My perfect customer is someone with a pulse!! Anyone with a pulse. Well, actually, I don’t even check for a pulse.
My headline was me being partially sarcastic. Shall we talk about problems? Oh go on then I hear you say.
The biggest problem in business
The biggest problem I see in business — and I mean everywhere, not just online businesses — is that so many business owners want to sell what they’ve got to everybody. I say so tell me who is your ideal customer? They respond…everybody.
Really? Everybody? Everybody??
Like that dead person waiting to be embalmed at the funeral home is your ideal client? What? No? What about that homeless guy? No? Okay, what about those students over there? No? Those kids playing in the park, what about them? Men over the age of 73?
But I thought you said everybody?
These businesses want to sell as many of what they have as possible, so they don’t niche down and sell to a targeted audience, they go broad instead. Now, I like you, you’re reading this post and you’re smart, (what’s not to like about that) and unlike these crazy businesses who don’t see the value in narrowing the scope of their marketing efforts, you do. They see a targeted audience as reducing their potential sales, you see it as a way to grow them.
Narrowing down your niche works
You must have been to one of those networking meetings of small business owners, recruiters, multi-level marketers, and salespeople, where each person gets 30 seconds to tell the group who they are and what they sell, in an effort to generate referrals?
Nine out of 10 will say something like, “I sell these widgets, and they’re really great widgets. Everyone needs to use my widgets, so I sell them to anybody and everybody.” I really should use a non-widget example but widget works… everyone knows what a widget is, right?
You might as well be honest and come right out and say “My perfect customer is someone with a pulse. Anyone in the room with a pulse?”.
But every now and then, there’s a person with a specific message. He says something like, “I sell widgets to garages. A good referral for me is the mechanic who fixes your car.” And guess what? He gets referrals. The rest don’t.
The same is true in the online world as well as business networking. The more specific you can be with your marketing message, the more success you will have. So speak to your target customer as directly as possible in each piece of marketing material you put out. Speak directly to them in their language, not jargon or pseudo-corporation-speak that you never understood even when you worked in a corporate position. The words and language they use make a real connection.
Let’s explore a scenario. Let’s say I might be a prospective buyer of your widgets. I might really need your widgets, but I just don’t know about them. All you have to do is get my attention, and maybe I’ll buy from you.
So how do you get my attention?
You get me by tweaking your marketing message.
I’m a unique individual, with my own specific circumstances and my own specific problems. I don’t think of myself as one of “anybody and everybody.” I’m special. Stop sniggering, I am. When I’m busy not being special I do think of myself as a member of a group. In fact, I’m a member of many groups.
I’m a business owner. I’m a dad, brother, nephew husband, and a son, as well as an employee and a business owner. You get the idea. This isn’t just ME I’m talking about, I’m talking about who YOUR buyer is likely to be.
Maybe I like to watch Marvel films or eat doughnuts, so “film” and “doughnut lovers” are groups I identify with. If I have bad eyesight or tennis elbow, that puts me in one of those groups, people with a particular ailment. So if you say your widgets work for dads who own their own business, who watch Marvel films poorly due to dodgy eyesight, guess what? You’ve got my attention!
You’ve described me, my pain, and now I feel connected. The fact you have a box of dougnuts in your hand is no way irrelevant, I know you totally get me. Not only do you totally get me, you know my inner pains and you can cure them with your widgets. You say your widgets come with doughnuts? That sounds right up my street! I’m totally listening, tell me more as I wipe away my drool.
The way to build a following — a tribe, as Seth Godin puts it — is by targeting a specific group of people; a niche of people with a common problem that your product solves.
You’ll never build a following by trying to sell to “everybody,” because the truth is there’s nothing out there that appeals to everybody. Take food. We all have to eat. Do we all like the same foods? Some of you worry about the doughnuts, others can imagine the jam and the sugar… You know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that appeals to everybody, so why try and appeal to them?
The fact is, the more precisely you describe me, the more I’m going to like you and trust you.
People buy from people they know, like and trust, they buy from people who totally get them and they don’t just buy once, they buy over and over and over.
Remember it’s not difficult to find your ideal client but you do need to put a little bit of leg work in. If you need help with this then feel free to let me help you some more by clicking here