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How to write customer-focused content that converts

As a content marketer, your job depends on your ability to create customer-facing content that converts. This is often easier said than done, but why is it so hard?

One of the biggest culprits is the roadblock of knowledge. Let me explain.

What You Know Can Hurt You

Part of your job is to become an expert on the services or products of the company that you work for. While this expertise is extremely valuable, it can actually hurt you when it comes to creating content that relevantly speaks to your customers.

We often tend to become so knowledgeable about the features and technical specs of what we’re trying to sell that we feel that all of our customers want to know about all of these intricate details.

The hard truth is that most of your potential buyers don’t care about these things, but instead care about how it makes their lives better and how it fulfills their wants and needs.

The first step to creating better content that converts is to learn how to take your vast feature knowledge and turn it into believable benefits.

How to Convert Features Into Benefits

We all know a lot about the awesome features of whatever it is we are trying to sell, but how do we convert those into benefits that truly resonate with a potential customer to help them see what they get out of it?

When it comes to converting features to benefits, here is a great five-minute-checkyou can follow. This check includes taking the last persuasive piece you have created for your company (blog post, landing page, sales copy) and listing all of the features you talked about.

Feature examples:

  • The analytic reports
  • The patented technology
  • The return policy
  • The specifications
  • The design
  • The pricing tiers

Then take these features and copy and paste them into a new document. In the new document, after each feature listed, add the words:

so you can…

By doing this, the new phrases will be something like this:

  • Our powerful analytic reports are created with the simple click of a button, so you can save time showing your boss impressive analysis without ever firing up an Excel sheet.
  • The sleek design of our hearing aid makes it virtually unnoticeable, so you can feel confident in how you look while also being able to more fully interact with your family and friends.
  • We take pride in our no-questions-asked return policy, so you can order worry-free.

This fantastic exercise changes your thinking from you and what you offer and switches it over to thinking about them and what they gain from it.

Don’t Oversimplify Benefits

As content marketers, it is in our inherent nature to simplify text and messages into compact and concise points to save time, words, and space. This practice often hurts the conversion ability of our content as it takes some of the emotional storytelling away from the features and benefits we are trying to sell.

For example:

Don't Oversimplify Benefits - Example 1

The statement on the left is simple and to the point, but the statement on the right connects on an emotional level with the customer letting them know that painstaking measures are taken to get them the data they want. It’s also just more fun to read as it allows some personality to shine through.

Another example:

Don't Oversimplify Benefits - Example 2

The benefit listed on the left is simple but is much better conveyed with the statement on the right as it paints a picture of what the customer could do with the benefit.

By creating copy that helps your customers to paint the picture of what they can do with the features and benefits of what you are trying to sell, your copy becomes much more customer-driven and thus increases its chances of conversion.

Stop Trying to Think for Your Customers

At some point in time, we’ve all sat in a room with our co-workers to hash out a profile/persona of our customer base. While it’s relatively easy to find out basic information about your customers such as age, geographic location, medium income, etc., it’s not as easy to guess how they think.

Yet we all do it! We sit in a room and talk about what possibly could frustrate the customer, what they are worried about, or what they wish our product/service could do, but it’s all a complete guess and a completely pointless exercise.

Instead of guessing what your customers are thinking, just ask them!

Some of the most common mediums of getting information from customers are:

  • Customer interviews
  • Email surveys
  • Review and testimonials
  • Chat logs

All of these mediums are incredibly valuable as they can give you the truth regarding how customers feel about what you are providing.

If you want to embark on creating a customer survey, it’s important to make sure you ask the right questions in order to give you the right information.

The way to mine this information gold is to give your customer the opportunity to truly tell you what their thought process was by asking finding/feeling questions, such as:

What was going on in your business that caused you to search for a solution?When evaluating other products/services, what was the most important to you?Why did you feel our service/product was the best solution for you?What about us made you feel confident enough to give us a try?What almost kept you from buying from us?What other solutions did you try, and what didn't you love about them?

What can you do now, or do better, than you could do before?

You’ve probably noticed that none of these questions are yes/no questions. Instead, all of these questions hit the customer at a more emotional level, which solicits more raw and honest answers.

These types of questions are designed to help you gain a true insight into your customer’s buying process.

With this kind of information, all of the pointless guessing-game meetings with your co-workers go away since all of the responses to these questions can be turned into the selling points of your marketing copy, thus increasing its conversion chances.

Don’t Forget the Wants

As marketers, we are classically trained to make sure that we meet customer needs when selling anything.

Meeting needs is essential to have a valuable product or service, but when it comes to writing sales copy that converts, you need to make sure that the benefits you have identified are things your customers want instead of things you thinkthey need.

Buying things that you need is boring. It’s more fun to buy plane tickets to go on vacation than it is to buy life insurance.

To ensure that your benefits are being driven by wants, you need to look into the emotional motivators that customers have like status, pleasure, comfort, and pain.

It’s also important to know that certain values are similarly intertwined with emotions,– such as fairness, patriotism, and justice. These values can also be factors to use in your persuasive writing to help make sure benefits have more of an impact and touch on what the customers want.

Customers convince themselves that what they want is already better. For example, if the customer wants a blue car, they have already convinced themselves that a blue car will somehow be better than one that isn’t, even if the features are exactly the same.

Harnessing the hidden wants behind the reasons your customers would benefit from your product/service is critical to writing copy that connects these wants with the benefits of your product/service in order to convert.

Conclusion

Writing customer-driven content that converts becomes much easier if: you take a step back from your existing knowledge, convert features into benefits, truly understand how your customer thinks by asking them, and remembering that benefits should be driven by wants.

By doing these things, your content will better meet the customers’ needs and wants in a realistic and truthful way that will give them the confidence they need in order to give your products/services a try.

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by Greg Secrist
source: SEJ

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