Happy New Year! Because I want you to be successful this year, I recommend you listen to my new episode with Susan Meier, branding expert, and don’t make these branding mistakes in 2022.
What are the mistakes? Things like…
- Not seeing your brand from your customer’s point of view
- Not staying consistent with your branding
- Not understanding your customer’s pain points or emotional triggers
- Not keeping your messaging simple and coherent
- Not leaning into emotions when you are selling
I’m really excited to be publishing this episode as my first one for the year because we talk about the fundamental building blocks for building a successful business.
If you are hoping to be more strategic and intentional when it comes to your brand in 2022, so you can explode your sales and audience, definitely listen to this episode!!
- EMAIL CHALLENGE: Set Up a Paid Workshop in 5 Days!
- MiloTree Easy Payments
- MiloTree Pop-Up App
- Susan Meier Studio
- Susan Meier Branding Workbook
- Catch My Party
- Become a Blogger Genius Facebook Group
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Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast and Happy New Year, Happy 2022. If there is one thing I learned in 2021, it was seize the day because you never know what is going to happen.
Therefore, for 2022 what I want to lean into in the podcast and all the products that we build is helping you monetize. It’s no longer something to put on the back-burner. I say we all lean into it.
5-Day Email Challenge: Set Up a Paid Workshop in 5 Days!
And by the end of five days, you will know what you’re going to teach, let’s say for an hour to your community, you will have a sales page and you can go out there and test it and monetize and learn directly from your people. I’m really excited.
If you want to join the challenge head to milotree.com/challenge, that’s it. And I’m excited to have you in the community. There’s a private Facebook group, all I want for you is to get paid for what you know. Again, milotree.com/challenge.
So, let’s start off 2022 putting out monetization as our intention. I’m excited for today’s episode; I think this is a perfect episode to start the New Year. My guest is Susan Meier, and she is a branding expert.
And what we talk about is how to look at your brand from your customer’s point of view. Also, how to think about what your audience or your customer’s innermost desire is. I think this is fascinating. I think you’re going to like it.
So, without further delay, here is my interview with Susan Meier. Susan, welcome to the show. It’s great having you.
How to Brand Like an Expert
Susan Meier 2:25
Thank you so much, Jillian, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Jillian Leslie 2:28
So, you are a branding expert. How did you become one? Can you share your entrepreneurial journey?
Susan Meier 2:36
Sure, absolutely. So, I started my career as a management consultant. So focusing on strategy. And when I was at the Boston Consulting Group, I very quickly was drawn to their consumer goods practice.
And got really interested in the work that we were doing there with talking to consumers, doing focus groups, understanding what drove them to connect with brands.
I don’t think I was aware that there was an industry or a discipline around branding at that time. But I got really energized by this idea that people had these kinds of really personal intimate relationships with the brands that they were purchasing.
And so, when I left BCG, I had the opportunity to go work for a couple of boutique branding agencies, I decided to go in that direction. And I fell in love with it. I worked for many years in that kind of agency world working with consumer brands.
All the household, mostly food, some personal care brands that you’ve heard of big clients were Pepsi and Unilever, Mars, all the candy. My kids when they were little thought I worked in a chocolate factory because I would bring home so much candy.
And then 11 years ago, I had little children, and I found the agency lifestyle to be a little challenging. And I also wanted a little more freedom to choose the portfolio of work that I was going to be doing. So, I launched my own business.
I wasn’t sure if that was really just going to look like doing some freelance work for a couple of years and then doing something else. But it turned out I really, really loved being an entrepreneur. I’m very wired for it in lots of different dimensions.
And so, here I am running that business, Susan Meier Studio, today. Through a series of coincidences a lot of healthcare work, particularly healthcare technology work came my way.
And I find that really energizing. It feels very kind of purpose driven, helping people take control of their health, helping them get educated about their healthcare needs. And so that’s where I focus today.
