A client of mine recently shared a common problem. “My blog posts are amazing,” she said, “but they’re just not selling anything.” The problem was deceptively simple. My client has a business selling local services in and around London. A lot of people face the same issue when they sell locally based products and services, that can only be obtained in a particular area or region. It comes down to the fact that it’s difficult for you to find your tribe when you run a local business. And even when you successfully pull it off, there are a limited number of them.
My client has a lot of followers on her social media, so her content was reaching people. They were reading it, loving it, and responding really well to it, but the majority of them weren’t actually in a position to buy anything from her, because they weren’t living in London.
Does this sound familiar?
You’ve got plenty of followers, people love your stuff, and read your stuff, but you’re just not selling anything. The problem isn’t that you don’t have people following you. The problem, is that they’re the wrong people.
They’re not your tribe. Sure, they look, talk, and act like they are, but they’re never going to convert. They’ll keep sucking up your content, but they’ll never give you anything in return.
Yes, they’re vampires.
It can be tricky to recognise vampires in your midst, because they look very much like regular ideal clients. Here’s how to easily find your tribe and kill all those time-sucking vampires.
Lots Of Followers Does Not A Tribe Make
Having lots of followers on social media makes you feel great. It’s a really good ego boost. But if those followers aren’t ever going to be in a position to pay you money, they’re not going to do your business any good.
If you have a business that sells local services that require people to be in a specific location, or products that can only be shipped to certain areas of the world, this is a real problem.
Your content marketing needs to reach the very specific people who are capable of buying from you. Because as much as that content will bring value to people outside your catchment area or delivery capabilities, you’re not going to get anything out of it.
No matter how lovely and wonderful these people are, and no matter how much you would love them to become clients, they’re just sucking the life out of you.
They will take, take, take, are never giving anything back.
Which is why I call them (rather unfairly I suppose), vampires.
They gobble up all your content, and greedily take anything you’ll give them, but they will never, ever buy from you.
Not because they don’t love you and your stuff, not because they aren’t perfectly happy to invest in you and your business, but because (for whatever reason), they can’t.
The Vampires In Your Tribe
Vampires might be people who are outside your catchment area. They might be people who live in countries to which you can’t deliver products. But they could equally be people who simply cannot afford your prices, or could afford your prices but are never going to pay your prices because they don’t believe your product/service is worth investing money in.
They will happily read free content, but they will never, ever stump up the cash for a paid version of that content.
Say that you offer an online course or a book on exactly the same subject as the free content they love. these vampires will happily read the free stuff, but don’t care enough, or don’t value it enough, to pay money to learn more.
Not even if the amount they would need to pay is small, like the price of a £10 book. They’re never going to pay it; it’s not something they prioritise or place any kind of monetary value on.
The Nature Of Vampires (In Business)
Vampire are not (generally) malicious people. They don’t mean you any harm. They’re not unpleasant or being purposefully nasty. It’s just that they get as much as they can from you in the form of your free content.
And it’s okay to have a few vampires loitering in your tribe.
Some of them (if you do a stellar job with your content marketing), will eventually turn into people who are happy to invest in you. Just because they’re not willing to invest in you now, doesn’t meal they never will be. But that kind of conversion takes a really long time.
If you’re converting readers who are actively looking for your product or service, it already takes time and a lot of effort on your part to convince them that you’re worth buying into. And they are people who already want what you’re selling.
The likelihood of converting people who don’t want what you’re selling is a lot lower, and if they do convert it will take an awful lot longer.
So for your business to work, for your business to prosper, you need to have a tribe of people who are very likely to invest in you, and capable of investing in you.
They need to check both those boxes. They need to be within your catchment area, or within the area that you are capable of delivering to, and they also need to be the kind of person who are both willing and able to pay you money for your products and services. Anybody else, and as much as they might fit into your model for an ideal client in other ways, they are not part of your tribe.
They are just time-sucking vampires.
You Need To Target The Right People To Find Your Tribe
There are three really important things that you have to do to combat this issue. The first is to make sure that you are targeting people very specifically online. So when you’re finding your tribe and growing your following there are a lot of ways to gain organic reach. But that’s quite a slow process, it takes time. It’s also difficult (though not impossible! See below) to get really targeted with it.
Consider the difference between being able to target female entrepreneurs, using #fempreneur or #FemaleEntrepreneur, and then compare that with the ability to setup an advert that specifically targets people who are interested in female entrepreneurship, and live in a certain area, and are a particular age and gender, and spend a certain minimum threshold online.
