UGURUS https://ugurus.com Better Together Wed, 11 Nov 2020 22:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.4 https://ugurus.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ugurus-favicon.png UGURUS https://ugurus.com 32 32 Proven Methods for Increasing Awareness with Your Target Audience https://ugurus.com/proven-methods-for-increasing-awareness-with-your-target-audience/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 22:00:18 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6393 You’ve got a great message, and your solutions are second to none! So, how can you make yourself known? How can you get your message out there so that your ideal audience becomes aware that you have the solution that they need? Awareness is the second A in the 5-A Framework, and it’s the essential... read more

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You’ve got a great message, and your solutions are second to none! So, how can you make yourself known? How can you get your message out there so that your ideal audience becomes aware that you have the solution that they need? Awareness is the second A in the 5-A Framework, and it’s the essential step after identifying your audience.

In my last blog, I shared how we had four blog posts, a single lead magnet, and no homepage when we first launched our company website. We knew we needed to build up an audience interested in our message, and we did that by leveraging existing blogs that boasted over 100,000 monthly visitors, which helped us get massive exposure, fast.

Today, I’d like to share more about how to get published (or on a stage or podcast).

Getting Accepted

If you can’t find information on a publisher’s site about how to get access to their platform—info on whether they accept guest posts, or how to apply to speak, for example—your next best bet is to ask them.

An email that looks like this is a good place to start:

Subject: Interested in learning more…

Body:

Hey [firstname/company/etc.]—

I’ve been following [their publication name] for a bit and was wondering what it takes to publish on your platform. Do you accept content from guest contributors?

Or, you can send an email with specific headline ideas:

Subject: Potential articles for your website?

Body:

Hey [firstname/company/etc.]—

I read over your guest contributor guidelines, and I came up with three article ideas you might be interested in:

Headline 1

Headline 2

Headline 3

I want to make sure I provide the angle to help your publication in the best way I can. Would you be interested in any of the above? If not, let me know a different idea you think would resonate better.

If you’re unsure about what ideas you should pitch, think about your audience’s top three problems, and consider your top three solutions. You can even look to news sites like USA Today to get a handle on what’s popular at the moment. Mix and match these together, and you’re sure to come up with some ideas.

As you might expect, your ideas need to be interesting, but they don’t have to be the world’s best ones. You’re looking for a publisher to see something and agree—or to give you constructive feedback on what might connect better with their audience. Your taking action and making contact with publishers—even imperfectly—is far more important than opining over the perfect pitch email. Take imperfect action.

And remember—these steps are identical no matter the channel. If I were pitching conference organizers on a keynote topic, I would do the same thing: give them a few ideas for the talk and get their feedback. Podcast? Same thing: build a relationship with the host and laser in on an angle they think would resonate with their audience.

Dealing with Rejection

I often tell people that when we first started UGURUS and I was contacting publishers, I reached out to twenty-five of them. I got twenty-two “no thank you’s.” That’s a whole lot of rejection. But knowing that you’ll face inevitable rejection shouldn’t depress you in the slightest. In fact, it should invigorate you.

If you see a competitor in your market getting some success, it’s not because someone came to them one morning and said, “You’re so awesome and better than anyone else. Can you write an article for us? Can you speak on our stage?” No, it’s because they made contact with a publisher, built a relationship, pitched an idea, and—very likely—overcame a lot of “no’s.”

As it turned out, I didn’t need twenty-five publishers to publish my work. Three said yes right away, and three of the original “no’s” later came back and accepted posts once we showed them others had published. When we had those six, our market authority kicked in—and most of the rest that had said no accepted our requests.

Producing Your Content

Once a publisher has said yes to an idea, angle, or topic, you need to develop your content. I’ll dive into a winning content framework later in my blog, but the main thing to remember at this stage is that you need to meet or exceed whatever agreement you established with your publisher. Hit your deadline, stay in communication, and be flexible.

To that end, when you send them the finished product, I would soft pitch it as a “draft” and say you are open to their feedback. (However, don’t think that “draft” means you can cut corners, or submit work that you know needs editing. Your draft should be your best work, given your time and resources.)

If you can, have at least one good writer review your work and help you with clarity and grammar. If you can’t pay for help, do your best to edit on your own. Try the Grammarly app that checks your work using artificial intelligence, or an app like Hemingway that offers suggestions to make your writing clearer and more concise. Or see if you can have a friend or colleague give it a look over.

When the publisher gives feedback, take it positively and constructively. They know their audience better than you do, so if they ask for a tweak or change, do your best to comply and make it better.

Some of my clients take constructive feedback as rejection. It’s not. Even if it’s delivered harshly, any feedback from a publisher represents an opportunity to improve. Make the changes and send your revised material back for another round of approval.

As long as a publisher is engaged with you, you are in the game and making progress.

Promoting Your Content

Once your publisher has accepted your content, you’ll have to wait to see the fruits of your labor. If it’s a blog post being published or a podcast interview, this could mean a few days—or possibly weeks (or months). I’ve waited for content to go live for more than six months.

Learn more about applying the 5-A Framework to your business in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

But once your content is published, do your best to draw as much attention to it as possible. Share it on social media. Email your list. Get the word out. If you are speaking at an event, promote it.

If the content is public, like on a blog or on a podcast, engage with the audience. Answer questions people ask in the blog post comments. Reply to tweets. Review the podcast and say how awesome it was for you to be a guest.

In short, do everything you can to call attention to your great work—just as if it was published on your very own website. This will help you leverage this piece of content for your own audience, and it will set you up for success with the publisher in the future.

That level of relationship is essential because once you’ve been accepted by a publisher, you have a better chance of working with them on a regular schedule. That makes the whole process go much smoother and faster.

I have publisher relationships where I drop an email to them once a month with headline ideas, they respond, and I write. That means I’m never worried about whether they’ll get back to me. (Which, let me tell you, is a welcomed thing.)

Next time, I want to introduce you to the 3rd A in the 5-A Framework: Attract. It’s pretty powerful, so be sure to come back.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Awareness, the 2nd A in the 5-A Framework, order a copy of my newest book, Getting Rich in the Deep End. The book great tips, bonuses, and goes into more detail on all of the various ways you can own your market. Check it out.

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Creating Awareness—It’s Like Word-of-Mouth on Steroids https://ugurus.com/creating-awareness-its-like-word-of-mouth-on-steroids/ Wed, 04 Nov 2020 17:07:57 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6379 Now that you have a good understanding of your audience, it’s time to make them aware that you exist. Awareness is the second A in the 5-A Framework. Most agencies—in fact, most companies—rely solely on referrals and word of mouth. Those can be powerful ways to get leads, but they’re slow and arduous, and they... read more

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Now that you have a good understanding of your audience, it’s time to make them aware that you exist. Awareness is the second A in the 5-A Framework.

Most agencies—in fact, most companies—rely solely on referrals and word of mouth. Those can be powerful ways to get leads, but they’re slow and arduous, and they can be challenging to control. However, creating awareness yourself works like word of mouth on steroids. To do that, you need two things: channels and activities. 

Awareness channels are ways to reach your audience and market. Publishers, associations, strategic partners, or groups that contain members of your audience—these are all awareness channels.

