This is not for everyone.
That phrase sounds a little off-putting doesn't it? But also intriguing? It's a bit like when you put up a curtain - people instinctively want to peer behind it.
The opposite is something for everyone which might sound more open but somehow manages to turn people off - it's too bland, too vague.
Humans like intrigue. They like to be on the 'inside track'. Say you have a secret and people want to know what it is. Say you have something that's in short supply, demand increases. Imply something is restricted, perhaps by rolling out a red carpet and rope barrier, and people wish they could be part of whatever's happening.
Telling people that you have something that's "not for everyone" might sound off-putting but actually the reverse is true.
Years ago, I was asked to help promote an area of London that estate agents might describe as 'up and coming'. It was quite a poor area but the local authority wanted to use some of their (well-) hidden charms to attract people to spend money in the area. It had some really interesting, beautiful spots but a lot of ugly areas too. As you arrived at the tube station and looked up and down the road, there were a lot of dilapidated buildings. It's a hard task to make that sort of place attractive.
Contrast that with other areas of London at that time - lots of glitzy promotion of sparkly new buildings and attractions, smart bars and restaurants. How could our area compete? I decided it was far easier to be different, and take the opposite approach.
We didn't use the glossy images that you most often see in tourism promotion. We used honest pictures that did show the beautiful historic buildings but within their context, next door to slightly more dilapidated ones. We also set out to say 'this area isn't for everyone. It will really only suit more intelligent visitors who can look beyond the obvious to see the hidden gems.'
Some people thought we were brave. Others considered us odd or mad. But the honesty and direct approach paid off.
Most people think deep down that they’re quite intelligent and open-minded so we didn’t really put off that many people. Most people are also curious. We started to see a steady upturn in visitors, who were more than willing to explore the lesser known corners, to feel they were the first to discover a hidden gem, to take pictures of the quirkier, less obvious cafes, buildings, and attractions and to share them with their friends. They enjoyed the kudos of being the first to appreciate that corner of London, and happy spread the word to others.
How might this help you promote your business?
By being really specific about the kind of people who're most likely to enjoy what you have to offer, you'll find three things:
1. It's much easier to promote your business and write appealingly about it if you can picture the people you're targeting. You'll use the words they're more likely to use and be more attractive to them. Search engines will love you too.
2. You'll have happier visitors because the ones who come to you are the right ones for your business. They will also tell other people about you, talking to others in their 'tribe' so they'll spread the word on your behalf.
3. You might think that being really specific will restrict opportunities but it does the opposite. You get fewer difficult customers because you've been more specific. Interestingly though, it can help to attract new and different people who don't fit exactly into your target category and market, but who would like to be in that market, people who aspire to be like the people you're attracting.
It can take some courage to move away from something for everyone into not for everyone or only for very lovely people who will be truly appreciate of what you offer but it's well worth it. I challenge you to try right now. Define the people you want, and change the words and images you use in your marketing to appeal directly to them.
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Please note: all articles are copyrighted Susan Briggs