Monday, October 10, 2016

Selling God: Identify Your Audience

A few weeks ago, I wrote that God is a tough sell. In another article, I reminded you that tough doesn't mean impossible, and that the key to selling God is to be willing to share your personal faith story with them so that they can see God working in your life and open up to the possibility of letting Him work in theirs.

However, not every person in the world will find your story appealing. You need to choose the stories you include based on the audience to whom you are speaking. In your story is the clue to the audiences that you will very naturally appeal to. It is all the various identities you have held at every age and stage of your journey.

For example, in my own past, I have been a struggling entrepreneur, an aspiring author, a pregnant teenager, an empty nest mother, a small business owner, and many other things as well. Each of those audiences has distinct needs and a different pool of experiences to draw from so when I speak to them, I need to use a message that is tailored to where they are in life. The audience you choose dictates the message you use.

A struggling entrepreneur cares about building their business. They may or may not have children at home and they may or may not be married. So I’m not going to pull out the stories that are relevant to parents and spouses. I’m not likely to share my story of being homeless as a pregnant teenager. I’m going to speak to them in their language, discussing my own struggles to build a business, and what the solution I am offering them did to help me.

An aspiring author cares about becoming a published author and probably dreams of becoming a New York Times Best Seller. They are most likely not interested in building a business because they do not see their book as a product. They see it as art. They may or may not have children and may or may not have spouses. 

I am not going to pull out the stories that are relevant to business owners, parents, or spouses. I’m going to speak to them about writing, about my own journeys and struggles in getting my book published and achieving my aspirations with those books. I’m going to focus on the aspiring author’s most immediate need: knowledge and preparation for the future. and what the solution I am offering did to help me get where I wanted to go.

A pregnant teenager is worried about her future. She’s wondering how she’s going to provide for herself and her child. She may be interested in building a business, but only if she’s confident that she can do the work. She may or may not have a spouse or boyfriend. She may or may not be living at home with her parents and have to factor in their wants and desires into what she chooses to do. She may or may not be attending school.

I am not going to pull out my stories about being an empty nest mother. She won’t relate to them. I’m not going to talk about my writing, or my work to get published, unless she indicates to me that this is an avenue she’s interested in exploring. I’m going to focus on her most immediate need: reassurance and hope for her future. 

I’m going to share with her how the solution I’m offering her will offer her hope for a better future and reassure her that she has a great, if challenging, future ahead of her.

Until you’ve identified your audience, you won’t know exactly what message to use because their needs won’t be clear to you. Until you’ve gotten in touch with your mess, you won’t know which stories to use in crafting your message.

Tomorrow's Post: Finding Your Message

Two days ago, I explained that it is in the middle of your mess that you will find your message, the one that you and only you have to offer the world. Tomorrow I'll help you figure out how to find the message in the middle of all that mess.

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