If you’ve ever struggled with a lack of focus in your business, you’re not alone. In this episode, we’ll uncover how you can beat Shiny Object Syndrome once and for all with a simple, practical system for marketing: The 1-Page Marketing Plan.
Today we’re talking to Allan Dib from Successwise.com. He’s a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert who wrote the Amazon bestseller, The 1-Page Marketing Plan. Allan has come up with a breakthrough method for marketing your business in an easy, 9-step process that he reveals in the interview.
Everyone explains that making your business different is vital — but NO ONE (not even experts) explains how to actually do it... Until now.
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"When are you going to do something in French so I understand it?"
"A terrific celebration of marketers and marketing in all its forms."
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It’s called the 1-Page Marketing Plan because you can fit your direct response marketing plan for your small business on a single page.
It covers three marketing phases: before lead generation, during lead generation, and after the prospect becomes a customer.
Each phase has three steps, totaling 9 steps on the page.
The beauty of the 1-Page Marketing Plan is in its simplicity.
If you can’t fit your plan on a single page, it’s too complicated.
While you don’t have to fit every detail of your plan on the page, you can outline each step of the plan in simple fashion so that you, your team, and your clients can understand your marketing plan clearly.
This is probably the most crucial step in your marketing plan because it sets you up for success without marketing bullshit.
It begins with this step.
The key is to find a target market that’s in pain.
If you think about the last time you had a bad headache, the pharmacist didn’t have to hard sell you on pain relief medicine. You probably picked something up from the corner store without even looking at the price because you’d do whatever it took to relieve that pain.
Likewise, you want to pick a target market that’s in pain, and if you can solve that pain, you’re in business… without sleazy marketing.
As Howard Gossage says, “People don’t read ads. They read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”
If people feel like they’re reading something that was written for them, they’ll be more likely to continue reading, which is a lot easier to do if your target market is very narrow.
In short, specialists eat generalists’ lunch.
So, how do you come up with your target market?
There are two ways to start.
First, if you’ve been one of your target market, then you intuitively understand their challenges and worries, so you can start there.
Otherwise, you’ll need to start with an educated guess and do some market research. Find books they read and forums where they ask questions to get a feel for their pain points. Next, evaluate the PVP, which stands for personal fulfillment, value to the marketplace, profitability. Does this target market bring you joy, money, and have a deep pain? Finally, test your idea on the target market by seeing if they actually pay money for it.
To craft your message, start with an offer that converts.
For example, Allan Dib knew that the 1-Page Marketing Plan converted from his experience as a keynote speaker at events, so he repackaged it as a book and sold it.
Then it’s just about getting into the conversation that’s already happening in your target market’s mind.
To get into their mind you’ll need to interview them, preferably via Zoom so you can record the call and transcribe it.
Get to know what’s happening in their lives/industry.
Find out what keeps them awake at night.
Then use their exact words from the transcript in your messaging.
When the person reads your message, they should say, “Hey, that’s for me.”
First of all, don’t think of yourself as a digital marketer, because “digital” often equates to lazy.
Digital doesn’t mean magic.
Digital is just a medium.
Digital is exposed to all the same factors that make or break your marketing, like having a powerful headline and a strong call to action.
The point is that you can reach your customers through digital media if they spend their time online; however, if they are more responsive to direct mail, for example, then it suits you to send them direct mail instead.
Reach your target market wherever they spend their time.
It could be at an in-person conference, for example.
Once you identify the media to use, unless you’re already an expert in that field, you’ll likely need to pay a specialist to handle paid outreach for you.
For example, trying to do AdWords by yourself with no experience is likely a waste of time and money.
This is the most expensive part of direct response marketing, so make sure you can do it right, or otherwise hire a specialist that can do it right.
“Lead capturing” sounds like such a yucky term, doesn’t it?
Think of it less like using lead magnets to capture leads, and more like connecting with real human beings on the basis of making their lives a little better with a nice gift.
Ultimately, you’ll want to collect their contact information so that you can stay in touch and continue to contribute to their lives, which leads to step 5...
You’ll need to have a good follow-up method that makes people feel less like a number and more like a welcome guest.
For example, the Everyone Hates Marketers podcast nurtures listeners with high-value content.
Daft Punk nurtured their listeners by obsessing over their craft to produce outstanding music.
When you nurture your leads with genuinely valuable content, they’ll be much more likely to be open to whatever you offer down the road.
It’s about building trust, not burning bridges with incessant requests to pay you money before they forget who you are.
This phase is where you go from a prospect only knowing about you to trusting you — and then spending money on your product.
Once you deliver value, you can make an offer that is much more likely to convert, and you can do it without being pushy.
Our goal in marketing is to take a step beyond the transaction.
With an endless amount of options, people are seeking something special today.
They want to buy from a company who can deliver a “wow” experience.
It’s much easier to convert an existing customer than a brand new customer.
Increasing your lifetime value is about finding ways to increase the amount of money someone spends with you.
But it’s not about scamming people — this step comes back to delivering genuine value to your audience.
You can’t sit and hope for referrals.
Instead, you need to create a specific system where people expect that you have to give them referrals (or you have a defined process for requesting those leads and referrals).
No, that’s just a suggestion, but you do need something to bridge the gap between your target market and your message.
Ads are a form of outbound marketing.
You could do other forms of outbound marketing as well.
However, it often makes sense to focus exclusively on building an audience organically with inbound marketing instead.
For example, instead of using ads, I created a podcast to build my audience.
Then I was able to move onto step 4 just as well.
A pharmacist doesn’t have to hard sell you on pain medicine when you have a severe headache.
Likewise, if you’ve done step 1 correctly, you won’t have to hard sell your customers at all because they have a pain that you can solve.
