Brand Story Strategy

HOW TO WRITE A COMPELLING CONTENT: THE COFFIN SELLER’S PERSPECTIVE

Compelling Article Writing

I have had an experience doing freelance writing. As a matter of fact, in the first week of this month, I successfully completed a project of over 18,000 words for a client.

How would I have gotten 18,000 words? From my brain or from Balogun market?

For writers and content creators who seek to create a clear and concise copy; creating a compelling content is non-negotiable. How will you create a compelling copy from your brain alone? I tell you, no good writer writes without:

  • Research: Asking questions
  • Critical Thinking: Questioning the Questions
  • Writing for an Audience: Answering these questions

 

RESEARCH is quite important. I am yet to find a story (article, essay, poem, etc) that was written without an in depth study of the topic. It is like going to the movies to find a terrible scene where the nurse intravenous needle upside down; or a military rating hanging the bars of an Able Seaman but is referred to as an officer!

Research makes writers discover and differentiate the things that exist from the things that are no longer obtainable. Without research, the truth in a story is lost.

What do you do in a research?

First, define who your target readers or audiences are. Are they children, adults, professionals, laymen, politicians, masses, etc.

Again, Know what they are interested in and how you can bring a solution based on the value you have. For example, if they are adults who find it hard to keep to their daily routine, but you have a proven system that can help them to be time managers, then you have them.

Thirdly, ask questions. Let me tell you a mistake I made for a while: I used to blog about lots of personal in 2015 until I realized that no one was interested. I. Pulled. It. Down. Shikenan!
We are in a world of #HowETakeConcernMe. So you do not just wake up like these men in Ogbete Market, who keep on forcing your size 38 feet into a size 36 wedge shoe all in the name of, ‘Buy it and wear it! E go expand later!’

Another example to wrap this up is that prior to this post, I already had asked questions on my wall, in this group and one other group. So, if you sell coffins, instead of shouting

‘Buy your beautiful and long-lasting coffins from me!’

I would rather you start with

‘Five effective ways for helping bereaved find comfort.’

This answers the #HowETakeConcernMe. Rememer that only the living buy corpses for the dead.

 

CRITICAL THINKING is non-negotiable. There was a point in my life, I got used to listening and contributing to gossips that I began to sieve them. Infact to avoid people practically, I would put on my earpiece, head over to smartbcamp.com/live and listen to John Obidi’s village people’s beats. In one hour, I could come up with a well researched, written and revised 500-word piece.

Here’s the deal. In critical reasoning, we question the questions to discover the absolute truths, relative truths and the statements that no longer hold water. Here you question what you know and what you have researched, you argue your findings without eny emotional inclinations. The goal is to open up you to a higher reasoning on that topic and to avoid fallacies.
Do not ever force people or your characters. Arguementum ad bacculum is the fallacy that forces people to accept your conclusion. You should know too that when you try to force characters, you begin to lose your audience.
You cannot force a ‘Zone 4’ Abuja girl character into ‘a worker in Family Worship Centre’. There’s a gradual process of plot and critical thinking that gives live to that character.

WRITING FOR AN AUDIENCE is the stage where you put all your thoughts together as a means to answer these questions. Here you:

Put your thoughts into a TOPIC. A topic is not a story. An average of 60 characters (topic) should make up your topic. Your topic should to its work as a title that compells the reader to stay with you until you have aired your thoughts. Use power words where necessary. Let us, for a second time, consider this example:

‘Five effective ways to help the bereaved find comfort’

The power words here are ‘effective’ and ‘comfort’.

If you go by the topics:

‘Five ways to help the bereaved’   or

‘Five ways to help the bereaved so that they can cope with the death of a loved one’

The former is vague whilst the latter is already a story. As a matter of fact, the bereaved can also find comfort in suicide, drugs, unhealthy habits, etc; but the power words here are effective ways for comfort.

 

Next is an INTRODUCTION. Never, except you are at an informal gathering, start an article with these words:

‘Let me tell you a story.’

[We are here to read it already]

‘Story! Story!’

[This one is a cliché that only children could get interested in]

‘I want to tell you something.’

[The topic brought me here already. Or were you planning to tell me something else?]

‘This article is the best you will ever read.’

[We have not read the article and you are already writing a review. Powerful!]

