Motivation is an interesting concept.
It has the potential to refill your entrepreneurial gas tank allowing you to crush your to-do list and at the same time; the acts of hunting for and consuming motivation related materials can literally cripple your productivity.
What I’d like to explore today is how you can use motivation to push your business forward. It’s not the Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuk kind of motivation that I want to explore though. The motivation I’m talking about is getting to intimately understand what motivates the people you’re trying to get to listen to your message.
A critical and fundamental concept you need to understand as you’re growing your business is getting to the heart of what motivates the people you’re trying to serve.
Before we start I need to potentially call you out. (Sorry in advance.) I need to call out the people who are a different person when they are trying to get some kind of engagement out of their audience. Different from their normal everyday, walking through life buying stuff kind of person that we ALL are. I need to call out all the people that have and share all kinds of tips, tricks and tactics for growing a business but never actually do any of those things themselves. It’s like saying, “Having clearly articulated goals are really important but, I’m a better operator when I just wing it.” They are the people that binge watch/listen to business development stuff but never take any action...and then complain about the externalities that are working against them when they get zero traction.
This is one of the problems with motivation. You expect consuming some soundbite driven piece of content to magically change you into a super-productive-business-building machine. That might work for a few people that need a push on an off day because they already put in the time to build real business infrastructure. If you’re the “entrepreneur” that’s been waiting to start for three years, one more podcast isn’t going to be the thing to push you into launch mode.
For the love HubSpot, it’s not the economy’s fault!
So, let’s approach motivation from a different angle. Let’s turn motivation into an asset that you can deploy strategically to support you building your business. In order to turn this consumable into a value-add for you we have to define motivation.
Motivation’s New Definition: Benefits offered, earned or granted to help someone in their decision making process. It’s an incentive that is offered to encourage someone to take action.
Sounds basic but sometimes revisiting the fundamentals is how you get better. So, now that we are on the same page let’s talk about what you can do to better understand what motivates the people you’re trying to serve, to take action. I have a few questions you should think about when you’re trying to get to the heart of what motivates people. There’s also a point you should avoid as it can be a false-indicator for a lot of people.
1. Where are they already spending their time online?
When you observe your potential customers spending time on social and streaming platforms what do you do? They are clearly willing to accept the benefits of consuming some type of online media and chasing some kind of feeling in exchange for the finite minutes they have in any given day. If you’re trying to get into the headspace of your market, figure out where they are going online, what they are consuming and how they are engaging each other. If you can get to the heart of why they are chasing a quick dopamine hit from binge watching another episode of the Flash instead of buying from you, you can start to work on making your value proposition a little more interesting.
2. What are they most proud of?
Being proud of your kids, a DIY craft project you just finished or the website you built can tell a lot about what motivates you. We are in a market where the default for a lot of people is to over-share. You can use this to your advantage. Pay attention to the feelings and outcomes your prospects share when they tell you a story about a time they were most proud recently. You’ll be able to infer what outcome or value-delivering switches need to be manipulated to deliver a must-have experience to your customers. Big shiny new purchases might signify a preference for seeking high-end consumables, high quality products or getting great deals. If someone tells you in painstakingly proud detail all about how little Jimmy learned how to ride his bike without training wheels and proud-papa insists you watch all 30 minutes of the video he shot on his phone, quality family time might be something important.
3. What does their life look like?
Scanning the landscape of your ideal customer’s life can provide you with a lot of insight. As consumers we make decisions everyday that to us, feel inconsequentially when looked at individually but, summed up can tell a lot about what motivates us. If you’re marketing savvy this is the part where you start to build up the demographic profile of your ideal customer. Ages, neighborhoods, employers, favorite brands, celebrity crushes - all these things (and more) can offer you insight on how your ideal customer makes their decisions and the values they truly hold dear.
Those three questions are a good start and if you start to really dig into each of them you’ll be able to collect a ton of data about your ideal customer. There is one thing that I want you to look out for though and it goes back to what I said early around the disconnect between people say they are and what they actually do.
Be wary of taking things like social profile one-liners for granted. Be wary of any singular piece of information you collect, actually. When you’re trolling through a seemingly endless sea of available data on people, you can’t let a singular piece of information carry a significant amount of weight. What you’re really looking for are patterns in behavior and patterns for incentives. Just because a random social profile in what you believe is your ideal demographic says they love travel doesn’t mean they have ever actually traveled. Taking information on face value can be dangerous as you’re trying to craft your value proposition.
Remember you’re trying to provide value and sell to real people, not the disconnected version of themselves they display online.
So the next time you’re feeling a little behind get hydrated and avoid the urge to binge watch motivational videos on YouTube. Instead, roll up your sleeves and try to get a little deeper into the heads of your consumers - your business will thank you for it.