4 Deep Marketing Questions (with Answers!)

How to move forward when you’ve made a big change with your business? How to get the confidence to launch your product? And just what is Sonia’s evil ulterior motive for recording her podcast?

Once again, I’m jazzed to have four great questions from the audience about marketing and business.

If you have a question you’d like me to address in a future podcast, just drop it into the comments below. Scroll waaay down past the transcript, and let me know what’s on your mind!

In this 22-minute episode I talk about:

  • How to get the confidence to move forward with a minimum viable product
  • My thoughts on marketing music, art, and other creative work
  • Moving in a new direction, and how to bring your audience with you
  • How to decide which content is free and which should be paid

Drop a Question or Comment!

You can scroll down to leave a question of your own for a future episode, or to leave a note about what you think. I’m curious to know what’s on your mind!

The Show Notes

  • Nate Smith had the question about moving forward with an MVP
  • Mike Baker is our questioning musician — go listen to his stuff, it’s terrific
  • Darren DeMatatas offers search marketing expertise for Christian entrepreneurs — he’s also one of our Certified Content Marketers
  • Belinda Weaver is thinking about free vs. paid content strategy
  • Chris Garrett’s Copyblogger post on Free Vs. Paid Content — there’s lots more here than I could give in my answer, so check it out!
  • My friend Susan Garrett who can train your dog to do algebra (well, almost)
  • The Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers — if you need a writer or content strategist

4 Deep Marketing Questions (with Answers!)

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, a digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.

Sonia Simone: Greetings, superfriends! My name is Sonia Simone, and these are the Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer. For those of you who don’t know me yet, I’m a co-founder and the chief content officer for Copyblogger Media.

I’m also a champion of running your business and your life according to your own rules. As long as you don’t lie and you don’t hurt people, this podcast is your official pink permission slip to run your business or your career exactly the way you think you should.

And today it’s question time again, with four more questions from the audience. I really appreciate you guys, and if you want to leave a question to be answered in a future episode, you can just scroll all the way down to the comments and leave one for me there.

If you are picking this up on iTunes, you can find the podcast at PinkHairedMarketer.FM and I would love to hear your questions and your thoughts for future episodes.

#1: How to Get the Confidence to Move Forward with a Minimum Viable Product

The first one comes from Nate Smith over at pen9creative.com. And I’ll give all these folks a link in the show notes so that you can go and check out what they do.

I love his question:

What advice would you give to perfectionists who struggle to get over themselves (or their fear of not being good enough) and launch a minimum viable product?

This is a super good question. It happens a lot, and a lot of times it happens among the people who are most qualified to put out something that would really be useful.

And it comes from thinking too much about yourself, which is totally natural and normal. Instead of thinking so much about “who am I to help?” or “I’m not sure I’m ready yet?” Think about the people you will help with your product or your service.

You don’t ask yourself, “well who am I to help” if you see somebody fall down in the street — you just get on over there and you ask how you can be of assistance.

If you start with a commitment that if your product or service isn’t the right one, that you’ll try to pass them to a better fit, or at least let them know you aren’t the right solution. That helps a lot as well.

Just remind yourself you are not going to go out and try and ShamWow everybody into buying your product or your service, even if you are not a good fit. That will help you reassure the crazy-making part of your head, that it’s okay to move forward because there are people out there who need what you can do, and you can actually help them out.

And just coming from a very tactical place, sometimes a Q&A session can be a really good confidence booster for this kind of situation with your head space. It’s also a really good way to get product ideas — ideas for ways that you can help the audience.

Obviously it’s very helpful if you have some kind of a following. Like you have an email list that people have opted in to get news from you, or you have a good Facebook following, a good Twitter following.

Ask your audience what they would like to ask you about. There are lots of free conference call-in services out there you can use. So it doesn’t have to cost anything.

You could also do it as a Google Hangout, and schedule a time. Let people know about it. Collect questions in advance, if you can, that will help with the confidence boosting part and it’s also going to help you go back and glean product ideas and just get that understanding of your audience.

