The WIIFM Principle – How to make your marketing stand out

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WIIFM stands for – “What’s in it for me? However if you want your marketing to stand out and resonate with more prospects and customers, you need to be thinking about what’s in it for THEM, not YOU.

Another way to think about this is – why should anyone care about what you are creating?

Using the WIIFM principle can help your content stand out in a crowded square.

What is WIIFM?

While it is usually not intentional, most content that marketers write is pretty self-serving. 

You wouldn’t go to a bar and simply shout at the top of your lungs about how amazing you are, your last accomplishment and why you’re God’s gift to the world.

That’s exactly what many brands do when they only talk about themselves and how great their products are on their blog, Twitter account and Instagram feed.

A better strategy is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes (or potential customers). Think about what they need and care about, and then write content that speaks to that. Or, you can take this a step further and make the customer the hero in your marketing. When you highlight real customers and their wins, this will likely resonate more. 

Developing customer personas can help you produce WIIFM content. If you know who your customer is, then you can more effectively talk to them. At the most basic level, you should be able to answer the following:

  • Who are your customers or target customers?
  • What are their key demographics (age range, job title, location(s), etc)? 
  • What type of content are they already consuming?
  • What are their values?
  • What are their pain points?
  • How does your product or service solve those pain points?

Knowing your customer is the first step to crafting content that matters to them.

Pro Tip: Creating detailed customer personas can help with this.

A lot of the work is just being willing to stay curious and get into the trenches. Too many marketers make too many assumptions about prospects and customers and never take the time to verify them. 

Research is key to developing accurate and effective customer personas.

Here are some of my favorite ways to learn more about customers’ likes, dislikes, pain points and how they are actually using (and talking) about the product. 

Sales Calls

In SaaS companies especially, SDRs and AEs are a goldmine for customer research. They talk to prospects day in and day out, and hear all of their questions, concerns and know what ultimately sells them on your product or service.

In fact, I’m still surprised by how much I can learn from a 30 minute conversation with an SDR or listening to five sales call recordings. These insights give me insights into the type of content that would be most helpful as well as the language that prospects and customers actually use. 

Customer Support 

Customer support interactions (be it tickets, calls, chats, etc) can be just as valuable as sales calls. Support reps are talking to customers day in and day out and oftentimes know more about how customers are really using a product than anyone else in the company. If there’s a problem with your offering or something that’s confusing customers, you can find out from the people that deal with it regularly. 

For example, if you sell email marketing software, and many people are using a specific tagging feature not for “tagging” but as a clever tactic to grow their email list. This could be a great thing to highlight in a blog post. Perhaps highlighting a few customers in the actual post that have seen great results from doing this? This goes back to making customers the hero of your marketing. 

In addition, your customer support team can be a great resource for finding case studies / customer success stories. For example, if you had a customer who was really unhappy a year ago and your support team went above and beyond to solve his issue, and now he gave you a “10” on the latest NPS survey, this could be a great candidate for a case study. 

Social Media

Some of the best keyword and customer research tools are completely free. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great examples of this. They provide a glimpse into how your customers are already talking about your product and your competitors’ products.

SaaS companies can check their own company’s reviews and comments on social media to get ideas for good WIIFM content. Be sure to look at engagement. One post may have 25 comments and another only has one. Looking at the posts with high engagement will give you an idea of the type of content that matters to your audience. 

You can take this a step further by reading through the comments and reviews on your competitors’ social media pages. For example, if you notice that a bunch of people are leaving comments complaining about a specific feature and your product solves that problem, you might consider writing about a blog post about how that feature works with examples or write a success story about how one customer is using that feature to generate top-notch results. 

Review Sites

In addition to social media, check review sites, like Capterra, G2, and TrustPilot, for not just your own company’s reviews, but also the reviews of your competitors. This will give you a better sense of what your customers want from products or services in your industry. 

As an added bonus, the reviews are in your customer’s own words, which means you get to see them discuss your product using the language that would resonate with them.

For example, look at this review for Salsify, a content management and syndication platform for ecommerce.

salsify-capterra-review
In this example, the customer states several issues with the software, such as:

  • Not responsive design 
  • Searching for items within the search box is slow
  • Bit of a learning curve

The first two complaints are product-related, and the last one is related to customer success / onboarding. One way to get over a steep learning curve is to create educational, how-to content that meets customers where they are at. This kind of “just in time support” can be integrated within the product, drip “email” campaigns,” or through tutorials (blog, video, etc).

In addition to using the reviews to create WIIFM content, companies can also engage with customers by responding positively to the reviews like Salsify does above.

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From listening to sales and support calls to reading comments on social media and review sites, these are just a few ways to learn more about your customers. Then, use that information to create content that is more likely to resonate with them. 

Want more tips like this for marketing your SaaS company? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I share tips as well as the best five things I read each month. As a thank you for subscribing, you’ll also get a copy of my SaaS Content Marketing Playbook.

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About the author

Jessica Malnik

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