It’s less of a sales pitch and more like a conversation with a friend.
Like, “Bro, my head hurts.”
“Oh yeah? I got some pain meds if you want ‘em.”
In marketing, there are only three activities you should be working on at any given time:
Anything else is a waste of time.
Increasing the lifetime value of a customer speaks to the latter two bullet points.
You can either increase the average transaction size, or you can increase the number of transactions a given customer makes.
How you go about doing that will vary depending on whether you’re an e-commerce business or a consulting business, for example.
Regardless, at the heart of marketing is listening to what customers need.
If they could use an add-on to make their purchase even better, perhaps you could increase the average transaction size by bundling products together.
If their needs change a year after their initial purchase, you could offer them something different to increase their transaction frequency.
Louis: Bonjour! Bonjour! Welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com, the marketing podcast for marketers, founders, and tech people are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier.
One of my listeners, Max Peters, sent me an email saying. “I’ve just read The 1-Page Marketing Plan from Allan Dib, and after reading dozens of marketing books, I can say it’s easily one of the best ones out there, so I suggest you bring him to the show.”
And this is what I’m doing today. So, I’m really happy to have Allan Dib on the show. He, like many marketers, believe that we should stop the shiny object syndrome. The fact that so many marketers are trying to chase after those shiny objects and switching trends every time.
He also believes that a lot of them are overwhelmed by a sea of possibilities, and they really don’t know where to start their marketing. Most of the time they fail marketing for this reason. And I believe the exact same thing, so I’m very happy to have him on the show.
He’s the author of the Amazon bestseller The 1-Page Marketing Plan. He also has a website called Successwise.com. He’s a serial entrepreneur, rebellious marketer, and technology freak. He has started growing successful multiple businesses in various industries. As you can see, we have an expert on the show today, so Allan. Thank you so much.
Allan: Louis, pleasure to be on the show.
Louis: Right, let’s get started. So your book is fascinating for two reasons: one, it’s simple. And I love simplicity and I believe that marketing should be simple enough. If not then you’re doing something wrong, but two, it’s really practical, really actionable.
I’ve already used some version of the template in helping out people I know in marketing to give them a base so that they can start. I’ve also sent the marketing plan to a few of the listeners to get them started. So, how did you come up with this idea? Did it develop over time or was it something that you just came up with after a week of work?
Allan: Laughs. No, it wasn’t a week of work. I think like many good things that happen, it comes out of necessity. They say necessity is the mother of invention and that was certainly the case with The 1-Page Marketing Plan.
I run an international coaching and consulting practice in the marketing field. One of the things I always asked my clients to do very early on was create a marketing plan. Because anyone who’s in any field where the results matter and where the stakes are high has a plan.
I give an example in the book: doctors follow a treatment plan, airline pilots follow a flight plan, and soldiers follow a military operations plan. Imagine you’re getting on a plane and you overhear the two pilots speaking…they say “I look don’t worry about the plan. I know how to get there.”
Wouldn’t you freak out and get off that plane? Or would you say that I’ll sit in the front seat, and hope they get it right?
It’s exactly the same thing when it comes to small businesses. You need to have a plan, right? Otherwise, things just go to crap very quickly—and sometimes even when you do have a plan that happens…generally to a lesser degree.
Long story short, I wanted a lot of my clients to put together a marketing plan. They struggled with this very much. In their mind, it was something that had to be very long, very complicated, and very expensive to do. And very few of my clients ever did it. That’s where this came from, so I created a process called The 1-Page Marketing Plan where it’s literally one page.
You can make out a very sophisticated direct-response marketing strategy for your business, and I wanted to be a living document. I didn’t want it to happen to what happened to my first business plan. My first business plan, I had a consultant came in. He helped me write hundreds of pages had beautiful graphs and projections and financials.
It went into the top drawer and never got seen again until I was cleaning out my office and threw it out. So, I wanted it to be something practical. They could hang on the wall and refer to on a regular basis as a living document.
Louis: It’s insane when you think about it—that companies are still using business plans. Nowadays, I mean some of them are useful because they’re focusing on consumer trends and especially for big companies, but as a small business, startups usually don’t need those. So, thanks for this intro. In today’s episode what I really want to do is try to go through this process together. I hope that we have the time to go through the nine small steps in this plan.
But before we start, I’d like to say that you are a fan of the approach the 80/20 rule and you even have a deeper rule which is a 64/4 rule, which is like this marketing plan is usually going to take you four percent of the effort that You know you will usually do, but that’s usually leading to 64% of the results and this is so true because I’ve done it a few times.
I’ve set up one-page strategies in the past and this gives you so much clarity, this gives you so much purpose that it gives you most of the results and you will see yourself coming back to this document over and over and over again. Printing it, and printing it on the plastic and putting it next to your desk. This is a truly amazing way to focus, right? Because in this world attention is very scarce. So how to come up with a marketing plan—where do we start?
Allan: So, where we start is, and that’s actually a really good question. I know it’s sort of gels into one of the things that you explore very often. I listen to a lot of your podcasts, and one of the things you explore is why marketers have such a bad reputation. Very often, it’s because someone comes up with a product or service, and they think they get it to market, and they think “oh crap, okay. I need to now add marketing, right?”
Then they use the pushiest, sleazy tactics to try and push a product that they think that the market wants. But in my view, good marketing happens before the product development stage, before you even create a product, or before you even think about creating a product.
Because what we want to do as good, ethical marketers who deliver a lot of value, is we want to tap into demand. We don’t want to have to ask officially create demand. It’s usually when you have to artificially create demand that you have to now resort to sleazy tactics, and pushy sales, and all of that sort of thing.
