Insane Growth Podcast Ep #3

Insane Growth Podcast Ep #3: The Real Reason Your Marketing Isn’t Working

What’s the #1 mistake most companies make when it comes to marketing? They try to sell to the wrong audience at the wrong time.

Instead of trying to sell to everyone, you need to understand your audience in relation to where they are in your sales funnel – and deliver appropriate content that “pushes them” down your funnel in a way that’s natural and helpful.

That’s whats we’ll get into during this episode – complete with real examples.

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Hey, hey everyone, Mitch Harper here. Welcome to episode number three of my Insane Growth Podcast which I’ve called the real reason your marketing isn’t working. I’m sure you’ve heard that the average consumer needs to see an ad or a campaign seven or more times before they’ll buy from you.  I think now more than ever that’s extremely important to think about because we’re all bombarded with ads especially online; banner ads, YouTube pre-roll adds, Facebook in-stream ads. There’s just millions of different ways that advertisers can get their message in front of us.

If you think about the psychology of a consumer, when it comes to ads they’ve learned to tune out from specific ads. Banner ads are the most common example of that. Safari now has an ad blocker that you can get on IOS. Ad blocker on the desktop is used by something like 30 or 40% of people. I was reading a stat the other day about that. It’s getting harder and harder to get your advertising message, your marketing message, in front of the audience that you want to eventually turn into leads and customers and raving fans, which I’m hoping is one of the goals you have for your business, not just to make money. A business that exists just to make money is not a very good business.

Of course making money is important and you want to make a lot of it quickly. You also want to serve your market, give them a great experience, and really go over and above to make sure they tell everyone they know about you. If you need to hit the typical consumer seven or more times with your marketing one of the things you should be thinking about is where are we advertising now and how are we actually getting repetition going to that audience? I see a lot of founders running companies where they just advertise on Advertise on AdWords as an example.

Maybe their cost per click is good and maybe their lifetime value is great and they make the numbers work but I always see an arbitrage opportunity for companies like that, especially e-Commerce type companies. Maybe they sell a product for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars or a consulting company or a software company or whatever it happens to be. In that when you think about AdWords by definition your frequency is one. Someone searches for maybe the product that you sell or something similar. Your ad comes up, they might click on your ad, they might buy, they might try your demo, they might do that to a few other companies, and then they’re going to buy one of the products.

All else being equal, the company that puts their ad in front of that prospect the most number of times while they’re considering purchasing wins. I think that’s a really important concept to understand. I’m not talking about bombarding them and trying to get them to buy, buy, buy and using discounts or coupons or anything like that. I’m talking about analysing your funnel and really looking at how you’re putting the message in front of the right audience at the right time. The topic for this week’s Inner Circle Webinar which is coming up in a few days from now is actually how do you use re-targeting and marketing automation to push people down your funnel? If you’re not in my inner circle you’ll hear a little bit of a promo for it at the end of this podcast if you want to check it out. There’s a free webinar recording from a previous webinar that we did.

What you want to think about it, “Okay, I have cold traffic. These are people that have never heard of me, that don’t know my brand, they’re not customers. They don’t follow us on any of the social channels, they probably haven’t even been to our website.” When you’re advertising to cold traffic it’s not about, “Hey, here’s our product, buy it.” It’s, “Here’s something of value that will help you and here’s how to get it.” I like to use blog posts. Blog posts are low friction, people don’t have to opt-in to get them. They’re quick to read and they start building you an audience.

We know by definition that if you’re running ads on for example Facebook ads which I’m extremely bullish on. I love Facebook ads because they convert like crazy if you know how to do them well. If you’re running an ad on Facebook and it takes cold traffic, which means you’re targeting people who don’t know you and most importantly you can exclude the audience that does know you. You an exclude your website visitors by having the Facebook pixel on your website, you can exclude your leads and your customers, you can upload them as email lists.

If you’re taking cold traffic to a blog post then by definition that audience becomes warm to you. They’ve clicked on some sort of blog post you’ve advertised on Facebook or Instagram or the Facebook Audience Network or even YouTube Pre-roll or Google Display Network and they’ve shown some sort of interest. When someone’s done that they’re in your funnel. They’re not just cold traffic, they’re not strangers, your job is to start getting them to know, like, and trust you. Linking them from your ad to a blog post is a really good way to do that because you’re adding value and you’re not asking for anything in return.

You might have a little subscribe box at the end of your blog which is what we do for me. We’re adding a few thousand people through that method every single week with a tiny spend on Facebook because it works so well if you have a great blog post. Once someone’s clicked on a blog post then you want to start thinking about, “Okay, they’re warm. This is the audience that wants what we have or is interested in a problem we solve.” There’s some sort of correlation between what they’re looking for and what you have. That’s when you need to start thinking about repetition and frequency in your marketing.