 

Use words or sentences that draw attention to begin your introduction. For example

‘Imagine you were in a world with a loved one, filled with laughter and kindness…. Suddenly death came pressing the doorbell; before you could go get the door, he had gained entrance into your home.’

Introduction opens the curtains to a stage. It is the welcome address you give to an audience that keeps them from leaving the room until the show is over. If you want to spice it up? Use metaphors and pose a main question. For example, let’s assume that the statement applied to a character, Mrs. Omotosho; we can pose a question:

‘How then can we help the likes of Mrs. Omotosho, walk down this road of pain and loneliness in the shoes of bereavement?’

 

Next is the BODY OF THE ARTICLE. Here you will face the business of providing answers. Describe specifically in five paragraphs, the five effective ways that the bereaved can find comfort. As much as possible, use transitional words for each paragraphs. For example: firstly, secondly, also, in addition, moreover, in conclusion, etc. Each paragraph must address a method as already given in your topic. Do not use ambiguous words; keep in mind who your target audiences are. There’s no need stating the relativity theory or Hooke’s law in a story for 5-year olds.

Next is a CALL TO ACTION. Remember that this content marketing strategy is for a coffin seller. How does he #SellHisMarket without actually sounding ‘OMATAish’ [OMATA: Onitsha Market Traders Association]. He puts a call to action. In this age of blogging, calls to action are of various varieties. What I am referring to is a call to action within the article. This is sometimes not necessary to may people, or often ignored. However, it is great to have one, asides the ‘Share now!’ ‘Get a guide!’ ‘Download your free ebook!’ buttons located on target areas of your blog.

So, the coffin seller can say:

‘In my business of coffin design and making, we do not just aim to sell the best coffins that help the bereaved give the dead a befitting burial; we also take them through a coaching session on how to function well, inspite of their pain, but to the happiness of the one who has them behind.
In the case of Mrs. Omotosho, XYZ coffin sellers took them through a 5 day mental exercise, helping them reinforce the values that their mother left behind. We also reassured them of Mama’s philosophy to be a good ancestor to her children, as well as encouraging them to carry on this legacy down to her generations of children….’

 

Last is the CONCLUSION. How dare you write an article without a proper conclusion? It is like being invited to host a party as an MC, and you leave after refreshments have been served. Do. Not. Try. It. Mbok!
A conclusion usually is a single paragraph that SUMMARIZES (not begins another plot) in your piece. The coffin seller can briefly say:

‘In the long run, _ , _ , _ , _, and _ will not just help the bereaved carry on the legacy of their loved ones, but will help them infuse meaningful energy into live…’

You can also make a RECOMMENDATION in this part of your article. You can use words like

‘I advice’, ‘It is advisable’, ‘I suggest based on already proven results…’ and so on.

There are other necessary things you should indicate in an article.

Your name, contacts and a bio in a few lines, especially when writing for  a newspaper or popular blog.

When you use quotes, remember to use them appropriately and to reference these quotes. You may or may not reference clichés.

If you cannot afford an editor; write your first draft in a different font [say, Times New Roman] and change the orientation when proofreading [I love to use Courier New font, double spacing when editing]. Always check for errors, including factual errors. Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation must be ‘tight. Use a dictionary or thesaurus, please.

Use dialogue where necessary. It gives live to your characters.

I do hope that this article gives answers to the questions that you have concerning article writing. Do you have QUESTIONS? Leave them in the comment section.

Would you like to learn more? Type MORE in the comment section too.

Did you get to this point, reading this post? I have finally won the SEDUCTION contest. You have just read 1,642 words.

 

Consistency births Clarity

 

Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Ime Asangansi. He is the Chief Excellence Officer (CEO) of eHealth4Everyone, a healthcare company that uses digital strategy and analytics to solve current challenges in the healthcare industry.

We talked about the things we had in common as writers and storytellers; as health professionals seeking to build customer-centered relationships… As I made for home yesternight, I was left to ponder on a lot of things: the aftermath of these discussions.

Whilst some of us healthcare providers have our eyes solely on dragging, shifting, claiming, maintaining professional boundaries and crowning ourselves kings of the jungle; people like Dr. Ime are busy carving and owning niches, dominating the markets by weaving their talents, gifts and experiences into unique businesses that solve day-to-day problems.