If you do that, then you not only know the people that you’re targeting are female entrepreneurs, that they are also definitely in whatever parameters you’ve set for your ideal client. They’re capable of buying into your products and services, and they’re likely to do it.
While there is an awful lot you can do with your content that will gain you organic reach and organic likes, to be really specific in who you end up gathering into your tribe on social media, it is a very good idea to advertise some of your content to that extremely specific audience. To ensure that as many people as possible following you are the exact people that you want to be viewing your content; the people who are most likely to be able to buy from you.
Sell Digital Products To Welcome More People Into A Limited Tribe
The next thing that you can do to help deal with this is to help setup digital products. If you’re limited in your business to people who live in the specific location that you are in (for example, you can only cater to people within a 15 mile radius of your base), that’s a very small area to focus on.
It can work very well for a particular businesses. But if you want to expand beyond that, cater to a wider range of people and take advantage of all the followers that you’ve established online, you can create digital products.
Then you’ve suddenly opened yourself up to a much wider audience.
The Importance Of Slaying Vampires
The final thing that you have to do is slay those pesky vampires. It sounds cruel, and in many ways it is a bit mean, but you have to remember that you are running a business here.
The bottom line is your bottom line.
So if you have a tribe but they’re not supporting your business, if they’re not bringing in any income, if they’re not actually going to give you what you need to sustain the business they love, they’re a really bad tribe.
It’s so worth you taking the time to filter your tribe a little to make sure the people you’re attracting are genuinely going to enrich your business, and to be the kind of people that you want following it.
The Trap Of Thinking You Have A Truly International Business
So you might be sitting there thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, especially if you do offer digital products and services already.
It’s easy to fall into this sort of comfort zone of thinking that because you’re digital, you don’t have to worry about vampires creeping into your tribe and sucking the life out of you.
I’m here to tell you, you do have to worry.
Everybody has to worry about vampires.
For example, I offer exclusively digital products at the moment. I will have books coming out next year, but at the moment that’s not happened. So everything I sell, I sell purely online, all of it’s digital. It would easy for me to think it didn’t matter who I targeted in my marketing in terms of location, because I’m online and anybody with an internet connection can buy from me.
But while my services are available internationally, they’re not actually suitable for an international audience.
They are only suitable for English speakers. Because I’m a writer, I write in English. I’m not capable of writing in any other language. So anyone who doesn’t want their content in English is screwed coming to me. There’s just no way that they’re ever going to buy from me. So even if they speak English, if the content that they need creating is not in the English language, they’re never, ever going to buy my services.
So when I’m targeting my content at people, I’m always sure to target it at specific areas.
The UK is a no brainer for me, I’m based in the UK, I’m English, I write in English, that’s the end of it.
But I also target people in America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Beyond that, I don’t actively target anywhere else in the world.
I have people who follow me from elsewhere in the world, but they’re people who’ve found me organically.
The majority of my tribe are British or American, with a few from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
That is by design, I did that very purposefully.
Why You Should Be Selective About Finding Your Tribe
If you don’t sell digital products but you do sell products on an international level, you might again think that it doesn’t matter where your audience is based, because you can ship anywhere.
But can you really ship anywhere?
Think about that for a minute. Think about the postal costs involved with shipping to certain countries. Think about import charges, export charges, airmail charges, all these other things. If you are genuinely capable of shipping to absolutely anywhere in the world for the same price, okay? So for the same cost to you, then absolutely go for it. You can advertise to anybody as long as they can understand your adverts.
If you’re based in the UK, you may find it preferable to ship to people in the UK, because that is a lot easier and a lot less expensive.
You may find that you are happy to ship elsewhere, but you prefer to only ship to people in Europe or the US, because again, those are the places that we can most easily ship to in the most economical way possible.
If you’re shipping physical products, there are a lot of factors to take into account when you’re costing the amount of postage.
People often fall into the trap of offering free postage because that’s a really good offer to give people. Or they offer a flat rate of postage. If you’re going to do that, it’s a very good marketing tactic. But you can run into real trouble if you do it without thinking through who may take advantage of that.
I have had this problem before in my publishing house where I’ve been selling books. I had a flat international rate that was very reasonable for certain countries, but for other countries that cost four, five, six times as much money to actually post things.
I had people ordering and paying for the product and the flat rate, and by the time I’d actually posted the item to them, I’d spent money sending it to them. Rather than earning anything from the sale, it actually cost me money.
That was one of the earliest lessons that I learnt when I was first starting out running my publishing house (long before I started a writing business): was you have to be really careful when you’re posting physical things to people, that you calculate the shipping rates properly and that you target the people in areas that you are best able to cater to.
I could have simply changed the shipping rates to reflect a realistic rate that wouldn’t cause a problem, but doing so would have meant charging clients a small fortune. Instead, I now only ship to people in the UK. Anyone else I direct to Amazon so that they can buy off their local Amazon site, because it’s just the only logistical way I can do it without costing myself a fortune. I don’t make as much money per sale I would selling direct and charging proper postage, but my clients are better served (they save a lot on P&P), and I am in an area I can comfortably handle.
Sometimes it’s not about what you are capable of doing, but what you want to do most.
Why It’s Hard To Find Your Tribe When You Have A Local Businesses
Businesses that deliver services in person are the most obvious people to run into this problem.
You have a local business that’s based in a specific location and you can only cater to people within a 10 or 15 mile radius of that location. For example, you offer cleaning services and you can only clean the houses of people that are within a certain travelling distance.
It’s no good having people in your tribe who are outside of that catchment area. It doesn’t matter how much they love your content, it doesn’t matter how much they love the sounds of your business and your services, you can’t physically get to them to give them those services.
They’re never going to pay you to come to their house; you can’t go to their house.
So how exactly do you fix this problem? That’s what you all want to know.
The biggest step in dealing with this situation is to realise that you have vampires in your midst in the first place. They can be difficult to recognise. So it’s important to actually look at your tribe and the people who are engaging most with your content, and figure out whether they are the type of person who is ever likely to pay for your stuff.
If they are not, then you have a problem, you have vampires among you.
Why Are You Beset By Vampires?
The next thing you need to do is figure out why they are not going to buy from you.
Are they in the wrong place physically?
Are they in the wrong age or gender group?
Are they outside the scope of your business from a cultural perspective, so are they speaking literally a different language to you?
Or are they just the type of person who is quite happy to learn about what you’re offering for free, but is never, ever going to be willing to invest any money in getting any more?
Once you’ve figured all of that out, you should be able to work it back and figure out exactly how to define the people who will be perfect for your tribe. People who are in the right area, in the right business, who will value what you have to offer, and will be willing to invest in it.
You need to specify that as much as possible, with tangible, quantifiable factors that you can put on it. So a geographical location is quantifiable, it’s tangible. You can literally put a pin in a map and say that is exactly where people need to be.
Target Your Tribe With Pay Per Click Advertising
Once you’ve got it all worked out, there are a few different things that you can do. The first one is using very, very targeted pay per click advertising. So there are loads of platforms that offer PPC advertising, like Facebook, Google AdWords, Twitter, various other social media accounts. It’s usually possible to get really, really specific with who you want to see your advert. So this can be basic, like saying that you want them to speak English, or you can specify age, gender, but you can also specify things like geographical location down to miles, okay? So it doesn’t have to be England. You can put in your exact postcode and say that you want people within X number of miles of that postcode, okay? So that’s how you get people in your catchment area. You can say, “I want people within 15 miles of my home postcode.” Or, “I want people in this specific city or town.”
More than that, you can target people based on their interests. So I mentioned female entrepreneurs before, that’s a way of targeting people based on their interests. So you might target people who were interested in entrepreneurship, in blogging, in digital marketing, in yoga, in healthy eating, in whatever it is that your business does. If you find the right way of putting it into the parameters of your advertising system, you should be able to target people who have a specific interest in your specific niche. The more parameters that you put in to your pay per click targeting, the more specific it will get, the fewer people you will be able to reach with your advert, okay?
So it gets a bit scary for people. They look at it and they see the number of people, the estimated number of people that their adverts will reach, shrinking. They think, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I have to stop. Because before it was going to reach 15 million people and now it’s only going to reach 500,000. That’s stupid. I need to reach as many people as possible.” But that’s wrong, okay? That’s very, very, very wrong. It’s no good reaching 5 million people or 500 million people, or however many people there are if they’re the wrong people, okay? So if you’re paying for an advert that is going out to loads and loads of people, who are not very specifically targeted, that is called spray and pray advertising, when you basically spray your advert at anybody and everybody and pray that some of them buy.
Targeted advertising, on the other hand, you will reach far fewer people, but the people you do reach are going to be the very, very specific type of people who are most likely to buy from you. So even though your advert will be seen by fewer people, it will be far more successful.
Find Your Tribe With Localised SEO
You can also use localised SEO, that’s search engine optimization, to target your content at people. This is a great way to do this organically. So if you don’t want to pay for an advertising campaign, but you still want to make sure that your content is targeted at your specific niche audience, you can use SEO to do that.