And in the last couple of years, I have developed another part of the portfolio that helps small business owners and individuals who are thinking about personal branding with their journey.
Starting a Branding Agency
Because the same tools that I learned and later developed to work with corporate brands are exactly applicable when you’re thinking about your small business.
And it started out that, friends and friends of friends would come to me and say, “Hey, could you just help me on a one off.” And they thought there’s a real need here.
And so, that’s also been really fun, because it’s much more personal and intimate when you’re helping a one person shop, an individual build their brand from scratch, and I really get a lot of energy out of doing that as well.
Jillian Leslie 5:51
Now, when you think about branding, so my audience is a lot of small business owners, where what do you think the big mistakes are that people make when it comes to branding and launching their businesses?
Branding Tip: When Branding, Focus on What Your Audience Wants From You
Susan Meier 6:06
I think one big one, that’s a really easy mistake to make is to focus on your product or service and your journey, as you’re communicating what you do, and forget to stop and take a beat and figure out what your audience what your target customer is all about.
You have in your mind who you think they are and what you think they need. Or maybe and this is actually a really common mistake, you go in thinking, I’m for everyone, everyone needs this product.
Or we’re thinking I should be for everyone, because that’s the secret to success to grow big. And quite the opposite, especially nowadays, the secret to success is often a niche strategy.
Sometimes you hear the word smallest viable audience, but figuring out the very specific target for whatever it is that you’re offering, and then really getting to know who they are.
So, that when you’re messaging to them, whether that’s on social media, or you’re doing an ad campaign or a promotion, the way you’re speaking to them, and ultimately, the goods or services you’re offering to them are actually relevant to them.
Jillian Leslie 7:30
It’s funny, my husband and I started online in 2009. And I’ve mentioned this multiple times on the podcast, first of all, we had a big blog, and it felt very much like a magazine. And we’re out there for everybody.
And we built this big site called Catch My Party; we turned it into the largest party idea site on the web. And I remember wanting to hide behind our branding to be like, we’re a big company.
And it’s really just David and me in the background like scrappy doing whatever. And I feel like as the internet has gotten so big, it’s now about being small, and being personal.
And being one-on-one and interacting with your customers that way, being the one who answers the emails.
Branding Tip: Use Your Branding to Tell Your Genuine Story
Susan Meier 8:30
Yes. And so you just hit on another big one, a big way you can say common mistake, but you turn it around key to success. Telling your genuine honest story. So, it’s perfectly natural. We’ve all done it.
You go in there and you think, oh my gosh, I’m just this one person or I’m just the small company and you think okay, well, I have to look credible and make it seem like we’re a big company, big organization.
But actually, as you just said, what people are much more interested in knowing is like, I’m a mom from California and I started this because I was struggling to figure out what to do for my kids’ birthday party.
They want to hear that story. They’re going to connect with you in that story. And most importantly, when you’re telling that story, it’s honest. It’s like genuine to who you are. And that comes through.
Jillian Leslie 9:28
So, how important then in my branding? I’m going to throw out a bunch of different things. My origin story, my colors, my logo, photos of me, videos. Tell me how you think about it, because today, there’s so much that goes into it.
Your Brand Needs to Be Consistent
Susan Meier 9:51
Yes. So, a couple things. One is consistency. So, thinking about both having a lot of those things you talked about are what I would call visual elements of the brand.
And so sitting down, I sometimes encourage people to either take a notebook or make a big collage on the wall and put all of the visual elements that are core to your brand there. So you can see them all together. And do they make sense?
What’s your photography style? Are you using all different styles of photography at different times? So having a consistent visual style, I think is really important. I also think that all of those touch points need to tell the same story or the same set of stories.
So, I’ll often encourage people and this is especially important because we do so much of our communication on social media, what are your key messages? And there should be less than three?
Keep Your Brand Message to Three Main Points
Jillian Leslie 10:55
Wait, less than three?