Two things stood out for me, that one does not know where one is heading to until one eventually starts. Again, that the worst part of the writing battle is usually the first paragraph; once you begin, the ideas come flowing towards you like the river.
Last year, I took my writing seriously. I did not know where I was heading to. Today, I have one parking lot in the line of Brand Storytelling/Content Marketing Strategy/Social Media Strategy. Call it whatever you want, but they all have the same aim: to tell stories that will persuade people take action. All I can say is that consistency paves way for clarity.

So when you begin with the end in mind today, do not try to build the house all at once. One brick today, one brick the next day… Voila! We have a house!

Own Your Hustle.

Social Media Goals For Nigerian Health Care Providers

Goals of Social Media for Nigerian Healthcare Providers

I recall one of my Lagos experiences late 2014, when one hero gave her life for the sake of other Nigerians, during the Ebola outbreak; I was in a commercial bus heading back to Ketu from Oshodi when the driver and his bus conductor began to haggle.

‘Oga, enter inside close door na!, Na wetin?’ [Enter the bus and close the door, Is there a problem with that?]

Usually, commercial buses in Lagos had their conductors hanging at the door whilst the vehicle was still in motion. This made the traffic authorities to sanction them: anyone caught in this unsafe act may forfeit business for the day, in addition to a fine.

‘Oga! I nor dey enter. LATSMA nor fit make me come die. Ebola dey! Abi you nor hear am?’ [Sir! I can’t enter this bus. The fear of LATSMA will not make me lose my life. There’s an outbreak of Ebola, or have you not heard about it?] The conductor replied.

[LATSMA stands for Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.]

Where you hear that one from? [What is the source of this information?]’

‘See you! You get big phone but you nor dey use am?’ [You have a phone that is internet-enabled, but you do not use it]

‘No insult me, just enter inside bus siddon. I take God beg you! [Don’t insult me, just enter the vehicle and take a seat. I beg you in God’s name]

‘Egbon, I dey tell you o! One woman and some other people dem die for Obalende last week o, because their body been touch another man body. I not wan try am for this Lagos. Na me be the only son of my papa. I never wan die’ [Brother, I am telling you the truth! A woman and some other died in a hospital in Obalende last week, because their bodies came in contact with another man’s body. I won’t try it again in Lagos. I am the only son of my parents, I don’t want to die yet]

‘How you take know? Nor be me and you dey work here last week?’ [How do you know? Were we not at work together throughout last week?]

‘Your phone get Facebook but you nor dey use am. No worry, when I enter Facebook, I go show you picture plus wetin all them doctor for we country don dey talk for this matter.’ [Your phone has the Facebook app, but you are not using it. Don’t worry, I will show you the pictures as soon as I log in. You will also know what the medics in Nigeria are saying about this]

***

This conversation gives life to the goals of social media marketing. Marketing is involved because it is a summation of activities involved in attracting, engaging and converting our target audiences into loyal followers (or customers) of what your brand represents and your mission.

This is foreign to some health care providers who seem to be strict with the health care regulations. Rules are made for man.  If men were made for rules, there would have been so much counter-information on social platforms without any proof. If we lived by the law strictly, much more people would have been lost by the concentrated salt-water bath and drink that took the lives of a few during the Ebola scourge.

With a little digress here and there; I hope to drive home these goals, effortlessly. In 2014, a study carried out by the AIS Media Incorporated, in the United States revealed that 59% of adults search for health information online. 39% used the internet to figure out what medical condition they had- online diagnosis. 53% of online diagnosers asked for feedback by talking with a clinician about what they found. 41% of online diagnosers had their conditions confirmed by a clinician. All these searched promoted traffic to the sites that had the right content and stories for use by the readers.

In another of their study, 90% of patients in the US, trust medical information shared by peers on social media. 41% say social media will affect their choice of a specific health care provider or facility.

Let’s Zone this down to Nigeria. In Nigeria, statistics, show that we have a total population of over 180 million people, out of which 92 million people are Internet users. Other facts have it that 16 million of these people are Facebook users. Every day,  7.2 million Nigerians log in to Facebook, whilst 6.9 million people are actively online every day.

 

If you own a Facebook page, you will notice that if you can target at least 1.1 million  Nigerians between the ages of 18 to 65 who are interested in the healthcare industry. This excludes all other keywords like healthy living, lifestyle, and so on.

