Everybody loves music! I mean seriously, have you ever met anyone who says they don’t like music? There’s something so universal about it. Music can evoke the same emotions in every listener despite the language of its lyrics. It crosses classes and cultures. But just because everyone loves music, not everyone loves the same kind of music. I remember when I used to work with up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. One of my first questions I’d ask a new client was, “What audience is your music intended to appeal to?” Nine times out of ten I’d receive the following response:
“Oh, I want everyone to like my music!”
My response was always, “Of course you do! But not everyone will. Just like you have different tastes in music, so does everyone else. And not all of them will want to hear your music.” After they’d come out of the haze of shock and disappointment from such a reality check, I’d take them through a process to help them better understand the uniqueness of their current fan base.
Your audience is just as unique as you are
Not everyone is going to need or even like what your business has to offer. Therefore, just as it’s important to know what makes you unique when developing your personal brand as we discussed in my previous post “How to Gain Success Via Your Authentic Brand,” it’s also as important to understand what makes your audience unique. If you can understand what makes them unique, then you’ll be able to speak their language. And when you speak their language, they’ll feel heard and understood. When this happens, your customers will grow both in numbers and loyalty.
So how do you do this?
Know every layer of your audience
First, you want to consider every category or layer of your audience. My former recording artist clients had an audience that included not only their fan base, but also potential corporate sponsors, talent buyers, venue owners, record labels, radio stations, and potential team members (i.e. publicists, producers, managers, agents, etc.). As I mentioned in my first post, your audience as a business owner includes people such as customers/clients, investors, employees, vendors, strategic partners, etc. And it can even include people from other aspects of your life (i.e. family, friends, acquaintances, your community, your church, the people you serve, the people you serve with, etc.).
What you should know about your audience
Next, when considering each layer of your audience, you’ll want to research the following:
- Their demographics (age, gender, geographic location).
- What they care about.
- Where they spend their time online. What social media platforms do they use the most? What kind of blogs do they read? What kind of podcasts do they listen to? What LinkedIn and Facebook groups do they belong to?
- How they find out about new information and new trends.
- Their favorite hobbies.
- How they can identify something important about themselves in your brand.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: the biggest challenge your audience faces and how your brand solves this problem and benefits the audience.
Most people stop at just the basic demographics (i.e. gender, age, and location). But you have to spend time on the remaining items to really learn how your audience ticks.
How to speak your customers’ language
The easiest way to gather this information is to have your audience fill out a survey and review their responses. You can also conduct focus groups or employ other types of marketing research strategies. One of several things I do is have my potential clients complete an intake form prior to our first meeting. It includes a good mix of multiple choice questions, close-ended questions, and open-ended questions. After collecting a good number of completed intake forms, I went back and looked at the patterns, especially in the open-ended responses. I made note of the common language and choice of words that was used. For instance, many of my respondents described their biggest challenge as “feeling stuck” in their careers. The phrase “feeling stuck” came up over and over again.
As a result, I began incorporating the phrases “feeling stuck” and “getting unstuck” in a lot of my marketing collateral. I knew if those words resonated with past clients, they would resonate with future clients. I then show how my services help people get “unstuck” in their careers, along with the additional benefits of my services. This simple phrasing even works well when I use it as an elevator speech with potential strategic partners and other categories of my audience. The effort to speak my clients’ language has increased my clientele and revenue. Let’s face it. People don’t wake up in the morning saying to themselves, “I need to find a career coach.” Instead, they wake up saying “I feel so stuck and need help.”
What does your audience wake up and say to themselves?
A final note
One final thing to consider about your audience is to determine which members fall into which of the following four categories:
- Those who already have the same skills and products you have (those who know what they know).
- Those who know they need your skills or products but don’t possess them themselves (those who know what they don’t know).
- Those who have your same skills and products but don’t know how to harness them (those who don’t know what they know).
- Those who don’t have your skills and products and don’t think they need them (those who don’t know what they don’t know).
It’s the people in categories two and three with whom you should spend your time and energy. These are the people who will see the value in what you have to offer. They’ll be the ones who will get your “why,” which I’ll discuss in my next post. The people in the other two categories won’t get it, at least not right away or not until you’ve fully developed a strong personal brand. But you’re almost there! Stay tuned for more posts from me on how to create a strong, authentic personal brand.
Lori Bumgarner is the owner of paNASH, a passion and career coaching service that helps people get unstuck to pursue their passions and find work they love.