You’re worried. Very worried.

You’ve been doing everything you know to do. Your SEO efforts are paying off and enough people visit your site. You’re regularly writing killer posts and guest blogging and getting some pretty cool comments. You’re building hard at that tribe and your following is coming along nicely…


Nobody is buying your stuff!! You do have stuff for sale, don’t you?

Why is that you ask?

(Definition of stuff: products and / or services)

To give one possible answer that question, I need to build a case; so allow me to give you some illustrations. This post might be a bit lengthier than some others, but buckle up and hang in there please.

It just might answer your question about why nobody is responding to your marketing efforts, relationship building, heck most everything that makes up an on- or offline business!

Illustration no 1:

Imagine you lying on an operating table and the doctor walking in and snapping on some latex gloves. You’re booked for an appendectomy (eh…that’s removing your appendix surgically if you didn’t know that) and feeling very apprehensive and nervous.

You sure hope the doctor knows what he’s doing, given all the mal practise suits taking place in the world and the oceans of gripes from people complaining about the wide incompetence of the medical profession in some places and all.

After he’s snapped on the gloves, he reaches for a bottle of Vodka on the table behind him (what! In an operating theatre??!!!!…), then turns to you and forces your jaws open. Then, with the help of his assistant, pours it down your throat while you can do all not drown in the gushing torrent of burning liquid.

Gulping like mad, you wonder why he wants to sedate you in this archaic way and whether he’s ever even heard of anaesthesia. Your alarm and anxiety bells notch at max.

Still spluttering and coughing, you see him turn to a satchel next on the counter, standing close by the now virtually empty bottle while he plucks out an insanely thick text book and starts paging furiously. Your alarm and anxiety bells, previously at max, now boom off the chart, as you hear him say:

“Now lemme’ see, just  how do we do this procedure again?”

Absurd huh?

Yet, this is the tack many entrepreneurs take when confronted by knowledge that to them is boring or that they think is irrelevant to their business, but actually turns out to be critical to success.

Like that doctor who should have mastered an accurate understanding and practise of key knowledge before he tried to operate, some entrepreneurs have a hit and run attitude where they touch only on some issues like marketing and the study of keywords, then they close their eyes to everything else out there because it’s all too overwhelming and just hope for the best.

Know anybody like that?

Well, I do.

I was like that.  

Sure, I understood concepts like SEO and the use of long tail keywords etc, marketing and the absolute necessity of learning copywritingand many others and I could practise most of them. But please, never came to me with knowledge about the workings of the economy (economy savvy über führers don’t shoot me! I amended my ways since then!), because that bored me to distraction.

Yet, I was trying to perform an appendectomy from a textbook, only focussing on some parts in said textbook while ignoring the rest and hoping for the best.

And here I was, wondering why nobody was really interested in what I had to offer!

Now, lest you think I’m advocating an A-level study of economics, I’ll hasten to add: anything but!

 No, all I’m saying is that it is often part of the problem you have when your focus is not wide or inclusive enough. Well, I’m still building that case, so let’s get on with it.

 Illustration no 2:

In the beginning, Mr Caveman realised at some point that he needed help. Mr Grotto, his neighbour who slept quite close to him on the cosy bat shit, could make spears for hunting a lot better than what he could. So he decided to make a deal [always comes down to that, doesn’t it].

If he did the hunting (which he was better at anyway), and Mr Grotto made the spears for him to use, they could get to share the meat equally.

And so it was.

But that didn’t solve the problem they always had with available water. The closest stream was high in the mountains and it took most of the day just to get to it. Which was a problem, because that left very little day light for hunting.

Until Mrs Pless of the neighbouring cave one day showed up and asked whether they were interested in the water she wanted to trade with them for meat. She couldn’t hunt very well and her kids were always hungry. For that matter, so was she…

She told them she managed to build a canal from the spring up in the mountain down to the bottom close to them. All they had to do, was give her some meat and she would give them some water.

And so it was.

The biggest problem Mr Caveman now faced, was how on earth was he going to kill enough meat daily for three people plus some kids?

Obviously he needed more people. What to do? What to do?

  Mmmm…Aha! Mr Neanderthalus is also good at hunting! Maybe he’ll also be interested in the trade-off, so he’ll just ask him!

And so trading began. And networking. Based on the timeless principles of supply and demand.

Economics 101: The simple version for dummies, idiots and other nerds

 Fast forward many 1000’s of years, and you still see that simple action taking place all over the globe, just magnified gazillions of times.

It’s still as simple as solving people’s problems (hallo! that’s what business is: solving problems!) and trading those solutions (your products/ and or services) where demand and supply determine the values of these solutions. It’s still about I give you something you want and in return you give me something I want at a price we’re both satisfied with and then we’re both happy…

Of course, the whole economic process globally is vastly more complicated than that, but at heart, that’s precisely what it comes down to. People helping each other by offering their talents and skills, (you variously know this as solutions or as services and products) in exchange for payment.

That’s the economy in a nutshell.


 Ok, ok!! Getting to the point right now!!

 Remember that wide all inclusive focus I referred to earlier? Well, I want you to adopt one now if you haven’t already.

Say for example many people are looking for products that will solve their SEO problems, but you’re offering your services as an orange A4 paper origami artist. If that describes you, you might as well close up shop.

It’s fatal! Because you’ll be shouting at the deaf.

See, if your customers ask for water, they’re not going to be interested in meat.

Or maybe you’re offering what some people want, but not enough people. Enough people must want what you offer for your efforts to be viable.

Jon Morrow of Copyblogger says that “you have to know what keeps your customer awake at night.”  Meaning, you have to know your customer intimately. And then ply your stuff around that.

If you’re out of feeling with what your customers want, nothing will help your plight and make the pain go away. Not even awesome sales copy. Like master marketer Doberman Dan Gallapoo told Ben Settle “Brilliant copywriting won’t sell a turd”.  Meaning if nobody wants what you’ve got, your business is toast.

First figure out what the customer wants. And whether enough people want it. Then market that and you’ll have the bees fighting each other for the honey. Don’t try and market what you think theyll be interested in. Most businesses that struggle, lose the plot right there.

It’s as simple as that.

Aren’t you perhaps offering a product / service nobody is interested in?

Find out what they want, and give them that. Nothing else. Nothing less.

Which then begs the question: how do you find out what they want?

We’ll explore that answer together next time.

See you then!


PS. You have to admit that it all was necessary to make the point. The illustrations, talk about demand and supply…yep…all of it. Thanks for sticking it out!



Elmarie is a wordpreneur for the Entrepreneurial Business School (Pty) Ltd and a freelance creative writer, web writer and copywriter who is very interested in developing people to their maximum potential. Email her at ebouwer@ebschool.com






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