Embrace Your Limits to Achieve Online Success

Sometimes, limitations can be freeing.

Ask any creative who, when provided absolutely no direction on a project, gives you a blank and desperate stare.

Ask any successful project manager, who sets a series of small, manageable goals rather than one nebulous rolling goal.

Ask anyone with a successful brand online, and they'll agree: limitations can work in your favor.

It's okay to exclude people.

I know, I sound like a jerk. But hear me out.

A lot of content strategy focuses on finding your brand's audience and speaking directly to those audience members in a way that they want, expect, and need in order to convert.

However, I've noticed that a lot of brands aren't sure who that audience is—or, if they are, they don't want to limit their brand to speaking to JUST that one audience.

"We don't want to exclude anyone," they insist. "Sure, we sell maternity yoga pants. But what if, one day, a man wants to purchase a pair of maternity yoga pants for his wife or girlfriend? We can't exclude the men."

Yes. You can.

And you should. Here's why.

Know your audience.

In the online world, nothing is more valuable than truly knowing who your audience members are and speaking directly to them. Nothing.

Because knowing who they are means you can give them what they need, when they need it and how they need it.

And when you can fulfill someone's exact needs quickly and efficiently online? Well. You've got yourself a satisfied customer. A repeat customer. Maybe even an evangelist for your brand.

It all comes down to singling out and focusing on that one ideal audience instead of playing catch-all, instead of asking "what if?”

Think about it this way: You can hurl a handful of darts at a dartboard and hope that one will stick. Or you can take the time to select the sharpest and most aerodynamic dart, aim carefully, and know that sucker's gonna hit.

Realize that you can't be everything to everybody.

Having one clear audience—even, and especially, a niche audience—is one limitation that you must embrace for online success.

It comes down to realizing and working within—instead of against—your brand's limitations. To that end, you must:

1. Define and accept who you are as a brand.
2. Narrow down your audience as much as possible, even if it means excluding certain segments.
3. Embrace that one audience, and speak directly to those folks in the way that they want and need to be spoken to.

Once you fully accept who and what you are, once you embrace and learn to work well within your own limitations, you will begin to see success online.