Put the Right Lure In Front of the Right Fish

Angler and his prize catch

This post is part of the March Word Carnival — a monthly group blogging event specifically for small business owners.

(It’s the most fun you’ll have all month!)

Check out the rest of the fabulous carney work.

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Let’s go fishing and reel in some potential customers and clients!

What? 

You say you don’t like fishing?

Do you like customers and clients?

Well, all right, then!

Grab your pole and tackle box and let’s head out to the pond.

No, I didn’t mean to say “lake”. 

I meant to say “pond”.

You don’t think we’ll have any luck? 

Too small a fishing hole, you suspect?

Well, sweetie, I can see you haven’t done much fishing.

I know the lake has a bigger stock of fish, but guess what? 

Everybody and their uncle is either standing on the shore or out in boats with their lines tossed in.

Just picture the worst traffic jam you can imagine (read: the worldwide web).

What are the chances you’re going to catch any fish with all those other anglers trying to do the same?! 

Here’s the thing …

To land the biggest and best catch of the day, you need to find a small pond of fish and become the BIG fish.

All you need to do is put the right lure (read: your marketing messages) in front of the right fish (read: your ideal customer or client).

Fishing lesson for today (okay, it’s a marketing research lesson) …

Position yourself in a smaller, more intimate environment to be able to effectively communicate with your target audience, showcase your expertise, and figure out how you can serve these folks.

Not sure where to find a small pond?

  • Search for niche-specific or topic-specific forums and join the conversations
  • Start your own Facebook group
  • Do the same on LinkedIn – start a group
  • Create a Tweet Chat you host on a regular basis or host a Twitter party using a customized #hashtag
  • Start answering questions on Quora
  • Host a tele-class (put some bait on your hook and see if you get any bites)
  • Do a keyword search on Twitter or Facebook for your ideal client or customer
  • Brainstorm ideas with colleagues or join a mastermind group

Become the go-to person … the BIG fish in a small pond … so you can uncover exactly what your potential customers or clients want or need from you.

Do you like fishing any better now?

 

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  • Love the idea of being a BIG fish in a very small pond Melanie, terrific analogy. In fact, you can be a fish in a lots of little ponds, even puddles and they’d all add up. It really reflects that great theory of modern marketing – the long tail. And then if you think about having just a few people on a teletalk or hangout or in a group, rather then thousands, but repeating it often, it is not quite so daunting and entirely possible. Thanks for bringing this perspective to the topic and a warm welcome to to the Carnies!

    • I love this, Sandy …

      ” … you can be a fish in a lots of little ponds, even puddles and they’d all add up.” 😉

      And thank you for the warm welcome to Word Carnivals. What a fabulous group of bloggers!

  • Melanie – Yay for fishing! I grew up brook trout fishing and it fits in perfectly with your post. Most people look down their nose, “brook trout?!” Guess what – we almost always came back with our legal limit and had the streams to ourselves.

    I may need to draw myself Numbers Whisperer lure!

    • Wahoo!!

      Always a joy to meet someone who knows how much fun fishing can be (REAL fishing and market research fishing). 😉

      “Numbers Whisperer” lure — love it!

      Thanks, Nicole, for “catching” my post. LOL

  • Hi Melanie, Great idea to start your own Facebook and linked in groups. I’m part of several but never thought about starting one. A little concerned about the time commitment, should I be?

    • Hey Clare — So happy you dropped in!

      I think “Time” is something that manages us … as much as we keep trying to manage it. LOL! 😉

      Being a member of social media groups is a smart move …

      But administering your own group is really the way to go.

      You’re able to send messages to all the group members (marketing messages, announcements of upcoming events, new products, personal notes, blog posts, surveys, etc.) Starting your own group means you’ll have certain privileges that members don’t enjoy.

      My best suggestion, Clare? (And I need to do this, too!)

      Remove yourself from groups you really don’t get much value from … and that will free up some time for you to start your own highly targeted group. 🙂

  • Melanie, great post and welcome to the Word Carnival!

    I love your idea about hosting a tele-class: “Host a tele-class (put some bait on your hook and see if you get any bites)” – it occurs to me that this would be the perfect use for a Google+ hangout. As long as you don’t need more than 10 at a time, you’d be good! You’d also have the added benefit of YouTube videos and screenshare, not to mention video chat!

    • Listen, Nick …

      Take the liberty to stop by often and lay some more of that kind of wisdom on me, okay?

      A Google+ hangout, ya say?

      You’re a blinking genius (you smarty pants!) LOL

      Let’s face it …
      I need you in my back pocket.

      Thanks for the warm welcome to the Word Carnival — I finally found a home. 🙂

  • So true! Starting off smaller hones your message, gets you experience and enables you to get into the flow to see who’s actually biting — THEN find the most effective ways to cater to them. I also love the suggestions you offer to help people to discover and tap into their own pond.

