Secret Life Ep. 86 with Daria Malin from Boost Strategic Coaching

Barb 0:00Good afternoon. I am super excited today to introduce Daria Mallon. She is the founder and principal with boost coaching. She’s not about the fluff. So there’s so much, you know, fun and nice to do stuff in marketing. But what I really enjoyed with her is like she’s down to business. What do I need to do to sell more stuff?
Barb 0:24Daria, welcome. And you know what, even as I say that, am I pronouncing that correctly?
Daria Malin 0:29You are Yeah.
Barb 0:30Okay. Perfect. So welcome. And please just give us a bit of a brief introduction.
Daria Malin 0:36I’m Daria Malin, my company is Boost Strategic Coaching. And I work with entrepreneurs to help them gain clarity and confidence in your business development and marketing strategy.
Daria Malin 0:47Often as entrepreneurs, we feel like we’re the best kept secret. And it’s often just because we don’t know how to effectively connect and make an impact with the people who really should be buying from us.
Daria Malin 1:00And so I work with entrepreneurs as well as professional service providers who want a copilot and some actionable steps and tools to take your business sort of from crickets to conversions is sometimes what I say if you don’t know how to connect with your with your best prospects, meaning the ones who really should be buying from you the niche markets that are the best fit for what problem you solve, then that’s who that’s who comes my way.
Daria Malin 1:27And I spent 16-17 years in advertising and sales. So I bring to the table, a bunch of restarts where I built my business from zero to full capacity, and an understanding of how advertising works and how to sell.
Barb 1:44So you and I talked a little bit, just an email before we were making arrangements for our session today. And you know that that how, how does a local business? How do you make a dent in the noise that’s out there? What’s your take on something like that?
Daria Malin 2:02I want to start by, I guess asking people if they can answer the question, what is a brand? Because when we’re talking about making a dent in business, really what we mean is be branded so people buy from us, right?
Barb 2:15Yes, I know, when I think about a brand, it’s the feeling that the customer receives when they interact with my business. And ideally, they would receive that same feeling, whether they interact with me on social media, in person, through a video, whatever it might be.
Daria Malin 2:39I always suggest that your brand is simply what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room. Or the story people are telling about you when you’re not in the room.
Daria Malin 2:50Ultimately, your brand is what you’re known for. Yeah. And I’ll often use the example of Coca Cola, if you just saw the Coca Cola logo by itself, and they’ve never done any marketing. It would mean nothing, just a red and white words and background.
Daria Malin 3:06But coke decided that their story is coke brings joy, right? That’s their brand. And so for generations now they have told that story over and over again through Santa Claus, polar bears, singing on a hill, you know, being at the Olympics, all the things that they’ve done, to reinforce coke brings joy, and even the red and white Santa Claus that we know and love became popular because of marketing by Coca Cola before that there were tall, skinny sandwiches in green, and all sorts of different sizes.
Daria Malin 3:43But they brought all of this to their brand to reinforce that one story coke brings joy. So to come back to the question, how do you build your business? Or Yeah, how do you? How do you build your your brand? You have to figure out what you want that story to be first, what do you want to be known for?
Daria Malin 4:03Yep. And I usually suggest people figure out first, who do you want to serve? And what main problem do you solve for that group of people or for those groups? And so that’s where you start is Who do you want to serve?
Daria Malin 4:18If you haven’t figured out first who your target audiences are, then you’re trying to be everything to everybody, you won’t end up being anything to anybody because your messaging will miss the mark. And also, if I told you tomorrow, start targeting everybody with your marketing, like how would you do that? Right, and nobody has the budget to do that.
Barb 4:37Okay, so let me challenge, I agree with you. But I want to challenge that thinking a little bit because one of the one of the toughest things I find in local is there’s lots of bars, there’s lots of coffee shops, there’s lots of dog trainers. So how do I who lts say I train dogs, okay, I trained dogs. I now need to differentiate myself. How do I find that story?
Barb 5:02Who do I want to serve? I want to primarily serve families who get a new puppy. And families who are experiencing separation anxiety, how how do we kind of go that next level? And say, Yep, you are my potential client, but you’re not. And how do I start to get the message that message through?
Daria Malin 5:26Well, that’s so I think, and you already mentioned two different target audiences there, right? One that is just families with a new puppy. They don’t want the puppy to ruin their furniture and their lives and keep them up at night.
Daria Malin 5:40Kay, but a separate group, you’re saying that people bring in dogs, because of separation anxiety in their life, and a dog helps to feel like to?
Barb 5:49Oh, no. What do you mean by that? It’s the dog that has separation anxiety, okay. So when the owner leaves the house, they get quite upset and will destroy property in the home.
