Ah, the sweet smell of success. It’s as captivating as the aroma of those chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven (or roasting kale chips if that is more your style). We all crave it.
Browse through the self-help section of any bookseller and you know that there is perpetual discourse on what exactly does success mean. Money, freedom, power, happiness, enlightenment, faith, a book deal, knowing all the right people, a coveted restaurant reservation, kids who don’t talk back… The list is endless.
What I’m talking about right now is business success. How do you create a successful business so you can enjoy your own personal version of success?
The answer is pretty darn simple.
Attract customers and convince them to buy your stuff.
Sounds soooo easy, right. It is. And like all else, the devil is in the details. In this case the details are your spelling. Forget what you learned as a tot many moons ago. Success actually has 3 C’s. Ready?
Offer your potential and existing customers jaw dropping, eye popping, lip smacking, super-sized content and they will reward you with fistfuls of moolah. Content is anything and everything that is extended to your customers whether you sell it or give it away.
It can be products you create, webinars jam packed with training, videos offering valuable free tips, mouth watering images of your gorgeous jewelry or the insights you share with your community. Content exists to solve a problem, meet a need and ultimately benefit your customer.
Supplying desirable information, services and products to clients and potential customers that they eagerly consume also incurs another benefit. If it exceeds expectations they will perform the glorious “word of mouth” dance and share with everyone in their social and professional circle.
Do I hear a whisper, “A lot easier said than done?”
I’ll be straight up with you, it is a lot easier said than done. It takes work, talent and time to figure out what truly resonates with your customer. However, it can be accomplished and you absolutely are capable of doing it.
It starts with, “Know thy customer and you will know what they want”. That is well trodden advice, understand your customer. And there is a reason why, because it is true.
There are several ways to understand what your customer wants from the super simple, “just talk to your customer” to the extremely data intensive, PhD worthy machinations of number crunching. All of these are in the noble effort to better “Know thy Customer”.
And while there is a lot science applied to this pursuit, knowing thy customer is actually an art. Hearing what they say they want and then formulating a plan that matches up to those needs is a gift, a genuine skill. And sometimes truly understanding a customer can take a lifetime. It’s often not just one survey or round of phone calls or a week studying comments in a Facebook group.
In the meantime let creating content be your vehicle to understand your customer. Don’t wait to figure it out or be leery of putting out content because you are not sure it hits the mark.
Create content that you believe at this moment in time speaks to your customer. Put it out and see what happens. Even if there are crickets, keep doing it. It will feel fruitless, I know.
Keep putting it out there, keep promoting and keep listening. In the smallest of nooks & crannies, in the most random of places, when you are least expecting it, an answer, an idea, a breakthrough will appear. (Sounds a lot like love, huh?).
For many years I ran a jewelry design & manufacturing company (kathy lo rocks). Early on I was at a small crafts show. At the time my I was selling Sterling silver jewelry made with Japanese paper.
A browser asked if I could make a necklace with her child’s photo instead of the Japanese paper. It was late in the day and I had a made a few sales but nothing stellar. Sure, I replied. Why not. I had a color printer and I’m always game for another sale. I fulfilled that minor request and though I didn’t know it at the time, it fundamentally changed the course of my business.
That request ultimately became the foundation for the launch of a very lucrative e-commerce website offering custom photo jewelry which generated millions in revenue. (And very rude awakening, it was not as simple as firing up my color printer).
It also enabled me to gain a deep knowledge of building, running and promoting a successful online webstore. All of that learning is now the foundation of my current business, kathy lo knows.
Over time (and this leads to the second “C”) as your content finds it’s right audience, it will be easier to fine tune your content and message so that it resonates deeply with your ideal clients and customers.
Clarity is the shining light of Content. It is the fuel for your awesome content because it is the singular message that weaves through all your content. It is the idea that remains after your content has been consumed.
Sure, you can have lots of outstanding content. You can help out loads of people and offer an endless array of products and services so that everyone’s needs are fulfilled.
But what does it mean for your business? If you have boundless products and services and so many types of customers and clients your message can get quickly muddled. You make websites for one client. You help another with business planning. For another client you are a speaking coach.
You are gifted and talented so you can help everyone. However, no one knows exactly what you do. The only way you can attract customers is to meet with potential clients, understand their needs and then give the appropriate reasons why you are a good fit for their needs. This may be fun at first but over time you are not building a reputation that feeds on itself and enables satisfied customers to refer you business.
Offering so much breadth limits your business potential as well because you are not deepening your skill set or strengthening the products and services you do offer. By staying focused in a particular area you deepen your experience, develop your skills and bolster your knowledge so that you do become “the expert” in your field.
Lack of clarity also undermines your content sharing strategy. What types of blog posts do you write? What do you talk about on Periscope? What does your Instagram account showcase? What do you say in your Facebook posts?
When you can say everything sometimes you end up saying nothing.
Aim for a singular message or idea that underlies all that you offer that is clear and memorable. Attempt to say what you do in a few short sentences? Say it in a way that your customers can remember and repeat back to their friends, families and colleagues? Try to distill what you do, what you offer and at what price on a single page.
Clarity can take time to come into focus. It may take a while for you to really figure out your groove and how you talk about it. And don’t fret about it in the meantime. Use it as a goal and keep trying to hone your message.
For my jewelry business it took a customer asking for a necklace with her child’s photo for me to realize that kathy lo rocks was about creating custom keepsake jewelry. And once I realized that everything
changed skyrocketed. It was then so much easier to craft new products, develop a website and find my ideal customers. In fact, my ideal customers quickly found me and those customers referred their friends and family as well.
Keep looking for the clarity in your message because once you find it it is like gold.
Offering compelling content once is excellent. Offering it on a consistent basis is where the magic happens.
When your potential clients see your content frequently it begins to build trust, enhance credibility and reinforces a “top of mind factor”. As your customers are offered irresistible content over and over they begin to trust you and view you as an authority.
Who does websites really well? Who is a great writer? Who do you want to call for advertising help? Where do you buy really cute shoes? Where can you get a great pedicure? Your brand is the answer because they’ve heard and seen enough it times. It is what comes to mind first and they trust it.
Consistency seems so easy and doable. Just be consistent. How hard is that? Write a weekly blog post. Email your list regularly. Periscope just before bed. Pitch five guest posts per week. It’s clear, it’s concrete and task oriented.
So why is it so dang hard? Because sometimes the feedback is nil. And when that happens it doesn’t feel like it worth the effort.
You write a blog post and no one comments. Send out an email to your list and the open rate is not what you’ve heard is the industry standard. You muster the guts to hold a Periscope and no one is interacting. Your Facebook posts go unliked and unshared.
It feels like nobody’s watching. So what if you miss a day where you don’t post on Facebook or a few weeks go by without posting to your blog.
One blog post, one webinar, one periscope, a Facebook post; just because you don’t get the response you want is not a reason to give up on consistency. The truth is that someone is watching. And in aggregate all those efforts adds up to something. They add up to success.
This is where you think and act like an Olympic athlete. You get in the pool, on the track, in the gym every single day and you work; you work hard. And some workouts are awesome, you feel like a superstar. And some are miserably rotten; nothing is working and your body hurts.
Olympic athletes don’t give up after one bad workout or even a week of those. They just keep working and training and fine tuning. Because they know that winning is dependent on showing up every day and doing the hard work even when it is not fun. Even when it doesn’t seem like anything is happening.
Be the Olympian when it comes to consistency of content. Create a calendar and stick to it no matter what. Hire a coach, an accountability partner someone to make you sure you are adhering to your plan. And keep your mindset sharp and stellar so that those doubts don’t stop your from doing the work.
Business success truly is the sum of great content with a clear message offered consistently. It may take time to reach that end and feel like a master. However, if you consistently create content with an eye on clarity eventually the prize will be yours.