Do You Really Know Your Customers?

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 08/29/16 •  3 min read
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After selling products online and offline since 1999, I can tell you that customers definitely fall into two basic groups; optimists and pessimists.

And while most people will tell you they’re optimists, very often it’s their wishful thinking talking and not reality. Your marketing message, and especially your slogan, can have a profound effect on your prospect’s receptivity to your product. And if that message or slogan doesn’t match their mindset, you’ve likely lost the sale or will have to work much harder to get the sale.

So how do you market specifically to optimists or pessimists?

By tailoring your message to suit the way they think.

For example, if your product is toothpaste and the bulk of your customers are optimists, your tagline might be – “Whiter teeth and fresher breath.” But if your customers are pessimists, you’ll want something completely different, such as – “Prevents cavities and gingivitis.” Do you see the difference?

With optimists you’re extolling the positive benefits. With pessimists you’re showing them how to prevent negative consequences.

If you write to just one or the other, you’ll likely miss out on reaching half your audience. The fact is, you’ll be dealing with both types of customers. So if you can find a way to segment them, your marketing will convert at a higher rate.

For example: The source of your traffic can determine the type of headline and approach you use. If the traffic is coming from a positive, benefit oriented advertisement, then assume the majority of them are optimists. If the traffic is originating from a prevention point of view, you’ll want to stay on that track.

Does that make sense?

Let me give you another example…

If the originating advertisement states, “Click here to send massive targeted traffic to your website,” then you’ll want to continue with the big traffic theme. If the originating ad states, “Click here to prevent your website from hemorrhaging money,” then that’s the theme you’ll continue with, even though both ads are for the same traffic generation product or service.

Let’s look at one more example…

Sometimes you can segment your prospects by group.

If you’re offering a business opportunity to younger people, you would want to stress the strong earning potential of the business, whereas for older customers you might emphasize how safe and steady the business is.

This doesn’t make the younger people optimistic and the older ones pessimistic so much as it acknowledges different thinking patterns at different stages in life.

Young people aren’t worried about the future so much as wanting to see large returns now. More mature people want something they’re confident will perform and are willing to sacrifice the potential of a high, fast return for safety and longevity.

Most people don’t give this much thought.

The problem is, when you change your tone from the ad to the offer page, then you create an incongruity that can severely diminish your sales. It’s a major mistake I see people making over and over again.

Final thought: Think about your customers and which group they’re likely to fall into and then market to them accordingly. You might even write slightly different sales pages for each of the two groups, and then place the appropriate links on your website directing them to the sales pages.

Lee Collins

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins started marketing online in 1999. He is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet, but also gained recognition as the creator of Hybrid Marketing and Repeat Profit Systems. When Lee isn't helping his clients solve million-dollar marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.