Marketing / Content Marketing

Focusing on your marketing success

Daniel Bussius

Updated: Dec 11, 2023 · 8 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

Focusing on your marketing success

Despite today's challenges and the always uncertain future, we, as business owners and marketers, need to keep moving forward.

One way to keep progressing is to make sure that you build a strong foundation for your marketing success. By having robust fundamentals in place, you'll not only survive any current trials, but you'll also be able to thrive no matter what tomorrow brings.

Here are some crucial areas that you need to address for sustained success:

1. The value exchange

2. Identifying your ideal customers

3. Developing a precise message

4. Constructing your customer journey

5. Use an editorial calendar

6. Implementing marketing automation

7. Cultivating your online presence

The Value Exchange

To understand the idea of value exchange in your marketing communications, let's first discuss how our brains are wired.

The human brain has experienced three significant evolutions. When you're marketing to someone, your messaging hits all three levels.

The Three Human Brains

1. The Gatekeeper (aka Reptilian Brain): First, you have to get through the Gatekeeper or the Reptilian brain. The Gatekeeper is stingy and doesn't want to expend too much energy. When presented with a stimulus, all it cares about is: Will it hurt me? Can I mate with it? Can I eat it? When a prospect receives messaging from your brand, regardless of the type of messaging (email, video, or social media), the Gatekeeper wonders... should I invest the calories (aka the time and energy) it takes to send this data "up the ladder" to the higher functioning parts of the brain?

2. The Feeling Brain (aka Mammalian Brain): If you make it through the Reptilian Brain, the next level is the feeling, or Mammalian, brain. This is where emotion is processed and where the potential customer will judge how your messaging makes them feel.

3. The Logical Brain: This is where the in-depth decision-making occurs, where language, ideas, concepts, and visions reside. The final decision to buy your product or services occurs in the Logical Brain.

If you want to move beyond the Gatekeeper and make it all the way through the information evaluation process, you need to design your approach so that the brain doesn't have to work too hard.

I'll use a metaphor to illustrate…

When you give your prospect a slice of information, you are delivering them a bowling ball. A prospect can only carry one bowling ball (one call-to-action (CTA)) at a time. But, as marketers, we always want to offer our customers more, so we toss them another bowling ball. Now they've got their arms wrapped around two bowling balls, which isn't terrible, but it's not ideal either. The trouble really starts when you shove a third offer, benefit, or feature at them. Now they have too many bowling balls to hold. So, what do they do? The Reptilian brain says, "This is too much work, let's get out of here." They click off, and they're gone.

So, how do we avoid the "three bowling ball" dilemma?

Deliver your message in small chunks:

  • Only one primary CTA. Less is more when it comes to CTAs. Confusion leads to drop-offs.
  • Be clear and concise. Don't go on and on. Say what you need to say smoothly and succinctly.
  • Don't clutter up your space. It's not only OK, but preferable to leave some blank space.
  • Let's discuss the concept of value exchange. Every time you communicate with a prospect or customer, you create a friction point. You are either adding value or removing value. You are engaged in "relationship banking." Think of this like you would your checkbook - you cannot make withdrawals without a balance. So, be sure to build a balance of trust and value before you make a withdrawal. Here is a simple, value-first formula that illustrates the concept: Give Value + Give Value + Give Value = Make an Ask.

    I'm not saying that you don't give them a CTA or don't ask them to shop in the first three emails. Instead, I'm advocating that the way your communication is structured is intending to deliver value/education/helpful information first and foremost.

    Identifying Your Ideal Customers

    A crucial component of your marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer. You should know as much as possible about them – how old they are, where they live, their primary challenges, and what they want. Armed with these insights, you'll be able to communicate and connect with them quicker.

    The primary benefits of mapping out your target customers are:

  • Establish a framework for how to communicate.
  • Outline for complementary interests.
  • Create a tool for advertising criteria.
  • Developing a Precise Message

    Writing precise messages is perhaps the best way to make sure that you don't hand your prospect too many bowling balls. Here are some perspectives to consider to ensure that you're presenting a clear message:

  • Customers don't buy "things."
  • Decisions are not primarily based on logic (they're based on emotion!).
  • Features don't sell (unless new tech).
  • No one cares about you or your business (they care about themselves).
  • Don't overwhelm your reader. Keep your message short and on point.
  • Constructing Your Customer Journey

    Once you have identified your ideal customer and developed a precise message, it's time to map out your customer's journey. There are necessary steps that take your prospect from Awareness to Raving Customer.

    Whatever those steps are, you need to clearly define them so you can have the right assets, communication, and cadence to deliver the value required to get them to progress to the next step.

    Once you've mapped out the customer's journey (and tied it to marketing automation), you're able to better identify the gaps. Then you can see where your marketing is failing and make a plan to bridge those gaps.

    This process optimizes and tightens your marketing approach. It also makes sure that you don't hammer your prospect with the same message over time.

    Use an Editorial Calendar

    Preparing your content in advance using an editorial calendar is a highly-effective technique. An editorial calendar helps solidify consistent content production. Also, it enables you to focus and think more strategically about the purpose of your content.

    Ideally, you could plan the entire year, or, if that feels like too much, try two quarters.

    For each month, list out what's outlined in the bullet points below:

  • All holidays and industry-related events your audience may be interested in.
  • The product or service you want to focus on each month.
  • A sale or promotion you want to focus on each month.
  • The various types of content you will use for each month, whether that's a blog post, podcast, webinar, etc.
  • Implementing Marketing Automation

    On average, a prospect is contacted by a brand twice. As a rule of thumb, a prospect won't respond until after four points of contact have been made. Usually, it takes seven contact points before a prospect converts.

    What does this mean? Your brand needs to maintain frequent contact with your prospects.

    Marketing automation supports this process while saving you some serious time, money, and effort by:

  • Supplementing sales and marketing.
  • Automating redundant emails and tasks.
  • Segmenting customized communication, offers, and opportunities.
  • All of this can be accomplished simply and easily. The key is to not overthink it. Don't try to overbuild a complex automation monster.

    A great example of implementing marketing automation is my agency's "Core Funnel," a proven strategy that works for my own agency as well as for our clients. The key lies in its simplicity, its follow up, and its length. It takes customers through 50 days of engagement, with 20 touchpoints, five offers, all in one core funnel.

    Cultivating Your Online Presence

    It is vital to ensure that your website and online presence are dialed in. They should be user-friendly, clear, and use images that are aligned with your messaging.

    Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Does your homepage deliver clarity for what you offer, who you serve, and the success you can provide your customers?
  • Is your website design and aesthetic in line with your pricing?
  • How quickly can your customers get to what they are seeking?
  • Do you offer lead magnets that deliver value and clarity in product decisions?
  • Do you have a CRM with email automation that has follow up to deliver value?
  • Putting it All Together

    Keep these core concepts in mind:

  • Re-evaluate your transactional email cadence and product focus.
  • Communicate assurances for your customers’ safety regarding your products/services they consume.
  • Deliver meaningful value-first emails.
  • Develop and distribute useful information to your customer base.
  • Increase your communication cadence using the value-first approach.
  • About the Author

    Daniel Bussius is the CEO of the full-service digital agency, Built By Love. Built By Love offers full-service digital marketing, strategy, creative, and execution. Daniel is one of the top Infusionsoft/Keap Certified Partners in the world.

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