We’ve recently discussed how one of the biggest business positioning mistakes that you can make when marketing your business is to take too generic of an approach. If you don’t separate yourself from the crowd, you and your business are no different than any of the other ones out there.
This week I’m going to go a little deeper into this concept with a closely related concept, because so many people make this mistake: Trying To Appeal To Everyone.
Too many people try to appeal to the masses thinking that it is the best way to get the most clients and to make the most money.
This approach may seem like the rational way to go, but in reality…it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating and marketing your business.
By trying to make your business appeal to everyone, you end up really appealing to nobody.
This goes hand-in-hand with being too generic. If you try to appeal to everyone, then it is almost impossible to be unique.
However, if you position yourself to appeal to a certain demographic or segment of the population, rather than trying to appeal to everyone, you can play up the ways in which you are unique and how your solutions are beneficial to that specific group of people. By trying to appeal to too many people, you stretch yourself thin and minimize any difference there may be between you and your competition.
The most successful businesses have streamlined their target market to include only specific groups of people. This allows you to better appeal to, and to better address, your potential clients’ wants and needs. In doing so, you will significantly increase your allure to those people and will as a result gain more of them as clients.
Let me explain what I’m talking about with an example or two.
Say for example, that you sustained some physical damage from a car accident several years ago, and you’re tired of suffering and not being able to sleep through the night and move your body in a certain way with ease, so you’re looking for a massage therapist.
You have a choice – you see that there are about 100 choices to select from. You can pick a masseuse that has a generic “let me help you relax and heal the pain” message, or you can select a masseuse who actually specializes in deep tissue massages for people who have sustained injuries in an automobile accident and have significant scar tissue hampering their mobility and movement.
And that’s all that they do.
That’s their specialty.
They are the expert.
Who are you going to choose?
Any masseuse may be able to do a massage that feels good in the short term, but are they really skilled in working with scar tissue from previous injury?
Sure, they may be qualified – they may have learned how to do that in massage therapy school…
Just because someone is qualified to provide whatever service you’re looking for, doesn’t mean that they specialize in it!
Think about that – qualified does not equal specialized.
Here’s another example I use all the time – Stop me if you’ve heard it before…: )
(Uh-oh, Warning: personal story coming – you may want to close your ears and hum : ) )
I gained a lot of weight when I became pre-menopausal. Up until that point I hadn’t had any weight issues. I’d been at a healthy weight for my whole life. But then hormonal changes, slower metabolism, getting more sedentary, and not really paying close attention to what I ate, all kind of crept up on me, and I gained quite a bit of weight.
Frankly, I was never so obese that I broke 200 lbs, but even so, I have no business being anywhere close to 190. So for my frame, it was quite a bit of weight.
And then a few years ago I shook myself awake and recognized, hey – time to address this issue before it gets worse. So I started doing all of these things that I know will take the weight off – I was becoming way more active, started really paying attention to eating healthier, got off of fast food and junk food, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated soda, started drinking way, Way more water, etc.
And nothing was working.
I got even more determined – really focused on walking at least 10,000 steps a day.
Even started running a little, really started reading package labels, eating more natural foods and staying away from a lot of these processed and modified foods, etc. Kicked up the running to where I could run for three miles.
Did I lose some weight? Yeah I did – a little.
But I was so-o frustrated! Because I was putting all of this focus and attention on it, devoting a lot of time every day to the activity and keeping track of what I ate, and it should have dropped off like I was in my first week as a Biggest Loser contestant.
But it didn’t.
Over the course of several months, I lost a few pounds. All the pounds put together over the months: not even a good week 9 or 10 for a Biggest Loser contestant.
And of course, every day we are bombarded with weight loss messages. There are weight loss programs out there by the hundreds. I was certainly not at a loss to find some help if I wanted to.
But I didn’t want a generic weight loss program.
I felt like I was doing everything a typical weight loss program would recommend. I was watching what I ate; I was getting a significant amount of activity every day, etc.
What I really needed was for someone to show up with a message that said something like “Menopausal weight gain getting you down? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything and your body just isn’t cooperating? Don’t know what else to try? Well, I specialize in helping menopausal women really fight the weight gain that comes from those hormonal changes and metabolism slowdowns that naturally occur as we age. Call Me Today. P.S. The bonus is that one of the side effects of you and I working together is that we get those hot flashes and night sweats under control, too! Naturally!”
If anyone, ANYONE had presented me with a message like that, I would have been all over it.
I didn’t care about the generic weight loss messages – because they didn’t speak to me. I knew the basics. I just didn’t know what to do about the things specific to menopausal weight gain.
Why would you go to someone to fix your problems, when they may not know how to do it any more than you do? That’s a lot of time wasted and money spent on something that might not provide you with the maximum benefit that you could be getting.
And that ladies and gentlemen, THAT is why you should specialize. When people want something, they want something specific. People have specific needs. If you focus on a more specialized area, and a smaller group of people, you will actually appeal to more people.
Understand that when I say “specific groups of people” I don’t necessarily mean small groups of people. You can still target your efforts towards a large group; the members just have to have common wants and needs. There needs to be something that they all have in common that makes them good candidates for your services.
What’s the specific group that could have been targeted by my need? Women who had never had weight issues until they hit menopausal age, and then they’re struggling to deal with it.
It’s not like that’s a small market.
It’s simply smaller than the market defined as “everyone who’s overweight”.
Well, now you’re wondering “What about all of those people who you don’t appeal to anymore?”
Okay…What about them?
Realistically, you never appealed to them or anyone else before. In order to really appeal to someone, you have to be able to address their specific wants and needs and to help them overcome whatever obstacles they are facing.
That is why you have to get into the immediate conversation in their head. Like that menopausal message above would have stepped directly into the dialogue I had with myself every single freaking day and night for several years – if anyone had provided it – but no one had a message like that for me.
I don’t know anyone that can fix anything and everything, and even if that is you – you still need to focus on your specialties and who you can provide the most benefit for.
You really need to hone in on: How can you truly serve those you’re most able to help?
Along with narrowing your target market, you need to define your own niche and concentrate all of your efforts towards that specific area of the market. You focus on what you do best.
You figure out what you are passionate about, and build your business around that. This is one of the easiest ways to help you figure out what your target market should be. I will go more in depth on defining your niche and target audience in the future here, so keep them in mind.
For now, think about what we have gone over in the last couple of weeks and how it applies to your business.
If you still think you need to go generic and undifferentiated with your marketing and promotional message, I don’t know how else to convince you. I’ve given you some of my best stuff – I even pulled out my “I got fat” story to share with you. : )
Next week is Super Bowl week and we’ll talk about how that pertains to your business. After that, we’ll come back to positioning, and we’ll go over another big marketing mistake that you should avoid making at all costs.
Make it a great week!!
P.S. Bribe: If you want to know how the “I got fat” story has worked out for me, just drop a note in the comments below. If there’s enough clamor and ruckus – I might even share with you! : )