Our human brains are designed to worry and look out for danger – our brains are very good at it too!Leading psychologists have often concluded that humans were not built to be happy, but were built to survive. This strong desire to survive is driven by us looking for potential risks and problems and working out how to overcome them, should they ever occur.It is our cognitive features that have helped us evolve so successfully. From discovering and controlling fire to inventing the wheel, we were driven to develop such things out of fear or to solve a problem.
- Fear of starvation = hunting tools and later agriculture
- Fear of death = medicines and medical treatments
- Fear of threat = organisation of communities and the formation of armies
And the list goes on....Our brains are built to determine the next thing to fix or improve in our lives and this is why sales and marketing techniques aimed at solving human problems and providing solutions to issues are so effective.
Appealing to our restless minds
There are not many people who are in the fortunate position to be able to sit back, relax and be content with their lot. Even those millionaires who appear to have everything at their feet still worry about how they are going to keep their wealth protected and their lifestyles maintained and improved.Instead of our brains being content with our surroundings and how the world is making us feel right now, we will constantly focus on how we can create or fix any problems we have or worrying about what may be on the horizon.Our human brains don't sit comfortably for long wondering, “What can I enjoy today?” But, rather, “What problems can I fix today?”
Making obstacles into business opportunities
Some common human obstacles can become business opportunities if you know how to solve them, or at least provide some temporary relief for a little while.This is exactly how the holiday industry works. You have a stressed out and exhausted worker looking for a solution for their woes. You own a seaside hotel with a pool and spa where people can take a well-earned break away from their busy lives.Your hotel guests get a chance to escape the 9-5 grind and their long and tedious commute to work and back each day. Win-win all round!The skill here is to keep your hotel guest coming back for more. You can do this by keeping in regular contact with them and providing them with exciting news updates and beautiful photographs of your spectacular sea-views, comfortable hotel rooms or tempting new menu.By doing this you are connecting with your customers on an emotional level and you are reminding them that the perfect solution to their problems (overwork and exhaustion) is right here waiting for their return.
Creating a vision for your customers
Everyone is creative – even if you believe otherwise. You are creating new thoughts as you read this. You can help solve your target customer’s problems by creating a positive vision of your solution in their minds.By truly understanding your ideal customer inside out you will know what concerns or issues they will worry about. It is your job to create a vision of their perfect solution and deliver it on a plate directly to them.When you take the time to analyse your target audience and get inside their collective heads you will start to see what things feel good to their senses and things that don't.This way you can avoid switching off your target audience with the wrong message or creating the wrong image of your product or service in their mind.You need to be discerning about their discomfort. The idea and vision you want to create for your product or service is something that is positive and worthwhile. Show them that having what you are providing will enable them to better cope with whatever problems they are experiencing.
Tactile marketing techniques
Despite to huge rise in digital sales over the internet we still have a human need to touch something. This is most common with physical products such as shoes and clothes. We will have a desire to identify the most comfortable texture or the best fit.There is still a huge demand for real books that you can hold and read despite the popularity and convenience of having a digital version to download and read instantly. This is why for self-published authors it can be a good move to offer your book as a digital version on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords and other digital platforms but also offer your book through a print-on-demand service for those who prefer reading physical copies or would like to buy your book to give as a gift.
Emotional marketing with physical materials
As you want to be solving a problem with your product or service you need to connect with your customer on an emotional level. Giving your customer something tactile to connect with can often outstrip digital marketing efforts for gaining sales.A recent study conducted by Millward Brown for Royal Mail found that “this research strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than the virtual.”Offering your prospective customers a gift or free sample will act to leave a much deeper impression on the brain. This causes your product or service to be better remembered and a positive physical experience will help to build trust in your brand and a stronger desire and motivation to buy from you.
Tactile marketing can be along the lines of these examples:
- Offering free samples of your cookies if you own a bakery shop or market stall
- A free 5-minute hand massage if you are promoting your beauty salon at a local community event
- Hosting a free cheese and wine taster evening if you own a deli or restaurant
- A free sauna or workout session at your gym
Solving problems of your own
While the main focus of your business activities should be towards finding solutions to your customer’s problems, don't forget that there are also great solutions to help you solve your own business problems and issues too!One of the biggest issues a sole trader, solo entrepreneur or small business owner faces is the lack of available time to dedicate to developing their business and making it run more efficiently.As a business owner, you will have problems of your own to solve. So why not consider freeing up more of your time and giving yourself a break by using any of the following tips:
1: Cut down on your time reading and responding to email
Did you know that nearly one-third of an average working day involves dealing with your inbox? Set yourself a rule to only read and respond to emails twice per day. You can set yourself a time limit of half an hour in the morning and the same in the afternoon, for example at 10 am and 3.30 pm.Don't look at your email at other times and only respond to those that you need to. Email can eat up a huge chunk of your day and sending more emails out will only act to increase what comes in.
2: Use productivity apps
There are many free business apps that have been created to help you to better organise your day. Google Calendar, for example, can help to remind you of appointments and important events.Look at using a free Pomodoro timer to help with your concentration and to give you regular short breaks throughout the day to refresh and re-energise your mind.
3: Build an email list
Capture the contact details of your website visitors and build an email list for a low-cost solution to engage with your customers and interested prospect. MailChimp is great for organising your mailing lists and handy for running split-marketing campaigns.
4: Manage your Social Media
We have all fallen into that trap of opening Facebook and then boom! Half the day has gone. Try to curb the time you spend on social media by using a management tool such as HootSuite or outsourcing its management to an outside expert.
5: Outsource your admin tasks
As mentioned above with handing over the management of your social media to an outside expert, you should also look at freeing up your time from other business admin tasks that are just as time-consuming.While essential tasks for the success of your business, admin task are a big time-drain and they are unproductive in the sense that they don't generate any money for your business. Yes, they are necessary, but your time would be better spent focused on other aspects of your business, such as your customer research and marketing plans.Look at freeing up your precious time with services such as those offered by Capital Office London:
- Call Answering: Impress clients with a London telephone number and a team of professional PAs who will personally greet your client and handle your business calls.
- Virtual Office: Our complete virtual office combines our prestigious London virtual address with our leading professional call answering service. Our virtual office is designed to help you convey a professional image whilst ensuring you maximise your productivity.
6: Organise your to-do list
Obey the 2-minute rule where if you have a task will take less than two minutes to complete, do it right away. Getting these little tasks done and crossed off your list will make your to-do list look far less intimidating and you will be encouraged to power through the rest of your tasks with greater energy.
In summary, look at the many ways your product or service can help to solve a particular customer problem. Identify your target audience and work out their likes and dislikes and find where they hang out so you can better reach them with your solution.Don't forget to solve your own problems along the way by making good use of the tools and services that are available to you, from free apps to outsourcing time-draining tasks.With all this extra time you can save yourself, you can better focus your efforts to define your business goals and also give yourself a well-deserved break once in a while.