This is a 15 part series written every week day starting Oct 7th, 2021. I will add to this post daily.
Since starting my business over a year ago, I’ve simplified my content strategy and focused my energy on Instagram, email, and podcasting.
I’ll explain why and how it’s going in an upcoming article.
But like any good marketer and scientist, you have to run some experiments.
So let me introduce you to my next test.
The Marketing is Dead Series.
This 15 part series will explore the anatomy of ‘marketing.’
What’s working, what’s not, and how you can build a simple and sustainable marketing plan that works for you.
My goal with this series (and with my brand), is to show people that marketing is changing.
The shoulds, templates, and “proven processes,” of the marketing industry are destroying it.
Traditional marketing is not all bad, but many of the intentions behind it are harmful to the client and unsustainable for the marketer.
It’s time to think outside the marketing box and stop following the few at the “top.”
I’ve learned a lot over the past 16 months of running HeartFunnels.
I look forward to sharing with you some things about marketing that you’ve never thought about before.
–> We’re going to go even deeper on Oct 27th during the ‘Marketing is dead, do this instead’ training.
Let’s have some fun.
Part 1 – How We Got Here
Welcome to day one!
Let me start by saying something obvious. Marketing isn’t dead, it’s evolving.
More so today than I think it has in a long time.
Not necessarily the platforms or mediums we use to do marketing, but the intentions behind it.
It’s changing at its core and I don’t want you to be left behind.
So when I say marketing is dead, I mean that the word ‘marketing’ is getting lost in the sauce.
Like the word ‘entrepreneur’ did over the past 5 years.
It lost a lot of its weight and meaning when people started associating marketing with social media and annoying youtube ads.
“Oh, you’re a marketer, so you’re the one who runs all those obnoxious ads 24/7?”
The truth is, marketing defines more of your daily actions than you probably think.
If you’re talking politics, you’re also talking marketing.
If you’re trying to get hired, raise money, or get people to stop using plastic, you’re marketing.
When you’re trying to make a good first impression on a date, you’re marketing.
It’s an extremely powerful and useful skill.
But most people do it wrong, especially when it comes to their business.
Yes, marketing is what we do in order to drive sales, but first (and more importantly), it’s how we connect with people.
It’s how we package up and deliver ideas worth spreading.
It’s how we catalyze change.
Over the past 50+ years, many people and companies have used marketing for the sole purpose of making money.
A handful of those people got really good at doing it, so they started teaching others.
Next thing you know, you’ve got a plethora of “programs” teaching the same ‘ol sh*t and charging a pretty penny for it (ending in 97 of course #psychology).
And now we’re here.
pause for deep breath ending in a soft sigh
This series will explore the anatomy of marketing, what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do instead.
But I want to make sure you understand who I’m talking to.
Because I wouldn’t be a good marketer if I was talking to everyone, right?
I’m talking to you if you’re a coach, healer, or creator.
Someone who falls more on the introverted, energetically sensitive, creative side of the spectrum.
Someone who’s turned off by most of the marketing ‘tactics’ out there.
Someone who gets burned out and overwhelmed easily.
Someone who is anti-hustle culture. Someone who would rather work efficiently / effectively rather than work hard and grind.
Someone who cares about ethical marketing and wants to grow a thriving business in a way that feels good
If that sounds like you, check back tomorrow for part 2.
I’m going to talk about the top mistakes we make as marketers.
Part 2 – Top marketing mistakes
I’ve made plenty of marketing mistakes over the years.
Maybe all of them…
Here are the most common and most detrimental mistakes that I see people making.
The cause and solution are both pretty clear, but I will dive into them more throughout the series.
- Not having a realistic plan
- Not tracking your efforts / results
- Trying to be everywhere
- Doing too many things
- Prioritizing quantity
- Doing the wrong things
- Lack of consistency
- Not taking into account your own energy
- Forgetting your intentions / values
- Losing curiosity
- Not building authentic relationships
- Blending in & playing it safe
Did any of these sting?
Focus on those.
Part 3 – Bro Marketing, The End of A Reign
If you’ve never heard of the term “bro marketing,” it’s likely you are one.
But it’s okay.
It’s not your fault.
