In the marketing world, the success or failure of your campaign lies in the hands of your market. How do you convince your target audience and move them to say yes or purchase your product or service? Citing the success of the best-selling author Rick Warren as an example, Alex teaches the importance of having an avatar for every business.
You’ll also get to know the six keys to finding your avatar. He also gives away a marketing plan every business can follow – who, what, market, and message.
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Six Key to Finding Your Avatar
In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights which I believe are critical to making you a highly skilled ethical influencer. You’ll discover how to identify your ideal client that’s called your avatar. It’s a persona and no matter what business you’re in, it is the single most important thing you can do for your business. You’ll learn six strategies that make avatar descriptions faster and easier because most people struggle with coming up with an avatar.
Finally, you’ll learn why most marketers prefer defining their message first and their market second when the opposite is important. Market first, then message. This episode could have a significant impact on how you can quickly and easily win the hearts of others. Lean in and read the story of the Saddleback Church.
The Story Of Rick Warren
This episode is not about religion, it’s all about avatar identification. This story is about Richard Duane, also known as Rick Warren.
He’s an American Evangelical Christian pastor and a bestselling author selling millions of books. He’s the Founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church of the evangelical megachurch in Lake Forest, California. Warren was born in San Jose, California. He is the son of Jimmy and Dot Warren. His father was a Baptist minister. His mother was a high school librarian and he was raised in Ukiah, California.
Ukiah is about the most northern city in California. He graduated from Ukiah High School in 1972 where he founded the first Christian club on school campus. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist University in Riverside and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1979 in Fort Worth, Texas and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
This is not about Christianity or religion. It’s about a man understanding who his congregation is and you have a congregation. Your congregation is your following. Your congregation is about your prospects, your clients. You’re an evangelist to our ongoing clients who buy again and again.
When you understand them so well, when you understand their aspirations, their attributes, their affiliations, when you understand their fears, frustrations and foibles, then you will understand your business better than you understand it now, which is why I’m telling you the story now.
Rick Warren has been married to Kay Warren since June 21st, 1975. They have three adult children and four grandchildren. Rick considers Billy Graham and Peter Drucker as well as his own father to be among his mentors. Because of the success of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, and the sales he generated from that book in 2005, Warren returned his 25 years of salary to the church and discontinued taking a salary.
He says he and his wife have become reverse tithers. Tithing is the principle of giving 10% away in something you believe in, no matter what your denomination, in his case, his church. What they do is they give away 90% of their income and they live off the 10% that they make. It’s fascinating. Warren’s youngest son, Matthew, tragically took his life on April 6th, 2013 after years of struggling with mental illness.
[bctt tweet=”The market is what makes you money in business. ” via=”no”]
Almost a year after his son’s suicide, Warren launched a ministry to educate the church on its role to help people struggling with mental illness. The church gathering in March of 2014, what happened a year after that is, he got more than 10,000 people to write him about their struggles with mental illness within the church. It’s not about religion. It’s about a cause.
Imagine losing a child. For me, there’s nothing more tragic. I can’t even imagine the pain of what that feels like. I’ve known friends who have had that experience. After that experience, he creates a cause to help and assist others struggling with the same pain his son struggled with.
Warren says he was called to full-time ministry when he was nineteen years old as a student at California Baptist University.
In November 1973, he and a friend skipped classes and drove 350 miles to hear W.A. Criswell. He was preaching at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco. Warren waited afterwards to shake hands with Criswell who focused on Warren as a protégé. He stated that he felt he was led to lay hands on him and pray for him.
This is no different than W. Clement Stone taking exception to Jack Canfield and saying, “I’m going to send you to other seminars and training so that you can learn.” It’s no different than me going to Wizard Academy and having Roy H. Williams, my mentor, give me the privilege of inviting guests, which I call a mastermind. I’m the only one I know who’s able to do that. It’s no different than Bucky Fuller walking up to Mark Victor Hansen and allowing him to travel with him and learn from him.
Everybody needs a mentor. Socrates mentored Plato, Plato mentored Aristotle, Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great, Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffett, Maya Angelou was a mentor to Oprah Winfrey. Everyone of any type of significance has had a mentor because a mentor plows the ground before you and helps you avoid the mistakes that you would make.
This episode is not about mentoring. It’s about avatar and what Warren did better than anyone else I know is he simplifies the avatar for those who went to his church, the congregation. A congregation is a group. It has a religious implication, but you have a congregation if you have a list. If you don’t have a list, you still have a congregation of friends.
If you can get a congregation together weekly as I do for my weekly Facebook Fridays Live, which is at MarketingOnline.com/FridayLive, it’s a public service and it’s free. It’s my tithing with my time. You can go to my YouTube channel, which is YouTube.com/AlexMandossian. I get congregations of people to follow me. In my case, it’s not about God, it’s about marketing.
Marketing is the most important discipline you can learn about your business. The frustrating thing for me over the years is people focus on the what before the who. The what is the message. They’ll say, “Alex, I got this great idea,” and I’ll say, “What?”