If you already have an audience, list, or fan-base, you could consider your own website and blog as awareness channels, too.

Awareness activities are events or tactics that put your message in front of the awareness channels you’re targeting. Activities can be articles, interviews, keynote presentations, or anything else that gets your message out.

In my last blog, you read how Heather had been leveraging online blogs and publishers to build awareness with content. Each publisher was a channel Heather could use to reach her audience. Each article was an activity that communicated her message to the channel.

You need to do this work, just like Heather did—because making your market aware of you is a vital and necessary step in owning your market. You could be the most talented in the space you serve, but if no one knows that, your talents don’t matter.

Not all awareness is created equal, though. There are likely many awareness channels in your market: blogs, podcasts, webinars, conferences, stages, but some are less effective than others.

For example, an article can get you exposure to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people from your audience—and you can write it from the comfort of your office.

On the other hand, speaking on stage might only put you in front of dozens or hundreds of people from your audience. Plus, a speech typically requires a lot more preparation, and you need to travel to engage your audience. However, a well-executed talk can usually build much more credibility in a shorter amount of time.

Whether that means speaking on stage is more valuable to you than writing an article is a personal choice. There is no “one way” to build your following within your market. Every market will have a different mix of channels and activities available to you, which means you’ll have to evaluate what’s right for you.

How to Create Awareness

Much of building awareness is about leveraging awareness channels—either one you own or a channel that someone else owns.

An “owned” awareness channel is an asset that you have control over where you can build your audience. You’re the one who determines when and how your message appears—with very few obstacles or filters. (Think of your website, your email list, your Facebook group, or your YouTube channel.)

Someone else’s channel, on the other hand, is one you don’t own. Instead of building your audience, you can only use it to leverage an audience that already exists.

When you want to use someone else’s channel for awareness, you’ll be at the mercy of another entrepreneur, editor, or influencer. You’ll encounter higher standards and obstacles around getting your message on the platform.

But leveraging that audience can be extremely helpful to you—which means trying to get access to other people’s channels is worth the work.

So, which should you do—build your own audience or leverage someone else’s? Take a look at this comparison of the two options.

Why It’s Better to Publish on Existing Channels

I feel that a great way to understand awareness is to think of a rock band. (Yes, really. Stay with me.)

Your garage is a lousy place to build an audience for your band. When you’re starting out or trying to gain traction, you need to go to the places where your potential fans are.

Yes, it’s scary as hell to send your audition video to a local pub, but that fear will push you to level up your game. You’ll need to impress the pub manager first, though—and she might even say no. Then you’ll have to practice some more. Finally, you’ll be ready for the bright lights and—hopefully—enjoy some applause.

Then, as you get better, you’ll get the opportunity to perform for bigger and bigger existing audiences. You’ll open for a headliner. And after enough gigs, you’ll begin to have fans of your own, and a following that will help you grow into the big time.

Make sense?

Good, because rock bands aren’t the only ones that go through this process. You need to do the same thing with your business—only each “pub” is an awareness channel, and each “gig” is an awareness activity.

Learn more about applying the 5-A Framework to your business in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

Yes, it’s possible to circumvent this whole process. You can build an audience slowly by investing 100% of your efforts into your own platform, but that will be a painfully slow process.

Many people think they have to start there and do the hard work, but that’s not true. Don’t fall for the lie that existing channels are unavailable to you because you’re not yet “good enough” to be published. For proof, you don’t have to look any further than my own story.

When we first launched my company website, we had four blog posts, a single lead magnet, and no homepage. But instead of getting too caught up in who we were and what we planned on selling, we instead focused on building up an audience of people interested in our message

We leveraged existing blogs that boasted over 100,000 monthly visitors—and, in some cases, up to 1,000,000. These publishers helped us get massive exposure, fast.

Now, not every market will have this type of infrastructure available, but isn’t it worth finding out if yours does? In my next blog, I’ll share more about how to get published. After all, it’s one thing to read about doing it, but to get rich in the deep end, you need to actually do it.

I look forward to helping you on your journey. If you would like to chat with me to see if we would be a good fit to help you own your market, be sure to apply for our free strategy session. There’s no obligation, and I firmly believe the value you get from it will be worth your time.

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Rejection Is Truly a Great Thing! https://ugurus.com/rejection-is-truly-a-great-thing/ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 18:25:04 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6369 A few weeks ago, I began sharing a bit of “Heather Carlyle’s” story, a successful agency owner whose business was surviving on the goodwill of referrals and word of mouth…and who had just hit quite a snag. A couple of weeks after our initial meeting, Heather and I met in the corner of a busy... read more

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A few weeks ago, I began sharing a bit of “Heather Carlyle’s” story, a successful agency owner whose business was surviving on the goodwill of referrals and word of mouth…and who had just hit quite a snag.

A couple of weeks after our initial meeting, Heather and I met in the corner of a busy little café near her office. When she sat down with her latte, I could tell right away she seemed less than happy.

“So yeah, the whole ‘pick an audience’ thing backfired. I need to find another niche.”

I asked her to take a step back and explain. Turns out, Amy did publish the guide on her blog. And, even better, Amy invited Heather into her private Facebook Group to answer questions and engage with her members as a guest expert.

“Things went great at first,” Heather said. “I got a bunch of new followers on social media, and this one coach even emailed me to set up a call. She wants to talk about building an online course. Amy asked for another article, too. She wants me to pitch her on some new article ideas.”

Finally, I was too confused to stay quiet. “Heather, I don’t understand why you think you need to find another niche. All of this sounds great! What’s up?”

“Well,” Heather replied, “I guess I feel like I said everything there is to be said about launching an online course in my guide. I don’t really know what else I could write for Amy. And, I’m kind of skeptical about that lead. They’re probably just a tire-kicker.”

I cocked my head. “Those seem like small problems, to be honest. Is there something else?”

Heather sighed.

“Yes. Someone commented on my article about wanting help launching their own course. And then someone responded that this company, “Course Launch,” was a great company, and they should contact them instead of me!”

I connected the dots—Heather was experiencing what I call a “someone stole my idea!” moment.

After discussing the positive results that she had (new followers, an active conversation within a private social media group, and an actual lead!), I gave her a few exercises to do, including creating a customer avatar. I also asked her to come up with 20 headlines of articles she could write, as well as to reach out to the owner of Course Launch and introduce herself. As you can imagine, these last two exercises were not Heather’s favorites, but she agreed to do them. I stressed that it would all make sense soon and set a new date for a meeting.

Doing the exercises and creating her customer avatar gave Heather the clarity she needed to write, not 20, but 21 headlines for new articles! And in our next meeting, I found out that her call with the owner of Course Launch went very well, and they’re talking about collaborating on future projects.

We also discussed what to do with those 21 headlines. I asked her to come up with a list of ten new publishers in her niche to pitch those fresh headlines to. I reminded Heather of her previous success with someone else’s platform. “Remember how you tapped into the audience Amy had already built? Amy’s blog is an awareness channel. For instance, pretend you’re a rock band that’s just starting out, trying to get gigs at venues all around town. You need to start ‘gigging’ to build awareness in your market.”

