"Who do I want to work with? Who don't I want to work with? What qualifies them to be a good or a bad fit? I didn't value my own business, because I hadn't spent a whole lot of time knowing what I offered."
Who are you serving? What’s the audience you’re creating for? Here, we discuss why it’s vital you identify who you’re selling to and how those people connect to your story.
Joe: Hi, there. I’m Joe Dudeck, President and founder of Keyhole Marketing.
Shannon: And I’m Shannon Jirik. I work for Keyhole as the Assistant Brand Manager.
Joe: And this is Metaphorically Speaking, a podcast that explores the mysterious side of marketing.
Shannon: Thanks for joining us again on episode two of Metaphorically Speaking. We are excited just to continue this conversation about really finding and creating your business story, and we’re looking at that in the mindset of just being an artist, and how to paint that, how to craft that.
Today we’re excited to continue the conversation after we’ve talked about identifying what makes you unique and valuable. Today, we’re gonna talk about who you are creating for, and we’re gonna discuss why it’s vital that you identify who that person is that you’re selling to, or creating content for, and how those people actually relate to your individual story.
Joe: Before we get into the content today, we thought we’d just spend a little moment just reflecting on a personal experience that I had that I think relates well to this conversation on how certain people connect to our personal stories. My wife and I are parents to a five-year-old son, Quinn, who is adopted, and we adopted him right at birth. Just last October, he celebrated his 5th birthday, and as we do on every birthday, we send his birth mom updates through the agency with photos and videos and letters, just to kind of get her caught up on things that he’s doing, things that he’s interested in… and we don’t usually hear back from her.
But, this year we did. We got a nice letter back from her on just kind of relating what those updates mean to her, and just how it energizes her, and I think it was just super rewarding for us, because we don’t hear much from her, so we don’t have a lot to tell Quinn on his connection to her or to the birth father. For us, we finally had a couple of little tidbits of information we could share with him, and help him to kind of connect his own story, and he’s building his own story, not only through the life he lives with us, but also to a connection to this other person. So we were grateful for that, and I thought, it definitely tied in well to this conversation that we’ll have today.
Shannon: Yeah, that’s perfect. I feel like it’s great we do these reflections at the beginning, but it’s also hard, because now I just wanna sit and reflect.
Joe: Just reflect, yeah, I know. You can always feel free to pause the podcast.
Shannon: But, let’s dive in. I just wanna take it back to kind of another personal work example of ours. Keyhole is now in its seventh year of operation– holla, super exciting–but Joe, we talked a little bit about kind of your quest to re-identify yourself last week, but if I remember when I first came on you told me a story of how you had to go through another process at the beginning of when you started this company to figure out who you were trying to reach, because at this point you weren’t sure.
Shannon: Hopefully, we’re sure now, so just what happened there?
Joe: Yeah, it happened a couple years into the business, so while we’ve been around for seven years I think this was, might have been year two or three. I had had a couple really rough clients at the same time–just not good fits, but I didn’t really know, because at that time anybody who paid me money for doing something close to, or related to marketing…
Shannon: Mow my lawn! Ah you said marketing, okay.
Joe: I would do it, and I was like, “That’s a client, that’s a client of mine.” I didn’t have a whole lot of barriers up of who’s a good fit, who’s a bad fit… because I hadn’t really done the work. Full disclosure, when I started the business, it was kind of like, just biding my time until… I had left a job as I talked about in the trailer, and took on a few clients, and then, just thought, I’m just gonna bide my time till I get a normal job, a real job right, and so–
Shannon: Look where you are now.
Joe: That’s right.
Shannon: Seven years later.
Joe: Still looking for that real job. No, so it was, I just hadn’t done the work up front to explore who am I trying to go… Who do I need to go after? Again, it was anybody who would do that, so having these tough clients back to back, you start to ask yourself some questions like…why am I even doing this? Who do I wanna work with? Who don’t I wanna work with? What makes them… what qualifies them to be a good or a bad fit? I really didn’t understand like, I didn’t value really my own business, because I hadn’t really spent a whole lot of time knowing what I offered, so hard to do that when you don’t spend the time.
Shannon: Yeah, absolutely. So at that time, how did you go about defining that person for you?
