Suppose your product features are much like your competitors’. And the benefits of using your products or services are similar—whether customers use your gizmo or theirs, they’re going to arrive at the same place.
Welcome to the commodity train. Destination: Irrelevance City, with stops in Price Warburgh and Declining Marginshire.
When ordinary features-and-benefits-based communications struggle to distinguish your business from the pack, it may be time to take your messages somewhere else — Into the heart of the customer experience.
In education, travel, luxury goods, food service, hospitality, professional services and other industries in which the thing sold is a thing lived, you need to communicate what it feels like to see, hear, touch, or taste your product.
The following points form a rough road map that can take your business from a place that’s obscure in your prospects’ minds to one that is tangible, vivid, and highly desirable.
Who: Personalize the experience
When value is locked in the experience—whether a dynamic classroom, an invigorating executive retreat, or an indulgent spa—objective “facts” fail to capture the subjective essence of your product. For that, you need a personal perspective, and none is better than that of your customers themselves.
Direct quotes, testimonials, day-in-the-life narratives, and even brief biographies can introduce the sympathetic element that allows prospects to project themselves into the experience you provide.
Insider secret: First-person (”I” or “we”) isn’t necessarily the only or even the best way to go. I recently created a set of student profiles for a graduate business program. Instead of first-person testimonials, I interviewed the students and created third-person (”he,” “she,” or “they”) profiles. Doing so allowed me to dig up and present important background facts—military experience, entrepreneurial successes, previous economic handicaps—that students would have neglected to mention, or would have found awkward to discuss without sounding immodest. By using the third-person approach, I was able to shape a compelling narrative for each student while incorporating direct quotes that created immediacy.
What: Illustrate the experience
Seeing is believing—even in language. The more graphic you are, the easier it is for readers or viewers to immerse themselves in your copy and imagine themselves within it.
When selling an experience, a bare-bones list of bullets won’t do; you want to create copy so rich that it envelops the reader’s senses.
Insider secret: Don’t rely on adjectives to carry the weight of your descriptions. Instead, reach for unexpected images that illuminate the uniqueness of your experience. Take the famous Royal Riviera Pears, for example. The people at Harry & David could have said that their pears are sweet and juicy—nothing special about that. But, instead, they said the pears are “so big and juicy, you have to eat them with a spoon”—and launched a direct marketing empire that thrives to this day.
How: Demonstrate the experience
It’s not enough to promise a special kind of experience, you have to prove your ability to deliver it. Why should the customer simply believe that you’re capable of fulfilling your promises? This is an opportunity to align your features into a larger story: how you do what you do.
Insider secret: If your expertise is a crucial part of the customer’s experience, create materials that serve as physical representations of your specialty. Don’t just focus on your business or even your service; instead, develop content packed with insights and suggestions that prospects will find immediately useful. By doing so, you build credibility that leads to trust—the necessary first step toward building a relationship that will lead to real business.
Where: Make your waiting room an integral part of the customer journey
Engage your patients with captivating content that gives them insight into the inner workings of your practice. Digital signage is rapidly being interwoven into the communications fabric of healthcare facilities nationwide.
It is an integral component of today’s patient experience. Digital signage impacts patients and their families, employees, and practitioners with relevant, audience-specific messaging that directly connects patients to their caregivers.
Such a connection affords healthcare providers the opportunity to positively impact the total patient experience by driving people to take action.
Differentiate your service and step away from the norm by creating unique, audience-centered content that is current, visually captivating, and relevant to your audience.
Hearing News Network (HNN) will complete the waiting room experience, create brand awareness and ensure that your patients are educated and informed while they wait.
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