By another insight through Facebook page audiences, a Non-Governmental Organization that wants to raise an awareness campaign on diabetes mellitus will reach out to 456,000 Nigerians via Facebook.

Hence, healthcare providers seeking the need to promote healthy living have multiple opportunities to do so through social media platforms that suit their goals.

It also implies that with effective campaigns, a pharmaceutical industry can sell one hand sanitizer each to over a million Nigerians who are interested in hygiene.

All these instances draw us back to why Nigerian healthcare brands should embrace social media.

Why Are Most Nigerian Healthcare Providers Rich, Yet Unhappy?

I wrote in my previous post about how Nigerian Healthcare Providers Should begin to build healthy patient-provider relationships.

However, I realized that to effectively care for patients and to keep patient safety as the watch word, a provider must also be self-aware. You cannot build a formidable healthcare brand, or craft a compelling brand statement, if you have no idea of who you are. Your backstory is what propels you to mentor patients from the point they first encounter you, to their points of discharge from your facility.

Why are most Nigerian Healthcare Providers rich and yet unhappy?

Being rich and unhappy implies that you are actually dissatisfied, irritated about certain situations, but you have got to stay for the money. No wonder, the recent news on my Facebook timeline continues to rain insults on us for being money conscious. Now there are so many factors that contribute to this, but we will deal with the internal factors.

An ‘unhappily rich’ (Nigerian) healthcare provider is one without personal core values. Now, this sounds like too much grammar; just read on. If personally, I define my core values to be family, community, influence or wealth building. It means that these are the things that are most important to me. It also implies that in all my pursuits, I have to keep these in view.

So, if I finally land a job with a jaw-dropping salary, where I have no time for family, no time or resource to give back back to the society, or mentally stressed to influence healthy lifestyles among my target audience; then conflicts begin to set in. These conflicts will show up in my work, in my family, in my community and those who believe in me. So it is possible to find a family of unhappy healthcare professionals who earn monies that can build an estate in a day.

How can we find happiness? Know who you are and what your passions and weaknesses are. Define your core values. Connect with people who share the same or similar values. Look for organizations that uphold such values and will give you room to ‘ruthlessly’ apply your creativity and values towards building wealth for such an organization.

I want to see professionals who are not just happy with what they do and how much they give; but also happy with how well they dedicate their time to help patients because their environment fosters their values and creates a balance for them.

 

Story Strategy for Nigerian Healthcare Brands

My love for storytelling started way back from the cradle. growing over the decades and finally delving into the healthcare profession, I have realized that storytelling is one part of humanity that should not be taken for granted.

For those who have mastered this art, they know that nothing moves humanity more than genuine stories. These narratives bear a call-to-action that persuades the target audiences into changing the directions of their lives, from the point of crisis to victory.

Nigerian healthcare providers and Nigerian healthcare brands all need to learn this if they have in mind to build good and healthy Patient-Provider Relationships. A formidable healthcare sector should move beyond building unhealthy professional boundaries or threatening laymen with medical jargon. A good healthcare system can only be built when patient safety and client-centered relationships are the core goals of healthcare providers.

Nothing is as human as paying attention to the customers’ narratives. The relationships Nigerian healthcare providers build should go beyond being mere transaction-based relationships to helping patients truly ease the pains they undergo.

The business of healthcare is a very serious and unselfish one. Yes, we do not have shops in Ogbete market because we ought to be abide by the ethical guidelines! Providers should remember, therefore that we are like gods in the eyes of men: the human powers to kill and make live lie in our hands as licensed professional.

Nigerian Healthcare brands and providers must seek the live the goals of their brand stories. It is not enough to run all the ads on print and broadcast media. It is about time we become the mentor to our protagonists (patients) who are the heroes of every brand story.

 

A VOICELESS BUSINESS

 

I was born and bred in Aba, the engine room of the entire world’s hustle. She is the cocoon from which all species of butterflies are born. I cannot compare her to Lagos or Onitsha. She is a unique place known for her ‘Aba-Made’ goods and services; better than some of these imported, yet low quality goods that most Nigerians are crazy about.

Aba has all the challenges of bad roads, poor urban planning, poor electricity and unnecessary taxation of traders and craftsmen. In fact, name them all as they come to your mind; She needs a MAD (Made Absolutely Different) administration to bring back the glory that it once had.

