Know Your Customer – Lesson Seven

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The other day I was going through the mail at home and opened an envelope to find an offer for “Newlywed Insurance.”

I laughed and handed the offer to Captain Cavedweller who glanced at the information and promptly dumped it in File 13.

Apparently, when you’ve only been married for nineteen years, you can still qualify as a newlywed. Either that, or the person sending out the information didn’t do their research and had no idea to whom they were sending the offer.

Yesterday, Captain Cavedweller and I stopped at a store we hate to go to on the way home because we were out of everything. When I say everything, I mean we needed everything from toothpaste, a storage tub and laundry soap to eggs, milk and bananas.  One of my cousins refers to the store as “the place where happiness goes to die.”

Discussing whether we truly felt up to stopping or if we could dig in the freezer and find something edible for dinner, we finally decided to just bite the bullet and go in the store.

CC has a rule, especially in this particular store – do not make eye contact with the people running the cash registers. The subsequent rules are do not smile, do not act the least bit friendly or approachable, and scowl the entire time you are waiting for your purchases to be scanned and bagged.

While those rules work well for him, I forget to be grumpy and smile or say hello. I make eye contact then get sucked into listening to the clerks talk about everything from their recent divorce to why their brother hasn’t returned the money he borrowed. It’s awful, annoying and quite often makes me grind me teeth. I should learn to follow CC’s rules.

As it was, a sweet-faced girl was checking us out and I smiled and said hello before CC knew what happened. Evidently that granted the girl permission to spend the next five minutes telling us in detail about her new tattoo.

In detail.

Descriptive, thorough detail.

(Can you hear my teeth grinding?)

After her lengthy depiction of her tattoo and the entire process of getting it, she looked at us and said “Aren’t you guys, like, totally into tattoos?”

CC shook his head while dumping the last of our purchases in our cart and nudging me toward the door.  To say I was insulted would be putting it mildly.

I don’t have anything against tattoos, although you won’t ever find one on me. To each their own.

The fact that CC is about as clean cut as they come and  I was wearing a suit with pearls and heels, made me wonder if we looked like people who would be “totally” into tattoos. I would assume, and I could be completely wrong, that someone who is “totally” into tattoos would have at least one that is visible.

Before I threw out a statement like “aren’t you totally into…” whatever, I’d look for some supporting evidence.

Both the insurance company and the girl at the store made the same mistake – they had no clue who they were “marketing” to. They didn’t know the customer.

Which brings me to the point of all my ramblings today: if you are self-publishing your book, you are responsible for knowing your customer. You don’t have a marketing team, publishing house, or magic fairies to figure it out for you. That means you need to invest some time figuring out who your book is geared toward, who might be interested in buying it.

If you wrote a book filled with crime, death and destruction, you aren’t going to market it to people who prefer romances or young adult novels.

Let’s say you wrote a work of fiction set in the state of Kansas in the 1920s. You have a main character who is an architect in need of funding, the other is the daughter of a banker who is tied to a mob. The book is an action/adventure following the twists and turns of the two characters as they work their way through the story. Who could you market this book to? Who would be your customer?

You could start with anyone who likes action/adventure stories. Then branch out to those who like stories of the mob. Think about those who are fascinated with architecture of the 1920s, and those who like the 1920s in general. You can also market to those who might be interested in the history of Kansas.

Take time to think about who is your potential costumer and focus your efforts on marketing to them.

Otherwise, you’re not only wasting your time, money and resources, you’re annoying the people on the receiving end of your erroneous marketing efforts.

A little research, planning, and common sense can go a very long way down the road of success.

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