If you’re like most businesses, you spend a lot of time telling your target audience what your business does or sells. You want the world to know that you have the best products or services.
In fact, most of your marketing efforts focus on what you sell. That seems to be the most natural approach. You have products. You need people to buy them. So you need to tell people that you have those products. How else would they know that they can buy them from you?!
What if we tell you that your customers don’t really care about your products or services?
Yes, you read that correctly. Products are just products, and services are just services. People don’t really care about them. They care about something much deeper. They care about the people, passion and purpose behind those products and services.
Your Customers Want to Know the Why
In his book, This is Marketing, Seth Godin encourages businesses to tell customers “something they’ve been waiting to hear, something they’re open to believing.”
Offering exceptional products or services is a given. That’s what you’re expected to do as a business. That alone will not wow your customers and build a deeper connection with them.
Take your customers on a journey of storytelling that explains why you do what you do. Share the raw passion and purpose behind the products or services you offer. That’s the real deal. That’s what your customers want to know. They want to know the real you, the real person behind the products or services.
Your customers don’t want to hear the typical “I’ve always wanted to own a business. I worked hard and made it happen.” That’s boring and too safe. It tells the outside world nothing about why you wanted to own a business. It also doesn’t make your story relatable.
You have to dig deeper and share the real reason you wanted to open your business. Tell your target audience how you grew up watching your grandfather bake the most delicious pies. He’s the reason you fell in love with baking. Once your grandfather passed away, you decided to continue his legacy by opening a bakery with the money he left to you after his passing. That’s a great feel-good story and something that most people can relate to. It’s way more interesting than just saying that you’ve always wanted to own a bakery.
The story of why you do what you do should be the main story told throughout your branding efforts. It’s the story that sets you apart from everyone else. Think of it as part of your business’ DNA.
Know Thy Customers
Also in This is Marketing, Seth Godin tells us that, “it’s easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve than it is to find customers for your products and services.” Essentially, don’t assume that customers will come as soon as your product or service hits the market.
Instead, get to know the target audience you wish to cater to. Learn about their dreams, decision making, and daily routine.
This knowledge will allow you to present the why behind your business in a way that best resonates with your customers. You can fine-tune your story to speak to your customers’ dreams and hopes, and to also calm their fears.
For example, if the majority of your customers are moms, you can share your personal story of starting your business to provide for your children. You can share the rewards and struggles of being a business owner who is also a mom. That’ll resonate really well with your customers and make your business more human.
Your customers will no longer be just buying your products or services. They’ll be buying products or services from a fellow mom who owns the business that sells their favorite products or services.
Pro Marketer Tip
Assure your target audience that you see them as they see themselves. That’s one of the things every human desires the most on a day-to-day basis. We want others to see us as we see ourselves. Whoever manages to make us feel that way wins us over. Keep this in mind as you’re telling your brand stories and interacting with your customers.
Humans exchange stories to build relationships with other humans. Businesses do the same in order to build relationships with customers. It’s as simple as that.
10 Ways to Tell the Why Behind Your Business
1. Make the most of your website homepage
Create a short video of you explaining why you do what you do, and feature it on your homepage. This is a great way to make an instant connection with your target audience, especially first-time visitors. If video is not your cup of tea, you can tell your story with nice photos and easy-to-read text. Either way, your story should be in a prominent place on your website’s homepage.
2. Share behind the scenes (BTS) content
Show your passion and compassion by regularly sharing photos of what happens behind the scenes at your business. This will give your existing and potential customers a sneak peek into the people and passion behind the products or services you sell.
3. Incorporate it into your brand strategy
The why behind your business is your business’ brand story. It’s part of your unique selling proposition (USP). It’s that powerful. This means that it must be part of your brand strategy and ongoing marketing efforts.
4. Be more strategic with your social media content
When planning what to share with your social media followers, keep in mind the why and passion behind your business. Make an effort to share a decent amount of content to tell the deeper story behind the products or services you offer. Of course, not every social media post needs to be super deep. As they say, everything in moderation. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
5. Blog about it
If you have a blog, write about why you do what you do. Tell the full story – the good, the bad and the ugly. Your story should have a beginning, the middle (conflict), and an end. Share your blog posts with your social media followers.
6. Bake it into your company culture
Start with people inside your business. Tell them the deeper story behind your business and welcome them to be part of that story. Allow them to own it.
According to Seth Godin, “if you want to make change, begin by making culture. Begin by organizing a tightly knit group. Begin by getting people in sync. Culture beats strategy – so much that culture is strategy.”