So off Heather went to complete her assignment, and she came up with nearly a dozen new publishers along with a handful of influencer blogs, podcasts, and industry-focused social media groups. Using the scripts I’d provided her, she sent the 10 publisher emails out in about 20 minutes. Then, before she even closed her inbox, she got her first proper rejection from the top publisher in the coaching market: “Thank you for reaching out, but these articles aren’t a good fit for our audience.”

By the time Heather and I met for coffee again, she had received three more rejection emails—and I could tell she was frustrated.

I broke the silence. “So, you got four total rejections, and then what?”

Heather took a sip of her latte. “Two others got back to me and said they liked one of the headlines. But now they want me to write the articles so they can review before they agree to publish.”

My eyes lit up. “Heather! This is great news. You have two more publishers coming online! You just multiplied your audience and awareness channels by 200%!”

“I never thought about it like that. It’s just that I was rejected by so many and didn’t hear back from others.”

I nodded and tried to reassure her. “Don’t worry about it. They’re just names on a list. The reason we build a list is because you’re going to get rejected. So we use the power of a list to overcome that fact. The goal is to get access to new audiences. Rejection is proof that you’re working your list. Rejection is a great thing. Truly.”

Rejection, to use a baseball metaphor, is a sign that you’re taking swings. And the more you swing, the stronger you’ll get—and the more likely it is that you’ll eventually hit the ball out of the park.

“Heather, now I’m going to let you in on a secret: patient persistence. Can you pull up one of the emails you sent to a publisher that has yet to respond?”

I explained to Heather what life looks like for a typical editor. Many of them are busy, understaffed, and unable to respond to every pitch that comes in their inbox. So when we’re pitching, we need to make their jobs easier. We might need to use a metaphorical hammer to break through their initial “no”—but that hammer needs to be covered in velvet, and we need to be gracious and humble in every interaction.

But we’re not going to give up until we hear a flat-out “No, don’t ever talk to us again.” I walked Heather through a simple follow-up email script—just a one-sentence addition to her original email.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

Heather hesitated for a moment. But since she had her laptop with her, she opened it up. She then wrote the politely persistent follow-up and hit send—and sent three more to other publishers!

We also crafted a “thank you for the rejection” email to send to that number one publisher that had turned her down. The email showed appreciation for the constructive feedback, let them know she researched their publication further, and suggested a few more headline ideas. Getting them to publish would be a game-changer.

After the meeting, I was feeling pretty excited for her—but I had no idea what was about to come. By the time I got home from the coffee shop, Heather had already forwarded me a message from one of the unresponsive publishers:

Heather! I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I was sharing your content ideas with Emily, my editor, and we don’t want to choose one—we want three. Just send over the content, and we’ll queue it up in our publishing calendar.

Emily and I agreed that the “ultimate guide” you showed us is just the type of rich content our audience would like to see more of.

By the way, we are also in the process of launching a new influencer program where we will be publishing a monthly article from a group of experts. Let us know if you would be interested in helping us with this project.

—Frank

As you can imagine, Heather was feeling pretty fantastic to be called an influencer so quickly in her new market.

So there it was. After just a few emails, Heather now had access to four awareness channels in her audience—empowering her to put her message in front of thousands of potential clients. And these relationships would open doors for Heather that stretched far beyond just the blogs they publish.

For Heather, the old world—the one in which she waited by the phone, hoping it would ring—was already becoming a distant memory.

Heather was starting to own her market.

And you can own your market too! In my next blog, I’ll share more about Awareness, the second of five A’s in my 5-A Framework. Until then, check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, where I go into greater detail on the topics I’m sharing here in my blog.

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Creating Content That Drives More Demand for Your Services https://ugurus.com/creating-content-that-drives-more-demand-for-your-services/ Wed, 21 Oct 2020 20:21:07 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6346   Did you know that author, Stephen King, thinks of only one person when he’s writing his bestselling novels? He’s not thinking of all of the various people who will read his books…he’s writing to one, “ideal” reader. The same can be said for how you communicate with your audience—the first A in the 5-A... read more

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Did you know that author, Stephen King, thinks of only one person when he’s writing his bestselling novels? He’s not thinking of all of the various people who will read his books…he’s writing to one, “ideal” reader. The same can be said for how you communicate with your audience—the first A in the 5-A Framework I introduced you to a few blogs back.

Last time, we discussed how important identifying your customer segment is, but simply knowing it isn’t enough—you need to dive deeper and get to know who your ideal customer is. And you do that with a customer avatar.

A customer avatar is really just a composite character that represents one ideal customer. You create it out of traits that your customers have in common. Creating one will help you understand what motivates your customers to buy. And referring to one when you make marketing decisions will help you push through a lot of tricky spots.

When you’re writing, recording, or speaking to communicate about your business and build authority in your market, everything else gets a lot easier when you talk to your customer avatar. People in the audiences I serve at UGURUS often tell me things like:

“That blog post you wrote was exactly what I’m struggling with!”

“I told my husband I think you might be spying on me!”

That last one is no joke. A longtime customer thought I was reading her emails and chat messages because what I was writing was so close to the struggles and pains she endured every day.

Creating a Customer Avatar

Being that “dialed in” is no accident. I try hard to show that I understand my customers’ pains. Much of what I know comes from speaking with customers in the audience I serve—and then creating avatars based on what I hear. To start thinking about your customer avatar, ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What does your ideal customer’s morning routine look like?
  • How does their business interact with their personal relationships?
  • What do they think as their head hits the pillow at night?

Then dive deeper into the following categories.

Demographics

Your customer segment will already provide you with a broad range of demographic constraints, like $1 million in revenue, operating in Colorado, etc.

But you need to narrow that down to a single business operating in this market. Since we are creating an avatar or fictional person, you can make up whatever you want. (If you can base this on a real person you’ve served in the market, that makes this exercise relatively easy.)

  • What’s their name?
  • How much money do they make in a year?
  • How many employees or partners do they have?
  • Where do they work?
  • What does their family life look like?

Those answers could look like this:

  • Architect named Jill
    • Runs a $2.5 million/year firm
    • Three partners plus a team of ten associates and admins
    • Downtown Denver office in LoDo; in a historic building
    • Married with two children
    • 42 years old

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

As you can imagine, speaking to everyone in your customer segment would force you into broad generalities. You would struggle to talk about the impact you could have on the problems in their lives.

However, by answering these questions, you’ll have “a person” that you can imagine—Jill—with specific problems.

Psychographics

Make no mistake—knowing customer demographics will bring value to your customer avatar. However, the real value lies in psychographics: the attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria that define a person.

Let’s divide psychographics into two buckets: 1) frustrations and fears, and 2) wants and aspirations.

Frustrations and Fears

Your customer avatar has some kind of pain today, and they’re likely trying to move away from it and toward a goal or vision of the future. You want to capture that.

Possible problems:

  • I’m not attracting enough leads and customers to my business.
  • I don’t have the time or interest to market my business.

Considering these broad problem statements, answer this question: What specific frustrations and fears does your avatar have?

They might look like this:

  • I’m afraid we’re going to miss payroll again because we don’t have any leads coming in.
  • My partners hate doing business development, and it’s driving me crazy.
  • I’m sick and tired of staying at the office late and missing out on my time with family.
  • I don’t have the time to invest in marketing my business.

