How we learned to sell more the hard way
When we started our first company (an online music academy), we believed we had two benefits: first, we thought we could sell worldwide (the Internet is everywhere, right?), and second, we thought we could sell to everybody because it was music (who doesn't like music, right?). Well, we couldn't have been more wrong.
After a lot of effort, time and money (and just a few users), we were frustrated and broke. We tried selling music courses everywhere, but we realized that not everybody was as excited as we were with the business. Some people were really interested, and we thought they would have something in common with us. But after some trial and error, we weren't that sure.
One day, we found out that registered users were mostly teenagers, and at first, we thought they should be our target persona. The results were so frustrating. The main reason was that teenagers didn't have the ability to pay online, but their parents did. So we found out that parents were very happy to give a subscription to our website as a gift for their kids.
We decided that it was time to set up a precise target persona for our company based on that experience, so we wrote down the following characteristics for that goal:
- Middle-aged parents with teenagers
- Internet access at home (not everyone has this)
- Medium to high levels of income
- Spanish speakers (the site was in Spanish)
- Worried about children’s education
- Like to learn music (not everybody likes this)
Once you define a target, selling becomes much easier. We started making campaigns in parents’ meetings at schools, and then we defined a more effective audience for our online advertising. Sales increased like crazy (and we were becoming really famous in schools).
Most new businesses start offering services and products thinking everyone will buy their stuff. The reality is that not everyone is a possible target and not everyone will buy everything. The effort, time and money you need to achieve that is astronomic and, quite frankly, naive! You need
a differential factor and a defined target. A question that you have to answer while creating a business is "to whom should I sell?"
The more you get to know the habits, ages, likes, dislikes, favorite places, and everything you can think of about your client, the better the advertising campaigns you can create to call their attention. After you have satisfied a determined market, you can reach new ones. Always compiling clear and precise information about your possible customers will save you tons of time, money and resources.