Your Target Market – Know it and Share Stories

Image of Bullseye TargetSo I went shopping at the Home Depot the other day and I was in the zone.

It was a man’s-man kind of day. My lawn was ticking the neighbors off being above knee-height so I figured it was time to do some mowing.

We’ve had rain and storms in my area for about two weeks so I couldn’t find the right time to get out there and mow. When I finally decided to get out there, my mower wouldn’t start. Since I also let maintenance slip on the mower it was time to rebuild it.

It felt great to step away from the computer and just get things done.

I rebuilt the mower.

Hung new shutters.

Then I installed new door hardware and a deadbolt for the back door. I also had to do some pruning (and need to again) which was therapeutic. There was no computer, no cell phone, no television involved…just physical labor.

What a fantastic day.

Know Your Target’s Mindset

When I was in the do-it-yourself home renovation mode, I felt incredible. I also felt very open to buying new tools and parts to get the job done. In fact, when I began speaking with a Home Depot employee I found the conversation stimulating.

I wanted to talk about more tools and the right tools to get things done, and I was willing to buy them right then and there. My mindset was perfect for the store and open for a sale.

It’s just as important for us to know the mindset of our target audience.

Where are they coming from? What are they doing? What do they want to accomplish? Lastly, how can we help them achieve their goals?

The Home Depot employee was perceptive and asked a lot of questions. He was genuinely interested in helping me complete my tasks. This made the interaction pleasant and very helpful. I gladly handed over my money.

Be genuinely helpful

The man that helped me wasn’t in it for a commission. He didn’t ring me out at the register. He even shared a relevant story about a similar project he completed recently. It was interesting because I was in a similar situation and his storytelling made it easy for me to say, “hey, this guy’s just like me.”

He seemed to enjoy sharing his story and didn’t act all nice to me simply because he was being paid.

Are you being genuinely helpful? Do you share your story and your outcomes with your client (if/when applicable) so they can say, “hey, we’re a lot alike. I should listen to you more,” or something similar?

Storytelling becomes storyselling

Telling stories is something we’re hard-wired to do and enjoy. Don’t you find it more engaging to listen to a story about a topic that teaches you rather than a prescriptive, do-this-do-that instructional dialogue (or lecture)?

We like stories because they are easy. We listen, we learn, we associate pieces of the story with our own lives and ourselves. When we receive information in story form it’s digestible and enjoyable.

Are you using story-telling to help you sell?

It’s an easier sale than being cutesy and crafty with your copy. In fact, it’ll likely convert more passerbys into buyers if you give it a whirl. Practice your storyselling and see for yourself just how engaged your readers, clients and even family and friends become with you.

(just a tip of the hat to Johnny B. Truant for introducing me to the concept of storyselling a while back)

Find your business zone

Get in the zone today. Immerse yourself in your work but be sure to map out your target audience’s mindset. Find out where their heads are at when they land on your website, call you on Skype or email you with questions.

Show you care by being genuinely helpful by answering questions and going the extra mile.

Share a story with them to entertain, teach, and leave you both better for the interaction. Then share your thoughts with me in the comments…

Photo: vizzzual-dot-com

18 Responses to Your Target Market – Know it and Share Stories
  1. Sarah Russell
    June 6, 2011 | 10:42 am

    Jon – What a great analogy! I think a lot of the times, we forget to tie our experiences online with the ones we have in the real world – even though our real world lives are often about 100 times as authentic and genuine as our online interactions…

    So thanks for the reminder to think about what I like to see in my day-to-day interactions and to try to incorporate some of those emotions, triggers and stories into my online life :)

    • Jon
      June 6, 2011 | 9:43 pm

      Hey Sarah!

      Yep, we have to remember we have our physical, everyday realm to consider :) Some of our greatest stories go untold because we don’t take the time to put a relevant twist on our day-to-day experiences. Best wishes using your own unique stories!

  2. Adrienne
    June 6, 2011 | 4:43 pm

    Ah trusty old Home Depot! Hey, I even like that store because those sales people are very helpful. Even to someone like me.

    I can definitely relate to your post and you are so right. Story telling is a great way to get people interested and tying them into what you have to offer. As a matter of fact, I just ordered Seth Godin’s book, “All Marketers Are Liars” so I’m excited about diving into that one. From time to time I’m able to tie in a story but I need a lot more practice with that one.

    Really enjoyed reading this one so thank you for sharing this story Jon. Now I need to hurry and finish what I’m currently reading so I can dive into Seth’s book.


    • Jon
      June 6, 2011 | 9:45 pm

      Adrienne, Home Depot was my second home for a while. I love that place. It’s good to know that you don’t feel too out of place there or that the sales staff is trying to reach in your wallet.

      Give storytelling a shot and let your imagination fly. It’s fun and don’t worry because I need to work on this too but it’s rewarding and people love stories.

