Finally…A Reliable Method For Landing New Clients

Last week I touched base with one of my clients to see how things are going. My client, Katie, just launched a new real estate firm here in Boulder.

Like most new companies, Katie needs a reliable way to get clients of her own.

The problem, Katie despises social media. We’re talking the kind of hate reserved for the IRS in April.

So how are we achieving business development results that lead to this email from Katie last month…

Happy Client Email

First, let me say these are the kinds of emails that keep me excited about my job. This is why I love working with small to mid-size companies instead of megacorps. My work can transform someone’s life and business. That feels pretty damn good.

Second, it’s important to know that I didn’t prompt her for this email. I simply checked in with her and passed along a recommendation (tied to the business development strategy I’m about to share).

Back to the subject at hand…

How is Katie getting these clients?

It’s not a hack or gimmick. You’re going to have to put in a little work (or hire someone to do the work for you) to get similar results. If you’re looking for a magic system that doesn’t require any work, you may as well move on my friend. I don’t sell BS magic systems like many of the internet charlatans you’ll find oozing out of dark corners of the web.

Bravo if you’re still here. You’re about to learn a system that has worked for me and my clients (Katie is a little of the latest proof). Just about any business can use this system, but I’m specifically laying out steps for a client-based service business today.

I’ve run client-based businesses for the last 15 years, and I’ve worked with dozens of other client-based businesses to shape their brands and marketing. This method is the most predictable source for driving high quality leads I’ve found.

Enough buildup, let’s get to these 5 steps for getting clients already.

Step 1: Identify Your Niche

Katie is perfectly capable of working with all types of real estate clients (and she does indeed work with a range of clients on the buyer and seller side), but her agency is thriving because we’re focusing her marketing efforts on winning a specific customer. Katie is ‘the’ option for new buyers moving to the Boulder area instead of ‘an’ option for everyone.

I share this same methodology for my business. I’m ‘the’ option for client-based businesses that need to connect their business, brand, and marketing strategy to land more clients. This is a little more focused than being ‘an’ option for all companies that need brand and marketing help. Yes, I work with companies outside of the client-based business niche, but I focus my new client acquisition around this area because I bring particular knowledge and expertise that adds value to the relationship and makes me ‘the’ option.

This step is fundamental to making the system work. You must define where you can become a Category Of One.

When you narrow the audience, you’re able to say the right thing, to the right people, in the right places.

I know it’s scary to commit. We all struggle with this step. I struggle with it myself. You naturally think, “Am I leaving business on the table and shooting myself in the foot by going too narrow?”

The answer is no.

History proves that focus leads to growth. The way to get big is to start small. Start narrow, deliver results for your perfect client, develop passionate fans, and your brand will expand to the broader market. Look at the stories of Starbucks, Nike, Basecamp, or just about any other household brand and you’ll see that they started with a passionate group of fans in a narrow niche before blowing up into powerhouses.

I’m not saying you have to stop working with your clients that don’t fit in this niche. I’m simply saying that you need to focus your marketing efforts in a specific area where you can become ‘the’ option instead of ‘an’ option.

The more focused your niche, the more visible you can become. Your budget stretches further, the audience sees you more often, and awareness is easier to achieve. 

Step 2: Define A Problem

Running a successful client-based business comes down to consistently solving a problem for an easily identified group of people.

If you want to grow your business, become better at identifying and solving problems. 

For the purpose of this post, we’re only going to focus on one problem. What is the one issue that keeps your clients up at night? 

Let’s go back to Katie for a moment. Remember that Katie is focusing on new buyers moving to Boulder. What’s their big problem?

They don’t have a clue which neighborhoods to consider.

How do we know this? We researched Google search volume for keyword phrases like “Best Neighborhoods In Boulder” and “Moving To Boulder Co” to gauge the market. Our research confirmed that people are looking for answers about neighborhoods in Boulder.

We aren’t guessing or making assumptions. There is hard evidence that people need information about neighborhoods in Boulder based on the search volume for these keyword phrases.

Katie has now identified her ideal client and the problem she’ll solve for them.

