Profiling is Good, When it Comes to Your Perfect Customer

Greetings fellow SEO copywriters and content marketers! As foretold, here is the fourth of the five crucial steps you need to walk through before putting fingers to keyboard, pen to paper, voice to recorder — whatever your chosen method — and yes, it involves RESEARCH! But as you know by now, research is not a dirty word.  On the contrary,  it is your friend, confidante, and informant.

I know your fingers are itching and your mind is twitching, BUT if you take the time to do the groundwork laid out here first, you will save yourself untold fruitless hours, wasted energy, client frustration, and botched work!

So let’s do it right the first time:  Measure twice, cut once!

If you’ve been following this SEO copywriting and content marketing how-to blog series, featured each Monday, then you’ve already checked out your competition, noted the latest social buzz about your product/service, and have completed a productive and insightful “SWOT” (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis of your content.

Now, we have two more essential research steps to go.

First, in this post, we are going to profile your perfect customer.

All of the brilliant SEO copywriting you’ve created will not accomplish The Goal — Conversions –if you fail to capture the attention, imagination, and buying impulse of your target market.  Can you define your perfect customer?

Take the example of a relatively simple product, like a digital camera.  Now, let’s take a closer look at your prospective buyers:

  • The senior citizen may want an easy-to-use digital camera with minimal features, simply to take pictures of the grandchildren
  • The college student may want an inexpensive digital camera with which  s/he can readily upload videos to YouTube

Another example, cosmetic dentistry:

  • The high-powered female executive may want cosmetic dentistry to enhance her image
  • The  “weekend warrior” hockey player may want cosmetic dentistry to repair a chipped tooth

It should be clear by these examples that, while we would like to appeal to every customer, the most effective marketing message will target one perfect one.

Why?  Because at the end of the day, your prospect wants to know:  What’s in it for me?

Ask yourself theses questions, when constructing the profile of your perfect customer:

  • Are they men?  Women?  Both?
  • How old are they?  Does your product or service appeal to different ages?
  • How much money do they make?
  • What kind of work do they do?  Are they retired?
  • What are their main concerns and pain points?
  • What books and magazines do they read?
  • What websites do they frequent?
  • How do they spend their discretionary income?
  • Is “OK and cheap” what they crave?  Or do your clients require only the best — and are willing to pay for that exclusivity?

The deeper you dig, the more defined your perfect customer, the more refined your market niche, the more targeted your copy, and the more effective your SEO and content marketing efforts!

Next Monday, we will pull it all together to address the crux of the matter: defining your unique selling proposition, See you then!

RFIs gone wild!

Ah, the RFI. If you’ve been in business for awhile, you’ve seen the multi-page “request for information” documents prospects use during the vendor-vetting process. Some companies love filling them out, figuring it’s a great chance to showcase their successes and land the client. Other companies dread the time and manpower RFIs take to complete, preferring to opt-out of the process. With questions like, “Share your philosophy about working with clients, ” and “Explain a recent problem you had with a client, and how your firm handled it,” RFIs often feel like job interviews – except everything is done on-paper rather than face-to-face.

Mind you, I’m a big fan of prospect due-diligence. Companies need to make sure that the vendor they hire will meet their needs – and sometimes, you can learn everything you need to know by reading written responses (especially if you’re hiring a SEO copywriting agency – if they can’t write compelling RFI responses, I doubt they could create good Web copy.)

But then, the other day, I received a very unique RFI – and I’m curious to see what you think…

The “typical” questions were there regarding how my firm worked with clients, and and asking about my firm’s writing process. But then, the questions started getting very…personal.  They asked me to name my top clients and their annual spend. Then wanted to know if I’ve worked with clients in certain verticals – and they wanted me to name the clients and engagement scope. And in addition, they asked for two year’s of financial statements.

Mind you, my husband didn’t see my financials until about two weeks before we were married.

Yes, there would have been a MNDA in place – so the information would have been protected. However, I didn’t know anything about the gig. Nothing. Not the scope of work. Not the budget. Nothing. This could be a $100,000 SEO copywriting makeover – or a $1,000 project. And unfortunately, the prospect was prohibited from providing any information until after they received the RFI – assuming, of course, that my firm made the cut.

How did I handle it? I took my firm out of the running. Even with a MNDA in place, I didn’t feel comfortable discussing my current clients with a prospect – not without my clients’ express signoff. And certainly, I did not feel at all comfortable sending over two years of financial documents before I could even speak to the prospect (and truth be told, I would never send over financials to a prospect.) It’s a shame, because I’m sure that I could have helped them. But the RFI process soured me on the gig.

But you tell me.  What types of RFI questions are appropriate – and what feels like “RFIs gone wild?” Am I being stubborn? Would you have provided that information in the hopes of getting the gig (keeping in mind, of course, that you wouldn’t know what the gig was before submitting your information.)

What do YOU think?