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Does it ever feel like you promote your product but nobody cares?

Have you ever launched a product and kept refreshing your browser, excitedly waiting for the sales orders to come in, and a few did but then just seemed to fizzle out?

Maybe you’re just about to start marketing your product, and you’ve spent hours thinking and writing out why your product is the best there is.

I’m going to go ahead and spoil the show for you.

If you’re talking about your product more than you’re talking about the customer’s life as a result of your product, you’re making a mistake.

In fact, if your marketing plan includes a disproportionate focus on the product instead of on your customer, you’re making a mistake.

And it’s a mistake rookies make.

This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. In this episode, we’ll be talking about how to avoid this mistake and how to improve your copywriting to boost sales.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Stop talking about your product more than you talk about how your customer’s life is going to be better because of your product.
  • People make decisions based on what it’s going to do for them.
  • When promoting your product, use the language your target customer uses.
  • Figure out why you’re making this product, how it’s going to help people, and who it’s going to help.
  • Demonstrate to your audience that your product can solve their issues.
  • If you really want to help people, tell those people that you can help them.
  • People are only going to care about you once you prove you care about them.
Show Notes
  • 02:01 Cory: Don’t be a rookie. This is a very straightforward episode. I’m not going to fluff around on this one. No fluff. Kyle, did you ever have a product, did you ever release something, and you were like, “I’m so excited to release this,” you launched it, it was great, and you kept refreshing your statistics? You kept waiting for sales orders to come in, and a few did, and then it just seemed to fizzle out. Has that ever happened?
  • 03:02 Kyle: Oh yes.
  • 03:04 Cory: Yeah, me too. That’s the worst.
  • 03:10 Kyle: Cory, I had all of the technical specifications! They were made of such good materials.
  • 03:16 Cory: All of the products that you were selling?
  • 03:18 Kyle: Yeah! The finest quality everything.
  • 03:24 Cory: I, too, know the pain. It’s like, “Hey, look at this thing I made!” Kyle, can everyone see the thing I made? I made a thing.
  • 03:43 Kyle: They can see it. They don’t care.

The Rookie Mistake You’re Probably Making

  • 03:46 Cory: Here’s the problem. If you’re listening to this and you’ve launched a product at one point or you have a product, and you feel like every time you promote it, no one really cares, there are problems. There are many things you need to sort out. There is a specific mistake I see over and over again when it come to marketing, specifically, and it’s a mistake that rookies make. I almost didn’t use this title. I have to be honest. I thought it was too mean. What does that say about me?
  • 04:33 Kyle: I think it comes from a place of us being in this place. We’re not necessarily saying this and we haven’t been there. We’ve been there. I would call myself a rookie for doing this.
  • 04:50 Cory: Don’t be a rookie! Lauren said, “Is it because no one actually really cares?” That’s probably true. The question is, why don’t people care?
  • You’re making a rookie mistake when you talk about your product more than you talk about how your customer’s life is going to be better because of your product.

  • 05:27 Kyle: Oh, so they’re not worried about all those technical specifications.
  • 05:31 Cory: Some people might be, but that’s not the most important thing. This is our opinion. Here’s the deal. We’ve mentioned this before. As gracious as I can be in this, people are pretty self-focused, in general. We make decisions based on what it’s going to do in our lives. If I go and make coffee, it’s because I want it to taste good. That’s why I make coffee. I want to drink it.
  • 06:17 People make decisions based on what it’s going to do for them, in their lives. With that in mind, this applies to marketing, specifically. It’s not just about, “Oh, I can never talk about my product.” Whatever. You’re trying to get the right people to purchase the thing that you’re selling. That’s a crass way of saying it, but it’s ultimately what we’re trying to get to happen.
  • Step back and figure out why you’re making this product, how it’s going to help people, and who it’s going to help.