Susan Meier 11:00
Yeah, absolutely. I’m talking topic areas, obviously, you’re communicating all the time. But if you can have the discipline, everything that I’m going to talk about ladders, up to these three big themes.
These are my brand pillars, these are my topic areas, this is what I’m all about. You can’t be about everything, it gets confusing. So, I think there’s the kind of visual creative, and then there’s the conceptual, intellectual.
And narrowing it down, saying no to some stuff, even though it might be fun and appealing, and you like it, having it be really clear, and really consistent.
Jillian Leslie 11:43
Can you over communicate that? I feel like sometimes the bloggers and entrepreneurs we work with go, “If I’m just continually hitting these same things, these same themes, are people going to get bored of me?”
And I have my own thoughts about that. But tell me what you think.
Susan Meier 12:04
I think no. I think it is all in the execution of course. I think what people get bored of is being promoted to all the time. So, if your theme is I want to sell you stuff, yeah, people are going to get bored of hearing that.
But if your theme is coming from a genuine place, like, I’m a mom that makes organic applesauce. And my theme is about the importance of local ingredients, and farm to table.
I don’t think people are going to get bored of that, at least not your target audience. The people who are going to get bored of that are not your target audience. And you need to be creative in coming up with different takes on it.
You don’t have to create all that content yourself, you can and should be pulling from, what’s being said by other people out there. Oh, here’s a great resource. Oh, here’s something that just happened in the news.
I don’t think that gets boring I think that reinforces your brand. I struggle with this a lot. I really do. Because I get bored of hearing the same stuff over again. And I want to say a lot of different new things.
But you got to remember, people are not reading your every last post. If they’re a super fan, they’re reading your every 10th post. So, you have to know the average person in your audience is reading your every 100th post, so they’re probably not getting bored.
Jillian Leslie 13:36
I love that. I agree completely. And I see this all the time. Exactly that which is I say, get bored of your own messaging, because that means you’re hitting it over and over again. Because nobody is consuming all your content. Nobody’s focused on you.
And so, you need to figure out ways to cut through the noise. And by focusing on certain messaging, you start to figure out like, oh, I’m putting out 20 posts, let’s say on organic applesauce.
And maybe somehow when I’m shushing the apples, people, I don’t know, they’re harding my posts on Instagram, they like that.
So you go, “Oh, of all these 20 posts, something about shushing the apples is really resonating. I could turn that into a video, I could turn that into a TikTok.” This is like you learn and so, get bored of yourself, but be looking at where the interaction is coming from.
And as women, my audience is predominantly women. And I always say this, we are so nice. So, there’s always this kind of feeling of like, I don’t want to be salesy.
Your Business Focus is to Sell, Don’t Forget That
Let’s say I sell organic applesauce, like, “Hey, I know you could go to the grocery store and buy apple sauce. So, I’m not putting any pressure on you. I know my applesauce is the best but hey, I’m going to give you lots of cool stuff. You don’t have to buy it, you should. Maybe you could give it as a gift.”
There’s always this kind of doubt. Instead of going, “My applesauce will change your life, it changed my life, it will change your family’s life. This is the best gift to give. Because I believe that.”
Susan Meier 15:16
I think what people really connect you his passion, I know somebody can be talking to me about some topic that I know nothing about and care very little about.
And if they’re super energized about it, I just find that delightful, I just want to be around them, and I want to be listening to them.
And I think, if you’re an entrepreneur, we all know, it’s a lot of work to do the same thing day in and day out. And build that thing for years and years, you’re probably pretty passionate about it.
And so people want to see that passion and connect with that passion. And I think if you can reframe that, because I share that what you just said, I hate feeling like I’m self- promoting.
But if I can reframe that is like, I’m just going to share with you something that I’m really excited about, then I’m not promoting anything.
It’s like, “Oh, my God, I’m in need, somebody needs me because I can make your life better.” And that, to me is magic.
