How not to build your audience!

London's Southbank is always teeming with people.

London’s Southbank is always teeming with people.

I love London’s Southbank! The area between Westminster Bridge and the Royal Festival Hall is always brimming with people from all over the world. They come to visit the London Eye, the London Dungeons, The Aquarium and the many events in and around the Hall, as a result the area attracts dozens of street performers each vying for attention. This weekend one got my attention for all the wrong reasons and there are some lessons in marketing here for small business owners!

My attention was aroused when I heard a man say, ‘Give me more space, I’m allergic to children’! Now that might be his idea of a sense of humour but it’s not one that is easily understood by everyone, even if language is not a barrier. He continued in a loud voice, ‘I’m an entertainer and I need an audience, so stop what you’re doing and come here and watch me’. I didn’t see a great rush of people to join him and I certainly didn’t stop long enough to see if he got his wish.

Now I’m sure you will have spotted that this ‘entertainer’ made all the classic mistakes of making his message all about him and not about his target market. He didn’t even begin to answer the question his targets were thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’

You’re probably thinking that no small business owner would take this attitude but I beg to differ. Every time we make our website about what we offer rather than how our target can benefit we are, in effect, doing the same thing as this entertainer. If our copy is all about ‘we’ and not about ‘you’ we are making the same mistakes. If our one minute pitches don’t explain how are targets will benefit from working with us we are little better than this man.

So if you are marketing a small business the key question your target market wants answered is, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Fail to answer that question and, like this entertainer’s prospects your target will carry on walking until they find the next supplier who is demonstrating what’s in it for them. Is it time to take a look at your website or your marketing materials to make sure you’re not inadvertently shouting, ‘Stop, look at me!’ 

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