“There will always, one can assume, be a need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”– Peter F. Drucker
Now, we’ll be looking at the second Write-to-Grow step after discussing the first one here.
Connecting with your market is crucial to growing and sustaining your business’ viability. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to get clients. You are in a Relational Business, one in which developing relationships matters the most. The more personal and experiential the connection, the better it is for your client and you.
This second step entails the process of reaching your market where they are so as to get noticed and stand out in a crowded market.
Dictionary.com defines “connect” as, to cause to be associated as in a personal or business relationship: to connect oneself with like-minded persons. Connecting should be grounded in your intentional effort to develop, build, and nurture a mutually benefiting relationship with your market. Remember that your business is about your market and you.
It’s about you creating the value that your market desires and needs.
It’s about you reaching out to your market in a meaningful way.
It’s about your business and your market’s satisfaction with the outcome your business provides for them.
It’s about you giving your market center stage so your clients can perceive you as one who knows them and wants to give them what they’re looking for.
This process entails being yourself and approaching your market with an attitude of:
1. Authenticity—Showcase some of the challenges you’ve had or are having and tell how you overcame them or are overcoming them.
2. Creativity—Tap into what you know and what you’re learning from your market and others.
3. Experimentation—Experiment and provide valuable and memorable experiences for your market and yourself.
4. Open-mindedness—Give yourself room to keep trying even when some of your efforts do not reap what you intend.
A Real-Life Example
American Express: Small Business Saturday
American Express created Small Business Saturday to encourage shoppers to remember their favorite small businesses during the period when big brands are usually in the spotlight. In 2011, the company gave customers rebates for shopping at their favorite local businesses. They also helped small business owners capitalize on their social media success by providing stores with Facebook ads, scripts for tweets, Facebook posts, and even signage to attract attention to them.
What Made This an Awesome Way of Connecting?
American Express’ Campaign was not only a good example for marketers, and business owners, but the company was also helping small businesses to learn how to market their businesses. Furthermore, they helped to stimulate the economy in local communities by encouraging shoppers to remember the smaller, local stores while also promoting their brand effectively. (Hub Spot Blog)
How to Write and Reach Your Market: First Things First
Four Steps You Need to Take Before Connecting With Your Market through Writing.
Step 1: Clarify Your Vision…Write It Down in Black and White
“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” –Jonathan Swift
To put your business on the path of growth and sustainability, it is critical that you frame a clear vision. The vision that you create will inform the future state of your business and what is needed for the daily operational function. Without such a vision, your business will have no coherence and future. It would be operating with fruitless energy and could invariably end up in a place that you do not intend.
Imagine driving through a rain storm to get to your destination. You know where you are going but have difficulty getting there because your car wipers are broken. They are not functioning as they should. You get out in the rain and use a towel to get rid of some of the water from your windshield. You get back in your car to continue on your way but you are stuck…you have no visibility! The downpour is not letting up! You need to drive to your destination but cannot, because you cannot see clearly. For clearer visibility, you need a windshield that is clear of rainwater outside or humidity inside!
So what vision do you have for your business? Is it one that is clear?
Step 2: Identify Your Target Market: Whose Attention Do You Want to Get and Keep With Your Writing?
Let’s say a fisherman went out to fish in the Pacific Ocean. Before going, he made the biggest, most sophisticated net there was during his time. He learned all of the fishing tips and techniques available. He felt confident about what he was going to accomplish. He said goodbye to his friends and family before embarking upon his adventure. He knew what to do when he got to the Pacific Ocean…which was, to cast his net. He also knew the Pacific Ocean had all kinds of fish. Just the thought of casting his net in such a large body of water gave him great excitement.
At last, he was in his ship and on the Pacific Ocean. He reached the spot suggested in his fishing courses, but he decided to go further for a bigger catch. He took a deep breath and thought about all he went through to get here. He cast his net! This was the moment for which he had longed and worked so hard.
He felt the weight of the net. He drew up the net carefully. How many fish could there be, he wondered. Just the joy of having caught so many fish on his first trip kept him going. He pulled and pulled. The task of drawing up the net into the ship was tedious.
He pulled with all his might and at last, he got his net out of the water. He dumped all of his catch on the floor. First, he was in awe of what he saw…He had caught so many different kinds of fish and other sea creatures. Then disappointment began to set in. Some of his catch seemed strange…he did not know what to do with them. How could he separate his catch? Which ones could he throw back into the ocean? This, he thought, would take so much time and energy. What could he do?
What would you do?
Target Market, as defined by biztazlaw.about.com is a specific group of customers which you have identified who have needs or problems which your products or services can fulfill.
Identifying a target market is a critical component of the formula of your success as a business owner. Many opportunities open up for you with a target market.
Step 3: Determine Your Market’s Greatest Needs
Why do you and I purchase the products and services that we have and use? We all have basic needs—food, clothes, and shelter. We buy food on a regular basis because food nourishes us and gives us the energy that we need to be functional.
Your market longs for those products or services that will solve their problems or take away their pain. Having a clear understanding of your market’s needs, interests, and wants is very important to the success of your business. Your business’ survival depends upon your identifying the needs of your market and helping to meet them. The solution you provide for your market becomes the core of your business’ long-term profitability and survival, the essence of your message, and the foundation upon which your Empire of Multiple Streams of Income will be built.
But How Do You Determine Your Target Market’s Greatest Needs So As to Offer Valuable Solution
Determining your market’s greatest needs will hinge upon your making an intentional effort to get specific information about your market. Look to see what distinguishes people in your market from others elsewhere. Learning about your market is an ongoing strategy that will position you and your business in a solid place for continual growth.
Listen to understand your market…Listen for sound bites. This is the source of the best information on your market.
Interview others in your market or others who have some knowledge about your market and are not necessary in your market.
Cultivate an understanding of their pain points and most important goals. Look to see why they are having the problem/s and based on why they are having the problem/s, find out what they need to solve such problem/s.
Tap into your knowledge of what you already know about this market or have experienced in this market. Maybe you have coached people in this market, have once been part of this market, or have been around people in this market.
Come up with ways to address or solve the problem/s your market is facing. This is where the packaging of the solution you will provide for your market comes into place. Most of the pain medications on the market come to us packaged in the form of tablets, caplets, or capsules. The one who has a headache may take some Advil or Tylenol to relieve her head pain. You must be clear about what your market wants to overcome and achieve to help you package your solution well. Listed previously were the five categories or modalities that you as a business owner can tap into to reach your market and grow your business.
Here are just six of the benefits of having a target market:
You know what your target market needs and wants to solve.
You become known and recognized in that specific market.
You know where to find them.
You know who they are and how you can serve them.
You are seen as an expert.
You can write directly to them.
Step 4: Zero In On a Niche
We saw from the illustration in Step 2 of the fisherman who went fishing in the Pacific Ocean and caught so many different types of fish and other sea creatures. We saw how excited he was initially with his big catch. But when reality set in, he became overwhelmed because he did not exactly know what to do with all his catch. When zeroing in on your niche, smaller is better. The more focused you are on a specific market, the better your service will be. In the world of Medicine, Children’s Hospital focuses on delivering solutions to children’s illnesses and not that of adults.
“Niche Market” as defined by Wikipedia is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.
Let’s say your Target Market was Parents of Teenagers?
1. You will do research on some challenges in parenting teenagers. As you research, you might discover that some of the challenges include teen drug addiction, poor grades, hanging out with the wrong crowd, lack of communication, etc. If you decided to cast your net as the fisherman in the illustration, your catch would include all of the problems listed. But if while still in the target market, Parents of Teens, you decide to narrow your focus and cast your net.
2. For instance, you cast your net and caught “lack of communication” and then you decided to help these parents with solutions in, How to Communicate With Your Teenager/s.
3. Your niche then becomes How to communicate with your Teenager or, Communicating with Your Teens.
4. Your role then will be to offer solutions to the parents of teens on how to communicate with their teens.
YOUR NICHE IS YOUR TICKET TO MAKING IT BIG WITH LESS
Now that you have identified your target market and have done some research to find out what keeps your market up at night — and have zeroed in on a niche, it’s now time to start connecting in a meaningful way.
Having your niche in hand will help you maximize your energy and your writing goals with purpose and focus. Monroe Mann, The author of Start Your Own Coaching Business: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Success writes, “Keep in mind that it’s a mistake to cater to too large a swathe of clients at first. You and your potential clients may get confused and overwhelmed.” He goes on to say “it’s best to start with a niche and grow from there. Otherwise, you risk never getting off the ground in the first place.”
So if your target market were parents of teenagers and you chose, how to communicate with your teens, then how to communicate with your teens becomes your niche — your specialty. You could then build your writing/training/program around, How to Communicate with Your Teens…helping your target market to solve an overwhelming problem. Maybe an article could be: Take Down That Wall: 10 Things You Can Say To Make Your Teenager Listen. These 10 things could be broken down into 10 or more articles to be sent to your market. These articles could be written into an e-book or a special report. These 10 things could also be used in a workshop, teleclass/teleseminar, webinar, boot camps, et cetera.
Here is an example:
1. I have faith in you.
2. You will do great things.
3. I don’t have all the answers.
4. You are unique and special
5. I love you.
6. I need your help.
7. You have it in you to make smart choices.
8. I trust you.
9. I’m so proud of you.
10. You’re caring and kind.
You could again pick one of these topics above and do a workshop for parents of teens. Let’s say you picked, I Don’t Have All the Answers for this workshop. You could then discuss in your workshop these 5 points:
1. What Being Vulnerable Can Do For You and Your Teen…Be honest with yourself and your teen.
2. Show and Tell…Your teen is watching you and hearing what you have to say.
3. Lay Out Your Expectations…Your Teens need to have a clear understanding of what you expect.
4. Acknowledge Your Teen’s Opinions…Your teen finds confidence when her/his opinions are validated.
5. Believe in What You’re Doing…Your teen needs to confide in you.
Enables you to focus your attention and resources on specific area/s.
Positions you as an expert in certain area/s thus making you the “go-to” person.
Enables you to gain control over what you have to offer as a solution.
Helps you maximize your time and resources while growing your business.
Action Plan – Ask yourself these questions
1. What is my target market?
2. What in this market do I have a real passion for?
3. Do I have some experiences and training that could be useful as I narrow my focus? What are they?
4. How best could I serve this market?
5. What do I have to learn to better serve this market?
6. What are some things that I’m really good at?
7. What are some things that challenge me but I’m willing to learn them?
Thanks for reading!