Susan Meier 16:39
Definitely, definitely. And if you can’t get there, if you’re not feeling that way about whatever it is that you’re offering, it might be time to take a look at like, could you evolve your offering a little.
If you don’t feel that what you’re doing is genuinely helpful, and you’re genuinely passionate about it. And it’s also not going to be fun for you. And there’s probably a way to tweak it. So you get there.
So, that’s another way to think about innovation in your business. Like, always looking back and seeing is what I’m doing and it changes over time.
Is what I’m doing today, something that I feel really good about, that I’m passionate about that I believe helps people that want to shout from the rooftops?
Jillian Leslie 17:28
Absolutely. It’s like connecting the dots though, because it’s very easy to be like, I’m the applesauce girl. But not to connect to and I sell applesauce. I think sometimes we miss that piece where that’s where you make your money.
Susan Meier 17:49
So true. So true.
Jillian Leslie 17:51
We want to give lots of good applesauce advice, and the best kind of apples to use and stuff. But at the end of the day, this is my business, and I want you to buy my applesauce.
Branding Tip: Think About What Triggers You to Buy in Other Brands
So, I don’t subscribe to many kind of business emails. So, I’ve just recently was thinking about this because I subscribe to athletic emails. It’s like exercise clothing, and I think is because if I’m not exercising, I look at the photos.
And then I kind of weirdly feel like I’m exercising like I’m living a healthy life. But I pay attention to these sent emails literally every single day, every single day. And I think about how many of them I open.
And I have to be honest, I open a lot of them. I don’t buy a lot, but they get me. And then when they get me I always look at what is it that made me click and open this email.
So, it’s triggering some sort of emotion for me, which I don’t get with normal clothes, these are action clothes. So, it’s just interesting to see your own psychology and to watch yourself and what you respond to.
Branding Tip: Use Emotion in Your Branding
Susan Meier 18:58
You said the word emotion and before you even said it, I was going to say you’re saying something that is really important, that I think is really important that I convey a lot, which is that aspect of making your audience feel something.
It’s not just I need new yoga pants because my old ones are pilled or my old ones are out of style. It’s how do I feel when I think about buying new yoga pants and then when I’m wearing the new yoga pants and laddering that up to like, what is the aspiration?
That’s what the emotion is that you’re talking about. I aspire to be I don’t know what it is, healthy or my body looks great or I feel younger or whatever that aspiration is. Or I’m a better mom because I’m active or whatever.
Figuring out what your product ladders up to in somebody’s life.
Jillian Leslie 20:02
What do you mean by that? Will you explain what you mean by laddering up and how to elicit that emotion?
Susan Meier 20:09
So, the easy example I often use is I did a lot of work on cereal. And the easy example is, you’re selling cereal often the game is a cereal that kids love, that’s also healthy. But I’m selling you a cereal, and I can tell you all about the ingredients that are in it.
And the shapes that it comes in that are fun, and the price point that it’s offered at. But really what I need to be tapping into is that you’re buying this, you may say that you’re buying this cereal because it’s healthy, and my kids love it.
But the laddering up is I’m doing those things, because I want to feel like a good mom. That’s a much higher aspiration, then I want to feed my kids healthy fun cereal.
Jillian Leslie 21:04
Susan Meier 21:06
So, that’s like a super easy example. But every single product has that.
Use MiloTree Easy Payments to Sell Workshops, Memberships, and Coaching
I wanted to take a short break to share that one of my words for 2022 is monetization. And one of the easiest ways to monetize is to come up with products and services to sell to your audience.
And that’s why we built MiloTree Easy Payments. It is a lean no tech platform where you can easily set up products, set up memberships, set up paid workshops, sell coaching, sell services.
And there’s no tech to learn, we integrate with all major email service providers, and there’s no monthly fee. In fact, we only charge a small transaction fee. This means we only make money when you do. Plus, we offer free hosted sales pages.
