“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” – John Andrew Homes
We often forget that fact in marketing. We know what message we want our audience to get and how we want them to get it, but all too often we forget to put our audience’s wants and needs first.
After recently attending a 2-day bootcamp for public speaking hosted by multi-award winning Speaker of the Year Jon Vroman and acclaimed Weatherhead School of Management Professor Jon Berghoff, I couldn’t help but apply my new found public speaking knowledge to the world of email.
While there were numerous key takeaways for me, the greatest was about preparing a speech around your audience. Formally called Enter Their World (ETW), this topic delved into techniques on how to incorporate your audience from the very first step. For example, I learned you need to consider how you want your audience to feel and share specific, valuable pieces of information to evoke those feelings. How can you qualm your audience’s concerns or skepticism about your credibility? What do you want them to talk about upon leaving your speech? Our subsequent exercise was to give a speech, then provide feedback as an audience member to ourselves as the speaker. Yes, that’s a mind bender (and incredibly hard to boast on yourself)!
To help us critique ourselves, we were given a checklist for how to enter the world of our audience. It included 21 thought provoking questions, including:
- What are they feeling?
- What are they expecting from my message?
- What are they skeptical of?
- What might be a distraction to their attention?
When structuring previous speeches, rarely did I ever think of my audience aside from fears that they might boo me off the stage. I never thought about what my audience would want to get from listening! It’s easy to put your own message first and think, “Here’s what I want to share and how I want to share it.” Similarly, it’s easy to think of what you want your email to say before you consider what your recipient wants to read.
If we prepare our nurture strategies to help answer our recipient’s needs instead of prioritizing what we want to say in our message, think of the possibilities. Your emails don’t just improve when you incorporate a holistic strategy. That’s just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to center your emails around your specific audience. What do they want from these emails? What is their relationship to you? What are they giving up to read this email?
We’ve ventured into a world where people are inundated with messages blasting what we as marketers want our audience to learn. Understanding what our audience wants from our messages is just one small step in the right direction of getting the right message to the right people at the right time, but it’s a necessary step all marketers need to take.