I recently had a momentous day. It was the first time my 14 year old asked to borrow a piece of clothing from me—a white Nike sweatshirt. This is like a rite of passage and it was quite unexpected since my daughter is a size 0 and I’m a size 10 (I’m being honest here). Unfortunately the above-mentioned sweatshirt was in the dirty laundry and unavailable, which, although I was happy she asked, was just fine with me since it’s very comfy and is my favorite.
What amused me was that if I had offered to lend her that sweatshirt a week or even a day ago she wouldn’t have been interested. She would have looked aghast that I would even suggest she wear a MOM shirt—kind of like wearing MOM jeans—you know, the ones that actually reach almost to your waist.
This is just like in business—people don’t want your product or service until they do; until they have a problem or need and the time has come to solve it, or they have developed a desire for something and they want it now. Say you’re a car dealer and you run commercials on TV. Who will stop and listen? The person who has decided it’s time to buy a new car. If I’m perfectly happy with my car, why would I pay attention?
We often love what we sell so much that we have an assumption that everyone who we put our message in front of is actually paying attention. The truth is that if their need, want or desire for your solution is not top-of-mind, their attention will be drawn elsewhere. Don’t take it as a personal insult. After all it’s a human response, especially when everyone and their uncle are vying for our attention.
That’s why it’s so important to target your marketing toward the specific group of people who might buy from you, rather than too broad a group of people. An example would be a chiropractor who advertises in the local newspaper. The demographics in the local paper are much too broad as there are many readers who have no interest or need for a chiropractor. Instead, using Google or Yahoo pay-per-click ads based on targeted search terms like perhaps, “Raleigh chiropractors” or “back pain relief” would yield much better results. Or perhaps targeting sports publications or forums for chronic pain sufferers would work because those people need the chiropractor’s expertise.
The same goes for any business. For example, it’s much more effective to advertise in an industry or topic-focused magazine, than in a magazine whose reader base is very broad. Do the research necessary to find out what your target prospect reads, where they go online and off, and what groups they’ve joined. Research what people are buying in your industry or niche. What are they most in need of that you could offer? Think outside the box. One of the fastest ways to get this information is to do a simple 5 to 10 question survey of your clients, subscribers or prospects. People will be more than happy to tell you exactly what they want or need. I do this yearly and it is highly effective.
So go directly where you can connect with the people who need you and give them what they want. Well, I guess I better get that sweatshirt washed—it’s in demand!© Copyright 2009 Janis Pettit