Before you build something out, set up a sales page, put it in front of your audience and see if they’re interested, it’s totally free to do this. So head to milotree.com/easypayments to set up your free account. So, you can have a whole new way to monetize in 2022. And now back to the show.
Branding Tip: Think About the Aspiration and Feeling Behind the Motivation
Jillian Leslie 22:04
Okay, so we have this site Catch My Party. And why do people throw first birthdays?Your kid doesn’t remember their first birthday, my husband used to joke that we weren’t going to throw her first birthday.
And all we were going to do was photoshopped my daughter into other people’s photos so that she had this memory of her first birthday. But it’s that idea I think it is for a couple of reasons.
One, it’s to kind of congratulate you and your husband or whomever for getting through that first hard year.
But two, it’s also kind of doing this celebration of going not only did I get through it, I did an awesome job because look at this party that I just threw for my one year old, like I’m a little awesome.
Susan Meier 22:47
Yeah, these aspirations aren’t all necessarily elevated. Maybe we care about status, maybe we care about cosmetically looking good and we know that’s not the secret to peace in the universe, but we care about those things.
And an example in a business-to-business world is I do a lot of work in healthcare marketing.
And those folks that are being marketed too are brand managers and large healthcare organizations and they’re middle managers who are in charge of important brands, and they have important jobs.
But they’re not actually scientists and the scientists in their organization are the innovators. And it’s really interesting when you talk to them; their aspiration is to be seen as innovative to be seen as cutting edge and leading edge.
And I think that’s also a really interesting example, you wouldn’t necessarily know that until you talk to them. I would not have guessed that until I talked to them.
But then when I talked to them, it makes perfect sense. They’re in this organization that’s all about leading edge scientific research. And they’re a business manager.
And so, they want to be part of that excitement. They want to be treated like innovators, too.
Jillian Leslie 24:12
So how do you sell to those people? How do you sell your services then, how do you tap into that need within them? Because they can hire you what do you do to make them go I see you as an innovator?
Susan Meier 24:33
Now then it comes down to the messaging and choosing your words carefully, and crafting your positioning. And so the core of your brand positioning is explaining to your customer, what the benefit is that they’re going to get out of working with you.
And so you’re going to tell them all the nuts and bolts of what they’re going to get out of it. But in this case, for example, it was important that we talk about our product helping them be on the leading edge of health care marketing.
And we didn’t have to talk about it that way. There were other benefits we could talk about. But once we interviewed them, and we understood who they were, we knew that had to be part of the story.
Jillian Leslie 25:18
That’s so interesting. We’re launching a product called MiloTree Easy Payments. And it is for bloggers, creators to sell things like memberships, workshops, coaching and get paid for it.
And one pain point I see over and over again, is that I coach creators and people who are putting their content out there, and they’re putting it out there for free. And so my messaging is all about you deserve to be paid, you are valuable, you are a business.
Businesses get paid for what they do. This product will therefore hopefully make you feel like a legitimate business. You’re not just a cute food blogger who makes applesauce, you sell applesauce.
But not only that, you sell a workshop where you teach people how to make applesauce. And at the end of it, my whole thing is, and you get paid from people who value you.
So, they’re all these emotions and this is genuine, this is what I want people to feel, I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel like business people, I want them to feel like this is worth it and people value them.
Susan Meier 26:40
This is a great example. Because the practical need, which you also address and fulfill, is you want to get paid, you want this to be a viable business.
And the aspiration, the emotional need is that you want to feel valued and respected. And I think having both of those as part of the story is absolutely necessary and differentiating.
Jillian Leslie 27:07
I love that. So, people who are listening, as you’re thinking about your business, think about what are the benefits.
Branding Tip: Focus on Benefits, Not Features
Susan Meier 27:15
My favorite features versus benefits story. And by the way, this is definitely one of my key messages because I feel really strongly about it. I think it’s really important.
