In episode 224, Megan talks to us about finding a pain point and delivering a service to our audiences to help alleviate it.
We cover information such as tuning into what is said within groups, focusing on your niche, surveying your audience regularly and always keep it as simple as possible.
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- Find a way to be of service to your audience.
- As you serve others with your content, don’t have expectations from them for yourself.
- No matter what your niche is, YOU CAN SUCCEED because there is always something you can give to people that they need.
- Survey your audience regularly.
- Spend time in groups and forums.
- Run social media polls.
- Select 10-20 of your most loyal followers and schedule 10-minute phone calls with them you can gather information in a verbal conversation that you could never gather in writing.
- Make a list of 5 SUPER simple things that will make life for your audience easier. Then try to simplify even further.
- Get quiet. Your best ideas come when you’re quieting the noise around you.
Book – Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Keep Serving Your Audience
Listen to Anecia Hero as she shares in episode 101 how to serve your audience by going beyond the basics.
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Let’s move onto our topic, which is FINDING YOUR ICE WATER. What the heck?! What are you talking about, Megan?
This past month my family and I traveled west in our RV toward Montana, our favorite place in the world. We drive through South Dakota to get to Montana, so we always make a stop at the famous drug store in the middle of nowhere, Wall Drug. We enjoy strolling along the main street, grabbing some food and coffee at the cafe and our boys save their own money every year to buy a stuffed animal at one of the many shops.
This year I found myself sitting at the table in the cafe by myself for a few minutes while my husband and boys waited for our order to be called and I spotted a little pamphlet-thingie sitting in the middle of the table. I’d seen it sitting there every other year, but had never picked it up. I read through it and was SO intrigued by what I read. It was the story about how Wall Drug came to be.
Back in the 1930s Ted and Dorothy Hustead purchased the only drug store in a town called Wall, on the edge of the South Dakota Badlands. This is out in the middle of nowhere TODAY, so you can imagine how desolate it seemed nearly 100 years ago. They tried to conjure up business at their newly purchased drug store, but nothing seemed to work.
Mount Rushmore was being built around this time, too, and I mentioned that the Badlands were very nearby, so this couple saw the potential. People would flock to the landmarks and hopefully stop for a visit at the Wall Drug Store, while they were at it. Plus, they were just off a major highway that led from one side of the country to another.
There was definitely potential, but despite their efforts the people just were not showing up. The couple had put a 5-year “deadline” on trying to make it a successful and profitable business.
In 1936, just 4 months before their 5 years was up, Dorothy went to lie down for a nap with their baby daughter. As she lay in bed listening to all the traffic zoom by (none of which was stopping at their store), a simple yet profound thought entered her mind: All those travelers out there are hot and thirsty. And what do hot, thirsty people want? ICE WATER.
She jumped up and told her husband about her revelation and immediately started erecting on a sign that could be seen along the highway: “Get a soda, get a root beer, turn next corner, just as hear, to hwy 16 & 14.. FREE ICE WATER.. wall drug.”
Before the sign was even fully erected, people began driving to wall drug to get their free ice water.
When people arrived, they delivered ice water, as promised, and also gave highway directions with smiles and a spirit of service. People were GRATEFUL. There was no air conditioning in vehicles back then, so they were HOT. They were THIRSTY. So after a few cold cups of ice water and some friendly chatter, they were refreshed and ready to drive the remainder of their journeys.
Dorothy and Ted (and the help they ended up hiring to help with the ice water) worked HARD. They served with hope, but with no expectations. They were happy to add value to people’s long, hot journeys and they showed up with a helpful countenance. When people started flocking to their ice water stands, they didn’t push for them to buy anything.
But eventually, of course, people started buying things. The free value got people there and their happy service sold their products.
And look at Wall Drug today! It is a wildly successful business, still serving people on their long, hot drives through South Dakota.
There is SUCH a great lesson here for us to learn from. Not much has changed from then till now. This is what works still today.
I have to read this little snippet that Ted Hustead, founder of Wall Drug Store, wrote about the success of Wall Drug: “Free ice water. It brought us Husteads a long way and it taught me my greatest lesson, and that’s that there’s absolutely no place on God’s earth that’s Godforsaken. No matter where you live, you can succeed, because wherever you are, you can reach out to other people with something that they need!”
Wow. I just love that and find so much power and truth in his words. No matter what your niche is or what your spin on being an entrepreneur is, YOU CAN SUCCEED because there is always something you can give to people that they need.