In my world, sales is something that should come very, very naturally after having a conversation with a human being. You and I; we have a conversation, and we talk about what are your needs, and what do I offer?
And then at the end of that conversation, it should be a very natural thing that happens is either: look, I don’t think it’s a really good fit for each other, or okay, looks like it’s a really good fit, how do we progress it to the next step? That’s an ethical, easy, low-pressure way of doing business, and I love doing business that way.
Louis: Yep, I’m into that. I completely agree with you on this is the point of good marketing; as you said you shouldn’t have to create demand artificially. This is where you start doing sleazy stuff. Start with the customer, start with people in mind, and then your product would come at a later stage. So let’s maybe give an overview of this one-page marketing plan very briefly, and then we’ll go through each step.
Allan: Sure, I’ll go through them briefly and I’ll give you highlights. We probably don’t have enough time to cover it in detail. Otherwise, we’ll be here for three hours. I’m happy to be here for three hours, but I’m sure you and your audience probably have other other plans. Laughs.
Louis: Laughs. What we can do is—we’ll go through the nine steps like, as a whole, as a summary; and I think, to be honest with you, the most important are the top three: the market, the message, and the media. I think we might we might talk about other phases if we have time, but I think people would have a good understanding of what’s going on already.
Allan: Perfect, I love it. So, you’re exactly right. I’ve split up the marketing plan into three distinct phases. This is an idea I shamelessly stole from Dean Jackson. But it’s the Before, the During, and the After. And then within those three stages, there’s three inner stages. So basically The 1-Page Marketing Plan is a 9-step process, and it’s a single page, that’s divided into nine squares, and you fill in each of the nine squares.
Now, the first square is selecting your target market, and this is absolutely critical. Because a lot of people think, “You know what? Let’s service the maximum number of people that we can.” So, I do everything for everyone, right? And it feels intuitive because it feels like okay, you’re catching the widest number of people.
But as counterintuitive as it is you want to choose a target market that is an inch wide, so not very wide, but very very deep. So, you’ve got an audience who has a lot of interest, who has a lot of depth to it. There’s a lot of facets to what you do, and I’ll give you an example. So for example, the beauty industry is a massive, massive industry.
There’s hair, there’s cosmetics, there’s all sorts of things. Then if you take that down a little bit you might get to, for example, the beauty part of that. If you niche that down again you might target, for example, just women. If you niche that down again, you might target, for example, cellulite treatment.
You can even niche that down further. For example, cellulite treatment for women who have had a child, right, and even that tiny, sliver of a niche goes very, very, very deep. Selecting a target market absolutely critical.
Louis: Right, step two.
Allan: Step two is crafting your message. So, the second one is all about creating a message that your target market responds to. And I read an interesting quote the other day by Howard Gossage, and it says, “People don’t read ads. They read what interests them, and sometimes that’s an ad.”
So crafting your message is where you want to get into the mind of your audience. You want to get into the thing that’s worrying them at 3 a.m when they’re lying in bed thinking about this problem that you can solve. What are they thinking? You want to get into the conversation that’s happening in their mind. That’s crafting your message.
And then that leads us into number three. It’s probably the most expensive part of your marketing—that’s reaching your prospects with advertising media—so, basically bridging your target market with your message. And that’s the bridge that the media. It can using digital marketing, Facebook ads, or Google ads.
If you’re using offline media, it could be direct mail, it could be print advertising and so on. So, they’re probably the first three and you’re absolutely right—I also believe that they’re the most critical for two reasons:
First of all, they’re often the most overlooked, and they’re the things that will make the biggest difference in crafting your product in your offer. So very often people try to do…what I call putting lipstick on a pig. Laughs.
Allan: They have an offer that’s so-so and they think adding marketing to it is the thing that’s going to make it work. And that’s when you get into pushy, sleazy tactics.
Louis: Yep, exactly. So, we talked about this a lot on the show. We had Philip Morgan around positioning, mentioning the exact same idea, that your market should be very narrow, at least when you start. Seth Godin says the same thing. So, when Allan Dib, Seth Godin, Philip Morgan and plenty of other people say the same thing, this usually leads to thinking.
That perhaps, this is something that you need to do at home. Whether you’re starting your business, whether you’re a marketer in a larger business, whether you’re planning on selling a product in the future. It is a tough exercise because you have to say no to a lot of things, but picking a very narrow audience is the best way to really solve their problems in a nice way.
Allan: And it’s all about having the person who is receiving your message say, “Hey, that’s for me,” right, and you want someone who’s reading your message to, because otherwise if you’ve got a laundry list of services.
If you say, I do web development, I do this, I do that, I do Google ads, I do all sorts of other things; it’s just a laundry list and you become a generalist, and people don’t look at that and think, “Hey, that’s for me.”
Louis: Yeah, you don’t want to become a generalist. So those are the first three steps, then the During Phase, which is the lead phase? What are the three steps in there?
Allan: In the During Phase we want to do three things. We wanted to capture leads, for example, capture leads in an opt-in or a CRM; then the next thing we want to do is nurture those leads. So, we want to have a good follow-up. and when I say good follow-up it’s not pestering them. It’s not being a pest.
It’s becoming someone who delivers value on a very regular basis. So, I think your podcast is a really good example of that, right. When you put this podcast out you deliver a lot of value to the world. It’s not about pushing something on someone but they don’t want it.
So, when you do go ahead and one day make an offer—or perhaps you currently do make offers to your list—someone’s going to be much more likely to say, “You know what? Louis has given me so much value. I’m really open to seeing what else he has available.”
So, then the third part is sales conversion. That’s when you take someone from just knowing about you to trusting you, and then spending the first dollar with you; or more so, turning someone from a prospect to a customer.
