Most Of The Work Is In Targeting And Research

By Jamie McSloy / March 22, 2018
targeting is where your marketing wins featured image

Most Of The Work Is In Targeting And Research

Let’s talk about success in business and where it begins.

Yesterday, I talked about a big mistake people make with online marketing.

In an ideal world, you should target correctly and then your funnel should be used exclusively to whittle down potential customers until you get the list down to the narrow field of people who are likely to buy your product.

Seems straightforward, but like I said yesterday, most people don’t do this.

They get the targeting wrong, and then because they’re getting less and less eyeballs or engagements on their funnel, they open it out to people who are less likely to be customers.

This creates a negative spiral, which brings me to today’s topic.

The Hardest Job You Have Is In The Research Stage

Remember when your old school teacher or University professor says, “you should spend more time researching than writing!”

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And you mumbled about that and then took two books out of the library and basically read them as you were writing the night before the essay was due?

That’s how people unwittingly approach marketing.

They try and create the ad, sales letter or content marketing and then slot the audience in to what they have in mind.

This is the wrong approach.

Here’s why.

If You Get Targeting Right, The Rest Is A Formality

I read an interesting forum thread earlier today about financial bloggers. There was an argument between two camps:

  1. Financial bloggers should keep more in touch with the “real world”
  2. Financial bloggers should talk about whatever they want and if that’s their perspective, it’s their perspective

The argument kicked off because someone pointed out it was stupid for financial bloggers to say, “It’s easy for everyone to retire early! Just save six figures a year and invest that into high interest accounts!”

I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of the argument. And of course, everyone got very heated about this.

Now… what struck me as interesting is that what people think of as a content marketing issue isn’t that at all. It’s a lack of targeting knowledge.

“Everyone can retire early! Save your money and put it in high savings accounts!”

This is bad targeting because it falls into the trap of talking to everyone and being out of touch. You simply can’t talk to everyone in a single message.

The result you get is people arguing about how out of touch you are with “reality.”

“Everyone in New York Can Retire Early. Save Your Money, Then Move Out To The Mid-West After Five Years.”

This is better advice even though it’d probably be the same content. It’s targeted to a specific demographic and thus you skip all the drama (and non-buyers) that our financial blogger caused.

Remember The Basics

You’re looking for people with problems. The more specific their problem, the easier it is to help them.

If you’re a financial blogger, then you can write whatever you want. There are blogs out there for multi-millionaires and fake multi-millionaires and there are blogs for people who earn $15,000 a year and are looking up tips for how to make ends meet.

You can write whatever you want, but if you want to actually be useful, then you’ll pick a market and stick to it. There’s absolutely no point in telling people who earn $15,000 a year to put it into a savings account, because they can’t afford to.

Similarly, you’re not going to win a multi-millionaire audience by promoting the same milquetoast investment strategies that most financial bloggers advocate, because multi-millionaires have different goals and priorities.

Let Me Psycho-Analyse Here

In the above scenario, there’s a problem with blogging and content marketing and everything.

People are caught up in the archetypes and “being authentic” and whatever. Especially when it comes to financial matters. (Especially when it comes to the USA.)

You’ll get certain financial bloggers who are probably urbanites, living in New York or Silicon Valley who earn a ton of money.

(And let’s face it… there are a ton of people running the guru game who are trust fund kids living off someone else’s money. Hello many “digital nomads” who are conspicuously nineteen and clearly on a gap year.)

There’s nothing wrong with either of those things. Advice for gap year kids can literally save lives. People who want to leave their hellish rat race city are a great target market.

The problem comes when people like that try and play as their target market when they’re not.

You get a nineteen year old kid talking about “making business moves” when he has a YouTube account with twelve subscribers and is a self-styled “lifestyle coach” and yet doesn’t know anything about business or whatever.

Or you get someone who’ll talk about the annoying grind of being poor; who worked out how to save money by not buying a brand new Mercedes this year.

This isn’t a problem with those people, but it’s a problem with targeting of the audience and in most cases, just assuming you know your audience without actually finding out.

Final Thoughts

Just like those old homework assignments, putting time and effort into researching what you need to do is worth many more hours of stumbling through and getting it wrong.

If you get the targeting for your marketing efforts right, then everything else falls into place.

  • Your costs will be cheaper (you’re not reaching any uninterested eyeballs and you will earn from each engagement)
  • You won’t make any huge mistakes with branding
  • Authenticity becomes easy because all you’re doing is giving people what you know they want

Put the effort in at the beginning, and you’ll find everything else becomes much easier.


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