As published on Forbes.com
I had just come off the stage delivering a keynote address for a national insurance company in Florida. When the owner of an insurance agency, I’ll call her Stephanie, asked me “We are running a social media effort. We created some content. How many Tweets or shares will it take to reach our ideal client?” Based on this question, it seemed that Stephanie was not focused on the key areas that could translate to success. As I explained the answer to her, you could tell Stephanie had an Ah-Ha moment and saw the light.
What To Measure
I asked Stephanie the following three questions. You might find it helpful to answer these same questions with respect to your business:
- What characteristics define your ideal client? I don’t just mean demographics. I mean situational, attitudinal, industry, geographic (attributes we define in detail in Same Side Selling);
- Of the total shares/tweets, how many of them represent the “ideal client?”
- What is your ultimate goal?
Stephanie knew exactly how many shares and tweets they had received. She was a bit uncertain about her ideal client, and had no idea which of the shares fit the “ideal client” category. Ultimately, Stephanie said “We’re trying to reach our ideal potential client to grow our business.” Perhaps Stephanie’s team had lost sight of the big picture with their social media and content marketing efforts. Companies often focus on metrics or tactics associated with digital marketing and end up forgetting or ignoring their goal (in Stephanie’s case, to grow her business by attracting the right customers.”
Quite simply, tracking the total number of visitors, views, shares, or tweets is of little value to most businesses. If you have a business to consumer wide-audience, then the number of views or clicks can be very valuable. If you are trying to establish brand recognition, then counting impressions is helpful. Most businesses, however, have a narrowly defined target audience.
What you really want to know is how many of your ideal clients come to your site or specific content, and how many of them express interest to learn more about how you might be able to help. Using a gardening metaphor, think of your ideal clients as your desired crop (let’s say broccoli). Anything other than broccoli, then, is just a waste of soil. If grass infiltrates the garden, you have to waste a ton of time weeding out (think “qualify”) the grass so you can protect the broccoli. The same holds true for the ideal clients and those not worth your time.
The Lesson for Stephanie (And You)
One of my 2015 business trends described a need to define your ideal client and also define the “anti-persona” of the client you do not want. (Trend #7). It might seem like the best approach is to craft a message that applies to the masses. When you try to market to everybody, you stand out to nobody.
In the insurance agent example, Stephanie’s ideal client was someone who owned a car and a house, and in a perfect world – was about to start a family. The single-person with no assets to protect was not an ideal target for her. I suggested that she might want to produce content along the lines of “What new parents think about that single people never consider [in XYZ City – her city].” Or they could write an article like “The top things soon-to-be homeowners overlook [in XYZ City – her city].” In each of these cases, the content will attract Stephanie’s ideal client, and would actually repel those who are not her ideal client.
Turning away the wrong customer is like preventing grass to overtake your garden. Grass plants are fine on your lawn, but not in your garden. Similarly, cultivate an environment that encourages the right crop (your ideal client) and deters those that will steal your time and resources. It’s why Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com talks about anti-personas. The key for Stephanie (and you) is to attract those clients where you can deliver the greatest impact. Know what problems you help them solve, and don’t be enticed by the wrong opportunities.
Stephanie was focused on quantity over quality. I told Stephanie that success could mean five tweets, if all five people were ideal clients for whom she could have the greatest impact. Similarly, the campaign could be a failure with 500 tweets if none of them represented an ideal client. Though our vanity might benefit from shares and tweets, rarely does it translate to your wallet. If you want to grow your business, you have to define the right audience.
It’s Your Turn
Share what describes your ideal client’s situation, and also what attributes make someone a bad fit for you.