Digital Marketing Certified – Chapter 2 – The Person(s)

Exactly who are you trying to serve leveraging digital marketing?  I know you want to make more money.  But where is this money coming from?

Money comes from only one place.  It doesn’t fall from the sky.  We do not pluck it from a tree.  It comes from other people.  The money you are going to make comes from other people right?

In the previous chapter we talked about setting goals; smart goals to be precise.  We also talked about why the desire to help someone is not enough to run a successful digital marketing campaign.  

It definitely is not enough to “want” to be an entrepreneur. I also want to be Elon Musk within the next 24 hours.  It’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen right?

So the  act of “wanting something” is not enough, you will increase your chances of success when you set specific, meaningful, measurable and achievable goals.

We also talked about the differences between setting goals at micro and macro levels of the experience for your prospects, customers, clients, partners and whatever your audience is. 

And I gave you actionable steps and real life examples of goal statements. That exercise was necessary because it represents the foundation of your journey in your digital marketing endeavors.  

You will encounter multiple layers of variables that can turn to very complex problems that can potentially include losing serious money and worse; time and energy.

So it’s important to always reference that chapter if you ever feel lost in your business with regards to marketing and promotion in a digital age.

As a typical human being, you will get in over your head and lose focus at some point.  It’s inevitable.  But you can always trace your step backwards as far as to your original smart goal when necessary.  I promise.  It will happen.

In this chapter, we are going to talk about the person and not the people.  I know I just said money comes from people.  But if you don’t understand these people at a person by person level, you will miss it completely.  Hence this lesson presented as a full blown chapter.

In December 2004 during my first encounter with real estate, I was so excited that I dropped a private class I was taking in mobile application development.  Those were the days when you couldn’t watch long videos in the palm of your hands on the go.  

We were learning coding, programming and simulating everything you know today as your smart phone in virtual environments.  It was also my senior year studying Computer Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

A friend of mine, (his real name starts with an ‘F’ but I will call him Jason)… He had informed me about a real estate home buying seminar in East Orange, New Jersey  which he never showed up to.  But I was sucked into real estate for life.  It hit home for me.  

Wow.  I could just leverage mortgages to become a landlord who collects money month in and month out. So I started going on appointments to look at every house listed on the market starting with one house in Belleville… even though my credit score would have put me in a terrible position of high interest rate at the time. 

The mortgage officer at the seminar had told me that my “500 and change” credit score will get me a property and I would become a landlord in a few weeks.  A few weeks later, I stumbled into a late night infomercial and before I knew it, I ended up at another seminar which cost $3,000 that I didn’t have.  

My friend Jason had agreed to partner up with me leveraging his credit card in exchange for paying it back in a few weeks with interest.  Again, Jason did not show up but I was so excited that I could never forget that generosity as a foundation to what I am sharing with you today.

If he had shown up, I would have ended up on the wrong path which involved just any house without proper assessment.  But what do I mean by assessment?

You see… Jason had agreed to partner up to buy a bunch of houses with me but not having easy access to buying by myself led me down the route of learning marketing properly.  At first, it was about real estate right?

What I learned eventually is that it wasn’t about houses and real estate per se.  It was more-so about finding deals and creating a profitable path starting from the beginning.

And that wasn’t the end of it.  Profitable deals are sourced from real people’s stories and real life problems.

The common denominator in all of that and across multiple types of businesses is people, the endless questions they have in life and the inevitable problems they face in the pursuit of happiness.  And in order to understand your market at a basic and foundational level, it’s wiser to understand “the person”.

So in the rest of this book, we may call it your market, your audience, the people, the avatar or the person.  Who is the ideal person that your product, service or offer is designed for?  

This person has a problem, a question or void and the value that your business brings is designed to fill that void.

The biggest mistake that the losers of digital marketing are making today is the assumption that everyone is their ideal customer.  As soon as you post something on social media, you are asked to boost it with $10 in ad spend.  And after spending that $10, it’s crickets.

