To have your authentic business be financially successful, you need to learn how to frame your offerings (products/services) in a way that is resonant with your ideal audience.
We are usually only taught 1 thing:
Speak to the pain of the client, what keeps them up at night. Frame your service as a solution to their problems.
We keep hearing about this because it works -- people do spend money to resolve pain. However, we authentic business owners don’t like to stoke people’s pain!
Thankfully, there are 6 other factors we can use to make our offerings more interesting...
First, let’s get the pain out of the way :)
This is the traditional way that copywriting and niching is taught:
Find a problem that is urgently painful for people... and is frequently experienced (ideally multiples times a week, or daily)...
...and if you can adequately show that your product is a solution to their pain, they will pay as much as they can to get rid of their pain/problem.
Many business experts teach this idea. Well-respected books that teach this include The Lean Startup and Nail it & Scale it.
“Solving pain” can also be anything that will bring convenience for the buyer, who has been doing some process in a way they feel is a pain in the butt.
It can also be acute emotional pain... like the loss of a loved one... this is why spiritual mediumship is popular: people want to connect with loved ones who have passed on. Several of my own clients are spiritual mediums: Jeannette Hill and Britta Grubin.
People are much more likely to pay for acute pains rather than chronic pains because they’ve often gotten used to such ongoing pain, unfortunately. This is why so many marketers teach you to remind your potential clients of their pain.
Thankfully, this is not the only way to frame your offering. There are at least 6 other ways to motivate buyers.
People don’t just buy to solve pains and problems. They sometimes buy because they crave the enjoyment of the product or service.
Fun and Exciting Experiences:
Shows e.g. concerts, theater
Body work such as Massage and other forms of therapeutic touch.
Food and restaurants
Drinks and bars
Delighting in others’ Pleasure:
Gifts that thrill a loved one
Buying services/products offered by friends
(Such purchases are often combined with the factor of “Persona” i.e. “I’m the kind of spouse / parent / friend that would do this.”)
You can build in the Pleasure element in your services by bringing better graphic design or entertainment value or more friendly customer service to the delivery of your product or service.
When someone is passionate about a hobby or topic of study, and they’ve been working on it lately, they will likely be interested to spend money to learn or experience more of their passion.
This is why people take course after course… buy book after book... on some esoteric topics that isn't solving a pain, or isn't pleasure-based. Spiritual development is an example.
However, to sell someone on their passion usually requires a combination with one or more of the other 6 factors... otherwise if they discover Youtube or how to search the Internet it's "all you can eat" for free!
For example, if they feel overwhelmed with where to start, or what they should do next on their passion journey, then you can be solving their emotional pain by selling them a well-packaged, organized, step by step way to experience their passion, if they believe it’s the right steps.
Generous content marketing is helpful especially for passion-based businesses. Through content, you can become one of the key sources of trusted free information for your audience’s passion, and help them understand the map of the journey.
If they trust you, and your products/services are better than what they can easily find for free, they will buy it.
People often buy because they see other people buying something. This factor is also known as “social proof”.
There are two categories where proof matters to someone (1) people who are similar to them and (2) people they trust.
3 of my friends, who I think are similar to me, and whom I trust, all highly recommended the 10-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat, so I went, even though I’ve tried sitting meditation before and never have found it helpful. I went to the retreat because of social proof. Result? It was painful! I won't be doing it again… and now I trust those friends’ recommendations less :)
Several other friends highly recommended the Optimum Health Institute (a raw vegan immersion experience) so I took my wife there for a week.
Both of these are examples of my buying decisions based on the recommendations of people I trust, whom I believed were similar to me.
"I'm the kind of person who buys this stuff, does this stuff."
This is partly what got me to go to the above experiences...
"I'm a serious spiritual person, and therefore I should go and try out the 10-day meditation retreat."
"I'm a person who cares deeply about personal and planetary health, so I should go do the health retreat."
In your marekting, can you describe the type of person who would buy your service or product? If you can describe them well, and combine it with social proof, i.e. testimonials of people who are similar to them, you’ll have a potent offer.
This is of course one of the main factors we buy -- or don’t.
When we feel like we’re getting such a good deal, we’re likely to buy something we’re merely interested in, even if it doesn’t solve a big pain, or isn’t super pleasurable, or isn’t our passion.
I'm using various services on Fiverr for this reason... I’m merely interested, and yet Fiverr's low pricing makes it so easy to say yes!
This is why I recommend pricing your services as LOW as you can if you need clients... price it low, but not so low you'd be resentful... and then raise the price a bit every time you start getting a waiting list. Over time, you can raise your rates very reasonably this way.
This is the holy grail of an authentic business. The aim is to build an audience that believes in you, and trusts you so much, that they're willing to buy whatever you are selling... even if they don't really get it.
They buy it because they want to be in your presence.
How do we get to this kind of business?
It is to have built trust with your audience over time, truly delivering value to them, again and again, showing that you care.
In other words, you do this through Authentic Content Marketing and Netcaring.
My business has gotten to this level to some degree. Even though it's the hardest of my courses to sell, Joyful Productivity has already sold 70 this year (not counting my current clients who get in for free.)
I'm sure some of my buyers don't really "get" why productivity is important or they might even be slightly turned off by it... but they're joining the course because they trust me and want to spend time in my community. When I tell them that it's my favorite topic to teach (and it truly is!), they say "oh heck, I guess I'll give it a try... I like George's classes and his people, even if this topic sounds weird."
If your product or service is not selling, it’s very likely that it is weak in all 7 of the above areas.
If you improve even just two or three of these factors in your offer, it will likely do better. The stronger these factors are in your offer, the more sales you’ll have.
An interesting way to understand this better is to look at which services or programs you’ve spent the most money on over the past few years. Which of the 7 factors sold you?
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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