In this episode of the Gay Business & Marketing Made Easy Podcast we talk about the implications DOMA, ENDA and Prop 8 all have on your marketing efforts within your business. Marriage Equality is here for many so you’ll learn how to adapt your marketing efforts to position you in the best possible light.
Mentioned in this episode is the special 6 part Marriage Equality series:
- Marriage Equality is HERE (almost): What does your marketing say about your company? (A special 6 part series)
- Part 1 of 6: Who am I trying to market to?
- Part 2 of 6: How will I set myself apart?
- Part 3 of 6: How do I take the first step in marketing to the LGBT community?
- Part 4 of 6: What steps will I take in building networks and relationships?
- Part 5 of 6: How do I measure my success and progress along the way?
- Part 6 of 6: Bonus: The good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT Marketing.
Listen to the episode by clicking the play button below!
Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below!
AUDIO TITLE: Episode #13 – Marriage Equality & Marketing
Jenn T Grace:
This is the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, Episode 13.
Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.
Jenn T Grace:
Hello and welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. This is episode number thirteen which I am absolutely thrilled to be providing to you. I have a jam-packed episode today and as I stated, I believe it was in episode twelve- it could have been in eleven, I am doing my very best to not edit these podcasts. So you are going to get what you get, and in the words of my four year old, ‘You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.’ So anyway, so let’s get into the episode today. Like I just said I have a lot of things to discuss with you. And I guess for those who are listening for the first time, this is a biweekly show that alternates between expert interviews with some great leaders in LGBT and diversity, and in marketing, where we talk about business etiquette, marketing tips to be successful in your LGBT campaigns, and all that great stuff. So we kind of go back and forth between me providing information and great content, and expert interviews with other people providing great content. So it alternates, so this week it is yours truly talking to you about marriage equality marketing. And I don’t know if that’s a term that already exists, but if not I have just indeed made it up. And it really stems from all of the recent happenings that took place in the end of June with DOMA. So I want to get into all of that, but before I do I kind of want to just backtrack a hair, and thank everyone who is tuning in today, who may have tuned in to any of the interviews from June that were part of the 30 Days, 30 Voices: Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders Podcast Series. And as I just mentioned, I’m not going to edit anything out, my cat just indeed jumped across the microphone. So that’s the type of editing you are not getting today. So indeed as I’m talking now, there is a cat standing on my keyboard. So I’m going to attempt to not be entirely distracted and go back to what I was saying about 30 Days, 30 Voices.
So what I wanted to just say is thank you so much for tuning into the series. It was a significant undertaking. I had thirty interviews that I started doing in February. And released one every single day. And if for some reason you may have missed one of them, you missed all of them, it’s not too late because they will continue to be available on the website. If you head over to the website you can go to www.JennTGrace.com/30days30voices. Or if you just hop over to the home page you should be able to find a tab which I’ve just recently redesigned the home page; there will be a tab there that has a link for the podcast series.
So anyways, check that out when you get a chance, it’s definitely exciting. And let’s see. I also wanted to share a couple of things about my book. If you recall- I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve spoken to you last, because I went the entire month of June without a regular podcast and it was just the interviews. So I feel like there’s so much to catch you up on. And one of the things is if you recall from a few episodes back, one of the things I was doing is that I was creating my book in an eBook format. And I really didn’t have any intentions of making a print version. And lo and behold, I now have a print version. So as you’re listening to this, which it’s airing on July 10th- not it’s actually airing on July 11th, and you may note that I am now releasing my podcast on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays, I’m testing it out. And as of the tenth, my book is now available on Amazon. So you can purchase it for the Kindle, you can purchase a print copy, or hopefully in the next couple of days the audio book version through Audible will also be available. So it really started out as being an eBook and now it’s a physical book, it’s the eBook, it’s the audio book, it’s the whole kitten kaboodle. So I wanted to make sure that you guys knew that because many of you were emailing me and leaving voicemail feedback saying, “Hey, is there going to be a physical book available?” And I’m absolutely thrilled to tell you that yes, yes there is. And I have a copy of it in front of me and I’m pretty excited with the way it turned out. So I hope you guys are as well.