A strong company culture makes it easier for members of your team to be on the same page. This makes it easier for team members to be better storytellers of the why behind your business.
7. Be a valuable member of your community
Make connections in your community – business and personal. Make valuable contributions. This will allow you to share your business’ story, which will be passed on from person to person. As they say in sales, go out and make belly-to-belly connections with your customers and peers.
Make sure that your community involvement efforts are aligned with your business mission and vision. Be strategic. Don’t overdo it. At the end of the day, you’re running a business and time is money.
8. Focus on your target audience
Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Your storytelling is only for your target audience. If they love it, you’re on the right track. People outside of your target audience may not care to hear your story. That’s okay. That’s actually more than okay. It’s a sign that your story is focused to only appeal to the correct audience. That’s exactly what you want.
9. Incorporate it into your customer service efforts
Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to tell your business story. It’s your chance to make a deeper connection. Your customers will care more, and also forgive, if they’ve made a personal connection with your brand. It’s more difficult to be angry at a business that has so many things in common with you. It’s also easier to fall in love with a business that has a relatable story.
10. Be authentic and transparent
The best why behind the business is the truth. Your customers want to know what actually inspired you to open your business and what keeps you going. That’s the most authentic story. Anything else will not be as real, and will most likely fall flat.
The why behind your business doesn’t have to be the most interesting story ever. It doesn’t even have to paint a super rosy picture. People are impressed by businesses that share their ups and downs. That’s more relatable than only hearing about how amazing things are. That’s not real life.
Whatever your story is, tell it in the most authentic way.
Examples of Popular Whys Behind the Brand
Buy a Pair, Give a Pair.
The founders wanted to offer designer-quality eyewear for as little as $95, and donate a pair of glasses to a person in a developing country for every purchased pair. That’s an amazing story.
It began when one of the founders lost their eyeglasses and spent a whole college semester without them — they were too expensive to replace. The solution to this problem became a business. Warby Parker went even further to help solve a global problem by donating eyewear to people who need it. Warby Parker states on its website that everyone has the right to see. The company doesn’t just sell glasses. They sell the freedom that clear vision enables you to have.
The company was started by two college dropouts who wanted to change the way people perceived and used computers.
At the time, computers were machines and machines were boring (they still are). Instead of selling the machine, Apple sold a feeling. To all the outsiders, the creatives, the thinkers — they bottled it up into two words, Think Different. It was authentic to the founders, as they had spent countless hours to create something different. This feeling is their story, and is still evident in their marketing efforts today.
It all started with a curious pharmacist who wanted to make a soft drink with a distinct taste that could be sold at soda fountains.
Coca-Cola, since 1886, has been marketing their products as enjoyable. The list of slogans they’ve used is long, but the one constant among them is the feeling they provoke. Their story is to enjoy life. Specifically, the theme of pausing, or taking a moment in life to appreciate the small things, has been used over and over in their marketing efforts. They don’t sell soda. They sell something that makes life enjoyable — they quench your thirst for happiness.
This wasn’t all decided on in one meeting. Coke’s story was developed over decades of advertising, experimenting, and strategizing.
Our Own Why
It’s only fair that we practice what we preach and speak a little about the why behind Kapok Marketing.
One of the things we often struggle with is talking about ourselves. It sometimes feels like bragging, which is uncomfortable. As marketers, we know that’s crazy talk. So, in 2019, we want to become better at telling the why behind our own brand.
Digital Marketers and Entrepreneurs
Kapok Marketing was started by two people who plateaued at their corporate jobs of 10+ years. They woke up one day and realized that the wealth of marketing and general business knowledge they had accumulated over the years should be shared with organizations in the Tampa Bay area. The fire in their bellies was burning for more than what their jobs at the time had to offer. It was time to leave the comfort zone and try something more challenging and rewarding.
Kapok Marketing was born out of the human need to continue to evolve, advance and learn, and the desire to teach others the power of digital marketing and entrepreneurship.
We are digital marketers who understand the day-to-day of local organizations because we’re also entrepreneurs. That part of our story helps us relate with clients. It gives them comfort to know that we know what they’re going through.
What to Do Next
Start small – baby steps. Define the why behind your business. Start incorporating it into your marketing efforts. Do 2-5 of the suggestions we made and go from there. Something is better than nothing.
Share with Us
How do you tell the why behind your business? What has worked and what hasn’t? Leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear your story.