Bro marketing is the use of manipulative marketing tactics that put someone in a vulnerable state and pressure them into making a purchase decision.
The worst part is, it’s baked into most of the marketing stuff we’ve learned.
Why? Because it works.
It makes people money, which is often the most important indicator of success.
So, like I said yesterday, the people at the “top” make loads more money by teaching it.
Thus, bro marketing is perpetuated.
Bro marketing refers more so to the intention behind the marketing than the actual strategies being used.
Countdown timers aren’t inherently bad, but “bros” use them to create fake scarcity and pressure someone into buying.
Saying, “only 2 spots left,” when there isn’t actually a limit is bro marketing.
Putting, “RE” in your subject line to make it seem as if you already have an email thread with the recipient is bro marketing.
Writing super long sales pages that use scarcity, fomo, psychological manipulation, and bloated promises is bro marketing.
Using buzz words like ethical, non-sleazy and non-salesy without defining what they actually mean, is bro marketing. (greenwashing for bros…).
Claiming your offers are actually worth, *insert huge random number ending in 97,* then slashing it down to a fraction of that price, is bro marketing.
Being dishonest to make a sale is bro marketing, and it sucks.
But the bro marketing reign is coming to an end.
Let me tell you a super short story.
I studied marketing in college (most of which I don’t use).
Then I met some internet marketers and started going to masterminds.
I wanted to make a lot of money (who doesn’t).
I started reading all the books, taking the courses, joining the programs…so on and so forth.
I signed up for Clickfunnels and soaked it all up.
Before I knew it, I was a full-fledged bro!
The thing is, it never felt quite right and I never saw real results.
It always felt like it wasn’t mine.
Like I was just jumping in line.
Like I was bothering people.
Fast forward to 2019 and I was traveling the world and freelancing for a few clients.
When the pandemic surprised us, I decided to take the extra time to turn my freelancing into a real business.
Thus, HeartFunels was started.
Not too long after starting, I wanted to stop marketing altogether.
I was over it. It felt so misaligned. Like everything I was doing was so forced.
I was over it.
So I took a little break and gave myself space to think.
This is when I started learning more about bro marketing.
The walls started to come down.
The ‘shoulds’ went away and the marketing world became my playground.
“Wait, so I don’t have to do it this way?”
This was both liberating and infuriating.
When I started to see bro marketing for what it is, I got pissed.
How annoying. How invasive and dishonest. How cringy and selfish.
This lit a fire under me and my brand.
All of a sudden, I had a new vision and purpose.
Empower a sh*t ton of coaches, healers, authors, speakers, and creators with the ability to build sustainable marketing ecosystems. To teach marketing minimalism and to eradicate bro marketing. To make marketing human and relationship-focused. To help build brands that have a positive impact on people and the planet.
So consider this an invitation to join me in eradicating bro marketing.
Instead, let’s do marketing in a way that empowers your people and energizes you in the process.
Okay, that’s it.
Come back tomorrow to learn wtf ethical marketing even means.
Part 4 – WTF is Ethical marketing?
The other day I said that some marketers use buzz words to cover up their real intentions.
For example, “ethical marketing.”
What does this actually mean?
A lawn care company can throw the word “green” into their slogan to increase profits, and continue to pollute the planet.
We have to be careful of “greenwashing.”
Both as marketers and consumers.
As a marketer, be clear on what “ethical” means to you and your people.
Then, you can communicate that in your messaging to create a safe and honest conversion experience.
To me, ethical marketing means..
Giving people all the important information needed to make a safe, realistic, logical decision that is best for them.
When writing copy – empowering them and always giving them an exit strategy (ie: avoiding “this is your ticket out” language)
Personally guiding them through the 4 key shifts so they know if it’s right for them and feel comfortable either moving forward or saying no (Self-belief, Trust, Authority, Relevancy) – I’ll talk about this more later.
Being honest and transparent.
Understanding them and their needs. Listening and staying curious. Showing compassion and empathy.
Setting clear boundaries so I never take on a client who isn’t a fit.
Being confident in my ability to stand by my promise. Making a clear promise.
Pricing fairly and never making up numbers.
Creating with my values and vision in mind.
Treating people as people, not numbers or dollars.
Building real human relationships first.
