How Do You Build a Platform With a Local Focus? Questions & Answers

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q-a-local-platform-smHow do you build a platform with a local focus? Can you really dial in your platform to serve a local niche? How does that affect your reach – especially if you’re not interested building a bigger, more far-reaching platform? 

In this edition of Questions & Answers I get in to a recent question I got from Ed and how he’s working on figuring out a strategy to build a local strategy for his platform, not wanting to worry about extending his reach too far.

Here is what Ed asked:

I found your blog through your comments on Michael Hyatt’s blog. I appreciate the vast – and free! – amount of information y’all put out there. But there’s a lot of it that I can’t figure out: does it apply to me? if so, what do I do with it?

You guys talk about these far-reaching globe-spanning platforms. I’m a little guy. I have a weekend business that’s entirely service-oriented (I’m a magician). I’m in Yuma, AZ, a small rural community that’s 1 hour away from the next population center, and completely overpowered by Phoenix, even though it’s 3 hours away.

I don’t want and can’t handle a huge reach, or even a huge success. But I can’t find a lot of info on building a strong, localized, and compact voice and brand. Can you perhaps provide a drop-kick in the right direction?

Hi Ed – thank you for your kind words – there indeed is a lot of stuff here, that’s the goal! I create the stuff I create in order to meet people where they’re at, provide some hope, and empower people to build a platform for themselves. My goal is to see people self-sufficient and empowered. I want people to be able to create sustainable income from their online efforts.

I’ve seen great examples of magician’s websites that deliver a lot of value. One site Magic Tricks for Kids by Ken Kelly who was covered on Pat Flynn’s podcast. His episode was one of the most inspiring episodes of a podcast I’ve ever listened to, and I cannot possibly recommend listening to that episode highly enough. 

I always approach site building from the perspective of creating an outstanding resource, regardless of what the subject may be, so if I were to make a recommendation, I’d start there first.

Building a strong brand is really about becoming a recognized authority, and that can apply locally as well as in a broader sense. 

Ask yourself – what are the questions that the people in your target market asking? How can you create answers to those questions? I know personally, that this is how I approach a lot of the content I create. And I’ve been able to help people locally in addition to locations throughout the world. (As a side note, my content is very popular overseas. I see a lot of traffic from international locations.)

If I were in your shoes, I’d see if there was a way that you could create a workshop or some sort of event that could help you create contacts locally. Maybe it’s a workshop for party planners on what a magician can bring to their event, or something on how a magician inspires imagination and creativity at at PTO meeting. I don’t know the specifics because I’m not a magician, but I’m betting you could figure out creative ways to get in front of influential people in the market you’re trying to serve.

I’d also be looking to build a way to encourage and reward referrals for business. Jeffrey Gitomer, a sales trainer extraordinaire, talks a lot about the power of relationships, and always finding ways to deliver value and help people get connected. He was talking about platform-building 10 years ago before anyone was calling it a platform, but in that work he was talking about how sales people needed to create resources that made themselves invaluable to their clients. The same concept applies here. You want to be viewed as the go-to resource.

I’d always be thinking about how you can connect with parents and deliver value to them. Or maybe your audience is different, maybe you’re trying to connect with businesses to do corporate gigs or those kinds of things. Find ways to make contacts and always over-deliver. Always make your delivery as incredible as you can think of, because you want to create what’s called “top of mind awareness” where you’re the first person, or resource that comes to mind when someone has a need that you can fit.

The only difference is in how you apply your marketing efforts and focus on ways to build connections locally.

I’d also recommend checking out Jeff Walker’s Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula. I wrote a review linked here that will give you a good overview of the book. He’s got tons of great case studies in that book, and one in particular, on the book’s companion site, talks about a juggler who was able to build a great resource for helping people getting booked for corporate gigs that might be of interest to you.

image by Stefan

I hope that helps! If there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask, sorry it took me so long to answer.