AS a token of my gratitude…
And as a nice thank you, and just kind of my way of giving back to you, if you head over to Amazon on August 7th. So it’s a while away, so make sure you put it in your calendar, I am giving away the Kindle version for free for the entire day- the entire 24 hours of August 7th. So if you are interested in getting your free copy on Kindle, please head over there and let everybody you know know that it’s available. It’s totally free, no hidden gimmicks, it’s just my way of getting the message out there that this book is available. So please, please, please go check it out. And another way to get a free signed copy with a personal message from yours truly, I am trying to encourage you all to leave a voicemail on my feedback hotline. I am fortunate enough that I get plenty of emails from you all, and a lot of times I’ll respond to your emails addressing your questions, sometimes I will point you to a specific blog post that I’ve already written about that might answer your question. But what I want to do, is I want to encourage you to leave a voicemail on the feedback hotline. Because it adds a little- it just adds a little extra something when I’m able to play your voicemail on the podcast, and then answer your question. So what I am proposing to you, is if you go on over to my website, www.JennTGrace.com and on the right hand side, there’s a little green button that says, ‘Leave a Voicemail.’ If you ask me your question there, and I choose your question to be on the air, I will mail you a copy of my hard copy- it’s not hard copy. My paperback version of my book free of charge just as a thank you for doing me the favor of leaving a voicemail on my feedback hotline. Your questions are really important, and being able to answer your questions for everyone else to hear is also really important. So I just want to make sure that we can make that happen and it’s just my little added incentive, again, to just get my word out there, get the book out there, et cetera, et cetera.
Answering listener questions…
So I do have a listener question that I will answer today, but I’m going to do that towards the end of the show, towards the bottom of the episode if you will. And it’s because a little bit of the question will be addressed in some of what I’m talking about beforehand. So I got an email from somebody and her question is great, and I think it’s probably a question that many of you have as well, and I will make sure that I play that later. But before I hop into today’s meat of the episode, which is around marriage equality marketing, I do want to talk about DOMA just briefly. On June 26, which also happened to be my birthday which was really exciting, I like to think I have a personal ‘in’ with the Supreme Court which is why DOMA was overturned on that day. But you know, that may or may not be the case. So I personally feel so incredible fortunate that just two short years after my wife and I got married- which actually our anniversary just passed on the ninth; we have federal marriage recognition. Because we live in the state of Connecticut, where Connecticut state law allows us to be married as a same sex couple. But I understand that many of you listening to this still do not have that benefit. And there is a lot- a lot, a lot that still has to be done. So while DOMA was overturned in Section Three, and California’s Proposition Eight was also overturned so same sex couples in California can once again get married, there is still a lot of work left to be done. And I want to do my part in helping that be a reality. And I want to provide a series of blog posts that I’m hoping will help you and help your companies also continue to get that message out there. So I feel really fortunate and really grateful that I’m surrounded by so many incredible people. There are so many of you out there who- you’ll send me an email and just share your story of what it’s like for you and telling me about what type of job you have, and what type of work environment you’ve overcome as somebody who might be in the closet, but now isn’t in the closet. And it’s really, really incredible just to hear the amount of amazing stories that all of you have. So I encourage you to keep sending your stories over, and let me know what you’re doing in the workplace, or at your job, or how you’re running your company that’s helpful and beneficial for the LGBT community. Or not, just a way that you’ve overcome things. I think it’s important that we don’t lose perspective. And I have had my own share of rocky history, either coming out in the workplace or deciding not to come out in the workplace. And you know it’s one of those things that you have to be conscious of that, and you have to remember where you are now, and where you may have been before. And I actually had some sort of strange moment just a couple of days ago when I was at my in-laws’’ house. I was down in the basement trying to grab something for one of my kids, and near the hot water tank- so I don’t know how many people are familiar with the system of a hot water tank, but there is a thing called an expansion tank and it’s this small little tank that’s maybe- I’m trying to think how big it is. It’s probably a foot and a half, maybe two feet high- actually it could even be two and a half feet high for all I know, I’m not great with the dimensions. At any rate, it’s this metal expansion tank and the one in the basement I just happened to catch out of the corner of my eye, and I realized that I actually helped build that particular expansion tank. Which just seems a little bit crazy. But if we go back to- what year are we in? We are in 2013, so circa 2000 and 2001, I was working in a factory in Rhode Island that produced expansion tanks. And it started off as a summer job, I was trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to be doing. And I got this opportunity to work in the packing area of a factory. And I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into, but what I did realize is that I was one of three women in a plant of at least- I want to say at least 100 people, maybe more. And it didn’t faze me at the time to just be the only female, or one of a few females, and the other ones that I was with were much, much older than I was. But it’s one of those experiences that I look back on, and I don’t want to say on a daily basis, but I look back to it very often and think, ‘Wow, I could still be in that setting now as I was twelve years ago, building these expansion tanks.’ And I was fortunate enough then that I was moving so quickly in the packing area that they decided to put me in a different area. So I really in a matter of a year got to experience all of the different components and all of the different aspects of putting together an expansion tank. Which at the time I had absolutely no idea what they do- and even now I have a general idea, but it’s certainly probably not even close to what it actually does. But I was able to work in an area where I got to put the air valve on, where I got to- it was called brazing which is kind of like a glue it seemed like. And I worked my way through almost the entire line. The one job I didn’t get to do was in the painting area, because you’ve got to have some sort of certification to be in the painting area. But I did even get to weld, so that’s the last job I was doing on the line before I left, and that was welding. So I like to consider myself very much like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Many agree, many think I’m insane, but either way it’s your call.
But it’s one of those that I think back on quite frequently and think, wow I was able to overcome a not-so-great work environment where I was one of just a couple of women and I was probably- well I can’t say that I was the only LGBT person, but from what it looked like, I certainly was the minority in many, many ways. And that was an area where I chose not to come out. And I think we all at certain points in our life have to pick and choose when we’re going to come out, and I’ve shared on this podcast in the past that I now consider myself to be a professional lesbian, I have it on my business card even it says I’m a professional lesbian. So me coming out at work is clearly no longer an issue. But there are people out there that I know you’re listening, and you can’t be out at work right now, or you’re choosing not to be. And it’s my job as the out professional lesbian to help you get to that point. And it’s my job to help coach the business owners listening to this, or the professional services providers who are hearing about marriage equality and knowing that this is out and coming, and yet you’re not really sure what your marketing is saying about you, or saying about your company. And while we’re thinking about workplace, we’re thinking about marriage equality and while they may seem somewhat distant from one another, I feel they’re very much intertwined together.
Introducing a 6 part series…
So I’m really happy to be introducing a six part series about marriage equality. And if you’re listening to this the day that this being released, which will be July 11th, you can stay tuned for this blog post that I’m talking about today, which will come out tomorrow on July 12th which is the Friday. So it’s pretty exciting because you kind of have like a backseat insider look on this blog series before it even becomes available to the blog readers, which is kind of one of those perks of being on the podcast. You get a little bit more insider info that maybe those who are just reading the blog get. And the six part series is meant to guide you in developing a marketing plan, which I have talked about in the blog and on the podcast in the past. And it’s really just a way to help you shape and refine and execute a marketing plan that helps your business show its commitment for LGBT equality. Whether that’s LGBT equality on a broad level, whether that’s LGBT equality in the workplace, or whether it’s marriage equality. It could be any level of LGBT equality, but you really want to make sure that you’re positioning yourself as someone who stands behind equality. And the six pieces of this series- so there are five questions that we’re going to answer over the next five weeks, and then there is a sixth section that is talking about the good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT marketing. So tomorrow, July 12th, you are going to get a meaty blog post that contains information about- answering the question of, ‘Who am I trying to market to?’ And there are some beliefs out there that the LGBT community is some sort of monolith, that we all share the same ideology, political beliefs, views on the world, all that kind of stuff. When in reality, the LGBT community is an incredibly diverse population of people who range from every different type of ethnicity, political views, socioeconomic status, you name it and there are many, many different ways that the LGBT community comes together.
What’s coming up…
So that’s going to be an interesting blog post because it’s really going to talk about how to figure out who you’re trying to market to, and what are those specific concerns of each individual within your market. Because those are critical things to know if you’re trying to establish long-term connections with these folks. So that’s what we’re going to talk about on July 12th.