Reminder: Things like scarcity and pressure are not inherently bad and can often be helpful if used correctly. But we have to unlearn the traditional ways of using them before we can become ethical marketers.
For example, if you’re launching a group coaching program and have 8 out of 10 people signed up, you can create ethical scarcity and pressure by letting your people know you have two spots left before xyz date.
Yes, it’s that simple
Let’s get back to being human marketers…not bros! lol
Come back tomorrow to learn about the most important prerequisite to marketing. Without this, your marketing will never work.
Part 5 – The Most important prerequisite to marketing
Can you guess what it is?
Think about it this way….
What’s a product or service that you love and have been using for a while?
Take a second.
Maybe it’s a hygiene product or food product.
Maybe it’s clothing or exercise related?
Okay. Why are you such a loyal customer?
In most cases, it’s because you trust it to produce the promise.
It’s likely a quality product.
You also probably have some sort of relationship with the company, right?
Maybe you just buy it, use it, and that’s all. But maybe you tell all your friends about it. Maybe you have a sticker on your water bottle.
I think you know the answer now.
The most important and most challenging prerequisite to marketing is….
While important, I’m not talking fonts, colors, and a logo.
I’m talking about the feeling you have when you interact with it.
That feeling of, “they actually give a sh*t about me.”
That feeling that makes you want to tell people about it.
The language they use and the energy they exude.
Branding is not just the external clothing of a brand, but it’s also the internal personality.
The mission. The purpose. The story. The why.
The values, intentions, and unique character straits.
As a marketer and business owner, if you don’t understand these, then neither will your people.
Without these, you’re just another thing.
Your marketing fits inside your brand, not the other way around.
Your messaging connect people with your brand.
So before you create your marketing ecosystem, lay a solid brand foundation to build upon.
This will make things so much easier on you.
Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about what we’ve learned from Elon.
Part 6 – What we’ve learned from Elon
Like him or not, Elon is a genius marketer.
Why? Because he’s an engineer who’s obsessed with his product.
This results in a few things.
- A great product
- Trust that Elon will do whatever he needs to produce great products
- A strong brand
The thing we all know about Elon is that he’s a pretty unique guy.
He got high and shot his flame-thrower on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
He tweets about his companies.
He created the cybertruck and broke the “bulletproof” window at the unveiling.
He’s a little socially awkward.
He’s really smart.
And he doesn’t try to be anyone else.
Because of this, Tesla has become the top car company in the world and has never paid for advertising.
Tesla’s competitors spend 10’s of millions on ads yet are still being lapped by Tesla.
So what can we learn?
Without a great product, we have nothing.
Many people want to jump into marketing before they have a market-ready product.
This makes things messy.
Start by building your product (offer, service, digital) and then tweaking it until you can stand by it confidently.
Uncertainty shows, and it will make your marketing a lot more painful.
A great product will sell itself.
All you need is 10 people to tell 10 people about their awesome experience and you’ve got 100 people who trust your brand.
Let that sink in.
Alright. So far, the ‘Marketing is Dead’ series has covered…
- How we got here
- Top marketing mistakes
- Bro marketing
- Ethical marketing
- Importance of a brand
- Building a great product
And we still have 9 more to go 🙂
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about simple marketing plans.
Part 7 – Failing to have a marketing plan is planning to fail at marketing
You probably already know this.
But let me ask you a couple of questions.
Do you have a plan?
Do you stick to your plan?
How often do you look at it?
Is it working?
Is it overwhelming?
Does it feel like pulling teeth?
Is it more than 1 page?
Hell, is it more than a few bullets?
There is no need to overcomplicate your marketing plan…or any plan for that matter.
Less is often more.
You can add things later.
So I created the “Boring AF Marketing Plan” template, which I guide my clients through.
Every single time, there is a moment wherein they finally realize it really can be that simple.
I can feel the weight leave their shoulders.
When you boil it all down, marketing is the ability to get in front of new people, connect with those people, and invite them to work with you when they’re ready.
I like to say that everyone needs to go through the 4 key shifts before they can confidently make a buying decision.
- S – Self-belief
- T – Trust
- A – Authority
- R – Relevancy
I will cover these deeper on the “Marketing is dead, do this instead” training, on Oct 27th.
The platforms we decide to be on, and the content we choose to create must align with those shifts.
