Hello everyone, welcome to the Balanced Business Leaders Podcast hosted by yours truly, Claire Jones, owner of Liminal Clarity. We are a business development agency that helps small business leaders scale and grow without burning out.
This is the next podcast in a series where we will be discussing the various trials and tribulations that lead me to creating my Three Pillars of Business Success, a framework that represents the foundational systems that contribute to sustainable business growth.
If you’re interested in learning more, please join us in our free Balanced Business Leaders Facebook Group at facebook.com/groups/balancedbusinessleaders.
Ready? Alright, let’s dive in.
So I started this podcast as a way to tell my story, particularly when it comes to the many, many different lessons that I have learned over the years when it comes to founding, developing, running, and growing small businesses.
This particular episode is about Platforms & Demographics, because you need to choose the right platforms that will strategically target your ideal audiences.
When I was starting out in my first business, I didn’t really realize how important Marketing was. I mean I knew it was part of running a business, but I naively thought that if I just provided a great product or service and started to put my business out there then customers would come.
You know the phrase – “build it and they will come”? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
What I didn’t realize was that there was an emotional aspect to engaging customers, people have to grow to know, like, and trust you before they are willing to buy from you.
And I didn’t realize how much consistent relationship building was required in order to do that.
I spent a lot of my time optimizing my website, making sure I had great products, figuring out how to do product photography, learning graphic design, and all this stuff that does contribute to a profitable business in some ways but I wasn’t spending much time actually talking to people.
I felt like I was busy, because I was doing tons of things day in and day out. I always had things on my list to learn and improve and optimize, but what was I actually accomplishing?
Not sales, that was obvious.
I wasn’t spending much time building relationships, if at all. I wasn’t giving people the chance to know, like, and trust me. Instead, I was spending my time working 60 hours a week by myself in a white box surrounded by inventory I couldn’t sell. It was rough, let me tell you.
When it comes to marketing strategies, what we’re talking about here is intentionally and strategically building your know, like, and trust factor with your audiences. Because there are so many options out there nowadays for products and services, chances are you’re not the only one who offers what you’re offering.
You’re always going to have competitors. There are probably at least a dozen other businesses out there who are offering the same (if not very similar) products and services that you do. So why is the potential customer going to choose you?
You might be the cheapest option, you might be the scientifically-proven option, you might be the longest-lasting option, but at the end of the day they’re going to choose you over everyone else because they know, like, and trust you – not because your product or service has the best features.
It’s irrational, I know, you’d think that people would make rational decisions about what products or services provide them with the biggest benefits. But that’s not the way our brains work.
People will go to great lengths to support and buy from the people that they know, like, and trust. We’re all human, we’re evolutionarily wired for social connection and our brains just prefer the people that we know, like, and trust.
So how can you intentionally and strategically use that to make sales?
Alright so – when you’re approaching Marketing Strategies, I always recommend that people start by thinking about (1) who your ideal clients are, and (2) where they’re hanging out.
So #1 – Who is your ideal client?
Have you taken the time to figure out who exactly you’re targeting with your products or services?
You need to document and describe your target customer. (This is also known as the ideal customer or buyer persona.)
Create a demographic profile for each group that includes:
For consumers, their:
- Education level
For businesses, their:
- Stage in business (startup, growing, mature)
- Annual sales
- You also need to create a psychographic profile for each group, these are the feelings, the frustrations, the pains, the hopes, and the dreams that the target customer is coming to you with.
This is super important for marketing messaging, you need to be able to communicate to your customers that you understand their pains or problems and that, because you understand, you have the ideal solution for them.
This is where the importance of market research interviews come in. I highly recommend that everyone spends time interviewing people who they think may fit their ideal customer profile.
Ask them about:
– What specific problems or issues they are experiencing
– What specific pain points are obstacles in their lives or businesses
– What are their feelings about those issues or pain points
– What kind of impact are those issues or paint points having on their lives or businesses
– What are their goals
– What solutions have they tried and what worked and what didn’t
– What solutions are they looking for
– Where do they look for solutions
If you can gather this type of data from multiple people who may fit your ideal customer profiles, then you will have the exact wording and verbiage that you can use in your marketing messaging to directly target those ideal customers.