If you come from an old school TV/radio background you’ll know that repetition and frequency are the two big components of most campaigns. “How often can we hit the audience and how do we make sure our message is on target?” The best way to make sure your message is on target is not to put it out in front of a cold network of thousands or millions of people using Facebook or Google, is to put out as I mentioned a blog post and when they click that that becomes the audience where you focus on with repetition and frequency. There’s different ways you can run campaigns on Facebook. For example, you can have a reach campaign where you can say, “For the audience that’s read my blog that hasn’t purchased …” Show them an offer seven times every seven days which is one a day, once a day. That might be an ad to opt-in to get some.

Now you’ve got them to know you because they were cold traffic, they clicked on your blog post. Now you want to get them to like and trust you and you want to go for the opt-in. You want to get their contact details so you can start communicating with them. You want to offer something like a PDF guide or a short video, something that can be consumed in less than five minutes. That’s commonly called a lead magnet in exchange for other than naming their email or just their email. Again, once they’ve opted in for that they’ve moved down your funnel so they’re in the middle of the funnel.

Then once they’re in the middle of the funnel you think about the cycle or the journey they’ve been on. They’ve clicked on your ad. They’ve never heard of you, maybe they clicked on your Facebook ad or a display ad or a YouTube pre-roll ad, promoted tweet, doesn’t matter what it is. They’ve clicked on your ad, they’ve read a blog post. Then, a day or two or three days later they’ve clicked on another ad and they’ve opted in to download something from you. By now they’re in the middle of your funnel. There’s top of funnel, middle of funnel, and then bottom of funnel.

In the middle of the funnel is when they’ve expressed the most interest. That’s the best time to start thinking about reaching frequency for actually saying, “Hey, this is our product. This is what it can do for you, here’s how to get it. Here’s how to get a free trial, here’s how to buy it, whatever. At this point you have to assume that they’re looking at other competitors as well. One of the big things we learned with Founders is that the average founder looked at five other products. The average entrepreneur or business owner, when they’re purchasing they look at five other products.

They never come in … I don’t know if you sell B2B, whether you sell to founders and CEOs or marketers or B2C but one of the key stats that really I keep top of mind because I’m B2B and I love to create products that sell to founders and small business owners, is that you never assume they’re just looking at your product. They’ve always got a few other ones that they’re trying, that they’re talking to. The best way to stand out from that group is to add value while they’re in the consideration phase. The best way to add value is not to extend the length of your trial or to give them a coupon code, it’s to solve more problems than the other competitors in your space.

If you can solve more problems before they buy that massively boosts their trust and likeability of your brand. Then, a sale from you is the next natural step because you’ve already helped them. If you think about all of your competitors, I’d encourage you to go to their websites, sign up for their email list, try their products, buy from them, look at the experience they have and benchmark that against yours. If you solve more problems for leads and prospects before they make a purchasing decision, even if your product isn’t as good as your competitors you will win, they will become a customer. I’ve learned this over the years.

I’ve had many companies where we haven’t had the best product. We’ve had good products but maybe they weren’t great, at least at the start. Because we solved more problems during the part of the buying journey where they were in the consideration phase, where they were trying all these different products and talking to all these different companies of which we were one option, we would more likely than not get them to buy our products. You’ve got to remember that people aren’t buying what you sell, they’re buying what you can do for them. They don’t buy the drill bit, they buy the hole that comes as a result of using the drill bit. That’s really important to remember.

Anyway, back to the topic of this podcast, repetition and frequency. When you think about all of your marketing if you’re not hitting up prospects who are in the middle of your funnel … Which means they’ve opted in or they’ve clicked a link to read a blog post. You’re not getting your message in front of them enough times, then you won’t be top of mind. If you’re not top of mind you can’t help them solve more problems with great content before they buy. If you can’t do that then ultimately they’re going to go and buy from a competitor who either does a better job of helping them or dangles a carrot in front of them. “Here’s a discount code. If you buy within the next 48 hours you get X percent off. If you buy now you get this free.”

I generally avoid price conscious buyers but you might be in a market such as e-Commerce where if you’re selling commoditized products you win on price. It is what it is, that’s not good or bad. Me personally, I just don’t go after those markets because it’s generally a race to the bottom. I want you to step back and look at your entire sales funnel, marketing funnel, and thinking about are you hitting your leads and prospects enough with repetition and frequency of your marketing message? The two channels that I like to use the most are Facebook ads and Marketing Automation or Email Marketing.

When I talk about hitting them with ads I’m not talking about putting an ad to buy your product in front of them. I’m talking about looking at different ways you can deliver value to them and help them solve problems during that critical phase of the buying journey where they’re in the consideration state. Where they’re trying what’s a different product, shopping around online, asking friends for reviews, looking at review websites. You’ve got to be sure people are looking at reviews of your product and your competitors. Add more value, increase the reach and frequency of your marketing and your ads to that list of prospects who are in the middle of your funnel.

All else being equal as I mentioned, the more problems you can solve for them during that critical phase the more likely they are to buy from you. I don’t believe that you content, and I’m a big believer in content, specifically blogs and, say, podcasts, obviously that’s why I’m doing a podcast, it helps me reach a huge number of people. To help them and to move them down my funnel towards inner circle, I’m very transparent about that. I know that people listen to these podcasts and think, “Man, if Mitch can help me that much in a 20 minute podcast imagine what I can get out of him and the community that’s in a circle that he’s built. I eat my own dog food.

