Your opinions about your marketplace are never the thing you think.
Our own internal fears are rarely marketplace realities. Many of the things we think customers care about, such as degrees, credentials, training, perfection, I-have-to-be-like-so-and-so and the like, are not reflected in their market behavior in buying. They buy for reasons entirely outside of what we think they do. This is why testing is so important. So is asking your customers why they buy and continue to do business with you. We get all caught up in our own fears, especially in the beginning: am I good enough for them to do this? Will they shoot me down as a fraud? Will they take my lack of experience and laugh at me? Do I Have what it takes to be successful? I’m not good enough, not like this competitor over here. He seems to have it all. He’d just crush me. Why bother?
We shoot ourselves in the foot over and over again with these dismal thoughts. Note that they are untrue. None of them are marketplace realities. No one thinks you’re a fraud. No one thinks much about your education, PhD or otherwise. In fact, when you’re starting, no one thinks much of you at all. You’re not even on their radar. And you won’t be on their radar until you start creating and sharing valuable content consistently. This is where you come in. This is what grabs their attention. This is when they start to pay attention to you and what you have to say. This is when they start to evaluate your value. And this is when you can start to offer them something else, a course, a webinar, a training that’s paid. You give them value, value, and value, then an offer. If your value is there, some will take you up on your offer if it is a compelling one.
The following marketplace realities are real: people are willing to pay for quality training; people are willing to pay for good coaching; people are willing to pay for consulting; people are willing to pay to further their education online; people are willing to pay for advice; people are willing to pay for niche hobby items. The short of it is people are willing to pay for items they perceive to be valuable. And they’ll pay for it again and again and again. They are not concerned about you, as you are; they’re concerned about them and what they want, what they desire. So, with empathy, you have to think about things from their perspective, from what they would find valuable.
Note further that what you find valuable and what your customer finds valuable are completely different things. You are not your customer. Do not try to make decisions on their behalf. Let them tell you what they want and you give it to them. Let them tell you how they define value. Further, let their credit cards vote for you. What are they obviously willing to pay for? What have people like them historically purchased?
When they’ve bought from you, keep surprising your customers with other bonuses. Always be thinking about bonuses. Think, “What could be really cool for my customers? What else do people like them want? What else could give them an unfair advantage?” People love bonuses when they purchase. In fact, bonuses can catalyze the purchase. If we see something in the bonus realm offered along with the other items and we highly desire the bonus, we’ll buy just to get the bonuses. Bonuses catalyze sales. Always be thinking about your customer and what other cool things you can do for them. What do like audiences want?
Do not let your own opinions about the marketplace affect your decision making abilities. Do not assume you know. You may only think you know. But you don’t know until you test. You must test. Your own opinions bias you toward inaction whereas testing biases you to action. Testing makes you curious. Experimenting makes you more scientist. And good scientists never make assumptions. They seek confirming or disconfirming data. And they’re always performing experiments.
Even if you are already an expert, your opinions about your offers and test do not matter until you perform them. Because even then, you won’t believe the outcome, what worked. the outcomes have the strangest way of surprising you. But you’ll never get there until you test. So, you have to show humility. You have to show that you’re willing to put your own biases and opinions on hold until you have more data. It takes a lot of humbleness to admit that your own opinions about your market tests don’t matter, but they don’t. Show that humility. Be grateful that you did.
A great marketer is curious. He is curious about his market, what it is they want, and the data that supports their decisions. He wants to get to know the markets he serves better. In fact, he’d like to be in the market he serves just to get to know them as people, to get to know how they make decisions. He’d also like to know what they’re buying right now and from whom. And why? Why do they buy from these people over here? What’s in it for them? What’s been their buying history? He’s always listening, always asking questions, always learning.
A great marketer doesn’t mind surveys, but he also doesn’t take them as 100% spot on research. He far prefers to get data backed by verified purchases than mere market opinion. He realizes there is a difference between what people say they do and what they actually do, especially when it comes to buying. Further, surveys can be designed to manipulate the taker simply by word order and choice of words used, so they can be biased in and of themselves. While there is some value in survey data, it is better to go off of what people actually do than what they say they will do.
A great marketer uses empathy to reflect back the wants and needs of a market to them. Since he is so curious, he knows exactly what makes these people tick, what makes them buy, what they’re afraid of, what a big win for them is. He takes these data points and includes them in his language, in his copy, reflecting back to them exactly as they state it themselves. He is savvy enough to realize there is nuance to each market’s language, in word choice, in tone. And that when he uses it in his offers, they’ll feel like someone finally understands them and their desires. He also get that he employs functional knowledge of his craft. Exuding confidence at every which way to them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy between the market and the marketer. He understands them so well because he is them, he is among them, he lives with them.