Daria Malin 5:59Yeah, so that’s a different problem. Okay, then your new puppy kind of thing. But generally, I will suggest to people don’t just pick one target audience. So you’ve already listed two. And so for any business, if I said to you just pick one niche market and and target it forever, everyone would be like, You are crazy, because I’m letting I’m saying no to 90% of the people out there.
Daria Malin 6:24So I never suggest one, I always suggest people choose three niche markets to focus on. Yep.
Barb 6:32And so we call them ideal customer avatars, that ICA.
Daria Malin 6:36There’s a little difference, I would suggest. So the avatar is a really good tool that you need to do to picture that person and write your marketing message, too. But when I talk about a niche market, I talk more about a group of people. Yep, that there, it’s a big enough group that there’s enough business for you there at least for a third of your business, but small enough that they talk amongst themselves.
Daria Malin 7:00They gather in similar places, they have some commonalities, so business so so word of mouth can work for you among them, but it’s big enough that new people will always be coming into the niche. So okay, so I would say that within each of your three niche markets, you should then write the avatar, who’s the ideal in that group?
Daria Malin 7:19Okay. So they’re kind of a little bit different. But yeah, they’re there. They’re part of your plan. Yeah.
Barb 7:25Do you define a niche market the same as you would a target market, then?
Daria Malin 7:29Yes, yeah. Okay. Exactly. Same thing, because I think people know, yeah, then we’ll call it target market. So I suggest think of three target markets and a really great exercise to do that. Now knowing the three elements I mentioned about target markets, big enough that there’s enough people for you small enough that they talk amongst themselves or could be, you know, reached in groups they gather, but big enough that they’ll always replenish themselves, right, all of the target markets you can think of for your business, some that you’re already working with some that come in all the time, others that you know, should be buying from you, but you just haven’t done anything with them yet.
Daria Malin 8:04Then look at the list and pick the top three that stand out the most, okay, that they’d be most excited, you’d be most excited to work with. Or you already have a lot of business there, but you feel like there’s still more that can be done. pick those top three, and then I suggest you don’t don’t feel like you have to marry them. We’re just dating them.
Daria Malin 8:26Okay, so sometimes we choose a date and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, right? Yep. So I suggest set a 90 day timer and start to net nudge those three target audiences? Hey, to see can I find them in groups? Do I understand what they need? Are they picking up what I’m throwing down? Do I know people there that can be championing me within the group? Okay. Yeah.
Barb 8:50So in that 90 days, let’s pick a lady’s clothing store in that 90 days, what am I going to do to make sure that I’ve thrown down everything that I can, so I can, can genuinely measure at the end?
Daria Malin 9:05So you’re going to start by just figuring out what those women are coming. So say your ladies clothing store, you have your young professionals that are trying to look professional, without breaking their small budget, you’ve got the mature women who want to still look good, even though they don’t look the same as they did 20 years ago.
Daria Malin 9:25And you have the you know, the the moms in your neighborhood who happened to shop, those are just random three target audiences you could potentially have for that clothing store. Okay.
Daria Malin 9:35So in that 90 days, what do you do to really test that target audience so, so, think to yourself, make a big list of what it is that you think that they’re looking for what is most important to them, okay, you know, fit versus style, you know, classic pieces versus trend, whatever it is right?
Daria Malin 9:56Then fill in the blanks by talking to some people in that knee. In the target audience, and then create messaging specifically for that target audience.
Barb 10:06That basically uses their exact words and language to say, you know, you told us classic, you told us fit, right? And so that’s when you start to focus on. In that retail environment or, like in the bar, coffee shop, that kind of environment where traffic, you know, is quite important. Is there also value in working in those type of questions? very naturally. So you know, somebody comes into the store. Hi, welcome. You know, what brings you here today? Or, you know, like, oh, how did you hear about us? Is there value in asking those types of questions, so that you hear over and over again? Oh, your Facebook, or I saw your live video, whatever it might be. What do you think about that?
Daria Malin 10:53Yeah, well, I think definitely use your existing customer base to keep learning about your customers, right? I always I don’t love I don’t put a lot of trust in the How did you hear about us? Because Okay, I would rather you learn from your clients, what’s important to them? What brought them in? What did they love about the store? You could even say, What do you wish could be a little different? Or what would make your experience even better, like those kinds of questions.
Daria Malin 11:22But to test your advertising, I always recommend just only add or change one thing at a time, right? Then see how the change looks in your traffic in your types of people coming in, you know.
Barb 11:36Exactly, very similar to the typical AB test, where you do one thing here and one thing here, yeah, but you can only test one variable at a time at a time.
Barb 11:47Okay, so how does that local business that’s trying to do all of their marketing on this wonderful shoestring? How do we start to make some of that stuff happen? Yep.