Of course anyone can become a connection to an ideal client for your business, but it’s not wise to throw time, energy and money at everyone’s attention without proper market research and analysis.  You will lose money.

market research and analysis

There are two parts to market research and analysis which are absolutely necessary if you are going to spend your hard earned resources on digital marketing.  The first part is about determining the market size.  The second part is to realistically figure out how much of that market share you can cover; competition analysis.

It’s very likely that you are not the first to offer the solution that your product and services offer right?  And if you are the first, that is not necessarily a smart move; you better know what you are doing.

Many times, I hear aspiring entrepreneurs proudly boast about being the first to do something.  Listen.  It’s most likely that you will not be Bill Gate or Elon Musk.  These are historical “firsts” of tools that we all enjoy today but this kind of entrepreneurs come but once in a lifetime.

So let’s be realistic.  Your product, service, offer and/or business have direct and indirect competition.  That means you are not going to be able to capture 100% of the market share.  

The market is going to have segments that are highly competitive and other segments with low competition.  The low competition segments tend to also have a lower percentage of the market share.

But the real question is this.  Is there a market?  Is there a “person” who has a direct or indirect need for the solution that your business offers? If there is, how many persons can we realistically identify?  

Last but not least, is there any other business or anyone else already providing a similar or indirect solution to these people’s problems?

These are the questions that must be answered before you try to set up a digital marketing campaign in order to avoid losing money or worse; time and energy.

Let’s make it clear.

  1. Market Size
  2. Competition Analysis

 When you determine the size of the market first, you are able to decide from the beginning if a market or business is worth going after or not.  If you don’t, you may just be moving off your own passion-driven biases.  As a human being, you naturally gravitate toward certain types of businesses for different reasons.

Maybe a friend of yours seems to be enjoying a business model and the reality is that you truly do not know the intricacies of what it takes to be in that business successfully or to look like success on the outside.

 You don’t know what you do not know.  Many businesses are laundromats and many people will take Peter’s money to pay Paul just to look like success on the outside.   And many do that as a strategy of hope.  Hope is a terrible marketing and business strategy.

So instead of operating your marketing from a place of hope down the line, you are able to assess the market size and see upfront if it’s worth going into a particular business or not.  

The same is applicable at the microlevel of a business.  You may be considering opening a different department.  It’s going to cost you time, energy, money and other types of resources.  Before engaging those resources, determine the market size and do a competition analysis.

You may identify some risk and you may just identify an opportunity bigger than what you envisaged.  The benefits of doing this assessment is much more than avoiding a negative risk.  It’s just a profitable habit to get into overall as an existing or aspiring entrepreneur.

To perform market research and competition analysis, there are simple, fun, free and paid tools available.  But they are useless if you don’t even know what you are looking for.  The most popular of them is the almighty search engine; Google.

At press time, Google is the biggest and most popular search engine that we all run to when we have a question.  Dare I say, almost all research starts from Google including medical research by a medical doctor who may be getting ready to put an incision in you or your children’s body.

I know that’s scary right?  But that’s the reality.  I don’t know when you are reading this book and I don’t know tomorrow.  Hopefully, I will continue to get the opportunity to update and offer new versions as we evolve into an ever evolving digital world.

So maybe the hottest search engine when you are reading this won’t be Google but it will always be some kind of search Engine.  As humans, we are always searching, asking and creating new problems to solve.  If you understand this, you will always be in business successfully.

Whatever your biggest and most popular search engine is will be your number one market research and analysis tool.  Not the only one but always a great place to start from.

 You can start by searching a seed keyword or keyword phrase on the search engine.  What you will discover is the beginning of a journey through a rabbit hole with lots of useful information that will fuel your present level of excitement about the business you are trying to initiate.

This information will be grouped into a group of seven different categories listed as follows or similar.

search engine

Category Number 1: Observe the top 10 results generated by the search engine result page also known as the SERPS.  Open each one of the results and see how your competitors are already offering solutions to your market.  Also, determine how many pages are offering results already.

