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Shake It Baby, Shake It for Real Good Marketing!

A person sifting flour

The past few weeks I’ve been rolling out the lessons in a new course, and one of the concepts we’re talking about early on is target markets — or as I like to call them, your ideal customer.

It’s important to define and clearly understand your target audience before you work on your marketing materials. If you don’t know who you’re aiming for, you’re almost guaranteed to miss.

Don’t be afraid to lose

When you market your business, you have to imagine you’re dumping the whole of humanity into a big sieve.

Everything you do – what you write, how you present it, and where you share your messages – gives the sieve a little shake.

Every time you shake the sieve, some people fall through. Those people aren’t your perfect customer.

The ones who remain in the sieve after you’ve shaken it are your perfect customer. Here’s the truth:

It’s easier to market your business after you’ve gone through the process of shaking the sieve for a while.

You’ll see that there are still plenty of people left — even after you’ve eliminated some of them — to have a viable business. And because you’ve eliminated those who aren’t a good fit, you can speak directly to those who are.

C’mon and shake it!

The problem is that people see a sieve full of lots of folks, and they don’t want to shake it. They don’t want to lose anyone.

They want to try to address the whole jumbled mess of humanity.

But when they do that, their messages aren’t clear, they’re not targeted, and they get lost in the shuffle of all the competing messages that are out there.

Their ideal customer doesn’t hear the message intended for them because it’s not targeted enough for them to recognize it.

So shake it, baby. Shake it real good!

Walk the walk, talk the talk

“Shaking the sieve” means communicating so that ideal customer recognizes themselves in what you say and how you say it.

Using targeted copywriting, careful color, typeface and formatting will shape every message you send out and help you reach the people your target audience.

In the process, though, don’t be afraid to lose the ones you’re not really interested in targeting. That’s going to happen, and it’s a good thing.

Don’t be afraid to give your audience a good shake.

Let some potential customers fall through the cracks and have faith that there will be plenty of people left. Your marketing job will be much easier because you eliminate the people who aren’t a good fit for your business and you keep the ones who need and want what you have to sell.

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is the Chief Marketing Officer at DCS. She’s the creator of the Offer Accelerator Program. Learn more about Pamela’s content marketing books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.

12 thoughts on “Shake It Baby, Shake It for Real Good Marketing!”

  1. OUCH. Laser pointed article pointed right at me! I’ve been trying to be too MUCH. No Laser Focus. Thanks Pamela! Time to get a “whole lotta’ shakin’ going on”!

  2. Pamela you have this way of making simple sense out of marketing speak. I love this metaphor.

    I must admit when someone falls through my sieve, I get a little shaken, especially when building my newsletter subscriber base. I think I take it personally, but I shouldn’t.

    • Well, it’s a big, wide world out there, and there are a lot of people in it! With the Internet available to us now, we can reach so many of them. This should help us to have an attitude of abundance, and say to ourselves, “there are plenty of customers out there for me, I just need to find a way to find them and speak to them so they know how I can help them.”

      It does feel scary when people unsubscribe when you’re trying to build your list. But really, I only want subscribers who want my offerings. I don’t want to hold anyone against their will!

      So when people unsubscribe, I try to have the attitude that they’re making room for someone else who really wants to be my customer.

  3. Pamela, this is a brilliant metaphor!

    I want to share a belief that I became aware of through a new business I’ve started recently. I didn’t know I had this belief until I started questioning certain things that I was or wasn’t doing.

    I thought that the number of people that could come into the sieve in the first place was limited. How ridiculous to see that limitation when there are six billion people on the planet.

    So shake, baby, shake is my new motto! HA!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Katherine. What blows my mind is how the Internet has made it a lot easier to reach a huge portion of those six billion people. There are visitors to this blog from countries I’ve never been to myself, and I think that is just amazing. It’s a very cool time to be in business!

  4. I actually send people an autoresponder email if they haven’t clicked or opened any emails within 10 weeks, asking if they still want the emails and with a link to a survey on what they’re looking for from my list. I make it clear that if they click through, even if they don’t do the survey, they’ll remain on the list, otherwise I’ll unsubscribe them.

    Then I periodically unsubscribe anyone who’s not clicked or opened after 3 months.

    When you have a small list to start with, this is a scary tactic, because you’re trying to make the number of subscribers go up and it goes down. But those aren’t subscribers I should be counting anyway.

  5. G’Day Pamela,
    You are so right. A clearly defined narrow target market is so important. Hand in hand with such a target market goes a crystal clear business focus. Al Ries and Jack Trout talk about the importance of “The Law of Sacrifce.” In order to get your marketing right, what and who, in terms of focus and target market are you going to give up.

    You can’t be all things to all people. And when you’re really focussed with a definitive target market you can serve that market in depth. Consider Toys’R’ Us.

    I am deluged with offers to “drive traffic to your website:1000 brand new names a day, guaranteed.” Frankly, If they’re the wrong 1000, I’m not interested.

    That’s enough of my rantings. Just keep hammering away ay the basics Pamela. And, of course,

    make sure you have fun.



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