As you can see, I took broad market problems and applied them to an individual. You can do the same, and you should. Writing about general audience problems is better than doing nothing, but writing to an avatar’s frustrations and fears will make your content come to life.

Wants & Aspirations

You can also look at your avatar’s problems and “flip” them to positive statements:

  • I want to get back to growing my business and having fun again.
  • I wish I had a steady stream of new prospective clients to meet with.
  • I wish the world could see and learn about the great work our firm is doing.
  • I want to leave the office by 5 p.m. every day.
  • I want to sell my firm within the next ten years and travel the world with my husband, maybe even write a book.

You may notice in this list of wants and aspirations how little I wrote about the solutions a digital agency might provide. That’s because building a customer avatar isn’t about your ideal customer’s thoughts on your services. It’s about creating a real-life character, and no one in real life wants a website—or Facebook campaign—they want something else much deeper and personal. Zeroing in on your customer avatar is going to help you tap into that personal element—which will help your material take on a life of its own.

Purchasing Drivers

The final part of creating your customer avatar will involve thinking about why they buy. Purchasing drivers are a form of psychographics, but you should focus on them specifically to make sure you consider why your customer will make an investment in your services.

For the avatar I’ve been working on in this chapter, those reasons could look like this:

  • I want to invest in growing my architecture firm.
  • I’m tired of seeing my competition growing their firms and leaving me in the dust.
  • I need someone to do the marketing for us.
  • I can’t afford a large upfront investment but could probably handle a marketing retainer.

We now have a good picture of why our avatar might want to buy digital marketing services.

Putting It All Together

Now you’ve thought about demographics, psychographics, and purchasing drivers. Next, edit your lists to pull out the best elements of your work so far. Also, consider adding a photo to help you visualize your character even better (and give it one more personal touch).

For example—

How cool is that? You’ve gone from selling to architects to selling to Jill!

Now it’s your turn. Who is your ideal customer? Go through each of these steps, and I bet you come up with a person—instead of an impersonal, anonymous group—you can think of as you prepare to communicate with your audience. Then, watch engagement—and leads—increase.

In my next blog, I want to talk about one more important Audience topic—Rejection. It’s not fun, but it’s truly a great thing. And we’ll see how my client, Heather, handled rejection herself. Until then, let me know if I can help you identify your audience and work through the other 4 A’s in a free strategy session. You can apply for the session here.

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Choosing Which Niche to Target Starts with Your Aim https://ugurus.com/choosing-which-niche-to-target-starts-with-your-aim/ Wed, 14 Oct 2020 19:55:21 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6328 There’s no magic formula to settling on which audience to target. I often get asked about whether I think selling to a specific market makes sense, and the truth is, I wish I had this type of crystal ball. I could make A LOT of money if I did. Determining what market to go after... read more

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There’s no magic formula to settling on which audience to target. I often get asked about whether I think selling to a specific market makes sense, and the truth is, I wish I had this type of crystal ball. I could make A LOT of money if I did.

Determining what market to go after is a decision that you need to make. I can’t give you the right answer about choosing your audience, or even promise that you won’t change your mind later once you finally choose one. (I’ve yet to meet one entrepreneur that fell in love with the first audience they identified and stopped there.)

I am certain of this: it’s more important to make a decision and start working the 5-A Framework than to sit in inaction.

More than knowing who you serve, identifying an audience gives you clarity and direction when you wake up in the morning. And that clarity will help you invest with precision in marketing activities that put you in front of your ideal customers. So how do you identify a good one?

In my last blog, we split the market into the four levels as they relate to your audience. Today, I’d like to share more about the third level, customer segment.

Choosing a Good Customer Segment

As you think about which customer segment to target, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you easily reach this customer segment through existing ‘market infrastructure’ like blogs, podcasts, associations, and events?
  2. Does your target segment have compelling problems, opportunities, or needs?
  3. Do decision-makers in the segment have money to spend?
  4. Are decision-makers willing to spend money to solve their problems?
  5. Are there enough potential sales in your segment to support your business over time? (In other words, is the segment large enough?)
  6. Is your target market so large that you can’t effectively communicate with them? You want them to see your message multiple times.
  7. Can you compete to win customers?
  8. Is there too much competition?
  9. Can you own your market in the segment?
  10. Do you want to own your market in the segment?
  11. Can you develop repeat business?

Answering these questions will help you decide whether the customer segment you’re considering is a good fit. But if that’s too much for you, pull it back and consider these three questions:

  • Where is the money? – Does your customer segment have money? More importantly, are you going to go after it?
  • What captures your interest? ­– Notice I didn’t say what you’re “passionate” about. Passion is something that can grow when you’re interested in your work, and you’re getting results for your clients. But do you have an interest in this segment? Are there things about it that seem interesting to you?
  • And what kind of results can you demonstrate? – If you’re looking at a customer segment, but you really can’t provide them any kind of results—or nobody wants or needs the results you can provide—then that’s a big problem.

Looking for Market Infrastructure

Now, before you go charging into a customer segment, there’s one more factor that should weigh before deciding whether it’s a good fit. Every good audience has existing “market infrastructure” you can tap into—events, publishers, associations, influencers, complementary businesses, and competitors.

You want to pay attention to that infrastructure because your customer segment is going to end up finding out about you in one of two ways: either through referrals/word of mouth, or because of whatever marketing and sales techniques you’re using to reach out to them.

Yes, referrals and word of mouth are great, but building your own audience from scratch so you can market and sell to them is a time-consuming proposition. Why reinvent the wheel? Instead, look to the infrastructure in your market.

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and other books, popularized the idea that every audience has “connectors” and “super-connectors.” These are generous social butterflies who freely connect their friends and colleagues with others who can help them.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

When you find these connectors and super-connectors, you can simply “snap in” to their existing audience and leverage the power of the work they’ve done before you—instead of painfully building your own audience over many months or years.

Tapping into someone else’s audience can help your business get into the fast lane and help you overcome the “feast or famine” cycle that often accompanies referrals and word of mouth.

And that’s where market infrastructure comes in. When you deliberately connect with your audience where they are, you can build a pipeline of interest, an email list, and fans more easily.

For example, if I were looking to get access to lawyers in my market, I could pay a relatively small fee to attend an event or conference put on by my state’s Bar Association. This small investment could put me in the room with hundreds—or even thousands—of my ideal customers.

Compare that to the decades it has taken those Bar Associations to establish themselves as authorities in their markets. I imagine they’ve spent millions of dollars and countless hours building up lists of lawyers and convincing those lawyers to attend events. And all you have to do is pay a small registration fee, and you can get in front of them!

Being able to leverage this kind of market infrastructure for your business is crucial to success in a customer segment. So, ideally, you should be able to do an hour or two of online research and easily find “proof of life” within the segment you’re considering:

  • Publishers
  • Associations
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Influencers
  • Coaches
  • Consultants
  • Software providers
  • Complimentary service providers
  • Competitors
  • Events and conferences

You might not find all of these easily, but you should be able to find at least some of them in order to green-light a customer segment. If you can’t, perhaps you’re thinking about your segment differently than it organizes itself, so it’s back to the drawing board.

In my next blog, I’m going to go more in-depth on one of the marketing levels of your audience: Your Ideal Customer. Knowing who your ideal customer is is critical to understanding and speaking to them.