What’s the one problem you can solve for your ideal client? 

I recommend starting with Google research. My platform of choice for Google research is SEMRush.com as it is simple to use and provides a wealth of information and resources. Use the link above to get a free trial (this is an affiliate link, but I am not recommending SEMrush.com because I’m an affiliate. I’m recommending it because it’s the best service).

Search phrases until you’ve found a problem you can solve with sufficient search volume to support your efforts. You’ll also want to reference the CPC (Cost Per Click) as that’s going to let you know how much you’ll have to pay for that traffic. More on this in step 5 below.

Step 3: Write A Blog Post

Once you’ve identified a problem, write a blog post that solves the problem. Your post must provide clear steps for people to follow. Deliver value and show your expertise. Don’t hold things back or worry about giving away your hard-earned knowledge that clients pay you to execute. You want people to read, execute, and get results from your blog post.

You’re reading an example of this execution right now.

I’m laying out a plan for how you can get more clients. As you’ve seen above form Katie’s email, I get hired by people to implement this system. I can share the full peek behind the curtain because I know that there are different types of people who will read this post.

  1. People who will read, execute and see results from the post, but they won’t ever hire me. Maybe they’ll become a subscriber to my incredibly valuable (and free) weekly email but it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever become a client for various reasons. That’s ok, I want them to benefit from this post and share it with friends.
  2. People who will read, execute and see results, but they want to take things to the next level. This group reaches out to me to discuss how we can amp things up and improve their efforts. I’ve done my part in providing value and proving my expertise. We’ve started to build a relationship before we’ve even talked. 
  3. People who will read, want to execute, but they’re stuck somewhere in the process and need help. I am able to help them clarify and execute. Who better to help them than the person who provided the strategy? 

Know that you’ll have similar buckets of people. Some people will happily benefit from free information and do nothing in return. That’s ok…deliver value and you’ll be rewarded by the right people. 

Jumping back to Katie’s example, she put together a great post outlining the “Best Neighborhoods In Boulder” for people to reference. She has hundreds of people visiting that blog post every month. The vast majority of these people don’t reach out to her, but the ones that do are hot leads.

Instead of sending people to a sales page, Katie opened the relationship by sharing information and value. Katie has built trust with the potential client before ever speaking with them.

Step 4: Provide A Call To Action

Focus on delivering information and value for 98% of your blog post. Don’t sell yourself throughout the piece. Contain that urge to, “Always be closing.”

Save your sales pitch for the very end of your article. Provide one clear call to action. Tell prospects who you are, what you do, how you can help them, and the precise action to take if they’d like to work with you.

Inject some brand personality. This is your shot at winning people over with your charming story. However, don’t make this longer than one paragraph, and only provide one link so that the action you want them to take is clear.

Katie’s CTA looks like this:

Good Good is a Boulder area real estate agency. We specialize in helping good people find the perfect Boulder home. We’re low pressure but high touch. If you’re looking for a real estate guide in the Boulder area, we may be a good fit. Give us a call if you’d like to chat. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have about the Boulder area or give you a tour. 

If you need some help clarifying your message, take a minute to build your brand script and brand one-liner. Once you’ve got your script, come back to this step and write your CTA paragraph.

Step 5: Drive Targeted Traffic

The final step is driving the right traffic to your blog post. You can use Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, or Google ads to drive paid traffic. All of these platforms allow you to target very specific audiences.

Your business and niche will determine the best ad platform fit. It’s all a matter of being able to reach your ideal client in the most efficient and cost-effective fashion.

For high $$$ services, I recommend starting with Google ads. You’ve already researched Google and know there’s sufficient search volume. Now you just need to capture the attention of those people and channel them to your blog post. With a high $$$ service, you can afford to have a much higher cost per sale and still be highly profitable.

Google may cost a little more per click to get the traffic, but you know the traffic is from motivated people looking for answers.

You’re most likely on this post right now because of a Google ad.

I targeted you based on what you were searching for on Google. I know you will benefit from this post based on your search phrase. I’m able to hone in on helping people like you that fit my niche.

