If you’re an entrepreneur, then I’m sure you’ve had the following phrases barked at you before:
“You need to focus!”
“If you try to Market to everybody you’ll end up with nobody!”
“You need to find your niche!”
“Stay in your lane!”
LIES! LIES! LIES! Straight LIES! Well… sorta…
If you’re a speaker, coach, author, or any other category of helper of people, then you have heard the above statements, and they probably disappointed and frustrated you a bit. However, those statements came out of the mouth of some entrepreneurial ‘guru’, so you took their advice and shut down your dream of helping the masses and started to force yourself into a niche. In this article, it is my intention to give you inspiration to follow your passion of helping ALL of the people your soul desires to help!
Target Marketing is Obviously a Thing
You should always be thinking of how you can market most effectively and who your message is best suited for. Knowing who is most likely to purchase your product or service or who is most likely to benefit from your message is also wise. However, carving out your specific niche — while being a good idea — is HIGHLY OVERRATED.
That said, the science and results which support target Marketing are out there. I don’t deny that there is no shortage of success stories of people in their niches. There is also no shortage of gurus discouraging individuals like you from their hopes and dreams of helping the masses by telling you to “focus”.
Keep focus in the back of your mind as something that is ‘a good idea’ but certainly not the ‘only idea’. It’s as if these ‘gurus’ are tricking you into thinking that if you simply “find your niche” that you’ll be successful. That’s hogwash.
No Guru Needed
If you are a school teacher and you want to speak to school teachers, you will find naturally that you end up speaking to/coaching school teachers or people in the education field.
It makes sense that if you are going to be marketing snow boots that you’d be best to market them in Alaska as opposed to Florida. And if you were marketing for your bathing suit business you would be best to market them in Florida as opposed to Alaska. If you are an erotic novel writer, you’d be best not to focus your marketing efforts to elementary schools. And you’re definitely wasting your time giving your Rolls Royce sales pitch to a homeless person. You don’t need a guru to tell you that! But aside from these swooping and extreme generalizations, you can do what you wish to do!
If you are in the speaker/coach category, then you are more like a seller of blue jeans, and you can market where you wish! You may find that you have more success here or there, but don’t be afraid to market in Alaska or Florida for you can find blue jean wearers anywhere. Bottom line: do what your heart tells you to do. If you desire to speak and coach a certain group, then do that.
The 5 Reasons to Market to Everyone
Here are 5 good reasons to pursue your dream as you so desire! Follow your heart. If something isn’t working for you, or if your intuition tells you to make a different move, then meditate on it (pray if you’re spiritual/religious), and go about your merry way! You’ll be glad you did!
1. You Don’t Have a Crystal Ball — And because you don’t have one you don’t know what will and won’t work and who will and won’t buy with 100% certainty. My suggestion: work hard, flow like water, operate with faith and purpose, and you’ll get the audience and customers you desire to have.
On this same point, some people may not be a direct customer but a person who refers you to someone who needs your service. Take myself for example, I’m a veterinarian and a motivational speaker. My message is a universal one: Discover and pursue your dreams, and you will make the most of yourself and ultimately be an inspiration to those around you. I can very easily tailor that message to the veterinary profession, and I can also tailor it for the general public. Therefore, I market to veterinary schools/hospitals AND I reach out to non-veterinary business organizations! Sometimes, the non-vet audiences don’t need my services, but they’ll recommend me to other businesses who may be interested! Or maybe they have a friend or family member who is in the vet profession, or maybe they have a dog and ask me why their dog sometimes vomits a small amount of clearish-yellow foam and then re-eats it minutes later. LOL! The point is that you don’t have a crystal ball so you don’t really know what’s going to work or not. So be bold, and don’t be afraid to offer your services to the general public!
2. Marketing to the General Public Develops Grit — Odds are, you will start out slowly by trying to help everyone, which means you’ll be forced to go back to the drawing board and do more critical thinking about your message and how it benefits the general public. Most beginning entrepreneurs (coaches, speakers, authors) spend MONTHS trying to figure out who their audience is BEFORE they launch, and after months of planning, they finally launch and realize that they were wrong. Thinking critically out of the gate is a good idea but can also turn out to be a huge waste of time. That was certainly my experience. It’s a part of the learning process to start and fail. If you’ve read enough business biographies, almost all of the highly successful people have tried and failed. My experience tells me that you can be in the right field or niche and still be failing; whereas someone in the wrong niche can succeed because they know what they are doing. They know how to articulate value.
Also, I have met so many coaches/speakers/authors who haven’t read the first sales book. They know nothing about the profession they are in. They think they are in the coaching/speaking/writing business, but in actuality, they are in the sales business. With that being said, how many sales books have you read? How much sales training have you had? Have you noticed how many of the great motivational speakers (Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, etc) have also written books about selling? Why do you think that is so?
If you haven’t started learning the profession of selling, then I suggest you check out my radio show “Sell to Excel” where I teach people like you how to get your way in life and in business through mastering the art and science of selling. Whether you are a novice at selling or a sales guru, I’m sure you’ll find value in the show.
Furthermore, if you can sell a horror novel to someone not interested in that field, then you’ll know that you’re going to be golden in terms of business! Besides, what if they end up loving horror stories?!?! And if you’re truly a lover of horror stories, then you should be able to provide your non-horror preferring readers with a plethora of reasons to enjoy your books! Worst case, you should be able to sell yourself and your dream (or the book as a doorstop).