In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, where I dive deep on each of the 5-A’s. It’s a great way to get started on the path to owning your market. I look forward to connecting with you then!

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Your Audience Is Waiting for You https://ugurus.com/your-audience-is-waiting-for-you/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:32:32 +0000 http://ugurus.com/?p=6317 You’re likely familiar with being part of an audience. Maybe (before the pandemic) you’ve been in the crowd at a concert, gone to a conference, or sat in church and heard a sermon. But for now, I want you to forget what it feels like when you’re “out there.” Instead, visualize the other view at... read more

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You’re likely familiar with being part of an audience. Maybe (before the pandemic) you’ve been in the crowd at a concert, gone to a conference, or sat in church and heard a sermon. But for now, I want you to forget what it feels like when you’re “out there.”

Instead, visualize the other view at a big event—the one where you’re looking from the stage at the many people in front of you. Think of them patiently waiting to get some value: inspiration, motivation, knowledge, or experience.

That’s your audience—the first A in the 5-A Framework—and they’re ready for you.

How to Think About Your Audience

In order to identify your market and know where to look for your ideal clients, we must be abundantly clear about who they are. And to get down to finding out who they are and figuring out what they look like, let’s split the market up into four different levels. Each is related to your audience as a whole:

  • Primary Audience
  • Secondary Audience(s)
  • Customer Segment
  • Ideal Customer

Your Primary Audience

Your primary audience is a broad group of people. (Or it should be, anyway.) This is your main market—or niche—that you want to serve and should be made up of thousands of prospective clients.

You don’t define who they are, nor should you. Your primary audience already exists—and all you’re doing when you identify one is acknowledging that it’s partly made up of the people you want to sell to.

If you tell people that you work with this market, they should easily know whether or not they belong or know someone who does (so they can refer you, of course). As an example: Colorado lawyers. You may not want to sell to all Colorado lawyers. You might, in fact, only want to approach a small subset of that audience. Regardless, by identifying your primary audience, you’ll be able to identify several specific awareness channels you can use to reach them.

Your Secondary Audience(s)

Secondary audiences are usually larger groups of people that contain a subset of your primary audience. You can’t define them either—like your primary audience, secondary audiences already exist whether you want them to or not.

What’s a secondary audience? Here’s an example. If your primary audience is Colorado lawyers, “business attorneys in the United States” might be a secondary audience. Some percentage of all US business attorneys practice in the state of Colorado.

Not all business attorneys in the US are Colorado lawyers, obviously, and not all Colorado lawyers are business attorneys. Still, by speaking to US business attorneys, you’ll be able to target a certain number of Colorado lawyers. Bingo: “business attorneys in the US” is a secondary audience.

Secondary audiences are essential because you’ll likely find that your market won’t be organized into one neat group you can target. Maybe your primary audience is too small, and you need to look more broadly. Or perhaps your primary audience is actually made up of several broader secondary audiences.

Either way, identifying secondary audiences is an integral part of marketing to the people you want to reach.

Interestingly, as you seek publishers, influencers, and trade groups, you’ll often find that they’re a secondary audience as well. In other words, some percentage of their own following is made up of the people you want to reach. (File this away for later because I’ll come back to it.)

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, available for pre-order here.

Your Customer Segment

Your customer segment is the spectrum of ideal buyers within your primary audience and secondary audiences. A customer segment is a “target.” That means the further away from your segment you get, the less of a fit a prospect will be for your business.

And unlike your primary and secondary audiences, you do get to define your customer segment—usually by a combination of demographic, geographic, and psychographic constraints. For example, law firms with over $1 million in annual billings based in Colorado that are frustrated with their website.

Your Ideal Customer

Once you have a grip on what your customer segment looks like, then it’s time to zero in on an individual in that segment. This is your “ideal customer.”

I highly recommend you identify one. Because when you’re creating content and messaging for your business, speaking to “everyone” is a bad strategy. If you try to talk to everyone, you’ll wind up talking to no one.

However, it can be difficult to remind yourself to talk to a single individual. That’s why I recommend using a tool called a “customer avatar” to help create a fictitious example of our ideal customer.

By thinking of this “person” who has real qualities that you can humanize, a customer avatar can help you get more specific in your messaging and marketing.

Here’s an example: John is a business attorney who lives in Wash Park in Denver, CO. He’s married with two kids and enjoys waking up early to get a run in before heading into his law practice for the day. He just became an associate partner. He’s looking for new ways to help his practice grow to make more money and impress the more senior partners.

Your ideal customer is a Colorado lawyer who works at a firm with at least $1 million in billings. But when you think of him as “John,” your marketing becomes much more human. It’s easier to write to John than it is to “Colorado lawyers,” isn’t it?

Do You Know Who Your Audience Is Yet?

Well, there’s still more that goes into identifying your audience as part of the 5-A Framework, so no worries if you’re still scratching your head. I’ll share more with you next time. It’s enough just to start thinking about these four different levels of your audience. Of course, if you’re eager to start on working through your 5-A Framework, we’re here to help. Apply to receive a free strategy session, like your new friend Heather (from my last blog). No time like the present!

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First Steps Aren’t Always Easy—Take Them Anyway! https://ugurus.com/first-steps-arent-always-easy-take-them-anyway/ Wed, 30 Sep 2020 17:20:28 +0000 https://ugurus.com/?p=6305 From time to time, I’m going to share a bit of one of my success stories with you. Some might call this a case study—and you can if you’d like—but I like telling stories. Since I just shared high-level details about my 5-A Framework in my last blog, I think this is the perfect time... read more

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From time to time, I’m going to share a bit of one of my success stories with you. Some might call this a case study—and you can if you’d like—but I like telling stories. Since I just shared high-level details about my 5-A Framework in my last blog, I think this is the perfect time to tell you a bit of my client’s story, and how the 5-A Framework can work.

Meet Heather Carlyle

When I met “Heather Carlyle,” she was like so many other agency owners. Her business was an unpredictable rollercoaster, and she survived on the goodwill of referrals and word of mouth.

Her agency was very successful, but it had just hit quite a snag—her team was finishing up their last project, and of the two possible projects in the pipeline, one was just delayed and the other fell through. She was in a pickle and needed leads—fast!

While attending a networking event, she discovered that an old friend of hers, also an agency owner, was the keynote speaker. His presentation surprised her, as it seemed that he’d taken a new, niched approach to his business. They caught up afterward, and he gave her the business card of the guy who helped him turn his failing agency around…yep, me.

And as you might expect, after running into her old friend, having one project delayed, and watching another fall through, Heather was ready to make a change.

Our Initial Meeting

Heather told me that, one night after her team went home, she sat down and ran some numbers. She realized that if she didn’t get a new lead for her business fast, she’d not only have to downsize her team—but take a pay cut herself.

“Maybe you don’t understand,” she told me. “This is an emergency. Will you be able to help me find leads, or what?”

With Heather’s permission, I took her notebook and pen. At the top of a blank page, I wrote, “The 5 A’s.” Then down the page, I wrote five large capital A’s. I handed Heather back the pen and book.

I said, “I’d like you to do a little exercise for me. We’re going to fill in some things beside those A’s.