Katie uses Google ads to drive her efforts as well.

She’s closed well into 7 figures of business on $3,000 of ad spend. That’s what I call a return on your investment.

I don’t have the space to go into a full Google Ads tutorial here. The complexities require a dedicated post. In the meantime, here are two options to get you rolling.

  1. Go read this introduction to online marketing and Google ads (from Google).
  2. Reach out to me for some help. As you’ve seen from Katie’s note, this is part of what we do for companies.

Let’s Recap

Here’s a quick reference list of the tasks you need to tackle.

  1. Identify Your Niche – Be ‘the’ option for a small group of people rather than ‘an’ option for everyone. The best way to grow a big business is by focusing on a small group of people.
  2. Define A Problem – What problem can you solve for your niche? Perform Google keyword research to help you hone in on a specific problem with significant search volume on Google.
  3. Write A Blog Post – Create a step-by-step guide on how to solve the problem for your client (just like this one).
  4. Provide A Call To Action – Make the next step simple for your potential clients. Tell them exactly how they can work with you if they’d like, but deliver it with some brand personality. This CTA (call to action) should come at the end of your blog post and be no longer than one paragraph.
  5. Drive Targeted Traffic – Use Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or LinkedIn ads to drive targeted traffic to your blog post. For high dollar services, I recommend starting with Google ads where you can target keywords and reach an audience actively looking for answers.

You’re ready to execute. Solve a problem and win some new clients!

Would you like to stop wasting money on the wrong marketing and start attracting the right clients? Our one-week Brand Recipe Sprint™ is a streamlined process where we’ll identify your niche, clarify your message, improve your marketing, and script your growth strategy. If you’re launching a new company, or if you’re at a plateau with your existing one, let’s schedule a time to chat and see if the Brand Recipe Sprint™ is a good fit to take your business to the next level.

Less, But Better

The cure for mediocre marketing.

We all feel compelled to do more.

More features.

More marketing channels.

More products.

More services.

More words to explain it all.

Too much leads to mediocrity.

If you always feel like you’re starting over and never getting traction, I’m willing to bet too much is your problem.

I naturally want to deliver more for every client, but sometimes my job is to help them do less.

Less features, but better function.

Less products, but better quality.

Less services, but better results.

Less words, but better communication.

Dieter Rams was speaking about design with his famous quote,

“Less, but better”

Design is what we’re doing…

Designing better outcomes by doing less.

Focusing on less leads to specialization, specialization leads to expertise, expertise leads to value, value leads to demand, and demand leads to revenue.

Do less.


Get a free tip to improve your business, brand, and marketing each Friday morning.

How To Write 52 Good Blog Posts

Producing weekly content is intimidating.

When I lay out a marketing plan for a client that includes weekly blog posts, their brain jumps to what they’ll do for the 52nd post before they’ve put pen to paper on post #1.

I understand the fear. You worry that you’ll run out of ideas and the blog will run dry. How do you keep good blog posts flowing?

The rule of one.

The rule of one states that every article must be written to please one specific person.

Ok…I’ll be honest, I just made up the rule of one, but that doesn’t change the validity of this approach.

Stop writing for everyone. Think through your friends, customers, potential customers, and colleagues to find one person who has a problem you can solve.

Still struggling for inspiration? Read book reviews and forums to find someone with a juicy problem to address.

Write to that person.

This post is for one person I know struggling to produce weekly content.

I’ll write to someone struggling with a different problem next week.

A funny thing happens when you write to one person, a lot of other people see themselves in your writing.

Your content becomes more useful and compelling. You’re solving a real problem instead of spitting out useless filler to meet a quota.

Ideas are all around you. Start paying attention and writing with empathy.

I’m not saying the email I send to your inbox each Friday morning with marketing wisdom will make you rich, but I’m not saying it won’t either. You’ll never know unless you sign up right here.

5 Reasons Why Hourly Pricing Is Killing Your Business

My previous business was also a branding firm. I ran the firm for 14 years before selling to my partner late last year. We landed several billion-dollar brands and a spot on the Inc. 5000 during my time with the company. Even with this success, pricing was still a mystery over a decade into the business. We found ourselves asking…

Are we charging too much?

