I see a lot of people talking about branding. (Branding is important.)
I see people helping people build an audience too. (It makes selling easier doesn’t it.)
And of course TONNES of people trying to convince you that their channel or their way of promoting things is the best. (People call that marketing. I don’t. But I’m weird apparently.)
But what about the thing you’re actually selling..?
What if it’s a gigantic pile of pants?
That’s not going to sell is it! (Ok, it would if you’re in the market for pants… but I digress.)
I decided to shake everything out of the tree and investigate each element of putting together sizzling hot offers that are a joy to sell.
Yes, it’s a fun A-Z series!
As you read this, I am part way through delivering a series of lives on LinkedIn and Facebook. This is where you can catch up.
Let’s get cracking!
A is for Audience
Audience building is an utter no brainer isn’t it! For the unanointed, audience building refers to building up a bunch of people who know who you are. In old money it’s another term for ‘brand awareness’.
Ideally your audience like you, have similar values and are in the market for what you’re selling too. But what are you selling..? I’ve noticed that all the successful coaches who help people build their audiences are constantly offering their own audiences relevant offers!
Building an audience without having anything to offer them isn’t a viable business model. I mean, if you want to become a not-for-profit media publisher be my guest. But just be aware that that’s what you’re doing.
Audience is also the ‘A’ in my OAP prioritisation model that I’ll be taking people through on my free training on the 7th October 2021. Click here to find out more about how to balance your audience building with your offer creation.
B is for Brand
It’s very difficult to put together an attractive ‘must-have’ offer if you don’t have a solid brand behind it.
But how much time should you spend on branding?
What does it consist of?
Branding is included in my OAP model that I mentioned above. Click here to sign up to the webinar when I’ll go into more detail about how to create offers as a way to bolster your brand.
C is for Content
Ahh content. A topic I wrote half a book about a couple of years ago.
I started writing it because I found it very frustrating because everyone was acting like content marketing was some sort of modern miracle.
More than that, it was a MUST HAVE and a total SHOULD DO.
I hate being told what to do with out solid rationale and evidence.
And although I could see that tonnes of businesses were doing really well using content marketing to build their brand and sell their stuff, there were WAY more people tearing their hair out in frustration. There still are.
Two years on, I feel like I’ve got a more balanced viewpoint. I can see why some people are getting fantastic results with their content creation efforts. And I can see why content marketing can still be a gigantic time sucking vortex of misery for others.
A few things to note when creating content:
- You’ve got to promote each piece of content like it’s an offer in its own right. People ‘pay’ for it with their time and attention. If you don’t make it clear ‘what’s in it for them’, they’ll walk on by.
- Each piece of content should have a purpose. Is it to ask for the sale? Is it to raise awareness of what you do? Is it to overcome an objection that stops people working with you? Whether it’s one or all of those things, content creation becomes easier when you know why you’re doing it.
- Equally, when you have a specific offer that you’re working on, content creation flows. Brainstorm all the questions that someone might have about what you’re selling, why you’re selling it, why you’re the right person to help, etc. Then you can move onto surrounding topics e.g. if you’re helping people with the menopause through nutrition, you’ll probably want to cover the part exercise plays in it and whether you support people with that aspect of wellness or not.
D is for Don’t
I think we’ve all had enough of people telling us what we SHOULD do. Who needs any more pressure like that!?
So in this video I take you through my list of DON’Ts when it comes to deciding what services offers you want to create.
- Don’t copy other people’s offer structures without checking them against your own values and business goals.
- Don’t make unhelpful assumptions about what people want or what they’ll pay you for.
- Don’t ask for feedback about your prices!
- Don’t accept advice from people who aren’t your ideal clients (unless they’re your coach/consultant).
- Don’t be afraid to be different! There are more ideas in the world than 121, group programme, membership or course. Mix it up. Use your imagination. Do whatever floats your boat!
In short, base your offer on two things:
- What helps you move towards the business life you want
- What helps you move your clients towards their picture of success in the most effective way.
