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What it means to really know who your customers are

One of the people I learned so much about marketing and about writing copy from, is Claude C. Hopkins.  Hopkins was one of the pioneers of direct-marketing in the early 1900’s, and was earning $185,000 a year in 1915, which is over $4.2 million bucks, adjusted for inflation in today’s dollars.

Hopkins’s success was attributable to a few specific things:

1.  His ability to relate to the common man.  He came from very humble beginnings and he never lost his ability to tap into these feelings and sensibilities.

And by the way, even if you’re selling to affluent genuises, you may not think so, but you’re still dealing with the common man.  We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we all have the same hopes and dreams, regardless of social status.

2.  He understood you had to give before asking for something in return.  In Hopkins case, he dealt with lots of consumer products and he was a big proponent of sampling.

3.  He measured his results and adjusted things like headlines, offers, and appeals, on a regular basis.

But one of the most important things I learned from Hopkins, is the value of targeting ONLY your customer.  See, most people write ads that try and appeal to everyone. They are under the mistaken impression “everyone” wants to buy what they’re selling.

However, nothing can be further from the truth.  You see, “everyone” is not your customer.  Your customers are very specific people with unique wants, based on their particular circumstances.

The more you match your marketing messages to your customers as individuals, the more money you will make, simple as that.  Just the same way your goods and services cater to individuals with a particular set of circumstances, so should your marketing messages.

Instead of selling to “everyone,” create specific appeals that address the needs of the individual segments of your marketplace.  For instance, look at your core buyers and segment them out.  Chances are great you’ll find niched segments in there.  Segments like busy executives, luxury homeowners, women re-entering the work force, people who are single or married, families who like to travel to the Caribbean, and the elderly.

When your marketing speaks to your customer’s specific needs, you will sell much more, and you’ll be able to charge top-dollar for your goods and services.  This holds true regardless of what you’re selling, from back rubs to healthcare to cupcakes.

As Hopkins said, “When you advertise, your product will interest certain people only.  You care only for those people.  Create your advertisements for those people only.”

Bottom line is, when you niche your business AND your marketing messages, you will suddenly discover where the money’s been hiding all along.

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