Audacious title, ‘The Make People Buy Things Secret,’ isn’t it? Imagine a single element that any designer – serving clients in any industry – can use to make a target market more likely to purchase your client’s products and services. If such a thing exists, what do you think it might be? Think about it for a second while I discuss marketing.
The thing about marketing a product is that, contrary to what many people think, you can actually be far more effective when you narrow down your focus – that is, the number of buyers you’re attempting to reach.
Attempts to reach a very broad, general audience usually don’t work as well; it’s not only more expensive to create something “for everyone,” it’s actually literally impossible to do so. I’ll be explaining why in this article, along with some tips on how to assess and take advantage of the unique demands of your client’s customers, no matter who they are.
The Great Secret
So, what’s the secret to making people buy things? Surprise! That was a trick question. There isn’t any secret, because you can’t actually make people buy things. There has to be a demand for them. But don’t worry – this is a good thing. It means that you don’t have to play constant guessing games, trying to figure out what “everyone” wants.
You can actually find out exactly what your client’s target market is looking for. How? By asking them, for one. However, simply asking people directly what they want is rarely an effective strategy. It’s all in what types of questions you ask them, as well as how you phrase them.
How Aware Is Your Market?
Now we’ve established that you can’t make someone buy something they don’t actually want. But if a buyer does need a solution but doesn’t know what it is, then it’s easy to bring to their attention the fact that your product or service exists and can help them.
If your client has a valuable product or service, it’s your duty to make people aware of it. If you don’t, you’re actually robbing them of something valuable that can really help them. Yes, I said robbing. Your client is counting on you, the designer, to create a compelling presentation of their business that tells their customers exactly why they need it.
Find Your Niche
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: niching down your target market is essential if you want real success. People who try to cater to “everyone” end up wallowing in mediocrity and crappy jobs that lead nowhere. No high-level client is going to pay top dollar for a designer who “does it all.”
They want a solution that’s catered to them and them alone.
It Has To Be Scalable
Just because you have an obscure interest doesn’t mean that enough people will share it that you can build a business around it. Enough people have to want what you’re selling that it will be worth the effort and investment to make the offer.
If it isn’t, you won’t have a business, you’ll have a hobby – which isn’t a bad thing, if that’s what you want. Hobbies are important too, even obscure ones, but they don’t, as a general rule turn into scalable business models.
Do-It-Yourself Market Research
If you want real success in marketing, you have to know your market better than it knows itself. One excellent way to accomplish this is by testing your ideas and assumptions about what your market is after. Don’t just ask your peers or wonder vaguely whether something will work. Most of the time, the person you’re asking won’t have the exact same business as you, and even if they do, they’re not going to know exactly how your proposed solution will work.
That’s why you have to test it. People may rely on others’ opinions when they read a review for a book or a restaurant, but when it comes to your business, you need to have a firm testing policy in place.
You’re Not Fooling Anyone
Finally, all this talk about “buyer manipulation” is hogwash. No one – I repeat: no one – can be “tricked,” “manipulated,” or otherwise bamboozled into buying something they didn’t really want.
Sure, they may not have wanted it for the long-term, but in that moment in time, they wanted it. You don’t want a bunch of customers with buyers’ remorse, which is why you (and your client) can make sure you keep your marketing ethical by providing a genuinely valuable product or service, not just some fly-by-night gimmick.
If you’re doing it right and zeroing in on a particular type of customer and solving a real, particular problem, there’s no reason to do anything that’s not above board.
How do you work marketing into your design work? Have any tips to share on working with your clients to deliver the products and services people actually want?