And on July 19th, we are going to talk about how do you set yourself apart? So we’re going to be answering that question. And the basis and the foundation of answering that question is going to be around what are those practical steps that you can do that can help you engage with your local LGBT community in an open and transparent way. Your business is different, your business is unique, and your business undoubtedly has some sort of differentiator. Some sort of hook that you can use to your advantage that’s going to help you market better to the LGBT community. And of course the foundations of any LGBT marketing is really around being authentic and transparent, and that’s something that I bring up over and over again. Whether it’s here on the podcast, or whether it’s on the blog; it’s just something that you really have to be doing at the core level to even consider doing anything else. You have to be authentic and you have to be transparent. So when we’re talking about ways to set yourself apart, we’ll be talking about what can you do differently than what your competitor is doing? There’s plenty of ways that you can do that. So you may be doing some great things already for the LGBT community, and you’re not even capitalizing on that. And you may be doing it just because it’s who you are, and it’s open, it’s authentic, it’s honest, it’s transparent, it’s just the way that you are. So let’s talk about those ways that you’re already doing things and figure out how we can leverage them in your marketing. And again, that blog post is coming on July 19th.
Then we’re going to talk about, on July 26th, we’re going to talk about taking your first step in marketing to the LGBT community. Taking the first step sometimes can be the hardest, it can also be really difficult to know where to start. So rather than you feel overwhelmed and thinking, ‘Oh my, I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know what I should do, how do I establish myself? I don’t know the right people to talk to.’ Let’s put all of that aside and just worry about taking your first step. It may be hard, but we’re going to walk you through it. So we’re going to talk about ways that- I should say you’ll be reading about ways that you can be proactive, and you can get out there and network, and you can find those right resources that are perfect for you to take that baby step into the community. Because we don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so let’s just talk about that initial step that you can take that will make you in a better position, and help you position yourself for success.
So then once we have those couple of things squared away, on August 2nd we’re going to talk about taking more steps; this time those steps are going to be around building networks and relationships. So what steps are you going to take to build long-lasting relationships to market to the community? Relationships are really the name of the game in any type of marketing environment, and it’s especially important for the LGBT community. So you may already be established and want to market to the community, and that might be a little- might be a little bit simple, or more simple for those folks who are already established in the community. But if you’re just getting started it can be a little bit trickier, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. This is such a fruitful area. And the name of this blog series is Marriage Equality Marketing, and it’s about how marriage equality is going to affect the broader landscape of LGBT marketing. Having DOMA overturned, it’s certainly going to create different environments and different attitudes and different perceptions. So you want to make sure that you’re keeping up with all of those things. And again going back to the authenticity and honesty and transparency, all that kind of great stuff. So we’re going to be talking on August 2nd about building your network and your relationships. Because to me, that’s really at the core of everything, is having strong relationships and a strong foundation. So we’ll provide some specific tips and ways to be detail oriented and writing things down and setting deadlines, and weighing the costs and the benefits and all that kind of great stuff. So we want to make sure that we all understand that time is money and you need to use it wisely. So here we’ll outline ways that we can go about evaluating that.
And then in the fifth question, the fifth and final question, we’re going to talk about measuring success and measuring progress. Measuring your progress can sometimes be tricky, because it’s not always clear and not everything can really just be laid out and quantified in front of you, and that’s somewhat the nature of marketing depending on the type of marketing you’re doing. So if we talk about making your goals smart, which we have discussed in the podcast and on the blog before, we’re going to talk about how to constantly challenge yourself to do better, and make sure that your efforts are going towards your goals. So we want to make sure that your goals are smart and you’re thinking about specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals. So these metrics are going to be very important to determine the success and the progress of your LGBT marketing campaigns. And that’s something that we will discuss in great detail on August 9th.
Then the bonus- the bonus blog post at the end, which will be on August 16th. And this one I’m pretty excited about because I feel like it’s something that should certainly be discussed. And that’s the good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT marketing. And oftentimes we will hear about the bad and the ugly, but we won’t hear about the good. So for every good marketing attempt that’s made to go towards the LGBT community, there are so many out there that just fall into those traps that they’re coming across insincere, or they’re not putting enough effort into it, or they’re just slapping a rainbow on one of their mainstream ads. And this is something that comes up over and over again. And the example I always like to use is if you are flipping through an AARP magazine and you’re just minding your business and you’re flipping on through, and you see an ad that has couples that are clearly on like a Spring Break trip. It’s very obvious that whoever is using Spring Break couples in their advertising for the AARP magazines, clearly has no idea what they’re doing in terms of targeting the population that would be reading AARP, which would be a senior population, or I believe their demographics are actually people fifty and over, so that’s not even seniors. But you know the baby boomer generation. Clearly marketing to baby boomers using Spring Break advertising is not going to work.
