Marketing only works when well aimed
I know, I know. You’ve sweated through strategy sessions defining your perfect clients. You put in countless hours describing what you do and how you do it when you created your website. You even honed that down to a 30 second version should you find yourself with little time and great need to share your business in two short sentences.
These two efforts—creating your marketing messages and describing your ideal client—aren’t separate, unrelated events even though you probably did them at different times.
Here’s how they connect—your marketing messages work best when written to and for your ideal client. Not to the whole world. Not to the kinds of people you don’t like working with. Not to everyone that possibly, might, or could maybe desire your services. Nope, truly only to the specific, totally ideal person that makes a perfect client in your business. Your messages should all be aimed at answering the problems, hopes, desires and issues of only this group of people.
It should be so clear that when the messages are read, it’s easy to see who you’re perfect people are. Why? Because when you talk to a specific person in a way that lets them know that you understand what makes them tick and can help them solve specific issues in their lives, your marketing messages land powerfully with them. Makes sense if you think about it. What would land more powerfully with you? A speaker on stage talking about the general population and issues that don’t affect your day-to-day life? Or a speaker who seemed to be talking directly to you about what matters to you most?
What about all those hours you spent articulating what your service or product is? Do you even talk about what you do? Well, yes, but only in as far as what you do answers either your people’s hopes and dreams or solves your people’s issues and problems. In other words, once you are clear on what you offer, you need to word it in ways that are easily understood by your ideal clients and clearly explains what’s in it for them.
Easy to do? Well, not always because most of us have a hard time getting out of our own head and thinking about things from another person’s point of view. But here are some ways you can bring more ease to it…
1) Get to know your ideal client from two perspectives. The first is to know their hopes and dreams. What do they want from their lives, their businesses, their families? What do they want more of? What do they long for? What are their small and big dreams? The second part is to know their frustrations and problems. What scares them? What are they afraid of losing or not having? What keeps them up at night or runs through their minds? What annoys them or slows them down? What do they wish was different?
2) Consider how your offering intersects with them. Now that you know them better as people—and what their hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations are—think about specifically how your service or product gets them to their hopes or dreams. Or how you solve their problems or frustrations. This is the meat of your messaging. Not what you do, but what’s in it for them if they use your service or product. How buying from you interacts with their day-to-day lives or creates transformation or moves them forward. That’s what people want to know when they read your materials.
3) Test it out with the right people. Once you have some of your messages articulated, test it out on some folks who meet your description of an ideal client. You do not want these people to be existing clients. Why? Because they’ve already jumped the hurdle and purchased with you so they are biased toward understanding your messages. You don’t want feedback from family or friends, either. Why? Because they likely don’t fit your ideal client description and they know you well. You want to get feedback from folks who fit your profile, don’t know you well and haven’t purchased yet. How do you do this? Provide a description of the people you’re looking for and ask your network to refer them to you. Or post within Facebook groups you are part of. Or do an email to your list. Just be specific about what kind of person you are looking for, and what you want them to do. I find that 15 minute calls with folks gives me a lot of information and isn’t too much on their end. If I do anything longer, I usually offer a small gift like a coffee gift card or something for their time.
This is your ready, aim, fire approach to your messaging. Try it out and let me know how it goes! Because in marketing, it’s all about getting people to take action and giving them powerful reasons to step toward you can make all the difference. Have fun!
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.