The PR Adviser: 10 Questions to Contemplate
Columnist Lilian Raji wants to walk you through the customer journey. But first, she’d like you to answer a few questions.
When we last left off, I gave you the rallying cry of “give me evolution or give death,” preparing you for the changes ahead as I help you to become a lean, mean jewelry-selling machine. And then I disappeared for three months!
My sincerest apologies, alas, as the last three months have not been without their challenges, replete with a trifecta of major issues to test my adaptability.
First, there was a sudden and unexpected move from one apartment to another.
Second was an emergency room visit during my move because of excruciating abdominal pain, revealing a kidney infection. This forced me to take a long, hard look at how I treated my body and subsequently led me to a new health-focused lifestyle that has me feeling better than I have in 20 years.
Third, there was an emergency two-week trip to Atlanta to take care of my mother, who had suddenly fallen ill.
My time with her helped renew her spirit after losing me to Miami a year ago and her dog to cancer three months after I left. She is now in good health and back to her fighting self, which, as you can imagine since you know her daughter, was really the only possible outcome.
I share this with you as caveat emptor in preparing for your evolution. Things are going to arise beyond your control as you venture down this path and you’ll have to just roll with the punches. I believe the saying is “man plans, and God laughs.”
I give you permission to punch back, but always strategically. Note how I came out ahead in all the chaos? This is what evolution ultimately is about, being better than you were the day before.
Now, shall we begin?
Where we begin is with the customer journey.
You probably have heard this phrase 1,001 times by now since I first brought it up three years ago. If you haven’t, the customer journey is simply all the steps it took for someone to finally become your customer.
It begins the moment they first hear your name and continues until they finally buy from you.
Some people like to end here but I believe the journey never ends—not if you want to have a ready audience enthusiastically awaiting your next collection. As long as you’re in business, you want your customers to always continue journeying with you.
Over the next few months, we’re going to cover your role in every part of the customer journey.
You have a lot more influence over how someone first learns about you than you think. This is where PR and publicity come in and act as, perhaps, the strongest accelerators in the customer journey.
Here is when the future customer first reads about you in a magazine or blog.
It could also happen via the original PR—they learn of you from a friend. (Technically, it’s called word-of-mouth, but I am claiming it as the “original PR” for public relations professionals everywhere.)
Another route is through social media, which has become the most domineering source when used correctly.
Simply setting up an Instagram account is not going to flood your business with orders. But applying creativity in your posts and a bit of advertising will. We’ll cover this.
But first, before you run off to layer yourself in every last piece of your jewelry and film yourself doing the Humpty Dance in hopes of going viral, let’s take a huge step back.
Whenever I begin working with new clients, I make them complete a 12-page questionnaire. They hate it.
Everyone hates it, except for me of course. I love it because the answers always give me deep insight into not just how the client thinks, but also why they need me in the first place.
“You can literally put words in the mouth of people who write or talk about your brand. [So] you must be crystal clear on how you want others to talk about you.”
Take, for instance, this question: Why should someone buy from you?
If I had a dollar for every time the answers begin “because we only use high-quality materials” or “our customer service is white glove” or some variation of being the best, I’d have a villa in Tuscany. And if I got a dollar for how many of you thought these things when you first read the question a moment ago, I could probably challenge Elon Musk for the rights to Twitter.
If you can’t give me an original reason as to why I should buy your jewelry or shop in your store, why should a potential customer bother?
I’m feeling some eye rolls emanating from those who are wondering what any of this has to do with selling jewelry.
Let’s go back to the beginning of the customer journey. How does your customer first learn about you? If they’re reading about you in a magazine or their friends are telling them about you, what do you want them to say?
You know you have control over this, right?
You can literally put words in the mouth of people who write or talk about your brand. With such great power comes the responsibility of knowing exactly what you want them to say. This is the reason for 12 pages of questions. You must be crystal clear on how you want others to talk about you.
• Why was your company started?
• What are your company’s greatest strengths?
• What motivates you to keep going with the company?
• What must change for your company to become a leader in the marketplace?
• How are your company’s products different than others? What needs do they meet that make it a must for consumers to have?
• Describe your ideal customer, the person who wears your jewelry. Who are they? What are they like?
• What do they see in your jewelry that makes them want to own one of your pieces?
• What do you want prospective customers to think about your company?
• Why should they believe it?
I know, I know! You immediately want to jump into how I’m going to help you make Harry Winston jealous of your success.
But, as I’ve learned in my years of racing cars as a hobby, we must slow down in order to speed up.
Take this next month to really answer these questions. And if you’re a teacher’s pet type, feel free to email me your answers at email@example.com.
We’ll continue the customer journey in my next column.
However, I might just squeeze one column in between to directly address anyone who emails me their answers. Don’t worry, no names or identifying information will be revealed. I only want to help.
Until next month, my friends!
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