I’ll say, “I don’t care about your idea. Ideas cost money. Ideas tend to make people go broke.” What makes you money is your message. That’s the who.
My message for you here is first who, then what. First, your market, then your message. How can you have a message without identifying who your market is? What Rick Warren did ingeniously is create an avatar and named him Saddleback Sam. That is also a Saddleback Sally.
It’s a description as a profile for someone they want to reach in order to attend church. In the same way you build a church congregation is identical to the way you build a following or a list. First who, then what. First, your market, then your message.
The third M is media that’s connecting your market to your message. Remember, the market is what makes you money in business.
Saddleback Sam, you can look him up on Google and you’ll see a description with a picture. He’s well educated. He likes his job, he likes where he lives, health and fitness or high priority for him and his family. He’d rather be in a large group than in a small one. He is skeptical of organized religion.
That’s key and it’s almost a skepticism or something that he’s very moving away from. He doesn’t like organized religion. That’s what Rick offered is this isn’t about organized religion. This is about a message.
He attracted those people to his congregation. It’s a megachurch. Saddleback Sam thinks that he’s enjoying life more than he did a few years ago. He’s self-satisfied and he’s even smug about his station in life. He prefers dressing casually versus formal dress and he’s over-extended with both time and money.
Enter Rick Warren. He knows who his ideal congregational participant is and to become serious and to come in again and again and show up at church, not just during Easter or Christmas.
The Six Keys To Create An Avatar
I’ve come up with six keys to create an avatar. Three are moving toward and three are moving away. Moving toward means pleasure. You’re moving towards these things. Moving away is a pain. It’s what you’re moving away from. You don’t want those things.
[bctt tweet=”Selling is not just about you and your message, it’s about who you’re attempting to persuade.” via=”no”]
The first three are words that start with A and number one is aspirations. What is your avatar’s aspiration? What are their dreams? What do they want? Number two, attributes. What are their attributes? How old are they? Where do they live? These are some of the demographic things about them.
Number three is affiliations. These are psychographics. What groups do they belong to? Are they religious? What magazines do they read? What movies do they like to go to? What’s their favorite nonfiction book? What are the top 25 songs on their iTunes list on their smartphone?
Imagine if you knew these things. This is what they’re moving toward. If you can identify those things, you will know your target audience. If you don’t know your target audience, it doesn’t matter what message you’ll have. There’s no way you will inspire and influence them ethically to say yes because selling is about convincing a human being. It’s about getting someone to discriminate in your favor as my good friend Jay Abraham says.
It’s about understanding three other things about them, which they move away from and here they are. They all start with the letter F. The first thing an avatar wants to move away from is their fear. What do they fear? Do you know what your target audience’s fears are? If you don’t start doing research.
Number two, frustrations. What are they frustrated with? What are they dealing with that they want to overcome because they consistently do it again and again? Maybe your offer can help them overcome their frustrations faster and easier. Number three, what are their foibles? What are their idiosyncrasies? I have some idiosyncrasies of my own.
One of my foibles happens to be I like my clothes to be lined up in an OCD pattern where the dark color starts first all the way to the light color. I’m self-deprecating about it and I’m neat as a guy and a single dad if you walk into my apartment. It’s very neat and tidy. That’s one of my foibles. I don’t like messy things and I don’t like things that are out of place.
If you knew what your target audience’s foibles are and how you get to know that is having a dialogue with them, understanding them. It’s not just about you and your message, it’s about who you’re attempting to persuade which is why most people fail to sell. They are too narcissistic about their message. Get out of your head and your message and walk into the moccasins of your market.
Marketing. What’s the most important word in marketing? Market. There is no message in marketing. Marketing starts with who and then it’s followed by what.
Third comes how, which is media. Market, message, media, in that order and the sequence does matter. Fears, frustrations, foibles, those are the three moving away and the avatar is your bullseye client.
If you look at a bullseye with a bow and arrow and you’re aiming at a bullseye, it is that that yellow circle in the middle. There are these other rings that go around them. They’re blue, red, white or black. If you aim at the bullseye, you’ll hit the target.
It may be one of the outer rings you hit, so it won’t be identical to your avatar, but at least you hit your target, which I believe is where the target market comes from. Aim for the center and at least you’ll hit the target, which means you’ll be making money. If you miss the target, you don’t make any money. Once again, the six avatar keys, the moving toward are number one, aspirations, number two, attributes and number three affiliations.
The moving away are number one, fears, number two, frustrations and number three, foibles.
I have never seen an easier way to describe an avatar, “Does it take time?” “Yes.” “Will it take a few weeks?” “Of course.” “Does it take a lifetime to master?” “Yeah,” like any great game.
You can learn the rules of playing chess in about ten minutes, but it will take you a lifetime to master it. That goes for a game like Othello or other games of strategy. Marketing is about strategy. If you know the six avatar keys, it will make your life a lot easier.