And then hold the live Q&A session. This is a huge confidence booster, because it really helps demonstrate to you, and to your audience, but most important to you, that you do have solutions that will help people solve the problems that they care about.

This kind of mentality can also set in if you are starting too big. So try and solve a smaller problem — that’s still meaningful — if you find that you are just not moving forward because you are intimidated by the idea of releasing.

By the way, a minimum viable product means the smallest product — or the smallest service, the smallest bundle, package, what have you — that you can market, that still solves a meaningful audience problem.

And then finally, this is why it’s really helpful for business owners to have a network.

I find that especially the people who are the most capable, there is a funny thing that happens where sometimes the people who are least capable, have plenty of confidence, and they don’t have this problem, and they don’t relate to this problem.

But I often find, the people who are most capable, have a hard time believing in themselves, probably because they are constantly questioning their own abilities and working to get better, so that’s actually why they are good.

You never believe in yourself as much as your colleagues believe in you. So try and get a professional network together and Nate is actually part of our Authority community, so he’s got that network in place. And just lean on that network sometimes.

Sometimes you do need a little help from your friends, and it’s totally cool to ask for it, and we are happy to give it.

#2: Marketing Music, Art, and Other Creative Work

The second question comes from Mike Baker, and he is at radionowhere.net. I would love to encourage everybody to go check out his music and his website because he’s got a great sound. I’m really, really enjoying the sound of his music. He’s really good.

Now Mike asks:

I love your stuff in general and find ways to apply it to my business (I’m a singer/songwriter operating under the name Radio Nowhere, and I sound something like a cross between Lyle Lovett and Led Zeppelin).

And I’ll add my note, he’s also got some Leonard Cohen and Richard Thompson in there. This is totally my kind of music.

Mike has a free EP at his website if you want to check it out. Continuing Mike’s question:

However, I find some basic marketing stuff doesn’t exactly map neatly onto music promotion — music doesn’t directly solve a problem or alleviate pain, for example — so crafting an effective content strategy and lead magnet can be tough.

It is a different thing to market art, music or cute shoes, than it is to market dentistry or copywriting, or website design. They are different creatures and they do require a lit bit of a different approach.

I will start with a caveat, which I am definitely not in any way an expert on marketing music. The question did inspire me to reach out to John T. Unger, who is an artist who creates really cool firebowls. They are just really neat and amazing. And he’s also a really good marketer.

So John has let me know that he’s going to be available for a future podcast episode with us. So kind of circle back, if this idea of marketing creative work is something that you would like to hear more about.

I had a couple of thoughts just looking at your site. I think you are on the right track. Taking what works for “product” and adapting it. Use what works. Don’t use what doesn’t make sense.

I would say that if I were you, I might include some more calls to action to do something that gets you some financial support.

So, you know, more calls to action to do something like, pick you up on iTunes, which is available on your website. That is something that I could do immediately when I hit your site, and I don’t necessarily go through your email list to do that.

Sometimes with marketing, you have people at “Hello.” They just really like what you’re doing and they want to support you right away. So cater to those people. Have some purchase opportunities — a CD, an iTunes, a 99 cent single, an album — whatever it might be.

And as a musician, I mean, it’s really about collecting the audience. It’s really about building the audience.

I think the thing that’s really different, is that it’s less about asking what they want, and more about attracting who digs what you are.

So you are not going to bend around how you make music, to give people a marketable product, right? We already have lots of people who do that, and you know, Insert the name of your favorite sellout musician here — who might be really talented, but they are mostly producing music product that’s designed for commercial viability. That’s not really what you’re about, although I’m sure you wouldn’t mind a little commercial success.

I just love your sound. I think a lot of people would. I would think about that 1,000 true fans model.

So what can you give the people who are nuts for you? And how can you pull more people together? This might be something Facebook might be really good for. I’m not sure if you’re on Facebook or not.

