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What’s Your Customer’s Backstory?

I received an email from Cathy Goodwin (copywriter and copywriting trainer) that got me thinking about the importance of your customer’s backstory and how it’s an overlooked part of marketing.

What’s A Backstory?

I’ll quote directly from the email

A client’s backstory consists of 3 parts:
What’s their problem?
What’s holding them back from solving it?
What have they tried?

You’ve probably been told you need to develop avatars or personas for your main types of customers or clients. It’s something I’ve taught in the past to clients. The idea is to help you to get to know them and get into their minds so that your marketing can be more effective. It’s the difference between talking TO them and talking AT them.

It’s common to think about the customer’s problem that they want or need to solve.

Twelve months ago, I was about 5 stone overweight. The weight up had built up gradually from the time my health problems started back in 2009. Large doses of steroids started it but quite a few of the drugs I was prescribed seem to lost weight gain as a side effect, sometimes by stimulating appetite. The overwhelming fatigue from my autoimmune condition meant my exercise collapsed as I focused on conserving energy as I tried to make it through the day.

My problem was clear. I really didn’t like having to keep buying bigger clothes but… but… but…

There was always at least one but.

This is why I think it’s vital to also focus on Cathy’s two other questions for clients and customers:

What’s holding them back from solving it?
What have they tried?

These two issues are key to creating change and getting them to believe they can solve their problem if they buy your solution.

In my weight problem, I was held back by my prescription drugs and my fatigue. They gave me excuses to avoid action, or when I tried to do “weight loss stuff”, to accept poor results. These weakened my impetus to create the much-needed change.

As such, they were vital parts of my backstory that would have needed to be covered in marketing for a solution. Otherwise, I wouldn’t believe it would work for me. I had my excuses prepared for failure so why even risk buying or taking action?

I won’t bore you with my story but I’ve lost about 30kg (66 pounds or 4.7 stone) and I’ve kept it off for about six months now. My solution was to sharply cut down on the amount of carbohydrate I was eating and fast for at least 16 hours per day. That commitment to an extended fast stopped me from snacking after my evening meal, during my pain breaks at night and meant I missed breakfast. It meant I was saving a lot of calories.

The Course – The Small Business Client Advantage

Cathy has taken her ideas about backstory and built them into a new course called The Small Business Client Advantage. This may be of interest to you so you can read about it on her website (not an affiliate link).

Let me be clear. This isn’t a recommendation. I haven’t worked through or seen the course and I don’t know Cathy personally but I’ve read the sales letter and I think it’s something that looks very interesting and could be helpful. It costs $47 (at October 14, 2020) and could be worth a dabble. I could well have bought it if I hadn’t just made the decision to pull out of coaching and focus on my writing.

Just be wary that buying also gives you 30 days membership of her Strategic Storytelling Membership site and this may be forced continuity where you’ll get charged more money unless you cancel.

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