I am glad that there is an ongoing revolution for made-in-Aba goods. I have seen videos on Facebook. I have also red people’s positive reactions on the need to be crazy about what we have. This is the voice that Aba (as well as so many other silent business cities) need to reach more customers beyond the shores of Africa.

Businesses thrive these days because of the edge that social media provides. As a matter of fact, even if businesses were located in hidden areas, their eagerness to be heard on the media would make them survive, to meet the economic needs of this nation. In as much as physical geographics is key for most businesses, the 21st century business must look beyond aiming for local championship with terms like ‘He is will known in our area’. We should aim for meeting the needs beyond our physical location, through social media impact.

The key question becomes: How will you make an impact with a voiceless business?

Why do some Nigerian business owners shy away from using the right content and the proper social media strategy to connect with their ideal audiences?

Do not also be deceived, there is so much ‘media noise’ these days. Everyone is saying something, but few are doing something. Why not talk about what you do and let people learn from you?

How about telling people how they can get to do something better? This is also building content around your business and creating an impact that makes you come to them as a first impression each time they need to purchase a product in your line of industry.

Do not run a voiceless business. Consumer behaviours are changing, this means that the shoemaker of Bakassi line in Ariaria international market can reach out to a fashion store in Abuja, Cotonou or Accra; Italy, America, London and all the ends of the earth.

The advents of social media platforms and the essentials of quality content have made all these things possible. You cannot own a business and shut up about it, except it is a glorified hobby. Businesses with no social presence or content may suffer more from this recession

As a story strategist, my job is to help small businesses (especially those centered on healthcare and lifestyle) master their messages and connect with their ideal audiences (who will buy from them) through day-to-day social media approaches.

Do not just get your head buried in the job; tell the world where you have been, what you have done and what you intend to do to make it better; and to enrich the lives of those who need your services.

BLOW YOUR TRUMPET

8 Elements of A Good Social Media Profile

 

One of the most embarrassing moments of my life was at Zik’s Flat Hostel in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I was a fresher who had troubles keeping up with life on campus. I was bad with time management, since I had no one to monitor me. The environment was entirely different from where I had come from- a military boarding school. I had finally gotten the freedom I needed, so I cared less about certain things. Housekeeping was one of them.

One Saturday evening, I received a male visitor in my hall. He came in unannounced because I had given him my room number two weeks before. He tapped on the door and called out his name.

Emeka!

I quickly changed into my clothes, folded my wrapper and dressed my bed. I asked him to come in and take a chair whilst I checked my cupboard for biscuits to serve him.

‘For which seat I go siddon sef [On which seat would I seat]?’ Emeka inquired. I got confused. Each room in Zik’s Flat had just one seat. I looked in its direction to be sure no one had stolen it.

What? My unwashed underwears were displayed on the seat! This was something I would have avoided; I did not pay attention.

You know, I am left to ponder on people who have apartments on social media. They leave their houses dirty with their unwashed underwears flying about the whole house.

I woke up, the other day, to Facebook friend request from a faceless Wiz Khalifa who has not up to fifty friends on Facebook, works at Self Employed, schools in Nigeria and lives in Owerri. This Wiz Khalifa must be blessed with the gift of bilocation!

We must understand that since we cannot hang out physically with over 5000 friends in real life, our identity is still important. Clumsy social media timelines gives the impression of someone who is unorganized. A good/professional social media profile must pay attention to the following details:


Name
Names should be written in full. This is the proof of originality. Stage names and nicknames have their second place in our profiles and pages. It should not take the space of your full names. The key to being professional is to first be yourself. No one wants to deal with a Wiz Khalifa that lives in Owerri. It sounds like fraud! Your timeline is your space, you have got to own it!

Username
Your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram usernames should tally. If Jennifer has @jenny_baby, @jenniebaby and @jennybaby1990 on these three platforms respectively, she would hinder her online visibility. Make it easy for others to find you with usernames that are easy to spell out, pronounce and remember. Sometimes, the username of your choice would have been chosen by someone else; be creative enough to look for something unique. Personally, @iamchidindu, is my username across these three handles. I did not get there overnight; I had to keep trying out better options until I landed on this.

Bio
A compelling bio says a lot about you. It should briefly tell your own unique story. Avoid certain clichés like ‘Cool, calm and collected’, ‘I am fun to be with’. Tell us who you are, what you really do in an exciting way. Target it to attract your ideal followers. Include your accomplishments. Humanize your bio. People love stories that are human, not perfect.

