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How I can prioritise your marketing & give you an easier life

More traffic is not the solution

(says this SEO specialist)


There are people out there who need what you do, but they’ve never heard of you. However, it might be a mistake to try to contact them now.

Your existing customers are fifteen times more likely to buy from you than a cold prospect. Those are better odds. Let’s start there.

But .. all customers are not alike.

It is ever harder to get people’s attention. Many people are overwhelmed with information. You need to be ardently, urgently wanted by your customers.

If you want to be looked forward to, every contact you have with your customer must be super relevant to them. No filler.

Maybe you can do that with your friends 1-1, but to do that with a large number of customers, realistically, we need to categorise them. Those customers who want adventure, we can talk to them about the thrill of your product. Those customers who want reliability, they need to see a different story about how you keep your promises.

I was giving this advice nearly 40 years ago and it’s still just as necessary today: always talk to the customer about their needs, about how you are the best answer to their unhappy situation and that you can be trusted to take them to a happy future, even if they don’t trust their own ability or stamina or situation.

Don’t talk about yourself, your product, or whatever. Always talk about your prospect or customer.

Having divided up your customers by their (probably psychological) need, let’s choose a box of customers who all share some characteristic .. we may as well choose the box we think gives us the best chance of success .. and let’s put together an offer to them.

An offer is a marketing term, it just means “hey, we offer to do this for you, what do you say?” I don’t mean discounting.

If they buy, what will you upsell?

If they don’t, what will you downsell?

(That could easily double your success.)

OK, so let’s imagine we’ve done that. It’s worked. You’ve made some money (or got whatever success you are aiming for). Usually it’s money and that’s great because this first project can pay for the rest of what I do many times over.

Step two

Let’s recap. We imagined I stuck a pin in your marketing process, right in the middle. We found your most profitable customers by dividing them in a different way and with that insight, we could answer their need refreshingly and so we sold some stuff. I used a multitude of techniques to make that happen but hawk’s eye view, we found a new way to understand and satisfy your customers.

You may think you know your customers and there isn’t a new way. Everyone thinks that, but what I’m looking for is hidden psychological drivers. My technique for finding what drives your customer also reveals how to communicate with them, including what sort of language to use so they trust you.

From my point of view, this makes for an affordable and bounded project that proves to you that I know what I’m doing. It’s a nice place to start and puts us in financial credit as it were. Obviously, there are no guarantees in sales and marketing .. it’s up to your clients whether they buy or not .. but that’s the goal.

Anyway, that’s nice but it’s not like the endless pint of Guinness. You can’t just keep doing the same thing with the same customers. They are on a journey, you are on a journey .. your relationships form an ecology and you need a process to manage it sustainably.

Good word, that, ‘sustainably’. I’m an ethical marketer, I believe marketing is a massive force for good, perhaps the greatest. My favourite definition of marketing is that marketers “discover problems and organise themselves sustainably to solve them”.

OK, back to work. At this point, we’ve been working on a single point in the middle of what I call the Surge Marketing PowerGrid. The columns of the grid are your customer types. The rows are the stages of the sale, with “never heard of you” at the top down to “I can’t live without you and you’re everything I ever talk about” at the bottom.

Here’s what it looks like:

To go further with this marketing programme that we are imagining together, we need to spread out.

If we were to spread sideways, we would design an offer for your next-best type of customer.

On the vertical axis, if we develop the same customer type to the next level, they are already a regular customer of yours, perhaps they would like to give you a testimonial or be a case study.

Or if we look at your sales funnel and work out where your customers came from, we could try to get more prospects to become customers. Or more one-off customers to become regulars.

There are many steps between “never heard of you” and “here’s my credit card”, so maybe we’ll just look one step away. Often there’s a soft, halfway commitment stage before someone buys that gives the prospect the opportunity to test the waters, to see if you are trustworthy. They may

  • take a test drive
  • come to a seminar or exhibition
  • enquire
  • download a tool or white paper
  • buy your e-book.

This is equivalent to the stage in a relationship where you go on holiday together to see if you can stand a week of each other before you propose marriage.

How many prospects have you got at that stage, who have taken that step but not yet purchased? How are you moving them along? What can we do to improve that?

