Lesson #3 How to Find the Customers Who Want to Find You
Have you done much cooking? Then you have probably used a recipe or two, and you know how simple it is when you follow the instructions.
You also know that, no matter how great the recipe is, if your raw ingredients are not the ones on the list, you won’t end up with what you set out to prepare.
A business strategy is like a recipe:
1) You need to have all the right ingredients
2) They have to be properly prepared
3) You have to serve it to people who are hungry for what you have prepared.
Just as the right ingredients are important to a great recipe, having the right customers is the most critical element in your business strategy. They are the source of your income! Without them, you make no money.
In today’s hypercompetitive market, it isn’t enough to have a great product or service. You have to have a marketing strategy; without it your value may go unrecognized.
And that strategy starts with understanding your niche. What problem are you going to solve for your customer?
Before even thinking about branding, what product you want to create, or what your website might look like, you must start with an analysis of your customers and their needs.
This process is used to help define the tasks and goals of any particular product or service.
Before you do any marketing, you must target the needs of your customers.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
The Psychology of Target Marketing: Find the Need
Let’s start with the basics. Abraham Maslow, an important psychologist, wrote a renowned paper in 1943. The title was “A Theory of Human Motivation.” He proposed that human have five “levels” of needs.
The first level features those needs that are primary (and most impulsive) and physiological—like breathing, food, water, sleep. The level above that is safety, and above that is love and belonging, and then self-esteem.
The highest level is self-actualization, the use of our gifts and talents in ways that give a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Before we can address the more subtle needs in the high levels, the more basic needs must be met.
As you conduct your needs analysis, focus on your target market’s simplest and most basic needs first. Then move up from there.
For example, a product may fulfill both a physiological and social need. A hamburger joint may offer the benefits of satisfying hunger combined with offering a sense of love and belonging.
Your customers will share multiple levels of need that may be relevant to your product or service. It is your job to sort through all of those potential needs and identify one or two as the focus of your marketing efforts.
This simple formula is the foundation of all business regardless of what you sell. The idea is to find and meet the most profitable need that your product or service fills—that is your niche. Finding your nice is the first step in the recipe for making money. Fail to find your niche, and your business will fail.
To get started, you need to learn the four basics of niche psychology.
1) Needs are actually Niches
An unmet need creates demand. And where there is demand, there is money to be made.
Try to put yourself in the place of your potential customers: what are they struggling with? How might you be able to help? That’s your niche.
Some of the best companies have developed an authentic empathy for their customers and the problems they face. Whether you run a product- or service-based company, your ultimate goal is to alleviate your customers’ anxieties.
Use the Maslow’s Hierarchy diagram above to help you identify and refine your niche.
When you know what’s important to potential customers, you can figure out how to speak to them. You can make a compelling case for yourself and your expertise as the best choice to fulfill their needs.
Ultimately, you want them to seek you out. Buyers will be more inclined to choose your product when they have come looking for you, and not the other way around.
2) Niches are built on human emotions
Now that you have been introduced to Maslow’s theories, you should familiarize yourself with the pyramid that shows what all people need over the course of our lives. We humans act on emotional needs a lot more than we realize.
Simply put, finding your niche is about finding people’s emotional triggers.
Most niches are built on the pressing emotions that motivate people to seek solutions for their problems. It’s about connecting with prospective customers in a way that makes your message resonate.
They should believe that your product was made just for them, and wonder why they didn’t find you sooner.
While most of us are motivated by all kinds of irrational emotions, from frustration to confusion to joy, people are generally twice as motivated by fear than desire.
So let’s start there: what is your customer’s biggest fear? It might seem strange, but people are more inclined to get away from something that scares them than to go toward something they want.
To seek a solution to their problems, people must be “activated” emotionally. If you can’t activate them, you’re back in the game of trying to convince them to buy what you’re selling.
And that’s not the way you want to play if your goal is to build a profitable business. It’s tough to get people to part with their hard-earned money!
3) Money comes from three mega-niches
Most business profit emerges from the three mega-niches that are really the pillars of all products and services. These are well-being, wealth, and relationships. You know…health, money, and love.
A person can have an excess of any one of those, but if they don’t have all three, they will do everything they can to fix it. Most people do not consider themselves happy without some measure of all three.
Think about your own life. Have you ever had a serious health issue? Ever been broke? Or long to meet someone special? When one of these three needs is unmet, you think about it constantly.
Everything leads back to these three mega-niches. Think about it: one of them is the reason you’re reading this now.
4) Profitable niche opportunities are with beginners
One of the expert’s biggest mistakes is to assume that their customers will be people just like themselves. In truth, most people are looking for solutions because their knowledge is deficient! It’s the beginner who seeks the expert’s advice.
Plain and simple: most of us forget what it is like to be a beginner, especially if we have figured things out on our own.
Imagine your target customer as you, the way you were when you first discovered your unmet need.
Narrowing down your niche can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your marketing, especially with regard to social media. Think back to when you first started out in your current venture.
– What did you do when you first decided to start your own business?
– Why did you choose the web hosting company you have now?
– What do you know about search engine marketing?
Either you had to find someone to teach you the answers to these questions, or you had to figure them out for yourself somehow.
Imagine your target customer as that earlier version of you.
Profitable Knowledge Exercise: Who’s your customer?
Your marketing will only be capable of connecting with your customers after you identify and refine your niche market. Use this exercise to help you determine the customers you should be targeting:
- Are they male or female?
- What do they do for a living?
- How much income do they make?
- What do they do for fun?
- Where do they live?
- What is his or her typical day like?
- How do they feel about their work?
- How do they feel about their personal life?
- What do they do when they feel the need that you plan to meet?
- Where do they start looking for a solution?
The answers to these questions will help you see what niche you are in.
Ok, that’s enough to get you thinking for today. Your homework is to compile as much information as you can about your potential customers, using these questions as a guide.
We will return to these answers in future lessons, so be sure to review them.
In the next lesson, you will learn the key mindset to creating new products and the biggest thing you can do to immediately establish yourself as an authority.
Oh, by the way…
If you are just joining us—if you found this page via a weblink or a forward from a friend—this is lesson #3 from a free online course on solid Internet marketing strategies. These lessons are delivered via e-mail. Want to learn how to build a business around what you love and make money doing it?
You can learn more about it HERE.