“Target audience”? You’re not shooting at them. You’re inviting them.

‘Target audience’ is one of those marketing phrases which gets used without a great deal of thought. Yes, you could also say ‘ideal audience’ or ‘client avatar’ or some other official sounding phrase, but as with all marketing terminology I prefer to question everything.

Target. Why target? Where does that come from?

A target is something you shoot at. A bow and arrow, a target with a red circle in the middle. You eye the target…you draw back…you take a deep breath…you release…BAM! Got it! Sharp arrow piercing the target right in the middle! Nailed it!

When I think about how I and our business communicate with the type of clients, the type of PEOPLE we want to work with, this visual does not work.

I don’t want to shoot at them. I don’t want to eye them and squint to see how I can stab them with an arrow. Actually it’s not about me doing all the work anyway: it’s about being present and available and holding to our values and expressing who we truly are, and welcoming them to come be a part of it.

It’s an invitation.

An invitation is much different. It’s beautiful. Maybe handwritten, certainly crafted to be welcoming and appealing. You get one and think “ooooh, this looks nice!” (Or you get one and think “I’m not going to that event no matter what”, but that’s also okay.)

The point is with an invitation, the invited client gets to decide. Do they want to work with you? Is it possible you could help them? Are you their kind of people? It’s all very pleasant and welcoming and patient. They can take their time: whether that’s one day to make up their mind, or a month, or six months, or three years. They can keep coming, and coming back, taking in your content and watching your videos and connecting with you as a human until they believe you are someone who can help them with the problem weighing on them.

Content marketing is such a beautiful way to invite people to consider working with you. Writing blogs and articles, sharing photos and videos on social, holding live events, giving insights into what you know and how it can help them. Sharing expertise. It takes time because all good relationships take time. The right way is the long way.

At PF, we’ve slowly begun moving away from using the term ‘target audience’ (even internally, as we talk about who we want to work with), and more towards words like perfect client. Ideal client. Accountants we love. We’ve even been using the word “people” instead of “clients”. What kind of PERSON (who happens to be an accountant) do we love to work with? What can we share with that human person which will answer their questions and address their fears and doubts and help them make a decision which is best for them?

Changing your terminology could seem like it doesn’t matter too much. Who cares if you say “target audience” or “perfect client”? Who cares if you have a “buyer avatar” or a “client characteristics” list?

The words you use reflect the way you think about things. And people. In a past Note, I shared why and how I began to remove the word “should” from my vocabulary, and what that has done for me personally as well as my business.

Words matter. The way you approach marketing, and clients, and people, matters. If your marketing is feeling a bit harsh, or official, or even boring, it might be you’ve stopped thinking about future clients as human people. People with questions and concerns and families and trips they’d like to take and food they love to eat and problems in their business they don’t know how to solve. They aren’t targets. The next person who fills in a form on your website is not a target. They’re real, and they’re worth getting to know, so you both can decide whether this is the relationship to put time and money and care into.

What kind of words do you use for the clients you love to work with?

Follow me

ON THE GRAM

Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon
Oh hey, it’s me. 

And a new updated KLR brand and website! 

For the past six months or so, while I was finishing my book content and the final edits from my side, we have also been working on an updated KLR brand and website, to distinguish from the PF brand and site. 

It’s a tough job, when you’re the business owner and have been for ten years. And the book you’ve written is for the kind of clients your business serves, so it feels like a PF project.

But I’ve also been working for years to figure out (and help others see) that PF is far more than me. I’m the owner and MD, and I’m involved in sales and speaking and writing, and yet our clients primarily work with the team. There are 18 beautiful humans delivering great creative work every day from PF (soon to be 19!) and as I always say to potential clients, you definitely want all of them working on your creative projects. They’re structured and organised and talented - 19x more talented than just me. 

I’ve still got my own skills. And my own identity. It took us weeks to dig into how we represent “Karen L Reyburn” as a personal brand, with an audience of clients and friends and accountants and non-accountants and witches and wizards and family members and creative humans. 

We settled on “Leader, writer, creative, coach”, because those are the areas I love the most and want to lean into more as PF grows. And as I write more books and keep being my own self. 

If you’d like to be on the list to get “Karen’s notes” by email every Saturday, or to be on the waiting list for the book (coming May 2023), the link is in my bio. 

And I’d love for you to head over to my new site (karenlreyburn.com) and let me know what you love or anything you notice and wonder about! 

Stay strong, stay creative, and keep going. 

#karensnotes #staycreative #justkeepgoing