Who are you selling to?

I was at a “startup” meetup the other night in Gastown and I met someone who said he was interested in finding funding for his project.

I won’t get into the specific details of his project, but after he had been explaining it for about 5 minutes without getting his point across, I asked him:

“Who’s your target for this product?”

His answer was “everybody”

The trouble with catering to everybody is that in the end, you cater to no one.

By generalizing yourself down to the point of trying to appeal to everyone, you end up doing too many things very poorly.

Not even Microsoft Windows is created for “everybody”. They too have a target audience that they cater to.

The solution is to know your target audience very well. This allows you to create products that they will be passionate about. That they will share. Those products are the ones that spread.

If you can’t explain your idea to me in under one minute and tell me exactly who you’re selling to, you don’t have an idea. You you have a dream, and dreams don’t sell.

The Same goes for landing pages

This concept applies to building and testing landing pages. If you can’t tell what a page is about right away then it won’t be very effective, and if you try to sell to everybody at the same time, you’ll sell to no one.

If you’re starting to test your landing pages, forget about background colours and fancy tricks.

Stick to the fundamentals:

  1. Why am I here?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. What should I do next?

Your landing pages will perform better than ever.

Leave me a comment below.

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Quit Sending Mixed Messages

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago for a 4 day restaurant trade show.

The show had over 60,000 in attendance and it was really productive, but that’s not the point of this post.

For me what is truly amazing about a trip to the windy city is the food.

And it didn’t disappoint.

The highlight of the restaurants I went to was Graham Elliot. It’s owned by the chef of the same name who also is a judge on the TV show Masterchef.

The 15 course “Chef’s Menu” was incredible. It was like a conversation of food. Ups and downs, argument and rebuttal, cool and warm, smooth and crunchy, but always delicious.

The only trouble was the restaurant itself.

It seemed to be in some kind of identity crisis, not knowing what it was trying to be. Though the food was world class, and the service was perfect, the restaurant itself wasn’t able to tie it all together.

Strange decor, unassuming bathrooms that could be found in any cheesy hotel and pop music straight out of 5 years ago.

Weird… and very distracting.

This brings up a good point about marketing in general: Don’t send mixed messages.

How to not send mixed messages

When designing your site, landing page, product brochure, blog post, print ad or restaurant you need to stay focused. My favorite trick for this is to take a moment to figure out who you’re talking to, and talk ONLY to them.

Here’s what I mean.

  • First write out who your target for this marketing piece is. Write out their age, gender, occupation and yes, their name.
  • Next write out their motivations. What dreams do they have? What is important to them? Where do they live? Where do they WANT to live? Do they value family?
  • Next write about their fears. What do they avoid? What makes them intensely afraid?

Now you’re starting to get the picture of who this person is. From there you have enough to write out the thought process and objections that this person would go through when they first see your product, service or idea.

Now that you have created this target persona you’re ready to start the process of creating. With every bullet point, illustration, headline and table cloth that you design keep this person in mind.

What would they think about it? Would it appeal to them? Would it create an emotional response?

Remember, it’s not about YOU.

It’s about the client.

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Using Long Custom Fields In Aweber’s API

So far I’ve loved the Aweber API and it’s usefulness in creating various small web apps for clients and for my own projects.

One issue that I quickly ran into however for Mantra Bot was trying to add a custom field that was fairly long. I wanted to add functionality for a mantra that was up to 300 characters long, but Aweber only accepts custom fields that are 100 characters long.

Luckily this can be broken up fairly easily with some easy PHP.

Here is the standard function for adding a subscriber to Aweber using the API:

$subscriber = array('email'  => $email,'custom_fields' => array('field_name' => $mantra,),);$app->addSubscriber($subscriber, $list);
But if we want to include a mantra that is longer then 100 characters, say 300 characters in my case, we need to split up the variable into 3 different custom fields.

We can do this rather easily using PHP’s str_split() function.

Here’s an example:

$mantrasplit = str_split($mantratext,100);

This line will take the input from the user ($mantratext) and split it up into an array every 100 characters.

If the input is 150 characters long you will end up with 2 values in your array ($mantrasplit). The first will be 100 characters long and the second will be 50.

Here’s our new Aweber function:

$subscriber = array('email'  => $email,'custom_fields' => array('field_name1' => $mantrasplit[0],'field_name2' => $mantrasplit[1],'field_name3' => $mantrasplit[2],),);$app->addSubscriber($subscriber, $list);

Then in Aweber you can display your long field by including all three custom fields as a merge field in a row with no spaces between them.

Example: {!custom field_name1}{!custom field_name2}{!custom field_name3}

I hope this helps in your use of the Aweber API! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

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“Repulsion Marketing” is ART

Art is creative and polarizing. So is good marketing.

Good art and marketing campaigns will repulse some people and push them away from your brand. But this is a good thing.

Apple is a company that many people love and many people hate because they stand for something. If you don’t like what they stand for they don’t care. They’re not willing to change who they are just to please everybody.

Blackberry is a company that has been struggling lately. They used to polarize people by targeting a specific type of person. That type of person loved their products and were huge brand mavens for them. They have since lost their focus and are trying to be too many things to too many people.

Some say this is a company trying to innovate.

I say it’s an act of desperation that is misplaced.

Speak with authority and back up your opinion. People can tell if you are being “wishy washy.” People can tell if you’re bending your beliefs just to make a sale.

Instead, REPULSE the people who don’t match your brand, and those who do will come running… in hoards.

Repulsion marketing adds value – that’s why it’s polarizing… it alienates people who don’t connect with your message, but strengthens the connection with people who do.

Don’t be afraid of what people will think… add your own art.

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