There is no business if there are no customers. Without clients, there is no house upgrade, no college fund for your kids, no business growth that ultimately allows you to step away for off-roading adventures or island vacations.

As an entrepreneur, you know that everything you’re trying to build depends on your ability to earn the trust of buyers.

But does your marketing strategy reflect this knowledge?

So many business owners fall into the habit of slapping their logo on every surface and calling it “branding.” They create generic PPC ads claiming theirs is the best service in town. They worry about being clever or catchy, trying to design a plan around their understanding of what “good marketing” is. 

In many cases, they take their eyes off the single most important consideration in any marketing strategy:

The customer.

If you aren’t getting the number or quality of leads you want, it may be the result of a strategy built on advertising tactics instead of on human connection. The secret to powerful marketing is to remember at all times that your goal is to reach people on a personal, emotional level. 

And a truly effective, customer-obsessed strategy starts with these five questions.

1. Who Do You Want to Reach?

“Local property owners” might be an accurate answer, but it’s not going to help you revamp a struggling marketing plan. Remember, we’re focused on the humanity of our clients here.

So, who are they really? What are their greatest priorities? Their greatest fears? What does their property mean to them? What are they feeling when they look for services like yours?

The answers will not be the same for every property owner in your service area. The commercial real estate owners you serve likely see their properties first and foremost as a financial investment. They might respond more strongly to professional language and open recognition of their business goals.

As for homeowners, priorities probably vary a lot from demographic to demographic. For instance, young professionals who dream of one day upgrading their house may have different fears and hopes than the elderly woman who has no plans to leave the home where she raised her children.

This is why it helps to think in terms of audience segments. Create different customer profiles for each distinctive group you serve. If you’ve never done a customer profile, it involves creating a fictional character that represents the values and perspectives of your target demographic. 

Give your customer a name, an age, a neighborhood. Ask questions like:

  • What are his plans for his property?
  • What are his hobbies and interests?
  • How does he talk?
  • What is his family like?
  • What does he hope for? Fear?

It may seem like too much detail. Trust me—there’s no such thing. Get to know your customer as deeply as you know everyone else in your life, and you’ll find it much easier to create advertising that speaks to them.

2. What is Your Client Really Buying From You?

This might be the most common mistake I see in advertising… especially in our industry.

So many home service professionals think customers are buying the service itself. So that’s what they advertise. They boast about their experience in the trade and the quality of their equipment.

I am here to tell you: no one cares what model wet vac you’re using

They just want to know how you’re going to make their life better.

Will you guide them through a crisis with compassion? Will you increase the value of their property or help them look good to their renters? Will you deliver their dream kitchen?

Look back at your client profiles. Browse customer reviews and remember feedback you’ve received from buyers in the past. What deeper needs can you meet for your clients? What are they really buying from you?

The answer should play a major role in your ad messaging.

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3. Where Will You Find Your Customer?

Ever feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of marketing options available to you?

Between the online world and the real world, there are countless ways to get the word out about your company. So how do you know where to start?

You know the answer. 

Follow the customer.

Go back to the client profile. Where do you have the best possible chance of connecting with this person. Is it on Facebook? LinkedIn? Radio ads? Email marketing? Referral partnerships?

You should discover a combination of effective approaches. Keep a list of all the marketing channels you think will work best. If your budget can’t accommodate all those channels at once, start with the best of the best and build from there.

4. What Tools, Talents, and Resources Do You Need to Execute Your Strategy?

You know who to reach, what you’re selling them, and where to find them. Now you need to take a look at the practical requirements to put this plan into action. 

You will likely need tools, which could include things such as:

  • Production equipment.
  • New software.
  • Project management tools.
  • Email marketing services.
  • Printing services.
  • Etc.

You may also need to recruit contractors or work with existing team members who can help with areas outside your skill set, such as:

  • Market research.
  • Copywriting.
  • Web design.
  • SEO.
  • Photography.
  • Graphic design.
  • Etc.

Once you have your list, compare it against your budget. What will your strategies cost? If you need to scale down, which marketing strategies have the greatest potential for success? 

Finally, before you launch in, ask yourself the fifth question:

5. How Will You Measure and Optimize?

Test and optimize. Then test and optimize again. Test and optimize into infinity.

Watching the results of your efforts and pivoting as needed is crucial for marketing success. It’s also the defining feature of a “customer-obsessed” strategy.

You have done everything you can to understand your client better. But there is always more to learn. This is where you learn it.

Before you execute your plan, decide:

  • What results you hope to get.
  • Which tools you will use to measure performance.
  • Your schedule and routine for reviewing data and revising your strategy.

There is so much power in this process. When you watch your results closely, you can double down on what works and stop wasting money on what doesn’t. 

Most importantly, you learn more about your clients—what they care about, what they want from you, what they look for in services like yours. In a customer-centered business, these insights help you improve not just your advertising, but also your innovations and customer service approach.

So stop worrying about how clever you sound or how splashy your logo is. Focus instead on the best way to connect with your client… human to human.

For more in-depth marketing tips, keep an eye out for Idan Shpizear’s forthcoming book, Marketing to Humans: A Customer-Obsessed Strategy to Drive Connection and Sales.

Idan Shpizear