Louis: So, before we go through the next three steps briefly, as a summary—what do you think of the of the term lead capture? And okay, that’s a very leading question, so maybe rephrase. I actually don’t like the term lead capture.
It’s like lead magnet. I find it very impersonal and that leads to me, to a lot of people thinking, those leads are just numbers on a spreadsheet that you know, you need to capture it to grow your sales. So, I’m just curious your view on the term. Did you use it because other people are using it, or do you believe that this is the right definition?
Allan: Yeah. Look, I use it because it is the most common definition and I like to use things that don’t need a lot of explanation. So, very often people will talk to me about you know, what should I name my business?
Or what should I name my podcast? Or what should I name my book? And things like that. And you can do one of two things: you can have a clever kind of naming and maybe not so clear, or you can have very, very clear naming, and where the title equals the content.
For example, if you think about my book The 1-Page Marketing Plan, the title tells you exactly what it’s all about, right, and Everybody Hates Marketers that tell you exactly what that’s all about. So, I don’t like to have to use uncommon terms that you have to explain, even if I don’t love those terms.
I agree with you 100% that lead capture is probably not the best term, but it’s probably the most common term and one that doesn’t need the most explanation. I’m probably more in favor of, you know, delighting a customer, but that would be an awkward way of putting it in a book.
Louis: Yeah, this is a good point, and I think this is a good lesson in terms of marketing and customer behavior. I’m not gonna name the company because I respect them. I don’t want to get to any bad publicity from them, but this is a software company that recently launched new features.
They try to call those features…they try to come up with a new name—those features were not new, so they were in the marketplace for a long time, and people used to call them a different thing right. and that led to a big failure the product retention rates for those features were very low.
That led them to change the names, to the thing, to the words that were being used by the most amount of people—even though those they weren’t necessarily happy with those words.
They had to use them because that’s what people think about first when they describe such a feature. So, I think it’s a good example that sometimes you do have to to make sure that you are in sync with your market and people and how they call stuff.
Allan: I always tell people to choose clarity over cleverness. You know sometimes, you want to use some clever name and it’s kind of witty or something or funny or something like that, but it’s not really clear, and I always say if you need to explain it, it’s failed. Your name, or title of your product, or your podcast, or your book, or anything…should need no explanation.
Louis: Yeah, and that goes back to an episode that I’ve recorded with Momoko Price—who’s a conversion copywriter—and we went through how to come up with a good value proposition on your website in particular.
And she made the same point, you know, you need to make it very clear. Very, very clear what you’re doing. You don’t have to be clever, you know, we are the #1 leading provider in a category that nobody has ever used before.
Instead, you can say we do the best product in x, that we last longer, etc. The more clear you are, the easier it will be for people to understand what you’re doing. And therefore, to act and maybe sign up to your newsletter or buy your product.
Allan: Yeah, I mean, as marketers we’ve got enough challenges to deal with anyway without having to add in our own challenges of trying to be unclear.
Louis: Yes, right. So, those other six first steps. What are the last three?
Allan: So last three. This is in the After Phase, so someone’s become a paying client and for a lot of people, this is where it ends, right, so this is where my marketing ends for a lot of people. You’ve got to paying client. What else do you need to do, right? We finished the end, we look for another client. No.
So, in the After Phase, it’s really where the real money is made, and a lot of people make a big mistake of just ignoring this. So, there’s three parts to the After Phase. There’s delivering a world-class experience, then there’s increasing customer lifetime value, and the last one is orchestrating and stimulating referral. So, I’ll go through each of these very briefly.
So, delivering a world-class experience. This is all about creating a tribe of raving fans, and you’ve probably heard Seth Godin talk about this kind of thing. And there’s other marketers who talk about this, but it’s about creating fans rather than clients.
We don’t want to be transactional; we want to be someone who is respected and loved and almost an entertainer to our clients. Because people are seeking something different—and people are seeking entertainment, as well as good service.
It’s all about delivering a world-class experience so that the client who’s dealing with you just says, “Wow.” You know, it’s all about creating a wow experience for our clients.
Then we move on to Increasing Customer Lifetime Value. This is all about finding ways to increase the amount that you can charge a client. And when we say that, we don’t say that in a way that we want to be scamming, or take advantage of clients, or anything.
No, we do that by delivering much, much more value. Very often someone will sell something to a client and that’s it. The client never hears from them again, but the client’s needs have not ended, right. So, very often a higher level of service, a more frequent level of service is something that the client looks for.
If you take, for example, your internet service. If you bought it a few years ago, it’s satisfied your needs there. But, now since those few years have gone by, you’ve got now much more streaming applications—you’re using online cloud and drop digital services much more, so maybe someone who sold you internet a few years ago—that fit the purpose, but today, it’s unfit for purpose.
Unless someone’s keeping in touch with you, and increasing the lifetime value, upselling you to the next plan that has higher data limits, or higher speed; you’re going to be underserviced.
And that’s going to create an event in the client where the client thinks, “You know, this internet…it’s just become so slow. I’m going to look for some alternatives,” You’ve created a turn event by not being in touch with your client on a regular basis.
That leads us into the last part of the After Phase, and that’s Orchestrating and Stimulating Referrals. And I purposely titled that chapter Orchestrating and Stimulating—and the reason I say that is because a lot of people sit and hope for referrals.
They hope that someone will send them a new lead, a new customer, a new prospect—and sometimes, at a chance, that does happen. But if you orchestrate and stimulate referrals, that implies that the system in place and the system is, you know, baked into your marketing.
Where people expect that you have to give them referrals, or you have a very, very specific and targeted system for requesting those leads and referrals. So, that’s basically the last three parts of The 1-Page Marketing Plan. The After Phase.