  • 07:08 Kyle: I have a great example of this. Febreze. Have you heard of Febreze?
  • 07:13 Cory: I use Febreze constantly. I have two children.
  • 07:17 Kyle: When Febreze originally came out, they had this amazing differentiating factor with their product that no other company had. Essentially, their formula can remove odors from the air. Basically, when you spray the room spray, it actually absorbs the odors. Other room sprays mask the odor. They have this great product, and they started promoting it that way.
  • 07:48 “This will actually remove the odor from the air!” They thought people were going to love that, but the first reaction from people was, “Well, it doesn’t make my house smell better. It just removes the odor. It doesn’t add a pleasant one.” The product started tanking completely. They weren’t selling enough. They were going to stop trying to sell Febreze.
  • 08:12 Then they figured out something really important. People didn’t want to spray a room spray on their furniture, because then it smells like room spray for the next year. It’s absorbed into the fabric. If you spray something odorless into the fabric, it removes that and neutralizes it completely. The simple switch from saying, “It removes all odors from the air,” to, “It can clean your furniture and remove those odors from your couch, chair, and blanket that your dog uses in the corner that smells terrible,” instantly made the product much more successful.
  • 09:01 They still use some of that marketing to this day. It was because they shifted towards a problem people actually had. They connected with this reason for people to buy it. Before, they would just say, “I could go out and buy all these other room sprays. What’s this going to do for me? Why would I switch from the one I have to try yours, that doesn’t even do anything? The other one makes my house smell good. Yours doesn’t even do that.”
  • 09:27 They saw it as an inferior product, because it didn’t add to their lives. Now that they know that they can spray down the smelly couch and the dog blanket in the corner, it’s a whole new concept to them, and it adds to what they want their life to be like.
  • 09:46 Cory: That’s such a great example. I love what you said—they were solving the problem that their customers had, and they were using the language that their target customers had. They saw this issue, and they were like, “Okay, we’re going to solve this problem.” They solved it, but when they communicated it to the people it would help, the people they wanted to buy it, they weren’t using the kind of language that actually connected with those people.

What Does Your Customer Want?

  • 10:19 Cory: One of the things we talk about a lot here on the seanwes network in a lot of our educational material, if you’re going anywhere to research your target audience and using a mailing list, you can ask questions like, “What is your biggest struggle?” Someone signs up for your list, they get a welcome email, and it says, “What is the thing you’re struggling with the most?”
  • 10:49 That way, you can reply and say, “The thing I’m struggling with the most is the dog blanket in the corner. It smells really bad, and candles won’t take care of the smell. It doesn’t seem to get rid of the odor. It just makes the bad smell slightly less bad.” Then, you use that language for your target audience. You connect with them in that way. You say, “Look, this is actually for you.”
  • Use the language your target customer uses to connect with them in a better way.

  • 11:41 Eugene in the chat says that he struggles with this idea, because he wants to jump right into the specs, into the facts. He wants to jump right into the breakdown of what makes a product what it is. That’s okay, absolutely. You can see the difference—in years past, companies would market a smartphone that was running on Android, and there was this race at one point to talk more about the internals, how much RAM it has, and what the megapixels of the camera were.
  • 12:22 That’s how you would pick a phone. You would look at the specs. That was just a different way of marketing it. The people who were buying those phones really cared about that. On the other spectrum, you had Apple. You could find those specifications for their product, but it wasn’t that important. In fact, in so much of their message, you go to Apple.com/iPad and you look at the iPad Pro, and they have headers like, “See things in the best possible light, whatever the lighting.”
  • 12:53 Talking about their speakers, “No matter how you turn it, you’ll want to turn it up. Whether you’re playing a game or watching a movie, you and your ears will be completely immersed.” As you scroll down, you think, “I want to be immersed. Best possible light? That sounds great.” Then you can also read the specs, the statistics, absolutely. There’s a pairing that needs to happen there that needs to happen for individuals like Eugene.
  • 13:18 They’re like, “Look, I just want to get to what the product is made of.” That’s great. You can have that. If your target customer wants to get into the nitty gritties of that, have that available. The biggest problem that happens when you only have specs is that it doesn’t do more than that. If that’s what you’re trying to go for, that’s fine, but it’s really, really hard to market that. It just is.
  • 13:52 Kyle: I want to highlight something while we’re on this topic. Part of what Eugene mentioned is, “I have no interest in the story aspect of marketing.” I want to highlight here that we’re not even talking about having a big story for your marketing. The example I just gave was simple—probably in the same amount of characters and sentences, they changed from, “This room spray neutralizes odors,” to, “This can be used to clean your furniture.”
  • 14:25 It’s a simple switch, and all it does is connect the person with what the feature does for them. If you’ve never heard that RAM can help you process things on your computer faster or have more things open, if you don’t know what a hard drive does or what more pixels result in, you wouldn’t even know what those technical specifications are. Do they matter? There’s still value there.
  • Even people who look at the technical specifications of a product care what it will do for them.

