly what's going on for me. You have read my mind and then they reach out to you. That's exactly what I tried to do when I'm creating content for you guys to digest, and occasionally when I get it to bang on, someone replies to me and tells me that, Rob, that is exactly what went on for me this morning.

And then your email landed in my inbox and I read it, and I felt I had to get in touch with you. And of course, what you're doing is you're beginning to build that no like and trust which, of course, we all understand. You have to build no like and trust before you can sell and part of building no like. And trust is showing your customer that you understand them, and you empathise with the challenges they're facing in the context in which those challenges are occurring so that they feel compelled to say, Tell me more, which could look like clicking on another button on your website could look like replying to an email.

It could look like picking up the phone and giving you a call. So that's my advice to you, which is to do these interviews and then playback the language that they gave you in your marketing and your outbound because you know that those sentences will resonate with them, especially when you've done your research and you've seen some consistent feedback and you'll start to build empathy and you'll start to build that know like and trust. And I just want to give you a parting thought for today.

And that is don't use jargon in your marketing. Some people use jargon to sound impressive, but what's the point of talking about SEO and CRO to an audience that just won't understand it? You won't impress them. All you'll do is lose their attention, and they'll move on to the next potential provider. Whereas if you talk in a language that they will understand and identify problems that they have and talk about the consequences of not solving those problems. So they're sitting there nodding their head. And then, of course, go on to talk about how you can help solve that problem that is the right way to tackle your marketing.

So my last thought of today's short podcast is to understand your clients understand their pain. To understand what transformation they're looking for, understand what keeps him awake at night and then use all of that language in your marketing don't use jargon to sound impressive because you will achieve exactly the opposite. So on that note, I hope you found this short episode useful and a bit of food for thought. As I said, I challenge you to go back and look at your website now. And as ever, if you found this episode useful, then please do make sure you hit the subscribe button.

If you're listening to the Apple podcast, please do consider leaving a review if you enjoyed it and found it useful because that helps the algorithms show my podcast to more people. And I can help more people just like you. But other than that, have a fantastic rest of the week, and I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator podcast.

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