Good Intentions Can Slow Down Your Social Enterprise

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Social Impact

We get it, you have good intentions. I believe that most people have good intentions, most of the time.

But I think it’s far too easy for us social entrepreneurs to trip over our good intentions and fall into this big trap.

We assume everyone wants what we’re making because it has a social or environmental benefit.

The truth is, almost no one truly wants what you’re making.

“But Joel,” you say, “everyone we talk to is excited about what we’re doing and think it’s an amazing idea.”

That may be true, people like the idea, but do they love it enough to support it, or buy from you? Is it useful for them to get involved?

For so many of us, our marketing, conversations and tactics are meant to attract everyone. We talk in generalities, we assume any follower is a good follower, and we promote to everyone that walks by. This is a fundamentally wrong assumption, and I’ll show you an example.

One of the most followed Instagram personalities is The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Yes, I talk about him a lot, I like his style, okay? If I tried picking other examples it would end up being the Kardashians, and nobody wants to hear me talk about them.

The Rock has 173 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing this That’s only 2% of the planet. THE MOST followed person only reaches 2% of the planet. (Go ahead and pick a part the logic, but the point is still there).

We have NO hope of reaching everyone. Our message and our impact is not for everyone. Even if the fundamental benefit could be applied to most people, there isn’t a straws hope in the ocean that it will decompose and soak into the hearts of everyone.

As social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders we need to stop assuming everyone wants what we make, and start specifically targeting people that actually want it and can buy/support the cause.

How do you do this?

That’s a life-long journey my friends, but a good place to start is to look at your best supporters now. Analyze your best customers and your best donors to find out what makes them unique.

Then you can do three things: Change your messaging to appeal to these specific people, provide generous value to attract their attention, and go find out where more people like them are hanging out.

It’s amazing how much easier marketing gets when you limit who you’re going after.

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