Small Biz Buzz—103—Susan Baier—Finding Your Target Audience

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Scott Martineau are joined by Susan Baier, the owner and founder of Audience Audit, who talks about attitudinal segmentation and identifying an audience that actually works for a small business.

As a small business owner, your audience is not based on what it looks like. Your audience is based on the problems your small business is solving, and who has them, and why your customers haven't solved them already–that is attitudinal segmentation.

“In our research, what we're doing is looking at populations, customers, prospects, whatever it may be, B2B, B2C, and saying, we can look at company size for these people, or we can look at their age or their gender, but instead let's look at the kinds of attitudes that they have about this category, the kinds of experiences they've had in the past, the things that are important to them and the things that aren't, and let's group people that way,” said Baier.

“You don't have to choose just one audience, but you have to be super clear, for the audiences that you choose, and choose is the operative word,” Baier continued. “The ones that you want to serve, the problem that you want to solve, you have to be crystal clear about why they're looking, and what is involved in their choice, and who they're putting you up against, so that you can provide relevant marketing content, product services, whatever it is.”

“Who” is not the question you have to answer in marketing. “Why” is the question you have to answer and find your niche. Tune in for more.

Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Howdy, listeners. As we all know, planet Earth has 7.5 billion people, and 7.4 billion of those people have small businesses. Now, to be fair, numbers that size can be hard to envision, and to be even fairer, most of what I just said is entirely made up. But I'll tell you what isn't made up: Keap. Keap is the all-in-one client management software designed specifically for small businesses. Keap takes the most annoying and laborious parts of running a small business and metaphorically tosses them into the sun. Stop grinding yourself to death with busywork and repetitive tasks. Let Keap integrate your customer followups, messaging automation, next level appointment setting, and so much more. Head over to Keap.com and start your free trial of Keap Grow, Keap Pro, or for those looking for something beefier, talk to one of our coaches about Infusionsoft, the product that started it all. More business. Less work. That's Keap. Just go to Keap.com to start your free trial. That's K-E-A-P.com. One more time, that's K-E-A-P.com.

Scott Martineau (01:09):

Hello and welcome to this episode of Small Biz Buzz. I'm Scott Martineau.

Crystal Hueft (01:13):

I'm Crystal Hueft.

Scott Martineau (01:14):

And today we are super excited to have Susan Baier on our podcast.

Crystal Hueft (01:19):

She is the owner and founder of Audience Audit. She's also a recent podcaster with the podcast Fun With Research, which I think is fun, but she did say she grabbed the URL for $8, which means that some people actually would say might not. But if you're a nerd like me, you're going to want to have fun with research, and it's all kinds of topics that come directly from her clients, questions that they want answered, so I'm really excited about it, and you guys should check that out.

Crystal Hueft (01:49):

Hello, Susan.

Susan Baier (01:50):

Hello, Crystal. Thank you for having me. Hi, Scott.

Scott Martineau (01:52):

Hello, Susan. It's fantastic to have you. I'm really excited about this topic, because I think most of our listeners are busy entrepreneurs and busy business owners who, there's so many things to do, and it's so easy for even some of the most valuable things that they could be doing to help their business grow to fall by the wayside and not get done.

Crystal Hueft (02:13):

Totally.

Scott Martineau (02:13):

So, I'm excited to help maybe elevate the importance of research in the minds of our listeners, and give them some practical ideas for what they can do if they don't have a massive research team, for example.

Crystal Hueft (02:25):

Totally, and how to use that research to really nail their target audience. So, I'm really excited about it. I was telling you, I did some research before you came in -

Scott Martineau (02:34):

No pun intended.

Crystal Hueft (02:36):

Exactly, but I was doing research about you and what things you're really passionate about, and I was so baffled by something I read, and excited, all at the same time. So, I'm excited to also dive into attitudinal audience segmentation, which I had never heard, but it's basically what I'm always trying to find. It's the stuff that we were just talking about earlier.

Susan Baier (02:59):

It's a weird little corner of research.

Crystal Hueft (03:01):

Yes. So, we're all going to learn together today, and hopefully pass along all of this knowledge to all of the small businesses listening.

Susan Baier (03:08):

Awesome.

Crystal Hueft (03:08):

So, I want to dive in. Tell us a little bit more about your journey as a business owner, how you got started, and maybe a little bit about why you chose the audience you have for yourself.

Susan Baier (03:19):

For sure. I've been a marketing strategist for over 30 years, both in agencies as well as in big corporate environments. I started my own business, the first one was just a marketing consultancy. I'd had my youngest kid and I just was not happy with corporate anymore. I just was really burnt out. So, I had two little kids at home, and I was like, okay, I'm just going to be a marketing consultant.

Susan Baier (03:46):

I did that for about four years, and then my friend Jay Baer called me up and said, "Hey, do you want to help me run this agency?" Actually, what he said was, "Do you want a real job?" And I was like, "Not really, but since it's you." And then went back to the agency world, and then the recession hit in 2009. I lost my job, and I was like, okay, never working for anyone else ever again, and started Audience Audit that year.

Susan Baier (04:13):

When you talk about the small business owners that I know you all serve and who may be listening, I am with you. I am totally with you. My company has two people in it, so we're really small, and I love working with small business owners. A lot of our research is for bigger clients, because research is an expenditure that can be kind of hard to do, but I work a lot with small business owners on this idea of attitudinal segmentation and identifying an audience in a way that actually works for a small business, instead of the way we were all taught to do it, which I find completely unhelpful and frustrating.

Crystal Hueft (04:54):

Agreed.

Scott Martineau (04:55):

We should make fun of that first. Can we start there?

Crystal Hueft (04:58):

I have an attitude about attitudinal ...

Scott Martineau (05:02):

Yeah, there we go.

Crystal Hueft (05:02):

Just kidding. I have attitudes about everything.

Scott Martineau (05:06):

And I think, just to kind of set this up too, we hired Susan. The first time Susan and I met was actually part of the research. I think it was the first time we met.

Susan Baier (05:12):

Yeah, 2013 was our first study for you all.

