The universe comprises order and chaos, darkness and light. Contrasting states that play against each other. They compete against each other in a natural tension; they are opposites.
The choices we make are directly influenced by the world around us as we seek to move from one state of being to the next. From chaos into order, from darkness into light. From negative to positive. From prison to paradise.
This contrast and sense of change is the thing we seek on a deep level as humans. When we feel unloved, we long to feel loved and cherished. When we are scared we yearn for comfort and safety.
The same principle (seeking state change) is true in the choices we make that aren’t life or death. In our buying choices.
Every purchase decision we make follows this principle of ‘state change’. Moving from one state to another.
The very best marketing doesn’t describe the thing, product or service, it describes the state change that will result. Make sense? Read it again and let it sink in because it’s important.
This state change is where Prison to Paradise comes in.
The third question in Finding Your Niche is the intersection between why you exist and the people who would value your genius. What problems do you solve for your clients?
What problem do you solve with what you do? When they consume your product or service, how does it make them feel?
And, importantly, how do you get them to the solution? What is your process? What are the steps to deliver your transformation?
This is what we will explore, I call this process the Prison to Paradise exercise.
The Prison to Paradise Exercise
Understanding the Problem from the Client’s Perspective
For focus and clarity in your marketing, it pays to forget yourself for a moment and place all of your energy on your ideal client.
Take this further, flesh out the ‘prison’ state that this pain and problem traps potential clients in.
In fully understanding the prison, it forces us to view the world from the client’s perspective. With this perspective, we can use the language they use and create messages that resonate at a deep, visceral level.
In the universe, there is order and chaos, light and dark, yin and yang.
Prison to paradise is the same, north and south, good and evil, all opposites.
If your client is in prison, what does that prison look like? What are they seeing in the world around them?
What does prison sound like? What are their peers, friends, partner saying to them?
What does prison feel like? What are the emotions at play?
Emotion is the big one here, as emotion is the primary driver behind almost everything we do as human beings.
There are only a few emotions, and every human being on the planet is driven by how something makes us feel – More about emotion shortly…
What is Paradise Like? How Does Your Solution Make Clients Feel?
When you have a picture of how prison looks, sounds and feels, contrast this with the polar opposite – What is paradise like?
What is the paradise they will experience after using your product or service? What is the state change or transformation you deliver?
This is important. It causes you to think about what you do entirely from the client’s perspective. Fine details you pore over become irrelevant. What is the big outcome you are delivering? What are the critical steps that can’t be missed?
This is important to your clients.
The big outcome should become the focus of your messaging. The headline on your sales page.
We then dive a little deeper. What does paradise look, sound and feel like? For the most part, it will be the polar opposite of the prison state.
What does the problem look sound and feel like AFTER you have worked your magic?
Show up where your clients are
Listen to the language your clients use so you can echo their words in your messaging. Hang around in the same Facebook groups, or LinkedIn, or wherever your audience congregates.
In finding and communicating with your audience, no matter what anyone tells you there is no single best tactic in the game of marketing.
Will Instagram work for my business? What about LinkedIn? Twitter, Facebook? The list is too long for me even to be bothered writing, let alone show up with purpose on each of these channels.
But you don’t have to. You only have to show up where your people are. This is critical. If your audience plays on Instagram, you play on Instagram too.
Focus your energy and attention where your audience is.
If we were to go out fishing together, we wouldn’t be interested in fishing every single spot, our only concern is ‘where are the fish?’.
You should take the same approach when deciding where to focus your efforts in your business, show up where the fish are.
Showing up alone though isn’t enough. The way you create deep, meaningful connections with your clients is to understand them, and then to show that understanding in the way you act when you show up.
The prison to paradise exercise is a great way to get clarity on who it is that you serve and understand the driving forces behind the decision to purchase what you offer.
When you know these drivers, you can show understanding in your words, your actions and throughout your entire marketing eco-system.
Emotion trumps reason, every time
Focus on emotions behind decisions. Dig a little to find them, but they are there. Emotions drive everything we do.
Fear, security and safety are primal drivers of our behavior.
One of the most significant needs every one of us has is to be understood, to be heard.
When we feel heard, we no longer feel isolated, we connect with others.
By focusing on your ideal client in this way, you are committing to hearing them. To understand them and their situation. To connect.
Marketing is a small piece in the tapestry of our lives. The more massive thread here is the connection.
Repeating what the person says back to them is how we show them we understand, we get them. Psychologists, counselors, negotiators call it different things: Reflecting, mirroring, echoing.
The technique is in using the same words in our response, nothing more, just their words.
It shows that we understand.
As Stephen Covey says ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ (7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
Focusing on your clients this way, you are seeking to understand.
Using their language in your sales pages and emails, you show them you understand. You will resonate with them. They will know that you ‘get them’ and will connect with you.
The connection is the basis for a relationship, and later, transaction.
Once you have clarity on the prison and paradise states, think about the journey an ideal client would take to get from prison to paradise.
Build the bridge from Prison to Paradise
Once we have mapped out before and after, prison to paradise, we need to build a bridge.
Picture a fast-flowing river. Your ideal client is in prison on one side of the river, and you want to get them to paradise on your side. What are the big rocks that will get them across?
If you could take only the essential steps to get them across to the other side, what would those steps be?
The focus and purpose here isn’t to give them everything you know, it is to get them to the other side.
Again, forcing you to think only of the things important to the client, not you.
Let’s walk through some examples to illustrate…
Prison to Paradise – Worked examples
Example #1 – Entrepreneurs looking to ‘crack’ the digital marketing code.
In my marketing coaching programs, clients are typically trapped in a prison of confusion and frustration. Confusion over what they should do and frustration in that everything they try doesn’t seem to work.
