prepare for numbers

Everybody likes numbers. Think of those clickbaity lists or data presented in a nice infographic. Numbers are tangible. If Jay-Z knows what he’s talking about, numbers, as opposed to men and women, don’t lie.

The problem is, not everybody knows how to interpret numbers. Specifically, large numbers are tricky. After all, our capacity for statistical inference is relatively limited, especially if untrained.

Malcolm Gladwell once said: everybody likes numbers; it’s a matter of preparing the reader for them.

When you publish numbers directly connected to using your product, such as the time people will save, the percentage with which their efficiency will increase, the weight they will lose, the number of customers you have, the number of transactions you processed… Gently prepare your leads and customers for the numbers before you bombard them with data.

Build a story around your numbers.

too diverse

What if, in an attempt to find your niche, it turns out your audience is incredibly diverse? It sure makes it challenging to spot similarities among them. Profiling your ideal customer becomes even more cumbersome.

Below are four reasons why diversity within a target audience makes things complicated.

Sample size too small

Perhaps finding similarities within your audience is just around the corner. When you’re just starting out with a handful of customers, finding similarities between your customers could be complicated. If a pattern doesn’t reveal itself straight away, wait until your sample size increases.

You haven’t found them yet

Maybe the similarities are there, but you’re not seeing them. If what you’re looking for is obscure at first, it’s tough to spot. You won’t know what to look for precisely, which isn’t exactly helping in the process. The upside is that you’ll have clear targeting criteria once you do find it.

Their similarity is their diversity

Maybe diversity is the defining factor. The fact that a limited amount of parameters can’t define your audience, that is precisely what defines them. The way forward, in this case, is to look for like-minded people. People that don’t seem to fit a particular profile. That’s your profile.

Can’t be probed

Your audience’s characteristics are tough to define from a behavioral and analytical point of view. In that case, defer to those parameters that are easy to define. Criteria such as geography and age.

It’s like Aaliyah said: if at first, you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.

Building your ideal customer profile doesn’t happen overnight.

sunday carwash

Queuing for a carwash at 8:45 on a Sunday morning. It’s a thing, apparently. Other people might run a marathon, or drive three kids to three hobbies, instead of, well… Sleeping. Why? Because they deliberately choose to.

As unlikely as some of these activities may seem to the rest of us, there is a crowd willing to go out of their way to achieve these very specific goals.

If you can create value, even though it’s a very peculiar value, subsequently profit from it, you (might) have a business (to consumer) model.

Cater that particular value to people who get out of bed early on a free day.

each one teach one

Long before paving the way towards PMF (product market fit), even long before thinking strategically about how to market your solution, you should be able to move someone.

One individual. That’s all it takes. Get them to go to a certain place, perform a specific action, or establish that you were genuinely able to inspire someone (to change their behavior).

How hard can it be? For you to find out. Without strong foundations, a tall building is never really an option. If a (proverbial) skyscraper is what you’re after, build one relationship at a time. Only then to double down on what works consistently.

reach isn’t the goal

Reach — the ability with which you can address people — alone is not enough. Working day in and day out to build a following on numerous networks and social media sites is not a goal in and by itself.

Why pursue an extensive reach? So that, when you talk to people, preferably as many as possible, they listen.

Being able to reach ten million people is potentially valuable. Still, without your crowd engaging with your message, the value of that particular audience rapidly declines.

How to build an audience for your business? Optimize (individual) relationships and scale them up, one by one. The other way around, chasing big numbers first might look nice on paper, however, a large crowd refusing to take a desired action, isn’t worth all that much.

the last of the organics

Organic is dead. Both audience building and reach. Reaching an audience is mostly contingent upon the ability to address a preexisting audience. New brands will have an increasingly harder time getting started and putting themselves on the map.

Not bad for consumers. Advertisers will have a more challenging time reaching prospects. When they eventually do, the targetting and offer itself will have to be significantly better than most spam received today.

Below are three things you can do to combat declining organic reach.

Find your personal or start-up’s collective voice. Make sure it’s authentic and unique, which is perhaps more straightforward than you think. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, once famously said: “We have a strategic plan — it’s called doing things.” Create (content) first, strategize later.

Niches will become increasingly “narrow,” hence more specialized. If you can’t find an ultra-niche, create one.

Leveraging other people’s audiences will further solidify its position and importance as a growth principle. Paying influencers will see a decline due to consumers seeing right through the smoke curtain. However, using an individual or company’s audience — in a mutually beneficial way — will continue to grow in importance.

honest hotel

On average, it’s about six and a half times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep one. However, in some industries, the ratio is less meaningful due to people seeking new, unique experiences anyway. Out of two bakeries in your vicinity, equally distant, which one will you end up revisiting? Chances are the one with superior products and service. Repeat business is crucial for bakeries.

For businesses active in the so-called experience economy, repeat business may be significantly less critical. Consumers looking for thrills prefer new experiences anyway. In this case, referral — the number of additional customers one customer provides — becomes even more critical.

Let’s take a hotel (chain). While exploring online, the rooms look marvelous. Stylized, modern, and quirky. The tricky part is presenting the essential aspects of a hotel room that aren’t necessarily visual, such as quietness. A room with walls as thin as paper in a narrow street with no sound isolation makes for a suboptimal stay. Guess where you won’t be staying again?

On a micro level, this may not cause a problem for that particular hotel. Still, if it’s a chain, it’s actually a big problem. Let’s say the chain has seven hotels in seven countries. That’s slightly more chances missed than the above retention equation.

Promote your hotel, or any other business for that matter, honestly. If you can’t, you have a problem. Not so much with promotion but with the actual company or product.