So you can see right through somebody who’s just trying to throw money out at a specific community and isn’t really doing the homework or the marketing- tailoring the marketing behind the scenes. So there are many companies that fall into this trap, and I want to highlight some of them that are doing it really good, some of them that are doing it poorly, and others who may just be totally off the mark, because there’s bound to be some. And off the top of my head know as I’m recording this six weeks before this post is going to come out, I can’t even think of one that I think will be ugly, but I guarantee there will indeed be one. And I don’t know how familiar you are with Scoop.it. And it’s somewhat of a content curator site, I think that’s like the best way to put it is some sort of content curator. And what I do is as I come across articles that I find interesting, I just hit the Scoop.it bookmarklet, I believe it’s called, in my web browser, and it sends over to this platform, so then those who are following my content can see what I’ve noticed and what I think is interesting. So I bring that up for a reason because I’m willing to bet anything that any of the good, bad or ugly LGBT marketing or advertising that I see between now and then, will likely have gone through my Scoop.it channel already.
So as you may or may not know, this podcast has a blog post that goes with it. So you can head over to the website at www.JennTGrace.com/013, and that’s for episode number thirteen. And any of the information that I am talking about on today’s episode, any of the links that I’ve mentioned, any of that good stuff, you can find on the blog post there. So as I’m talking about this Scoop.it app, you will be able to head over to my website from this particular podcast and click on it to head over to that page and you’ll see what I’m talking about and all that great stuff.
So that somewhat wraps up what the six part series is going to look like that will be coming out starting tomorrow and running through August 16. And as I said I’m really excited about it because I really feel like marriage equality is going to play a big role in LGBT marketing, and I want to make sure that you’re prepared for it. Because I know that you’re spending valuable time of yours to listen to these podcasts every other week, and I want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of that. And I know that taking time out of your day to read a blog post also takes time, so I want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible content.
So along those lines of the best possible content, if you are listening to this and you are enjoying it, I have a request for you. I would love, love, love- and I’m using ‘love’ for a reason, for you to head over to my website whether you’re listening to this on a mobile device, or you’re listening to it on your phone, your tablet, on your PC, through podcast- in a podcast app in iTunes; however you’re listening to it. I would love for you to head over to www.JennTGrace.com/love. And what that’s going to do is it will set up a pre-programmed tweet to go out to your Twitter followers that talks about how much you love this podcast. So I want to just get the word out to others that this podcast is available to them, and if you’re connected with them it’s likely that they could benefit from some of this information as well. So definitely check that out, and it’s pretty easy to get to, just L-O-V-E. And then the other link I wanted to throw out there, is if you’re listening to this podcast by sitting at your desk and you just hit ‘play’ in the browser, there is an easier way for you to listen to the podcast, and that’s using iTunes or Stitcher Radio, or any of the apps that you can get on your Android devices or your Apple devices. And I love- I’m personally an iTunes fan, so if you head over to my website again, www.JennTGrace.com/iTunes, that will bring you directly to my podcast in the iTunes store which is completely free to subscribe to. But every time you do that, it will automatically load the podcast into your phone so that way if you’re on a walk somewhere, you’re running on the treadmill at the gym, or perhaps you’re just driving in the car; you can just hit play on the app versus sitting and listening to it from your desk.
So I’m just trying to make it easier for you in whatever capacity you would like to listen to it in. But no matter what way you’re listening to it, I think I say this so much, it’s because I genuinely mean it. I’m really appreciative of you taking the time to listen to me every other week, and hear what I have to say, and take action. You know it’s always so amazing that after every podcast that goes out, I have at least three or four people who email me and say that they did X this week and they’re seeing results from it. Or they listened to my podcast from a month ago and they decided to change just one way that they’re talking about LGBT and their business, and all of a sudden they’re seeing results. So there are tangible ways to take some of the stuff that’s talked about on this podcast and put them into action. And if you do do that, please let me know. As I mentioned before, I would love for you to leave me a voicemail on the website, but if you choose to send me an email, that is totally awesome too. Because no matter how you’re getting in touch with me, I love to hear from you and I want you to keep it up and keep sending information my way.
