The reason your marketing is struggling is not because you don’t know what to do.
It’s not struggling because you don’t know what to say.
It’s struggling because you hate it.
It just doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel right. It feels sales-y, hustle-y, and inefficient.
And so you don’t really do it. Or you do it once a month, or once a quarter.
Or you did it once, and then never again.
The bad news is that that’s how most entrepreneurs feel, and that’s what most entrepreneurs do.
The good news is that there’s a much, much better way:
Stop seeing marketing as what you say about your business, and start looking at is as what you do.
Because the word “marketing” doesn’t mean “advertising” or “promoting.”
It means the entire set of activities that turn an idea into something that the market will actually accept, select, and demand.
Here are the five steps to turn your marketing from an expensive chore you ignore, into a fulfilling challenge you relish:
- Define what you want
What values, preferences, or experiences have influenced the way you approach your work? What set of beliefs inform what you do and how you do it?
Example: Let’s say you’re a financial advisor, a lawyer, or a real estate broker. Perhaps your personal and professional values gravitate toward sustainability. You don’t just want to preserve the planet, you also want to preserve and nurture the futures of your clients. Because you think long-term, you want clients who value long-term thinking, and who are willing to invest in their future and in making good decisions that last.
2. Define who wants that
What types of customer share those values or preferences? Which former or current clients seem most attracted to your specific approach, and what do you like most about working with them?
Example: Perhaps you’ve realized that your best clients are all owners or employees of legacy or multi-generational businesses, and they have a particular bent toward making decisions that will stand the test of time.
3. Make the necessary trades
Make specific tradeoffs in your business, service offering, product line, or prospects, to do more of what what your best clients value and care about most, and remove everything they don’t.
Example: These owners of multi-generational or legacy businesses probably care more about accuracy than aesthetics. They probably care more about reality than appearances. They probably care more about what’s going to last than about what’s going to be cheap.
So you can stop trying to lower your prices artificially (and futilely trying to make up losses with volume) and instead simply cut out services that don’t help or add real value, saving you time, energy, and enthusiasm you can pass on to your best clients.
4. Demonstrate the value
Accumulate evidence that your very best clients are receiving extraordinarily more value as a result of these specific tradeoffs than they could get from any other substitute or alternative. And look for ways to demonstrate that your less than ideal clients might be better served by a competitor.
Example: You can now send out simple, one-page proposals that outline your process, your promised results, and your profitable prices. Your website can be simple, clear, and straight to the point—and amplified by testimonials and statements from your best clients about the transformations you’ve helped them achieve. Prospects who don’t see the value in what you offer can be referred elsewhere (preserving your status as an expert without ever having to work with them), and the clients who do see your value couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.
5. Promote real benefits
Now, in every single marketing activity (which is every activity), promote the benefits that your best clients receive due to your relentless focus on the tradeoffs they care about most.
Example: Your social media posts don’t try to scare people into worrying about their finances, their legal exposure, or their real estate concerns. Instead, they offer solutions uniquely suited to what you do best, and what your best clients value most. They trigger the momentum-building response of optimism and intrinsic motivation, not the progress-killing response of fear or guilt.
Your office isn’t located in the same business park, city block, or office building as every single other provider in your field. Instead, it’s in the city, the neighborhood, or the virtual world where your clients expect you to be because of the principles, values, and purpose you share.
Now, you no longer have to sell or persuade. You just have to talk about what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. In the places and at the times your best clients are ready to hear about it and ready to buy it.
The good news is that it really is that simple. The bad news is that simple doesn’t mean easy.
But it’s an awful lot easier than not doing it, and way more fun.
Because the status quo is unsustainable, but the future is full of opportunity—if you know how to see it, and if you know how to create it.
Not for yourself, but for your very best clients.
When you follow this approach, you never have to ask yourself, “How do I get people to pay me more?” ever, ever again.
Instead, you just ask, “How can I demonstrate that I create so much value for my very best clients that they’d be willing to pay me anything to get it?”
And then you promote the benefits those clients receive as a result.
That’s how you create a brand.
That’s how you stake out a position.
That’s how you work at it until it works.
Because working at it until it works is the only thing that ever does.