Daria Malin 11:57So you’ve chosen your target audiences, you have created messaging for them. Now you’re going to figure out I mentioned watering holes, that’s step three, like so I’ve I walked through this, these four steps with all of my clients, we pick our three target audiences, we develop compelling messaging for each. Then third step is we figure out where those watering holes are meaning those physical or virtual spaces where groups or clients hang out. Okay.
Daria Malin 12:24And then the fourth, which we can talk about in a bit is we build champions to send us referrals from the three target niches but so step three, how do you start to get the word out, find where your people are, either in person where you can spend time or virtually social media, Facebook groups, all those things.
Daria Malin 12:44And just commit to doing something consistent even one thing consistently, okay, there is a group of your of your target audiences there. So you may find a watering hole, one for each of your niches. And do that year round. So if you’re, if it’s a networking thing, or like it’s more of that b2b, and you’re in direct sales, you want to build visibility and credibility somewhere, look for place like networking groups or events where you can be in front of them at least once a month, and then put it in your calendar and never miss.
Daria Malin 13:19Okay, do same thing all year round instead of helicoptering into a whole bunch of different ones.
Barb 13:23Yes, exactly. Seen once. Right? Yeah. So the other obstacle that I think I see local business bump into quite often is time. Yeah. How do you find that time?
Daria Malin 13:37So first, we have to think, why is this important? And in order to like, we’re busy, because people are coming in, right? So if we don’t do anything to keep people engaged in coming in, we’re not gonna help, we’re not gonna have this problem anymore. We’re not going to be busy Exactly. Suddenly, we’ll have time on our hands, we’ll have time and we don’t want time.
Daria Malin 14:02We need to first remember why it’s so important to be engaging with our markets. So figure out what’s the best use of your time as the principal or the head of your business, but don’t be afraid to delegate some of the busy work even finding images and editing them and scheduling that stuff. Like it takes a lot of time.
Daria Malin 14:23It does the best use of your time as the owner of the business. It’s three one of three things is it going to gain you new clients, serve your existing clients or grow you professionally?
Barb 14:39Before I go too much further, Does anybody else have questions specific to to brand and building because all of us have an existing business? You know, we have the logo, we have the colors. Daria any thoughts on how you how you exemplify and amplify that so you know Here’s my color palette, here’s my logo. But it really means nothing until you put a personality or some characteristics behind that, right?
Daria Malin 15:10Yeah, well, I mean, just think back to the Coca Cola. It’s, it’s a commodity product. It’s literally a fizzy drink. And they have made it into a feeling. They’ve made it into a whole culture. In fact, so much pop culture stuff comes from them. Each local business and brand can be their own mini version of Coca Cola, right? Yes.
Daria Malin 15:31And so just the fourth step in what I always, like I mentioned, I walk with my clients through over and over again, fourth step is building champions. So besides deciding what you want to be known for deciding who you want to serve, and developing messaging for each of those three target audiences, also think who are big fans of yours who have influence over those target audiences, who can help spread the word on your behalf. So I call those champions.
Daria Malin 15:58And so that’s a little bit more than just saying, Hey, can you help me tell more people about me? Like that’s, you know, do me a favor, right? Um, when you’re building champions, in order to have good champions, we first look to be good champion. Yes.
Daria Malin 16:14So if you can write down two people that represent each of your three target audiences who are fans of yours, you if one of them’s your mom, no judgement? Like that’s totally legit. Oh, absolutely. Right.
Daria Malin 16:27But if you can think of a couple of champion potential champions in each target audience, have a conversation with them, figure out how you can champion them, and then ask them to champion you in return. Yes. And so building champions can be part of that brand building, it can help spread the word on your behalf, amplify it. So again, b2b in direct sales, you’re going to be relying mostly on your direct relationships, your network, your champions, referrals, right?
Daria Malin 16:56If you’re in retail, restaurants, etc. And you, you’re too busy to go networking, we’re not, you know, yeah, that’s when advertising comes in more. So you need to reach a high volume of people and ask them each to do something small, like come in, you know, you need high volume, you need high traffic, exactly, then you’re gonna think, then you’re gonna think more about media advertising, social media, advertising with consistency and frequency.
Barb 17:20Okay, what about confidentiality, because for some of our members, they’re in a business that they need to be able to respect who people are, and even having others know that they’re accessing that particular business.
Daria Malin 17:38So that I’ll give you an example of one that comes up. So for that you could be a divorce lawyer. Mm hmm.
Daria Malin 17:46Yeah. You’re not going to want to just go hang out with a bunch of people and be like, hey, you think your marriage is gonna fail soon? Like, it doesn’t work that way. That’s not an easy group to target. You would rely a lot more on your champions. So you would think Who else would somebody in, in marital crisis go to?
Daria Malin 18:09And you’re going to talk to those people and build champion relationships and say, when they are ready, I serve this group of people. So you could talk to counselors, you could talk to clergy, even you could talk to financial planners. Think who did these people go to?
