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Module 1: How to Position Your Brand to Sell
Section 1: How to Differentiate Your Brand
Post 2: How to Attract the Customers You Want
Business owners often make a dangerous mistake – they pursue popularity at the expense of profitability.
They try to attract everyone. Unfortunately, they resonate with no one.
This mistake is usually driven by fear. They don’t target a small group of customers because owners are afraid there won’t be enough of them to generate enough sales to pay the bills.
They also fear giving up a significant upside. After all – if your idea solves a problem for everyone, shouldn’t you market it to everyone? In a word…
How Facebook attracted over a billion users
We can look at Facebook as an example. How did they become the most popular social network?
They started with students at Harvard.
That’s it. Not the population of the world. Not North America or even the United States.
Not all college students. Not all Harvard students, past and present.
Just students currently attending Harvard.
Then they expanded to two other Ivy League schools (Columbia and Yale) and Stanford. Next, they expanded to the rest of the Ivy League before opening it up to all colleges in the U.S. and Canada.
Then they targeted high school students. After that, they opened up the network to employees at Apple and Microsoft.
Finally, they offered it up to everyone. Facebook built their BIGG success one niche at a time.
Start with who you do NOT want to serve
If you’re like many of the business owners we talk with, you may struggle to tell us who your ideal client is. So we’ve found it pays to look at it in a different way:
Who DON’T you want to serve?
Something amazing happens when you clearly define the people whose business you don’t want…
You attract more of the customers you do want!
We talked with Michael Port, best-selling author of Book Yourself Solid, about this concept. He calls it the “red velvet rope policy.”
One night, a nightclub owner in Manhattan didn’t let Paris Hilton past the red velvet rope. By the next night, the news had spread.
People flocked to his place! They wanted to patronize the place that wouldn’t let Paris Hilton in.
The same will be true in your business. You’ll attract more of the customers you want to serve by not marketing to people you don’t want. (We’ll talk more about how to make this happen in the next section on Messaging.)
Now – if you’re like most of the business owners we talk with, a question has formed in your mind:
What if you don’t get enough business from the people you want?
Just lower the red velvet rope for awhile. But put it up again as soon as possible!
[George] I paid a lot of money to learn this concept. It was stressed by one of the franchisors I worked with. They emphasized avoiding price shoppers. Go for people who want value. Whenever I strayed from this advice, I got burned!
It’s kind of funny. Many price shoppers demand the best price AND the best service. You can’t deliver both – someone can always beat you on one of them. So you end up with an unhappy customer who makes your life miserable while you eke out a meager living.
You can avoid this altogether. Start by defining who can’t get past your red velvet rope.
If you’re a startup, think about people you’ve had trouble working with in the past. If you’re already in business, think about problematic customers. In either case, what common denominators can you see?
(NOTE: We’ll dive deeper into this as well as the material that follows in Part 2 of the Differentiate Your Brand Guidebook.)
Your ideal customer is closer than you think
Early in the history of BIGG Success, we were talking with one of our coaches about our ideal customers. We told our coach what we discovered…
Our best customers were a lot like us!
She replied, “Well, duh!” We’ll never forget that moment. It was a smack in the face. And we needed it!
Chances are you see your ideal customer every day. You see them when you’re shaving or putting on your makeup.
Your ideal customer is the face in the mirror!
Remember authenticity? We discussed it in the last post. Authenticity helps you resonate.
It’s easier to resonate with people like you. In fact, it comes pretty naturally.
You know you. You know the challenges which you’ve faced to get where you are. You know how you got past them. You could really help someone like you.
Now understand, your ideal customer may not be just like you. But you probably have more in common than not.
So if you’re a startup, look for a target group of customers with whom you share similar characteristics. Think about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook – he was a student at Harvard who initially targeted students at Harvard.
If you’re rebranding, look at who your most profitable customers already are. If you can attract more people like them, you’ll have more “most profitable customers.” What a great way to grow!
So look at the same five areas you considered for yourself:
- strengths and weaknesses
What if your ideal customer is an alien from outer space?
Our flip answer is: “Good luck!”
It’s hard to resonate with someone that different. We aren’t saying it can’t be done. We’re just saying it will take more work.
You can probably find a better group of people – you’ll be able to attract them easier and deliver better results. However…
If you’re seeing some common ground at first glance, keep these three things in mind:
- You probably have more in common than you initially think. Look deeper for all your similarities.
- Don’t expect a perfect match. You’re not looking for clones!
- You can empathize. You simply have to ask questions and listen so you come to understand them nearly as well as you know yourself. Then you’ll be able to think and feel like them.
[George] In one my early businesses, my ideal customer was married women between the ages of 30 and 55. I was a 23-year old man! So how did I relate to them? They were my mom and my sisters! With that understanding, I hired staff who fit that profile. They were all a huge help!
So if your ideal customers aren’t like you, figure out who in your life they are like and/or hire people just like them.
However, the social web requires businesses to be more personal. The more background and interests you share, the easier it is to make people feel special.
But you can still resonate if you listen attentively to and learn from people like them. And that leads us to…
You want your ideal customer “in your face”
Do you like it when people get in your face? Of course not! But we’re telling you – you want your ideal customers to be there! Here’s what we mean…
Words on a page can be meaningful. A summary can bring life to the words. But a picture can bring the summary to life!
So in the Guidebook, we’ll help you create a persona which summarizes the words you used to describe your ideal customer. Then you can find a photo which represents that persona to you.
We keep ours in front of us so we can remember exactly who we’re writing to or talking with. We’re looking at you right now! 🙂 Okay, that almost sounds creepy – we meant to say, we’re looking at a person who represents you to us.
You can do the same for your customers. Then you just need to glance at the picture to conjure up a rich description in your mind. It will help you stay focused on how you can help them.
Ultimately, they’ll reward you with loyalty. And they’ll tell people how good you are so you don’t have to! That’s one of the many reasons why you’re building a brand that sells.
As an example of everything we’ve discussed in this post, let’s say you want to market to business owners in the United States.
There are more than 27 million of them in the United States alone. How do you reach that many people? You can’t – you don’t have the resources. Yet. (That’s another reason you’re building your own brand – to gain leverage to do even more.)
But for now, you need to hone in on a smaller target market.
Well, there are 10 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. That’s still too many. You need a tighter focus.
You learn there are about 4 million “mommy bloggers” in the U.S. Now you’re getting somewhere!
Filter it by geographic location or by blogging topic and you’ve probably identified a great target market – especially if you’re a 30 something, college-educated, environmentally-conscious, stay-at-home mom with a blog!
With all of those qualities, you will know the most significant problems these people have. You’ll have a sense of what they want to accomplish. You’ll share many of their values. So you can offer them exactly what they want.
But what if you’re a dad? You would likely struggle to resonate with mommy bloggers.
So how about “daddy bloggers?” The numbers are harder to come by, but there may be as many as 140,000 of them. There’s a target market!
By the way, we got all this information online in less than 15 minutes. You’ll want to do more extensive research on your ideal customers. But you can get a sense of direction in almost no time!
You’re now ready to move on. You can either go through Part 2 of the Differentiate Your Brand Guidebook or go on to the next post.
(As before, our recommendation is to go to the Guidebook while the material here is fresh in your mind. But you’re the boss – so you make the call!)
And don’t forget, you can email questions to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.