Privacy/Timeline/Tag Settings
Your timeline is your apartment. You do not want visitors coming into a dirty place with indecent pictures and tags from all sorts of people and events on your timeline. If you say you are a professional in a particular industry, we expect to see that on your timeline. Your timeline is your space, not a dustbin. Change your tag settings. Privacy settings are also keys to targeting the right audience on your social profile.
However, resist the urge to keep everything private. You cannot send a friend request with a timeline that is locked up like a security department. You will give others the impression that you are an unfriendly and highly secretive person.


Voice/Activity/Content
What type of content do you put up on your timeline? What is your aim on social media? To make noise or mimic people? To gossip or bear tales? Your essence on social media is to impact value. That is why it is an online community. The only difference between social media and real life communities is that you can address a higher number of audiences online. The quality of your content and the value you offer should not depreciate.
Your online activities should create lasting impressions in the minds of your followers. It should make your audience see you as an authority in your field. You cannot be a motivational speaker who keeps complaining about will of your life’s situations on social media.

Links and Promos
Each profile on any online social platform has a link. This web address sends someone directly to your own timeline. It will help prospects access you without much delays. This is an easier way to increase visibility as it saves the time required to navigate through the profiles of other people who bear similar names with you.
Also, promote yourself across your platforms. Add the links to your other social media accounts; include the links to your website.

Profile Picture
Avoid use of blurred pictures with colour-rioting backgrounds by visiting a professional photographer. They are there to give you pictures of high quality. A good headshot with a confident pose makes attracts attention. No one wants to deal with one who is not confident enough to put a face to what they do. Avoid using pictures of animals, or things or places as your profile picture. This is your online passport.

Interests
Your timeline is a place to discuss the things that interest you. However do not just talk, listen. Make friends, build relationships, connect and engage with people of like minds. Join groups that will make the best out of your current state. Contribute, answer questions and ask where necessary. Soon you are on your way to building visibility, influence and profits.

 

Three Keys For Building A Profitable Business

About two years ago, I delved into making Ankara customised fashion accessories. In fact, I fell so much in love with what my craft, I thought that others would love it too. They loved it. People admired accessories and souvenirs adorned with the contemporary African fabric.
Guess what? My bubbles were burst when no one bought from me. Why? I could not understand at that moment. People said that my stuff were neat and nice. They even wanted it dashed out to them, but they did not buy. Only a few friends purchased just to encourage me. Someone from jiji.ng marketplace wanted to make an order for 200 ankara-crafted keyholders, I was excited. She later called to cancel the order for reasons she said was best known to her.
Overtime, I met with the right people and joined certain online groups. I realised that I did lots of stuff wrongly. If I were to do these things right, I needed to go back to master the principles of MMM- Message, Market, Media.
Awww! So, you thought I was going to talk about MMM (Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox) Ponzi scheme? Not at all dear. This is a more efficient MMM that can never crash. 
MESSAGE
First, I was trying to be and do all things. I wanted to learn to sew, to make home crafts, to learn interior décor and catering. At the same time, I wrote poems (inspirational and spiritual poems) and spared sometime doing network marketing. I did not mention that I also practiced in my core area: Medical Laboratory Sciences.
So, I was all things to all men; different things to different men. If these men were put together in a conference room to discuss my person, they would contradict themselves. This meant that, I would be termed as unserious or crazy.
 
‘This one good! That one good!’ Na im dey make mad man carry load.
 
To succeed in business it is necessary to possess and master a strong message of who you are and what you are about. One can be good at several different things, but you must master the talent that meets with great business opportunities. I am mastering storytelling and creative freelance writing. What about you?
Tell them who you are, what you do and why you do what you do.
Choose your most profitable offering/gift. Do not try to sell everything. Give the relevant messages that appeals to the needs of your audience.
Audience? Yes, they are your ideal clients who would buy from you.
MARKET
I learnt, through understanding my market, that your business is not about you. If it was so, then it would be just a glorified hobby: no need exchanging it for revenue. A good business is never selfish.
I just told you about your ideal audience. This is the market where you sell your gifts to people who need to benefit from them.
A lot of things are necessary to discover you will buy from you. They are summed up as geographics, psychographics and demographics.
 