When they look around, they see others who look successful, and it makes them question. I am doing everything this person is doing, heck I’m even better, why aren’t I seeing the same results?
This leads to a feeling of frustration. They seek shiny objects and tactics. What makes this worse is they hear conflicting advice from the gurus. Do social, don’t bother with social, write a blog, don’t write a blog, Facebook ads, no Google AdWords. The list, sadly, is almost endless.
This round and round in circles leads to confusion, overwhelm and frustration. They quickly become lost in a sea of despair and often give up. Fear of failure plays a big part, too. Fear often leads to paralysis and lack of action. So many things don’t work, it almost becomes a fruitless exercise to even try.
They are looking for a system that will help them out of their predicament.
Note, this is much bigger than just leads and sales. It is the transformation of feeling that they seek. The increase in leads and sales is almost incidental.
The subtle but important difference in the drivers of a purchase decision are the key to unlocking marketing messages that resonate deeply.
It is not about what you do or how you do it. It is the transformation, the change that what you do can deliver.
Sure, we may measure the change in quantifiable ways, more sales, more traffic, more leads, etc, but this is secondary.
Contrast the prison state now, with the paradise state after this person has been through my programme.
We take the polar opposite (remember the yin and yang) of prison. Confusion turns to clarity, overwhelm and paralysis is replaced by focused action.
Fear of failure gives way to acceptance that failure is inevitable, just as death is to every single one of us.
In accepting the inevitability of our demise, we can embrace opportunity more freely and change our very perception of failure.
This change from within is the key to unlocking paradise. The actual change entrepreneurs seek is how they feel about their business and marketing.
Significant results make them feel good about themselves and what they are doing. They feel like they are on the right track.
Stephen Covey argues that actual change comes not from challenging the world, but in challenging the lens through which we see and interpret the world around us.
Example #2 – Entrepreneurs Struggling with Drip Marketing Automation
Imagine our zone of genius is marketing automation, and we sell training on Drip.
Drip is email marketing automation software that helps business owners to automate and streamline communication.
Our ideal client may see a product demo webinar and hear a marketing guru on a podcast espousing the wisdom of ‘building your email list’. They buy into the belief that creating an email list will be an asset to their business.
This is true to our ideal client now. From their perspective, the world looks like this: I believe I must build my list; I think Drip can help me to communicate better with my audience. It’s a powerful system, and I feel scared to do something that breaks it.
I have spent hours watching tutorials and following the help, but I’m getting nowhere, it’s driving me crazy.
Can you see how our picture of the prison state is fleshing out?
Drip is like a formula one racing car, most business owners are a little frightened to press too hard on the pedals in case they crash.
They struggle even getting started, and because there are many moving parts with building funnels, executing becomes confusing. Things don’t work, it can become complicated and overwhelming.
The result, frustration. Frustration that the tools to streamline, scale and take their business to a whole new level are in place, but confusion and anger that they lack the knowledge and skills to implement.
Contrast this prison now with the paradise state our Drip course brings.
We replace frustration with happiness and joy. Feelings of satisfaction and comfort that new people are signing up to our email list and being nurtured on autopilot. The system is working. It feels good.
A working email-building, lead generation system fuels optimism and confidence. Optimism in realizing my hopes and dreams of doing great things with my work.
I feel like I can take on the world; I dream of impacting the lives of millions, and the Drip system I have implemented will, instead of holding me back, propel me forward in realizing that dream.
Can you see how the paradise state is taking shape in our second example?
There are other dimensions and layers to this but my goal here is to keep things simple enough so you can apply this in your business.
So you can make a more significant difference with what YOU do.
What would be the steps to getting our client from prison to paradise in the Drip example?
What might their journey look like?
- Step one – Orientation – What are the parts of the Drip system? Dashboard, tags, custom fields, campaigns, workflows, rules.
- Step two – Vision and Goals – What do you want to achieve with Drip? Sell products/services, build your email list, nurture relationships with prospects, onboard clients, encourage repeat business, etc.
- Step three – Foundations – Setting up your account – Tracking code, cross-domain tracking, email templates, email settings and integrations.
- Step four – Mapping the journey – Create workflows and campaigns to collect email addresses, delivery of lead magnets, get people to your webinar, follow up after a live event, encourage repeat business and referrals, etc. – A repository of use-case scenarios that clients plug into their own business.
- Step five – Scaling up – Once the basic building blocks are in place we focus on automating sales processes, layering complexity into the system, and creating a solid foundation ready to scale.
The five steps in the example represent the journey of ‘how’ our frustrated Drip client would go from anger, confusion and frustration to peace of mind, confidence, and optimism. I base it on a Getting Started with Drip Guide I created.
In your example, use as many or as few steps as you need.
The prison to paradise steps become the process to deliver your transformation.
Apply Prison to Paradise in Your Business
What does prison look, sound and feel like for your clients related to what you do?
What does the contrasting paradise look, sound and feel like?
How do you take your ideal clients from prison to paradise with what you do? What are the steps?
What does the process look like? How do you deliver your transformation?
The process you go through with your clients to deliver transformation… the river rocks, the big steps. This becomes the unique way in which you deliver your service. The system by which you deliver results.
Think about each of the steps along the path from prison to paradise. Each step could be a digital product, a course, a training. The entire process could be your signature offer.
Start also to think of the steps/rocks as Lego blocks. They are modular. You can use blocks of ‘solutions’ in various places throughout your marketing eco-system.
You can create an entire family of products around these steps.
Creating a plan for this product family is a great place to build out a value ladder for your business.
Spending time on the prison to paradise exercise will transform your understanding of the people you serve.
It can help you create marketing messages that resonate deeply. It can help you achieve your vision of transforming lives with what you do.
What are you waiting for? Get started now!