Who’s the enemy?

In a few minutes I'll be jumping on a call to with a client to talk about the “avatar” for their ideal client.

One of the most productive questions that I like to ask is:

Who are their enemies?

This often sets my clients off into “rant mode.”

The results are always entertaining, and I never fail to get some great email ideas.

The “enemies” are all over the map.

Competitors, bosses, regulatory agencies, industry forces, sometimes even customers, family and “friends.”

Some examples:

For dentists, a major enemy is “corporate dentistry”—big companies buying up small practices and turning them into high-volume “drill and fill mills.”

For freelancers, it's the micromanaging client.

For entrepreneurs who use email marketing, a common enemy is the complaining subscriber, along with his cousin, the unsubscriber. Every time I send an email about one these I get more replies than just about any other topic.

For software developers, it's the boss who won't let you play with the latest and greatest tech toys. (Also, anyone who has anything to do with marketing or sales. Heh.)

For mortgage loan officers, it's real estate agents who want to do the least work possible to get a deal to close.

We're hard-wired to be constantly on the lookout for threats.

You almost can't go wrong naming a major enemy in the subject line and telling a story about the ongoing struggle.

Can't wait to hear what my client has to say about this.