The great marketers or our time, whether real or fictional, all understand this fundamental truth about business: What niche they are in. Not at a surface level but deep down. The easiest way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to get clarity on what it is you actually sell.
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My favorite TV show lately is "The Boys."
Its such a refreshing, comedic take on super heroes... or rather super zeroes. Most of them, while having incredible super powers, are quite the degenerates, much like Will Smith's Hancock.
But The Boys is a fantastic cover to discuss some of the insidious effects of culture and social media.
Anyways, there is this scene that really caught my attention because it's so important for business owners.
Super heroes are contracted by a company, Vought, which runs their publicity, films their movies, and sells their crime fighting services to local governments.
Homelander is the most powerful "supe," who dresses in America's colors, is invincible, and shoots laser beams out of his eyes. He's basically superman with mommy issues. And he is furious that Vought isn't listening to his advice. Since they are a super hero company, they should listen to the supes.
He storms into the CEO's office and throws a tantrum.
The CEO, Mr. Edgar, calmly responds by saying, "We're not a super hero company. We're a pharmaceutical company." Then he proceeds to tell Homelander how valuable he really is to the company.
And so a mere mortal deflects a punch from the strongest man alive.
This type of scenario happens all the time in real business. Most business owners look at their companies at a surface level. I'm in the fitness niche. I'm in weight loss for moms. I do business coaching.
That's because the common advice is to dive into the demographics and get granular on who you want to serve. Look up all the niche terms in Google Trends to know if they are going to be profitable. So you end up being the only company in town that helps Millennials with neck problems to start profitable companies. Remember, "the riches are in the niches."
Then you go deeper into the psychographics to understand all of their aches and pains and desires. This is certainly a useful exercise. But in doing this, you miss the real differentiator.
There is a better (and much simpler) niche for you to be in. And trust me, you're in this niche whether you know it or not.
And if you don't realize it, you'll look like Homelander throwing a tantrum in front of Mr Edgar.
Most coaches and course creators are really in the niche of "how to be more like me."
Because that's what most of your customers want. To get in better shape, like you. To make more sales, like you. To be more confident, like you. To be more like you!
So as Dan Kennedy says, you're in the business of being you.
Steven Pressfield calls it You, Inc.
Toby Keith says "I wanna talk about me."
While you still need to have a real solution to a real problem, the majority of the weight of the buying decision comes from you. Being a trustworthy friend who's in their corner. Being confident, passionate about what you do and why you do it. Being a fearless leader and protector of your people.
What's the best way to demonstrate this to your audience and build a trusting relationship?
My advice is to show up every day in their inbox, on their feeds, or wherever you meet them, and teach them something useful. Share your insights, your personality, how much you care, and your unique solution.
The more content you can create (high quality content, of course), the faster it will go.
And the more you do this, you start to realize that you don't need all the swipes. You don't need to model other people's infographics. You don't need to know "what's working now" or to buy any "make money online" advice.
In fact, these things are actively destroying your uniqueness. You're trying to sound like someone else or model someone else because it seems to be working for them.
But any successful business owner will tell you that blindly swiping the tactics doesn't work. That's why most people fail to get any real value out of the courses and coaching they spend all their money on. They're too focused on emulating what other people are doing rather than figuring how how they can take what's working for others and modify it for their own uses.
Put simply: They are trying to be like someone else instead of magnifying who they truly are.
Focus on leading yourself. Become the person they want to be. Share your journey with your audience. After all, they want to be more like you.