    • Lovely to see you here, Katrina — thanks for joining the conversation!

      I totally agree …

      Get the experience FIRST and get into the flow to see who’s actually biting BEFORE you come up with ways to solve their dilemmas. Brilliant observation!

      SO many times entrepreneurs create products or start a service-oriented business with absolutely NO clue if there’s really a market for what they have to offer. Not good.

      I hate when I see that sort of thing happening because I know how much work, energy, and effort it takes to create a product or program.

      Hope you’ll knock on my door again soon. 🙂

  • Well, who knew you could put such a positive spin on being a big fish in a small pond? Thanks for these great tips on identifying and interacting with your market, Melanie. 🙂

    • What a treat to see your smiling face, Sharon — thanks for dropping in!

      Trying to get eyes on your work and showcase your expertise online …

      Is like being a goldfish in the ocean!

      Ya gotta start small or you’ll never get noticed. 🙂

  • Nicely, done Ms. Melanie! It looks like you’re going to make a VERY nice carney, indeed. 😉

    The big fish in a small pond thing is for real — I lived it. My former business was more offline than on and I lived in a small town. It didn’t take long for me to be someone that “everyone” knew. This time around, I’m focusing more online than off and I can tell you — even with my niche of women solopreneurs who love to cook (and eat), it’s a lot harder to stand out. We need to remember that the small ponds that exist online are virtual. So there’s a much bigger chance that your message can be ignored. We’re human after all, and people need to get to know you. That takes extra time and energy online because we’ve got these screens that separate us from each other. I’ve learned that you’ve got to go 10 extra miles online to reach out on a 1-to-1 basis with people so you can make those relationships stick. But starting with a small pond is a crucial first step!

    • Hi Tea — you’re a sweetheart. Thanks for the carney kudos. 🙂

      I love your story.

      I hail from a small town, too — a place where everybody knows everybody else and everything that’s happening with everyone every day. (Try saying that ten times real fast) LOL

      I’m backing you up 100% on this …

      ” … you’ve got to go 10 extra miles online to reach out on a 1-to-1 basis with people so you can make those relationships stick.”

      So I guess it comes down to taking those ever lovin’ “baby steps” …

      ” … starting with a small pond is a crucial first step!”

      Three cheers for Word Carnivals! 😉

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  • Wow, what a great way to present the concept of niche audiences to your readers! It’s probably one of the most creative posts I have seen in a VERY long time! I am going to share it widely.

    • Wow-Wee!

      What a wonderful compliment, Cendrine, and thanks for your generosity — appreciate the shares!

      So glad you knocked on my door today and please come back again soon. 🙂

  • Hello Melanie,

    You know, I think a problem is that many people start blogging just because they suspect they’re going to get themselves some money in the process and then they struggle to “nail” some customers. What people don’t understand usually is that finding your passion and your joy (read: your niche) is first, not second, in this business — as in any business.

    You can’t seduce others (at least, in the long run), if they don’t see You absolutely enthralled by what you’re saying and what you’re envisioning.

    • You’ve nailed it, Eleni!

      These words are golden …

      ” … many people start blogging just because they suspect they’re going to get themselves some money in the process and then they struggle to “nail” some customers”

      You can’t begin at the end, can you? You have to begin at the beginning. 🙂

      You’re right. People will not be attracted to you if you’re not totally enthralled by what you’re saying and envisioning.

      Thanks for swinging by!

  • You come up with the best analogies Mel.

    I don’t know if people really get how important this message is. Even if you take this subject onto the social media fairground, the same applies.

    I see so many newbies throwing themselves in front of the “A lister” bus, trying to get noticed, they are merely minnows and there’s nothing to distinguish them from the rest of the school of minnows.

    Funny thing is. If one of those minnows, happens to be larger or more dinstinct in some way from the rest. The A lister will tend to notice them first.

    Simply by being the big fish, you place yourself in the best position without all the pushing and hard work.

    Something to be said for being the big fish in the little pond.

    • Many thanks for the compliment, Jackie. Coming from a prolific writer such as yourself means a lot! 🙂

      I love this line …

      ” … they are merely minnows and there’s nothing to distinguish them from the rest of the school of minnows.”

      Conjures up an image of hundreds and hundreds of teensy weensy fish bumping into each other, floundering to find their way, and getting absolutely nowhere … fast. 😉

      The only thing they may get is a little “bruised”. LOL!

      So happy you dropped in to add value to the conversation (as you always do!)
      Mel

  • Hi Mel,

    I loved the creativity in this post and the comparison between customers and fishes in a pond. I totally agree. The tighter or smaller the niche, the increased likelihood of figuring out what they want. If we broaden out too much, then there is the risk that what we offer will be too vague and will not solve a properly defined problem.