Daria Malin 18:28Who do people go to when they think that they need help with their marriage, their or their marriages struggling or whatever? Maybe before they’d ever call a lawyer, who else could you build a champion relationship with?
Daria Malin 18:41Another example is, I have worked with somebody who does specialized medical therapies for young children with a specific condition. There is no good way to just reach out to families who have children with this condition, right? So she built relationships with school counselors and special ed teachers. And she built relationships with family doctors, and she built relationships with all those different people that would also see these children and she got to say, I do specialized therapy with these children.
Daria Malin 19:16Yeah, that complements what they complements but enhances what they can get from public health. And and that’s where all appropriate 100% of our business came from came from.
Barb 19:25So I just want to touch on that because maybe it was my initial understanding. When I first heard the description around champion. I was thinking of champion as being you know, my, my best customer then champion me, champ, champ. Oh, there we go. Thank you. that’s a that’s a word. Yeah, but no, you’re actually meeting like, like businesses, pure businesses that will champion each other.
Daria Malin 19:54Exactly. It can be people who have never bought from you, but they’re a fan of what you do. They know What you do, so if you can empower them by saying this is the need the target audience that I am looking to serve, and this is my messaging to them, then they know Oh, I know sp and so and I know five people that need exactly what you’re doing for this, you know, this is the problem that they have this exact problem. I will send them your way.
Daria Malin 20:19So yes, champions do not have to be actual clients. And like you can sometimes because I don’t, I do not disclose any of my private clients. I never ever say who they are. But I would say, without using your name, do I have permission to use this sentence? in marketing, right? And then they say, sure, and then I would just, you know, call it private client, or whatever is that if they saw their wording, I’ve asked their permission, but I’m still not saying what industry they’re in or what their name is. Exactly.
Daria Malin 20:49But you can also say, thank you for this wonderful feedback. May I use this and in marketing? And are you comfortable with me using your first name only or first and last name? Like you can ask? Yes. But absolutely, you can keep people confidential. 100%. And you can be working with champions who are not actually direct clients of yours.
Barb 21:08Okay, that makes more sense to me. And I certainly see, you know, Daria M. and there’s a review tonight. So who knows I if you if you google me like there’s like dozens of BB McGrath through the US. Anyone? Totally.
Barb 21:24Daria, was there anything else that we were going to talk about that I haven’t asked you.
Daria Malin 21:28You mentioned that you want us to cover what activities are likely to have the most impact on building a brand.
Daria Malin 21:34And I guess just to just to clarify whatever activities, you’re choosing the tactics or the tactics or the tactics, be consistent. Look for ones with where you can build frequency.
Daria Malin 21:47People need to see if you need to build visibility. And credibility follows, then profitability follows.
Daria Malin 21:53So you know, it’s if you’re buying media advertising, you know, is it a billboard on a high traffic spot so that people see you twice a day, at least? Or is a radio ad? Or is it a TV ad, you know, versus a newspaper ad in a quarterly periodical, not to say that doesn’t do anything, it just has a totally different purpose, right.
Daria Malin 22:12So if you’re looking to build a brand, you’re looking for frequency consistency, if you commit to something on social media, whatever you commit to make sure you’re present every week, and you can look online at what the frequency should be for Instagram, what the frequency should be for LinkedIn, like they kind of what you can get that easily. Yes. And then if you’re networking, it’s better to pick one networking group and be there consistently, like I said, then go to different ones each month or go once and skip for six months, right? You know, because then you don’t build that visibility and credibility.
Barb 22:45One of the things we do so often see in local business, if you have a person who’s doing marketing, in many cases, you know, that person might love Instagram, get the client you’re looking for is the 45 year old mom who’s on Facebook. Yeah. And so when you pick that one thing that you’re going to do consistently, just make sure that that’s where your customers are not just where you want to be. And because the hazards.
Daria Malin 23:11Yeah, a fisherman doesn’t eat his own bait. You’re not meant to be the audience. But it’s true just because you like that platform. If that’s not the watering hole where your clients are, where your target audiences are that’s not where you should be spending time. Yeah, exactly. Awesome.
Barb 23:35And that’s it. We’re out of time. Daria, thank you so much for being with us here today. This was a fantastic conversation. And I really appreciate the insight that you were able to share the ideas, and especially the colloquial language that you use, that’s everyday language for the rest of us.
Barb 23:57I get what a watering hole is. That is a fantastic analogy to help me, as a business owner, make that correlation between where do I find my people. So thank you very much for sharing all of that.
Barb 24:14If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at, or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram pages at
Barb 24:28And just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our show. So every week on our Facebook page, you’ll see that we post about an upcoming guest. So if you’d like some like to ask some questions to that guest. All you need to do is post your questions right on to the Facebook page.
Barb 24:50I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.

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