Welcome to the free marketing course for writers. (Or, as I’d call it, “The pages where I tell you all the stuff I end up telling clients on the phone who need some help.”)
This course is customized for writers, but the core material you’re about to read is the same as in the other free marketing courses you saw on the main page.
So you’re looking at 80% of this mini-course to be the same as all of the others, except the other 20% addresses things from your industry’s view. (So you won’t, for example, see “As a high-end executive coach, you’ve got to deal with X.”)
If you also happen to fit into one of the other categories that we have free marketing courses for, by all means, check them out. Just know that most of it will be the same.
(That’s could actually be a good thing. If you happen to read two or three versions of this course, more of what we cover will actually stick.)
So, on to the course. Time’s a-wasting.
Let’s talk about your target market.
Here’s what happens on a lot of client calls:
I say, “So, who do you want to sell to?”
They say one of the following things:
- “Well, I write romances, so people who like romance novels? That’s my target market.”
- “I’m a non-fiction business writer, so anyone who likes reading about business!”
- “I’m an author of literary fiction, so I’m targeting people who want the high-brow stuff.”
Ok, that’s a start. But it’s a long way from the finish line.
Just because people will buy something, doesn’t mean they’ll buy it from you.
Taking a stab at your target demographic is fantastic. You’ve got to start somewhere. Having a vague idea of who you are selling to weeds out a vast percentage of the human race that you shouldn’t be targeting.
But what you sell is not a commodity.
What you sell is personal.
So if someone’s going to buy the thing you sell, they don’t have to just want to buy the thing. They have to want to buy it from YOU.
Most people on Earth will not buy from you. They have no interest. You’re not their kind of thing. You don’t fit their tastes and preferences.
Don’t take that personally, though – it’s actually just fine. Buying is a very personal decision. Someone’s got to like you enough to part with their money.
It’s just like shoes. You buy shoes, but you don’t just walk into a shoe store and say “Give me something in size 8.” The vast majority of shoes in the store will categorically NOT be ones you like.
But they aren’t bad. You want the kind of shoes YOU like. And all the other shoes you reject are the kinds of shoes that other people like. It all balances out.
- If you’re a romance writer, the majority of people who read romance novels will feel like you’re not their type.
- If you’re a non-fiction business writer, the majority of business readers will feel like you’re not the right fit for them.
- If you’re an author of literary fiction, the majority of literary fiction enthusiasts will feel like you’re not quite the kind of writer they dig.
And that’s okay. It’s hard to find a shoe that has the right fit that you also really, really like.
But when you find one you like that IS the right fit, your money is on the table.
So the first thing we want you to think about is who YOU are the right fit for.
Yes, this is the opposite of what everyone else is saying. That’s why it works.
Most marketing consultants will try and teach you how to make people really, really want your shoes.
But you can’t make anyone want anything. (Well, you can, but you’ve got to be pretty sleazy about it.)
What you CAN do, however, is do some thinking about what kind of person is most likely to buy from YOU.
You. You personally. Based on the kind of business you run and what kind of approach you take.
IttyBiz is a marketing training company and consultancy.
We don’t target people who “have businesses.”
- We target people who like the way we do business.
- People who are running their business on their own with or minimum help.
- Who want to get their online act together even though their resources are limited.
- Who want their training to cover the simple things they can do on their own, because they don’t have a marketing department.
- Who don’t mind if we swear, or talk about our kids, or admit out loud that sometimes running a business well and truly is an exercise in self-punishment and you have to take care of your sanity at the same time as you’re watching your numbers.
So! That means no uber-hip startups, no 50-person operations, no build-an-empire-and-take-over-the-internet people will like us.
We write long, and often, so people who like “seven top tips” and “make money while you sleep” will not be attracted to us. We also use capitals a lot, so there goes a few more people.
We’ve got your attention, and by the end of this course you’ll know if you like us or not. And then maybe you’ll be a customer.
It’s no different for you.
To get more customers and clients paying you money, you’ve got to be very clear about who you’re NOT trying to get to pay you money.
You need to figure out who is likely to think YOU are the right fit for them.
That’s a very small slice of the market. Maybe only a few thousand potential buyers.
But because you’re an ittybiz, that’s enough.
People who buy things to read have specific desires they want sated, yes, but they need to feel rapport with you – personally, YOU – as an author.
Ideally, you’ll be establishing enough name recognition that people see your name on a book cover and think “Ooh, I want more of the stuff that was great the last time.” They won’t think your stuff is great in the first place unless they feel that your approach, your writing style and the specific things you desire to write about matches up with their desires.
So we need to do some thinking about that match BEFORE we think about how to get their Visa card out.
Here’s what this means for you.
First of all, stop thinking of how you can get more people to buy from you.
Then, start thinking of who is most LIKELY to buy from you, rather than your competitors.
You have authors you like and dislike. Shoes you like and dislike. Movies you like and dislike.
You like and dislike those things for a reason.
Who would particularly like you, based on YOUR writing style and the specific things you’re writing about? That’s a good indicator of a likely buyer.
Who would particularly dislike you, based on YOUR writing style and the specific things you’re writing about? That’s a good indicator of the people you should specifically NOT target.
You need to know the difference so you’re not trying to market to everyone who fits your generic target demographic.
When you’re Starbucks, you need to sell to what a lot of people like, because you’re on every corner in the world.
When you’re YOU, you need to sell to the people who don’t need much convincing, because you’re already producing the kind of stuff they’re predisposed to like.
Get some paper or a computer file or whatever it is you use to take notes in and start figuring out who YOUR most likely buyer might be.
That means they have to be likely to buy in the first place, and likely to buy from YOU.
If this is still hard to wrap your head around, imagine you’re trying to set up a blind date for your best friend, and you have to figure out who they’re most likely to be happy with.
To do that, you’d have to weed out a lot of people due to a lot of characteristics, and you’d be thinking hard about who “their type” was.
For a small slice of the market, you are “their type.”
Stop thinking about how to GET them to like you, and start thinking about who’s likely to ALREADY like you.
That’s the first lesson.
Do that, and then go to the second one.