All else being equal, if you can deliver content during that middle part of the funnel it helps them solve problems, and not solve their problem entirely. Think about it as a series of milestones. On the left is where they are now, they have a problem that they know they need to solve. On the right is their ultimate end state. They’ve solved the problem, they’re happy, they’re carefree, whatever it is. They’re rich, they’ve lost weight, they’ve got a big business, whatever it is. The job of your content, if you think about maybe there’s five milestones between where they are now and where they want to be. Your content should help them solve two, three or four of those milestones and your product should solve the last milestone on that journey to get from the pain they have now to the pleasure they want to be at.

That’s why you should hit up those warm leads and prospects with marketing that’s relevant and timely. I like to … We do this as I mentioned with Facebook ads. I really like to, in a nice non-annoying way when someone has expressed interest in what we do in any of my companies and they’re in the middle of the funnel, so they’ve opted in for something, then it’s game on. It’s not game on, as I mentioned, in terms of let’s sell them a bunch of crap and let’s get them to buy, buy, buy. It’s game on as in, “All right. Today we’re going to run a re-targeting ad to you, it shows you this white paper. Then tomorrow you’re going to get an email about this video recording.”

Then, the next day you’re going to see some testimonials, and the next day we’re going to help you solve another part of your problem with this whatever it is. It doesn’t really matter what kind of content, maybe it’s a blog post. Again, the idea if I had to sum it up is once someone who was cold, who didn’t know you opts in or clicks a link to read some content that you advertise. We never advertise our products, we advertise our content to a cold audience. When they read that content or they opt-in then it’s time to start thinking about how do I move them from a problem state, which is where they are now, close to a solution state. When they’re very close to having that problem solved how do I present my product as the next logical step in terms of getting to the end of that journey, where they have the solution, where they’re happy, where they’re fulfilled, et cetera.

If that’s the one thing you get out of this podcast, really audit your funnel and look at how you do that. If your marketing isn’t working today it doesn’t matter which channel you’re using. My guess is that you’re trying to get cold traffic, people who don’t know you, to go straight to buy your product. It doesn’t work that way. Now, one of the analogies that I always teach founders is think about when you met your husband of wife if you’re married. The night or the day you met them you didn’t try to get them into bed. Maybe you did but most of us didn’t. You took them out to dinner first and then you gave them a call, and then you met up with them for lunch, and then you went to a movie. Then you may have had a bit of a kiss, and then one thing lead to another but that was over a few weeks or a few months.

Your customers are very similar. They’re not going to, for lack of a better term, they’re not going to jump into bed with you on day one when they hear about your product or your service. You’ve got to woo them, you’ve got to move them down that funnel. You’ve got to get them to know, like, and trust you. There’s a lot of similarities between a loving relationship and how you woo your customers, and how you ask for the sale. Of course, in this analogy you know what the sale is, it’s getting to third base. Don’t try and walk up to a guy or a girl at a bar and go to third base during that first conversation because 99 times out of 100 they will reject you.

Go to first base, then go to second base, and then go to third base. Follow that sequence, it’s exactly the same with your customers. I didn’t mean to get off on a relationship advice tangent but I see so many founders who just meet a guy or a girl at a bar, using that analogy, and just say, “Hey. Let’s go back to my house and let’s get it on.” It just repels the entire audience. Soon enough that word gets around but all you care about is getting to third base instead of getting to know the person, getting them to like you, building that trust, having a conversation, and building that rapport with you. That’s a really good analogy to think about with this.

Anyway, repetition and frequency of your marketing, coming back to the title of the podcast, solving problems before you go anywhere near asking for a sale. Then when you do put your product in front of them it’s, “Hey. These guys have already helped me so much I’m going to check out their product, I’m going to buy it because no one else helped me when I was looking at all these different solutions. All they did was try and sell me stuff.” If you take that approach you win nine times out of 10. It’s the approach I’ve taken since … I only learned about his probably in 2007 and it’s worked every single time in every single company, to build an audience, to turn that audience into leads, and then customers, and then raving fans as well.

That was episode number three. Thank you so much for listening. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes, I’m putting out a podcast every week at a minimum, now it’s every few days. I really want to help as many founders as I can. My personal mission as you may know is to directly impact the growth of one million businesses within the next 10 years so by the year 2027. Subscribe, share this with any founder or entrepreneurial friends that you might have, I’d really appreciate that.

If you got value from this episode, a rating or a review on iTunes would be great as well. Thanks so much for listening, I will come at you soon with another episode. I hope you have a great day and amazing week. Go out there and really make sure your business kicks some goals. I’ll talk to you soon. If you enjoyed listening to this podcast you have to come check out Inner Circle. It’s my monthly coaching programme where we take all this material and we apply it into your business. We take it to the next level and we actually study it together. You’ll learn how to build your business faster, how to avoid mistakes, and most importantly how to make your entrepreneurial journey fun. Join me over at I’d love to have you on board and I’ll see you there.


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About Mitchell Harper

Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.

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