More importantly, they must align with your energy.
If creating TikToks drains you, you won’t stick with it, and you won’t see any results.
We’re aiming for long-term success and sustainability here.
Your marketing plan should be a roadmap to get there.
And remember, at the end of the day, marketing is experimenting.
We never know for sure what’s going to click. So we put together our best hypothesis and get in the lab.
Side note: I can’t finish this post without mentioning something really important.
The customer journey doesn’t end once they pay you.
An ethical marketing plan should also lay out how we will…
- Make it a unique experience for them
- Deliver the promise
- Give them the tools they need to become advocates for you
- Offboard and support them once their journey with you is complete.
Seth Godin says it best:
“Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.”
You don’t need to have thousands of followers on social media or a huge email list, you just need a handful of people that get it.
Growth comes later.
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about funnels vs. marketing ecosystems.
Part 8 – Funnel vs. Ecosystem
Let’s get right into it.
Marketing is relationships. It’s human. And human relationships are not linear or incremental. Our marketing should adapt to the human relationship, not the other way around.
Marketing funnels can provide some structural support, but they are missing some key components.
Sales funnel: the marketing term for the journey potential customers go through on the way to a purchase. It’s an attempt to predict the buyer’s behavior along a finite customer journey. It’s often automated and sales-focused.
Marketing ecosystem: A sustainable and ethical marketing cycle made up of symbiotic marketing components that aim to give people all the information required to make a confident decision. It mimics human behavior, which is often unique for every prospect. It’s a safe, involved, and adaptable conversion experience.
The term “sales funnel” comes with a lot of baggage.
The bro marketers of the world really ran with this idea of making money through upsells, downsells, cross-sells, ascension, and tripwires.
Even the term ‘funnel’ is inorganic and puts the emphasis on the strategy, not the human.
Being pushed through someone’s “funnel,” designed to squeeze money out of you, is not a good feeling.
Instead, a marketing ecosystem should create…
- Real human relationships
- A safe and ethical conversion experience
- Evolution and innovation
- Happy and loyal clients / advocates
It cultivates and perpetuates the change you want to see in the world.
It allows you to energize your people and your people to energize you.
Let’s unlearn the bro marketing way and lean into ethical and intentional marketing.
Stop focusing on the next funnel tactic and put your energy where it belongs.
Then we can build a sustainable ecosystem around it.
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about Marketing Architecture and how to build your ecosystem.
Part 9 – Markitect (marketing architecture)
Are you a visual person?
When putting together any sort of marketing plan or funnel, I found myself sketching it out on paper first.
Ever done that?
Architecting the “blueprint” for your marketing ecosystem is extremely helpful when it comes time to build it.
Marketing plan > Blueprint > Build > Track > Tweak
Whether you’re hiring someone to build it or building it yourself, you want to make sure your infrastructure aligns with the strategy.
You want to make sure it’s flexible. You’re website, for example, will not stay the same forever.
In fact, it may even change on a monthly basis.
An unstable structure may cause leaks, or even worse, a total collapse in your ecosystem when trying to grow or scale.
It’s worth setting up right the first time.
So, it’s time to put your markitect (marketing architect) hat on and get to sketching.
There is a tool I love to use for this called Lucidchart, but paper is always good too.
If you want help with any of this, I’m always here. Check out the HeartFunnel Blueprint call.
Tomorrow, I’m going got tell you about the essential marketing components. Stuff like landing pages, copy, email tools, etc.
Part 10 – Essential marketing components
These are the marketing essentials you’ll need to build your marketing ecosystem. You can learn how to do it yourself or hire help.
My recommendation is to hire out the areas that are going to drain too much of your energy and take too long to learn.
First, you’ll need some sort of online real estate.
A website or landing page so people can learn about your brand, see your offers, and sign up for your email list.
There are plenty of tools out there that make this pretty simple, or you can hire someone to build it for you.
You’ll need some copy to add to that page.
Copywriting often intimidates people, but really all you’re doing is clearly communicating with your people.
Some copywriters are blunt, some are funny, and some are professional.
There really isn’t one right way to write copy.
Instead, be yourself, cut the fat, make it easy to digest and understand, and you’ll be fine.
