I’ve noticed something encouraging recently about the business owners that call me up for Discovery Sessions to explore their direct response marketing needs or about whether I am a good fit for ghostwriting their thought leadership or authority books: they have a clear focus on what they want to achieve and the needle moving activities required to accomplish their goals. This means that we’re talking about mechanics and media rather than basic goals and objectives.
A few years ago, even last year, this was not so much the case. It seemed as though people were ‘going through the motions’ and checking off items on a list they had been given, rather than being personally convinced of the need and value of marketing.
Let’s look at the three top reasons why I believe this is happening and what it means for your business: –
- Strategic Thinking: A few years ago I think that Australian small business owners believed that if you followed the rules you could create a profitable business that provided you with satisfaction and income. Now, I see business owners thinking strategically and asking lots more questions about why they need to carry out certain activities, when is the best time to do so, and what possible methods they can use. They are not just looking for busy work, they are looking for priority work that visibly moves the needle. This means that when they are ready to talk to people who might help them implement their strategy they are educated, committed and they understand the importance of timing and quality.
This means they value their time and know what they want to achieve before they talk to me so it’s easy to work out whether we are a good fit for each other and (if necessary) for me to explain why I think another ghostwriter or copywriter would be a better choice than myself… or why I believe that I am the best investment they could make.
Strategic thinking enables you to make wise decisions about the best possible investment of your time and resources in any given situation. It means that you have identified the activities that will provide the greatest impact and you can choose to commit to these needle moving activities and set aside other tempting distractions until later.
It leads to conversations like…
CALLER: “I want to create a marketing funnel for my widget. I will need at least one Landing Page, Lead Magnet, 10-part email sequence. I think my introductory offer will be for widget-X at $29, and the goal is a sale of widget-Y at $475, but I’m interested in your opinion.”
ME: “Tell me about your business, your clients, your target market, and your goal for this project?”
CALLER: Provides clear answers that indicate clarity (they’ve thought about these questions), and curiosity (they are open to a fresh set of eyes, and they realise there’s always more to learn).
ME: “Have you thought about … alternative activity, problem, or constraint?” – I’m trying to gauge whether they have actually thought about things or are simply following a template.
CALLER: “Yes. That’s not a problem because of…. Would you be interested in talking about timing and budget?”
CALLER: “I’m convinced that I need a book to expand my influence, but I want to write a book that has real value to people who may never work with me.”
ME: “Tell me about your background, your ideas, and why you want to get your ideas out in the world?”
CALLER: Demonstrates that they believe in their ideas and are not just following the ‘every business needs a book but most clients won’t read it’ syndrome.
ME: “Have you thought about whether you plan to find a traditional publisher or self-publish? What kind of platform do you currently have? Do you have a marketing plan? Have you already started on your manuscript?” – I’m trying to discover what stage they are at in the process and what they know.
… and since we both have a clear outcome in mind and respect each other’s time we are quickly able to determine whether we are a good fit for each other.
- Increased Confidence: This is usually a result of the strategic thinking mentioned in Item #1. Because business owners have done their own thinking and determined where they can add the greatest value and what assets and activities are the greatest needle movers for their business they are confident about their decisions.
Often they still want more information, although I suspect that in many cases this is a deliberate part of their interview process…because they are committed to taking action, they want to know whether I view the project with the same degree of conviction as they do, and they also recognise that while they are well-informed they are not experts in direct response marketing or book writing.
- Commitment to Service: This is really a chicken-egg cycle. I’m meeting more thought-leaders and business owners who have taken ownership of the responsibility that comes with their talents and made a commitment to make a significant contribution to the world. The reality that accompanies this acceptance is the need to make sure their voice is heard in ever-widening circles and therefore the need to market their ideas persuasively and aggressively.
One of my recent projects (a ghostwriting and marketing project that resulted in a New York Times Bestseller) sprang from this commitment to service. The author realised that his intellectual property could transform many more lives in book form, than would be possible through his (expensive) consulting. He put everything into his book, confident (See Item #2) that the only impact that could have on his income was positive and that his ideas were life-changing. The outcome is already exciting! He has received thousands of emails and letters from around the world with stories of how following the pathway he outlines has transformed lives, relationships and income far beyond expectations. He has also attracted international speaking opportunities, partnership offers, and consulting clients that he could previously only dream about reaching… all from a humble desire to offer his insight to as many people as he could reach.
I’m excited about the positive things that are happening in the Australian business community and the number of business owners who are committed to becoming a decisive force for good, helping their employees and communities find ways to employ their talents and make a difference.
Most business owners are acutely aware that unless their business is attracting customers and generating profits their days are numbered. It’s exciting to see that they’re taking the responsibility to do this seriously by focusing on effective marketing strategies and promoting their message widely and effectively.