External vs. Internal Problems
Do you ever feel like your marketing copy just isn’t connecting with your target audience? When you provide an awesome product or service, you’d think that just explaining the benefits would convince new customers to jump on board. But, as you may have figured out, it’s not!
Most products and services are created to solve a problem – necessity is the mother of invention, right? But customers aren’t buying solutions to their external problems – they buy things that make them feel better.
Let me try to illustrate this point with an analogy. Lawn service was created to solve a simple problem: overgrown grass. I’m sure the very first lawn service didn’t have much work to do when it came to marketing. “Got grass that’s too long and time that’s too short? Let us cut your grass for you!” But as more and more lawn services popped up, one pulled ahead of the competition and became the most successful. It’s not necessarily because they mowed a better lawn than the rest – it’s because they knew that lawn service actually meets a deeper need for their customers. They stopped selling an external solution to an internal problem.
External problems are surface-level problems (i.e. your client has long grass and then you swoop in and cut it).
Internal problems are much deeper and emotional – they speak to your clients’ fears, desires, or frustrations (i.e. your client is frustrated by their out of control lawn because fixing it means less time for more important things, like time with family).
Yes, you solve an external problem for your customer. But they are truly buying your product or service because it solves an internal problem. You can get ahead of your competition if you skip a step and offer the internal solution upfront.
Identify the Internal Problem You Solve
If this is a new concept for you, it might not feel obvious what internal problem you solve for your customers. That’s why I’m going to give you these 10 questions to help you figure out who your customer is and what internal problem you solve for them.
Take the time to write down your answers as you work through these questions so that you can come back and review them. Pay particular attention to the emotional experience of your customer, and try to channel some empathy for them. It will help you write your next email or targeted marketing campaign!
- What keeps your customer awake at night?
- What would your customer do with more free time and/or more money?
- What does your customer dread (as it relates to your field)?
- How does your customer want to be perceived by others?
- What makes your customer frustrated (as it relates to your industry)?
- What are your customer’s dreams for their future (or the future of their family)?
- What makes your customer feel relieved or relaxed?
- What makes your customer feel nervous or embarrassed?
- What makes your customer feel incompetent (as it relates to your industry)?
- What makes your customer genuinely happy (as it relates to your industry)?
It’s a genuinely productive exercise to give more thought to who your customer is and how to connect with them in a deeper way. If you shift the focus of your marketing to the internal problems you just identified, your customer base will grow!
As always, we’re here for guidance as you navigate the marketing world. Contact us to find out how our team’s marketing expertise could help take your business to the next level!