Why Online Marketing Advice From Big-Ticket Gurus Isn’t Working For You

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Photo from William Iven on Unsplash.

If your inbox looks like mine, you’re getting all sorts of invitations to events that promise to help you…

… create a launch that will bring you $30K in a week or two

… develop a script for discovery sessions that will convert prospects to clients faster than a griddle converts batter to pancakes

… build on a proven structure to create an info product that will make your computer spin words into gold

Most marketing consultants (including me) can help you do these things and a lot more.

So why do so many people sign up for these programs and see few or no results?

It’s like following a recipe to the letter — and then getting a cake that tastes like sawdust and looks flat too.

Why The Recipes Fail

You may wonder, “Why do you claim you’ve got the answer?” That’s a good question. The reason is that business owners often come to me *after* they’ve started these processes. When we work on creating a solid foundation — branding, copywriting, and strategy — we start to see the gap between idea and implementation.

By way of analogy, you won’t know why your recipe doesn’t work till you bring it to someone with a test kitchen.

Then you might realize your oven temperature isn’t regulated, your baking pan is too big… or whoever designed the recipe left off a key ingredient.

When I work with clients, we often reformulate the recipe to account for the missing ingredients. Or modify the recipe to use ingredients that you can find more easily (instead of searching the world for something exotic).

You will usually find one of these four ingredients missing.

That’s why it’s a good idea to test on a small scale and check your virtual cupboards before trying any new business recipe.

(1) You have a brilliant solution to a problem that people don’t know they have (or don’t care).

For example, let’s say you’re an instructional designer. You work with trainers to assess the effectiveness of their material. Did their audiences learn what they need to learn? Did you package your material effectively?

Now let’s say you’re tired of working on the corporate staff so you decide to help coaches who are creating teleseminar programs. It’s a great idea… but soon you realize these coaches really care about filling their programs with paying participants, some of whom will become lucrative clients. Often the best participants who write glowing testimonials have learned the least.

(2) You haven’t targeted the best audience for your offer.

Now let’s say “Donna” is a health coach. She wants to work with clients who are feeling overwhelmed by a diagnosis or a close encounter of a medical kind.

As a healthy person who had brief but traumatic encounters with the medical system, I’d be a great candidate for those services. When I got frustrated with the physical therapy offered by my insurance company, I paid out of pocket for a personal trainer who had rehab experience.

I’d be a good target for a health coach, especially if I got diagnosed with something serious. But Donna would have to find me. She’d have to find people who have the discretionary funds and the motivation to say, “I want this and I’m going to pay for it.”

To take another example, “Ed” is a coach who targets academics — professors in post-secondary educational institutions. Professors (I used to be one) are not accustomed to paying their own way.

Universities tend to have excellent benefits and also open their facilities to faculty, free of charge. In contrast, salespeople are used to paying for everything from conferences to giveaways.

(3) You have a great idea and a great audience, but you don’t have the platform to support your campaign.

Countless coaches will encourage you to survey your market to see what they *really* want. A few will be more demanding: they will encourage you to call some prospects to find out what they want and what they will pay for.

Still, other coaches will help you discover your passion by asking friends and colleagues, “Where do you see my strengths? Where am I the go-to person? What are my gifts?”

I recommend putting these questions together. You need to find out what you want to do AND what your market thinks you can do. For instance, I might come up with a brilliant program to build your business wardrobe. My target audience might love the idea. But they won’t buy this program from me, no matter what. I just don’t have a platform, not to mention the platform shoes that this program calls for.

(4) You’ve presented your best idea with a cookie-cutter look-alike formula.

Brenda is a business coach. When we talked on the phone, she shared a unique perspective on the business mindset. She knew exactly why some people responded to business challenges and some got cold feet. She knew exactly why some people needed gentle accountability partners and others needed mentors who were drill sergeants.

But her content didn’t reflect this knowledge. She put up some been-there-done-that copy about “heart-based business owners,” “magic wand solutions” and “conscious solopreneurs.”

Brenda presented herself as just another woo-woo coach. I barely recognized her as the same insightful colleague I’d met on the phone.

Bottom Line

When you bake a cake, there’s no use following a recipe if you’re missing some ingredients. Your cake will come out flat or taste like sawdust.

In the same way, there’s no use working with a business coach until you’ve assembled these ingredients. Over the years, I’ve found a lot of people have trouble identifying the story behind their client’s motivation to solve a big problem.

When a coach says, “Talk to the client,” they stop cold. Demographics aren’t enough. Finding a client avatar is a good first step, but often not enough for someone entering a new market.

You can now download a free report, The Surprising Way To Discover What REALLY Motivates Your Clients…a totally different approach that builds on storytelling. Click here to learn more and claim your download.

Originally published at https://cathygoodwin.com.

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time. http://cathygoodwin.com

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