    • You’ve been holding out on me, Hiten …

      I can see you’re a marketing genius! 🙂

      “I loved the creativity in this post and the comparison between customers and fishes in a pond.”

      Thanks, Hiten!

  • Hi Melanie,

    Very well said!

    The fishing analogy puts a nice spin on such a valuable topic – Generating traffic has been so much easier since I realized that I needed to swim in a smaller pond versus trying to “outswim” the big fish.

    Great insight!

    • Hey Christine — thanks for chiming in!

      You’ll definitely get a prize catch with this mindset …

      ” … swim in a smaller pond versus trying to “outswim” the big fish.” 😉

      We all know who the big fish are and there’s no sense treading water where they’re swimming. It’s too exhausting and the competition is fierce. Kinda like being a goldfish surrounded by sharks. LOL

  • Melanie if someone had just explained this to me two years ago when I started coaching THIS way , I’m sure much of my wasted efforts marketing would never have happened.

    Love this!

    • Really excited to see you here, Bonnie, and thanks for your transparency!

      Look on the ever lovin’ bright side …

      Took you two years? Took me three. LOL 🙂

      • “Took you two years? Took me three.”

        OK, if this is a contest… I’m still trying.

        • Trust me, Keith …

          This is one contest you DON’T want to join. LOL

          Hope you had a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend!

          See you on the interwebs,
          Mel

  • Love this analogy. I always talk about becoming more focused on your ideal client (or attendee in my case). Being the big fish in a little pond is awesome. If you go for the lake, you will just get lost…

    Great post Melanie!

    • Happy you decided to go fishing with me, Daphne!

      And you’re right! You can easily substitute “attendee” for ideal client, in your case, and the philosophy still holds true. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed this analogy!
      xoxo

  • Well, really I like fish but I do not like fishing….but in the way you did teach me today I LIKE A LOT. Very good advice and lesson. I keep following you and learning. Thanks.

    • Thanks for your kind remarks, Juan, and I’m happy you enjoyed this post.

  • Morning Mel

    “To land the biggest and best catch of the day, you need to find a small pond of fish and become the BIG fish.”

    Nail on the head.

    Hope you don’t mind link, but this talks about Niche blogging:

    http://www.briangardner.com/niche-blogging/

    Have a good weekend “sweetie.”

    • You, too, Sweetie! 🙂

      Great post from Brian Gardner — left my nickel’s worth in the comment box.

      I felt a little sheepish, though. Looks like I’m the only female commenter (so far).

      Maybe Brian has a “same sex” commenting policy. LOL!

      • More men than women talking!
        That has to be a first in the world of blogging.
        Or any other world come to think of it.

        Brian G has some great little posts.

        • “More men than women talking!
          That has to be a first in the world of blogging.
          Or any other world come to think of it.”

          You got THAT right, Keith!

          No question about it, women are the biggest chatterboxes. And we’re darn proud of it, too! LOL

          • Oh yes we are! And here is why.. men take longer to listen so we need to repeat things twice and thus we end up talking more. Logic you see! 🙂

          • Oh, is THAT the reason, Hajra?!

            In this case, I’ll have to trust your expertise. 🙂

            I’m definitely no expert when it comes to “men”. LOL!!

  • great post Melanie
    i want to become a better fisherman 😉

    • Hi Farouk!

      I have a hunch you’re already quite the “angler”. LOL!

      Thanks for “catching” my post …

      Now get out there and catch some fish! 😉

  • One day I have to hypnotize and get “into” the head of yours and extract those amazing content ideas and the method of conveying it! 🙂

    I love how you tell us to fish and get hold of the big fish. Man, every time I am here I am just blown away! 😉 One question : How are you so brilliant?

    • Ah, shucks, Hajra …

      Brilliance is overrated. LOL!

      But since you asked …

      I’m actually a “backward” blogger and that’s how I come up with ideas to post about and how I formulate my posts.

      I know. You’re wondering, “What the heck is blogging backward all about?!”

      I’ll have to craft a post about this syndrome one of these days to explain it in depth. But in a nutshell, I don’t follow the usual, customary, standard rules for writing. I do everything in “reverse” of what’s taught by the “How to blog” experts.

      My mind works differently. And beside that, I’ve always headed down the road less traveled. 😉

      You’re a sweetheart. Thanks for the visit and for your kindness and unending support!

      Virtual hugs,
      Melanie

      • I would agree on the road less traveled! That is one thing I like about your posts; you aren’t afraid to speak your mind and how you look at it. That is one thing the blogosphere really needs!

        • Thanks for the kudos and vote of confidence, Hajra — very much appreciated!