Are we charging enough?

Should we charge hourly?

Should we do project-based pricing?

Should we have fixed pricing?

Should we focus on retainers?

Should our pricing scale with the size of the client?

These are all legitimate questions everyone struggles to answer. The one thing I can tell you from first-hand experience is that hourly pricing is not the answer. I’ll give you 5 good reasons.

1. Surprises are never good on an invoice

Project-based pricing has a beginning and end. These projects typically have much clearer scopes and goals. You know what the client wants and can work to deliver a fantastic end result.

The client knows exactly what will be delivered and how much it will cost. There are no surprises when you send the invoice.

Hourly pricing projects often end with the client questioning the bill. They’re surprised at the grand total and variation from your estimate (even though they changed the scope).

Friction around the bill never translates into a positive relationship. In fact, it usually means a sour ending to a potentially fruitful client.

2. You’re turning yourself into a commodity

People naturally associate the idea of paying hourly with low level expertise. You wouldn’t pay a CEO, CTO, CMO, or any other C position hourly.

The only people paid hourly in an organization are the lowest level employees (the people who are most replaceable).

I’m not saying anything negative about someone who works for an hourly wage. I’m simply indicating that’s not how you want your clients perceiving you.

Your client inevitably starts treating you as an order taker rather than an expert. When this happens, they’ll shop around for the cheapest hourly rate that can take their orders and do a serviceable job.

3. Clients are paying you for results, not your time

I hire an architect because I want a badass house, not because I want 20 hours of his time.

You can only charge so much per hour. Even if you’re the best in the game, there is a ceiling on how high you can go with your fee. This is because people are thinking about how much they’re paying you per hour instead of the end result.

Project-based pricing flips this around so that the client is focused on the fantastic result they’re going to have. They aren’t fixated on what you’re making per hour and how much time you’re spending. All they care about is having that ridiculously sweet house that’s the envy of all their rich friends.

Simply put:

  • Project pricing lets the client know how much it costs to get their result. Or, what’s in it for them.
  • Hourly pricing lets the client know how much you think your time is worth. Or, what’s in it for you.

You’ll always win if you make it about delivering results for the client. Your marketing, sales, referrals, and profitability will all improve if you genuinely focus on client results.

4. People associate hourly billing with attorneys

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

No offense to any lawyers reading this right now, but nobody likes paying you.

There isn’t another profession that is more synonymous with hourly billing. Don’t get me wrong, lawyers provide an absolutely vital role in our lives. This doesn’t change the fact that nobody likes paying them.

Attorneys charge for every phone call, email, or even when they think about you while they’re on the pot. Hence the nickname bloodsuckers.

Do you really want to be compared to a bloodsucker?

The hourly model always leaves your clients questioning whether you really spent that much time working on their project. You also build a contentious relationship where the client is wondering if they’re being charged for this email, call, or meeting over beers.

You never want a client hesitant to call you.

Relationships trump capabilities and you will experience far more churn and far fewer referrals if you don’t work to build quality relationships with clients.

If you can turn a client into a friend, you’ll have a client for life. Billing hourly is a formidable barrier to building these genuine relationships with clients.

5. You own your job, not a business

If you’re an individual or small team, charging by the hour just means you own your job. You aren’t working to build a business that has value. You can’t scale the business or ever hope to sell it for a decent return.

Even if you have a team of people working for you that all charge hourly, there is little value to potential acquirers as all they’re doing is buying employees.

On the other hand, you can systematize project-based pricing for higher margins and begin building value in your business.

Trading time for money just doesn’t pay as well as delivering results for money. People will always pay more for results.

Potential acquirers will also pay far more for a systematized business with a niche that doesn’t depend on a single person or hourly pricing. A purchaser wants to see a product that can be replicated by anyone with the proper training.

I know selling your business may seem like a crazy idea at the moment. You may think that you’re never going to sell, or that nobody would want to buy your business.

That’s probably true (right now), but you can change this with some planning and action.

