Every savvy marketer knows that the best way to sell your product or service is to solve a problem with it. This is equally true whether you’re pitching the latest gadget on a late night infomercial or promoting your new tech startup out of Silicon Valley.
But solving problems through marketing can be difficult online. The age-old formula of “Explain problem, solve problem” doesn’t work as well because one product or service can often solve dozens of problems and be used differently by every person that touches it.
There are many ways to do it but it’s going to involve some different marketing tactics than those that commonly work offline.
With that in mind, here are eight tips for how you can use online marketing to solve problems for potential customers and turn them into paying ones.
1. Monitor Social Media
Though you have to be careful to do this in a non-spammy way, reaching out to people with a specific and immediate problem is not only a good way to possibly earn new customers but also get ideas for problems that you can solve elsewhere.
It’s a great chance to get real-time information about what your market wants, needs and is thinking about as well as a chance to step in and offer answers.
2. Ask for Problems to Solve
In addition to monitoring social media, get involved with it and openly ask your potential clients about the problems that they are having. Get them to think about the issues and tell you about them.
You can do this on social media but you can also do it with your site by using problem-focused calls to action, surveys and questionnaires.
Every chance you get you should be asking others what their problems are, not preaching what you can do. Even when you don’t get a direct lead, you may get an idea.
3. Research, Research and Research
Keep up-to-date on the latest happenings in your field and read the latest studies, surveys and reports from people researching it. You may learn about potential problems that your customers are not even aware of and, as marketers know, an unknown problem is an great opportunity to offer a solution.
But even if the problems are well known, having hard data to showcase how serious or urgent the problem is can help focus clients on something they might see as only a minor issue or otherwise not worth addressing. It can also give you ideas and solutions that others might have completely missed.
4. Become an Authority
Now that you have a good handle on at least some of the problems the industry is facing, you have a chance to become an authority on it.
Start blogging and writing about the problems and offering solutions for them in your posts. It can feel like you’re giving away your product for free, especially if you are a consultant, but by demonstrating your ability to solve problems publicly you earn the reputation of being an expert and a problem-solver.
Simply talking about solutions is never a replacement for actually solving them yourself but it is a great way to showcase your knowledge and grow your reputation and influence.
Even in industries where blogging isn’t appropriate, you can find other ways to become an expert. For example, 123NeonSigns has an article section where it explains how neon signs are made and what the history of them is.
5. Solve a Problem for Free
Offer a free solution to a small, common problem that your industry faces. Ideally, do it through an app, a tool, a free ebook or something else that is self-sustaining and doesn’t require a great deal of time or expense.
There’s no better way to show you can solve problems than by actually solving one. A good example of this is Producteev, a todo list manager that provides a free account for individuals, solving a simple problem for them, but offers a pro version for companies with more complex needs.
While most who take advantage of your free offer will not become customers, some will and the reputation and audience reach you get through the use of free will help you make a great deal more money down the road.
6. In Marketing, Talk About Problems, Not Specific Solutions
When you write marketing material, don’t focus on the tools or services you offer, but rather, on the problems that your customers likely face and show that you can solve them.
A man without a home doesn’t care what hammer you use to build him a house and a business with a bad web presence doesn’t care what tools you use to build a website. They want the problems solved and they want them solved by you.
Save the details for the later and focus on “big picture” solutions instead.
7. Show You Understand Your Client’s Problems Better Than Them
Once a potential customer has contacted you with a problem, which they should have if you followed suggestion two, it’s important that you be the expert in the problem, not them.
Much of this will come from your earlier research, but you also need to know the company or the person. Learn who they are, what they value and what challenges they face, including the ones they might not want to talk about.
If you can raise an issue that they are avoiding talking about, you can solve a problem they needed help with but didn’t want to address
8. Keep Positive But Keep Focused
Finally, thought it might seem like an oxymoron, when talking with leads or customers about their issues you need to remain focused on the problems (this is about their needs, not your solutions), but you also need to remain positive and remind them that the problems will be solved.
Talking about problems, whether for a person or a business, is typically depressing. If you can provide hope, expertise and solutions, you can help even before you start work by lifting much of the dark cloud.
In short, good marketing and good customer relations can, in many ways, solve a problem before they take the first step tangible to resolution.
All in all, solving problems is more about listening and understanding the problems than the actual solutions. After all, many of the problems that you, your product or your service may be solving won’t be ones that your customers can’t solve, but rather, ones that are more efficient for them to have someone else handle.
If you can show you understand the problems better than they do and that you have great ideas for solving them, your specific solutions are unimportant, so long as they eventually work. Besides, most problems have multiple solutions and it’s more important to offer options, expertise and adaptability than a specific set of answers.
Author Bio:- This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for pre shipment inspection companies, and who also consults for a psd to html conversion company.