So of course, you are going to let people know about concerts, where to listen to you live. But you know, how could the people who love you, make a greater contribution to your ability to pay your rent? It could be box set CDs, it could be t-shirts. I don’t know what it could be. It could even be like a live event, where you hang out with people and talk about music and listen to stuff, and you play some music and people get to know you.

So think about that. Brainstorm some ways that the people who love you, could do more for you and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Come out and say, “Look, I’m a musician, and making a living as a musician is super hard. We all know that. And if you value what I do, then I would love it if you would do this thing. Go pick up my CD, even if you don’t listen to CDs.”

The other thing about music and art is, people who are looking for souvenirs, so they come to an event and you make them feel awesome, or they even come to your website and you make them feel awesome because you have this beautiful sound. Give them the opportunity to buy a little piece of that experience.

For musicians it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s a t-shirt. It’s a CD. It’s a single on iTunes. It’s an album on iTunes. But think about that souvenir that people can have in exchange for making them feel good. They want to take a little piece of that experience home with them.

#3: Moving in a New Direction, and How to Bring Your Audience With You

The next question comes from someone I met at last year’s Rainmaker event, and that’s Darren DeMatas. He’s over at interwinemarketing.com.

Now here’s Darren’s question.

I’m getting some traction with my blog, where I offer ecommerce and SaaS search marketing tips but not a ton of engagement. As a look at who I am, and my best customers, I decided to take my business in a faith-based direction. 85-90% of what I blog and podcast won’t change, but I’ve been struggling to connect deeper with my audience. After talking to some people, Demain Farnsworth, who of course is on our Copyblogger team and Sonia Thompson, who’s one of our Certified Content Marketers, (also Darren is a certified content marketer) I’ve decide to jump all in.

Today I updated my homepage copy to say, “Search marketing for Christian entrepreneurs.” My question is, how can I work this angle in without alienating the people who signed up, (but are not very engaged) to build a tribe around this new audience?

First of all. Smart, smart, smart. Getting more specific is an amazing way to build more engagement, more loyalty, it gets more attention, it helps keep attention. So focusing on a particular tribe that you want to serve, is a really smart thing to do. And it opens up all kinds of new doors that you weren’t even able to see before.

And this question actually applies to a lot of businesses, because we change directions all the time.

A big part of smart content marketing is to keep paying attention and keep adjusting your sails to catch the wind that’s blowing, rather than wishing you had some other kind of wind.

Here’s what I think you should do. I would announce what you’re doing, I would announce the new direction. Let people know who are on your list and then just move forward.

And you know, if you want to take this approach, you can definitely make the statement that you are happy to work with anyone but that your faith informs how you see the world and how you behave as a professional, So you’ll be talking more about that. Some will be more attracted, some will feel neutral, some people will move away to another provider.

Communicate that you respect all points of view, all faiths, but don’t get too worried about alienating people who are going to be turned off by that message. Let them sort themselves.

As a rule of thumb, don’t worry about alienating people who aren’t that into you anyway.

Be who you are. Be ethical. Be a good egg, and then let people decide if they are alienated or not. If they are a good fit or not. The right ones will come closer, and the ones who were never really that into you anyway, will drift away, and that’s normal, and healthy, and totally okay.

Again, I would always advise businesses, if you are moving in a new direction, just let people know and then move forward.

Very often people will say, “Well I’m doing something different with the blog, or I’m doing something different with my business, so should I start a brand new email list?”

And in most cases, unless it’s where you are going from cake recipes for celiacs, to the best double gluten cake recipes — if it’s a completely different world, where one is inappropriate for the other — I always advocate to move forward with what you have, communicate clearly and let people decide for themselves if they want to stick around or if they want to move away.

And of course that is always contingent on having unsubscribe information really prominent in your email communication, which you need to do anyway to comply with most of the world’s spam laws, plus you just need to do it because it’s the right thing to do.