So I have a commercial I would like to play for you, and this is from my sponsors at the Human Performance Academy. You will note that they have a new commercial this week, and it’s exciting because they’re talking about their podcast. And I listen to their podcast regularly. They actually started this podcast because of me starting my podcast, and we’ve been working back and forth together. So if you like the content that I’m talking about here around marketing and business techniques, and that kind of stuff, it’s very likely that you may like to hear what they have to say as well. So I definitely encourage you to check out their podcast, but have a listen to their commercial and you let me know what you think by sending me an email or leaving a voicemail, however you want to do it, just let me know what you think and if you check out their show, make sure that you tell them that I sent you. So have a listen to Mike and Maria Kaiser.
Alright, so that was Mike Kaiser, he is a fabulous guy and their podcast not only is really funny but they have a lot of great content in terms of managing your business better, and being a peak performer which is what they’re all about. So definitely check it out. And I also want to just throw it out there that I’ve been fortunate enough to have the Mental Compass Human Performance Academy, Mike Kaiser, Maria Kaiser clan, as a sponsor of this show for- I think almost since the beginning. And I am incredibly appreciative of their sponsorship, and I know I’ve heard from a handful of you who are interested, and you’re always interested in hearing what they have to say because like I was saying before, they’re funny, they’re entertaining. So I want to put it out there that if you are listening to this show, and you have a business, and your business is- your target market may very well be my target market, to reach out to me and ask me about sponsorship opportunities. Because I am always open to having sponsors on this show as long as it aligns with my personal mission and aligns with something that I feel would be of value to my audience. So for those of you who are listening who don’t have anything to necessarily sell or be a sponsor for, I want to make sure that if you’re listening to this that you’re not being bombarded or overwhelmed with messages that are just irrelevant to you. So I want to make sure that the sponsors that I do take on have a good message, and they have good information. So if you are one of those people and you want to potentially sponsor an episode, feel free to reach out. You can hit me up by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget the two N’s. I don’t think I’ve said that enough this episode. We could almost make- well I don’t want to make it a drinking game because this is a professional show, but every time I say Jenn with two N’s, easily could be some sort of game involved. So maybe we’ll start that next time.
A question from listener Suzanne..
Anyway. So next to- actually down to my last couple of things I wanted to talk about. And that is my listener question. So the listener question this week comes from Suzanne, and she has a send out cards business, and I believe she is in the Virginia area, I’m not 100% on that, I could have looked it up beforehand and I totally forgot to. And as you know I’m not editing this podcast, so sorry Suzanne, I’m hoping that you’re indeed in Virginia. And she sent me an email a couple of weeks ago and I told her once I resumed back to my normal podcasting that I would certainly address her question, so I’m happy to do that today. And she wrote to me about her target market. So she provided me with information about her target market, she had a diagram that outlined the type of person that she’s looking to market to. She she’s certainly done her homework in terms of knowing who her target market is and knowing who her target clients are. But her question I think is a really interesting one and it’s actually- it’s interesting because of what I’ve just recently started doing as well. So I’m hoping that we can all learn a little bit from Suzanne’s question. And her question is, ‘I am trying to find out what blogs my target market reads, as well as the pain points for my target market.’ So that was more of a statement, not necessarily a question, but the question in essence is what are the pain points for my target market, and how do I figure those out?
