Too often, people are misguided in their thinking about marketing. Should I be doing Facebook ads? Or a webinar? Do I need to change my website? How many times should I post on social media?
All of the above are valid questions, but ONLY once you are clear on the two most important questions a business owner can ever ask:
- Whom do you serve? What are the pains, problems, and frustrations related to what you do?
- What transformation or outcome do you deliver? What does your solution look like?
You will hear these questions asked in many different ways by marketing experts, but they all boil down to the same thing.
Solving real problems for real people is the essence of great marketing.
Don’t underestimate both the simplicity and complexity involved in arriving at accurate answers to these important marketing questions.
The answers to these questions will yield a treasure trove of marketing ideas. Use these ideas to create compelling messaging that resonates deeply with your audience.
In business, focusing on what you do, or worse still, which marketing tactics you should be trying next is like putting the cart before the horse.
Focus on your audience, create content for them, matter to them by making a difference in their lives, and solve their problems.
How does your solution make your clients feel?
Forget tactics. What do people you care about serving feel? How can you help them? How can you deliver a change for the better?
Forget demographics (age, sex, geographic location, etc.). We do not restrict feelings to 35-year-old professionals from outer London or dental practitioners in Ohio.
Emotion is universal. Focus on the feeling and the emotion your solution delivers. How will people feel after working with you?
Forget what you do, for now.
Imagine for a moment I am one of your ideal clients.
How do I feel right now in the prison state? Before you worked with me? How does my problem make me feel? What do I think about it?
Contrast this with how my life will change after you have worked your magic on me. How will I feel? What is the result? The outcome? The solution you deliver?
For more detail on this process, check out my Prison to Paradise guide.
When you can answer these questions, even partly, you will be on your way to finding true clarity in your marketing.
Arm yourself with total clarity about who you serve and the problems they face – then you can create actual solutions to real problems.
You can show prospective clients how your transformation works by transforming their lives. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This is what a good lead magnet does, it gives a taste of the transformation that is to come. (If you don’t know what a lead magnet is, check out this post).
Your lead magnets should satisfy, in part, what your paid services satisfy fully.
If you are good at what you do, show someone to whom that matters.
Put your skills to good use. Matter to someone. Help them. In doing that you will refine your process, the ‘thing’ you do, and ‘how’ you do it.
The more people you help, the more refined and fine-tuned your process will become. It will forge your process in the fires of real-life testing. Listen, learn and adapt and never stop refining your services.
Define Your Reason for Being, Refine Your Marketing
As a starting point, I like to use a simple Venn diagram.
It illustrates the puzzle beautifully. Showing the often overlooked part of finding an audience to serve, you. Simon Sinek calls this Starting With Why.
What is the point of serving an audience if you don’t care, if there is no synergy?
Making a difference happens because of tapping into the synergy in the overlap between what drives you and the people you serve.
Understand your own values, beliefs, and worldview, and serve those that matter to you.
Look inside yourself, you will find all the answers you seek to the first question.
Who are you? Why do you do what you do?
I don’t write this to send you off on a great philosophical journey. But it pays to do in-depth work around why you exist and what drives you to do what you do.
When you have certainty within yourself, you can show up in the world as the best version of yourself.
When you respect yourself, your heritage, your journey, and your unique perspective, you can turn that outward and respect and serve others.
You can show up in the world and solve problems you care about. You can build your business with a purpose, and a real mission.
Read this article for a more detailed look into finding your niche.
Ignore the Siren-call of Money-First Marketers
Nothing makes me madder or incenses me more than seeing in your face wealth plastered across Facebook ads with the promise of ‘you can do this too!’ If you’re anything like me your Facebook feed is likely littered with these kinds of ads.
These guys are playing games with other people’s needs and want financial stability to line their own pockets.
The internet is awash with a raft of ‘get-rich-quick’ and ‘make a quick buck by ripping people off’ crowd, I call them ‘money-first marketers’.
They are a bunch of rip-off merchants out for nobody but themselves. The only people who win are those raking in the money. It’s all short-lived, the polar opposite of what Simon Sinek describes as the ‘Infinite Game‘.
Word to the wise, when reading about a marketing magic bullet – If something seems too easy, or too good to be true, then it probably is.
I don’t own a Lamborghini or a private jet.
I live in a modest house in England.
If I had millions dripping out of my pockets, I’m not sure I would buy a private jet or a Lamborghini. And even if I did, I would never use it as a blatant lever to get people to listen to what I have to say.
I’m sorry, but none of that stuff does it for me.
I’d much sooner fly under the radar, doing amazing things with a few select people profoundly.
I’ll never make millions doing things this way, but boy am I rich beyond measure. I consider myself one of the richest men on the planet – I just don’t measure being rich by the size of my bank account.
Richness for me comes from living a fulfilled life. From dawn until dusk I have the privilege of helping people with their marketing. I contribute to solving marketing problems, freeing them to do great work.
l get to serve and have a positive impact and build deep, lasting relationships with those around me.
I feel blessed and grateful that I get to spend every day teaching marketing to truly inspiring people.
Connections, smiles, fun, and a sense of doing right by other people matter. Putting other people first. That is the essence of service, after all.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t enjoy the happiness brought by more monetary wealth, who wouldn’t? Of course, I would be excited to ride in a private jet or luxuriate in a palace-like home. But I won’t go to my grave regretting not doing any of these things. How about you?
Not spending precious time with the people I love. Now that would be a regret.
Missing an opportunity to make a difference – there is a real shame.
Not wealth, not fame. But service. Helping, compassion.
Genuinely wanting to make a difference and do meaningful work that does exactly that.
Service, meaning, and significance to others (and not bank balance) are how I measure success.
How do you measure success?
‘Money-first marketers’ apparently making millions selling ‘magic marketing’ is an insult to the profession and to you.
It is also a deception to the people who buy into the hype and are bewitched by the hype and persuasion tactics.
Magic marketing doesn’t exist!
There are merely different marketing systems and processes that work in different scenarios.
Marketing works when you solve a real problem, for an actual person.
Yes, there are clever persuasion tactics that can help things along, but there is no substitute for solving genuine problems for actual people.
Spend time with the following questions.
- What matters most to you?
- Why do you do what you do?
- What are the driving forces at the core of your being? Hint – If money is your top answer, then you aren’t looking deep enough.
- Who do you serve?
- What problems do you solve for the people you serve?
- How do you solve these problems?