I’ve been working with small businesses for years now advising them on a wide range of business issues. But it wasn’t until I started Watson & Watt, and got my hands dirty on my own business, that I really had to understand “marketing”.
Because as you’ll know (or very quickly find out) there are plenty of “marketing consultants” ready to take your money and you’ll probably quickly end up down the “sales funnel” rabbit hole, and the next thing you know you’re talking trip wires, scarcity and email automations.
It can be a very daunting, confusing, and expensive experience. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll waste a few grand (at best!). You’ll buy something, or sign up to an agency, or try to run some facebook ads and be burned. You’ll find out the promised land of 10x leads in 30 days doesn’t equate to 10x sales. It would be easy to give in. But if there is anything in life I’ve learned, it’s that persistence is key.
Marketing Is A Process
Marketing is a process. It’s not a project, or a campaign. Marketing must become part of the fabric of the business if it’s to work, and you must set the foundations before you do anything else.
It’s tempting to jump in and start making ads, or landing pages, or looking up keywords and writing blogs, creating videos, posting 10,000 inspirational quotes to social media, dressing up in a monkey onesie and waving a sign at passing cars or spending $80 mil on crap ads with yellow backgrounds and infringing the copyright on 80s songs, but don’t. Do this first.
Define and understand your target customer
Ground-breaking right? I know you’ve heard this before and glossed over it. But go back. Do it again. And keep looking at it each month or so and improve it where you can.
There is no quick fix, no sales funnel, no band aid that will make your marketing work if you don’t understand your target market and what messages resonate with them.
Because this lays the foundation for the rest of your marketing – and business. From here, you’ll know what your marketing message needs to be, which distribution channels to use, what your pricing strategy is, what problems you can solve for them, what your future products and services could be and even what your business model needs to be. Let me put it another way;
Once you know who your target market is, you’ll know how much money you can make from your business.
So how do we understand our target customer Nathan?
Customer Personas (aka Customer Avatars)
Again, nothing revolutionary here if you’ve been on the marketing treadmill before. There are countless templates you can find on the web to help you. Just google “Customer Avatar Template” and you’ll get 20mil results in 0.37 seconds with many of them giving away free templates. I’ve used a couple in my time, but the completion of the template isn’t the where the money is.
Your target customers pains and frustrations are now. In the present. If they do nothing about these pains and frustrations, then the implications will be they eventually become what they fear.
That their goals and desires are the milestones to their dreams and aspirations.
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A Pain & Frustration
- Small business owner never has enough cash, they are behind on super & taxes always surprise them.
Fears & Implications
- Owners burn out, business closes, lose the house, go bankrupt
As you can see, if they don’t solve the cash issue in the business, their fears will be realised.
How does this help your marketing?
If you know what their pains and frustrations are, and what they will become if they don’t fix them, then you can create solutions to those pains and frustrations, and help them avoid the inevitable fate.
People are more compelled to take away pain than to chase a dream. Are you likely to spend energy chasing your dream if you’ve dislocated your elbow? Hardly. You’ll be after a green whistle or two and some surgery before you’ll be worried about retiring with enough money.
Would you keep running a marathon with a stone in your shoe? No, you’ll quickly stop get it out and then carry on.
This is a natural law. Don’t fight it, embrace it.
This means you need to create a 2-phase marketing process;
- Take away their pains & frustrations, then, and only then;
- Help them with their goals and desires.
Once you’ve fixed their dislocated elbow, you can then get to work on achieving their goals.
So, this, in my experience is where you need to start with your marketing. Understand your target market like you never have before, stand in their shoes and see their pains and frustrations.
Then create marketing messages that shows them how your product/service heals this pain for them. If your product/service doesn't solve their pain. Fix your product/service so it does. Speaking of services - have you checked out our business consulting service that helps you define and understand your target customer?