Scott Martineau (05:15):

And we were in dire need of being able to be more clear about who our audience was, and I remember that Susan was super excited. Just super great insights. So, I'm excited to dig in today, but just wanted everyone to know that's where our relationship started. We actually hired Susan to help us. Our company was named Infusionsoft at the time. We're Keap today. But super excited. So, why don't we dig in? What are the kind of typical pieces of advice that you see people giving about how to segment and look at your target audience, and how can we make fun of them?

Susan Baier (05:50):

Yes, exactly. If you are a small business owner and you are looking for advice about marketing strategy, content strategy, social media strategy, any of those kinds of things, and you do a little Google search, you're going to come across a whole bunch of articles that say, okay, in order to do this well, you have to resonate with an audience, provide stuff that's relevant.

Susan Baier (06:17):

So, here's how you do it. Step one: Define your perfect audience. Perfect! Have that? Great. Let's go to step two. And most of us are like, what? How am I supposed to do that? That is a huge thing.

Crystal Hueft (06:34):

Yeah, that's probably why everyone else is laughing too, because how do you get to even that one?

Susan Baier (06:38):

How do you do that? So, if you're not a marketer, you may just have absolutely no idea what they're talking about or how to do that. If you are a marketer, you've probably been trained to think about demographics. Age, income. Let's decide who your person is, or your ideal people. And many of us have had that experience where you're trying to make those decisions, and you're looking at the age ranges, and you're looking at the genders, and you're looking at the incomes, and you're going, it could be any of these people.

Crystal Hueft (07:10):

Yeah, exactly.

Susan Baier (07:12):

It could be any of these people. And it's because we've all been trained to do it in a way that I personally believe is wrong. Your audience is not based on what they look like. Your audience is based on the problems you are solving, and who has them, and why they haven't solved them already. And that is attitudinal segmentation.

Susan Baier (07:36):

So, in our research, what we're doing is looking at populations, customers, prospects, whatever it may be, B2B, B2C, and saying, okay, we can look at company size for these people, or we can look at their age or their gender, but instead let's look at the kinds of attitudes that they have about this category, the kinds of experiences they've had in the past, the things that are important to them and the things that aren't, and let's group people that way.

Susan Baier (08:07):

So, Scott, when we did the research back in 2013 for what was then Infusionsoft about small business owners, I think one of the reasons that that resonated so much your customers and prospects and stuff like that was that they could see themselves in these different types of owners. Some owners who just had an incredible passion for something they wanted to get out in the world that would help people, and that was what was driving them more than anything else.

Susan Baier (08:35):

We saw people who were just like, I don't want to have to answer to anybody ever again. I want more freedom in my life, and I have to figure out something I can sell profitably so I can do that. And we had people who were like, I'm building something to hand down to my kids. The future financial security of my family is why I'm doing this, and why I'm making the choices that I'm making.

Susan Baier (08:57):

And then we saw people who, for whatever reason they started, were not experiencing the benefits of small business ownership. So, everybody is around there having parties, saying yeah, entrepreneurship is the best thing ever, and they're like, this sucks. I'm really struggling, and I'm still going, I'm not giving up, but jeez, this is just not what everybody says it is.

Susan Baier (09:17):

And when we had that research out, and you all had banners, do you remember, at your conference that year. And I have pictures of people taking pictures of themselves.

Scott Martineau (09:27):

By their banner.

Susan Baier (09:28):

By their banner, and having these conversations. And that is so much more powerful in understanding how to resonate with people, and how to reach them, and how to help them with resource, product services, content, than sending out emails that say, "Hello, women 25-49." It's just not ... right?

Crystal Hueft (09:51):

Agreed.

Susan Baier (09:51):

So even if you're not doing the kind of research that we are doing, as a small business owner, we should all be thinking about who are our ideal audiences, and I will rant about why that is incredibly important in a minute.

Crystal Hueft (10:08):

Perfect.

Susan Baier (10:09):

But we need to be thinking about them not based on what they look like. We need to be thinking about them based on what they care about and what's important to them. If you are running a Mexican restaurant, a local Mexican restaurant, you may have people who are just like, I just need really good Mexican food.

Crystal Hueft (10:21):

I just need a taco today. Taco Tuesday is every day.

Susan Baier (10:21):

I really have to have Mexican food. But you may also have people, and they may not be the same people who are like, I need something that's in downtown Chandler. So, there's the Mexican place, there's the Thai place, I could go to the steak place. Where can I go out and get in quickly? Where is there decent parking? Where is the food going to be pretty good?

Susan Baier (10:21):

And you may have people who are like, I want to support local. So even if there's three Mexican restaurants within five miles of me, I'm going to go to this new little family-owned untested one that I've never been to, because I think it's really important.

Scott Martineau (11:00):

Versus the chain, yeah.

Crystal Hueft (11:00):

Then there's me who wants all of those things.

Susan Baier (11:03):

Right, which is perfect.

Crystal Hueft (11:04):

I want tacos every day, I want something local, I want good parking because I hate parallel parking. And what were the other ones? But I basically fit all of them.

Susan Baier (11:12):

But if you're the owner of that restaurant, the difference is, you think about those audiences, and you think about what your competition is, and how you need to be relevant to them given the competitive set that they're including you in. If all you're talking about is Mexican restaurants, you're missing the boat on some of those folks, right?

Susan Baier (11:33):

So you don't have to choose just one audience, but you have to be super clear, for the audiences that you choose, and choose is the operative word, right? The ones that you want to serve, the problem that you want to solve, you have to be crystal clear about why they're looking, and what is involved in their choice, and who they're putting you up against, so that you can provide relevant marketing content, product services, whatever it is.

Crystal Hueft (12:00):

I feel like I was talking to you earlier about why this is so important. It's definitely the way of the future for so many reasons, but the one that's personal to me as a social media manager is that I can't target on a lot of the demographics. The more privacy, and privacy keeps coming up on Facebook, the less of those I can even pick. So for me, it's like, I need to know, what are their interests? What are their activities? What is this audience doing that I can target in a new, fresh way to get to a new audience? And these attitudinal audience segmentation, I think, help you get there in ways that normal target audience and old practices aren't really getting into.