 
Demographics
In my Ankara business, I thought it would be nice for everyone: old, young, boy, man, girl, woman and hermaphrodite. I. Was. So. Wrong. A little girl loved my stuff but could not afford it.
It is necessary to have an ideal customer avartar. Who should buy from you? What is this person’s name, age, gender, income and employment status?
This is necessary to note so that you don’t end up trying to sell sanitary towels in a boys’ school.
Psychographics
What are they interested in? What do they love? What’s their lifestyle, beliefs, hobbies, buying history, culture, interests? What are their pains and pleasures?
 
Why would you market pork meat to a muslim? Or meat to a vegetarian?
Customers found my crafts as nice to have but not a must have. So they ended up checking out everything in my craft bag without exchanging anyone for coolcash. My product was not going to solve a need for them at that point in time.
Geographics
Imagine that the pork meat seller decides to move his business to Zamfara or Katsina? No amount of olive oil or holy water is going to make him enough profits compared to when he establishes it South Eastern Nigeria.
So, where can your customers be found?
On social media, churches, community gatherings? What groups exactly?
You cannot be searching for fresh waters in  the desert all the time. Concentrate on where they can be found and listen to what they talk about. Your photography business works better on Instagram than on Twitter alone.
Go there and connect with them.
The people you are looking for are also looking (waiting) for you.
 
 
MEDIA
You may think that this topic is the same as geographics. But whilst geographics talks about finding your client, media talks about how to engage and convert them to be faithful followers of your brand.
Word-of-mouth, newspaper, television, radio and social media are avenues to how you can tell your story. The purpose is to connect and befriend and convert through useful posts that educate your audience and helps you build authority in your field of industry.
Does your business have a social profile?
Is your business on social media?
As a creative freelance writer and story strategist, I encourage brands to start with where they can easily be found. Your ideal clients are already on social media. All you need do is put out the right content that will make you easily come to their minds when it comes to solving a problem. Let them know, like and trust you enough to remember to buy from you or refer people to buy from you.
Go on master your MMM and begin to build a profitable business today.

What Does Your Middleman Say To Your Potential Suitors?

I was in a tricycle heading to 5th Avenue from Second Rainbow, when one ‘China’ phone rang. The owner had left it deep down the left pocket of his trousers. It continued to ring until he was able to bring it out.

 

Some men’s trousers can be deeper than the bottomless pit. What about his phone? If some of these morticians used it, they would be saved from the stress of the embalming. The sound from it can return a man travelling to meet his ancestors.

Mtchewww, that useless man!’, He said to himself as he finally forces forces the device out of his pocket, ‘I am going to teach you a lesson’.

‘What’s the problem, Seun?’ His friend asked. He was seated in front of the tricycle.

‘Is it not the Oga of XYZ? He thinks I am coming to work today. I will keep telling them I am on my way until they get tired of calling.’ Seun replied his friend.

He sounded really bitter, but one part got me.

‘ I put in effort and time. I put in extra hours to do his work. Yet he’s been owing me since April.’

‘April? And we are already in October? Haba! But, you never mentioned he was owing you now?’

‘Do not mind the man, I will make sure that every customer who calls to find out why I am not at work hears this gist.’

‘So, what’s going to happen with the rest of the employees?’

‘I does n ot concern me o! I just regret putting my best into a place that never wanted me to grow.’

***

XYZ is a company that deals with supply of some household appliances. I really do not know what Seun’s job description is in the company. I already imagined what would happen when he began explaining to his former customers why he left XYZ.

***

In the brand story cycle, a business owner should never think that his own part of the story is the all in all. In my last post I talked about how customers are potential suitors. Do you know that most marriages do not happen without a middleman? A middleman is the spokesperson that ensures that the maariage contract between the families of the intending couple, bride and the groom are sealed. In the business story, your employee is the middleman. Choose them wisely, treat them kindly.

In normal storytelling, a protagonist could have friends who would help him achieve a transformation. So too, in brand storytelling, your employees are part of your company’s successes.

 

You don’t want to imagine what your employee tells her friend or  family member about how you treat her. You don’t also want to imagine what happens when those who are told begin to tell their own ‘versions’ of the stories to your ‘potential customers’ out there.

 

Why this doesn’t mean that an employer should become a ‘people pleaser’, it entails that a brand’s story ought to be human in all sense.