E is for Emotion
We like to think we’re rational beings, don’t we?
I think of myself as a very logical person. If a problem crops up, I try and think of options and pick the most fitting solution for all parties concerned.
But we’re not.
We make decisions on emotion first. Gut reaction.
Never more so than when we’re buying services of people we want to help us.
Which is why it’s so important to take emotions into consideration when putting together our offers!
What someone WANTS (and not what they necessarily need) needs to be at the core of the package we’re putting together.
F is for Failure
No, I’m not going to trot out the old ‘fail forward’ and ‘fall down two times, get up three’ stuff. (Although all that positive thinking is good for the soul!)
In this video I explore launch failures.
Have you had any failed launches? They’re SO dispiriting aren’t they!
You spend so much time creating an offer. Packaging up your services. Deciding the price. Working on the messaging. Perhaps you even hire a copywriter and designer to work on the sales page. You feel like you’re promoting it like crazy but…
What went wrong??
I regularly work with clients who want to know why all their hard work came to (practically) nothing. In some circumstances they’ve even followed a ‘sure-fire’ launch blueprint, but still didn’t get the results they wanted.
Want to hear more about launches? Skip onto the letter L.
G is for Goal
What goals do you have for your business? I’m not talking about targets (that comes later in the alphabet!) I’m talking about how you want your business to work for you.
None of us set up our businesses to work all the hours and cry quietly on the loo when we need to hide from social media.
We did it for FREEEEDOM!
The income we need for the life our loved ones deserve and to have the ability to work the hours we choose.
In this video I talk about how to use your goals to inspire the type of offers you can put together. There’s no need to stick to the same old offers, you can create anything you want.
H is for the Halo Effect
What is the Halo effect then, Janine?
It’s the magic that happens when you’re focusing on selling one thing to one set of people and then you end up making sales of all sorts of different offers.
I see a lot of service-based business owners resisting the advice to focus on one thing.
If that’s you, I have several reassuring words for you:
1) Focusing on one thing feels goood! Once you commit to the process, content creation becomes easier as your brain thanks you for making things simple for once.
2) Every single time I focus on selling one thing for one set of people, I also get interest from other sorts of people wanting something different! I’ve done it myself to other sellers. Watch the video for a real life example.
3) Creating an offer, even if it’s your first offer, doesn’t mean it will be the only thing you’ll ever sell. Create as many things as you like! Just do them one at a time.
I is for Ideal Customer Avatar
Ruddy ideal customer avatars! They’ve got a lot to answer for.
ICAs shouldn’t be used to define your whole business.
That’s not what that exercise was designed for.
On the one hand, I understand that I need to use commonly understood words when I’m talking to a online marketing crowd.
On the other hand, I want to scream into a cushion when I hear all these mangled terms that none of us have a common understanding of!!
The ICA exercise is a fab tool for when you’re writing a specific piece of content. It’s a downright dangerous tool if you’re trying to get your head round who you’re marketing your services at. No wonder business owners resist ‘niching’.
The concept is often mixed up with drawing up a ridiculously specific ICA. (Niching, I’m coming for you later on in the alphabet! )
Watch the vid and I’ll explain more…
Fascinating fact: We used to have ICAs in corporate. Only we called them pen portraits and we had about 7 of them for one service type.
J is for Je Ne Sais Quoi
You know those people who have juicy sounding methods as part of their package? The ones who have conjured up a handy acronym for a tried and tested process or method?
In this vid I talk about this phenomenon and cover some ideas of how you could do this with your own offers.
Creating your own IP and trademarking it is a really savvy move if you’re looking to scale up and eventually sell your business!
I’ve called it ‘Je ne sais quoi’ but you might have heard of it as your secret sauce.
Do you have your own methodology that is 100% yours? I’m sure you do.
Start by mapping the experience you take your clients through- every little step. Other people might do things in a similar way, but they won’t do it in the same order, to the same depth and they won’t bring the same experience or skills to it.
