Effective Content Marketing: How to Solve Your Customers Problems

What problems do you solve for your customers?

A content marketer’s biggest challenge is to solve customers’ problems while maximizing the effectiveness of his or her content.

Now pay attention because this is important. No matter what you do in life you should be adding value to other people’s lives. The way to add value to others is to help them solve their problems or challenges and for that you need to have the mindset of a “problem sniffer”. 

What does that mean?

It means that people (i.e. customers) generally buy pain killers, not vitamins (even when times are hard and the economy is down). In other words people will pay more money to avoid a problem (loss or pain) than they will to gain a benefit.

So when you create a product or service that solves problems or fulfills a need, you get paid! For example Facebook solves a social problem and advertisers pay them big bucks for your personal data…and you thought you didn’t matter ;).

So what problem(s) do you solve?

Here’s a very helpful exercise that I want to share with you (it could take some time – or you might have to come back to it later but it’s oh, so worth it!). In content marketing, we call it creating customer profiles or buyer personas. Your customer could by anyone – your students, your co-workers, your neighbors, your actual customers or anyone who has a problem that you might be able to solve. Developing a buyer persona helps you to understand the people that you’re trying to target so that you can create something (a product or service) that solves their problem or fills their need. (That’s assuming of course that you’re in the business of pain killers not vitamins).

So take a pen and paper and answer these questions:

  • Who are the people that could (potentially) buy your stuff? (Age, gender, occupation, title, industry, size of organization, income level etc?)
  • What do they do? i.e. what does their job involve, how long is their commute, what are their interests, what kind of problems are they trying to solve at work (or home), what are their career/life goals?
  • What frustrates them about their job or life? e.g. do they have a resource issue or a technical challenge that is holding them back? What do they need to improve their work process or their life situation?
  • What problems motivate them to buy? e.g. sickness, financial or legal challenges, relationship issues, lack of time, lack of help, troubled kids etc.
  •  What would actually drive them to make the purchase? e.g. a friend’s referral, cost, efficiency, good service, confidentiality, etc.
  • How much money do they have? (you’ll be more successful if you offer something they can afford to buy).
  • What would they expect from you? e.g. if they expect confidentiality about what they’re buying and you don’t disappoint them, then you gain repeat business.
  • What do they think about you? e.g. Do you have a reputation that makes it difficult for them to come to you – how can you solve their problems if they don’t even like you?
  • What do they think of your competitor(s)? Knowing what they think of your competition makes it easier to approach them and stay ahead of your rivals.
  • And finally how can you craft a message that appeals to this kind of person in their specific situation? (Hint: empathy, like-ability and trust come to mind. And by the way, this last part involves blogging and is really what content marketing is all about – get it right!)

The only way you can solve people’s problems is if you really understand who they are and what their circumstances are. If you don’t know them how can you presume to offer them something they may not even need?

And finally remember that content marketing success is not just about you. Even as you ‘sniff out’ people’s problems in order to offer them a solution remember to appreciate them for who they are as people, not just as ‘accounts’ or ‘opportunities’. Building strong relationships with your customers is a worthwhile goal too!

Your Turn:  How do you solve your customers’ problems? Please share your tips in the comment box below.

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