So I think this is a really interesting question, and it’s because I’ve recently been trying to uncover that myself. So as someone who is teaching you about LGBT marketing, I have a good handle on a lot of your marketing pain points, a lot of your LGBT etiquette pain points, communications-related pain points. But there’s so many other questions that you have that I probably have not even thought of that I may know the information of, maybe I won’t and I’ll have to do some research for you. But I don’t know what your pain points are unless I’m asking what your pain points are. So again I bring this up, and I wanted to answer Suzanne’s question because I promised that I would answer it, but I would say the number one- the number one thing to do to figure out what your target market’s pain points are- and this is going to sound really simple, but to ask. Go out and ask. Ask those that you’re already working with, and have them ask people that they know. So the number one step is to get out there and ask. So ask your current clients, you know what pain points are you solving for them? Or have you solved for them in the past? And have them ask people that they might know. Or ask your prospective clients. So as someone who’s doing send out cards, I know that you shared with me that your target clients are lesbians and bisexual women who are business owners or sales professionals. And in those roles, they want to keep the clients that they have, and we all are well aware that maintaining an existing client is much less expensive than trying to acquire a new client. So if we go along those lines, your business of send out cards could easily allow them to do that, because you have an automated system where they can send out just appreciation, gratitude, all those good things that it’s ways to retain your clients.
So you’re trying to figure out additional pain points around that, so I would say start talking to female business owners and sales professionals. And while your target market is indeed lesbians and bisexual women, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be just talking to women as a general population, or even men, to find out what those pain points are. And one of the things that I just recently did, like literally within the last week, is I sent out an email to my list of people and I would encourage you if you’re not already keeping a mailing list of people to start collecting that data now. Because it certainly comes in handy down the road. And I sent out an email and I just asked them one simple question. I didn’t want a load of- I didn’t want to overwhelm people with a lot of questions, because I really just want the one core question that you have when it comes to marketing your goods or services to the LGBT community. You know what’s your number one challenge, what’s your number one question? Is your question about- you know it could be something as simple as what does LGBT stand for? Is that your number one burning question? Or is your number one burning question where are the lesbians at? I’ve had people ask me that before, and that’s a question that I’m still trying to figure out the answer to. But find out what your target market’s pain points are by just simply asking. So if you have a mailing list, send out an email to everyone say, ‘Hey, can you do me a favor? I just want to know what’s one thing, one question that you have about your particular service that I can then help you with.’ Because if you position it in the sense that you are asking so you can help them and be a better provider to them, there’s no downside to why they would want to provide that information. So I can say that in that email that I sent out, I had a 40% response rate, so that is a huge response rate in my opinion, at least for my list, of getting information, of finding out what their specific questions are around marketing to the community. So for each one of those individuals who answered this question, that’s a pain point that’s specific to them. But one person having that pain point means that there’s probably many others that have that exact same pain point. So I would recommend heading over to a free resource like www.SurveyMonkey.com and putting together that one question, and having a URL that you can send out to people and just say, ‘Hey can you tell me what your pain point is?’ Or when you meet somebody in a networking environment just say, ‘Hey what is that number one pain point in your business?’ And you may not be asking what’s your retention pain point, or what’s your marketing pain point? All you want to know is what’s a pain point in general, and then you can try to figure out how to adapt your particular product or service to that particular pain point.
So somebody could say that a pain point of theirs is that they have a hard time keeping lesbian clients. Why that is? I don’t know, I don’t know what business we’re even using as a hypothetical. Think about it in your business. Why might a business- why might your business have a hard time retaining lesbian clients? So whatever it is that your particular service provides, let’s talk about how your product or service might be able to adapt to that pain point. So if we’re using send out cards for example, perhaps the- perhaps we’re using a dentist office as an example. And they’re finding that they’re having a hard time retaining lesbian clients, and they don’t really know why. But maybe somebody behind the scenes, maybe one of their people who does the marketing, maybe we’re talking about a small dentist office and not only is the person the receptionist, but they’re also doing some marketing on the side. And maybe they’re sending out thank you cards that are somehow offensive to lesbians. Maybe they are cards that don’t feature women at all, maybe they’re cards that feature heterosexual couple, it could be something as simple as that, that the business owner may or may not know that this particular marketing person is doing even though they have the very best intentions. They may have the most sincere and honest intentions of all, but not realizing like, ‘Oh hey, it didn’t occur to me that we might have a percentage of clients who are lesbians and this is something that they’re not necessarily feeling.’ And it’s not- you know they could be deeply offended, they could just be a little bit offended, they could be like, ‘Ugh it just shows how not well thought out this marketing plan has been.’ And maybe it’s not even a plan, it really could just be that one person who thinks that they’re helping the company but really is alienating a specific target market.