One of my favorite features versus benefits stories, there was a manufacturer of light bulbs that I was working for. A very large company that had a legitimately breakthrough technology LED light.
This was a few years back when LED was relatively new. I was actually working for a packaging design firm at the time. So they said can you design our packaging for us and write the back of pack copy.
And here are all the lumens and the degrees Kelvin. We had a big kickoff meeting with all the engineers and also the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer.
And so we said, oh, well, that’s great. And we’ll be sure to put the lumens and the degrees Kelvin and the hours of life and everything on the package.
Jillian Leslie 28:12
I just have to stop and tell you my husband would be all over that.
Susan Meier 28:20
It’s not unimportant. But we said can we go out and talk to your customers or your target customers and understand what they care about when they buy a light bulb.
It was a large company, and we had a big budget. So it was actually very cool. We went all over the world and we went into people’s homes as well as into focus groups. And we asked people about their light bulb purchases.
And it may not surprise you to find that a light bulb purchase is not a particularly high involvement, emotional purchase. People need a light bulb, they go to the hardware store and they buy light bulbs.
So when you ask them about the light bulbs, the conversation is short. When you ask them to tell you about or take you around their house and show you the role of lights. Show us where your light bulbs are.
Tell me about the lighting in this room. How did you choose that light fixture? How do you choose what light bulbs go in there? And talk to people in Sweden about the importance of their lighting fixtures. Wow.
Talk to people in China about the importance of their light. By the way, it’s very different. They want a cold tone light and they want it very bright because in that culture that represents cleanliness, transparency, honesty.
The role of light is tremendously interesting. But at the end of that project, we came back and said you’re not selling light bulbs, you’re selling light. And what you’re selling in light are ultimate kind of brand positioning was quality of light equals quality of life.
And that was a really profound laddering up. That was instead of selling inexpensive hardware store product.
By the way, much more expensive price point that people are used to. So it’s a little bit of a tough sell. You’re now selling something that is deeply intimate to people’s quality of life.
Jillian Leslie 30:26
I have to say it, illuminating.
Susan Meier 30:30
Yes. That’s an illuminating story.
Jillian Leslie 30:34
Tell me then, okay. How did you on the packaging convey light as life?
Susan Meier 30:43
So, we talked about the role of light in your home. We mentioned how many hours this light bulb would last and how bright it was or how customizable it was in terms of its warmth. But we had a whole story.
And by the way, the visuals supported that story was kind of the beautiful warm home, lit from within. It wasn’t like a beauty shot of the light bulb. It was really about the world that the light was creating.
Jillian Leslie 31:17
I love that I can see that. At first I’m like, how did you translate it, but all you need to do is show that. Personally I like really warm light. So show the warmth and I’m all over it. Again, I think this is so powerful.
Branding Tip: Sell Someone The Vision Of the Life They Want
Yes, you’ve got features, and my husband will be all over those things. But the truth is it feels almost like to be thinking kind of aspirationally, like selling somebody the vision of their life that they want.
Whether it be I want to be high status. Why do women walk around with fancy pocketbooks like a leather pocket book that has a name on it. Again, this is no judgement for that.
But you could have that same pocketbook and leather without the name and probably for 1/10th the price. So what does that laddering have? What does it provide? Well, it provides status and feeling good about yourself, and it’s pretty and all that stuff.
But I feel like we’re almost not even aware that we are triggered, both positively and negatively. And if you can figure out people’s triggers, how can you do that for your customer and sell to them because chances are, you don’t want to compete on price.
Branding Tip: Don’t Compete on Price
Susan Meier 32:52
You do not ever want to compete on price. Not that how you price isn’t important. But that is never what you should be competing on because that’s a race to the bottom.
But I guarantee you that Athleta has done a lot of consumer research, all these brands have done a lot of consumer research.
And I think that for a small business owner or someone just starting out that can be intimidating because you think like we don’t have the budget to do focus groups. You don’t have to do focus groups.