Louis: Right. So there we have it. As you can picture in your mind right now, you have a one-pager. You have nine boxes and you have three boxes per row, and you should be able to summarize your marketing plan in one page.
I strongly believe that if you’re not able to summarize any plan or any strategy in less than a page, then it’s not clear enough, it’s not simple enough. And don’t expect your team, or your colleagues or your clients to understand it. So, this is why I love some of this template.
As you said Alan, as well—and I really appreciate that from you—you said in the book that you didn’t come up with that on your own.
You’ve been inspired by Seth Godin, by other people; it’s not like something that is brand new, but you add a twist to it, add your methods to it, your personality to it, and this is one of the reasons why?
Simplicity; one of the reasons why your book is an Amazon bestseller right now, and why so many have recommended it to me. So thanks for doing what you’re doing, and that’s what I wanted to tell you.
Right, let’s go back to the actions; the first three steps, and perhaps we can go through them together. So this is a bigger phase, right—the Prospect Phase. So, coming up with your market, your message, and the media, and how you’re going to reach out to them. So, how do we go with that?
Allan: So, as we discussed earlier, we want to find a target market that’s in pain. If you think about the last time that you had a really, really bad headache, and you went to the chemist, and you looked for pain relief.
Do the chemists have to sell you? Or convince you to buy the medication? Probably not. You probably grabbed it and paid whatever was this on the sticker. You probably didn’t even look at the price because you wanted pain relief, so that’s where it all starts.
You want to find a target market who are in pain and provide pain relief. It’s as simple as that and it kind of merges into the second step, which is crafting your message—and there’s really no substitute. A lot of people ask, you know, where do you start?
And it’s really starting with an offer that converts, and so a lot of people try to force an offer that’s not interesting to people; that’s not solving a big pain point, which is maybe either marginal or not solving a problem.
In Silicon Valley, I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s a solution in want of a market,” Laughs. So, they’ve created a solution and now they’re looking for the market—which is completely backwards.
We want to find the market that’s in pain. We want to find a gap that they have and create an offer that converts. So, as an example, the book—I didn’t just invent this kind of strategy, and create a book, and hope that it worked.
I knew absolutely with 100% certainty that The 1-Page Marketing Plan was an offer that converted. Now, I didn’t know how successful the book was going to be; it definitely exceeded my expectation, but I’ve been a keynote speaker at many events, I’ve offered The 1-Page Marketing Plan as a process.
I had very, very high conversion rates, so I knew for a fact that this was an offer that converts, and that’s why—well, that was part of why I wrote the book, and I knew that it would get traction. I didn’t know how much because I’m a first-time author, I’ve never written a book before.
There were definitely some unknowns, but I knew absolutely without a doubt that this was an offer that converts, so that’s something that I would put to your audience and I would get them to think is—you know, what’s your offer that converts?
What’s something compelling that you can solve for your target market? And what is your target market for a start? So, what’s your target market and what’s a pain point that you can solve for them? How can you be their pain relief?
Louis: Right, so I very much like this explanation, but I’m gonna challenge you to go deeper—because I can listen to the voice of the listeners in my head already asking, “Okay, that’s all good, but how do you actually come up with this target market in the first place?”
And in this podcast, we talk a lot about customer research, and talking to people, and you kind of imply that with the example of your book—because you’ve been in touch with clients, you’ve been in touch with people in conferences reaching out to you, and you kind of did similar research.
Over the years you heard this pain coming back to you over and over and over again, and you were certain that this was a pain that had to be solved. And you also were certain that the plan, the solution you put together—the pain relief—was something that was working.
How do you advise people who don’t have the chance of inside years of experience behind them, a lot of clients reaching out to them with their problem. How do you advise them to pick a target market?
Allan: So, there’s two ways to start. Number one is—if you’ve been one of your target market—for example, you’ve been in the past an IT guy. I was an IT guy, and if you’ve been an IT guy, a really good thing to do—because you intimately know that target market; you know what they’re worried about, you know what their challenges are—is to target that target market.
Some target market that you’ve been part of in the past. That’s one way and that’s a really, really good way. If I was just starting out that’s probably one thing that I would probably do, but sometimes we find opportunities that are not necessarily in a target market that we’ve been part of.
In that case, it’s really just a matter of doing some educated guesses, but it’s not just wild guessing. We’re doing some educated guessing and we’re doing some research. So, we want to do some market research, we want to see what are the books that these people are reading? What are the forums that they hanging around on?
So, you might go on to their forums, and you might start saying okay—what questions are they asking? Quora is a really good resource as well. You can go into Quora and see what questions are…lawyers asking for? What questions are doctors asking? And what kind of questions are they asking?
Then you go through a process called PVP, so P stands for personal fulfillment, V is value to the marketplace and P is profitability. So, when I talk about personal fulfillment it’s, how much do you enjoy working with this target market?
So you know, are they people that are interesting to work with, you enjoy dealing with them…or are they kind of just really are a pain-in-the-butt type of customer? You know, demanding and don’t want to pay a lot and all of that sort of thing.
The second one is V, so value to the marketplace. How much does your market segment that you’ve chosen value your work? Are they willing to pay a lot of money for your work, right? This can vary dramatically from market to market.
And the last one is P, profitability, and this is an interesting one. Sometimes even when a target market is willing to pay a lot of money for your work it’s actually not very profitable work when you when you look at it.
It might be something that’s very, very labor-intensive, something that you have to spend a lot of time outsourcing or managing. So you want to look at those three factors. Does it bring you personal fulfillment and joy to work with?