K is for Know, Like, Trust
Know, like, trust. Blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all before, Janine!
Oh but have you..?
Did you know that the basic concepts of know, like, trust were being thought about by Aristotle more than TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO!
He created his three modes of persuasion; Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
Ethos builds authority and credibility.
Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions.
And Logos is an appeal to logic; persuading an audience with reason.
And spookily, a typical sales process works like this:
Show people that you know what you’re doing. (Build know, like, trust.)
Appeal to the emotional reasons why they’d benefit from what you’re selling.
Back it up with logic.
L is for Launching
Some people love it, most people hate it.
But why does launching seem like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle when you’ve got 10 boxes all mixed up and half the pieces are missing?
Let’s strip things back to basics. Launching is telling people about your new thing. That’s it!
Yes, the more people who know about it the better. But you can be clever with it, and put all your efforts into the people who’d be most interested.
You can have spangly launch tactics like 5 day challenges and webinars, but you don’t have to. And I’d certainly advise against any paid advertising until you know that the thing you’re selling will definitely sell! Putting money on a dead donkey won’t make it start trotting again. You’ll still have an animal corpse but less money in your pocket.
(The dead donkey was a metaphor for a rubbish offer. Was that clear..?)
M is for Marketing
The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition of marketing is ‘the business function of identifying, anticipating and satisfying a customer’s needs profitably’. This was drummed into me at Uni. I had to memorise it for exams. Fun times.
This episode of the A-Z series fell on a day when I was at Nottingham for Paul Ince’s excellent MarketEd.Live conference. You see! M is for marketing AND MarketEd.Live! How serendipitous is that?!
In this vid, I walk around annoying the attendees of said event by asking them ‘what is marketing’.
Luckily, Paul quoted the other most common definition of marketing as taught to me in Uni, which is ‘getting the right offer to the right people at the right time’. Which makes me very happy because it has the word OFFER in there!
WARNING: audio is not great and my camerawork is even worse. Time to invest in a gimbal and mic perhaps…?
N is for Niching
NO. Niching is not essential.
YES. Defining your target market IS.
NO. Using an ideal customer avatar exercise is NOT a good way to define who you want to work with.
YES. You should deffo watch my vid on niching!
O is for Offers
YAYYY!!! We’re at my favourite letter of this A-Z! O for Offers.
If I did a made up pie chart based on nothing other than anecdotal feedback about what people do to help entrepreneurs sell more it’d be:
– 74% marketing tools inc. content
– 15% branding
– 10% audience building
And 1% or less for what you’re actually offering.
But if what you’re offering is rubbish, unclear or not what the people you’re speaking to want then IT’S NOT GOING TO SELL.
Unless you’re an outrageous bro marketer who wants people to buy stuff they don’t really need and you use underhand tactics to get there.
That’s not you though is it?
In this vid I cover the 3 main elements of a service offer and how to make sure it’s what people actually want.
P is for Promotion
Promotion you sexy beast! You steal all the glory.
You’re so noisy that you consume all the space of what people think ‘marketing’ is.
Whether it’s content marketing, social media channels, advertising or good old email, the choices of how and where to promote your stuff is mindboggling.
So where do you start with it all?
Fear not, I’m all over this one like a RASH.
Promotion only works if you’ve got the other bits in your business in order for example… your offers!
When it’s clear what you’re selling and to who, what to say and where becomes second nature. (After a bit of practice anyway.)
Q is for Questions
Questioning your ideal customers is an absolute no brainer if you want to put together an offer that is easy to sell.
But there are caveats…
R is for Research
Research, but not as you know it!
People often run away or draw a total blank when the the topic of market research comes up.
But there’s more than one way to skin a cat…
S is for Sales
Who here loves sales?
Practically nobody despite it being absolutely essential to running a successful business!
Well I love sales and in this video I’ll tell you why. And I’ll share a quick mindset shift that’ll help you love sales too.
