The word “relevance” or “relevant” has come up in my conversations or readings a few times in the last week. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Its all related the same issue of cutting through the clutter – being heard or seen – and having a say in the (your) future.
The first time, a former co-worker reminded me about a phrase we used to talk about in our start up division – that we were in a race to relevance. As a team, we need to hit customer acquisition and revenue goals that were somewhat audacious, because if we didn’t, we were just a rounding error on the corporate balance sheet. Being relevant mattered because that was how we got the attention and resources we needed to continue our growth.
Next, at a presentation I was doing this week, someone in the audience asked me if I thought Facebook was really a relevant place for their business (a B2B consulting firm). And it was a good question because they were asking in the context of using Facebook to find new customers as their primary purpose.
And then today I read a post by Brian Solis talking about social media provide the tools to build new models for engaging customers and how brands are now “competing for relevance”.
There is no doubt that we are all busier than ever. Personally and professionally, many of are asked every day to do more with less. Nothing seems to be easy or go right the first time. And it is through this crush that marketers are trying to get attention, influences your brand or companies future and be, yes, relevant.
So if you are a small business without a lot of money or time (which describes most small businesses I know), what do you do? The answer is actually pretty simple – narrow your focus. Do one or two things and do them very, very well.
You cannot approach a broad or diverse market and be relevant to all of it. So find the customers that value your expertise and experience the most, and focus on them. Focus on the problems you solve for them and leverage that for all your communications. If you want to be relevant on social media, talk about the value you bring to your narrow market. If you want to be relevant as a speaker to those customers, talk about those narrow issues you are expert in. You get the idea.
Being relevant today is about helping your customers save time, be more productive and helping them be more profitable or spend less. If you can use your expertise to do that for other, you will be extremely relevant.
The amazing thing is that once you have become a recognized expert in one small area, you’ll get credibility that will allow you to expand to others. This will happen in the search engines, with your customers and with your peers.
What have you done to make your business or yourself more relevant?