Susan Baier (12:41):

Yeah. I mean, marketing, who is not the question you have to answer in marketing. Why is the question you have to answer.

Crystal Hueft (12:48):

So smart.

Susan Baier (12:49):

And we just need to be thinking about those kinds of things. And I'll tell you, Crystal, even if you can target demographically, in a lot of cases, you shouldn't.

Crystal Hueft (13:01):

Yeah, because you're paying for all of these, and you're not even sure this is really the right ... Not all 29-year-old females are going to want Keap, or whatever it is.

Susan Baier (13:09):

Well, you have problems on both sides. If you define your audience as women, 25-49, who have a certain level of income, on the one hand, you're assuming that everybody in that box is going to care about what you're doing, and they're not.

Crystal Hueft (13:21):

Right.

Susan Baier (13:23):

Okay? On the other hand, there are a bunch of people outside of that box who would love you for what you do, but you have decided they are irrelevant. That is reflected in your marketing, your content, and so they never see you, or if they do, they say, that's not for me because that's for women, 25-49. So, you can really mess yourself up on both fronts, who you include and who you exclude.

Susan Baier (13:49):

When I work with small business owners on audience, I make them define their audience without any demographics at all. No business, no company size, no income, no gender. Instead, it's like, I was talking to the gal downstairs this morning while I was waiting to come up. She's an artist. And I was like, "You need to think about targeting your audience along the lines of, 'I create art for people who don't see themselves reflected in art, and appreciate art, but are not finding themselves in the art that they have access to.'"

Susan Baier (14:29):

So, do you need a demographic for that? Nope. If she wants to only do art for women, she can choose that, but what I want that demographic to come in is at the end. Because if you put it at the beginning, all you do is check the box that says, these ages, these genders. We all do this, right? If you Google a business plan, it's like 72 pages. It's completely overwhelming, and everybody knows they have to do one, and most of us don't, and if you do, it's just daunting. But checking off these boxes is like, whew, I got that done, I never have to look at it again.

Scott Martineau (15:00):

It feels nice.

Susan Baier (15:01):

Those boxes on that form are not helping you. This will help you. And the other thing about it is, it will change over time. So, you all here at Infusionsoft/Keap have continued to morph your understanding of who you want to serve and their needs, and how best to serve them over time. So, audience is not a static definition that you do once. When I started Audience Audit, I was like, you know, I had lost my job, my husband was training as a helicopter pilot. I was like, I'm a marketing strategist. Here's all the stuff I can do. I figured, I'll just sell, anything I can sell, I'll sell.

Susan Baier (15:42):

Well, okay, the problem is there's 400 marketing strategists in my zip code. And a lot of the work I could do, I didn't really want to do. I didn't enjoy doing it. I didn't enjoy the kind of customers who wanted that. It just wasn't my thing. So then, we narrowed it down to this particular type of research, which is really unique, and I was like, okay, I'll do this for anybody.

Susan Baier (16:09):

The next evolution of that was, I'm going to do that for agency marketers, because they know what to do with it, and what I don't like is putting all this effort in and then having my clients, who don't really understand how to use it, just never use it. That's not rewarding for me. So, I'm going to start working through marketing agencies because they get it. They understand.

Susan Baier (16:31):

So, over time, things get narrowed. Over time, the problems you're solving become more refined. And as part of that, what you're doing is eliminating the people that aren't right for you. And you don't have to be mean about it, but dude, niche, niche, niche. Keep going narrower and narrower.

Scott Martineau (16:52):

So, there's sort of this balance between where am I seeing what I'm delivering resonate in the market, right? That's one thing you're looking at, and also, where do I find that it's resonating with me, in terms of the clients that I'm working with?

Susan Baier (17:04):

Right. If you're a small business owner, like if you own a restaurant with 80 locations across the country, maybe that's not as relevant to you, but for some people it is. Wendy's is very specific about who they want to help and their approach to things.

Crystal Hueft (17:19):

I love Wendy's. They're my spirit animal for social. For social media, they are my spirit animal.

Susan Baier (17:24):

But if you're a small business owner, you probably don't have the luxury of passing off work or customers to somebody else. So, you all know, it ain't easy. You sacrifice a lot when you decide to give up the security of health insurance and all of those other things. You're paying a lot for that liberty. Don't assume that you have to work with clients that you're not interested in working with.

Susan Baier (17:51):

And it doesn't mean they're bad people. There's no such thing as a bad client, but there is absolutely a thing as a bad client for you, and that is based on those problems. Your niche, and I think small business owners don't hear this, and you so need to year it. Your niche is not what you sell. Your niche is the problems you have chosen to solve.

Scott Martineau (18:15):

I love that.

Crystal Hueft (18:16):

On that note, we are going to throw to Worst Business Ides in History, so I can run down and change all my audience targeting on my Facebook ads, and then we'll be right back to go into the second half of the show, so stay tuned.

Susan Baier (18:29):

Awesome.

Derek Harju (18:29):

Howdy, folks. I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen (18:41):

And I'm Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju (18:42):

And this is Worst Business Ideas in History.

Dusey Van Dusen (18:44):

The show where we look back at some of the most brutal missteps, failures and flops in consumer history.

Derek Harju (18:50):

And make fun of it.

Dusey Van Dusen (18:51):

But also learn something.

Derek Harju (18:52):

Nope. It says in my contract I don't have to learn.

Dusey Van Dusen (18:55):

Fine. The rest of us will learn something, and you can just mock people's misfortune.

Derek Harju (18:59):

Sounds good.

Dusey Van Dusen (19:01):

Welcome to the Worst Business Ideas in History.

Derek Harju (19:05):

So, just like we said in the intro, this is Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen (19:08):

And this is Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju (19:10):

And we're recording remotely today, so heads up if you hear tiny voices in the background. That's possibly some of our various children running around. Most likely it's going to be my toddler, because she doesn't understand what a podcast is.