Because if it’s going to be an uphill battle building this business if you hate dealing with this kind of client, or you hate dealing with this type of person. The second thing; does it bring value to the marketplace? And the third thing; is it profitable?
Louis: So, you come up this and I like it because you talked about mining Quora, and all this kind of online sources, to get the questions that people are asking in your target audience—that you’re thinking of going after. Do you have a process to actually go through those online sources? Do you put them on Excel? What do you do with them?
Allan: The process really doesn’t matter. Do whatever process works for you, but what I find is if you want to use Excel, you want to use Google Docs that’s that’s not something that’s going to move the needle.
But there’s a few things that you can do. So, you can survey your target market—you do have to be careful about this thought—because people lie.
People will say oh yes, that’s a great idea, or sometimes you might ask friends or family; you might say, “Hey, I’m planning to start a business creating leather hats for turtles,” and people don’t want to hurt your feelings, and they say, “Oh, that’s a great idea. You should really do that,” and then you say oh, is that—
Louis: Laughs. It is a great idea. Like letterhead photos. It’s fantastic. You should go about that, you should do this.
Allan: Laughs. Exactly. People want to be nice to you. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, so a better thing to test is just your offer on check-writers. So rather than saying, “Is this something you might be interested in?” Make an offer. Say something, “Would you like to buy this?”
“Would you like to to write a check for this?”and then that’s when, very often, the truth will come out where they will say, “Oh heck yes. That’s great. That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for,” or you might start to get, “Uh… well. You know, not right now….I’ve been a bit busy,” or whatever—that sort of thing. That’s, I guess, the acid test of an offer; whether someone will write a check for—
Louis: How do you come up with the message, then, once you have your target market? You know roughly who they are. How do you come up with a message that will make people interested?
Allan: So, a really good way is to interview and speak with your target market. I know as digital marketers, sometimes we want to just hide behind a computer, or emails, and things like that.
But I found the best thing is, very often, just to get on the phone, and very often someone will reveal something over the phone that they generally wouldn’t over an email, or over a digital communication, because that’s usually very highly curated—whereas over the phone,you’ll get insights that you weren’t expecting.
So, you might ask the question and someone might answer the question—but reading between the lines, you’ll get some insights. A little might be something that they mention in passing, or something that they mention adjacent to some of the questions you’re asking, but I found it’s awesome when you can get your target market on the phone speak to them about what’s happening in their industry.
What’s happening in their lives? What are some of the things that they’re concerned about? What are the things that they’re lying awake at night worried about? So, depending on your industry—that’s going to be a number of things. I mean, right now if I was in the taxi business I’d be very, very concerned.
That would be things that I would be worried about, even if you’re in certain other industries that are being disrupted—like hotels, and travel, and things like that. You’d have to be very, very concerned. It’s kind of like the destruction that the book industry, that the movie industry, that the audio and music industry experienced years ago.
So, there are industries currently being disrupted; you want to speak to people and get their words. When you interview them, that’s one. That’s a very, very valuable thing.
You don’t want to just get their message. Sometimes someone will answer your question, but you want to capture their words. You want to phrase it the way that they would phrase it—because basically you can grab that and put that straight in your copy.
Because when someone in your target market reads the exact words that in their mind, they’re going to respond to a message in a much better way than you would if you were trying to paraphrase it, or coming up with some clunky thing that they didn’t quite understand.
Louis: Yes, we did talk about this before, didn’t we? And this is the key people. Marketers, founders; they try to be too smart about the way, you know, to explain their products. That’s heavy stuff.
Instead, if you just interview a customer, and really try to understand how they describe the product—or the pain that they have in their own worlds—then it’s much easier to come up with. I would recommend you go and check three episodes of Everyone Hates Marketers “Customer Service 101.”
Just done the introduction and the latest episode with Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers around this exact framework. How to actually capture the thoughts of people and put it on paper. Allan, so we have the market, the message, and now the last step of the before phase: the media, picking the media, and how to reach out to them.
How do you do this?
Allan: Yeah, this is an interesting one—and I’ll preface this before by saying, I know this podcast is targeting digital marketers. But one of the things are pushed back about it is using the phrase “digital marketers” because sometimes I find that digital is a substitution for lazy.
Sometimes people are lazy marketers but call themselves digital marketers, and here’s the reason I say this, because some people think that digital means magic, and whereas digital is really just a media. I’ll ask you, Louis, in digital marketing. Do you need a powerful headline? I would think the answer is yes. Do you need a compelling offer?
Allan: Do you need very, very good, compelling copy? Do you need a coat? Do you need a strong call to action?
So, these are all things that are not specific to digital marketing. Leads are specific to any kind of marketing, whether you’re writing an ad in the Yellow Pages, and the newspaper, on Facebook, on Google—just because something is digital it doesn’t mean magically the concepts of and the key part of marketing simply just go away.
A lot of people think, “Okay. I’ll just send an email blast to my list,” and there’s not much thought to the headline. There’s not much thought to the copy, and it’s because it feels like it’s free, but it’s it’s very, very far away from free.
So, that’s one thing I would say is that if you’re a digital marketer—and that’s totally fine to say you know what I work in this type of media—I love working in digital and that’s what it is, but don’t ever substitute the word digital for lazy.
Learn the key concepts of marketing, learn how to write headlines, learn how to write copy, learn about a good call to action. Learn about all of these things that have been in marketing for hundreds of years. Really, digital is just the newest media that we were using for that.
Louis: Allan. I’m sorry, but this is important. I did change the positioning of the post of this podcast recently because of this and now I say that it’s a marketing podcast, because purely for two reasons: one, a lot of my listeners are not digital marketers and marketers in general and two, exactly for what you just said.