So if you know that as somebody who sells or is a distributor of send out cards, you can go in as like the knight in shining armor and say, ‘Hey, I noticed that this is the particular pain point. Your lesbian clients are upset because you keep sending out cards that feature heterosexual couples on them.
Have you considered-‘ and then almost like the person with the trench coat and the opening up with all the watches in it, and then all of those- instead of watches you have cards that have LGBT people represented. So you could know what that pain point is, and then your product has a way to solve that pain point. But it’s a matter of knowing that first. So it may not be a simple one question, ‘What’s your pain point?’ You have to do a lot of digging. So sometimes it requires asking more than one question, and keep asking why. And as I was mentioning in the beginning of the top of the podcast here, I was talking about the 30 Days, 30 Voices episodes. And they’re- every single one of the episodes I did I genuinely was in love with. There were so many fun things about the episodes, I had such great conversations with everybody, people were friendly, they were nice, they were sharing their story; but the reason I’m bringing this up again is that I did one particular interview with Danie Fineman who is currently a realtor, and her previous experience was a military interrogator. So if you want to know more about asking the right series of questions to get to the bottom of what you’re looking for, definitely check out her podcast because her interview actually gave some really good examples of how she’s able to get to the bottom of things. And it was a really funny interview anyway, so if you’re looking for a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of lightheartedness, but find out ways how a military interrogator gets to the bottom of her clients’ problems, definitely check that episode out. And I will make sure that that is also included in today’s blog post.
So as we’ve been discussing, I have been saying you know I have this survey that I’m asking this one question. If you’re listening to this, and you are interested in telling me what your number one question is when it comes to marketing your goods or services to the LGBT community, I would love for you to tell me. So if you head over to the website – and get your drinking glass out – www.JennTGrace.com/tellme, no spaces, no hyphens. And that will direct you over to a Survey Monkey link and it’s just the one question, it’s just a big old box. So feel free, I’m looking for your number one burning question, if you have multiple, I’m all ears. So know that by putting information in there and asking questions, I will likely end up writing blogs about this in the future or maybe it will be on a future podcast, who knows.
But Suzanne I hope that answers your question, or at the very least gets you started in the right direction. I think your question around pain points is a really valid question and I hope you get a chance to check out Danie’s interview and find out how she interrogates people and gets to the bottom of her clients’ pain points. But you know just start asking questions, get yourself out there. And once you start doing that, I would love to know how it’s going. And I like to profile business owners and people on this podcast who are doing some really cool things. And I have a few success stories that I shared in episode eleven I believe it was. So if you’re a first time listener to this particular podcast, feel free to go back and listen to some of the other ones that are out there. There’s a lot of good information that comes from other people and I’m all about sharing their stories and sharing their successes. So definitely check it out.
So I think that wraps up today’s episode. I think I’ve covered everything, I feel like I’ve been talking quite fast and I’m almost out of breath. But it’s also 100 degrees, and I’m not exaggerating when I say 100 degrees here in Connecticut this week. So it’s a little bit warm, and that I’m sure doesn’t help with being out of breath so quickly. So as I mentioned, this is one of the first- actually it’s the second episode that is totally not edited, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you tell me.
So I always thank you so much for listening to this. I want to throw in one last plug for the Dallas conference coming up, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I hope that you will be there, I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past, and it is just around the corner. It is the middle of July now and the conference is coming up at the end of July. Many of you have mentioned that you will be there, so I’m already planning on getting in touch with many of you. But if this is the first time you’re listening to this and you’re like, ‘Oh what’s this conference about?’ Head over to my website – and get your drinking glass – www.JennTGrace.com/dallas. That has information about the conference as well as a link to the conference page- the conference website that has all sorts of agenda information, speakers, et cetera, et cetera.
Again thank you so much for tuning in today, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your day to listen to this. Please get in touch with me however you would like. I have a Facebook page that’s pretty active, I’m available on Twitter, on LinkedIn, send me an email, throw a carrier pigeon out your window, whatever it takes. Just get in touch with me, let’s talk, and let me see how I can help your business continue to grow and flourish by marketing to the LGBT community.
Thanks so much and I will talk to you in a couple of weeks.
Thank you to everyone who participated in and listened to: 30 Days – 30 Voices: Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders