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Tools of the trade

It’s obvious that different professions have different tools to accomplish their trade, and we expect professionals to know which tool to use to achieve the right results. Generally we can say that a gardener uses a different set of tools to a brain surgeon, and we might get worried if they swapped tools and continued doing their day job!

In business there are a bunch of very standardized tools that are recognized across most sectors. We all know Powerpoint, Word, and Excel, or different variants of these. Most people have also become aware and able to use social media to communicate their message, and know that it’s no use simply having a brilliant idea if no-one knows about it. So how do you use the available tools within platforms to reach people?

Define your audience

Well the starting point has to a definition of ‘people’. That is, who the heck do you want to reach? Please don’t tell me ‘the whole wide world’, because that will never happen, and even if it did, it would quickly become a curse rather than a blessing. Believe me, you do not want to dialog with the whole world! Your product or service will never appeal to everyone, which should be absolutely clear from the get go: Someone who is in the market for a secondhand bicycle will not be seriously attracted to your offering of a luxury car, and vice versa.

Sharing the love…

The problem for many startups is that they are in love with their offering. The Founders believe it to be the most beautiful thing ever, and want to share it with the world, not realizing that 99.9% of ‘the world’ will not be interested. Startups need to get real, to understand that while 99.9% of people will not be interested, 0.1% could be. It’s that small percentage that startups need to concentrate on. In fact, the deeper you dive, the more you understand that the actual number truly attracted to your offering is a small percentage of the small percentage. Do not despair, this is a very good thing!
What this means is a very niche audience, which means you must become niche too, or even niche-of-niche.

Examining the toolset

Which brings me to the tools of the trade. Of course you will have a website, and it must not be just any website, but one which ‘sings’. It has to work super-smoothly and be expertly produced – error free and with a great design. Is that the end of it? No, of course not, because within your website you can embed pop-ups and a squeeze page which exists to capture information for follow-up marketing. From that initial touch of interest from your audience, you can use the available tools to tell how long an individual visited your site, which items captured their interest, and for what duration. Did they flip back through your pages, as if to confirm what you were telling them? The available data informs you about their degree of potential engagement. Did the visitor click on your videos, and if so, did they stay to the end? Let’s say that out of 100 visits, the large majority simply dipped in and dipped out of your site – are those the people you’re going to try hard to dialog with? – Of course not! The people to really concentrate on are those that have demonstrated a deeper interest in what you have to say.

Cranking up the dialog

Using entry and exit pop-ups can greatly strengthen the process of getting to know your potential audience. Now it’s true that people sometimes find these invitations a little annoying, but if you tailor them well, and truly offer something of value, then you’re likely to get positive responses. The kind of response you’re seeking is, ‘Yes, please send me your free guide to XYZ’. From that moment you have an email address for your prospect, and can start a dialog with them.

This principal applies across every online process that you will be involved in, because every online platform you ever use contains sophisticated tools for getting to know the people who are expressing an interest in you, whether it’s called ‘following’ or ‘liking’, or any other terms used across the web. Every expression of interest in you is a data point, which means you can select the appropriate tools available on a particular platform and immediately deep-dive to get absolutely specific information about your audience. This applies to marketing, sales and - my own specialty, assisting startups to find their ideal investors.

Use it or lose it

In my 6 Steps Coaching Program I teach entrepreneurs about this wealth of available data, and how to use the precise tools to access that data. It’s not so difficult, but it does require dedication, and repeating the exercise as a regular part of daily business practice. Like any other profession really: We expect the car mechanic to be equipped with the correct tools and know how to use them, on a regular basis. We expect our doctor to be dedicated to keeping us well with exactly the right treatment. Why should we be any less professional in our approach to mining the rich data available to us online entrepreneurs, using the excellent free toolsets that are available? – As coaches in physical training say, ‘Use it, or lose it.’


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