We’re the land of number eight wire and it’s that deeply ingrained entrepreneurial spirit which…
Out of all of the ways we can make big gains for our clients, the one that leads to the most success is helping them to learn how to narrow their focus, i.e. narrow the arrow. This is around who they are selling to, what they are selling, and how they are selling.
So many business owners start off with a really great idea and are quite narrow in their approach with knowing who they are going to sell to and what they are going to sell. Then as time goes on, and the confidence drops a little bit, it’s easy to add on extra services and include extra people in your target market, because you don’t want to miss anyone out and also you don’t want to tell anyone no. But what happens is your marketing message becomes really complicated, big and broad. Which is why I always bring people back to narrowing who they are selling to and what they are selling, because it is far easier to be heard in a crowded marketplace if you are very specific with who you can serve.
You need a pointy arrow
Think of it this way, to break through a ‘wall of success’, you need a really pointy, sharp arrow. So when you broaden your arrow, the blunter it gets and the harder it is to break through that wall.
Now there are three ways we can narrow – we can narrow your who, what you do, and what you say. And we are going to walk through that process in this blog.
Narrow your who
When you narrow your who, we as marketers quite often talk about working through a demographic. For example, it is a 27 year old female who likes listening to Queen and Taylor Swift, likes spending time at shopping centres and also hiking in the Himalayas. You get as specific as you can about the person you are wanting to sell to, and that’s a target persona.
But actually there are lots of other ways we can target our desired audience, and here are the seven we focus on.
You can target people working in specific industries. So you might choose to only work with accountants, or hairdressers, engineers or people in ecommerce. It might be a whole group of people who have a particular type of job and that’s who you want to work with. One thing I would recommend is having one or two industries, just to protect yourself. A few people I know working in agencies had focused on a particular industry, such as tourism, and really struggled during Covid19 because all of their eggs were in that basket. And they have had to change what they were doing due to that.
You can narrow down by desire. What is it that that person wants? Could it be they want shoes or they want beautiful clothing or jewellery. You are going to evoke a desire to help them have those things. This is really great for businesses that sell consumer goods, where you are attracting people who want to have those needs fulfilled.
Number three is that you could be solving a problem for them. They may want a marketing strategy (that is one of the things we do) or they want to learn how to run a marathon, or how to change a tyre. It is focusing on something that is a problem that they need to have solved. And there you are! You’re the solution.
This is often a popular one for B2B. But what is crucial is being able to pinpoint what that problem is and then show how you are going to solve it. So your ‘who’ are specific people with a specific problem. For us, our people are those who describe their businesses as a ‘best kept secret’, this is a problem we tend to address. And we also use problem-based marketing with a lot of businesses because it’s a really easy way to help them to discover who they are targeting.
4. Shared Values
You can also target people on shared values. If you are building a personal brand or a brand with a strong values base, this is a great way to attract people who are similar to you. This might be the kind of value that involves giving time, or money and because you share that with others, you end up meeting and interacting with those who value those same things and who fit your brand. This is a great one for social enterprises, because they share the value of giving as part of their enterprise.
It may be that you are targeting people by location. So any businesses like tradies, hairdressers and allied health professionals would target by location. You might just go ‘everyone in the suburb of Pukekohe is going to be my people’ for example. Narrow your arrow by location.
You can target via personality, for example people like Glennon Doyle, Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins (not related apparently). This is about building relationships based on personality and is a great way to find those who react well to you.
It is one of the tools we use at Identify, to build around people who feel like they can relate to me well – because I am often one of the main people they are going to talk to. So if they can tell that I am ‘their kind of person’, they will understand what we are looking to achieve far better. Some people will like you and some may not, but it is possible to narrow your arrow based on attraction to personality.
This one is for coaches in particular, because people will follow you, listen to you and refer to you if they like you and the things you say.
And the last one is trends. You could become a Clubhouse expert overnight (which is a new social platform) and be the one who is going to teach everyone about it. Of course while it’s great at the time, it will run out of steam so then you need to find something else, but it is okay to have a short term focus on different areas. You might be a social media expert and follow every trend that comes out. I personally find it exhausting, so I wouldn’t – but you could if it was something you enjoyed and found easy to understand.
Choose one, two or three. This is your blend of perfect
So those are the 7 areas and now what you can do is just choose one. You can say ‘I am going to target everyone in a 5km radius from my house’, so just narrow down on location. Or you might say ‘I am going to target everyone in a 5km radius around my house who needs to get their haircut.’ And that is narrowing on location and their problem. Or then you could say ‘I am going to target everyone in a 5km radius who needs a haircut, but also likes that I have a high level of expertise.’ Which might be around meeting the desire of someone to have a really professional hair style.
Go through them, modify them, but you wouldn’t want to have more than three. That is your blend of perfect and the narrowing of your who.
Narrow what you do best
Once you have sorted out your who, you need to look at what it is you do best. And there are five different areas to cover for this.
1. What you know you can deliver consistently
You have to know where you can deliver consistently. People trust people who can provide a consistent level of service and so you have to make sure that whatever you choose isn’t your stellar thing that you only do very well on occasion. It has to be the things in your business that you do over and again consistently well. Find that thing and that will get you to focus on what it is you do best.
2. What you love doing
You also need to make sure it is something you love doing (or at least like doing) otherwise you are going to grow the business in the wrong direction. Make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing (or don’t enjoy) so you can start discarding some of the things you don’t like to improve your delivery.
3. What people say you do well
You can also use current and past clients to tell you what it is you do really well. You might think it is the way you fix brakes, which is really great, but then be surprised when people say that actually it is your communication that they love the most. Finding out from other people about what it is you do well is important.
4. How it fits with your long term goals
Then you need to think about how it fits with your long term goals. Is what you are selling going to help lead you further towards your long term goals or have you chosen something that has a bit of a dead end – where it doesn’t have enough reason for repeat business or ongoing business or referral with your clients.
5. What people like to buy
What is it that people like to buy? Are you choosing things that people actually want to buy and have bought in the past. Or are you pinning your hopes on what you want them to buy but you haven’t had any success with yet. Because if it is the latter, you might need to work through this.
It is crucial to make this as narrow and defined as possible. Here at Identify, we do quite a lot of different things to do with marketing, like setting up Facebook ads, marketing automation and CRMs, but a majority of the time we talk about strategy. Because strategy is our ‘narrow arrow’ that makes it really easy for us to find the right clients to work with.
Narrow what you say
Once you have got your who and what you do best, it’s about narrowing what you say.
Take all of that stuff around who you are, who you are focusing on and what you do and make a list of statements or topics you can talk about that meet those needs of the ‘who’. So for example you might have decided ‘I am a hair salon that only wants to be known for colour’. You still do all of the other things, but want to be known as the destination for the best colour. Think about all the different things you can write about colour to show people you are the go-to expert and you are the best. Or it might be that you are a physio and you want to focus on the pelvic floor, so you would be specifically talking about women’s health and that subject to help people see it is what you are a specialist in.
Talk to one person
Don’t be tempted to talk about a whole lot of things – focus on repeating over and again what you say. And when you are writing it, always talk to one person.
Imagine the ideal person from your ‘who’ and think about where they are hanging out. Try to only talk on those platforms – whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Google my Business, Linkedin, Youtube, Club House, Twitter, tik tok. Find your people, and talk to them where they are.
Once you do that, you have narrowed the arrow and you will see more success in your marketing messaging.