  3. Gregory McGuire
    June 7, 2011 | 6:35 am

    Hi Jon,
    The first thing I think about when I think about walking into Home Depot is the smell. Usually it’s from the garden area. I love it.

    Then, I usually head straight for the power tools.

    All great copywriters are also great storytellers. From Frank Kern to John Carlton to Joe Sugarman, they all have storytelling in common. This should tell us something about the selling power of a good story.

    People can relate more to a story than with just instructional or informational stuff. If you can tell a story they can empathize with, you’re much more likely to make a sale.

    Awesome information, Jon. Thanks for sharing.


    • Jon
      June 7, 2011 | 10:00 pm

      Hi Gregory – Those guys are captivating when they are in the zone. I find myself watching Kern’s sales videos just to pick apart the how’s and why’s of what he does.

      Sharing a good story invites people in around the fire. You have the chance to bond and gather around something that makes you feel like you’re part of an interesting collective.

  4. Jane | Blog SEO
    June 7, 2011 | 9:57 am

    Hey Jon,

    Wonderful! You have made a very good analogy here. I especially like the “storyselling” part; hearing about it for the first time from you.

    Telling stories build relationship, trust and a bond (something more than a relationship). These are really essential ingredients for successful marketing.


    • Jon
      June 7, 2011 | 9:58 pm


      Don’t you find it hard to turn away from a great story? You always want to hang around to hear how things pan out :)

  5. Dr. Bob Clarke
    June 7, 2011 | 8:24 pm

    Hey Jon,

    What a great way to weave your story into a hugely important business lesson — know your niche inside and out, know everything about them, and then shut up and listen! More times than not they’ll tell you what they need and desire.

    Too many marketers make assumptions and try to provide solutions to things that may in fact be irrelevant in the minds of your business prospect.

    And telling stories that are related to their problem, especially stories of how you found a solution are incredibly powerful ways to build that all important relationship with your prospect.

    Very entertaining post, Jon. Loved the Home Depot story. Oh! I can totally relate! :-)

    • Jon
      June 7, 2011 | 9:57 pm

      Hi Bob,

      Having the discipline to shut up and listen is the tough part, eh? So true that we tend to make assumptions about what people want to buy from us. Thanks for your input and glad you can relate!

  6. Oliver Tausend
    June 8, 2011 | 4:18 am

    Hi Jon,

    the employee is state of the art when you gladly handed over your money, how cool is that. Asking the right question and wanting to help to people gettings things done and accomplishing their tasks is so crucial, couldn’t agree more.

    We humans always relate to stories because we’re looking for the thread, the sense and meaning. That’s why storytelling becomes storyselling when and if our market is able to relate to the story we tell. So I second you on that: Know your target market.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

    Take care


    • Jon
      June 10, 2011 | 4:27 pm

      Oliver – I agree we’re seeking the thread, sense and meaning in stories. You’re right that it has to be relatable and therefore you have to know your market in order to know what will resonate with them. Thanks!

  7. Tisha
    June 8, 2011 | 12:24 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Isn’t it great to step away from the computer! It feels so good to be outside. :-)

    I have set time during the day to do things other than working on my business since the weather has gotten warm. As for our business all the points your made are perfect. In my current post I shared the same ideas. Who wants to invest their money in a product when that person selling the product is genuine? I wouldn’t.


    • Jon
      June 10, 2011 | 4:29 pm


      Stepping away is just what the Dr. orders sometimes :) Trust is a big deal and you and I both won’t buy if we haven’t warmed up to the seller. Even faceless, big brands know how to give you the warm and fuzzies about what they stand for.

  8. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    June 8, 2011 | 9:10 pm

    Jon, aloha. Thx for sharing your day off with us. One of the greatest things about such a day is the tremendous feeling of accomplishment that we have at the end of it.

    In our businesses, far too often we keep doing things, doing things and then there are more things to do. We really don’t have the chance to admire the newly mowed lawn or hung shutters.

    let’s face it, once we finish school we no longer receive the report card showing that we have done A work. Completing a project gives us a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

    Storyselling is, without a doubt, the best way to go. People remember the vivid long after the facts have faded.

    What a great day for you, Jon. Your neighbors are happy, you are satisfied and you wrote a great post for us because of it. Thx so much, Jon. Aloha. Janet

    • Jon
      June 10, 2011 | 4:34 pm


      The sense of accomplishment was great. It was time to get things done offline! Haha, yeah I could benefit from a report card now and again for some congrats :) Have a great day, Janet!

  9. Kesha @st. louis website design
    June 9, 2011 | 4:27 pm

    I loved this when you said “Storytelling becomes storyselling” – Yep, that sums it up!

    I think once people really understand that, half the battle is won!

    Also, I love it when clients GLADLY hand over their money! ;-)

    • Jon
      June 10, 2011 | 4:36 pm

      Kesha – Yep, people relate to stories well. They, generally, do a better job of conveying a lasting message or impression than simply stating the facts.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Trackback URL