I guess you might restrict yourself as a digital marketer. If you truly believe you are only a digital marketer from using mediums and media, that might be outside of digital purely because you think this is not your realm, but if your consumers hang out in like conferences and like to receive Direct Mail.
Then you must be more than just a digital marketer you have to be a marketer, full stop. So, I’m very glad you made this point.
Allan: And I can tell you from personal experience that all the most sophisticated digital marketers, they actually use a lot of analog media. So, I’ve never heard anyone call themselves an analog marketer, but if you think who’s the most tech-savvy company in the world? And probably Google would come to mind would that be correct, Louis?
Allan: So, guess what I got in the mail the other day? I got a direct mail from Google; it had a headline, it had an offer, it had a coupon, it had a call to action. So, this is the world’s biggest direct mail marketing company is Google. If that’s not a lesson for digital marketers than I don’t know what is. Laughs.
Louis: Yeah, thanks for making this point. Right, so how do you understand where people hang out and how to reach out to them?
Allan: So, we want to reach out to them where they hang out exactly. That comes from the research phase, in when you’re selecting your target market, and when you’re crafting your message.
You want to understand, where do they hang out? For example, depending on who you’re targeting; so if I was targeting, maybe older people—and these are of course generalities—and as marketers, we generally deal with generalities.
Of course there’s exceptions to every rule, but if you were targeting a much older audience you might think about more about print. Maybe about local newspapers, or national newspaper, or whatever. If you’re targeting, for example, teenagers or that sort of thing—you might think about Snapchat or Instagram or something like that. So, it’s very much going to be driven by the target market.
And the other thing I’ll say about media is, it’s the most expensive part of your marketing. So, you know if you’re running ads you’re either in print, or in direct mail, or in Google, or in Facebook. This is the most expensive part.
One of the things that I often see is people try to cut corners and either learn it themselves, or do it themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re a specialist in the field. Like, if you’re an AdWords marketing expert then absolutely go for a do-it-yourself, but if you’re not, you’re going to waste a lot of money, you’re going to waste a lot of time.
I mean, even just choosing AdWords marketing—that’s a field on its own. There are people who even carve that niche. You know there are some who specialize in retargeting, and remarketing, and all of that sort of thing. There are others who specialize in writing the headlines, and the copy, and all of that sort of thing.
So what I would say is—hire specialists when you’re dealing with media. If you’re writing a direct mail piece, hire someone who specializes in postal direct mail. If you’re running Google ads, hire a Google ad specialist, or hire a Facebook ad specialist. So, don’t skimp on the expertise when it comes to your media spend.
Louis: And that goes back to the positioning. That the point that we made earlier on, right. So, you naturally recommend someone who specializes in one area because this is the sign that this person knows what she’s doing. That ties back to what you should be doing in your target market; in your messaging, you should be narrow enough so that people say, “Well, he or she is the expert in X, and you should reach out to her.”
Allan: Exactly. It’s like if you’ve injured your knee. Do you want to go see the general doctor, or do you want to see the specialist?
Louis: Right. Okay, I think we’ve gone through a good overview of this plan. Obviously, we didn’t have the time to go through every single step one-by-one. They are nine steps in total, but I think that the first three ones are really the ones that are the cornerstone to this plan.
So, you can visualize it once again. It’s a one-pager, 9 boxes, and yes, you won’t be able to write everything in there. This isn’t about the details. It’s more about the direction, the focus, the purpose, and being able to share this document to your colleagues, to your clients, to your boss—and I’ve seen that for us.
One of my friends used a version of this document not that long ago, and she printed it out, and she uses it with our her entire team, and shares that with our entire team. Now everybody’s on board with their marketing and this is truly a nice exercise.
And the last point I wanted to make about this display in particular; in the book mentioning a lot the fact that this is usually you know small business, and you mentioned that it’s more like direct response marketing, which is like, you invest and then you get a response back. It’s not like branding of any kind, but I strongly think that these exercises would also work if you work for larger business.
Even if you have, you know, thousands of people doing this exercise; simplifying your strategy, or plan in one page, even if it’s not necessarily the exact same—stricter than the one we went through—it’s probably a good advice. Would you agree? And once again this is a leading question, Allan. But would you agree to this statement?
Allan: I fully agree. Whether you’re a one-person company or a billion-dollar company, direct-response marketing will work for you. The one thing that I find—the nuance is—there’s very different agendas when it comes to large businesses and small businesses.
I write this in the book. Large companies often have a management team. There’s board of directors, so when they do marketing; making a profit—it’s there in the list of priorities—but you know, above it are things like pleasing the board of directors, making sure that the shareholders are happy, satisfying biases of your superior and things like that.
Making sure that your existing clients preconceptions are satisfied, then you want to win some creative advertising awards, and then somewhere down the bottom there’s making a profit, right? Whereas for small business the only priority is making a profit.
So, it’s not whether direct response marketing will work for a big client or a small one. It absolutely will work for both but in large companies you’ve got to deal with a lot of decision making, red tape very often. You’ve got to deal with a lot of people who’ve got preconceptions and biases and things like that. And that’s when the marketing kind of gets muddled, right?
That’s when if you were to walk in and say, “Hey, let’s do this and let’s do that,” in a large company very often. “Oh, no we’ve got to clear the CEO and the CFO, and then we’ve got to talk to legal, and we’ve got to make sure that the board is happy with it,” and all of this sort of stuff. And the CEO’s wife; she wants to be in the ad as well. There’s a lot of politics in larger businesses.
Louis: Right. So, you sold a lot of books on Amazon. You mentioned that exceeded your expectations. How much did you make with this with this book sir?
Allan: I do six figures annually from this one book from royalties.
Louis: Pretty good investment. So it goes back to the 64/4% Rule.