Dusey Van Dusen (19:26):

Yes, my kids are old enough that I can just turn off their screen time and say, "Let the iPad be your parent for an hour."

Derek Harju (19:34):

Yeah. I'm not super proud of myself for how much screen time she's been getting lately, but I'm also trying to do a full-time job. I was over it on the second day. I'm cool.

Dusey Van Dusen (19:45):

Yeah, right. I have the same feeling. Those high and mighty thoughts disappeared very quickly when push comes to shove.

Derek Harju (19:56):

Today we're going to be talking about one of the lesser fast food giants, Burger King. And that may be a bit of a slight, but let's be honest. Burger King is a bronze medalist.

Dusey Van Dusen (20:10):

Yeah, that's true. They're gargantuan, but it's still, yeah, third place.

Derek Harju (20:16):

I'm not sure that Burger King is ever anybody's first choice. I think that Burger King is usually where people go if they're like, "Eh, McDonald's is far."

Dusey Van Dusen (20:28):

That's funny. I'm not ... McDonald's is definitely not at the top of my list, but it is at the top of my kids' lists, so that always, there's a little bit of tension there every time we decide where to go for fast food.

Derek Harju (20:42):

That is, yeah, we could talk about that another time, but just the stranglehold McDonald's has on America has everything to do with its marketing to children and nothing to do with the quality of its food. But what we're going to talk about today is a product developed by Burger King. And I actually like Burger King. I have always preferred Burger King to McDonald's, actually, even when I was a kid. That's my daughter.

Dusey Van Dusen (21:06):

Hello!

Derek Harju (21:06):

She's mad. She's mad at a piece of citrus right now.

Derek Harju (21:12):

But I always liked the Whopper better than I liked the Big Mac. If I had my choice, even as a kid, I was like, I want to go to Burger King. They have terrible toys, but the food is better. And so, we're going to talk about the Burger King Satisfries today. Now, the story -

Dusey Van Dusen (21:29):

I'm sorry, hold on. Could you say that again for me? The what?

Derek Harju (21:34):

I'm sorry, did I breeze past that trademark too fast? The Burger King Satisfries.

Dusey Van Dusen (21:42):

Satisfries. Like satisfied, but fries. Okay.

Derek Harju (21:47):

Correct.

Dusey Van Dusen (21:48):

I'm already in love with this. Okay.

Derek Harju (21:51):

Burger King -

Dusey Van Dusen (21:52):

I'm loving this. Wrong brand. Okay, sorry, continue.

Derek Harju (21:55):

No, no, no, it's all right. So, Burger King has come up with lots of forgettable products over the years, and one of them, this apparently is 100% forgettable, because I straight up do not remember this product, and it's not a very old product. This came out in 2013.

Dusey Van Dusen (22:17):

Whoa! Okay, yeah, I'm surprised I haven't heard of it. I figured this is something I missed when I was a kid, or before my time.

Derek Harju (22:23):

No, no, no, same here. When I started researching it, I was like, Satisfries, this must be a product from the '80s, or a weird anomaly from the '90s maybe. And then I looked it up, and 2013. And then discontinued in 2014.

Dusey Van Dusen (22:42):

Okay, so what happened? What is it, first of all, and then take us through it.

Derek Harju (22:45):

The very first thing is that Satisfries are technically potatoes. I had to search a little bit for this, because I kept seeing, they're talking about these fries. They're like, we've made these fries. They're healthier. They don't absorb as much oil. The actual components of them, like the potato itself is lower-calorie. But then it kept being referenced as batter. They weren't referring to it as potatoes. They kept calling it batter. And then, when I looked it up, what I found out is, what it is is like a slurry of potato byproduct. Which is a mean way to say it. It's a potato product, but calling it a byproduct is just more pejorative.

Dusey Van Dusen (23:27):

Exactly.

Derek Harju (23:32):

So, it's a batter that they inject into these molds to make them fry-shaped, and then they deep fry them, and they're supposed to absorb less oil and therefore have less fat and calories in them. This was an attempt by Burger King ... Burger King has always had this low-key hatred of McDonald's fries. Burger King has blamed McDonald's fries for every problem they've ever had. They're like, oh man, if we can just crack that code on making delicious French fries like McDonald's, everything will be solved.

Derek Harju (24:07):

Well, they were also trying to ... we can't, we've tried before to make McDonald's-style French fries and that failed, so what we're going to do instead is we're going to make diet fries. They'll still taste pretty good, but they'll be healthier. Quote-unquote "healthier."

Dusey Van Dusen (24:23):

Yeah. Fried potatoes in any way, shape or form ... there are many ways to fry a potato, and none of them come across to me as healthy. But hey, if I could eat fries at half the calories, I'd be ... I haven't had fries for some time. I'm trying to be good, lose a little bit of weight. I'd be in. I mean, that sounds good.

Derek Harju (24:45):

Yeah, totally. And at the time, here's the thing, they weren't just competing with McDonald's. The idea of having a healthier French fry mostly actually came from them doing battle with new upstarts Chipotle and Panera, which were kind of eating their lunch at the time, so to speak. They're just [inaudible]. Yeah. I'm super ashamed of myself for that. They're like, we'll make healthier French fries.

Derek Harju (25:13):

The problem was that first off, the fries were more expensive. A regular order of fries at Burger King was a buck 50. These were a buck 90. Not exactly breaking the bank, but also, you're asking consumers to pay more for a similar product. The second problem was, Burger King completely missed the mark at the time as to what people thought was and was not healthy.

Derek Harju (25:38):

At the time, people weren't watching ... Think about this. It's 2013-2014. Crossfit and P90X and all of that stuff are riding high at this point, and so there is this huge wave of high-fat, high-protein diets, and people just being like, get carbs as far away from me as humanly possible. And at the end of the day, these things are still potatoes cooked in oil. So, people were like, yeah, you say they're healthier. I still don't want that product. I don't want that product at all.