Basically, you’re looking to give potential customers the sensation that you can read their mind. If you use their exact phrasing, their exact words, that they use to describe their issues and how they want to solve those issues – you will seem like a mind reader.
But you can only do that if you take the time to identify your ideal customer profiles in the first place.
So then #2 is figuring out where they’re hanging out.
After asking your market research interview questions, you will also know where to find these ideal customers. Literally ask them, where do you look for solutions to your pain points?
Do they ask friends? Do they search Google? Do they go to networking events? Do they go to Facebook groups? Do they search hashtags on Instagram?
Where are they hanging out already so that you can hang out there too and have a higher chance of reaching them?
Basically, what platforms are they visiting every day?
So really think about who your ideal client is, where they are already hanging out, and focus your efforts there first and foremost.
Also, when you’re marketing, you are not pitching – first and foremost. Sure, you can offer a pitch every now and then to let people know what your services or products are and how they can access them but your primary goal when marketing is to connect, interact, and teach.
You are building familiarity, you are building credibility as an expert, you are giving them value, you are intentionally creating that know, like, and trust factor. So how can you create value for your potential clients, how can you create value for your audience in a way that they’re like, “huh, I want to learn more about this person or company because they seem to know a lot”?
How can you anchor that familiarity, anchor yourself as an expert, and provide content that is valuable and educates your audiences?
When we’re talking about how people interact with marketing sources, there’s a survey done by a global online consumer survey company – the Nielson Group – and they say that “recommendations from people I know” is the number one most trusted marketing source.
That means, when it comes to reaching your audiences, 82% of consumers would trust opinions from people they know. This is where word of mouth comes in. Word of mouth and referrals are considered king in the marketing world.
This is also why organic engagement – as opposed to paid engagement – on social media is so important because people see what their friends are engaging with and if they see that a friend knows, likes, trusts, and engages with a particular brand they’re much more likely to know, like, and trust that brand too. It’s just what our brains do.
When it comes to what platforms to choose based on demographics, research shows that:
If your target demographic has people over 30, you’re going to be better off on Facebook; but if your target demographic is under 30, you’re going to be better off on Instagram.
Or if you’re a business-to-business kind of company, where you work more with small business owners or corporations, Linkedin is probably going to be your best bet.
Or if you’re helping the more elderly market and offering senior care services or stuff like that, you might want to consider doing snail mail as your primary marketing effort. Because a lot of them aren’t on Facebook, a lot of them aren’t on Instagram.
YouTube, on the other hand, is best used for broad exposure because it is the second largest search engine (under Google at #1) and will soon be the most used search engine in the world.
Twitter is best used for celebrities, comedians, politicians, authors, speakers, and thought leaders. Basically, if you have strong opinions that you want to broadcast, Twitter is the place for you.
And Pinterest is best used for aesthetically pleasing product-based businesses. Pinterest is the third largest search engine coming under YouTube and 83% of weekly Pinterest users have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest.
The overall point here is to keep in mind that not all marketing platforms are going to be fruitful for your business, so take the time to intentionally choose where you are directing your marketing efforts to make the biggest impact.
So next time, we’ll be going more in depth into the second step of Marketing Strategies, Websites & Google My Business. I hope to interweave my personal experiences with the business lessons I learned along the way so that I can paint a full picture for you guys.
And please let me know what you think! I am always open to feedback and love connecting with my audiences.
If you want to learn more, I personally invite you to join us in the Balanced Business Leaders VIP Group Program. In as little as one hour per week, you will walk away with a clear action plan to grow and scale your business sustainably.
Please visit linktr.ee/liminalclarity for more information.
You can find the episode outline, video recording, transcript downloads, related links, etc. below.
And, until next time, love you all, take care, and I hope you have a good day wherever you are.