  • 15:02 They do it even if they’re unaware of it. If a new phone comes out tomorrow and it says, “We’re 20 times faster than any other phone on the market,” maybe you go look at, “Okay, how fast is their CPU? How good of a connection do I have?” Maybe you look into those things, but what triggered you to look into that product in the first place was their claim that this was faster or better. It’s something you want to add to your life. You’re saying, “My phone is too slow right now. Someone claims to have a faster one. Let me go look at the tech specs.” It brings you in because you connect with the problem that you’re having.
  • 15:44 Cory: I looked around a little bit, and I went to Nike.com. The header said, “Do you believe in more?” I was like, “More than what?” The tagline said, “Instinct meets individuality. Confidence meets vulnerability. Athleticism meets self-expression. This is a place where pure, uninhibited movement comes to life.” They were trying to sell me tights, and I had no idea until I went further down the page.
  • 16:44 They captured my interest. For the people they’re trying to market to and connect with, the idea of individuality, vulnerability, athleticism, and self-expression… You see these terms, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m interested. What are we talking about here? We’re talking about tights. Now I can go see more about that.” Marketing changes all the time. Gary Vaynerchuck says very rightly that marketers ruin everything.
  • The purpose of marketing is to find the people you’re trying to reach, get them interested in your product, align with their needs, and demonstrate to them that your product can solve those issues.

  • 17:43 Specifically, if you have a product that intently solves a problem, that’s where you start. You don’t start by saying, “Here, I have this task To Do list app that has things where you do a task and you can check off the task.” There are tons of those. Let’s say that my problem is that I don’t want another bloated To Do list app. I don’t want something that’s bloated. That’s the word that I used.
  • 18:14 A company, if they’re making a minimal, paired-back, fast, cross-browser To Do app, could use a tagline or marketing strategy such as, “You don’t need another bloated To Do app.” That’s exactly what I said. Now, it has my interest. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t need another bloated To Do app!” Then they can start to say, “This is a To Do app that’s very paired back, very minimal. Here’s a look at how it works. You don’t need to worry about all of these extra features that you don’t care about.”
  • 18:55 They’re getting to the things that I actually care about and the heart of their target audience. That’s what I’m looking for. I was on Hilton’s website, and right there on the front, you can book a hotel in whatever area you’re traveling to. The headline said, “Want to make more of your weekend? Stop clicking around. Book the lowest price here.” That’s a huge unique value proposition. They’re saying, “This isn’t just about booking a hotel. You can actually make more of your weekend.”
  • 19:30 You don’t have to go around to all these extra websites. You don’t have to be doing Google searches. Just do it here and then have a good weekend. They’re appealing to the desires of their customers. They’re looking at what their customers want, and they’re packaging what they need in a package of what they want.
  • 19:58 Kyle: That’s super important.