Derek Harju (26:13):

And so, they originally were going to release it to all the Burger King locations, but they only got to 2500 because these things just absolutely sat on the shelf. People weren't jazzed about it. They didn't really like the taste of them. The people that were health-conscious at the time were health-conscious in the sense that all they wanted to eat was meat and high-fat foods, so eating potatoes is still not going to roll for them. And at the end of the day, it was a product nobody asked for, which we've discussed before about the pitfalls of not asking anyone in your demographic whether they want the thing you're going to spend millions of dollars producing.

Dusey Van Dusen (26:54):

It kind of feels like, hey, we've got some potato slurry over here. What can we do with this? There's got to be something. If we just tweak it up a little bit, we can start to sell this stuff. What gets me, you mentioned Panera and Chipotle riding high during this time. That's totally true, and I'm really, it's interesting how those have both managed to have that appearance of something really healthy. People that are health-conscious are going in there. But Chipotle burritos, I guess it depends on how you make them, but they can be very high-calorie and not the healthiest. So, I think a lot of it comes down to the perception, and the way that you're speaking about what you're creating, right?

Derek Harju (27:44):

Yeah, and you absolutely nailed it, because Chipotle, their real claim to fame is that they use fresh ingredients. Chipotle burritos are not healthy by most metrics of what health is considered. A Chipotle burrito, if you just get a chicken burrito with beans, you don't get any guac, you don't get any sour cream, you maybe get cheese, you're still pushing 1100 calories.

Dusey Van Dusen (28:10):

Oh, man, yeah. So, when they say that it's the all-natural ingredients and locally sourced stuff, sometimes, I think what they did very well there is, for many people that's code for this is healthier. But hopefully it tastes better, and it's probably better for a lot of other social reasons, but that doesn't actually mean that it's healthier for you.

Derek Harju (28:33):

Yeah, Chipotle is not diet food.

Dusey Van Dusen (28:36):

Greasy beef is greasy beef. Yeah, exactly.

Derek Harju (28:39):

Yeah. It's just that it's not prepackaged. It's not part of the food industrial complex. But yeah, Satisfries came and went, less than a year, never to be seen again. This one, it was a pretty in and out product. And the weird thing, this really highlights how much people either don't understand or don't care about health when it comes to ordering French fries. They got rid of Satisfries because they were a huge failure. They were like, people just want to eat French fries. If they're already eating ... a French fry is a food that if you want to eat a French fry, you want to eat a real French fry.

Dusey Van Dusen (29:18):

Right. If you're trying to satisfy that craving of man, I need some fried potatoes in my life, then you're probably, even if you are health-conscious, that's your cheat day. Let's just dig in to some amazing fries.

Derek Harju (29:35):

Yeah, and I'd like to lay out exactly how much people did not care about ... Burger King customers did not care about a healthier option. The Satisfries were immediately followed by two products that they put out that did succeed very, very well, and in most cases are still on Burger King menus, and that is the bacon sundae. Which, I think the existence of the bacon sundae is one of those things where you go, eh, maybe we have too much freedom in this country. And the other is chicken fries. Chicken fries have been super successful for Burger King.

Dusey Van Dusen (30:16):

Yeah. They have, how many different variations of chicken nuggets do they have now? I think they've got tenders, they've got chicken fries, they've got chicken nuggets. And then, I think they have the 10 for $1 chicken nuggets that are even cheaper, some pieced-together chicken nuggets of some kind.

Derek Harju (30:35):

Their lower-tier chicken. You probably hear my daughter. My daughter is composing music five feet from me, and there is nothing I can do about that, so I hope that you enjoy whatever she's playing. Yeah, the chicken fries followed the Satisfries. Satisfries was, hey, do you want a healthier French fry? Chicken fry was, hey, do you want fried chicken as a side dish?

Dusey Van Dusen (30:58):

Right, exactly. That's fantastic.

Derek Harju (31:02):

So, what did we learn today?

Dusey Van Dusen (31:04):

Well, I think one of the biggest things is, if you go to Burger King, chances are that there's some of the items that you like there over McDonald's or wherever else you might be going. You probably like their fries if you're going to Burger King already. So, that's a classic. It's part of their main offering. It's worth exploring what other options you can have, but understanding why the people who come to you come to you. I feel like that's something that, in this segment, we're going to repeat over and over, is understanding your audience and what they think of you, why they come to you, why they're using your product, right?

Derek Harju (31:44):

Yeah, absolutely. And if you really think about it, even when you want to go to Burger King, the fries are an afterthought. You get a Whopper, you get a ... I don't even know what other products they have anymore. But I always felt like with Burger King ... Thank you, Max. I always felt like the fries are just, they come with the meal, and you're like, oh yeah, there are also fries here.

Dusey Van Dusen (32:04):

Here are some fries, right.

Derek Harju (32:06):

Yeah. So it's just, I mean, investigate who your audience actually is, because I feel like this was a huge, huge misstep in the realm of not asking anyone the simple question of do you want this?

Dusey Van Dusen (32:18):

And could you imagine a world where Satisfries stuck around for 10 years or longer, and people were actually saying that word at a drive through as they come up?

Derek Harju (32:29):

You know, that's an excellent point. I don't want to dive into this and drag this episode out forever, but yeah, Satisfries, I don't even want to say that word to somebody. It's like, remember Denny's had the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity?

Dusey Van Dusen (32:42):

Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity! Hey, you know what, it worked, because we both remember that. They leaned in to it. They did ads saying, hey, this is funny to say, this is silly, come be silly with us.

Derek Harju (32:54):

Yeah, that's right. They did know, they knew exactly what people were saying. They're like, I do not want to order this product in front of a human being.

Dusey Van Dusen (33:04):

Hopefully that's been helpful.

Derek Harju (33:09):

So, again, always ask the question, does anybody want your product? But yeah, mostly, if you want French fries, just eat French fries, man. They're delicious. And not good for you.

Dusey Van Dusen (33:19):

Yep, exactly. And just a little add on there, if you're following a trend, make sure you understand the trend. That's really what it comes down to, is actually having authentic understanding of why people are making choices with other food like Chipotle and Panera.

