It’s an unusual question, I know, but it’s worth asking. If your business isn’t interesting, why would someone purchase your product or service? Why would someone follow your pages on social media? Why would someone care about your business?
If you’re the owner of your business, you can almost certainly think of answers to these questions. You know all of the ins and outs of every part of your company, from start to finish. The story of your business is linked to your own story, so of course it will be interesting to you. However, you need the interest of the people who will actually become your customers and ambassadors to make your company successful.
This isn’t a question of whether or not you produce good results for your customers, or if your content is engaging. This is a question that is meant to help you look at your company from your ideal customers’ perspective, and see if they would find your business worth paying attention to.
To better understand how to answer this question, here are some other questions that could help to put things into perspective.
Who Should Find Your Business Interesting?
Your answer to this question is extremely important; it informs how you go about almost every aspect of your business. Keeping in mind who you are trying to serve will give you perspective on your strategy, your marketing, your product/service offerings, your pricing, and everything in between.
However, imagining who you’d like to take advantage of what you have to offer is easy. Of course, you’d love to have just about everyone buy it! The problem: when you try to reach just about everyone, you’ll usually end up reaching just about no one. Appealing to the masses, the smallest common denominator, might make your business slightly interesting to more people, but that’s not what drives sales.
Instead, look for a very small group of people who will find your business extremely interesting. These are the people who have a specific need that isn’t being met fully; the people who will say, “yes, that’s exactly what I need!”, when they see what you offer. All you have to do is make sure that they don’t have to question whether this is meant for them or not once they find you.
This is the concept of the minimum viable audience (MVA) that is so important. Basically, if you could narrow down your target market to the smallest possible group of people, who would they be? Look for how you can become laser-focused on the group of people with the problem that your business solves the best, the group of people that feel the most at-home when they make use of what you offer.
Can Customers See the “Why”?
In his book, Start with Why, business author and speaker Simon Sinek says: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
I would expand on this by saying that we often make purchases based on what a company does, without ever considering the why. We stop at gas stations on road trips because they are convenient; we drive through fast food restaurants because they’re cheap and fast. We often have a preference for certain brands in these spaces, but these are often rooted in experience and trust, with still no consideration for the why.
However, we’re very unlikely to become ambassadors for these brands. Convenience, reliability, and good value are good foundations for trust, but rarely will these alone be enough to create the kind of connection that makes us excited about a brand. For this to happen, we need to go beyond trust: we need to know the “why”.
When first interacting with a business, customers will start with a basic understanding that the purpose of the company is to provide the products or services, and make money as a result. Every business owner that I know is more than happy to tell anyone who asks all about why they’re in business, and give far deeper meaning to the interaction than just profit. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t have the luxury of telling every potential customer all about this.
This is why it’s so important that the “why” of your business is visible. To give customers a reason to develop a relationship that goes beyond trust, they need to see more of what your business is really about. Or, perhaps, who.
Is Your Business Human?
In Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer (one of my favorite books on marketing), he argues that branding used to be accomplished by putting consistent, high-quality ads in front of people regularly. In other words, the company itself was almost entirely in control of its own brand.
However, this is no longer the case. Thanks to social media, consumers have more of a platform to voice their own opinions than ever before, which has resulted in companies having less control over the public perception of their brand.
How do companies respond? The typical, incorrect response is to try to hold on to the little bit of control that they still have left, as it continues slipping away. Or, as Mark contends in his book, embrace the fact that this change is forcing brands to become human.
What does it mean to be a human brand? Simply put, a human business is one that doesn’t try to keep their brand and their customers separate. Instead, they invite opportunities to include their customers, real people, in the process of building their brand. As Mark puts it, “An accumulation of human impressions drives the brand. In the end, the most human company wins.”
If you want your business to be more interesting, why not bring on someone who does it for a living? Take a look at my services page, and feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or interest!