Can I ask you how positioning worked for for you? Was it when you were just starting out? A few months in?
A reader writes in with this excellent question about positioning. Thank you Chris!
I talk about my personal positioning journey in an episode of Make Money Online (https://makemoneyonline.exposed/archive/018/ “What’s your favorite positioning?”).
In this episode, Nick and I discuss positioning and our approaches to it. (MMO Archive Listeners / MMO True Fans: hit reply and let me know if there’s another episode or two that talks about my history or nick’s history with positioning).
My story? I started out as a completely undifferentiated generalist.
I was working a day job that I didn’t enjoy and I took what had been a hobby/skill – building WordPress websites – and started charging money for it.
Positioning was in essence “Got money? I can build a WordPress website!” I was focused on providing a service to people that already knew what solution they needed.
I focused on that for awhile and landed some okay clients, but more often than not my clients were prescriptive ‘do this, not that’ and the work was at a lower-than-ideal hourly rate. But it was higher than The Old Day Job, so I was happy.
I connected with a startup that bought up all of my hours each month for a few months — an almost employee situation, in retrospect — but I had other clients and businesses on the side, so they remained a ‘whale client’ while we worked together.
But then, ✨positioning ✨.
When I approached positioning for my business, I approached it with the mindset that I was willing to learn a new skill in order to deliver on solutions that would solve the problem that my target market was experiencing.
I didn’t care if I hadn’t done something before, I was willing to learn.
I asked myself “Kai, what services do people seem to be spending money on?”
“People always want more traffic: SEO, Paid, Referral…”
And then I asked “Alright, who has money and is paying for these services?”
“eCommerce stores. Shopify stores.”
And I asked “Can I see this market paying for SEO?”
And I googled and found dozens of products and services and knew that this was a market that spent money on this type of problem.
So, I combined the problem, the solution, and the target market into a positioning statement:
I help Shopify stores get more traffic through Search Engine Optimization. Unlike my competitors, I’m focused on white-hat, sustainable, long-term strategies for increasing your traffic.
I arrived at (1) a combination that represented an actual, viable market and (2) was a skill I was willing to learn.
You see, at this point, I didn’t do SEO.
Not at all.
So I invested 20 hours into researching eCommerce SEO.
- Who bought it?
- What did it look like?
- What should the pricing be?
- What was included in the service?
- How can I Shopify store owners?
- What does a Standard Operating Procedure look like for an SEO Audit?
Then, I defined the first draft of the service offering.
I contacted a few Shopify stores in my network and a Shopify agency that I knew might refer me work. I landed my first clients through the combination of specific positioning and outreach. Creating a Referrable Moment (https://kaidavis.com/referrable-moments/)™.
Why did this work? Because my positioning was:
- A target market that was spending money (people pay a monthly fee to use Shopify and successful Commerce stores have a number of customers and a steady revenue stream)
- A pain that was VERY top of mind (everyone wants more traffic because traffic turns into sales)
This positioning made it easy to communicate what I did
You? Shopify store. Me? More traffic.
I eventually re-niched on a different problem to focus on (same market) and then a new market with the same problem.
I’ve changed positioning a number of times, each time in pursuit of answering the question “What are people spending money on?” or “Who is spending money on this?”
Does changing your positioning hurt your business? No. It’s a strategic decision to focus on a new problem or a new market, and what I discovered is that 75% of the content, intellectual property, marketing, and authority I had invested my time in ended up carrying over to the new positioning
(Just this morning I received an inbound lead from the FIRST podcast I ever appeared on)
Your Turn: Hit reply to this email and (1) let me know your #1 question about positioning and (2) let me know what your positioning statement is
(I’m help TARGET MARKET achieve OUTCOME through SKILL/SERVICE. Unlike my competitors, I…)