Allan: It does indeed, and it’s interesting that the packaging makes a lot of difference. So, if I release this book in a series of blog posts, sure—it might have gotten some traction, might have got some link backs, and things like that—but because it’s in the book because it’s in a structured form, it makes a massive, massive difference.
And that’s a lesson. Sometimes the uniqueness in what you do is not necessarily in the information because you know, I’m open in the first page of the book. I say I did not invent most of these strategies.
Yes, I created the framework and I created a unique way of putting these things and planning them, but I didn’t invent direct response marketing.
I didn’t invent copywriting, or headlines, or any of the things that we use, but I definitely put a new spin on it—I created a bit of a breakthrough in the marketing planning process. A lot of times when people talk about USPs or Unique Selling Propositions; they think that you’ve got to reinvent the wheel, right, but you don’t.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of packaging it differently, or having a bit of a different spin on it because really, there’s nothing new under the sun.
Most things have been invented, unless you’re Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, you’re probably not going to come up with anything completely and radically new. Very often when we talk about Unique Selling Proposition; it’s about just doing a new take on something, a slight different way of packaging it, a slight different way of looking at it, and that can make all the difference.
Louis: Do you think marketers today that will help them in the next 10 years 20 years or even 50 years
Allan: I think the thing that is not well understood by marketers is that they need to become content creators. They need to become voices of value. So, back in the past you created an average product, or you had an average service, and maybe you put an ad in the Yellow Pages—and your marketing was done for the year. Or maybe you bought some media, you bought billboards, you bought TV advertising and that sort of thing.
That’s what we mentioned earlier in the episode; that’s putting lipstick on a pig. That worked in the past because you could interrupt people, and if you interrupted enough people you’d sell enough product, but in the next 10, 20, 30 years, you need to understand that you need to become a voice of value.
People who are a voice of value create content and they’re prolific creators of content, so anyone who wants to be an authority—I would be seriously thinking about okay. What are you doing about a book? I mean literally in the name authority is author, right, so I would be thinking about how do I create a book and how do I come up with a concept?
So, you know I’m not the only one to come up with a concept. In the book, for example, if you think of GTD getting things done, or if you think of the e-myth— these are good concepts packaged up in a book and then rolled out in the media.
So, how do you become a voice of value in your target market? And then once you’re a voice of value, how do you start creating raving fans and creating content for those raving fans? People are dying to consume high-quality content, and there’s just so much garbage out there that you will stand out by a mile if you create something that’s very, very high quality, that’s content that people want, that’s things that are shareable. does that make sense?
Louis: It does. What are the top three best resources you would recommend?
Allan: So, of course, I recommend my book. Laughs. I was looking at speaker event recently and I held up a copy of my book, and I said, “This is the best book on marketing I’ve ever read,” and you know, it sounds like bragging.
But I really wrote this book because there was just so much garbage in the marketing area; on how to get your message out there, and all of this sort of stuff. And a lot of it was written by professors, by doctors, and things like that, and it’s people who have generally have never done actually run a business outside of academia.
So I’d recommend my book because it’s starting point. Laughs. I know it sounds, selfish or whatever, but I truly believe it delivers a lot of value in terms of software, and podcasts, and things like that. I think absolutely critical is to have a very, very good CRM. A CRM system where it can help you tag and segment, and we haven’t really talked about segmentation, but that is absolutely critical. So, it’s where you can tag someone with an interest or a demographic or a geographic and be very, very, very relevant to them. So you’re an island, and if I had a product that was very geographic I would tag you in my CRM as being an island. I might tag you as being our podcast creator. On my tag, you as being a marketer, and then when I’m sending a message to someone in Ireland who has a marketer, you would get a very, very relevant message—rather than a message that was just very, very general.
Louis: Right, so those are the top three resources because you mentioned CRM your book. Do you have any other another one?
Allan: I think they were two, and if I was thinking of a third one, it would be getting help. Because a lot of entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves and businesses of team sport, and I’ve never seen anyone make big breakthroughs in their income who haven’t built a team. So, you need to have a team.
And an example is my book, right, so you think I just wrote this book and they came about by magic and ended up on the Amazon store. No, I had literally a team. I had a researcher. I had a typesetter. I had an editor—actually, I had multiple editors—I had also advisors who were telling me the best way to do SEO on the Amazon web store, so I literally had a team.
Now, I wrote this book in a very, very short, compressed timeframe. Actually, I wrote it in about 30 to 40 days. I nearly died doing it. I don’t recommend doing it that way. Laughs. My next books are going to be written over a longer time frame.
But the point I’m trying to make is—this was a product launch and I treated like that. I didn’t create it like literature, or like a lot of people think that a lot of authors think they’re above marketing. They think, you know, that’s kind of shady, sleazy, I’m here to write literature, and then they never sell any books.
So for me, I treated this like a product launch, and with a product launch, I had a team. And that’s probably the third resource that I would recommend for your listeners. If you’re doing trying to do this alone you’re absolutely going to have a very tight cap on your income because we’ve only got 24 hours in a day, and the good news is you can buy hours by hiring people, so that makes a massive difference in your scalability.
Louis: Where can listeners connect with you and contact you?
Allan: Sure. A good starting point would be on Amazon—if you look up the name Allan Dib or The 1-Page Marketing Plan—or if you’d like to get on my mailing list, then please visit Successwise and then just join in the conversation. So, we have a good time. We talk about marketing, we talk about business, and we talk about systems, and we have a lot of fun with goals. And we get things done.
Louis: Alan, it’s been an absolute pleasure to interview today. Thank you so much for going through this exercise with us.
Allan: Thanks, Louis. Pleasure to be on the show.