Category Number 2:  Observe the top 10 automatically suggested searches by the search box.  You may notice that as you are typing your seed keyword or keyword phrase, the search area is also auto-suggesting and attempting to populate the area ahead of you.  

Take note of the different phrases from the artificial intelligence of the search engine.  Each one of these is likely an additional opportunity for you to serve and make more money.

Category Number 3: Observe the People also ask” section of the SERP. You will see the question that other people similar to people who search your seed keyword or keyword phrase are searching on the search engine.  These are additional opportunities that most people engaging in digital marketing are not taking advantage of.

Category Number 4: If you are trying this on a smart mobile phone, I want you to observe the “People also search for” section for more ideas on angles to serve this market from.  

Quick question.  How many people advertising online today would you guess are patient enough to do this much market research before wasting thousands of dollars on digital marketing?

Category Number 5:  There is another section which may not show on every device called the “Refine This Search” section.  You should pay attention to it.  This is the machine attempting to help your audience narrow down their search faster and easier to the answer.

The machines don’t create these answers from thin air.  These are answers from your competitors being fed to a person who is potentially an ideal client of yours.  When they are ready to spend money, guess whose pocket that money is going into.  Your guess is as good as mine. 

Category Number 6:  Sometimes, your seed keyword or keyword phrase is too narrow for the search engines to find meaningful results and it can tell because of the growing machine learning and artificial intelligence technology.

So there is a section mostly on smart mobile phones called “Broaden This Search” on the SERP.  This section will give additional ideas of exactly what is in the mind of that person that potentially and possibly-desperately needs your service.

Category Number 7: This section is probably the one you are familiar with if you also use Google to answer every question that comes to mind like me.  It’s called the “Related Searches” section and it’s usually at the bottom of the screen if you are on a desktop.  

If this section is populated, it’s an indicator that there is a market for the business you have in mind.

This is what I want you to do.  I want you to come up with a seed keyword phrase for your business using this formula.  The phrase will start with one of seven different types of phrases.

  1. “I want to…”
  2. “How to…”
  3. “How do I”
  4. “How can I…”
  5. “What is…”
  6. “Where is the nearest…”
  7. “Where is the closest…”

I want you to end each one of those phrases with a phrase that represents what your business offers.

For example, my digital marketing consulting business market research would start with “I want to market my business on Google.”  Another example could be “where is the nearest digital marketing consultant?” 

Come up with 100 different phrases like that for your business and attempt to search each one of them on your favorite search engine like Google, Yahoo or YouTube which is the 2nd biggest search engine at press time.

The top of the search engine result page will actually tell you how many results are generated.  That’s a starting indicator of how many pages are competing for the attention of your ideal person, audience, market, customer or client.

After this exercise, you would have gotten to know that “person” a little more.  And that means you are better equipped to serve the person a little bit more than your average competitor.  It’s a competitive advantage at worst.

  Most people are going to shy away from this exercise and that increases your chances of dominating your market and leaving scraps for the rest.

These persons that your business will serve are in two different categories.  They are probably searching for a solution already and secondly, they are already following your competitor.

Market research and competition analysis gives you an opportunity to find out where they are spending their time with that smart device in their hands and legally stealing them from your competitors.

The first category is called the intent based market audience and the second category is called the interrupt market audience.  Let’s quickly break it down.

intent based market audience

The intent based market audience is actively in the middle of intentionally searching and looking for a solution that your business provides.

On the flip-side, the interrupt-based market audience is not actively searching for a solution but we’ve been able to track their activities online and determine their interest based on their online behavior.

In that case, they would be interrupted in the middle of other unrelated activities online in order to get into their discovery zone. The journey of your ideal “person(s)” travels through four main stages namely:

  1. Discovery
  2. Awareness
  3. Consideration and…
  4. Conversion

In chapter 3, we will be diving through “value”, how to identify it and leverage it to create a smooth transition for your person(s), the market, from discovery all the way through conversion into a customer and long term client and even beyond.

In fact, with this same concept, you will be able to turn a decent percentage of your best clients to loyal evangelists for your business therefore creating even more revenue; all thanks to value.