Do you know who your customer is? Do you really? And if you run any sort of blog or content-based website, do you know who your reader is? Do you really?
It may sound like simple enough of a question, but you find that far too many blogs and businesses go about this issue in entirely the wrong kind of way. This is especially true when you’re first starting out and your desperate to have anybody buy your products or read your blog posts. A sale is a sale is a sale, just as a reader is a reader is a reader, right?
A Shocking Difference
One fundamental question that you’ll need to ask yourself, as you can probably guess from the title of this blog post, is whether you want to market yourself to beginners or to experts. Allow me to illustrate with an example.
Here in Vancouver, there are a couple of terrific electronics shops on Main Street. For people who like to tinker with switches and relays and wires and circuits, Lee’s Electronics cannot be beat. They’ve got all of these little components for whatever project you may have.
But this is not a shop for beginners. The overwhelming majority of the items on sale at Lee’s lack any sort of proper retail packaging; they’re just in little ziploc bags with a price tag. If you don’t know exactly what component you need, you’re going to feel a little lost. Lee’s isn’t marketing itself to beginners.
A novice who may not be as comfortable around all these components will probably want more guidance. He’ll probably want more instructions, laid out in plain English with minimal jargon. That’s a different kind of customer. He’ll want more customer service; Lee’s is much more about grabbing, paying and going. He’ll want more advice.
Meeting a Reader at Their Level
The same kind of mentality needs to apply when you’re running a blog, regardless of the topic or niche that you want to approach. If you write blog posts that are geared more toward beginners, they need to have less lingo and need to be simpler to understand. If you market your blog to experts, they’ll be turned off by these “beginner” posts since they’ll think they’re too low-level, too basic.
If you write blog posts that are more technical and more advanced, they’ll be geared more toward experts. They’ll want the posts to be more in-depth and to feature more advanced information. If you market your blog to beginners, they’ll be turned off by these “expert” posts since the content will go sailing clear over their head. It can feel far too intimidating and scary.
And the Master of None
Before you think that writing a combination of the two is the best way to go, consider that you may end up alienating both audiences and lose your readership entirely. It’s far better to go in with a laser focus, at least at first, to develop a strong fan following. Market to beginners or to experts, not to both.
And you can’t market effectively until you decide for yourself who your ideal customer is or what is the target demographic for your readership is. Are they people who are just learning about the possibilities of making money online or are they long-time veterans of Warrior Forum? Do you need to explain affiliate marketing to them or are they looking for how they can take their existing campaigns to the next level?