Communicate a Vision for a Better Life

  • 20:06 Kyle: There was some conversation in the chat of, “Do we have to make people have imagination? Do we have to hand-hold them into understanding what this thing means?” Honestly, yes. If you can’t communicate your vision for what this new thing you’ve presented to the world can actually do for someone, there’s very little chance of them actually connecting with it. I see so many products fail because of that.
  • 20:33 Someone releases something, and in a private conversation, they say, “This is going to be really awesome for people who struggle with X, Y, Z. I’m really excited to see what they do with it.” When they release the product, it’s just like, “Here’s the product. Figure out what to do with it. I made it with these things and printed it on this paper,” or whatever. It fails because there’s no connection, no communication of that new reality that could happen if they invest in this product.
  • 21:10 If you assume that people just understand, that they’ll connect with your product instantly in the way that you do, there’s a big disconnect. It’s not going to happen. People aren’t you. They don’t have the same strengths as you. Part of releasing a product and sharing it with the world is that you have something to offer that other people don’t. They don’t have that strength. It’s not in their wheelhouse to do these things. Right now, if they really wanted to, everybody could go out and print their own shirts.
  • 21:55 Not everyone wants to do that. Not everyone has a purpose behind that. You’re presenting, “Here’s why I would connect with you the best.” That’s part of marketing. Who do you connect with? That’s why there are so many different perspectives out there. You can have three different brands of shirts, and some people connect with one of them and some people connect with another. It’s because of the reality they try to envision with their brand—otherwise, they’re just all shirt companies.

You & Your Audience Might Be in Different Places

  • 22:37 Cory: You can’t just say, “I shouldn’t talk about all the features, so I should just make up how my customer’s life is going to be better.” No! You have to know what your customer’s life is. That’s what research is. That’s why we do research. That’s why we get on the phone, we figure out who our target audience is, we look up studies, search Twitter, and go on Facebook to figure out what groups people are joining and what they’re saying.
  • 23:11 This is the reason why we need to connect with people. When you get to the point of making a product that benefits the people you’re trying to help, you don’t need to try and make something up. You literally say, “This was your problem, what you struggled with, and we solved it! Here’s how we solved it. Here’s how it’s going to make your life better, because of what you said was the issue.”
  • 23:38 That’s just the truth. Another one that comes to mind is Netflix. Every once in a while, it changes, but if you go on their headline and you’re not logged in, their website says: “Watch anywhere, cancel anytime.” Those are two really prevalent value propositions. They’re like, “You can watch anywhere. You can watch on the go. You can watch on an airplane.” They have this new thing where, if you have a tablet and you have a subscription, you can save locally.
  • 24:12 Even if you don’t have an internet connection, you can watch the movie or the show that you wanted to watch. Now, all of a sudden, you don’t have to be sitting in your front room with your TV or in a movie theater. You can watch anywhere. Wow, that’s huge! Then, cancel anytime. That’s a huge kick to cable companies and to satellite companies, networks. I used to sell cable, for a month and a half, door to door. It was the second worst job I ever had.
  • 24:44 Kyle: Second worst? What was the first worst?
  • 24:45 Cory: I worked at Burger King for a month. I used to sell cable, and we would get people into these contracts. People would say, “I’m on this plan.” All of these companies make their money from contracts. Netflix is saying, “You can cancel any time. You don’t have to have a 24 month contract, and if you cancel, you get a $384 early cancellation fee. You can cancel any time.” They know who they’re trying to reach, and they’re saying, “We have the solution for you. We’ve got entertainment you can watch anywhere and a plan you can cancel anytime.” The people are like, “Oh my gosh, that’s me!” There you go.
  • 25:41 Kyle: That’s me. Everyone’s in a different place. I feel like we’re going over and over the same topic here, but it’s so important to understand that.
  • You might not be in the same place as the product you made.

  • 26:03 For example, if you’re passing on knowledge of something, you have to have been through those experiences before you share it. You’re talking to an audience that hasn’t experienced those things yet or is in the middle of struggling with things you’ve already struggled with. Part of passing on knowledge is having that empathy to say, “I understand where you’re at. This is a solution to your problem. I’ve had this problem before.”
  • 26:33 Understand that it fits into someone’s life in a certain way that wouldn’t fit into yours, even, in the same way. If I saw an introduction to What is Design course, maybe that’s not for me right now. I’ve gotten past that, but there are people that really, really connect with that, because they’re interested in getting into that topic. I got your wheels turning.
  • 27:05 Cory: You did.

