Who Really WANTS Your Service?

Posted on 03 June 2010

This is the main article from the June 2010 issue of my monthly e-newsletter about marketing. If you’d like to receive that issue (and future issues, full of articles, tips, rants and recommendations), please go to the opt-in box on my website. There’s no charge, and to say thanks I’ll also send you my report, “Sell the Sizzle”, about how to write compelling marketing communications material.

Do you know what kind of people are your MOST likely potential clients?

I was chatting with a client recently who has been grappling with identifying her ideal clients and her marketing strategy. She’s a professional service provider who cares passionately about what she does, and the results that her clients get from working with her.
I was a little concerned, though, when I heard her say that she wants to target her marketing messages at people who “need” her services, but who may be “in denial” that they need them.

Who gets to decide what people need? It doesn’t matter if YOU think people need your fabulous new mousetrap. What matters is: do your potential customers WANT it (and are they willing to pay for it)? Because people buy what they WANT, not what they NEED. The customer gets to decide, not you.

So from a marketing point of view (and especially if you have a limited marketing budget), you’re much more likely to succeed if you identify and communicate with the people who are most likely to WANT services like yours, i.e. people who have already demonstrated an interest in, and a willingness to pay for, services like yours. It’s much harder to convince non-users of services like yours (and in particular, people who are “in denial” about wanting your services) than to convert people who are already interested. In marketing, the strategy of focusing on your most likely potential clients is called “picking the low-hanging fruit”.

Picking the low-hanging fruit

Picking the low-hanging fruit

That’s why, for example, the Democrats spend most of their marketing funds and resources on encouraging self-declared Democrats or undecided voters to vote on election day, rather than on trying to convince Republicans to switch allegiance.

The Lesson: People buy what they want, not what they need. And THEY get to decide, not you.

Action Step: To improve your chances of success, aim your marketing messages at people who have already demonstrated an interest in (and a willingness to pay for) products or services like yours.

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