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Positioning as a Service: How to Move Your Audience and Create a Following

Mar 16, 2020
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In This is Marketing, Seth Godin writes, “In a world of choice, where we have too little time, too little space, and too many options, how do we choose? It’s easier for those we seek to serve to simply shut down and not even try to solve their problems.”

When you step back and evaluate your business, are you sure you're making it easy for those who want to use your products and services to connect with you?  In this video, I'll walk you through an exercise that helps you define your position and attract the right people to your business. 

 

Video Transcript: 

Hey, what's up? Welcome to Hack My Growth. In this week's episode, we're going to be taking a look at positioning as a service. How do we move our audience and create a following?

Like I said, we are talking about positioning as a service. And I'm going to get most of this, almost all of it today, from Seth Godin's book This Is Marketing. This is a really good book. If you're looking to change the way you market, change the way you tell stories, and change the way that you approach acquiring new customers or your audience. It's a very powerful book. It's very easy read.

But what Seth is really getting at is, how do we become authentic storytellers? How do we become people who are not trying to market to everyone, but really just market to the people who matter. And I really liked this quote, and this is taken from chapter five. This is where a lot of today's lesson is going to come from. And it says, "In a world of choice, where we have too little time, too little space, and too many options, how do we choose? It's easier for those we seek to serve to simply shut down and not even try to solve their problems."

Many of you probably have felt this, where you're working online and you're looking for a solution to a problem you have, and there's just so many things to look at and so many options to choose from, and so many features and things being pushed in our way that it's easier just to say, "Forget about it. I'm just going to ignore the problem right now and worry about it some other time."

A lot of times our customers, our audience, is feeling the same thing and we have to learn how to empathize with them. And this is where we want to fuse the creative sides with our technical sides. We talk a lot on the channel about the technical elements of marketing, structured data, SEO, and how to execute on that. But sometimes it's good to stop and start to remember that we're marketing to people and those people have feelings and those feelings are what caused them to take actions and if we don't take the creative and fuse it with the technical, then we're going to have a gap. And so we have to think about our clients and we have to think about our positions and how we're putting ourselves out, our products and services. We have to start with people's needs, their wants, their dreams. You have to choose who your product or service are for. You can't focus on the masses. You're going to lose if you try that.

There's only a few people that can have that mass audience. But the reality is a lot of times you don't really want that, if you start to think about it. The mass has to follow everybody's opinion and they have to continue to change and move with both the people getting into the market, but also those who've been there for quite a while. When you find your niche audience, when you find the people that really care, you can create something powerful, you can create something that people will keep coming back to and you create a true following. People that will refer people to you, people like them, and you're going to get the right customer. I don't know about you, but there's been plenty of times where we've taken on the wrong customer and the people that were not a good fit. It wasn't that they were bad or their products or services weren't good, it was that we were a different type of agency than what they needed. We were different types of people than what they needed because what we were doing didn't work.

And I've gotten better at learning what that is over the time and a lot of it comes out of asking different questions, better questions. But in order to create something for our audience and something that they really care about, we have to go to the extremes. We have to find the edges. And then we need to stand for something. We can't just be okay with everything. We have to be only okay with what we want to give to our core audience.

How is this done practically? A lot of times, we talk marketing theory and we hear things that sound good, but how do we do it? Well, there's a simple way to do it and Seth outlines it well in his book, but I'm going to walk through a couple examples here. We take an axis and we choose our targets that our audience cares about. So we choose two targets. So this could be price or healthfulness or performance or skill level, whatever. And you put one on X and one on Y and you have the two extremes there.

And then you start to map it out and see where you fit. So, for instance, if we're talking about sales software or CRM, we can look at a couple of different options, right? Let's say ease of use and performance. Those are the two things that our customers are looking for and it's going to make their lives better. And we can put some examples of what that might look like in here. Salesforce is simpler to use in some cases and it's got a ton of performance. Maybe down below that, maybe not as easy to use, maybe not easy to get started, would be building your custom CRM and you still might be able to have a lot of performance, but it may not be as easy. And maybe pad of paper, as you know, it's easier to write down, but it's not easy to actually use as a CRM, and it's very low as a performance. And then maybe an Excel spreadsheet would be easy to use, but the performance may be lacking in some of the other software. Again, this is an example.