“The first A stands for ‘Audience.’ Now, the most recent blog post on your website is titled, ‘5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs to be Responsive.’ Who is the audience for that piece of content?”

Heather thought for a minute, then told me it was for businesses whose websites weren’t responsive. After all, the post was literally five reasons why companies needed to move away from non-responsive sites.

I replied, “Okay, so for the first A on your page, write that down. As I explain each A, I’d like you to think about how it relates to both this single blog post and your broader strategy.

“The second A stands for ‘Awareness.’ How are you making this audience aware of you?” Heather told me that she guessed this audience would become aware by searching for “responsive web design” on search engines like Google—but that she actually had no idea if the page ranked for this term.

“Okay,” I said, “so that’s our awareness. Google—write that down.

“Now, in your blog post, you reference a client of yours, a business coach named Amy. And you show her project as a before-and-after example of what a responsive website project can do.

I’m curious—is that how you found Amy? Did she Google ‘responsive web design’ or some other term to find you?”

Heather chuckled and replied with a sheepish grin. “No, she wouldn’t have known that term. Her focus is on being a business coach and growing her community of business coaches using her methods. I’ve known Amy since college, and she came to me because she was frustrated that her website ‘looked funny’ on mobile phones.”

I nodded and moved on to the fourth A, Authority. “You do have a before-and-after image, which is great, but you could be doing a better job to establish trust with your readers. We can come back to that, though. For now, write down ‘before-and-after image’ for ‘Authority.’”

“Heather, the fifth A is how you intend to ‘Acquire’ the interest of what we typically regard as a lead. Sure, a visitor to your blog post could choose to voluntarily click the ‘contact us’ page on your website. However, you’re not offering anything of value to give people a clear and compelling reason to contact you. Maybe that’s a resource download or a free consultation. For the purposes of this exercise, write down ‘contact us’ as your fifth A,” which she did.

“So, Heather, I’d like you to look at your whole blog with this new lens. Take a look at the content on your website, too. How does it stand up when you think about the 5 A’s?”

Heather took a moment to look over her 5 A’s. Then she sighed and said, “I don’t think this blog post will help me find more people like Amy.” I slid my laptop over to her side of the table, with her website open in my browser. She dutifully clicked and scanned through page after page, but I could see that this new way of thinking was making Heather uncomfortable in her chair.

After a few minutes, she slumped. “I guess I’m not committed to a single audience. Everything is pretty generalized. It feels disconnected and messy, and I’m sure I’d find that each blog post has a different set of 5 A’s.”

The 5-A Exercise – Part 2

I gave Heather another moment to think as she continued to scan her website. Then she looked back at her notebook with a sigh as if she were resigning herself to the shape her business was in. I wanted to make her feel better, but I had to tell her something important.

“Heather, what I’d like to have you do next is rethink your 5 A’s with me right now. Then I’m going to ask you to invest in one small marketing activity using the 5 A’s and your intuition as a guide.”

Over the next few minutes, we built a simple strategy using the 5 A’s. Here is what it looked like:

Audience: business coaches

Awareness: Heather’s friend Amy’s blog about being a business coach, Amy’s email list, and her private Facebook group for coaches

Attract: how to launch an online course to make passive income, a guide specifically written for coaches

Authority: her stories and examples of doing this work for past clients

Acquire: a simple scheduler offering a sixty-minute “online course strategy building session”

With this basic strategy written down, I challenged Heather to one last task.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, available for pre-order here.

I told her to take out her phone and message her friend Amy to offer to create this “ultimate guide to building an online course for business coaches” as a guest post on Amy’s blog. I gave Heather a simple script for her message, which she sent reluctantly.

“Amy is going to say no. I’m sure she already has other people creating content for her site and won’t want anything from me. If she did, she would have asked me by now.

“Besides, I already told you—I can’t see myself building websites and doing marketing for just business coaches.”

I nodded, paused, and started to pack up my things. “Heather, I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me today, but I don’t have a silver-bullet solution for you. Working with me would be hard. You’d have to make big choices about where your business was headed and why you were doing what you were doing.

“At times, it would feel like you were taking three steps back for every step forward. So I understand—owning your market isn’t for everyone, and it’s okay if it’s just not for you. If you change your mind, you know how to find me.”

Understandably, Heather was shocked at my abrupt end to our meeting. But I shook her hand, thanked her for her time, and walked out of her office. In the parking lot, I was starting my car when Heather rushed up and knocked on my window. “Amy got back to me. She said, ‘Hell yeah’ to the guide. What’s next?”

Up Next…

Well, you’ll have to stay with me to find out what Heather’s “next” was. More on her story after I share more helpful insights on the 5 A’s. Your next step is to decide if you’d like a free strategy session similar to Heather’s. If you think you’re ready, you can apply for the free session here. And be sure to join me next time as we dive into the deep end of the first A—Audience. You won’t want to miss it.

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Own Your Market with this Simple Framework https://ugurus.com/own-your-market-with-this-simple-framework/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:14:36 +0000 https://ugurus.com/?p=6298 Join me for a moment as I entice you to think about this: a vacation vs. a day off. It’s great to take a day off, step away from the regular, day-to-day routine, and do something fun. But does it have the same impact on your health and well-being as taking seven consecutive days off?... read more

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Join me for a moment as I entice you to think about this: a vacation vs. a day off. It’s great to take a day off, step away from the regular, day-to-day routine, and do something fun. But does it have the same impact on your health and well-being as taking seven consecutive days off? Which has more power? I think we’d all agree that one day is nice and can be somewhat effective, but that seven days has a greater, more powerful impact.

In my last blog, I shared with you the 5-A Framework, and how Audience, Awareness, Attract, Authority, and Acquire work together to grow your business and make you an owner in your market. Today, I’m going to share more about the power of these 5 A’s and what using the Framework can do for you and your business.

The Power of the 5 A’s

By implementing even just one of the 5 A’s into your strategy, you’ll be better off than if you hadn’t put any in place.

For instance, let’s say all you do is build authority for your business by getting third-party endorsements and showing proof of results. You’ll find you speed up the process of building trust and credibility with new prospective customers.

But like the Greek philosopher Aristotle theorized, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While each of the 5 A’s will add value to your business, together, they’ll work for even greater gains.

The 5-A Framework can transform your business—taking it from one that’s reliant on the whims of referrals and word of mouth to a growth machine.

When you implement all the pieces of the 5-A Framework, you’ll go from being a market tourist to a market owner and experience a whole new way of being an entrepreneur. I promise you’ll even feel different.

Based on what I’ve seen happen when agencies implement the Framework, here’s what you can expect:

  • Increased traffic and inbound leads from 5-A content
  • Higher prices (owing to your status as an expert in your market)
  • More business with existing clients that re-engage from your content (instead of just forgetting you when their project is over)
  • Better access to connectors in your market (because influencers like to be friends with other influencers)
  • More contacts, fans, followers, and evangelists
  • Increased interactions with people in your audience (and shorter sales cycles as a result)
  • More demand for you, the expert in your market
  • Greater ease creating productized services, because you have better insight into the persistent problems that people in your market face
  • Higher profit margins (because you’re either charging more or working less)

Many agencies already using the 5-A Framework have also told me about other benefits beyond what I could have imagined. They have shown me how owning their market has helped them achieve freedom in their business and life. They’ve reported they now feel they have a business and not just a job for themselves.