Joe: Yeah, I think a process that’s pretty common in marketing is to build out a buyer persona, and we do that with clients. It’s kind of a, it’s a good starting point, and the way to do that is really start with the basics of identifying… you’re trying to find out two or three target audiences that you run after, and then you try to put the basics down like… who are these people? Let’s create a storyline for this person. What’s their age? What’s their gender? Are they high income? Are they well educated? Some of those basics about who that person is, and then you go and you tack on a little bit more information, that’s a little bit deeper about who they are like… what’s their personality? Are they energetic? Are they dry? Are they… what kind of interests, or hobbies might they have? What’s their lifestyle away from work? What sort of generational culture that they might attach to?
You start to just kind of identify those things as well, and these are just facts and figures that you’re creating about these audiences, and then, you can create a storyline for them: you give them a name, you describe their look like… are they tall, are they short, are they fat, are they thin… I mean all these different things, you can have fun with it, and now, basically, you have a visual representation whenever you’re creating content, you have a person in mind that you’re thinking about, and for this content you wanna write for this audience, for this one you wanna write for this other one, and you’re not just speaking generically to all, you’re really identifying who are the ones you wanna speak to specifically.
Shannon: Right, and I feel like people stop too early on, they know, “Oh, I wanna sell to, or create content for females.” But, it doesn’t go much farther than that.
Joe: For sure.
Shannon: It’s… who is this woman? What is her age and her gender? What’s she doing on the weekends versus what’s she doing on the weeknights? Does she have children? And does that matter? Just all those kinds of exploratory questions to really learn about the person.
Joe: For sure. So some of that you have in your current customer base– who are those people and you’re just trying to put, kind of collect that into one type of person, and another type of person, and a third type of person, so you have some of those target audiences. We like to help clients go to the next level, and we talked about this a little bit in the last episodes… episode of just exploring who are you? So, you may wanna spend some time listing out on a personal level, like what are some hobbies, and activities that you find personally valuable?
What are some causes that you might be passionate about? Or, some organizations away from work that you’re connected to? Or, people that you might already be serving, and places that you like to go? So, just as you as a person, and so, you could also, of course, make that on a bigger scale of you as a business, what are some things that you’re connected to? Are there organizations that you partner with? Causes that you’re passionate about? There’s a lot of ways to look at those questions.
And then you take all this information– you have the content, all the facts and figures about these audiences over here, then those buyer personas, and then, you have all the stuff that really means a lot to you over here, and you match that up, and say like… how do we put these things together? Not only do we go after women who are 55 to 65, but they care about this, this, and this, because we care about this, this, this and this, and so, you spend all that time and energy in really just trying to find the right audience, right fit so that you’re just not wasting your time.
Shannon: Yeah. I really want to just challenge people to understand that it’s okay to say no. I think now that you’re far enough in your business to understand who you are and who your client is, you’ve empowered yourself to be able to say we’re just not the right fit for each other, and that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or they’re a bad person. It just means somebody else is better suited to serve them.
Joe: True, and some of that lives on a documented persona, and some of it’s a little bit of a gut feeling where you’re just, you know, but the gut comes from the exercise, the work that you put in to identify, oh, that does matter to me. Now I know why it matters to me, because this matters to me, so just doing that work.
Shannon: Absolutely, yeah. There’s kind of a fun way that you can tackle this. We’d encourage you kind of in our artist theme, if you will, to maybe just take some time to draw a picture of your target audience, who you think it is now maybe, or who you think it should be, and if you’ve got a team bring them into this because it could actually spark some really good conversation. Why did somebody draw this type of person versus this type of person? Do they match? Do they not match? Where do you go from there? You don’t have to draw… you can do a skit, you can make a video, you can do whatever works best for you, and really helps you understand this process, but have some fun with it, because these are the people that you’re looking to serve and sell to. Understanding yourself and understanding them is a good time.
Joe: Yeah, I think if you just spend some time finding the right exercise to match up your own company culture ends up being a good fit.
If we can be of any help as you try to fill out these personas, or you ask yourself some of these questions about what is super valuable to you, or your organization, we’re definitely happy to help. We’ve done that with some of our clients to do that as well. Just visit keyholemarketing.us, and you can send us a note there, or you can just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and that’s H-I@keyholemarketing.us. We’ll talk to you next time.