How would you like to know EXACTLY what to say in your marketing messaging? To know EXACTLY what sort of blog post to write to generate lots of comments? To know EXACTLY what brand identity you need to have in order to inspire a large group of people and get them to become raving fans?
If you’ve ever wondered what it would take to do this, then chances are you don’t have a critical piece of foundational marketing that you absolutely NEED to have. The good news? You can have it in about one hour from now.
Would you like to know what that is?
I am absolutely certain you have heard, perhaps too many times, about the need to niche and to focus. We’ve talked about that before, so I won’t rehash all those benefits. But I’m here to tell you that even when we niche, we sometimes go about it the wrong way. Specifically, we mess up the very first step, which is to define our audience or target market.
Typically, it looks something like this.
“Women, 27-39, single, educated, income of over $40,000 and who like eating chocolate.”
“Men, 18-28, who sell information products, consulting and/or professional services via a website, have a blog with a small audience and want to increase their organic traffic.”
I pulled both of these out of business plans that were given to me for review (some changes have been made to protect the innocent.) Now, if you are a chocolatier or an SEO specialist, you might be pretty proud of yourself because you’ve narrowed your focus down from “everybody” to this subset of the market.
Is it really narrowed?
Now I don’t know about you, but I do not know any woman who doesn’t like chocolate! 😀
So really, how specific are these descriptions? Not specific enough! Both of these “customer profiles” describe a ton of people. Too many people, in fact. And the more people you try to speak to, the more diluted your message has to be, to reach them all. And the more diluted your message, the more ineffective it will be.
The problem is that we also tend think ‘target market’ when we’re determining our niche, which implies a group of people. I’d like you to stop thinking ‘target market’ and start thinking “customer profiles”, which implies ONE person — the ONE person you exist to serve with your product or service.
You really don’t want to be lots of things to lots of people. You want to be something inspirational to the RIGHT person — the ONE person. And if you inspire that ONE person and enough numbers of that ONE person, then you will dominate that niche.
You need to speak to the ONE person that is your target audience.
Speaking to the ONE person means you’ll never describe your audience as being: “women, 27-39, single, educated, income of over $40,000 and who like eating chocolate” ever again. (There is no individual ONE person who is 27-38 anyway… well, unless it’s my friend Bess whose age has been known to fluctuate in function with the number of eligible bachelors in the room).
No, from now on, it’s “Jane. 30 years old. Bachelor’s degree in the Arts. Works in an account management job she doesn’t like and is currently scoping out a new career. Thinking about getting a Masters degree. Single, having recently dumped a loser boyfriend. Has lots of friends she hangs with watching ‘Sex in the City’ and eating expensive ice cream. She drives a Honda, works out three times a week and goes to the spa about once a month.”
Doesn’t Jane suddenly seem like a real person? Isn’t it a lot easier to know what to say to her?
Only talk to the ONE
I can hear you protest: “But if I talk to Jane, I’m NOT talking to other people, right? Yes and no. You aren’t talking to them directly, but that’s a good thing.
The idea of talking to only one person scares entrepreneurs because they think that that’s the only person that will ever buy from them again. Good grief — not true at ALL!
Let me ask you something. Who buys Apple stuff? Who is Apple’s ONE person. Can you imagine him or her?
This is the ONE person they are talking to. So if this is the ONE person, how do you explain the fact that I saw a charming grandmother enjoying her iPad at a local coffee shop? Clearly, despite talking to ONE person, he or she is not the only person buying from Apple. And I’m sure we all know someone who is a rabid Apple fan, but doesn’t fit the mold of Apple’s ONE person.
So what gives? Well, here is the crux of the whole deal. The ONE person is never going to be the only one buying from you. It’s simply the only ONE you should be speaking to at all times.
And not just because it makes marketing a ton simpler.
You have to be a company that inspires that ONE person. Then, your message and consistency will inspire a whole bunch of others who either (a) feel affinity with that ONE person, (b) aspire to be that ONE person, or (c) admire what that ONE person represents — and then these people will ALSO become your clients. Grandma wants to feel connected and modern. Let her!
So quit worrying about shutting everyone else out if you talk to the ONE person. You won’t. If anything, you will attract loads more people inspired by your precise and clear brand.
Ready for an example?
Heather is a 26-year old single, female, solo entrepreneur with a graphic design business. She completed a graphic design degree at the local college. She is an expert designer, quite tech-savvy, but still learning the ropes when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
She’s energetic and spunky, however, and her energy and charisma usually land her the gigs. She makes about $37,000 a year, but wants that to go over $45,000 next year. She dreams of being able to charge top dollar for her work eventually, but for now she knows she needs to develop her portfolio and to systemize her business a bit better.
She’s very worried that she’ll always be fighting to fill the pipeline with new clients. She works from her home office, the second bedroom of a condo she bought a couple of years ago. She works out at the gym three times a week to stay in shape, she used to be an athlete in high school. When she is not working, she enjoys go out to clubs with her friends and travelling.
Now that you’ve defined Heather, everything you do, every blog post, every piece of marketing, every product, every branding decision should be examined through Heather’s eyes. Will Heather like this? If the answer is yes, you are successfully sticking to your brand identity and talking to the right person. And she will recognize that and reward you with her business.
Customer Profile Template: Now it’s time to define YOUR one person!
Think about your ONE person. The one who you were thinking of when you started your business. The one for whom you developed your product or service.
We’ve got a customer profile template that you can use to get crystal clear on every detail about your one person.
Please leave a comment! Have you defined your ONE person? If not, will you right now? What did you learn from your ONE person exercise?