Every entrepreneur should build with the end in mind. How do you want the story to end? Are you building something to pass on to your kids? Will you sell to an employee? Will you find an outside buyer?

Knowing the destination allows you to chart a course. If you want to sell for several million dollars, you’ll need to build a business with value, not just a job you own.

Hourly pricing won’t get you millions of dollars. Nobody will pay that much for an employee. Keep that in mind as you quote your next project.

Changing how you charge can dramatically increase the value of your business.

Final Thoughts

Clients want clarity and results. Unicorn clients (good ones) are willing to pay for those results. Project-based pricing allows you to focus the client on the result they’re paying to receive.

Hourly billing creates friction with clients. Your clients are focused on how much they’re paying you per hour and how many hours you’re spending instead of the fantastic end result. They’re worried that every interaction is costing them money so they are hesitant to communicate. This lack of communication makes building a relationship extremely difficult.

If you don’t have a relationship with the client, you’re just a commodity. Commodities are shopped on price and that’s a race to the bottom.

Nobody wins a race to the bottom.

Shift your mindset to be focused on the end result. Shape your message, process, and pricing around results instead of how many hours you’re going to work.

Everyone benefits when you get results.

I help small to mid-size companies unite their brand, business, and marketing strategy in a one week process that sparks sustainable growth. My passion is helping companies that work with clients where I can combine my personal entrepreneurial experience with my wealth of brand and marketing experience. If you want to get off the hamster wheel and grow, let’s see if I’m a good fit to help

How To Attract 25,000 Website Visitors Each Day

Without Sacrificing Your Brand Soul

Would 25,000 website visitors per day help your business?

I’ll answer that for you…yes.

That’s why we all fight to rank on SERPs (search engine results pages) and grab featured snippets. The potential reward is thousands of visitors per day and millions of dollars per year. Trust me, I’ve worked with a company who drives 25,000 – 50,000 visitors per day and the impact is dramatic.

The problem is pleasing the 8,000 lbs gorilla that is Google.

This is where 95% of the content companies put out goes bad.

People stop writing things humans will actually want to read in an effort to charm algorithms. Ironically, this is exactly what Google doesn’t want.

Stop keyword stuffing, obsessing over page titles, and worrying about your H2 tags for a moment. Take a step back and put the focus on understanding what your customer wants when they search.

Four Types Of Search Intent

Your goals line up with Google’s far more than you realize. You both want to make searchers happy.

Great Content = Happy Searchers
Happy Searchers = More Searches
More Searches = More Advertising Revenue
More Advertising Revenue = Happy Google

Focus on the searcher and not the search engine. I use the categories Neil Patel shares as my basic parameters when considering search intent.

  • Informational intent means the user wants to learn something new.
  • Navigational intent suggests the user wants to visit a local business.
  • Transactional intent demonstrates a desire to buy.
  • Comparison intent shows they’re comparing multiple products.

Understanding the intent of your customers is half the battle. Now you can create compelling content that speaks to them. Compelling content generates links and longer time on the page. Inbound links and longer time on the page lead to better search rankings.

Customer Before Google

Use content to inform, entertain, and answer customer questions. Worry about positioning your brand first and search results second. If you do it right, both your brand and search listings will rise to the top (with time, work, and consistency).

  • Provide answers to the questions your customers are asking.
  • Write like a human.
  • Put out consistent content.
  • Make sure every piece of content reinforces your editorial agenda (brand script).
  • Follow optimization best practices. 

This little checklist will drive your SEO agenda and brand positioning forward in tandem. Never sacrifice the human side of your brand to chase search engine results. Google can change the game and steal away that traffic at any time. Nobody can steal your brand once you’ve established awareness, expertise, and trust.

 

I send a delightful little email each Friday morning to help you grow your brand. End your week inspired by clicking this enticing link.

How to Use The Saturation Method To Drive New Business

Employees may be passionate about your cause, but they’re not passionate enough to work for free. Money is the one necessity that every business shares. Getting enough of it also happens to be the leading cause of failure.

82% of businesses fail due to a lack of cash flow.