Derek Harju (33:35):

Absolutely. Well, this has been Worst Business Ideas in History. I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey Van Dusen (33:39):

This is Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek Harju (33:41):

And we will talk to you next time.

Dusey Van Dusen (33:43):

Bye!

Derek Harju (33:44):

Keeping ever-expanding client info straight, sending the same emails hundreds of times, scheduling and rescheduling appointments over and over. Who enjoys this nonsense? No one, except my cousin Brent, and Brent is the absolute worst. Keap is the absolute premier all-in-one CRM. Just head over to Keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com, and start your free trial today. Get the busywork out of the way so you can focus on what's important and make your small business grow with Keap. Start your free trial at Keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com. More business. Less work. That's Keap.

Scott Martineau (34:28):

All right, welcome back, everybody. Susan, I think you left everybody with a cliffhanger there, with a phenomenal statement. I just want to reiterate it. Your niche is ... Say it again.

Susan Baier (34:40):

Your niche is not your product or your service. Your niche is the problems that you are choosing to solve with your business. So, you can sell ice cream that's just like another guy selling ice cream, but you can have a completely different niche, even though the product is the same.

Scott Martineau (34:55):

Yes.

Crystal Hueft (34:55):

Agreed. I think you taught these guys well, then, because we're talking about pain points every day, and I love it, because really, that's what we're trying to solve for.

Scott Martineau (35:04):

Yeah, and I hope the listeners out there, the business owners, are thinking about that, that you have to literally have a love affair with the problems that your prospective clients have. And obviously, the Keap platform is something that helps you to speak to your clients about those pains in a way that helps them understand you get them, and that your solution is a solution to that specific problem. So, I absolutely love that.

Scott Martineau (35:27):

I would like to talk a little bit about some of the mechanics. Keeping in mind, our listeners may not be ... some of our listeners probably are at a point where they could hire someone like you to come in and actually do some of this research. Let's also maybe give some practical tips to those who may not be in that place. What are some maybe quick and dirty, maybe not perfect, but useful things that people could do to help go about describing and discovering who this audience is?

Susan Baier (35:54):

Yeah, perfect. I will introduce you to my favorite phrase in business, which is, yeah, we don't do that. Right? That is, every business owner needs to be incredibly comfortable saying, yeah, we don't do that, and if you can't say it, either it's because you haven't decided what you don't want to be doing, or you're afraid to tell anybody, both of which are a problem.

Scott Martineau (36:17):

I remember when we started out, we would say, yeah, we'll do that. That was actually our phrase.

Susan Baier (36:23):

Sure. We all did. I did, too.

Scott Martineau (36:25):

I was like, oh yeah, of course. We were in the middle of an identity crisis. But I was like, oh, you mean you'll actually pay us real money to pull the networking cables through the ceiling? Of course. Done.

Susan Baier (36:35):

Yeah, we do that. Exactly. We've all been there. We all have to pay the rent, right? So, I understand that completely. But the first step for any small business owner should really be sitting down and saying, what do I want and what do I not want? So, I am an example. I will never again wear pantyhose. I will never again wear a suit to meet with a client.

Scott Martineau (37:00):

Me, neither. I said no a long time ago.

Susan Baier (37:02):

Yes, exactly, right.

Scott Martineau (37:02):

Crystal?

Crystal Hueft (37:03):

Oh, I will wear tights, which is the pantyhose cousin, but I don't think I'd wear pantyhose.

Scott Martineau (37:11):

They're a distant cousin.

Crystal Hueft (37:11):

Yeah. Are they? I hope so, because I love them.

Susan Baier (37:13):

They're pretty distant.

Crystal Hueft (37:14):

Okay, perfect.

Scott Martineau (37:14):

Okay, so we're good on that.

Susan Baier (37:16):

But I spent a lot of time on that, and the reason this is so important is because first of all, most of us never do this. We're just so hellfire and bent on moving forward in our business that we haven't really thought about what is important to us. And things like how much you want to work, when you want to work, the kinds of environments you want to work in, will dictate part of your ideal audience for you. I'm a small business. We do research. I do not want to walk into a cubicle farm again. So, when I think about my audience, I think agencies, these are my people, and I know that some other people aren't. So, that first step, if you haven't done it, what do you want, what do you not want?

Susan Baier (37:57):

Step two, think about the problems that your product solves. And this sounds like a very highfalutin concept. You don't have to be a software engineer. You don't have to have something complicated to think about this. You can sell ice cream, and still think about, what am I solving? We have a great provider here at Chandler called Paletas Betty that makes these Mexican paletas.

Crystal Hueft (38:20):

I love paletas, oh my gosh. Oh my god, heaven.

Susan Baier (38:24):

Which are, they're like kind of an ice cream popsicle, but they've got these amazing flavors.

Crystal Hueft (38:27):

With the little bite out of the top corner.

Susan Baier (38:29):

They're so great, right? So, obviously, you can buy a Popsicle, you can buy an ice cream, or you can buy Paletas Betty. And they have thought very carefully about the problem they are solving. I want something cool. I want something different. I want something that reminds me of my childhood because I grew up with paletas, or whatever. I want something from a local provider, a company that I like. Whatever those things are.

Susan Baier (38:58):

So, no matter how simple your thing is, I want you to think about the problems that you want to solve by offering it, right?

Crystal Hueft (39:07):

Right.

Susan Baier (39:08):

Step three, who has those problems? And this is where we go, do demographics matter? It could be about geography. It could be about people who have X amount to spend. And a word of caution, small business owners, I can tell you from many, many research projects, household income does not correspond to spending on particular categories. You and I both know people who make the same amount of money, but one of them spends a lot more on shoes than the other one, right?

Crystal Hueft (39:37):

Those have no kids.

Susan Baier (39:39):

So, it's about what your priority is, but don't assume that household income is driving things. We see people who make $200,000 a year who are using grocery coupons, and we see people who make under 50 who aren't.

Crystal Hueft (39:51):

And they spend their things on specific things. So, I might spend more on travel, but I'm not spending as much on purses. And some other friend might be spending on purses, and not on travel.

Susan Baier (40:03):

That's right.

