‘Everyone’ is not a type of product audience

You’ve heard this before “a product for everyone is a product for no one”. It sounds simple enough, but how do you as a business owner or startup offer a product that isn’t for an audience called “everyone”. And why shouldn’t you try to?

Here are 4 reasons why everyone is not a type of product audience!

You don’t have budget to burn

Most small businesses or startups don’t have a massive amount of money for marketing to begin with. So trying to cover a vast, undefined mass of people means you’re taking an already stretched budget and pushing it towards breaking point.

Even if you think persona building is a load of hooey, or you don’t have bucket loads of cash to spend on research, you need to work out two key groups and focus in on them in order to make your budget work efficiently. They are your influencers and your purchasers.

Influencers are the people who know enough about your product that they spread the word of mouth for you. They may not use it at all. However they could be the sorts of people who are tickled by a new idea, interested in the kinds of solutions you offer to a wider society, or they may simply want to be incredibly helpful.

For a small business, they may be another vendor in the same complex as you, someone who knows all the right people in the council, or are known for being the kind of person that always knows the best place to go for something when someone asks on Facebook.

A startup may find their influencers are fellow startups who help share the word about new introductions to the space, or investors who have other powerful friends, or they could be journalists always looking for the inside scoop.

Your Purchasers are people who are buying your product, or at the very least are purchasing it on an emotional level through liking and following you on social media if you haven’t got to that level yet.

Find out about these influencers and purchasers through:

  • Asking each customer where they heard about you and make a note of it
  • Getting to know the person who is always happy to recommend you and find out why, and what makes them tick
  • Checking the stats on your Facebook page, look at other social media analytics feeds, and spot those who are active more than most and profile them

Once you know who these people are, think about what kinds of marketing and advertising they respond to. Think about how you can make their journey easier when they promote you. Invest money, time and effort into replicating those groups.

If you know who talks about, is proud enough to say they “Like”, and who buys your product, look at how you can get more of the same. Once you’ve got those guys, turn them into fans. Extend on what you know about them and try other groups.

Use your budget to capitalise on those who care rather than trying to reach those who probably don’t.


Get the wrong customers and you’ll both be disappointed

Ever been to a Facebook page where there’s thousands of people but no action? That’s usually because an audience has been built up through paying for an audience that doesn’t match. Or the audience has lost interest over time as the content hasn’t met their expectations.

Similarly, people who simply want to troll you and make fun of every single thing you do that don’t add value are not going to interact the way you want. And they’ll probably chew up time as you try to minimise their damage on other members, soothe them so they leave you alone, and raise your stress levels through the roof in the process.

It gets completely disheartening to constantly see your best efforts not gain a response or deal with people who simply want to make fun of what you do. So don’t invite it.

By focussing on who you want and where they go with your marketing, and crafting language, branding and a personality that attracts the customers you want, you can start on a much better footing. So much so that when the trolls do pop by for a visit, those guys may even stand up for you.

So know who you want as your customer and go after them.


Your customers want to feel special

Do you want to be the product people buy but hide away because they are embarrassed or do you want to be the ones that have an invested and loyal following? It doesn’t matter if you sell luxury yacht tours through to hair removal cream, your customers don’t want your product to treat everyone the same. They want to be special.

Special means you care. Special means you’ve put in the extra effort on your product level to ensure that everyone not only gets the experience they are paying for, but also can trust you. Special means you’ve thought through what you offer and want to cater exclusively and well to people “just like them”. Special means you made your product with them in mind.

We don’t like thinking of ourselves as run of the mill, so don’t try to tell us we are.


You don’t know your audience if your audience is everyone

You have to consider how your customers will see themselves if they use your product and find someone else entirely incongruous from them doing the same. Don’t turn your customers off by lumping them all together and expecting them to get along. It simply won’t happen.

If your product relies on a sense of community usage, by spreading the audience thin, you merely make it look like “nobody” uses your product. And that’s true of all collaborative consumption businesses, dating sites, forums and so on.

3 people in your local area does not a great product experience make. So make sure you know your audience well enough to grow into areas (GEO, product line or otherwise), that enhances the sense of being connected as opposed to making your customers feel isolated.

Besides, when you choose your audience and call out to those you want to come near to your product, what you’re actually saying is that you’re presenting a real opinion about who your product is for. You’ve made a decision to talk to a specific group of consumers, solve their problems, and work with them on a regular basis to do more of the same.

Show you know who your product is for, and customers are more inclined to believe you.

However if you’re still marketing to everyone, what you are really saying is you don’t know your product well enough, you are unsure of your marketing, and you don’t care who buys it, as long as somebody does.

You may as well shout “Please somebody buy this product before I go under!! Argh!” and run around like you’re on fire for all the good that’s going to do inspiring consumer confidence.


The final word:

Knowing who your customers are is essential. Finding more of the same sort of people, or how to branch across different audiences should be the focus of your customer acquisition. Starting with an audience you know well and building upon it will make you far more successful than barely touching the sides with a lot of people.

And that’s why everyone is not a type of product audience. It’s far too vague and too general to appeal to us.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • I think it’s important to recognize that personas can help this effort from two perspectives: First, identifying target buyers and their problems’ second, understanding the users and their workflows. In that way, personas contribute to both strategy and design. Both parts contribute to a targeted offering that solves problems better.

    Thanks for the post.

    • I agree John. Thanks for sharing your post.

      Feel free to contact me if you wish to do a guest post at any stage. I think the biz world could do with a bit more info on personas.


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