If businesses know this, why don’t they do anything to rectify the issue? They sit around and hope the right customer or client walks in the door. I empathize, I’ve been there myself. I figured if I delivered a quality product, clients would be busting down my door.

Sometimes they were…Sometimes they weren’t. I learned that passive business development is what leads to cash flow issues.

Sitting around and waiting for referrals and repeat business is unpredictable. You need to be more proactive if you want your business to survive (or thrive). My friend Cole from Honey Copy recently mentioned in his weekly email that he dedicates 20% of his day to marketing his business no matter how things are going.

Sounds easy, right? It’s not.

Building a daily habit is no small feat. It’s easy to let it slip when you’ve got a full plate of business. What happens when you finish those projects and your plate is empty? That’s not the time to start marketing and sales. You have to find, woo, and then close business before seeing a penny.

Slow your roll…

Hold up before you run out guns blazing firing off marketing tactics in every direction. I hope this post inspires action, but let’s take some time to put a little strategy into our efforts. Firing bullets in every direction makes it unlikely that you’ll hit the right target. You just end up wasting all your ammo (money and time).

Consistently executing a focused plan is what leads to a finely tuned business development machine. Follow these 4 steps of the saturation method and you’ll build a healthy stream of unicorn customers (wonderfully majestic creatures to be cherished and loved).

Step 1: Shrink The World

Stop trying to think big. Everyone is not your customer. Narrow your market down to what Seth Godin defines as the Minimally Viable Audience. If you haven’t read about the minimally viable audience, stop reading this and go back to the previous sentence and click the link. I promise his short post is worth your time.

Trying to speak to everyone is a recipe for speaking to no one. Here are a few simple prompts to define the right minimally viable audience:

  1. Who has the strongest need for your product/service? Focus on the people who have an aching desire or unbearable pain.
  2. Are they willing to pay for what you offer? Just because a group needs what you sell doesn’t mean they’ll pay for it. This is an important distinction to consider that many people brush past. Don’t waste your efforts on a market that doesn’t have the means to pay for your product.
  3. Can you reach them? It’s a necessity to have a clear channel to target and reach your audience with your message in some form or fashion (social media, tradeshows, industry publications, blogs, etc…). It’s preferable that they’re easily targeted via multiple channels.
  4. What makes them like each other and different from everyone else?Go beyond the surface level demographic description and tap into psychographics here. Figure out the fears, desires, and buying triggers that unite this group.

Answering these questions will help you paint a vivid picture of your minimally viable audience (MVA). Knowing who these people are will allow us to saturate them with the right message later.

Step 2: Write A Script

Repeated exposure to a consistent message drives recognition. Saying the same thing with the same language across every customer touchpoint will eventually make a message stick. How do you get everyone on your team saying the same thing?

Write a script.

Make it ridiculously simple by taking it down to one single sentence using the following prompt.

We help __________ do ______________.

Example: We help service businesses grow by connecting their brand, marketing, and sales strategies.

A single sentence is versatile. One sentence can power your website, social media profiles, and sales pitch. In fact, it should power all of these things. Customers must see this message everywhere they look and hear it from everyone they speak with at your company.

Step 3: Blitz The Hell Out Of Your Little Corner Of The World

You’ve identified who your minimally viable audience is, where to reach them, and what to say to them. Now it’s time to make them feel like you’re everywhere they look.

By shrinking the world, this is possible with a little budget and a lot of sweat. I like to break this out into two complementary categories.

Think of marketing like the farming portion of your efforts. You’ll be planting seeds and growing an audience of people that can be harvested when they’re ready. Marketing will consist of paid and organic efforts. You’ll want to capitalize on multiple marketing channels. A few regular channels to consider (but certainly not an exhaustive list) include:

  • Google Ads
  • Social Media
  • Tradeshows
  • Direct Mail
  • Blog Posts

Here’s an example sequence on how you can plant some seeds and start farming your fields:

Google Ads & Social Campaigns: Set up Google Ads and social media campaigns targeting your niche. You can be amazingly specific with your targeting parameters on Google and almost every social channel. Determine what your people are searching and consuming and be there when they look with helpful information. For most businesses, the best action is to establish credibility and trust as a first step.

