Suppose your small business or IT company wants to become a fisherman to catch more leads.
The motivation behind your trolling efforts is fueled by your tribes desire to access a specific type of fish called the “red-tailed salmon.”
This red-tailed salmon is few in number and difficult to catch, and the tribes-folk of your village are willing to pay a premium to get access to your fishy-treat.
You consider yourself a savvy angler (business-person), so you decide to specialize in catching and selling the elusive red-tailed salmon.
The way that your tribe has hunted this red-tailed treat has been using traditional means.
Traditional. As in ‘we’ve always done it this way.’
Your counterparts have typically cast out a wide net, attempting to haul in the red-tailed salmon with the goal of eventually selling whatever you bring in.
This traditional approach brings in a great number of random fish with minimal effort, but few of the fish caught using this ‘traditional’ wide net are the actual red-tailed salmon.
And being that this method brings in a lot of fish is why most of your fellow fishermen use it.
The downside: only a very small number will turn out to be the red-tailed salmon you are expecting.
You try a different technique.
You want to try something a bit different. You’re convinced that your fellow fisherman are doing it wrong.
They’re spending a lot of energy to get your red-tailed meal, but getting a small result. Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. (no pun intended)
Instead, you choose to research and study the red-tailed salmon until you feel you’re a subject matter expert (SME), and know the behavior of this fish like the back of your hand.
You want to know things about this fish like what do they prefer to eat, where in the river do they prefer to congregate, and what time of day are they most active? You want to understand what motivates them, repels them, and so on.
After much research, you determine that the best way to catch a red-tailed salmon is to use a bait with a very specific type of insect, head out very early morning, and cast your line into a specific location along the east shoreline.
Do your stealthy efforts reward you with an incredibly massive amount of fish?
But you are successful at landing exactly the type of fish you set out to land in the first place: the red-tailed salmon.
And you do this better than any of your competitors.
As a SME, you don’t break any sales records selling a great number of fish, but those fish you do sell fetch a premium price, and in the end your profit ends up being more per fish, considering your time and effort.
What is the concept of casting a narrow net how does it apply to your marketing?
Casting a narrow net, versus casting a broad one is called “narrow-casting.”
The first time we heard this term narrow-casting was in an interview with Avaya’s CMO, Mark Wilson .
Avaya’s CMO, Wilson, used this methodology when launching an Avaya software product, with the goal of targeting prospects in the financial vertical.
By casting a narrow net, instead of casting a wide one, this allowed Wilson and his team to focus on the more precise habits of decision makers.
Through this process, his marketing team was able to devise and execute a strategy that targets their persona throughout their day, from the forums they’re in, the newspaper’s they read at breakfast, to the elevators they rode up to their offices.
Wilson’s team carried out their highly targeted efforts for three years, and according to him, the product launch was the most successful in the company’s history.
Unlike Wilson and his Avaya team, many IT companies and small businesses take the easy way out with “spray and pray” marketing tactics.
They send out direct-mail pieces, (yuck) spend money on paid Google ads, LinkedIn ads and Facebook ad-campaigns. (1965 called and Don Draper from Mad Men wants his paid methods back)
Too many small businesses and IT firms hire outbound calling centers to fill their pipeline through disruption-based marketing. They devise one message and broadcast it to the masses.
This is lazy. This is not what Wilson and Avaya did.
Will these spray and pray tactics attract any leads? Sure.
But they will turn many prospects off as well. Many of which could have been converted into leads, or sales had they been properly approached, rather than disrupted.
The moral of this story?
Take the time to get to know your customers and prospects. Study them, like the fisherman looking to net the infamous red-tailed salmon.
Find out their struggles. Learn their pain points. Research what they read and where they go for information about their business, so you can motivate them to take action. You can find this information a few ways:
- Ask your customers.
- Talk to your sales people.
- Studying your web-analytics.
- Research your company’s sales trends.
- Research when your prospects first contacted you and ultimately became paying customers.
Be willing to research other things like:
- Was the customer acquisition after a webinar, an email, or a tradeshow?
- What types of content do your IT prospects respond to?
- What are your prospects talking about on social media?
- What forums do your small business prospects read or hang out?
Then, take this information to create personas for each of your various audiences. Make the persona’s as detailed as possible, until you can see them as a real live person sitting in front of you.
Then write your marketing content as if you are speaking one on one with that person.
Finally, deliver your content through a strategic promotional plan. Use your industry channels that you know where your customers prefer.
Provide the information your persona wants, not what you want to sell them.
Cast your line along the shoreline in the early morning when your prospects are primed and eager for the information you have to offer.
Become a trusted adviser instead of a loud megaphone.
If you use the approach above, you will be rewarded. Handsomely.
Not with massive, unfocused traffic to your website, rather rewarded with warm, highly qualified leads that are willing to buy.
If you’d like to learn more about how to cast a narrow net with your own marketing, thus acquiring profitable customers and clients through a free consultation, contact us here.