One of my clients recently came to me in shock. He just had a meeting with a big marketing agency, and the advice he got just didn’t sit right.
The marketing meeting went something like this:
Client: “So, what’s the strategy? How will we reach more people?”
Agency: “You’re gonna want to spend 2k on ads each month, that’ll reach ’em”
Client: “….. seems like you’re throwing money at the problem…”
Agency: “It works. Lots of people will find you”
Client: “Will they be the right people?”
Agency: “Some of them…”
Now obviously, I wasn’t there for this meeting myself, but this is how it was described to me. And while I’m not into putting anyone down, I am ALL ABOUT challenging the status quo when it comes to content-focused marketing strategies.
Is it wrong to “throw money at the problem?”
Not always. But it shouldn’t be your first line of defense. Ads work, but only if your brand messaging is super clear and you know who you’re looking for. And if your brand is super clear and you know who you’re looking for, you can absolutely attract in clients without getting heavy-handed on the ads.
If you spend on ads without knowing who you want to serve, you are throwing money away.
Before clicking the “boost post” button on Facebook or using your ad credits, try out these three steps to align your business to your clients.
1. DEFINE YOUR ICA (Ideal Client Avatar)
If you’re you’re a coach and/or running an online business, I can almost guarantee you’ve heard this buzzword before. If you haven’t, then get ready to go deep because this is going to turn on the golden faucet in your business and get clients (virtually) lined up to work with you.
Now I can hear you thinking – but Angie… if I target only a specific audience, I am going to miss out on so much business!!!
I’m giving you some tough love now, but this is where the rookies get separated from the masters.
Let me ask you something, which of the two service providers below do you think is making more money and getting more clients?
- Emily – Emily is a life coach who wants to help everyone. She is kind, compassionate, and dependable. Her website lists her as a “life coach for those in need of some direction”.
- Nicole – Nicole is a coach for 20-something ladies who have been ghosted by their dates after two weeks. She provides a strategy for her clients that brings those men crawling back as well as get her clients set up for new dates who are totally swoon-worthy and dependable.
I hope you can see the obvious winner here…. ding ding ding! It’s Nicole!
While it’s obvious that Emily is genuine and wanted to make sure no one was left out, she made her message broad enough so it speaks to everyone.
When your message speaks to everyone, it speaks to no one.
The first step towards great content marketing is to define who you are talking to. Don’t run ads without knowing who will respond- that’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Wouldn’t you like to do more with your precious spaghetti, like making a vegan carbonara?
If you’re struggling with this, here are are some questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of problem-solving lights you up inside?
- What kind of person gives you energy instead of drains you?
- Who can afford what you sell, at the price you want to sell it?
- Who would spend any money just to solve their specific problem with you?
Your ideal audience takes shape as you grow your business. Try to pick a niche that has room for growth, such as “soulful entrepreneurs”. Then you can allow it to branch out into “soulful entrepreneurs looking to leave their corporate job forever” or “soulful entrepreneurs looking to scale their business” or “soulful entrepreneurs looking to streamline their marketing”.
Just don’t steal my example- that’s my niche 😉 Did I describe you? Get in touch.
2. FIND OUT WHERE YOU IDEAL CLIENTS ‘HANG OUT’
Take your ideal client research from step one and create a profile for your ideal client. You can make up to three – it’s a good number that offers enough variations to get started. Ethically, you shouldn’t stalk people without their permission.. so you can just start up a convo with someone that fits your ICA! You can strike up a convo by noticing something about them and asking more questions.
Here’s an example: If you are selling vegan baking supplies, you could reach out to someone on Facebook who you notice posting a lot of vegan recipes. Start with something like: “Hi! I noticed you’re into vegan baking and post a lot of recipes and it got my attention. Could I ask you who your biggest influences are/ where you get your baking supplies/ what podcasts you listen to/ what blogs you read, etc?” Only ask one question at a time and give them space to respond.
People love to talk about themselves, so as long as you show active engagement in them instead of posing it as them doing you a favor, it’s likely they’ll respond.
We’re all on social media to be social, so don’t be afraid to show interest.
Give them a few prompts to open up and let them take over. Learn what social media platforms they use, what blogs they follow, what they’re up watching at 3am when they should be in bed, and when you’ve had a chance to talk with them for a little while, you can ask what they struggle with.
3. GET CLEAR ON WHAT MOTIVATES THEM TO BUY
Once you discover your ICA and where they hang out, your next step is crucial if you want them to purchase your products or services. What are their spending habits? You can host a giveaway or a free session in exchange for this market research. It will be well worth your time and money to learn about the type of buyer your qualifying leads are.
- Are your ideal clients emotional buyers who don’t mind spending if you can just “fix it” already?
- Are they curious dabblers who spend on online courses that give them a certificate at the end?
- Are they looking for a bargain (eek, try to avoid this if possible, but there is a way to make this buyer psychology work for you… I will do another post about this one)
- Are they trendsetters, aesthetically led to your buy button by the visual feel of your products and brand?
- Do they enjoy games and want to unlock achievements on your platform?
- Are they earth warriors into cruelty-free cosmetics and a low carbon footprint?
#4 BONUS!! TAKE WHAT YOU LEARNED AND TURN IT INTO A STORY
HELLOOOO.. this is where you take your brand from good to rockstar. Seriously, as I’m writing this I’m thinking… wow am I just going to drop this nugget of gold right now? Why yes, of course, I am. I want you to succeed!
Once you’ve discovered your ICA, where they hang out, and how they choose to buy, you’ll then have everything you need to make magnetic content to draw in your people!
For example, if you find out that your ideal client is 35, had big dreams of becoming a writer but then she had kids and can’t find the time, she’s inspired by J.K Rowling, and she bought a domain for her blog but hasn’t started yet… you can write content like this:
“Harry Potter was written on a napkin in a pub. That’s not far off from the construction paper scraps you Crayola on with your kids. Creativity doesn’t come from neat desks and perfect moleskines. It comes from you. Download these 50 writing prompts to get your blog started in 5 minutes a day.”
See how it weaves a powerful story.. one that can easily fit inside her inner narrative? You’re showing that you understand her and addressing her concerns (time) right off the bat.
I guarantee if you use this strategy consistently, your business will need to implement a waiting list for all the clients coming through your virtual door. And all without throwing money at the problem.