And now we can start to look at this and where do we fit in? Who do we want to target? What do we want to do? If its ease of use is good and performance is good, how do we find the people that find Salesforce too hard and maybe find it lacking in a certain performance? And maybe we can find a pocket of users that are really die hard and that need a CRM just like them that's different than Salesforce, that's easier than that, that has more performance. And you start to ask yourself these types of questions. Maybe you're a local business and you're trying to decide, what do you want to do? And the two things that you know your audience cares about is speed and trendiness. They want to eat cool foods, different foods, things that aren't what everyone else is doing and they want to do it fast, they want to do it quickly. And so you can start to look at those different options. Where do you fit in? What is your audience looking for? What do they need? What makes them feel special?

And begin to look at the extremes here and then you can start to build a story about us. Our clients prefer to have their food out quickly, but they also don't want to be eating the same thing over and again. They want to eat something that's maybe a little healthier, maybe a little bit trendier, that involves other cultures. And then you can start to see where you fit and maybe it's this type of food truck as opposed to another ones.

Once you've found that category, you could continue to do this and go deeper and deeper until you find that core audience and that message that's going to resonate with the people who are going to do business with you, that are likely to do business with you because they see your story, they read your story and then they say, "That's me. That's a company for me." Find your edge. You've got to go to the edges and you've got to look at those edges. But you also have to be very careful.

You have to make sure that these two things hold up. First, you need to make sure that your claims are true. You can't make up a story that's not true because once people get there, they'll know that they're deceived and now you've destroyed all credibility. So you have to make sure that you're true. And then you also have to be very generous. You have to serve people at a deeper level and there has to be a level of service throughout the entire experience. Now, even if you're in a products industry, there's still a level of service, whether that's customer service, whether that's sales service, whether that's people who maybe have issues, right? So you have customer service representatives and people in the support staff who are going to give a level of service. And you have to be very generous with this. And it has to be an experience where people feel like they're being taken care of and it's people like them caring about what they care about.

These two things must be true. If you drop the ball in these areas, especially in the way our culture is today, people will start saying, "These people don't care. They're not authentic. Therefore, I can't do business with them. I can't work with them. I can't buy their products." So when you choose your edge, you choose your future. It's very easy to care about or try to care about what everybody cares about. But we have to resist that, we have to resist getting sucked into the attributes that most people care about and being like everybody else. It's scary going to the edge because you're being different and being different calls attention to ourselves. And it's funny that we as marketers are creators, we want to create something new but a lot of times when it comes to telling our story, we tell the same stories as everybody else because of the way it makes us feel. So we have to go to the edges and that's where the hard work is done. But that's also where creating a true following happens.

You have to begin to ask yourself these questions. Who has been overlooked? In my market segment, who's been overlooked? And what promises can I deliver and what promise can I deliver on a consistent basis to that group? And how can I be clear that my product, that my brand, is the clear choice for them? How can I make it so easy that when they see me and they go, "Yes, that's the company I need to work with, the business I need to align with, the restaurant, I need to eat at, the bike store I need to shop at, the coffee I need to drink," whatever that is. And when you begin to dig into these questions, you're going to find where you lie and where you lie on those axis. I really recommend that you do this exercise.

I've been doing it for myself and I've been trying to ask those hard questions, doing this with our clients, trying to get there and then incorporating this throughout all of our digital marketing, whether that be our content on the web pages, the title tags, the descriptions we write, the emails we do, the blog posts, we help them with the designs we create. All of this is going to feed into that because you're building a culture, you're building a community, and you're building it for a specific set of people that your products and services are for. If you have any questions, please comment below. We'd love to continue the conversation and please share your thoughts. If you're reading Seth's book, I'd love to hear what you think of it, anything else that you're learning from it. And until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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