I don’t recommend hiring a copywriter right off the bat, unless they know as much about your people as you do.
It can however be worth investing in an experienced copywriter once you’ve got some momentum in your business. But be careful outsourcing your voice because that’s usually what people connect with the most.
You’ll also want to be able to collect emails using a form and ESP (email service provider). Tools like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and ConvertKit are well known.
I personally love ActiveCampaign.
This will allow you to grow your email list, create automated email sequences, and send weekly campaigns if that aligns with your marketing plan.
Next, you’ll want to have some quality designs to portray your brand and deliver your ideas.
For example, I learned Canva years ago and use it to create all my designs (Instagram graphics, blog images, email headers, website icons, etc).
This can really help you stand out.
There’s nothing worse than inconsistent, low-quality designs when interacting with a brand.
In summary, the main components are:
- Website / landing page
- ESP – email service provider
There are plenty more things you can do, like paid advertising, videos, SEO, etc. But these are the essentials.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you the truth about marketing and why most people give up.
Part 11 – Reality check, marketing is not easy
“Just whip up a quick funnel, write some compelling copy, and you’ll get clients…it’s easy.”
This is the message that so many people (who are selling you something) are putting out there.
It’s not true.
Getting in front of the right people and being able to convert them into happy clients is hard.
Knowing this will help you in the long run.
Joining a program or signing up for a course expecting to get an influx of clients in the first 30-60 days is unrealistic and will likely lead to you giving up.
Depending on where you are in your business, you may already know all this.
Cut yourself some slack.
We’re playing the long game here.
I think of business and marketing as a 4 number code lock.
You’ve got 10 numbers to choose from and 4 different dials. The lock will only open when all 4 dials show the right number.
It’s your job as a marketer to figure out the combination.
The dials may be…
🔒 Audience / niche / the specific people you serve
🔒 Product / offer / service / promise
🔒 Message / copy / content
🔒 Content mediums / social media platforms
If you jump from platform to platform too quickly, you may never give it the time it needs to produce results.
If you stick with the wrong platform for too long, you may burn out and give up.
If your message is confusing, no platform will work.
To put it simply, pick the combination you think will work and give it enough time and energy to see if it works.
Then, change the numbers around until it opens.
Think in terms of years, not months.
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about becoming a media company.
Part 12 – Become a media company
There are some really exciting things happening in the marketing world.
One of them is that we’re moving more towards a creator’s economy.
With companies like Patreon and YouTube, we’re able to build our own communities who can support our art, whatever that is for you (I’m going to use the word art, content, and media interchangeably).
There is a never-ending stream of content out there now, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
A lot of the content out there is boring and broad.
Most of it speaks to everyone/no one.
Therefore, if you create the right art, you will stand out to your people.
So, become a media company.
One of the best ways to find and connect with new people is by creating “media.”
Videos, podcasts, articles, or books.
Wrapping up your ideas, philosophies, and message into an interesting package and shipping it (figuratively) to your people.
For example, I am a podcast connoisseur.
I have about 5 podcasts that I absolutely love.
I listen to every episode they put out and learn a lot from them.
I’ve even worked with some of them directly or supported them in some way.
Imagine having 100 people like me listening to your podcast every week.
Or watching every video you put out.
It doesn’t happen overnight (see my last post), but it can happen if you commit.
The beauty I see in this is 3 fold..
- You build a growing web of media that lives on the internet forever (create it once, benefit forever). 😏
- Your content can do the heavy lifting for you (building relationships, spreading your message, even making sales). 🙃
- You get to create art, work on your craft, think through new ideas, and evolve as a creator all at the same time. 😋
Because I love the art of podcasting, my friend and I started one this year called the Subtle Art of Not Yelling.
We explore marketing, mindset, creativity, and growing a business without being the loudest person on the block.
Listen here –> subtleartofnotyelling.com
There aren’t many other mediums that can earn the undivided attention of your people for an hour.
If you don’t already, start putting out consistent media / content / art for your people.
And whatever you do, don’t half-ass it.
Remember, there is a ton of content out there already. In order to stand out, put your heart into it and focus on quality over quantity.
People can feel the difference.
See you tomorrow for part 13! We’re getting close to the end of this series.
What’s a takeaway you have so far?