I’ll also be discussing why sales pages aren’t a must-have, but why I recommend people do them for every new offer anyway.
While I love sales, I’m less keen on writing my own sales pages!
How about you, are you good at writing your own sales pages?
T is for Targets
Do you set yourself sales targets?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s easier to set targets when you’re looking at one specific offer at a time.
It’s always a good idea to set yourself sales targets for your sizzling hot offer.
Don’t get too invested in the result.
Instead, focus on the jobs you need to do to achieve those targets.
U is for Unique
Is your service unique…?
Of course it is! No one else could do what you do in the exact same way you do it.
You can even brand elements of what you do for example:
– Your own methods
– Proprietary models
– Even acronyms that stand for each step in a process that you’ve developed.
Do you have any trademarks or have you noticed any branded service elements from other people?
I’m always looking for good examples!
V is for Value Ladder
What a lovely concept!
You sell a little something at £7.
Then perhaps they’ll be interested in something for £50.
Onwards to £200+
And then if you’re lucky they’ll buy your highest value offer.
But it rarely works like this if you haven’t got a big, warm audience.
If you haven’t already got thousands of people clamouring for your offers (and even if you do…) you need to approach each offering as a distinct, singular-problem-solving thing. Even if it’s £7.
This is why so many people struggle with creating a value ladder- if you’re an honest service-provider who genuinely wants to help people, it feels horrible to create cheap nuggets of nothing that don’t solve a complete issue for your lovely customers.
W is for Wobbles
You’ve created a beautiful offer.
You KNOW it’s a cracker because you did your research.
But it’s still not shifting!
What do you do?
I’ll tell you what you do!
YOU KEEP GOING.
Your goal is for every person in your network to know what you’re selling.
I know you’re scared that you’ll bore people. That they’ll get fed up of you. That they’ll think your too salesy etc.
But us humans are self-absorbed.
If we can’t see ‘what’s in it for me’ in the first few seconds they’ll scroll on by. Just as it should be.
And those that judge? You know that’s more about them than you by now don’t you..?
X is for MWAH! Kiss
X is for kiss! Why?
Because when you’ve put together an offer beautifully tailored to help your clients, you’ve got to love it too.
I’ve done this several times:
Wondered what my audience wanted.
Did the research and had a fabulous idea for them.
Tested the waters to see who would buy.
Realised I didn’t want to launch it because it wasn’t in line with how I wanted to run my business. Or it just didn’t light me up as much as it should’ve done.
So I didn’t go on to sell any! Once I’d made that decision I felt so good. Back in sync.
Y is for Yes (and no…)
When you’re selling, you want as many people to say YES as poss right?
Not so fast…
Fear of selling often comes from a feeling that you’re trying to convince people to buy when they might not really want your stuff.
A saying that has helped me is ‘go for no’.
I interpreted this to mean, any decision is a good decision as long as it’s right for the client.
And you’ll learn more from the NOs than you do from the YESes (as long as you’re open to critical feedback!)
When researching this blog, I now realise ‘go for no’ is a classic sales book by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz.
What they actually mean by ‘go for no’ is that increasing your failure rate can ultimately lead to you increasing your success rate.
Interesting theory! I’m going to have to have a read.
Z is for Zing!
Even if you’ve put together an offer that attracts your ideal customers like children to birthday cake, it takes energy to sell it.
That’s why I recommend selling in ‘sprints’ or ‘campaigns’.
Short(ish), sharp bursts of focused activity so that as many people who know you understand what you’re selling at the moment.
By all means mix in some non-sales messages but mixing sales messages can dilute the impact at best. And at worst, it could confuse your audience.
Also, if you have something in your life that is sapping your energy, this is a little reminder to honour it.
Find ways to recharge your batteries.
And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t appear to be getting through the volume of work you wanted to.
Want easier sales of your services?
The culmination of this A-Z is a webinar at 1pm BST 7th October 2021. I’ll be running through how to spot gaps in your launch plan and what to focus on next to make sales flow into your business. Book your spot here.