Tradeshows: Attend the biggest tradeshow/tradeshows for your industry. Strategically invest in booth space and have a plan to stand out and drive engagement. Don’t just show up with the same lame presence as everyone else. Take the time to get creative and create a pattern interrupt.

Direct Mail: Follow up after the tradeshow with a two-tiered direct mail effort.

Tier 1: Legitimate Leads — This mailer is for people who are real prospects. They stopped by your booth, showed interest, and fit your customer profile. Send these people a handwritten note, relevant gift, or another item that further captures their attention and starts to build the relationship. Include one clear call to action in the mailer for the next step they need to take. This step alone captured three Fortune 500 companies for my last firm.

Tier 2: Show List — This mailer is for everyone who attended the show. You’d be shocked at how many people walked by your booth and may be interested, but they didn’t stop to talk for whatever reason. Use this timely mailer to establish awareness and include a clear call to action that delivers value. Make them take a simple step that can be tracked to receive whatever that valuable item is. If they take this action, you know they’re serious and you can move them into the tier 1 group.

Blogging: Post consistently to your blog and share with your network. Display your expertise and knowledge. Use your brand one-liner (script) that you created above as your editorial guide. Make sure everything you write relates to that single sentence. Continuously showcase your expertise and personality.

This is obviously a quick overview, but you get the idea. Your little niche is going to see you everywhere they look. You’ll go from zero awareness to industry fixture in months.

Marketing is key to driving awareness and trust, but there’s no substitute for sales efforts. The sales team are the hunters paired with the farmers in marketing. Being in sales requires thick skin and relentless execution. Put your ear to the phone, fingers on the keys, and your boots on the ground.

Sales aren’t dead as many have preached. I’d argue that an effective salesperson can be more useful today than at any time in history. It’s a matter of effectively complementing your marketing with the right sales efforts. Businesses don’t hire you, people hire you. People are influenced by emotion and relationships. Human interaction can be a powerful motivator. Learn how to leverage this to your benefit in sales.

If your organization properly implements a marketing plan as outlined above, you’ll be able to arm your salespeople with ripe leads. These salespeople will then be able to close these leads with a clear script that’s been provided in step 2. The combination of ongoing marketing cultivation with some human sales efforts leads to decision and action.

Step 4: Keep Showing Up

The final step is to continuously remind people that you exist. My weekly email has been a fantastic tool for keeping me relevant to clients and prospects. Projects that would have otherwise gone to someone else are shot my way because they remember I exist and they need help in an area where I have expertise.

Consistently execute a soft touch every single week. Don’t sell in this ongoing effort. Showcase your expertise.

Simply showing up is a big part of winning new business.

The Catch Is…

If you’re good at what you do, the saturation method will drive new business. The catch is that you have to actually start doing it now to see any benefit later. Commit to working on your business for at least 30 minutes every day. Build it into your daily activities no matter how good or bad things are going. That small 30-minute commitment adds up to significant progress and real money in the bank.

Every Friday morning I send a little story to your inbox. Each one contains a tip on how you can stand out and attract the right customers in this noisy world. You can end your week on a high note by signing up right here.

I Heart Butt Drugs

Did the name of this post make you stop and click?

There’s a reason for that, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s talk more about, “I Heart Butt Drugs” first.

That’s a direct quote from a billboard I came across as my family drove from Louisville, KY into Indiana.

The beautifully crafted copy was framed by ice cream cones.

Butt Drugs and ice cream cones?

My curiosity was peaked. Google was being searched within seconds. It turns out that Butt Drugs is a real pharmacy.

The store has been charming people with its unique name for three generations. William (Blackie) Butt, R.Ph. established the family pharmacy in 1952. The company operated as a standard pharmacy until 2001 when Katie Butt took over. It was Katie’s marketing chops that took the Butt dynasty to the next level.

She embraced the name that makes them stand out from national chains. Katie launched merch, an online store, and ad campaigns all about Butt Drugs.

