Marketing, Simplified

Aaron Hoos

I talk to a lot of business owners.

Many are baffled by marketing.

It’s not their fault. The world of marketing seems complex… to the point of being confusing and even overwhelming to some.

It’s made more-so by the constant barrage of gurus who promise that if you “hustle” hard enough and use [whatever their specific method happens to be] you’ll win the game.

But that’s BS.

Want to win at the marketing game?

Here is marketing, simplified…

MARKETING, SIMPLIFIED

Step 1. Find the people who have the problem that you solve.

Step 2. Build a relationship with those people.

Step 3. Tell them about your solution.

Step 4. Get better at telling them about your solution.

That’s it. That’s marketing. Four simple steps.

Just do those things, and get progressively better at it, and you’ll master marketing.

The key points are NOT which platforms to do it on, or how often in a day you should do something, or how much you should spend, or what keywords to use.

Those are factors but the most important pieces are: (1) the solution you have, (2) the relationship you build, (3) the act of telling others, and (4) your progressive improvement.

Boom. There’s your marketing plan.

MARKETING MASTERY IN DETAIL

Let’s dig into those four steps in greater detail…

Step 1. Find the people who have the problem that you solve..

First, this presumes that you have a solution to a problem—something of value that other people want or need.

Next, you need to find the people who need help. I can’t tell you how to easily do that in this blog post since it’s often specific to your audience. Building a presence on social media is a great start. Advertising on social media is also a smart move. It won’t hit every potential audience but chances are you’ll find some.

And no, there is no panacea. A viral video or SEO optimization or retweeting memes is not going to do it.

Step 2. Build a relationship with those people.

As you find your audience, connect with them. Use empathy and establish rapport. Don’t be weird, be a human being and connect with other human beings as if you were at a social gathering. People don’t like being marketed to in a gimmicky way; they want human interaction.

Step 3. Tell them about your solution.

Use a compelling promise, urgency, risk reversal, and other copywriting strategies to tell your audience about how you can help them.

(Want to make sure they really get what you’re offering? Use this Value Gauge to help them understand the return on the investment of their purchase.)

Step 4. Get better at telling them about your solution.

Now, go back and look at how you are telling them. Use analytics to understand the answers to questions like:

  • Are people buying?
  • How many people are buying?
  • How much are they spending?
  • When and where are they buying?

That’s it. That is marketing.

If you want to take it to the next level, draw it out in a simple chart (called a Sales Funnel) and look for ways to do more of each step, and to get constantly get better. (You can master your marketing by mastering your sales funnel. Do yourself a favor and check out my short blog series called Sales Funnel 101, or pick up a copy of my book The Sales Funnel Bible.)

Here’s the best part: you don’t need to do anything extra or invest in anything more. You can start marketing right now (even before you have a product or service). Just go out and find someone with a problem you can solve and strike up the conversation with that person about their problem. Ask them questions. Listen. Engage. If they ask you how to solve the problem, tell them. Even if they don’t ask right now, that’s okay because you have gained a great contact and invaluable information about the problem.

SUMMARY

Marketing is not magic. It’s not even that complicated. Marketing is simple. It’s just these 4 simple steps done over and over through trial and effort, without tricks or mystery… simply to connect with other humans and to tell them about how you can help them.

A marketing master is not someone who has more tricks up his or her sleeve; a marketing master is simply someone who has figured out how to do the four steps listed above and does those steps increasingly well.

My First Facebook Live Video Is In The Books

Hope you’re having a great start to 2018!

One of the things I want to do more of this year is provide more video training content for real estate investors. I already provide some training content… on YouTube, and elsewhere, but I love Facebook Live and I wanted to do some there too.

So here I am getting ready for the video (just testing out the camera position and lighting)…

Aaron Hoos

And here I am practicing…

Aaron Hoos

And practicing some more…

Aaron Hoos

And then I started!

Here’s the video below…

There were some quirks and kinks to work out but I’m happy with that as my first video attempt.

Note for next time:

  • Manage the glare a bit better
  • Avoid wearing a striped shirt maybe?
  • Speak a little more slowly

Here’s what I drew on the board, in case you’re curious…

Aaron Hoos Sales Funnel

And here are the 3 actions that I ended the video with…

Aaron Hoos

Dotcom Secrets: The Sales Funnel Book I Wish I’d Written

Every once in a while I encounter a book that I read from cover to cover and thing, “I wish I wrote that.”

It doesn’t happen a lot. But when it does happen, I usually read the book a second time and take a ton of notes.

Such was the case with this book, DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson.

Aaron Hoos

When I wrote my book, The Sales Funnel Bible, not a lot of people had heard of sales funnels. I usually had to spend time answering questions like, “What is a sales funnel?” before I could dig into how to improve your business with your sales funnel.

But funnels are big now. Really big. And among those raising awareness of funnels is Russell Brunson. He has a piece of software called “ClickFunnels” that businesses can use to market and sell their products and services. It’s kind of a plug-and-play all-in-one software.

