It’s Monday — that means it’s time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

You ask — I answer!

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for me to dig in the ol’ mailbox and see what kind of questions I’ve got.

To have YOUR question answered regarding marketing, selling, copywriting, business-building, or any other topic relevant to Breakthrough Marketing Secrets…  Just drop me a line at

Here’s this week’s Mailbox Monday question:

Hey Roy,

What is a good source for learning how to write for the personal development niche? I’m looking for demographics and everything I would need to create an avatar for this niche.


Love your email,


Your problem is not what you think it is!

Okay, so here’s the thing…

“Personal development” is not a niche.  Personal development is a massive category that encompasses all kinds of topics and niches inside itself.

Which makes it really hard to narrow down to some kind of demographic or customer avatar.

The same thing can be said for so many different “niches” that people think they want to write for — not the least of which being financial and health.

All of those represent huge markets.  And if you can be one of the few — such as Tony Robbins or Oprah — who hit mass-market appeal in these markets, you will become rich and famous.

But if you’re trying to be a copywriter — which is what I presume from this question — you’re not going to have much luck going that broad with your targeting.

What do you do instead?

Choose your niche and you’ll know your targeting…

Let’s say, for example, that you know you want to work in the personal development or self-help industry.  But when you look at your bookshelf, you realize that what you really get excited about is…

— Daily motivation for “pound the pavement” outside salespeople, or…

— Entrepreneurship advice for working women who are tired of the 9-to-5, or…

— Raw and unfiltered success advice that tears down the illusions of nicety in the mainstream self-help niche, or…

— Wisdom from Buddhist meditative traditions that will help you live in the modern Western world, or…

— Law of abundance meets measurable marketing for suburban real estate professionals, or…

Insert something WAY MORE SPECIFIC here!

Yes, there are still traditional marketers and publishers like Nightingale-Conant that are still out there, selling books and tapes.  But for the most part, they are not where all the opportunity is.

The opportunity is in carving out a handful of tightly-defined niches that are easily identifiable, and specific enough that you know exactly who you’re talking to.

The more specific YOU are, the easier it is to get more specific information on your market…

This applies to any market, and definitely includes the self-help or personal development market.

Pick out any one of those markets above.

If you want to speak to “Raw and unfiltered success advice that tears down the illusions of nicety in the mainstream self-help niche,” your demographics are likely to be a bit different than “Law of abundance meets measurable marketing for suburban real estate professionals.”

So you have to be much more specific.

That said…

Let me point you to a tool that might help…

You probably are aware that Facebook is one of the most powerful collectors of demographic data out there.

And as a Facebook user, you are not the customer.  You are the product.  Facebook sells you to their advertiser base.

And Facebook’s advantage as an advertising platform is in giving advertisers a bird’s-eye view of who you are, through the data.

You can see this in their Audience Insights tool.  From a consumer perspective, this is scary — to know how much Facebook knows about you.  For example, even if you didn’t give Facebook your job title, they probably still know it because of how they cross-pollinate data from other data providers, to improve targeting for advertisers.

From an advertiser’s perspective though, this is really interesting.

For example, if I look at United States users on Facebook, there are somewhere short of 200 million active users.

If all I do is filter for Tony Robbins as an interest, that identifies 3 million active users.

But Facebook starts to tell me about these users.

They’re slightly more skewed toward women than the average Facebook user, especially women 35 to 54.

They’re more interested in careers and career building than the rest of Facebook — by a little more than 25%.

They also tend to be more affluent parents, living in cities, but whose net worth is still under $500,000.

That’s the trend.

They also tend to be slightly more educated than the population as a whole, and overwhelmingly in management, business, finance, and sales.

That’s one example, but again, get more specific!

I just used Tony Robbins because he’s overwhelmingly popular in that niche.

But let’s say I was going for another niche entirely.  Let’s say, for example, that I had a fascination with hypnosis.  And I wanted to use my marketing skills to help hypnotists sell more home-based self-hypnosis products, as well as get more clients.

Well, that’s still “personal development” but there’s absolutely no guarantee that the demographics will match 1:1.  In fact, they likely won’t!

Instead of trying to get the avatar for the industry, try this…

Focus instead on one client, or one small group of clients.

Work with them.  Ask them about their customer base.  Ask them about what matters to them.

Not just demographics — which are interesting but of limited value.

Rather, ask about their fears, frustrations, and failures.  Their dreams, desires, and destiny.  And, specifically, how those relate to the product or service being offered.

Then get on the phone with customers.  Try to get anywhere from one to two dozen on the line.  Speak with them.  Connect with them.  Talk to them.  Ask them what they care about, what they think, what they feel, and what they believe.

You may find wildly-varying demographics — but with common beliefs and feelings that you can speak to.

Then back that up with the Facebook tool (or others like it) and you’ll be in really good shape.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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