The Secret Sauce to Positioning Your Products (or Services)
If you've ever had a conversation with another human being you know we love to talk about ourselves. We may have grown out of our egocentric ways in toddlerhood but, as it turns out, we are never far from our own minds.
Now before you start sighing about the state of society, this is actually great news. Trust me.
Because when your clients (or potential clients) are talking about their lives in a completely organic way you're getting all kinds of juicy info you can use to position your products in a way that'll be meaningful to them.
The more detailed and specific that information is, the better. As I've said before, demographics just aren't going to cut it.
Once you start to gather specific information about the lives of your target market (without turning into a creepy internet stalkerazzi, I promise) the most important question you can start to ask is WHY.
Why changes everything.
Why changes how you position your product or service. Why allows them to see themselves in what you're selling.
But first: in case you need a few tips on how to find out that juicy specific information about your audience without turning into a stalkerazzi. Let me give you a few places to get started.
Whenever you talk with your clients or interact with your audience on social media or even hang out offering helpful advice in the Facebook groups etc. Listen to what people talk about when they mention their lives and pay attention to the common themes.
You could even straight up ask. I've seen this done successfully (and not successfully) in Facebook groups. I think it only works well if you've already established a presence with the group and shown your value BEFORE you ask. I've seen it done successfully a couple of different ways too. Either with a top 5 list of concerns for a specific target market known to exist in the group and then asking for them to be put in order of importance or pick your top 3. Or and offer to set up a 1 hour Skype chat where you ask questions about her biz and she gets to ask questions about you as her target market. So it's win win with no pressure of selling. In case you were wondering I've participated in both.
2. Advanced Search
Do an advanced search on Twitter. Enter a phrase that your target market would use when talking about your thing. Make sure it's their words and not your jargon. Example: If I do an advanced search for copywriting I get a bunch of copywriters talking about their services. Insight into my competition but not my target audience.
Because small business owners and creative entrepreneurs don't always talk about copywriting. Often they don't even know it's called "copy". That's industry specific jargon. So I think, "what do they call it"? If I type in, "writing my website" I have a sparkling sapphire mine of tweets about the triumphs and teeth-pulling frustrations of people trying to write the words for their websites. And a few developers for good measure. If I was just starting out and didn't have any clients yet (and was desperate for info) I could click on a few that meet my dream-client profile to see what else is going on in their lives.
3. Host a Free Webinar
This one is a lot of work. So you need to be reasonably sure it's something your target audience is going to show up to and participate in. But even if you only have 50 or 100 people show up that's a captive audience you can teach and listen to. Make small-talk at the beginning or end. Find out the common bonds that brought you all together. It's a perfect time to work a little market research naturally into the conversation. Best of all, you're also growing your email list. And providing value to your community. Accomplishing multiple goals in one fell swoop? Might just be worth it. Mind you, that swoop takes a sh*t ton of work...so there's that.
Now you know some specific details of your clients lives.
it's time to ask why.
Why do they do the things they do. Because WHY changes everything.
Okay, example time.
If you've got a product and you want to sell it to different groups of people. People who will use your product differently. People who have different needs, different goals, different desires. You're not going to direct them all to the same page saying the same thing are you?
Nope, you're going to implement target segmentation (ooh fancy new marketing term) which just means you'll sell the same thing in different ways to different people. Apple is a genius at this. All their commercials that show different types of people using their ipad in different ways? That's target segmentation, baby. It's still the same ipad but they're addressing the different needs, desires and goals of their audience by making different commericals to show it's for everyone in their target audience. I loved the commercials from 2014 that asked "What's your verse?" but then I'm also a Walt Whitman fan (so there's that). You can check them out here, plus every other Apple commercial of all time.
What if you're selling a service and not a product?
Let's say you're talking to a potential client about your super fantastic copywriting skills ;)
You happen to know one juicy detail about his life. He bikes/runs to work every day. And he lives across town, not just a couple of blocks away.
Now you ask why: why would someone bike/run to work every day all the way across town?
1) Maybe he's super health conscious
2) Maybe his doctor recently told him he has high blood pressure and is pre-diabetic
3) Maybe he's trying to lose weight
4) Maybe he's very environmentally conscious & is trying to reduce his carbon footprint
5) Maybe he's a workaholic and the only "me-time" he can justify is his time getting to & from work
6) Maybe he's a triathlete training for his next race.
Why is it important to know his why?
Because the way I sell my mad copywriting skills to a workaholic is NOT the same as the way I sell my kick-ass copywriting skills to an environmentally-minded health-conscious hipster.
Let's see how this plays out...
If he's a workaholic my positioning might be that he deserves to outsource into capable hands. That a hard-working, hustling entrepreneur like himself needs to increase focus & productivity in the places where it will give him the biggest return on investment. Like product development or customer service. That's where his focus needs to be so by taking copywriting off his plate it will benefit his peace of mind and his company's bottom line in multiple ways etc.
If he's someone battling high blood pressure and pre-diabetes then he's probably under a lot of stress. And getting the words on your website just right so you can increase conversions is one stress that shouldn't be keeping him up at night.
If he's a triathlete (he was if you're wondering) then I know he's focused on performance and endurance. So the benefits of solid SEO and increased conversions will be key. But also the peace of mind knowing you're not going to immediately want to start writing it over again once you're finished. The long game will be important.
Exact same behaviour. Exact same service. But the why changes everything.
I currently do this on my site by having a separate page for non-profits. Acknowledging the way they think about the work they do is sometimes a bit different than the way for-profit businesses think. Even though the services are exactly the same.
Understanding your customer's why allows you to choose which features to highlight. It allows you to pivot the motivations driving your customers to buy so that your positioning will be meaningful for them. Understanding your customer's why is a powerful tool in being able to correctly position your products and services.