You can do informal, inexpensive research by talking to friends, talking to customers, doing a quick survey monkey. I do recommend doing something that’s not just online and quantitative.
Having the human conversation is very important. You’re going to get a lot out of that. But you can do it back of the envelope grassroots and learn an awful lot. People love to talk about themselves just ask them about their lives.
Jillian Leslie 33:51
Susan Meier 33:52
You might not have a big ask.
Jillian Leslie 33:53
I say this all the time do stuff that doesn’t scale when you are starting out. And people freak out that they’re weirded out about this at least in my experience.
Because I will do this and let’s say somebody emails me or has a question or when we were doing MiloTree Easy Payments, it was a little different because I ended up getting on the phone getting on Zoom. Zoom, so easy.
Get On the Phone With People
And I would talk to people about their businesses, what memberships they wanted to create, why they wanted to create them.
And then I would also put our product in front of them and say, “Okay, go figure this out and let me watch you. I want to see what you click on. And I want you to tell me what bumps you or how you’re thinking about this or what are your pain points.”
So, one thing that I discovered is we say this at our house all the time. And David my husband is like the best technologist in the world like he can solve everything but we say this motto, it’s on our whiteboard it says, “Technology is hard.”
Like how many times are you sending yourself password resets and then it doesn’t work and then you spend all this time and so when we set out to create our product, we said, we are going to make it the easiest technological solution possible.
Because I realized that technology for me, and then I noticed this when I was interviewing other people, it makes people feel bad. I’m like a pretty smart person.
And I will tell you that when I’ve sent myself the fifth password reset, and it’s still not working. I feel so bad about myself, like, I can’t even get my password to work.
Susan Meier 35:32
Yeah, why do you feel like that?
Jillian Leslie 35:34
So that’s why the other messaging we have is like the easiest technological solution, so that you can feel good about yourself.
Susan Meier 35:43
I love that you put in the “so that” that’s the whole game, you connected, the easiest technological solution is already a great positioning. But you’ve got the “so that” you’ve said it out loud, you’ve articulated so that you can feel good about yourself.
Then I go, “Yeah, that would feel great.” It was so great now I feel like a dummy.
Jillian Leslie 36:10
I want to say it happens to me five times a day. It was so interesting. Because when I walking people through this, and there were certain steps, they had to get into their email service provider.
And I can’t tell you how many roadblocks they would run into. And they would be apologetic, like, oh, I know, oh, I can’t do it at all. And I could feel that anxiety and that pain. And all they want to do is go make pretty things.
At the end of the day, you’re a food blogger, you just want to make delicious, pretty food, you don’t want to be dealing with having to send yourself the password reset to get into your email service provider.
So it was like, oh, and I could listen, and I could hear where the struggles were. And that’s why we said we’re setting out to make this as easy as possible.
Branding Tip: Go On Your Customer’s Journey
Susan Meier 37:07
So you went along on your customer’s journey. And I think in addition to asking them about their lives. Another really key piece of understanding your audience, figure out what their journey looks like.
Jillian Leslie 37:24
What do you mean by that? Explain.
Susan Meier 37:25
Hypothesize, like from the moment they are looking around for a solution like yours, whatever that may be, too, they become aware of you, too, they engage with you, too, they purchase you, too, they use your product.
Or they come back and repeat the whole lifetime journey of them connecting with you. What does that look like? And in your case, you did like with an easy breakfast cereal, you would do like a shop along.
And then you would do an ethnography where you go and sit and have breakfast with the family. You did the technology version of that, where you watch somebody use the technology. And you identified kind of the points of delight and the points of pain.
And whatever your product is, there’s a journey that your customer goes on, and you should go on it with them, you should map it out like, here’s what I think the journey looks like.
And then have a couple people take you on their journey. And you learn something, their journey is probably a little different than you thought it was.
