Let's live in a world where we’re all going to run a marathon next year.
(marathon runners don’t come for me, I’ve been you before, all the respect to you).
But let’s live in that world for a minute because I have a question for you:
If you are going to run a marathon next year, how are you going to train?
You have 2 options:
This is not a perfect example of training plans, I know that, but humor me and choose.
If you have to run a marathon next year and these are your only 2 choices, how are you training? A or B?
I’m guessing (hoping) all of you chose B.
Which is correct and wildly obvious: Option A is a great option to win a 100m race; Option B is a great option to win a marathon.
But Option B is a terrible option to win a 100m race and Option A is a terrible option to run a marathon because it’s misaligned: you’re training one way and then planning to perform in a completely opposite way.
Which leads me to ask an uncomfortable question: Since you chose B, why in the world are you constantly choosing A when it comes to your marketing?
Don’t worry, this is not another email about “slow and steady wins the race” (although it does, so please feel free to take that lesson along with you too;)
This is an email about your inputs (your training plan) not being at all aligned with your desired outputs (the completion of a marathon).
Or in sales and marketing speak, your marketing inputs not being at all aligned with your desired sales outputs.
It’s a little thing I call Traffic or Relationship marketing and sales, and you all are screwing it up.
Here’s what I mean by Traffic and Relationship marketing and sales:
Traffic marketing and sales means your business is a volume business: you move a lot of leads through a sales process that leads to a (relatively) low cost product and your conversion rate (the number of leads who buy your thing) is pretty low.
That’s a traffic funnel: High volume, low cost.
Relationship marketing and sales means your business is the opposite of a volume business: you move very few leads (in this case, quality over quantity) through a sales process that leads to a high ticket offer and your conversion rate is through the roof.
That’s a relationship funnel: Low volume, high cost.
And if you are selling via a traffic funnel, you should have a traffic product. And if you are selling via a relationship funnel, you should have a relationship product.
Seems obvious, but I never see this. Maybe 1 in 1000 times do I see people have this correct.
What I far, far more often see is a relationship product (think services, consulting, coaching) being sold via a traffic funnel.
And along with it a lot of confusion and frustration over why things aren’t working.
What does a traffic funnel selling a relationship product look like?
It looks like trying to amass a ton of followers on social media without a plan to actually meet any of them (but still sell them an expensive product).
It looks like launching a podcast, writing a book, building out a tripwire funnel and then wondering why no one is upgrading to your 10k package.
It looks like thinking a pdf opt-in gift will be enough for a consulting or coaching lead to decide whether or not they know, like and trust you.
It looks like doing everything in your power to stay “efficient” as code for “I really don’t want to get on the phone and talk to people if I can avoid it”.
Which becomes wildly inefficient of course because you end up doing a ton of things to avoid getting on the phone when you could just save yourself a ton of time by …. Getting on the phone.
Moral of the story: Stop training for a marathon by completing a bunch of sprints. Figure out if you have a traffic or relationship-based business and design your marketing accordingly. You’ll save yourself a ton of time and heartache.
Sign up for my weekly riffs on what it takes to design tiny companies that last.