I am confident that by implementing this framework, you’ll achieve some or all of the benefits I’ve listed here, as well as others that might surprise you.

Using the 5-A Framework

Tactics and technologies change, but the high-level concepts I’m discussing here have been relevant for the entire twenty years I’ve been an entrepreneur. Yes, it’s possible that specific platforms or tactics I mention might operate differently in the future. But the core ideas and strategies are universal, and they’ll apply to any channel.

The same goes for markets. The 5-A Framework can be applied no matter what kind of audience you’re trying to reach. Each market will have its nuances, but remember, markets exist because numerous people have problems they’re trying to solve or opportunities they’re pursuing. Find a way to get in touch with one of those groups and offer specific help for a defined problem, and you’ll succeed.

I’m confident that the 5-A Framework and the concepts I’m sharing will get results. However, those results will vary greatly. While you might experience some quick wins—and you might even get massive traction—this Framework is not a quick fix for your business. Owning your market is a process that requires commitment and sustained action over time.

Your own journey will probably be like solving a complex puzzle. You’ll need to decode deep-rooted psychological needs and desires within large populations of businesses and organizations.

You’ll be analyzing patterns and connecting the decentralized web of complexity that exists in your market. Not exactly “done in an afternoon” stuff.

Some clients I’ve worked with were very close to owning their market when we first started working together. They made a couple of small tweaks to their strategy and implementation, and their business shot off like a rocket ship.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, available for pre-order here.

Other clients went through a complete makeover. They ended up changing their company name, redefining their service offering, restructuring their team, and overhauling all of their business processes to meet the needs of their market.

But through it all, I watched them do the work and make the hard decisions to build a better business. I saw them face challenge after challenge with optimism and a steadfast desire to achieve freedom in their business and life.

And I worked beside them as they experienced great joy—as did I—when they emerged from this tunnel of transformation. But I can’t tell you what kind of client you’ll be. You—and you alone—have control over how you want this journey to play out.

The work is worth it—but don’t pretend for a second that there won’t be work. Find joy in the process, learn as much as you can, and have some fun along the way.

Next time, I’d like to share a bit of a story with you, and how the 5-A Framework opened the eyes of one of my clients. Her story is just one of many positively changed by the Framework…and a big reason why I love doing what I do!

Until then, why not check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End. I did down deep into the details about the 5-A Framework and give you exercises that will help you implement it into your business. And, of course, if you wish to pre-order the book, I’ll throw in a few extra goodies as my way of saying, Thank you!

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This Framework Will Move You from Generalist to Market Owner https://ugurus.com/this-framework-will-move-you-from-generalist-to-market-owner/ Wed, 16 Sep 2020 15:47:52 +0000 https://ugurus.com/?p=6291 In my last blog, I shared about the differences between an agency that operates as a generalist—one that tries to be everything to everybody—and a market owner—one that is specialized and customer-focused. To help you become a specialized, customer-focused agency, I have distilled my ideas and methods into the 5-A Framework. I created this simple... read more

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In my last blog, I shared about the differences between an agency that operates as a generalist—one that tries to be everything to everybody—and a market owner—one that is specialized and customer-focused. To help you become a specialized, customer-focused agency, I have distilled my ideas and methods into the 5-A Framework. I created this simple framework for one reason—to help you own your market and get rich in the deep end.

The 5-A Framework focuses on:

  1. Audience
  2. Awareness
  3. Attract
  4. Authority
  5. Acquire

In future blogs, I’ll go deeper on each of these 5 A’s, and you’ll achieve a greater understanding of how to implement each A into your business strategy. You’ll also see relevant examples and case studies to help you apply the ideas in your own business.

Some agencies will learn this framework and invest the necessary time and resources to build a robust business. Others will dabble or resist certain aspects of owning their market—and will consequently struggle to get the same level of results.

In my experience, the 5-A Framework leads to market traction and success. Ignoring it creates more of what you’re probably already experiencing: frustration and stagnation.

That’s why I created the Framework: to help anyone put each of the 5 A’s in place.

The 5 A’s

Here, at a high level, are the 5 A’s.

A1: Audience

Who are you speaking to? Answering that question lets you answer another critical one: “Where do I find my ideal customer?” If your audience is always changing, the “where” will always change as well. That means your business will fail to build momentum.

Many businesses that don’t have a well-defined audience leave a lot up to chance. They hope that they’ll eventually attract people by going around and shouting about the problems they can solve.

This approach can sometimes work, but it usually leaves the agency struggling through feast-and-famine cycles, surviving on referrals and word of mouth.

Knowing who you’re talking to, on the other hand, will give you clarity around many other key marketing questions. You’ll know where you can look for your ideal customer, the types of problems they have, the characteristics they possess, how to leverage existing infrastructure to build authority, and so on.

Finally, knowing everything you can about your audience will also help you build the systems and processes that will help your business scale.

A2: Awareness

Now that you know who your audience is, how will you reach them? By doing some research and market validation, you can start creating lists of opportunities to build awareness for your business.

This will involve at least one channel—a path to customers in your market—and maybe more. You’ll also define a set of repetitive activities to reach those channels.

What does a channel look like? It can be an industry blog that gets lots of traffic. A targeted audience on the Facebook Ads platform. A strategic partner who already sells to a large group of your ideal customers. An in-person event, and so on.

And just as you focus your efforts on a narrow market by defining your audience, you’ll also work to find one or two winning awareness channels. By zeroing in on just a couple, you’ll have an easier time making your market aware of who you are, the problems you solve, and how you can add value to their business or organization.

A3: Attract

What costly problems or valuable opportunities—as the customer understands them—can you speak to? And can you talk about those problems and opportunities in their language? Because, while you’re an expert at the skills and services your business provides, your client is not.

I call this “the expert-to-client gap.” To be successful, you need to meet your customers “where they are” and then close that gap.

Here’s what your prospective clients are experts on—their own pain. They’re more than familiar with their own struggles, their own businesses, and the situations they find themselves in.

To get the most attention in your market, you must be ready and willing to set your own expertise aside and speak directly to their struggle. The more fluent you are in your ideal customer’s language and worldview, the more you will attract.

This will feel counterintuitive. You’ll spend more time speaking about what your customers do than you ever wanted to.

But you’ll also be educating your prospective clients on the fact that problems they’re experiencing are mere symptoms of deeper issues in their businesses. (Deeper issues, of course, that can be solved by your services.)

A4: Authority

Are you building trust and credibility? If you create more authority in your market before a prospective customer contacts your business, your sales process will move faster, and your client will be more willing to do what you tell them. It’s that simple.

Authority is the greatest accelerant in marketing. If working to own your market is like starting a fire, authority is lighter fluid.

So how do you build authority? In two ways: by getting other people in your market to talk about you, and by showing your prospective clients that you get results.

I’ve seen the power of both of these activities, and I’ve watched them help many agency owners become “go-to experts” in their markets in just a few short months.

Humans are, after all, social creatures, and we look to others around us to help us understand who to trust. When we see that people we respect have come to trust someone, it is almost impossible to avoid trusting them ourselves.