Katie understands that their name is a pattern interrupt. You can’t read, “I Heart Butt Drugs” and not be curious. It’s the reason you clicked on this link and are reading my post right now.

This pattern interrupt alone won’t make them successful, BUTT it’s enough to give them a shot with customers who would otherwise drive down the street to Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid.

Don’t be afraid to be different. A little shock might do your brand some good.

The job of great marketing is to make the right people stop and take notice. Figure out the patterns of the people you’re trying to reach and how you can interrupt those patterns with a relevant message they want and need to hear.

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Obsess On Your Product

Every business is looking to acquire more customers and grow. But how?

Instagram influencers, Facebook ads, LinkedIn selling, blogging, Adwords, traditional advertising, and all the other tactics out there available are important tools at the right time.

But not yet.

There’s a much better investment for 90% of us looking to grow sustainable customer bases that organically expand.

Obsess on our product.

A fantastic product sells itself. Improving your product is the single highest return on investment you can make. Deliver a memorable experience and you’ll never struggle for customers.

Target a specific niche with a product that delivers results and you’ll get repeat business, referrals, and enjoy continuous growth.

Once you have this recipe nailed, you can pour fuel on the fire with other marketing tactics.

Too many people are trying to sell a crappy product hidden by a well-manicured ad campaign. You might sell that piece of poop once, but I can guarantee they won’t come back a second time or recommend you to anyone.

Don’t be tempted to skip straight to marketing tactics chasing immediate gratification. You’ll see a short spike and then a sharp decline.

Investments in your product continue to pay. You may not see immediate gratification, but I can guarantee that you’ll see a much healthier (and more sustainable) trajectory of growth.

Even though I came into Special Sauce with 15 years of experience running other companies, I didn’t just jump in and start pushing out ads. I’ve taken the time to polish our systems and make sure we’re delivering results for clients in a systematic fashion.

Now we can pour fuel on the fire.

If you’re struggling to identify what’s not working with your product or service, find someone like us to help. You need an objective set of eyes that can assess your strengths, weakness, competition, and industry opportunities. Identify your niche, focus your product, and clarify your message to build the foundation for growth.

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Does Your Brand Have Bad Habits?

Man Smoking Showing Brand Habits

I can go out and ride my bike for an hour, or I can go to the bar and drink two beers.

What vote will I cast today?

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” 

– James Clear, Atomic Habits

This idea from James Clear applies to the brand you’re building as well.

You can apologize to a customer when they’re unhappy and offer a refund, or you can refuse the refund and keep their money.

You can buy the cheapest materials to put behind the walls where your customer will never see, or you can demand quality in all aspects of construction.

You can offer a genuine please and thank you to every customer, or you can just get on with the next transaction.

Your decision is casting a vote for the type of brand you wish to become. No single customer transaction will transform your brand, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your brand identity.

Core values, mission statements, and manifestos are pointless if you don’t back them up with habits and cast votes every day.

The first step is deciding what type of brand you want to become.

 

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How To Win The Hearts & Wallets Of Customers

Walmart. Save money.

Nike. Just Do It.

Disney. Most magical place on earth.

Great brands focus on conveying one story. Relentless execution of a clear story is what made them remarkable brands in the first place.

I’m not talking about taglines, although a tagline may be an important part of conveying your story. Walmart has changed taglines without changing their story. They simply found a tagline that helps better tell their story.

Compelling stories are simple, clear, and emotional. Walmart, Nike, and Disney all use these ingredients.

The often missed Special Sauce in all of these examples is empathy. These brands don’t tell the story from their perspective. They don’t try to jam benefits and features down our throat.

Walmart, Nike, and Disney have all mastered the art of understanding what their customer wants, needs, and desires. They take that understanding and spin it into a story where their customers see themselves.

Nike Find Your Greatness Campaign Example

Few campaigns exemplify this better than the Find Your Greatness campaign by Nike.

We can all learn something from these brands. Every business has the opportunity to write their own story.

Stop thinking about what you offer for a moment, and start thinking about what your customers want, need, and desire.

Once you nail the story, relentlessly execute like Walmart, Nike, and Disney.

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