Lessons Learned From The Banana Guy

                                        Photo by  Juan Apolinar  on  Unsplash

                                        Photo by Juan Apolinar on Unsplash

When You Are Aware, You Learn From Anyone And Anything

A few days ago, I was coming back home from work by rickshaw, or maybe it was an Uber Pool, I can’t remember. I was looking out the window, observing “life” happening around me.

If you haven’t done that in a while, I strongly suggest you slow down for a bit and observe. You’ll be surprised the lessons you can learn just by being aware.

That day, I was doing a few VikingBoutique.com-related tasks, trying to figure out why our social media marketing ads didn’t convert a single person into a paying customer. We had recently gone through a nice redesign, had added unique products, and generally looked a lot more professional than before.

We had followed most of the tips we heard from experts.

And yet, still no conversion.

And it’s not that our ads sucked. They had really great stats when compared to industry average, with 10% click-through rate, and $0.05 cost per click.

The way we got these stats is because Viking Boutique is not like any other store. It’s a story-driven store, focusing on funny stories from the Viking founder, Harald Goldskin (I write the stories; let me know what you think!).

The stories are entertaining. They get people’s attention.

When I turned the corner of my street, I looked at a man, stationed on the side of the street, selling one product. Only one: bananas.

And I thought to myself at that moment: “That guy has it easy”. He’s the only one selling bananas in a 300m radius (in India, there’s a lot of potential buyers in a 300m radius!), and he’s selling something people already want to buy.

He doesn’t need ads.

He doesn’t need to go door to door.

That guy’s only concerns are getting “quality” bananas, and getting his same spot every day. Which I’m pretty sure is not that hard. Price is hardly an issue for him.

Now that seems like a good business model to me.

The lesson I learned from that observation is this:

I need to get my products in front of people who already want my products!

People who reacted to my ads didn’t care for the products. They just wanted good, free entertainment.

And they got it.

They probably didn’t bookmark the page. They probably won’t come back to the store, unless I retarget them with ads. At which point they might re-engage, but they’re likely not going to buy still.

I was reading the other day that on average, people need to be exposed to your brand 7 times before they trust you enough to buy from you.

Before seeing the banana guy, I was ready to retarget, and retarget, and retarget.

But now I realize it might be a waste of my time and money.

Being an entertaining store doesn’t make people buy from me. Being entertaining is an extra. Entertainment is NOT a necessity.

A store, to make profit, needs to sell things their customers really want or need.

So, who needs Viking products?

Here are a few quick ideas that came to mind after seeing the banana guy:

  • Movie Producers;
  • People attending Viking-related events;
  • Cosplayers; and
  • People who intentionally look or want to look like a Viking.

Any of these people need my products in order to carry out their goals. Producers need costumes and accessories. People attending events want to look the part, same with cosplayers.

And it’s not that I didn’t know about these people, it’s just that I didn’t make it my focus, hoping the mass would bite at my ads. Which they did, but for the “wrong” reasons.

People who liked the Vikings TV series will bite at my ad. They were entertained by the show. They seek more of the same type of entertainment. They’re interested in the lore. Would they buy the products? Some, but far from the majority.

But enough about Viking Boutique, or selling products for that matter.

I want to stress the fact that being aware of the little things around you can give you important life lessons. I didn’t know looking out the window that something would click in my head. And especially not looking at something as mundane as a banana seller.

I realized lately that I’ve been asking myself this question a lot while observing what’s happening around me: “Why does it work?”. And I’m not talking surface-level answers here.

Fundamentally, why is something having success over something else? Rarely has my conclusion been “luck”. And if you think successful = lucky, I have news for you: you won’t be successful with that state of mind.

Dig deep in your reasoning. Ask “why”, at least three times. Ask the “successful” person questions. Identify the patterns, take notes, reflect, plan, “re-engineer”, execute, repeat.

You can do this!

Thanks for the lesson banana guy!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/lessons-learned-from-the-banana-guy-2f61bfe3c013