Marketing is more than just Ads and persuasion

Marketing is more than just Ads and persuasion

It’s that time of year again. Magic beans time!

In the marketing world, January is famous for the wide range of New Year’s offers, promising to ‘get your marketing sorted’ with a complicated process or formula. All you have to do is follow it faithfully and unbelievable results, business success, and vast riches will be yours.

However, most of what is peddled at this time of year is, frankly, BS.

But fear not, I’m not about to sell you any magic beans; far from it.

To get your marketing off to the best start in 2024, I want to explain why I believe it is a very simple process for coaches, consultants and freelancers.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on Ads.

You don’t need to make daily reels about your walk to work.

You don’t need to post cringeworthy ‘get to know me’ posts.


Effective marketing is more authentic than that. You don’t need to be someone you’re not or do things that make you feel like a sad fraud inside.

Your marketing is much easier than it might appear at first. All it needs to do is answer three critical questions for your would-be clients.

Beware of someone selling shortcuts

There is a lot of money to be made by making something simple look complicated.

If the buyer is convinced they’re faced with a complicated and complex challenge, it’s tempting to buy a shortcut – a process or formula that promises success; all the buyer has to do is follow the ‘proven’ method.

Which is not to say that a formula can’t work – it depends what you’re selling…

Lazy, formula marketing relies on interrupting your potential customers or clients and then manipulating them into buying from you. This works fine for water bottles, yoga mats, t-shirts… Not so well for coaching, consulting, or any service that involves working with the client.

When you only care about the sale, not the client, then Ads, spam emails and sales funnels can be very effective.

When you care about the client, marketing is different and, I believe, actually a lot easier.

Instead of manipulating, give people the information they need

Trying to get someone who doesn’t even know they want something to buy that thing is really difficult – it takes a lot of time and money to make that kind of sale.

Which is why the big brands have entire teams and agencies full of creatives churning out Ads that interrupt, tease, tempt and influence people until they buy the thing they never knew they needed (and let’s face, probably don’t).

Consider another classic January offer: gym memberships. The real money to be made is not from gaining a few new members dedicated to improving their personal fitness. Gyms make most of their yearly revenue in January by selling to people who are not ready to put in the work. They rely on the fact that most new January members either never show up or come once and then forget to cancel for a few months.

Likewise with those magic beans marketing offers: January is a lucrative time to sell 30-day programmes or challenges to people who almost certainly won’t complete them.

When the service you offer is more personal and relationship-based – when a client needs to actively invest in working with you – then manipulation won’t get you people who are ready to show up and do the work. You need them to buy in to the process you’re offering and believe that the change you are offering is one they want to make. Ads and manipulative sales funnels don’t work for this. At best, you get a lot of clients who don’t stick around to do the work.

A much more effective (and ethical) approach is to use your marketing to answer the three burning questions people have when considering becoming your client.

Just 3 simple questions

What your marketing needs to answer is:

  1. Who does this person work with, and are their clients like me?
  2. What do they work with these people on, and is that the change I am looking to make?
  3. Why can I trust this person to guide me in making this change?

When your marketing content talks about this who, what and why, it piques the interest of people looking for what you’re offering. It will also bring your offer to the attention of people who may not even know that they want it yet.

There’s no need these questions word for word or as some kind of strict formula (no magic bean, remember?) You just use these questions as a guide – when your content covers these issues, it’s effective.

That content might be you explaining a concept or idea that underpins your work; it might be you answering frequently asked questions; or maybe you talk about a book, blog, video or podcast you think is useful for your ideal client.

The type of content is less important than the questions it answers – I have plenty more examples of how to cover the who, what and why in my book Reframing Marketing, a three-step plan for effective and ethical marketing and a simple but comprehensive six-box marketing plan.

But… So-and-so promises their marketing programme made them $100,000 dollars. Surely that will work for me too?

They might be making some big promises, but do you really believe them? I’m going to be blunt here and say that most of the people who buy my book, or work with me 1-2-1, are people who are searching for something different. They’ve tried a programme, formula or funnel and found it didn’t work for them.

Remember, people can make a lot of money selling you a shortcut and then explaining why it’s your fault it didn’t work.

I am promising a deeper level of marketing, free of manipulation and BS. It can take some time before the results start to show but it gives your ideal client the answers they feel they need to be ready to show up and do the work.

If working with you takes work, then you need to put work into your marketing.

Shortcuts don’t get you where you want to be

The best marketing is the marketing that you do – it’s not cut’n’pasted from someone else’s get-sales-quick formula.

Instead, I aim to show you a simple way of reframing your marketing using an easy process that I created for people just like you.

This blog is an example of this approach in action. Look back and you’ll find that:

  • The first section told you this is not for people who are looking for shortcuts; it’s for people who care about their clients and the work they do with them.
  • The next section explained an idea and the three questions you need to answer; all linked to my offer, which is my book that dives deeper into this way of marketing.
  • The following section was the why. It reinforced who this approach works for and why.

Shortcuts and formulas only really work if you’re in the same position (offer, audience, email list, client base, etc.) as the formula-maker. The who, what and why approach works because you’re engaging with your audience on their terms, according to their needs – you’re not pushing or manipulating; you’re educating and inviting. That’s a whole different relationship with your clients.

If all this feels like a good fit for you then you might like to consider my book Reframing Marketing: A 3-Step Guide to Effective and Ethical Marketing. Guaranteed free of magic beans and toxic marketing formulas, it’s a step-by-step guide to creating the most effective marketing for you, with clarity on what to do and how to do it. You can order your copy directly from me at