The concept is such a simple one, yet it is really easy to complicate it and overthink it, though, right? I hear food bloggers say this all the time: WHAT DOES MY AUDIENCE NEED FROM ME?
It took Dorothy Hustead FIVE YEARS to figure this out. The answer is not always staring at us right in the face. If you are searching for that “something” that your people want from you, let’s talk through a few ways you can figure it out.
- Survey your audience regularly. It would have been painstaking for Ted and Dorothy to survey their audience, so we definitely have an advantage in our digital world. We can so easily throw a survey together and send it to our email subscribers and get instant feedback. So do this! Use a free survey creator such as Google Forms, Jot Form, Type Form or Airtable. Throw a few magic questions together and deliver them to your audience. I’m going to encourage you to listen to EBT episode 226 if you haven’t already because that is where you’ll get the information about which questions you should be asking. If you want to stay current, survey people quarterly and use a variety of platforms to deliver your questions: IG posts, IG stories, email, FB, blog posts.
- Spend time in groups and forums. This is a great way to figure out what people’s pain points are who are NOT a part of your inner circle. Find the groups and forums that align with your niche and really lean in and listen. Look for pain words. Look for swearing! This might sound ridiculous, but people swear when they are feeling pain. When you see common threads, take note. Be sure to write your findings down to avoid forgetting what you notice. Create a Google sheet or Airtable base camp specifically for logging pain points and do this monthly.
- Social media polls. One of my favorite features of Instagram is their polls. People love offering their opinions and other information about what their deepest desires and struggles are. Plus, social media can sometimes offer a different audience from email lists and Facebook groups. Take some of the questions you put together for your survey and pose them on IG in poll format.
- Schedule a few calls. This is something that not many entrepreneurs take the time to do, but there’s so much power here. Select 10-20 of your most loyal followers and schedule 10-minute phone calls with them. This serves 2 purposes. It makes them feel important and it will provide you with GOLD. I like this option even better than sending out a written survey because you can gather information in a verbal conversation that you could never gather in writing. You can hear pains and struggles through inflection (and swear words) verbally that is not possible to notice when you’re reading a few sentences on your computer monitor. If you take the time to do this, you WILL be rewarded in more ways than one. And this little tip applies to points 1-4: REALLY take the time to comb through the information you receive. Don’t just glance over it once. Look through it repeatedly and on different days. Something might jump out at you tomorrow that your brain just couldn’t see today.
- Think SIMPLY. Ted and Dorothy did not have technology on their side like we do, so couldn’t throw a simple survey together in 5 minutes and send it out to thousands of people. They had to rely on these next 2 points to figure out what the people driving by their drug store not just wanted but NEEDED. It was so simple: ICE WATER. Their pain point? Thirst. For the first four and half years that they struggled to deliver what people were actually needing, they assumed people might stop to fill their prescriptions or to buy a cup of coffee. Hot travelers driving along the highway didn’t need a cup of coffee or medication. They needed a simple glass of ice water. Make a list of 5 SUPER simple things that will make life for your audience easier. Then try to simplify even further.
- Get quiet. I LOVE the fact that the ice water idea came to Dorothy while she was maybe partially asleep. It doesn’t actually say this in anything I’ve read, but she WAS attempting to nap with her child when the thought came to her. Perhaps she had entered that near-sleep stage where her thinking shut off and her subconscious kicked in and delivered the answer to her. This happens to me all the time. I have my best ideas when my brain isn’t taking over and trying to think through everything. There is magic here and it’s why I encourage entrepreneurs to shut down their brains regularly. You can think ALL DAY LONG and never find the answers you’re looking for if you’re being pushy and insisting THIS is the way the answer will come to you. Sometimes those really good, life-changing solutions show up when your brain is shut down. All answers lie within us. Get quiet and watch them emerge.
Ice water. It was as simple as ICE WATER. I just love this story and when I read it I knew I needed to share it with all of you. I hope these points will help you to discover your ice water. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.. Or I’d just love to hear from you to see how your summer is going. Please feel free to reach out!
You inspire me and I’m so happy to have you all in my circle. Thank you for being here and I’ll catch ya next time!
224: Finding Your Ice Water with Megan Porta
If you’ve ever heard the story about how the famous Wall Drug got started, you know that business success can be as simple as delivering ice water to thirsty people. This simple concept applies to every single one of our businesses: find the pain point and deliver the solution with a spirit of service and with no expectations!
- Survey your audience regularly.
- Spend time truly tuning into what is said within groups focusing on your niche.
- Utilize social media polls.
- Get on the phone.
- Think as simply as possible.
- Get quiet.
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