1. Obsess Over Our Market
Obsessing over our audience is essential in marketing. “You first need to have a minimum viable market that you can obsess over,” Louis said.
A minimum viable audience is the smallest possible market we can serve while still sustaining our growing business (Source: Guerric). Marketing is all about finding a specific niche group we can provide value to.
In order to be successful, we need to meet our market’s needs. To do this, we should think about everything from their perspective. What problems can we help solve and how? What goals can we help them achieve and how? The best value we can offer is answers to these two questions. We should go out of our way to build a relationship with them and provide this value.
2. Ask Customers the Right Questions
Once we have a viable market, we need to start asking the right questions. Louis gave some examples of good questions to ask our customers:
-What channels are you hanging out on?
– What type of people influence you?
-What was the reason you picked us over the competition?
-What, if anything, has stopped you from learning from us?
-Tell me about the very first time you ever thought about using a product like ours. What was the journey?
-What are your pet peeves about our industry?
“Once you can paint that picture from existing customers, it gets quite easier to pick the people that you seek to serve and understand where they hang out and the type of channels you need to work on,” Louis explained.
The easiest way to figure out what we need to improve on is by asking questions to our existing customers. We can also take it a step further and ask questions to people who have bought products similar to ours. Louis suggests focusing on open-ended questions and questions about the past rather than the future.
Above all else, our questions need to focus on the customer’s journey—the journey that led them to us. Why did they start thinking about us? That’s what matters. Once we know this, we can stop guessing and come up with a strategy based on life, not “boardroom bullshit” as Louis put it.
The process of understanding the buyer’s journey needs to be more than “data-driven.” “The problem with [being] data-driven is that it could become an obsession, where you always need more data. And that’s a problem I see a lot of,” Louis explained. “You will never have perfect data. As a result, you need to have a threshold, a standard of decision, where once you have enough, once you’ve talked to five customers, you don’t need to interview five more . . . My problem with data-driven is it could be endless.”
Another problem with being data-driven is sometimes getting the wrong data. It also can take the focus away from the people. Data isn’t always about the people. We need to look at the right data to make sure it’s obsessing over our market with the goal of helping them.
We can use Google Analytics every day, but that’s not necessarily going to help us understand our customers. A lot of data can be misunderstood. I’m not saying all data is bad and useless, in fact, it can be very helpful. What I am trying to say is, go beyond the data. Ask direct questions to your customers and get direct answers back.
Another tip Louis gave is to not outsource the data analyst. Don’t hire someone to go over the data for you. Read through the responses yourself. At the end of the day, designing the question is the most important, and we can only do this if we know a little bit about our customers.
Talk to the right people and ask the right questions. Don’t use analytics as a crutch.
3. Use Storytelling to Drive Success
We can use storytelling to drive success.
“Humans are learning and processing information better when it’s about a story because that’s what we’re used to,” Louis said. “We tell each other stories so we remember stuff.”
When we hear a story, our brain creates visuals, audio, and emotions, helping us to remember it better (Source: Brandignity).
In our businesses, we can tell stories to leave a strong impact on our customers and help them remember us.
“Weaving learning into a story makes learning more interesting, activates the brain’s positive emotional state, and hooks the information into a strong memory template. The memory then becomes more durable as the learning follows the narrative pattern through sequences connected to a theme, time flow, or actions directed toward solving a problem or reaching a known goal.” (Source: Edutopia)
Most stories follow a very similar structure. There is a character with a problem who meets a guide to help them beat it. In our stories, our main character, our hero, is our customers and we are the guide. It is our job to help them solve their problem.
Being able to express the problem that they’re facing can help differentiate our product. We need to find the problem and be able to effectively communicate a solution that resonates with our audience. We can do this by telling a story.
Storytelling won’t solve all their problems, but it will help. And remember, we need to solve their problems, not ours.
4. Give More Than We Take
When I asked Louis what his number one best monetization strategy is, he said it is to stop thinking about monetization and think about how we can help our people the best way possible. How can we be the best service possible? We shouldn’t focus on the money; We should focus on serving people, and then the money will come naturally.
“Marketing is about generosity. You can’t expect to take before giving,” Louis said. “Generosity is the name of the game here. Switch your mindset from trying to take from people, [to] giving [to] people . . . The more you give, the more you’re going to get.”
Once again, it goes back to obsessing over our market and providing them with value. We can offer free value through things such as eBooks, blog posts, videos, and more. Only after we establish our credibility and value with free service, can we ask for anything in return.
Thank you so much Louis for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. Obsess over our minimum viable market.
2. Determine our customer’s problem and provide the solution.
3. Ask customers the right questions to understand their needs.
4. Our questions should focus on the customer’s journey—the journey that led them to us. Once we know this, we can stop guessing and come up with a strategy based on life.
5. Tell stories to drive success.
6. In our stories, our customers should be the main character. We should be the mentor that helps solve the main character’s problem.
7. Stories help us remember things better and help us feel a stronger connection.
8. We need to give more than we take. We need to focus on serving our customers, not the money.
Connect with Louis
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Louis or connect with him, you can find him on his website, everyonehatesmarketers.com.
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