Friday, January 18, 2013

W03.05 Case Studies: Jennifer Mackerras in Bristol, United Kingdom. Part One

Jennifer is doing a great job - she doesn’t need my feedback. All the pieces are there, and she’s got them working together nicely, so why is she asking me for advice? I can only guess it is because she hasn’t got anything going for her that will create an extraordinary income, and propel her on to the National stage. For that, she needs clearer focus which is evidently missing in ways I explain below. So I will pay Jennifer the compliment of assuming she wants to jump into another league entirely… (And do read my CAVEAT below - this is advice, NOT. It is designed to stimulate, that’s all)

Step 1 – Success Drivers
This lady is wired to win, that’s my impression. She had a deep urge to train as an Alexander Technique teacher: “I felt compelled to help others.” She also possesses a key quality that most successful people share - she keeps seeking out new information and ideas, and she is willing to put them to the test in her life. She writes: “I love watching people use the knowledge and principles to expand their lives and their abilities, and often to achieve things that they didn't think were possible.” So do I. But I want to get paid for it, and I guess Jennifer does too, but she doesn’t say so…

Step 2 – Your Niche
…and the missing piece of that is here. She defines her niche as: “I work with people, usually female and aged 25 - 45, usually performers or people who are connected with creative industries, who have hit a physical or mental block that stops them from carrying on with the activity they love.” and her top page and website confirms that approach - it is integrated well.

But her message is lukewarm: “Life was pretty hard for a while” is how she characterises it in her About Jennifer section, after only 39 words describing the problem (67 words on the top page). Does that convince a person coming to her website that she has the answer? Within these two short a descriptions I read (it’s all I read at first, because it’s more than most newcomers will ever read) can she really connect and develop the deep empathy that is essential for her to be trusted with my life?

However, she does have a “Is this you?” page which digs deeper - this should be the top page, not a click away. And it needs more about her story and how she overcame it. She doesn’t really tell me that. I want to know it, because it is the story of me too.

So what is Jennifer’s call to action to her niche? Her top page headline reads: “I might be able to help.” Maybe she’s worried about British law (?) but there are more powerful ways to express her conviction within those laws! Again, she does this in a much stronger way on her “Is This You?” page: another reason to make it the top page.

I don’t have the statistics of her website, but Jennifer is ready for more of a hard core, objectively based methodology to start measuring the effectiveness of her message, once it is re-engineered. How many people come, which pages do they visit, how long do they stay, how many sign up for the email - things like that. You use those numbers to hone your message.

Step 3 – Your Location
Jennifer teaches at several locations, cleverly leveraging each one for distinct advantages. It opens a question for you: where could you situate your Self to gain access to students you would not otherwise meet? At BodyChance we seek out Culture Centres, the Japanese equivalent to Adult Education. The pay is lousy, the conditions variable, but these are people more comfortable meeting us through an institution. Jennifer is working at the Bristol Folk Centre and collecting lots of these folks for her private practise - but where else is a possibility?

Think of those institutions from this point of view: what problem do the have? They need to put on classes, find things their students like, and pay next to nothing to the teachers, because the economics of it are tight. However, if you leverage this situation to build your practise, then it’s win-win for both of you. I don’t know Bristol, but I think there must be other opportunities like these just waiting to be found…

Where else could Jennifer, or you, offer your services at a discounted rate to recruit people into your back-end business?

Step 4 – Service Product
She writes: “Oh gosh. The subject of a year's worth of angst and soul searching.” I think the reason for the angst is explained back in Step 2: focus more powerfully on your niche, and you will certainly come up with a simple product that gets a person out of crisis, and is priced in relation to the value it offers. And it will pass through many iterations - but start.

I would begin by developing workbook materials, and make these part of a free offer for people to get more involved. There’s a lot of creativity in Jennifer’s thinking: online projects, Skype interviews, books study. Put all this thinking together and start offering a concrete product!

TOMORROW: Concluding Jennifer Mackerrass’ case study with Steps 5 ~ 12.
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CAVEAT: Remember what Alexander said: “They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind.” Is this case-study about the “right way” for Jennifer to go ahead? It is nothing of the kind. It’s intended to demonstrate a way of thinking, not a set of proscriptions. Even when I am “proscribing!” My intention with these case studies is to stimulate, to support you realizing ideas in a different light.

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