Scott Martineau (40:03):

And I remember going through our research together, and sitting back with a bit of skepticism. I wasn't the only one. And it was because we had all this attitudinal research, and we were defining these targets, and I was saying, I don't buy it. Because in our segmenting, we might say someone who has higher revenue is more likely to do that.

Susan Baier (40:24):

Or a certain number of employees, or has been in business a certain period of time. Stage.

Scott Martineau (40:29):

Right, exactly. So, I remember you showing us how across these attitudinal groupings, you have everything. Almost every time, it's an even split. Now, not every time, but almost all the time it is. I love that.

Susan Baier (40:41):

That's true for most of our studies. We always gather demographics to see if there are different things, and most times there aren't.

Scott Martineau (40:48):

Love it. Okay.

Crystal Hueft (40:49):

I love that, too.

Scott Martineau (40:50):

All right, one, what do I want, what do I not want? What are my yeah, we don't do thats? Two, what are the problems? Three, who has those problems? And then, find out, asterisk, if demographics actually matter. In my wife's business, for example, she coaches moms. She helps moms learn how to not yell at their kids and help them listen and create a stronger connection. So, in that case, demographics do matter to her.

Susan Baier (41:17):

To her, because she's chosen to narrow her audience to a particular demographic, because that's who she wants to work with.

Scott Martineau (41:22):

Yes, but to your point earlier, if she started with that and said, yeah, I work with moms, check, she's missing the underlying thing, which is what are the real problems, and who is it that I want to solve? Obviously, you're going to have to target moms, and demographics do matter, but there's a much more important depth to that.

Susan Baier (41:39):

Yep. And then, the next step is, you just have to go for it. I can't stress this strongly enough. Your website is not your resume. You should not have in your marketing, on your website, whatever, all of the stuff you could do. You need to only have the stuff you want to do. Only the problems you want to solve. Only the services you want to offer. That does not mean that if somebody contacts you and says, hey, can you do this, and you're like, rent's due! Yes!

Susan Baier (42:14):

It doesn't mean you can't do that, but if you're trying to talk to everybody, what happens is that nobody that you really want will see you as being specifically for them, which is an incredibly powerful thing, when people come to your website or your social channels and go, where have you been all my life? You are speaking my language. How do you understand me this well?

Susan Baier (42:39):

And the reason it's so important is because we should not be selling our stuff. We should be trying to resonate with the people who could benefit from our stuff. But a lot of times, those people don't know anything about our stuff, or even our category, and if they did know, they might be like, I'm sure that's not for me. So, you can't shove a solution down people's throats. A better way is to meet them where they are, which is the problem, and then once they trust you, because they're like, you get me, then you can help them understand how what you do solves that problem.

Crystal Hueft (43:21):

So, sometimes when I've talked to small business owners in the past, they have a fear of being so narrow with their audience.

Susan Baier (43:31):

Very common.

Crystal Hueft (43:32):

I feel like you've tried a lot of things. So, what have you seen come out of narrowing your audience that's helped you have a stronger business that's performing the way you need it to?

Susan Baier (43:43):

Every small business I know, including mine, has benefited tremendously from getting more narrow. But you can't just throw out there a narrow profile and not resonate that in all of your content. So, if you're going to have a narrow niche, which you should, you need to be telling people that you understand these audience members, that you get them, and you need to be talking about it, and you need to provide helpful content without trying to sell them anything, and all of these things to connect with them. It can be scary, but I will tell you, it is the best thing you can do for your business. Niche, niche, niche. And I will argue for you to continue to narrow the longer you're in your business and the more you learn.

Scott Martineau (44:29):

We use the metaphor of the bullseye here as well, and getting really clear about the center of the bullseye, and even more and more clear. And then, there are always ... As hard as you try to send that message out, you're going to attract people that are in those concentric rings. But yeah, fantastic advice.

Susan Baier (44:49):

And you may get it wrong, and you can pivot at some point. Lots of folks have done that. That's okay. But you just need to keep thinking about it, and I would argue for narrowing and speaking your truth.

Crystal Hueft (45:03):

That's great.

Scott Martineau (45:04):

On this whole topic of go for it, is this a list of four? One through four?

Susan Baier (45:10):

What do you mean?

Scott Martineau (45:10):

I just wondered if there was a five.

Susan Baier (45:12):

No, that's it. I mean, sure. We could talk piv. We could talk all sorts of things, but yeah, that's a pretty good start. If you can get there, you're doing really well.

Crystal Hueft (45:20):

[crosstalk 00:45:20] take notes.

Scott Martineau (45:22):

Well, I'm a list guy, I guess. So, I want to understand, you talked about on the website, go for it is on the website. Also, then begin to lean in to the specific thing, the narrowed specific things that you know the problems are that you're going to speak to. What else can you give in terms of advice for going for it? Let's say I feel pretty good. I've narrowed down. I've dropped the primary focus on demographics. I'm clear on the problems. I'm clear on which of those I want to solve. What does it actually look like? What might I do on my website, or even in other aspects, to start taking advantage of this clearer audience?

Susan Baier (46:02):

I'm a huge fan of websites that on the very home page have the problems.

Crystal Hueft (46:13):

I like that, too.

Susan Baier (46:14):

And basically say, which one of these sound like you? If you go to the Audience Audit website, you'll see that for what I do. Pam is using that approach on her stuff. It, really, again, runs counter to what we think, like let's cram all of our stuff on here. And 99% of the sites out there are like, we sell this, and here's the colors, and here's our shipping policy, and blah, blah, blah, all of this stuff. And what we're basically doing is throwing open the doors and saying, I don't know if I have what you need. Take a look and figure it out. We're putting the onus on someone -

Scott Martineau (46:52):

It just feels like a lot of work.

Susan Baier (46:53):

Yes! We're putting on the onus on the visitor, right? Imagine you are a 6'3" woman who needs a ballgown, and you go to a typical ecommerce site, and you see all this stuff, and it's on you to figure out whether there's even anything there that works for you.

Crystal Hueft (47:11):

Good luck.

