We often hear our modern world described as “noisy.” Business and economy experts aren’t (necessarily) referring to literal noise when they say this, but instead, commenting on how many things bid for our attention on a daily basis. Consumers are constantly encouraged to step back, find some quiet, make a peaceful corner of the world, while businesses are encouraged to make some noise, stand out, get noticed.
How can these two things co-exist? If you’re not naturally “noisy,” can you be a successful entrepreneur? We say yes – and you may be predisposed to being more successful than someone who is naturally noisy. Let’s talk about how and why.
Do you have to be noisy to get noticed?
What does it mean to be noisy as a business? Do you need to have a banner ad on every major website, post to social media a dozen times a day, use click bait headlines and dirty tricks to get your content to go viral?
That is one way to be noisy, but over the long term, social media experts like Seth Godin would suggest that it’s the wrong kind of noise. If you’re just blanketing the known world with more of what we already hear, you’re not going to make an impact on your potential audience.
Instead of trying to just make a lot of noise, strive to make noise that gets noticed.
Target your noise.
To give your marketing the best chance of being seen and received, direct it towards those who are predisposed to listen. Instead of using blanket banner ads on every website you can think of, think about your ideal customer, and what site they used just before yours. Create content that is precisely targeted towards answering questions that your customers are going to ask, and write it so compellingly and clearly that they feel their friends will value it just as much as they do.
Give people something to listen to.
Social media experts like Michael Hyatt like to say that people are more distracted than they’ve ever been. They tell you that if you don’t grab your customer’s attention this exact instant, you’ve lost them forever.
That’s certainly one way to look at the number of options that the average consumer has in terms of information gathering, entertainment, and connection. The other, which is a bit more hopeful for both humanity at large, and small businesses in particular, is that instead of being more distracted than ever, consumers no longer feel the need to compromise to get what they want.
Think of it this way: even ten years ago, if a customer wanted to buy a new book, what did they do? They went to a bookstore and asked the bookseller what was new and good. They would probably be swayed by the promotions that publishers had paid to put at the front of the store. They might be in the mood for a spy novel with a female heroine, as an example, but they’d choose what was available, because there weren’t many other ways to get books.
Today, the avid reader is going to go to Goodreads or Twitter and ask for the book that has their precise list of needs and desires. Odds are good that it exists, either through a traditional distribution channel, or through an indie publication option.
It’s not that we’re all too distracted to listen; it’s that we’re no longer choosing to give our time to ventures that we don’t feel passionately about.
As a business, then, your job is to give your audience something to feel passionate about. You need to hear them in a way no one else ever has. You need to answer their questions and give them information that is precisely targeted to their needs. Because if you don’t, they’re going to keep looking for someone who will.
How does this work for introverts?
The old model of entrepreneurship involved people who thrived on being at the front of the room, commanding the attention of thousands. In this newer, more niche based model, there’s more room for introverts and people who are willing to direct the spotlight somewhere else.
All small businesses struggle, but one way to make that struggle as worthwhile as possible is to transform it into a quest for niche success. Target your precise audience and let them know they’re meaningful to you; you will be rewarded for your attention.