So you would include keywords that were localised. So for example, if I was going to do this, my keywords that I would be optimising my blog posts for wouldn’t just be copywriting services, for example, they would be, copywriting services in Manchester, or copywriting services near Chester, things like that. So you could get really, really specific with the keywords that you use, and you localise them, so that when somebody who is in your area is searching for your specific service or product, they’re not just going to type in ‘copywriting services’. They’re going to type in things like ‘copywriting services near me’.
So when people are searching for a local product or service, they’re not going to do it by putting in the generic search term for that. So for example, somebody searching for a local copywriter is not just going to type in, ‘copywriting services’. They’re going to type in, ‘copywriting services near me’, or ‘copywriting services in …’ and then their specific town. So by localising your SEO, you will catch the people who are very, very specifically searching for what you do, where you do it.
Direct Mail Marketing
Now, another great way to make sure that people are within the right geographical area for you, is to actually use direct mail. So rather than email marketing, use good old fashioned postal marketing. So you print up some flyers, leaflets, brochures, whatever you like, and you send it out to people via the post. Now, this does require you obviously to have their addresses. So it can get a little bit more complicated. But it’s actually quite easy to fix. Every time somebody inquires about your business via your website, if you have a form setup, make sure that the form they have to fill in in order to send their inquiry includes their postal address.
You can do this really politely. So for example, on my website the field on the form that asks people for this information doesn’t just say ‘address’, it says ‘postal address, so I can send you cool stuff’, okay? So you can let them know that the reason you’re asking for it is so that you can send things to them for free, not so that you can turn up on their door and accost them in their homes.
You may find that people don’t want to hand over their address. So you might not want to make it a required field. If you make it a required field, you will put people off. But if you put it there and give people the option of giving you that information, then you’ll find a lot of people actually do happily give it to you, because they want you to send them free stuff. They’re not stupid, they understand that when you say free stuff, you mean offers, okay? So when you send direct marketing out to people, you don’t just send them a price list and expect them to buy. You send them an incentive. So you send them 10% off voucher, a coupon for buy one get one free, or something that makes it worth their while to actually buy from you.
Local Ads And Hangouts
You can also take advantage of local areas and put adverts in physical locations, so you might put them in the post office, in the window of local shops, café houses, or anywhere that you know your ideal client is likely to be. So I recently went and had a massage at my favourite beauty spa in town. So I came out ready to pay, and on the counter was a stack of leaflets for a mindfulness class that was being run locally.
Now, it had absolutely nothing to do with the beauty spa whatsoever, it wasn’t a product or service that they sold, they just let the people running the workshop put them in there because they knew that a lot of their clients were interested in finding ways of calming themselves down and being a little bit more mindful, and it worked really well. I picked up a leaflet, I bought the seminar, I paid money for it, I went, I attended, it was great. So that’s a really good example of using the places that you know your idea clients will be, to put things in front of them that get them to notice you as well. So the lady that was running that mindfulness workshop hadn’t paid the beauty salon anything to include the flyers on the counter, they’d done a swap. So when I went to the mindfulness course, there were flyers there from my beauty salon as well. So it goes both ways, it’s a reciprocal relationship that can work really, really well.
Find Where Your Tribe Are Online
Another great way of targeting people digitally is to identify places that they will be online. Facebook groups are a really good way of doing this, or groups on LinkedIn, and other social platforms that offer group functions. If you can find groups that are filled with people you know are your ideal client and you get involved in those groups, join in the conversations, and share your knowledge, your understanding of things, and when appropriate, your products and services, that’s a great way of making sure that the people who come to know who you are and start following you are people who are likely to actually buy from you.
Following Through With Your Tribe
Of course, once you have started building your tribe of ideal clients and getting rid of all of those pesky vampires, you need to make sure that you have a really effective way of getting in touch with them to tell them about your amazing stuff. So you need to gear as much of your efforts as possible towards building an email list. Now, when you’re putting that much effort into growing your online platforms, so your social media and various other things, or if you’re putting loads of effort into attracting people to come to your bricks and mortar business and actually be there physically, it’s really easy to forget that you need an emailing list.
So you know, you can post on Facebook and your Facebook followers will see. You can tell people in person when they come in and see your shop, about various offers and services that you have. But the problem with that is, what happens if nobody comes into your shop? What happens if Facebook crashes and you lose all your followers? So you need to have a way of contacting your list that is just yours, that is exclusively your own, that they have willingly opted into, that you can use to get in touch with them whenever you like.
Need a little help creating a Content Marketing strategy that works for you and your business? If you’re beset by vampires and looking to use your content to find your tribe, The Divine Blogging Design is perfect for your needs. Book a free discovery call now…