Susan Baier (47:11):

What if you went to a provider's site that said, are you too tall for the typical gowns?

Crystal Hueft (47:20):

I'm in.

Susan Baier (47:21):

Boom! And you don't need much else on that page, besides here's our logo, here's how to reach us, right? So, you have three buttons. Are you this person, are you that person, or are you this person? They click on that, and then they go to content that is all about that and only that.

Susan Baier (47:39):

So, the other problem we have with websites, other than making our prospects solve the problem we should be handling, is that we just dump a whole bunch of stuff on them that we have to talk about, whether it's relevant to them or not. And you all are experts in this space, but you know what happens. If it takes more than a few clicks to get to what you want, they're done. They're out. So, what you have to do is find out right away, are you this kind of a person? And if you are, get them to products curated, products resources, blog posts, sizes, whatever.

Scott Martineau (48:19):

Address those problems.

Susan Baier (48:21):

Right, and don't make them wade through the stuff you have to solve other problems. If they want to keep looking, they will. But the faster you can get them to what will help them, the better, and the better you can explain why it will help them, the better. And so, I'm a huge fan of just sending people to the information they want and not making them deal with the information they don't.

Scott Martineau (48:46):

Another example of that might be, and I'm just thinking about lead capture opportunity, right? With my wife, one of the things we did with her opt-in forms was ask people what their biggest parenting challenge is.

Susan Baier (48:58):

Love it.

Scott Martineau (48:58):

That's a little more direct, I suppose. But then that gives you an opportunity to speak to them in a really personalized way about those problems which we know they care about.

Susan Baier (49:07):

It totally does.

Scott Martineau (49:08):

What do you got, Crystal?

Crystal Hueft (49:10):

I'm just laughing at the red card.

Scott Martineau (49:12):

Oh, the red card. Is the red card out?

Crystal Hueft (49:14):

Because I feel like we're not done yet.

Speaker 7 (49:15):

Laughing at the producers.

Crystal Hueft (49:16):

We're not done yet. Keep going.

Scott Martineau (49:19):

What red card?

Crystal Hueft (49:20):

What red card?

Susan Baier (49:22):

I mean, I think that's exactly right. And it can go beyond the content in your website. You can have a newsletter for each of the audience types based on a different problem that's only providing relevant stuff for them. Have you guys heard of ThinkGeek?

Crystal Hueft (49:36):

Yes.

Susan Baier (49:37):

They're an online geek products retailer, like flying turtles and office toys and all sorts of crazy stuff. They have two Twitter accounts. One is ThinkGeek, which celebrates geek culture. There's no selling on that at all. They're posting hilarious videos, they're doing this day in geek history, they're showing their employees doing weird geek things, whatever. No selling on it or whatever. The other one is called ThinkGeek Spam, and it's products, promotions, new items. It's all of that.

Susan Baier (50:12):

So, what they've done is say, look, you could be here for a couple of different reasons. You could never buy anything from us, but you love us because we're geeks and we get you, and so you just follow that one. Or you're a grandma who is like, I am not into this whole geek thing, but my grandson is. Get me to the products, get me to the pricing, what's hot, what are the promotions?

Scott Martineau (50:34):

I think this ties back to what we started out with, which is if you really want your message to resonate, you need to enter the conversation going on in people's heads. And I think the example of if you're too tall for all the dresses, what's interesting is it becomes really simple to speak. Because a lot of business owners, they try to think, what do I write on my website? What do I write in my content?

Susan Baier (50:56):

It makes it so much easier for content.

Scott Martineau (50:56):

Yeah, it just narrows it down.

Susan Baier (51:00):

You know, if you think about those problems and those people, you can probably sit down and write a list of 30 questions that each of them might have about what you're doing. And that can be as simple as where are you and what hours are you open, but it can also be like, where do you get your produce, if you're a restaurant. Who's behind this company? What's your philosophy? There can be all sorts of really interesting things that come out of it. It does clarify pretty dramatically what you need to say. And if you're focused, as I believe all of our focuses, foci should be, it's being helpful. That's fundamentally what every small business has to do. You have to be helpful.

Scott Martineau (51:47):

Yes. The best part of marketing. Help your people.

Susan Baier (51:47):

You've just got to be helpful. But to be helpful, you've got to know where they are and what they're struggling with. What are they struggling with? Why haven't they solved it already? Because there's lots of ice cream sellers out there.

Crystal Hueft (51:58):

A lot. I agree with that, and I'm so grateful for that. But on that note, I just want to say that I'm starting to feel really selfish about these weekly podcasts, because I feel like I'm coming for the sole purpose of learning something new every day, and I hope everyone is learning with us, because I don't want to feel like it's a selfish thing, but when I'm sitting here, I'm learning something new every week. So, thank you so much for being here.

Susan Baier (52:24):

Oh, it's my pleasure.

Crystal Hueft (52:25):

Susan, if any agencies out there need help with their research, where can they find you?

Susan Baier (52:29):AudienceAudit.com.

Crystal Hueft (52:31):

Awesome. And make sure to check out her new podcast, for anyone that's like me and Scott that want to have fun with research. Fun With Research is coming out every Thursday?

Susan Baier (52:41):

Friday.

Crystal Hueft (52:42):

Every Friday.

Susan Baier (52:43):

We have a new episode. You can go to FunWithResearch.com, and it's got resources for agency marketers and other marketers, just about research and helpful stuff.

Crystal Hueft (52:51):

That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here. I feel like we could have talked for another two days about this topic.

Susan Baier (52:57):

That's always my problem.

Crystal Hueft (52:58):

I know, mine too. But thank you so much, and we'll have to have you on again.

Susan Baier (53:02):

Thank you so much for having me. It was awesome to see you, Scott.

Scott Martineau (53:04):

Great to see you again.

Susan Baier (53:05):

So good.

Scott Martineau (53:05):

All right. Thanks, everybody. We're going to call that a wrap for this episode of Small Biz Buzz.

Crystal Hueft (53:15):

That's a wrap!

Derek Harju (53:15):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five-star rating. It helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to Keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com, and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.



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