Category Archives for "Marketing"

May 2, 2019

When marketing is a waste of time

My work is really about finding and educating potential customers. Which is fine, if you already have a flow of leads.

Once you have leads coming in, you can and should build out remarketing campaigns, email sequences, direct mail sequences and so on. Especially if you’re selling something expensive.

But if you DON’T already have leads coming in, this is not the place to start…

Most likely, you need to narrow down on a group of people who have money and a particular problem. And you need to get a working lead generation offer in front of them.

Otherwise, working on your email sequences and remarketing ads is like colouring in the leaves on a tree, without first putting the tree trunk in place. Or at best, having a fuzzy unclear trunk.

You don’t even need to develop your lead generation offer very much to begin with. Creating a good opt-in incentive is a lot of work, but you should only do the work once somebody has raised their hand and requested it.

As soon as that happens you have work to do.

March 6, 2019

Why is marketing overwhelmingly complicated?

One of the contradictions of marketing is that marketing itself is simple, but getting anything done is complicated.

It feels like things should be getting less complicated over time. Modern tools have removed the need to learn PHP, HTML and CSS. Landing page builders have democratised web design (thank God). It’s never been easier to create an online presence on Facebook. Effective email marketing tools have never been more accessible. Facebook and Google have placed the entire world at your fingertips (albeit through a dangerously expensive mechanism).

So the question I keep asking is: why is everybody so overwhelmed?

I think in part the answer comes down down to the fragmentation and connectedness of media. 1+1+1 does not equal 3 any more. In chaos terms, Facebook + LinkedIn + Email + Webinars = 14 (in arbitrary chaos points), not 4.

Next, despite their best efforts, the major ad platforms are not getting any simpler. Nor are they likely to, because they primarily cater to big spending power users. Which means you need the learning appetite of a power user, even if you have other things to do with your time.

(What? You don’t want to spend 12 hours a day plugged into Facebook? Weird…)

Next, social media tends to speed everything up in a worldwind of constantly connected chaos. Spending large amounts of time on Facebook is like the direct opposite of meditation. A huge emphasis is placed on everything that is ‘live’. Which in itself feels overwhelming.

Next, the full range of skills you need has increased. Video has exponentially increased in importance. It helps to be doing something in audio. You need good written skills. Even though my speciality is copywriting and marketing nurture, I’ve never fully stepped away from the technical side of marketing, because I get too many questions about it. To offer content without the tech is to sell a partial solution.

Marketing itself isn’t complicated. I like Peter Drucker’s definition, that marketing is about creating and keeping a customer. But the apparatus of marketing tends to generate its own complexity.

As a result you can’t blindly outsource everything. It’s too risky, and there are too many specialists around with a vested interest in you using certain tactics. To the man with a hammer, all problems look like a nail.

You can’t simplify your way to marketing success by building ‘just one more funnel’, because the likelihood is you’ll miss a big opportunity. You’ll miss opportunities to embrace new technologies, sensible marketing automation, and sensible retargeting. (Because guess what? Those things are com-pli-ca-ted…)

The ethos of this letter is to light a path through the complexity, rather than ignore it exists. To help you pick appropriate tactics to your situation, and master them.

If you’re ready to put in the work and learn new things, you’re in the right place.

January 22, 2019

The problem with benefits

Marketing 101 is to convert features into benefits. A feature is what your product or service does. A benefit is the implication for the person buying it.

The trouble is, benefits come with multiple layers. You can always go a level deeper by asking “so what?”

If you ran a podcasting service, a handy feature might be automatic listing with various podcast platforms. The benefit is that saves me the time of doing it myself, and the headspace of figuring it all out. The end benefit of which is more time with my son in the evenings.

Which actually is a very compelling end benefit, but one that is basically impossible to use in your marketing unless you know I have a son, and store that in a custom field in your database.

End benefits usually boil down to time… people are generally more interested in saving time than earning money. Unless you’re perhaps 21, and have much more time than money to begin with.

The trouble with end benefits is you risk ending up with a generic message. Basically everybody in the world is claiming to save you time, or earn you money. Big deal.

Besides talking about the time you’ll help someone reclaim, it’s also worth thinking about how they are different after working with you. Do you deliver a fundamental change in perspective, greater confidence, or a permanent skill?

People want the benefit, but need the transformation.

To come up with a unique message you should write about both.

August 31, 2018

The Three-Step Pyramid to Marketing Clarity

I’ve been fasting for the last few days. Since Wednesday I’ve consumed nothing but herbal tea.

I do this a few times a year, and it has some interesting side effects!

The first is that well-meaning but overly concerned people try to force-feed you bananas. So normally it’s best not to tell anyone.

The second is you go a bit… crazy. It’s easy to slip down a two-hour YouTube rabbit hole, or wander into rooms and forget what you came for. Or in my case, blast off a bunch of wacko emails to people. Mwhaha.

The third is that amidst the craziness, you also get a bizarre sense of alertness and clarity.

I thought you might find yesterday’s moment of clarity relevant, especially if you struggle to explain what you do to new prospects…

In my business I usually introduce myself as a ‘writer’, which actually isn’t the main thing I do. I actually do three things:

The first and main thing I do is help people determine their core selling message, and the stories that surround that. That process comes before anything else.

The second thing I do is production, which in my case means writing. You could also take your message and convert it into video, audio and live presentations; but that isn’t what I provide here in production terms. I produce written-based output, whether that’s emails, letters, Facebook ads, blog posts or whatever else.

If you don’t like to write, are too busy or feel it’s a distraction, this is as far as you need to go. Message and output is all you need. I provide both of those things in my kickstart production package.

The third thing I do in my business is mastery. If you want to master the mechanics of writing, that’s what my Nurture Email Mastery course and Writer’s Circle is about. But it’s only for people who like to write as a mode of production.

Notice that these things sit on top of each other. I’ll be making some changes next month where you can’t buy the mastery course without also working with me on your message. Essentially one underpins the other. Knowing the mechanics of a great email without knowing your message is completely pointless.

The final thing I provide is ongoing support, through my membership group Story Selling Insider.

As a Story Selling Insider member you can request feedback from me as and when you need it. Plus you get my print newsletter each month, and a member’s call-in webinar.

You can read more about that here.

The nice thing about this pyramid framework is that everything I do has to fit within it. It’s really a framework for saying ‘no’ to stuff I could do but probably shouldn’t.

Do you have a framework for saying ‘no’ to things? If not this is probably the work you need to do.

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