When is the last time you read a book that changed your perspective? Can you remember? I recently read one that did this for me, and it’s already changed the work I do for clients and for O&B — for the better. So I figured, why keep this awesomeness to myself?
The book is called Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.
If you have the time to read it, you should. If not, I’ll synthesize just one of the major points of the book here, so you can put into practice right away.
Any good marketing professional will tell you that knowing your target client is the most important aspect of promoting your business. You want to know what your clients’ interests are, their salary level, where they shop, what kind of car they drive, where they vacation, whether they have kids, etc.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What you really want to know are your client’s 3 tiers of struggle: external, internal, and philosophical. (These are all elements we cover during our Brand Strategy process.)
Your client’s external struggles are the easiest to identify: they are what your ideal client is looking for you to do for them. For example:
Creating an floor plan that flows effortlessly
Creating more storage for a growing family
Communicating with the builder or contractors to get the job done well
Making a bland room feel more welcoming and personal
Choosing the right paint colors or fabric patterns for a space
Creating a renovation budget with expertise
External struggles are ideal for website copy, blog articles, social media posts, and lead magnet topics. They are easy to state outright, as these will be tangible deliverables for your clients.
Internal struggles go a level deeper than external struggles, and they’re slightly harder to identify, because, well, they’re internal. They are happening in your clients’ heads and hearts. That said, once you start to look, you’ll be able to see their internal struggles more clearly. A few examples could be:
Wanting to slow down and fully relax after a long day’s work
Wishing for a home they didn’t have to constantly repair or clean up
Wanting a place for their children to feel safe and supported
Having a home that helps them make memories together
Downsizing after the kids have left the nest
Desire for a space in which they can proudly entertain friends and family
Needing the biggest ROI for their financial efforts
According to Building a StoryBrand, consumers make purchases based on their internal struggles. This is the “why” behind their external needs. Addressing these problems is more relatable, hits closer to home, and will create an emotion in your readers. How to do it?
Directly, in moderation. Share how your clients can solve (with your help) one of these internal struggles. For example, “designing a home for years of family memories.”
Always when discussing an external struggle, show how the resolution of that struggle will also solve one of their internal struggles. For example, if you’re sharing insight into “creating a renovation budget,” you can also state how this doing so will bring ease and peace of mind into the process.
And now, if you can believe it, we’re going to go even deeper, into your target clients’ philosophical struggles. These are the values that guide the way they live — and it’s very likely that you share these values. For example:
Creating the best life for their kids
Enjoying retirement to the fullest
Having a tight-knit family or community
Being bolder and more courageous in life
stick to only 1 or 2
Philosophical struggles go deep to the heart of who we are and what we value as individuals… which means you should exercise some sensitivity and moderation when addressing them.
Brief mentions throughout website copy. Pepper this information sporadically into website copy to hint at the underlying impact of what you do.
On your About page or bio, which is a great place to get personal, share your own values, and show how they connect to your clients’.
I can’t remember if the book discusses this part, but from putting it into practice myself, I can tell you that finding the connection between your clients’ internal/philosophical struggles and your “why” will bring harmony to your message and to you personally.
For example, Ochre & Beige…
Makes attracting your ideal clients easier (External)
Gives you more freedom to focus on what you do best (Internal)
Helps you build the business and lifestyle you want most (Philosophical)
Your “why” is what gets you out of bed in the morning. If you can connect it to the overarching problems you’re solving for clients, and include that in your blog posts and marketing, it will help you stand out and attract your tribe to you.
Guide & Checklist
Guide & Checklist