It’s the same with social proof, like testimonials and case studies. They carry a lot of weight with people who are looking for reassurance about solving their problems with you.

That means that the more influential your third-party endorsements are—and the more proof you can show that you solve problems within your market—the more sales-ready your prospective clients will be when they come to you.

A5: Acquire

How are you converting interested visitors to leads? Too many businesses leave this part up to chance. They simply put a “contact us” button in their navigation and hope that interest will manifest into viable leads on the first point of contact.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, available for pre-order here.

This is a problem—because at no point in your marketing activities and systems should you be leaving your strategy up to hope.

But I’ll show you how to make it incredibly simple for your ideal customer to engage with your company or express their interest in having you follow up with them over time.

And when you’re done, each of your awareness activities will either help you get an appointment scheduled or add an email address to your list of prospective clients.

I hope you can see how instrumental the 5-A Framework can be in owning your market. Next time, I will share more about the power behind the 5-A’s and how to make them work in your business.

In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, where you will get even more details on the 5-A’s and how you can own your market. Be sure to check out the pre-sell bonus offers that get you exclusive content only available to those who pre-order the book. I look forward to connecting with you next time!

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Do You Own Your Market, or Are You Just a Tourist There? https://ugurus.com/do-you-own-your-market-or-are-you-just-a-tourist-there/ Wed, 09 Sep 2020 16:59:28 +0000 https://ugurus.com/?p=6281 Have you ever said these words… “I don’t have a particular industry or market I target.” “I have a few different niches I focus on.” “I don’t even know where to start with this whole ‘niching’ thing!” Then you’re in the right place. At best, many agencies and professional services businesses act like they rent... read more

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Have you ever said these words…

“I don’t have a particular industry or market I target.”

“I have a few different niches I focus on.”

“I don’t even know where to start with this whole ‘niching’ thing!”

Then you’re in the right place.

At best, many agencies and professional services businesses act like they rent their markets—paying for access and dipping in as necessary, without any permanent commitment.

Other businesses visit markets here and there like tourists traveling through for occasional day-trips. These people then head back to their cozy “homes” without acquiring any specialty or expertise.

But renters and tourists never get to the real essence of a market. They are stuck on the surface-level experiences. They’re at least better than generalists with no defined market, or dreamers who have ideas about what they want to do but no traction or first steps. But there is, in fact, a fifth level of involvement in a market: Owning it.

Owners are inseparable from their market. They set up residence. They become locals, learn the language, and acquire citizenship. Owners care.

What is Owning Your Market?

Own – verb, Admit or acknowledge that something is the case or that one feels a certain way.

In other words, “owning your market”—the way I mean—is about your mindset. You stop “dipping a toe in,” keeping the door open to other niches and opportunities. You quit traveling through a market as a tourist. Instead, you jump into the deep end and allow your market to seep into your bones.

You get comfortable shouting your market position from the rooftops and letting the world know how you feel. You’re okay with the idea that there is a particular customer you serve—and if someone isn’t that type, they aren’t a good fit.

When you own your market, you transform and simplify your business life. You’re no longer trying to be everything to everyone. Instead, you become a pillar of your community. You go from outsider to insider. And this happens:

  • When people ask what you do, you clearly and comfortably state your market and who you serve.
  • Your website loudly proclaims your market focus.
  • You regularly publish content for, speak to, and evangelize to your market.
  • You have an audience built within your market.
  • You have a deep understanding of your market’s pains and problems.

Owning is when you think, “This is my market. I need to act accordingly,” instead of continuing to keep one foot out the door.

Instead of considering things on the surface, you put down roots and invest in more long-term relationships. You’re no longer concerned about short-term blips but about solving deep, valuable issues for your audience.

Can you see now why market ownership isn’t a bad thing, but actually a really, really good one? 

Why You Should Own Your Market

Everything you want in your business comes from owning your market. Ownership brings respect, desirability, authority, process, systems, demand, scale, predictability, clarity, simplicity, and so much more.

Generalists thrive on the idea that anyone can be their client—and that each new client is a different set of problems to solve. The challenge, of course, is that this idea creates a lot of noise. Over the long run, that noise will leave you deaf. The generalist ends up attracting a lot of “bad fit” clients.

And the generalist has to spend a lot of time with every project and every client, learning many of things for the first time. Every new client becomes an exercise in re-inventing the wheel—an exhausting process that traps the business owner into being an operator for life.

How good will you ever be if, every month, you have to do a completely different line of work? One month, you’re a web developer; next month, you’re a web designer, then a search engine marketer, then a copywriter, public relations associate, email marketer, app developer, virtual assistant, growth hacker, and so on. If this were your approach, you’d be dead tired. Maybe even dead.

Yet agencies do this every day when it comes to the markets they serve. They’re diving into waters that are only an inch deep. So they master that inch (if they don’t break their neck first) and then go a mile wide to the next project for a client in a different market.

Their logic here is that they’ve learned the market for that one client and don’t want to “get bored” working in it again. Plus, when each new client brings in a unique set of problems, each solution feels unique. (Forget for a second how much effort and energy was invested in decrypting those problems and building a solution.)

Better, Not Bored

I’ve worked with many of businesses that have successfully owned their market. So far, I’ve yet to meet one that is bored—or that feels like they’re “solving the same problem every day.”

When you own your market, what happens is a little more nuanced. Your energy and attention to problems shift to higher-leveraged issues over time.

As a market owner, you’ll see a pattern of problems within your market. You’ll start to realize that each business coming to you has a few core issues that you can help solve. You’ll build a solution for one client, but then you can re-use that solution for the next client and the next one.

Each time, the solution is just as valuable and exciting for the client, but yes, it will become more routine for you and your agency. Here’s what will happen: Instead of boredom—after a few repetitions—you’ll realize you can start to create systems.

Learn more about owning your market in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, available for pre-order here.

So, instead of investing your energy in discovering new problems or building a unique solution, you’ll create processes and methods to serve each subsequent client even better.

You’ll spend your time improving the solution you have to make it incrementally better on every new project. And once you have systems in place to serve the customers in your market, you’ll be able to identify seats in your business that can be delegated to part- or full-time team members. This will, of course, enable you to remove yourself as a full-time operator.

You’ll create process playbooks and focus your energy on marketing your solution to the audience you serve. And for the first time, you’ll start to see how you could scale your operation. In other words, you’ll finally have a business and not just a well-paying job.

This evolution will continue to unfold until the challenges and problems you face start to look a lot more like vision and leadership problems.

How big can your enterprise grow? Or how small and lean and profitable can you engineer your systems to be? Could you systemize your business to the point that it could run without you? I don’t know about you, but I feel like the problems of the market owner are anything but boring.

And if I had to guess, they are the types of things you thought you’d spend all your time working on as an entrepreneur.

Next time, I’m going to share a simple framework that will help you own your market. Until then, I invite you to check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, that is due out in October 2020. In the book, you’ll discover how to create “market infrastructure” to drive new business, as well as how to overcome the unpredictability of word of mouth marketing and referrals and create a steady stream of leads who buy from you. As a special bonus, if you pre-order the book before the release date, you’ll get a few really cool gifts. My way of saying “thank you” for supporting my book launch!

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