So now we have a making-money-from-customers process for one or more types of customer, and a turning-prospects-into-clients process. You’re already more successful than you were and we haven’t really even started yet. There are all the types of customer, and all the steps for each type to optimise and develop.

I don’t mean to imply that you haven’t got a sales process. If you’re in business, of course you have. All of these steps in the sales cycle are already occurring. The way I might divide up your clients may be new, but you probably already categorise your customers your way and I’m not here to disrupt that unless it needs it. But I will bring marketing insight into why people buy. What I am saying is, let’s shine a light on all the parts of the sales cycle, in priority order, and see if we can improve it. Step by step.

So, you probably do have some clients. Those clients likely started out as prospects who circled around and eventually tried something low risk with you. Before that they joined your mailing list. Before that they followed you on social media. Before that they read one of your articles / saw you on TV / watched your video, and before that they’d never heard of you.

Let’s go in the other direction: did your client like what they received? If you provide value presumably they’ll become a regular client, a repeat customer for a while, so they become worth many thousands of pounds to you over the years. If they are regulars, maybe they’ll tell their friends, share your social media posts. And if you can get them to really fall for you, maybe they’ll

  • record a video testimonial for you
  • get up on a conference stage with you
  • shout about you from the rooftops
  • invest in you
  • invite you to email their list
  • get you to speak at their annual company jamboree.

That journey from never having heard of you to crazy advocate, to move people along each step, each step is a sale. And each conversion can be measured and optimised and monitored, maybe all on one dashboard. How many people moved from your social media to your mailing list this week?

Here’s an important KPI for you: how many people have the opportunity to buy from you at the moment?

It’s important to note that although the journey from never heard of you to bonkers advocate may be very similar for each category of client .. they all go through the same steps .. but the motivations are different and so the sale is different, the communications are all different. Some people on a train are going on a skiing holiday, others are off to the city for shopping, others are commuting. Same train, completely different feelings and stories. The prospect who wants stability and status is persuaded by different messages to the one who wants to make something big happen.

Don’t worry, this is not going to create more work. Life will be smoother. Fewer complaints and returns. Easier and more automated. Regular sales. If we can optimise every part of this, it makes for a much easier life.

This is what I do.

I’ll handle the complexity, and make it easier for you.

There aren’t very many people who can do what I do and if you would like to work with me, step one is for you to complete an application form. It gets pretty detailed so you’ll need a coffee or whatever. It’s a good, stimulating set of questions anyway, regardless of whether you press ‘send’ or not. Anyway, the reality is we should only work together if we both really want to, and this helps us work that out.

If you didn’t click it, that’s fine, obviously it’s up to you.

I like the idea of feminist marketing .. ah, maybe this will put you off the whole thing but anyway .. marketing with full consent. So you know what you’re getting into. No tricks. I only want you to click the application if you want to. In fact, we are only going to do anything at all if you and I both want to and continue to want to. I’ll never tie you into a long-term contract. Weird, eh? But that’s how I live.

John Allsopp
Ethical marketing consultant

tldr: I’m a marketing consultant. I fully expect to be able to save you heartache and help you be more successful (however you define it), but we’ve only just met so you have no reason to trust that’s true. So my proposed first step is to look anew at your clients and your business through a marketing and sales psychology lens. That should open up possibilities like a budding flower. I’ll then design an offer based on our new understanding, press the button, and the idea is the profit from that pays for everything else we decide to do and of course you get to keep the technique and use it ongoing. Obviously there are no guarantees in sales and marketing, but that’s the basic idea and we just keep finding the next best opportunity and improving things until you’ve an undeniably great and easy to manage marketing machine. If you like the sound of that, go here.

If you want it even simpler than that, we could get on the phone or Zoom or whatever for a half-hour conversation with the goal of us exploring together what would be the biggest leverage, highest reward action you can take. If you like the idea, you’re welcome to run with it yourself, but also I’ll probably make you an offer to help. ‘No’ is an acceptable answer to that, there will be no shenanigans or pressure, this is entirely a goodwill gesture and a chance for us to get to know and trust each other. Email me if you want to set up a time for that.