The Alexism for this episode is effective social influencers are like the wind. You can’t see them, but you notice their presence. The wind can have an impact, especially in a hurricane, a cyclone or a typhoon. You can’t see the wind, but you do see the impact of the wind and that’s how you want your message hitting your market. You want your market to receive it, so it’s natural.
Creating a message must come after identifying your market, which is your avatar, which is the topic of this episode. The message is about the golden rule. You want to do unto others as you want to be done unto.
You want a product that has socially redeeming value. You want a product and an offer or a service. You want something that would be something of high value to you. Your message is about the golden rule, but your market, that’s not about the golden rule. Many people think it is. It’s not.
The Platinum Rule
I believe your market is about the Platinum Rule, which one of my mentors, Tony Alessandra talks about. He wrote a book about it, The Platinum Rule. It says, “Do unto others as they want to be done unto.” If you love hamburgers and it’s important for you to eat at least one hamburger per week, the golden rule would be, “I’m going to sell the highest quality hamburgers on Earth.”
[bctt tweet=”The single biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in any type of business is not clearly identifying their target market.” via=”no”]
What if you’re going after a target audience of vegetarians? The golden rule is irrelevant. The Platinum Rule is relevant to them because they are different than you. When you walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins, which is a proverb, take your own shoes off first because you can’t fit into someone else’s shoes with your shoes on.
That’s the best way I know to describe what the Platinum Rule is for your market, “Do unto them as they want to be done unto.” Get out of your own head, get out of your own aspirations, attributes and affiliations. Get out of your fears, frustrations, foibles and get into theirs until you know how to speak to them and until they feel like you’re reading their mind.
Making A Great Offer
The bottom line is the market is what’s most important. One of my mentors, Gary Halbert, a great copywriter, he used to say again and again, and people disagree with his percentages, but I believe in the percentage he gave because he waited for the market with the most amount, “There are only three things you need when you make a great offer. You need a great list, you need a great offer and you need great copy.”
A copy is written words, spoken word and visual word. You’re listening to the spoken word and you could be reading the written word.
Gary Halbert said, “60% of your success is based on the list.” 20% on the offer and 20% on the copy. The offer and the copy together are 50% less valuable than what your list is. If you have a tightly, narrowly niched list, you can win even if you have a crappy offer or semi-good copy. If you have a great offer and great copy and you have the wrong list such as hamburgers to vegetarians, you will lose.
I hope I’ve made an impact on you. I hope you read this episode again a second time because I believe the single biggest mistake entrepreneurs make, social influencers make, coaches, consultants, service professionals and manufacturers in any type of business, is they don’t clearly identify their target market. That is your avatar.
A quick review about the insights you and I discovered in this episode. Number one, every business has an avatar and it’s the first step in your marketing plan to identify that avatar. Find an avatar first and then find a message to reach that avatar and convince them.
Number two, the six avatar keys. There were three that were moving toward and three that were moving away. Go back and read this episode and you’ll rediscover what they are. Finally, if I could give you a marketing plan in four words, here it is, “First, who then what?” Who is your market? What is your message? The how is the media that connects your market to your message.
Remember, these insights can only work for you if you work them. I want you to go to AllSellingAside.com/iTunes. If you haven’t done it, just do it. It will help me out a lot. I want you to type in your biggest takeaway.
I want you to type in the a-ha moment you experienced during this episode. Maybe you have to read it a few times and you can do it in the review section and when you do it, iTunes will ask you to rate this episode. I hope I’ve earned those five precious stars from you.
If you’ve already done this, I want to thank you because it means a lot to me. It helps a lot to get to the top of iTunes because I want this message out for people who are struggling with sales. It’s the number one reason why people fail in business. It’s why people go broke. It’s why businesses run out of cash because they don’t sell. People are deathly afraid of sales.
Go ahead, declare your one big takeaway in the iTunes review section and you do that by visiting AllSellingAside.com/iTunes. Although it will take three minutes out of your day, I believe what you declare could prove and provide you a lifetime of learning because you’re declaring it publicly.
One final gift to you for reading this far in honor of this episode and as a complimentary copy of my eBook titled, Alexisms: Useful Lessons From A Recovering Serial Entrepreneur. You can instantly download it at AlexismsBook.com.
That does it for this episode and I hope our paths cross again for our next episode. Remember, this is the show dedicated to you, to make an ethical influence within your reach so that you can achieve and even exceed your sales potential.
My friend, you are not as good as you think you are at sales. You’re better, so prove it by applying what you learn here. It’s a public service from my heart to yours and I hope you share it with others.
Do whatever it takes to join me again because our topic is going to be the anatomy of a perfect workday. It’s a special one. I can’t wait to share that with you. I encourage you to bring a friend or to refer this episode to a friend or a study buddy because it’s so much more fun to learn with someone else. There’s no such thing as a self-made success. I can’t wait to connect with you then. All good wishes.