Care About People

  • 27:07 Cory: You wrote this question in our notes, “What if a product doesn’t really benefit people?” You need to stop. Stop making it. Go home. I advocate making a product that benefits people. That’s the only kind of product that I advocate. I do not advocate any other kind of product. That’s it. I’m not the person to answer the question of, “What if the product doesn’t really benefit people,” because that’s a dumb product and you need to go home.
  • 27:44 Kyle: I think that was somewhat of a sarcastic question, if I’m honest. The point is, “Well, I have to point out the tech specs, because that’s the benefit.” Does it benefit people? If you can’t answer that question and it really doesn’t benefit people, it’s not worth it. Either it does or it doesn’t, and if it does, you have to figure out how to articulate that. If it doesn’t, why does it exist?
  • People are only going to care about you once you’ve proven that you care about them.

  • 28:41 Cory: This is especially true in business. If you prove that you care about them and that’s genuine, going back to last week’s episode, you can’t just say you care about something, not actually care about it, and think that you’re going to get away with it. If you’re transparent and you want to be authentic and you say you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it.
  • 29:17 If your product isn’t benefiting a person, you need to fix that. If your product can help people, you have an obligation to demonstrate to them and help them see that they can be helped with your product. Absolutely. It’s more than just marketing, just trying to get a buck. It’s actually about demonstrating to people that their lives can be better and improve from the problem that they have, if they have a problem—or that they can improve in general.
  • 29:54 We talk about story. We talk about connection and relationship. You have to care about people. Full stop. If you want to succeed in this world, people want to be cared for. People want to know that they’re cared for, that they’re cared about, that they’re heard, that they’re known. As a business, as a brand, as a company and an organization, you have a chance to do that.
  • If you really want to help people, tell those people that you can help them.

  • 30:46 In fact, if you can help somebody and you don’t tell them that you can help them, what does that make you? That’s pretty crappy.

You Don’t Need to Use Deceptive Tactics

  • 31:05 Kyle: I think it’s important to understand that what you can benefit people with will improve the significance it has for them. Then, you’re not forced to use certain “tactics,” for lack of a better word. For example, I have had two different experiences. I have had a site where I’m interested in a service they offer, and they have a free 30 day trial. I sign up, and I really think it’s going to improve my life, or whatever I’m doing.
  • 31:49 I sign up, thinking it’s going to do a certain thing. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s just not for me. Two different experiences come at the end of that. One of them is, suddenly you’re charged $58 or something. I had a company charge $200 at the end of a one month trial, because they automatically defaulted to a year membership. It was terrible.
  • If you really believe in your product and communicate well, you don’t have to trick people to give you money.

  • 32:25 You should send reminder emails and make sure they know that they’re not just already on a plan. Automatically defaulting people into massive payments is just trying to get an extra buck out of it. If your product is that great and you’ve communicated how it can improve someone’s life, if they’ve noticed that, yeah, it actually does, when you send that email that says, “Hey, you have a week left. Keep going, because if you don’t, your service will be cut off,” they’re going to go instantly pay for that. I’ve been through both of those experiences, and I know that if I really believe in something and it has actually improved something for me, I’ll sign up tomorrow or right now.
  • 33:16 Cory: Or cancel. “Wait a minute, I didn’t know I subscribed to this!”
  • 33:20 Kyle: I’m saying, if it has actually improved my life, if it’s significant in my life. It can circumvent some of those things. I know that there are companies out there that don’t have this connection, and it’s the rookie mistake coming into play. It’s, “Well, we have all these benefits. We string people along by them accidentally forgetting to cancel their monthly membership.” Do you really want to do business that way?
  • 33:50 I’m not just talking about memberships here, but I think that with reoccurring costs, it makes sense. Are you really benefiting them, or are you just trying to string them on long enough to get some income and continue on?