And, to help him promote ClickFunnels, he has heavily marketed this book to describe funnels (and get people to buy ClickFunnels).

And the book is excellent. It’s simple to understand, incredibly practical, versatile for many businesses, and includes templates and scripts. The templates and scripts are worth well more than the price of the book.

Now, I’m not going to rush out and trash all the copies of The Sales Funnel Bible. I take a different approach: a little higher level, a little broader (outside of the scope of online businesses), a bit more strategic in some ways, a bit more tactical in others.

But Brunson’s book is a solid start for someone who is learning about sales funnels and how the can improve a business. It’s simple, elegant, visually appealing, and highly actionable. I wish I’d written it.

You can buy it here on Amazon if you want…

Most People Start Businesses This “Backwards” Way (Here’s What To Do Instead)

When it comes to starting a business, there’s the simple, straightforward way that is more likely to succeed… and then there’s the way that most people do it.

Aaron Hoos

When I was a kid, I wanted to start a business. I thought about it constantly!

And my thoughts always started in the same place: what should I sell?

When my mind drew a blank I thought I was destined for a 9-5 job!

Problem is, that’s the backwards way to think about it. Yet, that’s how many aspiring entrepreneurs (not just me!) start their thought process. They think about what they should sell first. They try to come up with a product or service. They try to invent a product or innovate a new way of doing something.

This doesn’t work because it’s so wide open. It’s too hazy of a starting point and could go in any direction (often the wrong direction!)

It wasn’t until I was well into my career as a freelancer — having already started and failed once as a freelance writer, then picked myself up and started again — that I realized the better way to start a business…

Here’s How To Start A Business — The Better Way…

Start with an audience. Find a group of people that you are familiar with, or have a network around, or who you can connect with.

Get to know them. Really well. Find out everything you can about them. (If you pick the right group of people, this will go fast because you already know them well.

Identify a problem they have. Everyone has problems, challenges, obstacles, unfulfilled goals. Find the biggest burning problems they have.

Solve that problem. Figure out how to solve their problem. Maybe through a skill you have, maybe through a product you can make or import, maybe through a connection you have in your network or a relationship you can go out to build.

That’s it.

What? Were you looking for something more complicated than that? It’s not more complicated than that but most people make it more complicated than that.

Just find a problem that you can solve, and solve it. Period. Build a sales funnel around that solution and boom! You have a business.

If you do that for your network of people, and then expand it out to serve other similar clients, you can build up a solid business that gives you a comfortable life… or even more!

And this method works because it ensures that people will more likely pay for your solution (compared to the alternative of you identifying something to sell but not finding anyone to pay for it).

Of course you’ll want to use your skills and other advantages to solve the problem. If you identify an audience with a problem that you can’t solve, either find someone else to solve it or find a different problem or even a different audience. There needs to be alignment between what your audience needs and what you can do. But the key here is to start with the problem and work backwards toward yourself.

For The Naysayers

Some of you will point out something like, “well my cousin’s friend’s uncle started with a product and he’s doing really well.”

Great. Good for him. There’s always an exception to the rule. But chances are, the product that he brought to market did already solve a problem for a specific audience, he just lucked out by not identifying the audience and their problem explicitly first.

I found the same thing in my first foray into freelance writing: I still made money; I still had clients. But I struggled (and ultimately failed) because I didn’t solve one audience’s problem. And then the second time I started freelancing, I lucked into an audience that needed my services. Only later did I realize that I should start with the audience and their problem… and as soon as I focused on that, my business shifted dramatically.

I see this happening all the time with entrepreneurs: the ones who start with the product will struggle and may or may not (probably not) succeed; meanwhile, the ones who start with the audience and their problem dramatically increase the likelihood of success.

Summary

If you want to start a new business or grow an existing one, I’m convinced that the fastest, simplest, and most profitable way to do it is to go backwards from the way everyone else is doing it. Start with an audience and their problem, and solve it.

 


Aaron Hoos, writerAaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He’s the author of several books, including The Sales Funnel Bible.

Social Media Business Hour Podcast: Learn The Secrets Of Profitable Sales Funnels And Copywriting

social-media-business-hour-podcast-aaron-hoos-201512

I was familiar with Nile Nickel’s Social Media Business Hour podcast so I was honored to be invited on as a guest. We covered a lot of ground and the podcast went by so quickly!

We talked about how a sales funnel should be defined (most people define it incorrectly), and the importance of an intentional sales funnel, rather than a sales funnel that grows organically and exists by default. We talk about how I got into sales funnels in the first place and what attracted me to profitable sales funnels as one of the most compelling opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs. Then, since the podcast is about social media, I connected it back to social media and showed how your sales funnel needs to exist even in your social content. Then I shared (overshared?) my formula for creating amazing headlines — this piece was really valuable for Nile’s audience!

Click here to listen to my interview with Nile Nickel about profitable sales funnels and copywriting

Want to interview me on your podcast? Click here to learn how to book me as a guest.