This Framework Will Move You from Generalist to Market Owner
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!