the previous instalment of this series, we looked at Seth Godin’s “People Like Us Do Things Like This” philosophy when it comes to marketing.
People make purchasing decisions that are in-line with their personality, more so than with what they can afford, more so than what makes logical sense, even more so than what will give them the best long-term outcome.
We made buying decisions not by asking ourselves about the value (although we do this to justify the purchase) but my asking ourselves, “is this who I am?”
In order to effectively sell your product or service to your target audience, you need to get them to identify with your brand.
It’s this concept of “identity marketing” that we’re exploring in this series.
Last time, we explored the foundations of this concept and how you can use it in your business. Now what we’re going to look at is the “Like Us” part of the concept.
For us to attract the attention of “People Like Us” we must first figure out what “Like Us” even means.
The next two parts of this series are going to show you exactly how you can build on that idea by looking inwards so you can easily impact the right people and stop wasting time on those that either will never buy from you or who aren’t right for your product or service.
What do you stand for?
All of us want to fit in.
Even those of us that actively try to “not fit in” are doing so to become one with whatever our idea of rebellion is. When my Mum was a teenager, her idea of rebellion was joining a different church to her parents, edgy.
What most business-owners marketing their business try to do is align their business brand with those of their target market (or “People Like Us”).
This series isn’t about helping you do that.
The world is full of businesses and people that will say anything to get the sale. That will promise the moon and give you rocks. They build relationships with you and as soon as they run out of things to sell you, it’s like you don’t even exist.
Businesses that try to become exactly what they think a customer wants are like every date that you’ve been on where the other person was doing everything they could to please you, whilst charming at first, you can’t build a long-term relationship on that.
This series is about building a business with integrity.
The series is for those of you that do stand for something and, at the end of the day, feel content not by the money in your account (though that will come) but by the people that you’ve helped.
This series is about showing you how you can create marketing materials that perfectly align with your own values, desires, and dreams and using those to make a massive impact on those who you’ve chosen to serve.
It all starts from a single question:
What do you stand for?
Everything stems from this.
What aspects of life are the most important to you?
If I could give you something right now that you’d unquestionably give your life savings to have, what would that be?
Would it be that your children would be safe, happy, and wealthy for the rest of their lives?
Would it be the ability to travel to any country in the world, doing work you love, and choose the hours you work?
Would it be speaking on stages in front of 10,000 people that are bought to tears by the power of your message?
The truth is that in your business, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do for yourself. So if it’s so important to you then it’s going to be as important to others. And if it’s as important to others (so much so that they’d give everything they have to own it) why isn’t that your core message?
Remember; “People Like Us Do Things Like This”
People that want their children to live long, safe, happy lives invest in their businesses.
People that want the freedom to travel wherever and do work they love, buy this product or service.
People that want to impact and influence millions of people, go on this video course.
That’s the power of knowing what you stand for. Once you know the value of what you do and start sharing that message, your prospective clients will build that emotional story-driven narrative into their own lives.
And you can help them achieve it…which leads us onto the second question you need to ask yourself.
What are you actually trying to do?
After you spend some time in the business world, everything starts making more sense whilst at the same time being an entirely baffling endeavour.
Here’s one of those baffling truths: the majority of business owners have no idea what the value is that they provide to their client.
Ask anyone what their business does and you’ll get an infinite number of responses;
“We’re Britain’s leading supplier of…”
“I empower businesses to dramatically increase their leadership by…”
“My team and I… providing multiple streams of income…”
The more I hear, the more it all sounds the same, because it is.
Tesla, McDonald’s, Apple, my business, your business, they do one of four things:
– Increase a client’s wealth
– Give the client more time
– Give the client higher status
– Make the client more healthy
But those things themselves are, well, boring.
It’s the next step that grabs our attention, it’s the step beyond what the client gets that they really care about. It’s the “…so that you can…” that comes after that we pay attention to.
“I’ll increase your sales by 30% SO THAT YOU CAN finally take those 6 months in Japan that you’ve dreamed of”
“I’ll make your business 23% more efficient SO THAT YOU CAN spend an extra 3 hours a day with your children”
“I’ll make your personal brand one of the largest in your market SO THAT YOU CAN speak on the world’s biggest stages”
What you actually do comes after the SO THAT YOU CAN. That’s what you’re actually selling. That’s what you actually do.
That’s the message that, because you personally connect with, your prospective clients will attach themselves to and give you their attention.
The problem is that so few business-owners know this. It’s the reason why the majority of content put out feels so generic.
It’s the reason why your fantastic business is being ignored.
“Acta Non Verba”
I have this phrase written on my wardrobe door so that I see it every day that I choose to put clothes on. It means “deeds not words,” and it’s the final marketing hurdle that we’re conquering today.
It’s there to remind me that my actions speak far louder than my words ever will.
If you don’t have what you’re actually selling to your clients, you can’t build that trust and authenticity with whoever you’re selling to.
Imagine going to a mechanic with a broken car.
Imagine going to a triply-divorced matchmaker.
Imagine going to a personal trainer that’s hugely overweight.
You are the living testimonial of your product or service. If what you’re actually selling is “more time to spend with your children” and little Jimmy is with his nanny 90% of the time…it’s a bad look.
Trust is earned and the currency is, surprisingly, honesty.
Honesty in your actions, honesty with your clients, but most importantly honesty with yourself.
If all you care about is money and having more money than anyone else on the planet, own it. You’ll find your audience. If all you care about is lying on a beach in Thailand as attendants bring you various alcoholic concoctions, make it yours. I guarantee there are those that want that too.
But it’s those with bigger ideas. Those that want to make a larger impact. Those that are actively seeking to change the world. Those are the stories that sell.
Your story starts with you. It starts with what you’re doing to get what you actually sell. That’s what people don’t understand about branding, that they have to be a walking, talking product of what it is they do.
So we come back to “People Like Us Do Things Like This”.
In order to know what your clients truly want, you need to become your own client. In order to deliver what you actually sell to your clients, you need to walk the walk. In order to build the business you want, you need to build the life you want.
Then you’ll connect with the people you want to connect with.
If you want to be authentic with your marketing, build meaningful relationships with your clients, and build a kickass business you need to realise that humans are beautiful, frustratingly, uncompromisingly, and wonderfully irrational creatures.
And we can celebrate that fact.
Once we come from that place, and our marketing reflects that, we can start to build on the results that we’ve spent so long developing in our businesses, so here’s what you’ve got to do:
1. Accept what you truly stand for. Maybe you just want to build a lifestyle business that ticks over to give you the lifestyle you want, maybe you want to be the world’s richest person, maybe you want to fix the world’s problems. No matter what you want, own it
2. Look at what your clients actually want. Look at your current marketing statements and take them one step further and add a “…SO THAT YOU CAN…” on the end. This is what you actually sell via the medium of the product or service you provide.
3. Follow me on Medium so you don’t miss out on Part 3 (Part 1 here)
4. Start building into your life the systems that will give you what you actually sell. Whether that’s spending more time with your kids, getting bigger speaking gigs, working from exotic locations, whatever. You are your own product, remember that.
Thanks for reading.
In part three, we’ll take an even deeper dive into understanding our clients in what I’ve imaginatively called “Who Are You? Round 2”