First, let’s define leads vs prospects.
Leads are unqualified people who have shown interest in your products or services.
Prospects are qualified people who are engaged in your marketing and sales process, and likely to buy from you.
To achieve sustainable success, businesses need marketing systems that are intentionally designed to attract better prospects.
Better prospects are people in your ideal audience who have done their research, need their problems solved and has the money to pay you.
They are also people who show up at your doorstep friendly, cooperative, respectful and eager to buy from you because they’re not skeptical, worried or afraid about their purchase.
In other words, they’re already pre-interested, pre-qualified and pre-sold on doing business with you.
Meaning, they have already convinced themselves that you are the one for them, because you’ve done the work to position yourself, your products and your services in advance.
See… the whole point of marketing is to predictably attract better prospects who want to become your customers where you don’t have to do any convincing, cajoling, coaxing or “selling”.
Peter Drucker, famous and respected business management consultant, whose ideas contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation… shared his wisdom on the purpose of marketing:
“The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”— Peter Drucker
Your business becomes more enjoyable, profitable and fun when you don’t have to turn yourself into a used car salesman or waste your precious time, energy and resources on tire kickers.
While a lot of marketing experts often relate marketing to fishing, it’s actually a big mistake to think of people as fish.
How does it make you feel when sleaze ball marketers use bait and switch methods to “hook” you in, in order to sell you something or when they use all sorts of persuasion, scarcity or urgency tactics to get you to buy?
Pretty gross, right?
The more important question you have to ask yourself is… is that really how you want to market your business?
The reality is, better prospects cannot be “fished” because human beings are complex animals. Therefore, when we’re designing our marketing systems, there are beliefs, biases, mindsets and behaviours we need to consider if we want our marketing to be effective.
Better prospects are created because not all customers are equal. This is the main reason why effective marketing requires intentional design.
Marketing By Design
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ll know this to be true…
The worst customers complain a lot.
They ask for refunds. Their expectations are never aligned with reality. They don’t take responsibility for their own actions. They’re never truly happy.
They drain your energy, they drag your team down and they clog up your operations making your business less efficient, which ultimately results in less profitability.
No business owner in his or her right mind would willingly choose to have that type of customer. However, those are the type of customers you will get if you don’t take the time to design your marketing systems with conscious intention and thought.
If you want to run a more enjoyable, profitable and fun business and save wasted time, energy and resources with the wrong people, it’s imperative that your marketing repels and weeds out people you don’t want… while at the same time move the ideal people you do want towards you.
You need to learn to move them from not understanding your value and your differentiation to a place where they become excited to want to work with you.
Designing effective marketing systems that adds value to your business requires you to move your thinking upstream.
Upstream thinking affects downstream consequences.
Therefore, if you want better customers, you need to help the people you seek to serve to identify themselves as better prospects to you.
To help you start thinking about marketing the right way, here are 3 foundational steps to effective marketing…
1: Understand Your Prospect
The effectiveness of your marketing is hinged on the timeless business principle of understanding your customers and the conversations happening in their mind.
The better you can stand in the shoes of your customers, the easier it will be to create marketing messages that appeal to their self interest.
Messaging that doesn’t match the intent of your prospects is one of the biggest factors that cause marketing to fail.
Taking the time to understand your audience and where they are in their journey is the foundational step most business owners don’t pay enough attention to and skip over.
This is the groundwork that will allow you to craft messaging that connects with the people you seek to serve and compel them to move towards you.
2: Craft Your Message For Them
For your marketing to be effective, it requires a change in perspective by focusing your message on them instead of on you.
Most business messaging typically looks and sounds something like this…
“We are the best at what we do. We are No. 1 in our category! This is how great our products and services are… Look at how many awards we received…! blah blah blah…”
When people see messages that are ‘self serving’, the micro-second natural reflex response happening in their brain is usually “Who cares? So what? What’s in it for me?“.
I’m not trying to be crass, but the reality is that nobody cares about you. Human beings spend all day in their heads thinking about themselves and their lives. This is the default, natural human behaviour.
In order to help you change your perspective, I recommend tattooing this piece of wisdom (and fundamental truth of life) on yourself because it applies to business as much as it applies to life:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”— Theodore Roosevelt
The reality is… 99% of marketing produced by average businesses offer little to zero value. When your marketing looks like, sounds like and smells like everyone else’s, it’s essentially noise.
If you’re striving to design and build an Exceptional Business, it goes without saying that your marketing also needs to be exceptional.
When you choose to serve your prospects first by focusing your messaging on them and helping them get closer to the solution they’re seeking to find, your marketing will be led by empathy, respect and generosity.
How your marketing feels to the people you seek to serve is what makes your marketing valuable, and stops stinking like a bad sales pitch.
3: Create Marketing Assets
Marketing assets are valuable, exceptional content.
While content can easily look deceptive on the surface, exceptional content and average content functions very differently regardless of the format you use — audio, video or written.
Average content are run-of-the-mill information you can easily find in a 2-second Google search or a quick social media scroll. They lack insight, depth and nuance. They function like high-sugar chocolate bars that only satisfies temporary cravings without the nutritional value.
Exceptional content on the other hand feels different when you consume it. It interests you, it engages you and it leads you closer to the solution you’ve been trying to find. It pulls you along because it’s changing the way you think and the way you’re seeing the problems you’re experiencing. And most of all, you happily go on the journey of discovery.
Because the goal of your marketing system is to move your ideal prospects from “Who is this guy/gal/company, and why should I buy from him/her/them?” to “I can’t wait to work with this guy/gal/company.” Your marketing assets are the building blocks that not only connects your marketing system together, but helps your prospects as they go on their journey of discovery.
It’s no surprise that marketing assets are intentionally designed, because they are essential parts of your marketing system.
If you’ve been through The Exceptional Business Roadmap, then you know that businesses are just interconnected systems we get to design, orchestrate and engineer to produce the predictable and desirable outcomes we want.
If there’s any area that’s the most important to design and systemise in your business, it’s the area that’s responsible for bringing in the money and customers.
Your future self and your future business will thank you if you choose to learn to think differently, and design a business to serve you, your customers and your team.
If you’re interested in learning how to think strategically about your marketing and do marketing differently to the 99% so you can design effective marketing systems, just add yourself to the interest list below. I’m working on some valuable marketing resources, and will be sharing them with you when they’re ready.
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