First, allow me to apologize.  Very frequently, I get caught up in “marketing speak” such as “Target Market”, “Audience”, “Demographic”, when describing the businesses that we at Cloud Marketing Labs serve.  Unfortunately, we are like many marketers who get caught up in the numbers.  And it’s easy to see why:  Google Analytics tells us how many hits to our website we have received.  CrazyEgg gives us even more insight into our online marketing – helping us to determine which buttons work, and which don’t.  But in almost every case, we marketers tend to treat people like statistics, and not people.

Observe the world like a cashier

When I was younger, my first job was at K-Mart as a cashier.  Most of the time I was bored out of my mind.  However, it wasn’t until I became a marketer that I realized the personal touch a cashier has within the framework of a business.  If you were a cashier at Kmart, you would see a single mother of two struggling to feed and clothe her family.  You would have seen a husband rushing home from work to have dinner with his family.  To the corporate folks at Kmart, these two customers are data points in an Excel spreadsheet, not as individuals struggling to get through the day.

Build your website that shows you understand your customers

David Meerman Scott introduced me to the term “Buyer Persona“.  Essentially, he means that each of your buyers on the web fits a particular category.  Instead of organizing your website around your products or services like most businesses do, organize your website around who your customers are.

If you are an accounting firm that specializes in small business accounting, there are many different types of businesses who need your services in many different ways:

1.  You have the one man shop who left his corporate life to regain a sense of control and balance in his life.

This person needs to know how to manage his books, needs to know how to prepare a P/L statement for tax season, and needs to know the best way to collect his accounts receivable.  However, he can’t afford to hire you.  Instead of ignoring this person, you can host a paid 3 day seminar titled “How to manage your books without an accountant”.

2.  You have the geographic based business, with 5-10 employees, and is looking to open a store in the next town over.

This business owner needs help getting his finances together so that he can get a loan from the bank to buy a new store front.  He wants you to organize his books and close all the holes that a banker is going to poke through.  By the way, introducing your customers to your banking friends is a great way to retain loyalty.

3.  You have the web based business who is boot strapping the first year with ambitions on getting funding.

This business is hell bent on world domination and they need your help to get there.  While they might not be able to afford to hire you on retainer, they do need your help to analyze the viability of their business plan. When can they achieve profitability?  What’s their growth trajectory? etc…

See what I mean?  Three different types of business who need accounting help in three very different ways. If you organize your website content in a manor that shows you understand the problems your customers face, they in turn will react to you.