And you’ll get to see, like you said, where are the pain points? Where can we make it easier? Where can we make it better?
Branding Tip: Get Into Someone Else’s Shoes
Jillian Leslie 38:45
What I love about what you’re saying is that we have a hypothesis. But you have to hold it lightly. Because you have to recognize you’re not your customer. And there will be differences.
You also know whatever you’re doing very intimately and they don’t. So where do they need to be educated? Or where are they stumbling? Or what doesn’t work for them? Or you think it’s so easy and you have to kind of talk about empathy.
You have to get out of yourself to really get into somebody else. It’s a little bit like, you can give great advice to somebody else, but it’s like really hard to see yourself.
It’s like you’re so close to whatever you’re doing. You need to get that distance so that you can then see it from different eyes.
Susan Meier 39:39
Absolutely. I use the word empathy all the time when I talk about understanding your customer. It’s not just demographics or running numbers about who your customers are. It’s really putting yourself in their shoes.
Jillian Leslie 39:53
And getting out of your shoes.
Susan Meier 39:55
Getting out of your shoes because like you just said you are not them. And just for the human brain, that’s just a hard thing. Like we immediately project ourselves.
And we have to remind ourselves actively that the people that we’re serving who may be like-minded in many ways are people who are not us. And let’s go find out who they are.
Jillian Leslie 40:20
Oh, Susan, I love this. If people want to reach out to you, because they want to ask you, if they’re in the right direction when they’re thinking about laddering up, I like that term. How can people learn about you, reach out to you, connect with you?
Susan Meier 40:39
So, all my contact information and resources are on my website, which is Susan Meier Studio. And Meier is a little bit of a funny spelling, I’m sure you’ll put it in the show notes, but it’s M-E-I-E-R.
And on the website, you’ll have my email address, which pretty intuitively is susan@susanmeierstudio, feel free to email me any time I love answering questions, I love having a little dialogue.
Also on the website, you can download, I created a workbook if you want an easy, inexpensive way to do it yourself. And there are 10 exercises in there that take you through all the things that we’ve been talking about today.
And help you articulate your brand promise, your positioning for your brand. Taking into account, who you are and who your customer is, and doing some in depth thinking about both of those things.
I also offer, like a package of office hours, if you will, and that’s actually pretty popular, because we all know how DIY goes, some people are really good at it. But most of us need a little hand holding.
So, I do five hours of hand holding and coaching package, which is also available on the site. And then for people who want to, really go deep, I do full day workshops.
So all of that information is on the site. There’s a page on the site that’s for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Jillian Leslie 42:13
Well, Susan, I have to say thank you so much for coming on the show.
Susan Meier 42:18
Thank you so much for having me, Jillian. It was just a great conversation. So lovely to meet you.
Jillian Leslie 42:23
Wow, so much good learning in this episode. I love this idea of trying to get to the feeling behind the feeling if you can tap into that with your customers and audience you’ve got them.
For those of you wanting to create a new product in five days, a paid workshop, come join my email challenge and I will walk you through how easy this is to set up and then you’ve got a product to sell.
So to join the challenge head to milotree.com/challenge, that’s it. And I look forward to seeing you on the other side of that.
Again, milotree.com/challenge. Remember, this is all about monetizing, making money directly from your community selling what you already know.
And I will see you here again next week. Happy New Year.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast episodes to listen to:
- #137: How to Think About Branding in a New Way with Phil Pallen
- #080: How to Think About Branding Yourself and Your Business
- #098: How to Build a Successful Creative Business with Kayla Butler
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If you are looking for ways to grow your community whether that be email whether that be social media, right now head to Milotree.com install the MiloTree app on your blog and it will do the work for you. Let it do the heavy lifting for you.
Let it pop up in front of your visitors and ask them to follow you on Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, join your list, check out the exit intent but really get your community growing. And we’d love to help you with MiloTree. And I will see you here again next week.