How do you make a buyer’s guide to strengthen your brand? We’ll provide you with tried-and-true tips and go into detail over a series of five posts. For our final post, we’re looking at common mistakes (and easy fixes) that can greatly improve your buyer’s guide.
You’ve done it! You’ve completed our informal Buyer’s Guide Masterclass and are ready to take on writing or sharing your own buyer’s guide. Or are you?
Before you get ready to distribute your new work of genius to the masses, you might want to have another look (and then another) before sharing freely.
7 Tips that will help you create a stronger buyer’s guide and avoid common mistakes
1. Edit. Then edit again.
No matter how many times you read through your work, you need to read through a final time and edit thoroughly. Better yet, hire an outside editor to have a final run-through before you even start thinking of sending it to potential customers or sharing widely on your website, as an ebook, or elsewhere.
And if someone on your team made changes, check again to ensure that the overall flow of your completed document still makes sense.
2. Measure your success.
It’s not easy to get an understanding of what your end-user might want out of your buyer’s guide, but it’s not impossible either. We touched on the idea of focus groups, but maybe you can also create purchase groups while you’re at it.
A couple of years ago, I consulted for a company attempting to redesign the shopping cart experience. They brought in coders, designers and even copywriters… what they didn’t bring in were actual shoppers who could explain why the system worked or failed. And it did ultimately fail since there was no place in the equation for ongoing interaction with shoppers.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Before your team congratulates you on your best effort, try to make sure that someone familiar with the product on a granular level has their own run-through first.
3. Talk to your audience and also, their audience as well.
JamesAllen.com has fast become one of the most reliable jewelry brands online, and one of the things they do really well is understand both their audience and their audience’s audience.
In all of their copy, “We target couples in a relationship, who are looking to get engaged — typically in their mid-20s and 30s,” Johanna Tzur, CMO of JamesAllen.com explained.
We message males and females differently, and measure their actions differently based on different behaviors we observe in the journey, and different ways of engaging on different touchpoints and media platforms.
In your own buyer’s guide, try to break down who will be reading/sharing/repeating which parts of your outreach and target accordingly.
I was at a travel conference recently at which hundreds of representatives for hundreds of destinations attempted to connect with hundreds of journalists, producers and influencers. To say that it was overwhelming is a bit of an understatement as I jogged from appointment to appointment and tried to simultaneously take notes, interact, catch up with friends all the while brainstorming future story ideas and connecting with new resources.
Despite the speed-dating atmosphere, there were a few standouts in terms of visual branding and identifying details.
4. Make each product or line stand out.
While many of us are familiar with the Marriott brand, it’s safe to say that the majority of us might not have realized that there are actually currently 32 Marriott brands, with 24 available in Canada. “Each of these brands are unique and distinct and have a real brand story behind them, a personality,” shared Sabrina Bhangoo, Director of Public Relations for Marriott International, Canada Region.
“The nice thing about our brands is that they’re localized according to where they exist,” she explained. For that reason, a W hotel in Toronto would be completely different than a W hotel in Costa Rica — except for the hallmarks unique to the umbrella brand.
As Bhangoo explained of the Douglas Hotel in Downtown Vancouver, part of the Autograph Collection:
[It is] the epitome of its location. It pulls in all the elements you might expect — nature, wood, eco-friendly substances, the love of wellness that’s part of the Vancouver sensibility.
Along with that, when you check into the hotel on the 6th floor, which Bhangoo explains is the height of a full-grown Douglas fir, “They have a green space, almost like a forest, and there’s a fallen Douglas fir that a local artist encased in glass and added light.”
5. Pay attention to design.
At the aforementioned travel conference, I met with PR reps from different hotels, many from the same brand, making it difficult to keep track of the distinguishing details. One visual in particular struck me, an almost old-school photo album representing some of the newest trends and amenities at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver.
For instance, to highlight their Candy Cap Magic cocktail (which uses a sweet, funky mushroom as a key ingredient) there were images not only of the stunning presentation but also of the hip-looking mixologist working at his craft. It was part Instagram story/part vacation memory and all a presentation that pulled me in and made me want to experience it in person.
As a professional communicator, I realized just how much work must have gone into creating such an effortless end product.
Just because you’re creating a buyer’s guide doesn’t mean it has to look like or even read like a typical buyer’s guide. Think about not only your core audience but maybe the people who they know as well. Give them visuals, give them talking points, give them information that’s easy to understand and maybe even share.
6. Highlight your corrections.
You goofed up. It happens. Hopefully, you didn’t have a giant initial run and can easily update as needed. If your product is related to healthcare or something crucial, you will need to follow the lead of newspapers and explain in the updated version what’s new, what’s fixed and why. And don’t feel too badly about it.
I recently received a press release that was quite literally a correction to a previous one sent. And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t for something fluffy or trivial. It was a corrected version of a press release sent by the Office of the New York Attorney General Letitia James, and the topic explained the reason for the second release:
“CORRECTION: Previous release omitted number of state attorneys general. Additional clarification is provided with respect to referenced comment submission.”
It was simple, professional and did the trick. The corrected version also highlighted the corrected errors so that anyone reading through the updated release could immediately understand the changes made.
7. Always remember your customer service.
While the idea of a buyer’s guide is, of course, to sell something, you never want to be so intent on selling that you forget the person doing the buying.
As Tzur explained of James Allen’s world-class customer service:
We don’t differentiate between selling and service. We try to listen to our customers’ desires, get information about the intended recipient of the jewelry, and present them with the best options for them — that includes the right product at the best value, with service options like free ring resizing in the first year of purchase. Our diamond visualization technology is a key tool in the selling process, whether it’s on-site videos, imagery on search engine product listing ads ripe for the clicking, or Instagram posts or stories featuring customer ring selfies.
In your own selling approach, have you made sure to take advantage of not only the different potential audience but also the outlets you might sell on before even giving the hard sell? Though that might be fodder for an entirely different master class series!