#4: How to Decide Which Content Is Free and Which Should Be Paid

The final question today comes from Belinda Weaver, and she’s at copywritematters.com. That’s copy-w-r-i-t-e matters.com. Again, all the links will be in the show notes, so you can go hang out with folks and see more of what they have to offer.

Belinda’s question is around using content as a lead in strategy.

In your last podcast talking about questions, you talked about the power of content to keep people engaged until they are ready to purchase. I understand the idea of creating different kinds of content for different stages of a buying cycle (or stages of readiness).

Do you have any tactical suggestions around a balance of free vs. paid? In other words, free versus paid products that might lead people to the main offer? Are free > bronze > silver > gold > platinum stepping stones a good idea? Or does the content map need to be a bit more complex?

I want to offer the right content, at the right moment but leading people towards an ultimate end point. I’d love your thoughts and ideas.

This is a super good question. Chris Garrett wrote an excellent post for us on this on Copyblogger, and we get asked this all the time.

And partly the answer to “what’s free,” “what’s low cost,” “what’s expensive,” is you go by feel. But I do have a couple of rules of thumb.

Easy to solve problems get solved for free. So that the low-hanging fruit, as it’s often called, gets solved for free. The frequently asked questions that are pretty easy to move forward with, get solved for free. And also any problems that you have to get resolved before you can become my customer, also get solved for free.

For example, a lot of people get business or marketing advice, they read blogs, they get lots of advice, they pick up books, but they lack the confidence to act on it and move forward with the project.

And that is the super secret evil marketing purpose behind this podcast — to empower more people to move forward with their business, whether it’s a big business or a tiny little side business, so that they can benefit from the tools and education that we sell with our company, Copyblogger Media.

As you can see, I’m extremely evil.

So for an educational kind of product, the more investment of time and energy a solution takes, as a rule of thumb, the more money you should charge for it.

And this is partly for a weird reason — people will put more time and energy into something that they pay more dollars for. It just helps focus the attention, when you have made a significant financial investment to align that with a significant investment of time and energy.

So attending Stanford University is difficult, and they also charge a lot of money. Attending your local community college can be challenging, but it’s less difficult than Stanford, and it’s more accommodating as a rule, and they charge less money. Again it’s a rule of thumb, it’s not a law of nature.

But if you are asking somebody’s time, energy, attention, so you know, a workout routine or an educational product, or consulting them in how they run their business, that’s going to be more expensive. And something that’s a quick fix, will tend to be less expensive.

But there is one exception. And the exception is, the whole range of products and services that are based around convenience.

In a service this is often called “done for you” — so instead of teaching someone how to write copy for their web page, you do the writing. Rather than teaching someone how to build a website, you build it for them. This should always be priced on the higher side — it’s a convenience factor, it’s pre-washed lettuce that you get at the supermarket. It’s totally okay to pay people for convenience if it’s really a one and done kind of thing. They give you the money, they end up with what they want.

Now in terms of the complexity of your content map — make it as simple as you can and no simpler, which is probably a misquote of Albert Einstein. You’ll find that the complexity of the map is going to grow organically —- don’t start with a complex idea about what you want to do, or what you want to offer.

Start with the simplest idea that you can, and then let your audience and your client demand be what drives the complexity, if any.

For example, my friend Susan who offers dog training education. Her biggest product is “How to get your dog to come when he’s called.”

Now Susan could pretty much teach your dog to do algebra, if that’s what you wanted your dog to do. She can teach at a very high level of complexity, and she does, and she gets results with that. But she gets the most results from solving a relatively straightforward issue.

So sometimes the right answer is the simple answer, and whether that’s the case for you, is going to come out of your audience and out of your clients.

Those are four questions. Thank you guys again so much for asking such interesting pertinent questions, that are really coming from the trenches of your businesses. If you are enjoying the show, I would love a rating or a comment over on iTunes. That just helps me tremendously. And thank you so much for those who have already left a review or a comment. I just appreciate that so much.

Thank you all so much for your time and attention, and take care.