Creating Amazing Customer Experiences (For People, Not Meerkats)

When you’re in the business of selling your own products or services it’s easy to get hung up on things like honing your sales funnel and building your email list.

There are a million articles that guide you through touting the benefits of your product instead of the actual features; courses offering templates for exactly how many emails you need to send, in what order, to make the sale; and Googling "persuasive copy writing" will give you more than enough opinions on exactly how to write your About and Services pages to convert casual passers-by to lifelong customers. Those are all great, and mostly necessary. But there’s something missing in all this. At the end of the day you’re still selling your customers an experience. There are millions of amazing things to buy out there, and odds are there are thousands just as good as the one you're selling. In the end, people buy experiences, and unless your target market is meerkats or droids, you’re selling to people.

In the end, people buy experiences, and unless your target market is meerkats or droids, you’re selling to people.

Think about something you’ve bought that just wowed you every step of the way. The seller went above and beyond, gave you more value than you expected, and put thought into every interaction with you. You probably shared that experience with your friends, possibly strangers in the supermarket (just me?), and wouldn’t hesitate to buy from them again.

A good example is the planner I bought for 2016. I love planners, and lists, and all things nerdy. Having gorgeous, functional, office supplies makes me overly happy. So when I knew I wanted a different planner for the business this year I set out on a mission to find the perfect one. I probably looked at fifty different planners, and by “looked” I obviously mean multiple browser tabs, watching YouTube videos on how other people used each planner, checking Etsy to see what types of sticker packs would coordinate with my beloved new life partner. Y’know, the way you do when you’re looking for something as life changing as a calendar.

After a few days of this I finally settled on the Inkwell Press A5 Quarterly Inserts. They had these really cool extras like a place to write down movies you want to watch and books you want to read, an area to keep track of trips you have coming up, a cool honeycomb monthly goals section for each month, and coordinating stickers. But so did a ton of other planners... maybe not the exact same extras, but every one had something great to offer.

So why did I choose Inkwell Press? Because of the experience they offered me.

The owner, Tonya Dalton, has done an amazing job making her customers feel special. First off, the design and quality of everything around Inkwell is consistent and beautiful (this is not an ad by the way, I just really love this planner). From the color palette of the planner itself to the design of the website.

But she goes beyond that, she’s not just selling a little paper book to help you plan your week, she’s selling an organized, pretty, life - aka the benefits of her product instead of the features. When you buy a planner it comes in beautiful packaging, which makes you feel like you’re opening a luxurious gift from a friend. Inside there are little pretty things you’ll end up wanting to keep around - a sticker with a cute quote on it (Mine says “Make Life Organized, Make Life Pretty”), and a business card sized motivational saying (I AM a leader Inkwell, thanks!). Both of those are now hanging on my inspiration wall in my office, in addition to the little brown sack with the feather logo stamped on it that was wrapped around one of my other products from Inkwell.

But the packaging is just one part of the experience she’s selling. Once you’ve bought from Tonya you’re on her email list, and she pours information into you. The very first thing you get is a series of well made videos showing you how to use your planners, giving you cool little tips and printable downloads for setting goals and figuring out your schedule. Tonya goes beyond just selling you a book, she wants to help you organize your life. Every month they send out a freebie, a phone and desktop background that coordinates with that month’s color scheme from your calendar. Hello! That's so inexpensive and simple, but it gives you something beautiful and keeps them at the front of your mind! They also have regular Periscope’s on organization, and took part in an awesome Periscope event earlier this year called Women Who Mean Business with several other lady bosses.

The point of all that nerdy gushing is that when you focus on the experience you’re selling your client, and you put steps in place to make it cost and time effective for you, it has a ripple effect.

Every point of contact you have with your client is important. Your social media voice and imagery, your business cards, your thank you notes after the fact, the way you package your product, the way you check in on them a few weeks and months later. You’re no longer focusing on “funneling” your client down a sales chute, which felt a little icky this whole time if we're being honest. Instead you’re focusing on giving them what they want, and then some more things they didn’t know they wanted, and making it all look amazing and feel like you, so that they can’t help but spread your name everywhere they go.

You're selling an amazing experience.