3. You Are Limiting Yourself by Niche Marketing — I have family members that hunt rabbits. They hunt them in the wild, which takes true skill because they don’t know exactly where the rabbits are, which makes it more fun and fair for the rabbits! However, I learned years ago that there are these things called ‘hunting reserves’. My family refuses to hunt on them. On these reserves (large areas of land where animals live “safely”) there are tons of rabbits (or whatever wild game you’re hunting), and finding a rabbit is a lot easier than finding one in the wild (because you know with certainty that they are in there in abundant number). Therefore, the hunters that go to the reserves may have more luck and bring home more rabbits at the end of the day, but they remain unskilled because they took the easy road. My family, however, will be good whether there is a reserve or just the wild. Furthermore, the reserves are likely saturated with lazy/greedy hunters.
This is very similar to niche marketing and selling. After talking to many coaches/speakers, there is an underlying fear of their niche market being saturated already, so they become afraid of moving forward and have to regroup and try to come up with a different niche to market to.
In other words, don’t limit yourself to trying to find easy pickings. You can dabble in both niche and general public marketing if that’s what you want to do! By focusing on the general public, you will absolutely be forced into creative thinking, which will prove very beneficial to you in the long run! There is abundant opportunity, and whether you are focusing on the general public or a niche, your creativity will be a true asset.
4. Being the ‘Everybody Helper’ Makes You Unique! Nowadays, everyone is just copying everyone else — Earl Nightingale said that the opposite of courage isn’t being a coward; it’s conformity. In 2018, to say that your product, service, or message is for everyone would make you the outlier. Every marketing coach and guru is telling people like you NOT to market to everyone. To market to everyone is the new ‘going against the grain’. I see this as an amazing opportunity! If you make that formula work, then you will BE the guru for all the thousands of speakers and coaches that feel trapped by their niches.
Think about it: If you learn how to sell to the general public, you can prove all of the gurus wrong! More importantly than proving them wrong, however, is the fact that you’ll be pursuing your soul’s mission of helping people — whoever and however many that may be!
I challenge you to stand out and go against the grain. Do what YOU desire to do, not what I suggest you do or what any of the gurus suggest you do!
5. Being Forced to Find a Niche is Stressful (Unless You Want to) — If your goal is to help everyone, then you will be stressing yourself trying to figure out how to target only a specific group of individuals. Even though what you should be doing is trying to figure out how to do what you want to do! Even the world’s largest and most profitable religion (Christianity 2.1 Billion people) doesn’t carve out a limited group of people… the carpenter from the plains of galilee did NOT target anyone. Why should he have targeted a specific group when everyone can benefit from his message?
More importantly, marketing to the general public can be done! Your goal should be to provide more in use value than you are asking of your customers in cash value — very simple. Example: if I’m selling jet-skis, then why shouldn’t I offer them to people who are afraid of water (not talking full-blown phobia here)? Your goal as a salesman (ie. speaker, coach, author) is to offer VALUE. The problem isn’t that they are afraid of jet-skis. They are AFRAID of water. AFRAID=FEAR. FEAR=NEGATIVE character trait. So I’d feel compelled to at least discuss with them their fear of water and how it is probably hindering them from so many of life’s awesome opportunities and experiences. Therefore, I’d love to help them dig deeper into where that fear is coming from. I’d love to show them how their fear of water may be holding them back from fun in the sun and beautiful sceneries and destinations! Perhaps their fear of water is because their parents told them that water is dangerous and will kill you if you fall in it (which is true…. IF YOU CAN’T SWIM!!!). Perhaps they believed their parents and have an unjustified fear of water. So now, I’m not only helping them with their fear, but I’m also helping them to discover that everything they learned as a kid might not be true. I’m providing them with insight. I’m providing them with a high-quality jet-ski. I’m helping them to explore new landscapes! I’m also going to be referring them to my local friend who gives amazing swimming lessons. And before they check out, I will have shown them our line of water safety gear (goggles, life jackets, etc). In this example, I have just given them far more in use value than the few thousand I asked for in cash value, wouldn’t you agree?
Doing what you want to do is a very NON-stressful feeling and will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you did what you believed in. As coaches, speakers, and authors we have to frequently help people see and believe in something that they don’t even know exists. We have the duty of helping society to see the world not as it is but as it could be. That will provide us with the satisfaction and stress-free existence that we desire to have and show others.
In summary, if your product, service, or message can help everybody, then don’t be afraid to say that. You may have to find a way to creatively articulate that. For example, I have a friend who has a tutoring business. He obviously can’t cater to elementary school students AND college students, right? According to the target marketing gurus he can’t. However, his services CAN help both populations of students, so why should he limit himself? The answer is HE SHOULDN’T!!! So instead, he came up with a tagline/slogan of “From ABC’s to SATs, we have the tutoring services you need” or something like that, and he is having massive success.
Again, I challenge you to do the same! If you’re an, entrepreneur, speaker, coach, or self-help author, then your message is likely something like, “Pursue your Dreams. Believe in Yourself. Have Faith. Find purpose. Etc.” So follow your OWN message and do what you desire to do! Don’t allow fear instilled by gurus to push you into a corner that you don’t desire to be in! So pursue your dreams! Have Faith! Believe in Yourself! And most importantly, Follow your Purpose!
5 Reasons Marketing and Selling to EVERYONE is a Great Idea for Beginning Entrepreneurs was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.