Effective marketing is a matter of perspective

Effective marketing is a matter of perspective 1

A question for you: When you work on your marketing, what do you focus on?

Most freelancers and solopreneurs tend to concentrate on what they want the potential customer to buy. In other words, the product. Sounds logical?

But what that means is, you’re selling. You’re looking for ways to hook the customer, persuade them how great what you offer is. You emphasise features, quick delivery, the latest updates… oh, and it’s now available in race car red!

Selling is basically a ‘big I am’ approach to marketing, extolling the virtues and benefits of your product (or service) and often making life-changing promises. The end goal is to get the customer or client to make a purchase.

If all this feels like reasons you don’t like marketing, then you’re not alone.

Time to switch your perspective

Most marketing advice is directed at sellers of products or simple services. And for such things, selling is an effective approach – the various tricks and tactics work and sales are boosted, making a pretty upward-sloping graph for sales teams.

But for coaching, consulting, and other more ‘involved’ services, these tactics don’t work so well. Potential clients are not looking for 25% off, or a 2 for 1, or any other ‘offer’ designed to get them to click ‘BUY’. Such services involve making changes (sometimes even life-changing) and for that, being shiny or cheap doesn’t cut it. Before someone becomes your client, they need (and want) to understand what’s available.

To connect, you have to look at the whole process from their perspective.

Don’t talk about what they’ll get – talk about what it will do for them

A lot less has been written about this kind of marketing. It doesn’t need Ads or SEO or other fancy selling techniques to work. Which means there is comparatively little that fancy marketing agencies can offer (as an agency owner I can confirm it’s not cost effective to hire an agency for this).

When you’re offering an involved service, potential clients are less interested in the service itself and more in what they stand to get out of it.

What difference will working with you make to their lives?

What will the process of working together look and feel like?

Most of all, Will it get them where they want to be?

Your focus isn’t selling, it’s helping them understand the process and the work they’ll be committing to. Your goal is to help them feel confident enough to say YES.

What do they need to know to ‘sign up’?

The key is to reframe your marketing.

Don’t ask: How do I get them to buy what I’m offering?

Do ask: What do they need to know to understand what I’m offering?

This invariably means explaining your service  in more depth. Including information about the process of working with you – how they will achieve the change they’re looking to make.

In other words, tell them what you know.

3 straightforward steps

First of all, you don’t need to impart all of your knowledge to potential clients in your marketing materials. You just have to tell them what they need to know to say YES.

Marketing is then a question of sharing the ideas, concepts and wisdom relating to your service and the results it gets.

Once people understand (really understand) what’s on offer, they just need to work out if it’s the right fit for them.

There is a simple 3-step process for this:

  1. Connect: You connect with new people and help them link what they’re feeling, thinking and doing now with what they want to feel, think and do in the future.
  2. Consider: You show those who want more how where they are now is connected to where they want to be, with a realistic path connecting the two places that they can follow.
  3. Commit: You offer to guide them along the path you’ve shown them. This is where you set out the promise you’re making and make clear the commitment of time, energy and money needed to get there.

I go into this process in a lot more detail in my book Reframing Marketing, if you want to dive deeper.

But… I need to make sales!

I get it. You’re running a business and you need to make some sales to pay the bills and keep things afloat.

And no, this approach to marketing is not a quick fix, nor does it result in an instant client list.

What it does do is build your business in the long term, cultivating exactly the clients you want and who are looking for exactly the service you’re offering.

Quick sales rarely bring great clients. People who have not fully considered the work are rarely ready to do it.

The risk in looking for a marketing short cut is that you win clients who are also only interested in short cuts. Again, if you’re a coach or a consultant of offering any service that requires collaborative work with the client over a period of time, you know short cuts won’t cut it.

You’re looking for clients who understand and can invest in the process of working with you.

Don’t rush your marketing

Pushing for sales won’t help. In fact it is exactly the wrong approach for certain kinds of business.

Instead of obsessing over making sales, reframe your marketing to understand what your clients want and need – invite them to find out more, and then offer them the information they require.

Be generous with your marketing materials – it makes people curious. Sharing ideas, concepts and wisdom helps get people ready to invest the time and effort the work requires.

By focusing on what your clients need, you’re appealing to clients who need what you’re offering. That’s a win-win approach to marketing.

If you want to learn more about reframing your marketing then consider my book Reframing Marketing – it’s a simple 3-step guide to approaching your marketing more effectively that results in more of the clients you really want to work with.

I also write a weekly blog for people just like you, published every Monday. Let me have your email below and I’ll send it to you.