Unfortunately, you won’t find my room on Clubhouse. Not because I’m not on Clubhouse. I am. There are some fantastic rooms there, and I’ve heard some meaningful discussions. I actually thought about opening a room, and I even decided what it would be called and who my partner coordinators would be.
But then I realized that I had totally forgotten the law of FOCUS. This law has a few meanings. I first read about it 25 years ago in what I consider to be the best marketing book I’ve ever read: “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
The law of focus says, “The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.” We must create a clear identity in the minds of our target audience. The best way to get ahead of the competition is to be very clear and focused about what word we own.
But it starts much earlier. There are two decisions you should make regarding the basis of your market strategy: Who are your target customers and how should you define your product or service so that your potential customers understand its value?
As an entrepreneur today, you are probably confused. There are so many options, so many people who might need your product, and so many ways you can present your product to your customers.
Because there are so many options out there, you must find the customers who feel that they must have your product, that it solves their problem or best fulfills their need.
The problem is that to focus and be the best solution for one or two specific target audiences, you have to give up on so many potential buyers. Here comes the law of SACRIFICE—you have to give up something in order to get something. There are three things to sacrifice: product line, target market, and constant change.
So many opinions are out there. Everyone knows what you should do, who your target market is, and what marketing activities you should run.
But here is the truth: NOBODY KNOWS. You can’t know until you search the market from the point of view of your potential target audience.
Searching the market is not complicated today. In most cases, you don’t need an expensive research company. You can learn more about how to do it from my short guide, The three free, practical steps to researching and finding your market.
Here are two examples of entrepreneurs who managed to build a successful brand by focusing on and owning a single phrase in the minds of their target market.
How did they manage to do this? They focused on the right things and sacrificed other options.
The first entrepreneur is Mike Stelzner, who created the leading social media blog “Social Media Examiner” and the Social Media Marketing World global conference.
Stelzner managed to own the phrase “Social Media” in the minds of his target audience.
Michael Stelzner is the founder of Social Media Examiner, the author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers, and the man behind Social Media Marketing World, the industry’s largest conference. He’s also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast, the founder of the Social Media Marketing Society, and the host of the weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show. Michael’s Career
- “I started as a writer. Then in 2009, I did what I call ‘my great experiment’ when I was able to secure the website, SocialMediaExaminer.com for $10. I connected with some of my friends who were writers and encouraged them to write for this movement that I was starting, called Social Media Examiner. In 2009, not a lot of websites were giving out a lot of free information, and this thing just took off. In months, all of a sudden I had a crazy successful blog on my hands!
- And then the rest is history … right? From that blog, we were able to launch an online conference, and then a physical conference, and then a podcast and live show—all these things that we are doing today, over eight years later.”
- “Anyone who understands the importance of doing marketing with social media. It’s typically somebody who is either a self-employed person who has a business and doesn’t have a lot of money, and who wants to figure out how to use Social Media to grow the business, or it’s somebody who works for a business, and their job is to do marketing for that business. I classify all these people as the label marketers.
- Social Media changes every week. This is what gives us longevity. Unlike other industries, like science for example, where once you discover something that’s true, you can kind of rely on that forever, in the world of social media marketing, things change constantly. As a result, marketers need to keep up with it all. That’s where we come in.”
Biggest success due to the right customer approach
- “I think that the greatest success that I’ve ever achieved was deciding to teach people not just online but in person, too. The year was 2013 and I launched Social Media Marketing World; 1100 people showed up and many of them told me that it was the best experience they’d ever had in their life. For me, that was a really big deal because I didn’t know if it would work. And now we are coming up on our sixth year here and I know that it’s the best thing that we do. I had to be willing to try. I’m glad I did because there is no looking back now.
- The reason I started the conference was that when I launched my website, the Social Media Examiner, I went to two conferences and made contacts with a lot of the speakers while I was there—contacts that became very instrumental to the growth of my company. I began to realize that going to conferences and trade shows is really the secret source of success for so many of us.
- I saw how poorly many of these conferences were done, and I wanted one for my audience … I wanted such a conference for me … So, I tried to make an event that was done right and would work.”