 

Treat your employee the way you want them to treat your best customers. What happens on the inside would be felt outside. Customers have the instincts to perceive an unhealthy work environment. Take it not for granted.

 

 

Why You Lose Potential Suitors

In the story strategy, the customer is the hero of the brand story. This can never be over-emphasised. It implies that business owners are mentors in the client’s  journey towards victory. Hence, business is the marriage of business owners with potential or ideal customers.
Ideal customers are called ‘suitors’ in this case.

Businesses, ideally, should seek to grow through building customer-centered relationships instead of just mere transactional relationships. Customers, who are our suitors ought to be dated and courted to the point that they become loyal.

However, this is not so for some businesses. We either lose loyal customers or potential customers through bad testimonials and lack of referrals. This can be caused by so many reasons. Six of them would be highlighted here.

1. YOU ARE NOT CLEAR WITH WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT
Imagine a relationship between two fake people? You don’t want to go further, right. It will go nowhere.
Imagine that you set out on a journey with no destination? This is worse off. A fake person even has a destination.

If your business is not defined around who your ideal clients are, you’ll lose serious suitors to serious people. No one wants to deal with people who do not know what exactly they should do to provide value to the right market.

2. YOU ARE NOT REACHABLE
A young girl between 26-28, praying for a life partner but doesn’t mingle at youth programmes in church, business seminars, hangouts, etc… No prayer house will sort the matter. And no husband will be dropped into your box by the postman.

Be seen. Be found. Are there businesses not on social media? You are playing hard to get o! Soon, suitors will move to those who are easy to access.
Seperated business lines from personal lines…But attend to every business calls, enquiries.

3. POOR RESPONSE FROM THE COMPANY
You received an email for a potential job and you are replying one week after? Is your business a Sunday service?
People like people who are quick to give responses to their needs. It means that you are in for business. It shows that you are the writer you claim to be. Not a writer today and a farmer tomorrow. Or better put, it shows that that they are dealing with a person of order and focus.
Yes, some suitors will sound rude. Don’t be rude too. Remember that as a business owner you are the mentor to someone’s journey.

4. THEY ENCOUNTER PROBLEMS DOING BUSINESS WITH YOU

How do you charge? Is it well spelt out what you will offer? There are so many fast food joints where the attendants give receipts different from what was paid at the counter. Would you want to be like such businesses?
What is your turn around time? Do you always deliver later than the scheduled time.
Do you give customers value for their monies? Or you want to just make money at the expense of not seeing your customers repeat their visits?
What weaknesses would a customer be quick to obeserve in the course of buying from you?

5. WOW YOUR LOYALISTS
Amongst all your customers, there are some who constantly repeat their visits to your shop. They love what you do and are satisfied each time they purchase your services.
How do you reward them? Remember that this is a relationship, you have to surprise your loyal ‘suitors’ once in a while. Freebies, discounts, extra services, etc. are all necessary to encourage loyal customers. Else, they grow weary in their love for ‘you’.
Wow them in such a way that they never go a moment without telling others about what you do.6. LISTEN, LISTEN AND LISTEN
Customer satisfaction surveys are ways to hear from your customers on how they feel about what you offer. These serve two basic reasons to help you strengthen your good and to go you work on your bad.
Sometimes, a customer wants you to do something extraordinary. Listen. When you listen, you realise another way they help you to create something new and unique. It helps you in the quality improvement process. Listen to their pains, pleasures, wishes, dreams… This will give you directions on how to channel your business to become more.
Ask them for reviews. Ask how you can get better. Listen to their feedback. Take notes. Improve

7. WORK ENVIRONMENT.
I once placed a call to a company to make enquiries. The lady who received the call opened her mouth and said, ‘Please go to our head office at Anthony and ask. I don’t know anything about that one.’

I still get goose pimples each time I remember that phone call. I could feel the voice of a frustrated employee.

See, people don’t do businesses with walls and internet and doors and windows. They like to relate with people. Period.
There are businesses where customers repeat their visits because of the manner in which an employee handles their cases. What does your work environment look like? Are your employees comfortable working with you? What vibes do they send out to customers? Positive or negative vibes? Remember that customers are over-sensitive to signals. If you don’t treat your employees well, they’d even advice your potential customers to look for your competitors.
***

So, what are you going to do now?

Date your customers as your potential suitors. Help them, nurture them through their struggles to the points of transformation.