Critical insight into your clients & customers:
Everybody wants to feel like they belong…
But not everybody wants to ‘fit in’.
On the surface, they may sound like the same thing, but they’re actually very different – and understanding why is crucial to your messaging.
I can explain… and I’ll start by getting weirdly personal, if I may.
See, I’ve always been a bit of an outsider…
Not, like, the whole Man With No Name dude riding into town, stopping all the conversation in the bar when he pushes his way through the swing doors kind of outsider…
In fact, I’ve been told I’m pretty sociable (which came as a surprise to me).
It’s just: I never really felt like I fitted in anywhere.
Not at school, not at college, not during my decade-long experiment with what the square community calls ‘gainful employment’.
I had no trouble getting along with folks in most of these places. But I think some of us are just hotwired to prefer being outsiders looking in.
Even in the world of copywriting and marketing, I’m still a bit of an oddball.
(I mean, who says stuff like this about their own industry??)
This is no sob story by the way – I actually enjoy being a perpetual outsider…
Not least because it helps me see things differently.
Of course, when you’re young, being on the outside can feel like a tough ride.
But if you can get through it – often by finding strength in all the amazing stuff created by other outsiders – it can lead to a very rewarding life.
So I consider myself extremely fortunate.
(Especially right now in These Weird Times aka The 2020 Shitshow, as I type this alone and happy in my comfy home office, having commuted all of zero minutes to work.
I know not everyone’s this lucky.)
Anyway, as a result of a lifetime of not fitting in, I’m happy doing my own thing – like a lot of entrepreneurs (more on that in a minute).
But even old grizzly guts here sometimes feels the need to belong.
To know, deep down, that I’m part of something bigger.
And here comes the great irony of the whole ‘outsider’ situation:
I believe most people feel this way too.
Yep, we’re all outsiders looking in.
Not all day every day, but that sense of disconnection is, ironically, what connects us.
Everybody wants to be included – under the correct circumstances – when they hear “we”.
“We” is one of the most powerful words in our language.
And it’s one of the most important in your marketing toolbox, too…
The impact on an individual’s emotional wellbeing and decision-making of truly feeling included – of having a sense of connection to something they really care about – can be huge.
For instance, saying: “…we do X,” “…we believe Y,” or “hey, we really made that work, didn’t we?” can instil a strong sense of purpose.
Sure, being an “I” is great and all, but sometimes… we need to be part of a “we” (or an “us”).
Despite my ‘outsider’ status, I still like to feel like I’m part of some weird little club from time to time.
Being obsessed with certain micro-niches of music does this for me…
(I’m missing the sense of freedom I get from live gigs as much as anyone right now, I can tell ya…)
… as does hanging out with other writers, entrepreneurs, weirdos and misfits.
Online, that means I can dig into, say, an interview with modern psych-rock hero Ripley Johnson, or chat with my buddies about our latest ambient discoveries on Bandcamp, in the knowledge that 99.999% of the world couldn’t care less about this stuff…
…and I’m amongst my tribe. It’s us against the world – and we’ll take those odds.
I’m sure there are things that make you feel that way too.
Deep down, everybody is part of an “us”, no matter how insignificant or remote it might sometimes seem
And if you’re a business owner or solopreneur, this is something to hold onto…
Because you don’t get to say “we” all that often. But when you do, it means something: a connection is made.
Let’s face it, most connections are wrong for you. It can be hard to find the right ‘fit’.
Put out the wrong message, and it gets even harder.
But in digital marketing, we get to work with those odds. Sometimes a 1% conversion rate can mean a huge success.
We’re fine with the fact that the vast majority of folks out there don’t want what we have.
Once you accept that most people just aren’t right for what you have to offer, it strengthens your connection to those who are.
Hell, if everybody ‘fit in’, nothing of value would ever get made, or written, or recorded.
Entrepreneurs and creatives are often people who started making their own thing specifically because they didn’t fit in.
They chose their own “us”.
And when you create something truly unique, you attract likeminded others. Cool!
Your messaging is crucial to this process because it’s the bridge you use to reach them.
Build it well and the right people will find you. You’ll finally get to say:
“Here we are.”
That’s a powerful feeling – and an underrated one in marketing terms.
Because your customers all want to feel that way too.
They’re outsiders looking for a way in. Not just into any old place, but to somewhere they belong…
Somewhere they feel better than they do now.
It’s your job to open the door and let them inside.
The methods you use to reach them will come and go, but they will always feel the need to experience connection…
To know someone out there ‘gets them’, even for a few minutes.
When you create empathy with your ideal customer through your messaging, you give them that sense of belonging…
By demonstrating you understand the insider details and subtle nuances of their situation, by showing them you’re both a part of a tight-knit “us”, they’ll come to recognise they’re not alone…
They’ll realise they can benefit from your unique value. And that your product or service is something worth investing in.
If you need help getting there, hit me up and tell me who you’re trying to reach.
Best part: I won’t ask you to ‘fit in’ 😉