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Marketing Cheat Code: Defining Your WHO


Getting noticed as a small business with a limited budget is one of the biggest challenges you probably face. My guess is that you need more money and more time. The goal of this newsletter is to provide you with some cheat codes that will save you time and money while making your advertising efforts more effective. 


If you are in a business that has many competitors, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. I often hear from businesses like this who simply just want to get noticed. On the other hand, if you are in a business with no competitors, you probably face the difficulty of educating people on what you actually do. Your customers might not even know they need you, or what to search for to find you. Both of these scenarios will be greatly benefited by the activity of defining your WHO. 


The first step in being an effective marketer, is to define your WHO. My guess is you have at least a vague idea of your WHO, however, you are probably way too broad on who you would add to that list. The more narrowly you can define this list, the more effectively you can speak to them in their language about things they like. 


When I talk about defining your WHO, it is not merely about identity or superficial demographics, it is specific and detailed. It is about understanding what drives your best customer to like and pay for something. Your WHO has an identity and the closer you can get to knowing exactly who they are the better your advertising and messaging will work. It will also determine where you advertise. 


Let’s say you are one of many mortgage brokers in that profession. You could say your WHO is anyone who has or needs a mortgage. This is way too wide. You could narrow it down to one segment of the population, for example, maybe it’s first time home buyers. Much better, but still not narrow enough. 


If you are a veteran and you love working with veterans, maybe your target WHO is active military members who work at a nearby base who are also first time home buyers. Now, you have a specific target that is narrow, and more importantly, who you can speak to authentically. Once you have narrowed this down, do it again, and then, go narrower. 


This is easier to do if your audience matches you in some ways. Like-minded people who resonate with your values and ideas. You want to make a community of these people. Seth Godin defines this as your tribe. The closer you are to this group the more your messages will reach and influence them. This becomes even easier by defining your WHY. We will talk about that next week. 


I own a RoofMaxx Dealership with my son and we have defined our WHO like this. Men, Age 55+, who own a home and are maintenance-minded. They tend to like classic cars and believe in keeping their home and yard in tip-top shape. They also tend to like sports and politics. This is our primary audience. Our WHO.


Does that mean we don’t have women or younger people calling us? No. We have them too, but our marketing is targeted towards our WHO. We also have a 1972 Chevy that we drive around and use in our advertising. We focus on the benefits of rejuvenating a roof rather than replacing it. 


We also put ads in places where our WHO audience spends time. We even enter the truck in car shows with our logo on its door to increase brand awareness in addition to playing advertisements during sporting events. This is step one. You will hear me repeat this over and over. Once you have defined and narrowed down your “Tribe”, you can start to decipher what would attract that person to listen to you. Use the WHO worksheet to define your WHO. Why would they want to do business with you? That will be next week.

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