The second example is the amazing Melinda Emerson, who managed to own the phrase “Small Biz Lady” and build her brand around this focus.
Melinda F. Emerson, “SmallBizLady” is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an international expert on small business development and social media marketing.
Melinda is also the president of the Quintessence Group, a marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA serving Fortune 500 clients who target small businesses.
She has published over 5000 articles on small business on her blog. Her advice is widely read, reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. She is a former columnist for The New York Times and Entrepreneur. She is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition, and her latest book is Fix Your Business.
Most passionate about
- The thing that I’m most passionate about is to stop small businesses failures. That what keeps me up at night and keeps me going every day.
- I love entrepreneurs; we are the bravest, strongest, most committed people in the world. But a lot of us struggle to run a business. So my mission, my magical power, is fixing businesses. That’s what I do. It’s my special gift, and everything I do is about that mission.
- What I’m most passionate about at the moment: For ten years, I’ve been running The Small Business Twitter Chat, every week. On this September we are launching The Small Business Chat Podcast.
- How do I fix businesses? One business at a time.
Melinda’s 12 Ps of running a successful business
- 12 P’s of Running a Successful Business: Preparation, Purpose, People, Profit, Processes, Productivity, Performance, Product, Promotion, Prospects, Planning, and Perseverance.
- On my website, I lay out some of the tools that I like. To help any small business owner to find some help while implementing the 12 Ps.
Biggest failure with a customer
- I had so many…
- My first business about 15 years ago was a video production company. I worked there with who was then my husband. We use to do a ton of work in the pharmaceutical and healthcare space. One of our biggest clients then was GSK; they hired us to do a video in a very important health fair with a well-known speaker. We shot the video, they didn’t want any editing, and we gave it to them.
- Six months later, they were looking to consolidate their entire video production projects, and they invited us among the three agencies they considered. We were very excited, but once we got in, I felt something was wrong. They head of video started the meeting by showing the video that we shoot six months earlier at that health fair – and it was all blue. So not only that we had to do another video for them for free, we never got any order from them again.
Biggest success due to the right customer approach
- I have a lot of amazing customers. One of my favorite projects was when I worked with Wells Fargo Bank (prior to the huge scandal of course). They hired me to show up basically unannounced, and they had a special project at one of their small business customers. We had to do a surprising ambush makeover, and at the end of the project, they surprised them and gave them a 10 thousand dollars makeover to the retail store of their business.
- It was so awesome I got to be somebody’s fairy godmother. It was a pet grooming business, and they had no idea why I was there. I showed up with this camera crew, and we had told them a story about they were going to be featured on Wells Fargo website. We interviewed them about how they started their business and their money management.
- It was a husband and wife business with a unique story, and they created a great business. It was so awesome to surprise them at the end of these two days with this fantastic gift. It was absolutely fabulous. To this day I don’t know if I ever had such a fun couching an entrepreneur.
Melinda’s key success factor
- I think that my key success factor is consistency. When I made the decision that I want to be Americas number one small business expert; I also had to make a decision that there are many other things I’m going to do to reach that goal. Like doing a Twitter Chat every Wednesday evening for ten years, like going to write one or two blog post every week, 5000 posts, not to mention the articles I wrote for The New York Times, Entrepreneurs and Inc.
- That what it took to become known as the small biz lady and as the international small business expert and I don’t think most people are willing to work that hard.
- For me, once I made that decision, I executed, and I never didn’t deliver. I think that to deliver quality content for ten years you need to be very consistent.
Being focused is what allows both brands to stand out from the competition.
For me, with the REACH OR MISS podcast, the more focused and clear we are, the more familiar we become.
The words we focus on are Entrepreneurial Marketing, This is my expertise and what I’ve been known for. To stand out, I also need to choose the right channels for building my brand. Although some of my target audience is already on Clubhouse, most of them are still on LinkedIn and Facebook.
So, for now, you won’t find my room on Clubhouse because I realized that I should keep focusing on other channels. And as I said, most of the time, the more focused you are, the more you will stand out from the crowd.