EP #105 What Really Works In Marketing

If you want to have a successful, growing, thriving business, you need to keep your marketing fresh, exciting, and effective. The trouble is, what works and doesn’t work with marketing changes all the time.. and fast! In this episode, Dan Mendilow and Sophie Kessner let you in on their marketing experiments, what’s working, and the marketing directions they’re headed. One of these strategies could be the one that gets your business growing more than ever before. Listen to this episode to find out!

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What Really Works In Marketing

We’ve got a fun one for you. We’re going to be jamming with you on a lot when it comes to social media marketing. If you are somebody who is in the online space, wants to be in the online space or has contemplated the online space, this is going to be an episode for you especially when it comes to social media marketing. What we’re going to be jamming on is what we’ve seen work, what we’ve seen change, what we’ve seen stop working, what we’re doing in our businesses and giving you insight into what we believe are some of the best strategies moving forward to support you in your online business both from the internal perspective and also from the external strategy perspective. On that note, let’s dive in.

With everything that we’re going to drop on you in this episode, there is some level of testing. There is no one size fits all or, “This works for everything and exactly this way.” Take everything in terms of, “These are what we’re seeing.” Try it with your business, test it, tweak it and fit it to your needs. One of the things that I have seen that does work for me and works generally are personal stories. What I’ve seen more and more of in social media is people wanting to know who you are not just in what you do, but why you do what you do. If you meet someone walking down the street, you meet someone at a party or something, the old school thing or the basic bitch thing is to immediately ask, “Who are you? What do you do?” That’s it.

It’s a very thin way of getting to know people. When people buy from you, then go with you, it’s because at some level they either like you already or they want to be like you. How are they going to know that unless you show them who you are? Personal stories are super-duper effective. With that, remember to be as vulnerable as possible. If you’re ever going to meet someone and you show them something you aren’t, then they’re not going to get to know you. If you let them see who you are, quirks and freak flag and all, your vulnerabilities and everything, that’s going to help them feel connected to you.

The big pivot that we’ve seen in the last few years is previously before this big shift in the industry, everyone wanted to be this polished and professional type of brand that was suited up. That was the norm. I’m sure a lot of you have seen that online. Somewhere along the lines, especially in the last few years, there’s been a massive pivot for this authenticity movement, which is a lot of what Dan was talking about and what he was referring to. You become so much more authentic in your branding, your business, and your positioning. You share more about who you are. This looks different for every person depending on a few things. Number one, what your actual service is or if you’re in the product base space. Who you are, if you are somebody who’s naturally more polished or if you’re somebody who is naturally a little bit more corky, dorky and silly.

The shift for a lot of people has been this coming back to wholeness in a way where instead of feeling they have to show up like so-and-so because this is how so-and-so did it. They’re allowing themselves to be more of who they are. A big part of this and what I’ve seen, especially in the last few years is this huge movement with a lot of the female entrepreneurs in this space. They’re shifting away from this need to be super hyper-masculine in their content. I’m sure you all remember the Tony Robbins type of energy, but there’s been a huge shift where a lot of people are like, “That’s not naturally me.” A lot of people are more introverted, quiet, calm and relaxed. It’s become this more acceptable way of showing up and building your presence if that’s who you normally are to be somebody who’s calm, grounded and collected. That is what works better than trying to put on the persona that isn’t you.

[bctt tweet=”When people buy from you, it’s because on some level, they like you or they want to be like you.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

The thing here is to imagine if you’re going to talk to someone in real life, not through a screen, who would you be? How would you talk? How would you show up? If you’re a real chill person, are you going to start trying to be Tony Robbins if you meet someone at a club? I don’t think so, but that also means you get to talk about whatever you want to talk about. What I’ve seen here is that these rigid structures or unspoken rules of what you need to look like or be, they’re all going out the window. Even things like the pictures that you see, which all used to be super-duper professional and well-posed. Everything’s looking like it should be in a magazine. These don’t show up as much for successful marketing. People want to see the real you, whatever that looks like.

You can still get professional shots done, but instead of these contrived poses that look like you’re trying to be a magazine model. It’s like, “This is what a business person looks like and how they sit,” rather than how you sit and how you look like. We’re looking for more authenticity. You get to dress however you dress. Hold yourself however you hold yourself and talk about whatever you want to talk about. For me, I love talking about hallucinogenic drugs. I think it’s an incredible experience. Mushrooms are my personal favorite because of what it does in the brain and how it impacts the body and the experiences, the awareness. A couple of years ago, a coach talking about magic mushrooms online, that’s a sin. You never do that, but now if it’s something that’s authentic, it’s totally fine. You get to be more free online and talk about these things that might have been hush.

A big part of this is there’s a line of vulnerability that everyone gets to draw for themselves. Some people love to be super vulnerable and share every aspect of themselves and their lives. Other people like to have a little bit more privacy. There’s also that permission that you don’t have to share every little thing about you and your life to be successful. You get to decide how you want to show up online. The easiest part there is creating space for yourself. What is the persona that you’re building for yourself online? That’s the way that you want to think about this. Is this persona a reflection of who I am in the offline space and how much of me does it reflect? What parts am I comfortable sharing?

As you share more and more, maybe you share a certain level with the public audience than inside of your private communities. You’re a little bit more authentic. That’s totally up to you. That’s the biggest piece when it comes to social media marketing specifically. It’s making sure that you feel comfortable with what you’re sharing. That’s the biggest piece. Oftentimes, you can feel when some people write posts because they feel they need to share something and be super vulnerable. It’s very different than somebody authentically connecting. It’s important that when you’re creating content and you’re sharing, you’re coming from a place of, “This is what I’m comfortable with, not just what I feel I should be doing.”

There are all things here that we’ve been testing and playing around with. For me, mixing this into a different style of writing when I’m writing my posts. My mentor taught me about these three different levels of consciousness when you’re marketing. There’s animal consciousness, intellectual consciousness, and spiritual consciousness. Animal consciousness is more towards survival, “What do I need to get through?” When you market to this audience, you’re going to speak in a very specific way like, “Here’s your pain, here’s your problem.” You’re trying to get them to the next step. You’re trying to keep them out of debtor’s prison. When you get to intellectual consciousness, it’s more about building, growing and real solutions to longer-term thinking. It’s much more strategy and much more on education.

You then get into spiritual marketing, which is more about becoming a better person. It’s marketing in a way through stories, through bonding, through talking about expanding influence, impact and becoming a different person. Is this something that I’m testing while mixing in my stories, talking about what drives me and what I’m passionate about? That can show you a little bit about how even when we’re talking about stories, there are different ways to write them. There are different focuses and different approaches. It depends on who you are and who your audience is too.

It reminds me of the concept of spiral dynamics. It’s one of our early episodes way back, but essentially it is a similar concept. It’s connecting and understanding the different levels of consciousness and the way that each of these levels thinks, their needs and their basic desires and then being able to communicate to each level at a different time. The truth is all of these parts always exist inside of us at all times. It’s just which part is essentially driving the bus? The question that you ask is where is my ideal client essentially operating from? Are they operating from this animal type of thinking? Are they operating from more of this intellectual? Are they operating from this more metaphysical or spiritual?

Being able to identify that is one component, but it’s also understanding that your ideal client is human in the sense that they’ll rotate between these parts. We don’t stay in one piece, which is why it’s important for us to be able to connect and relate with our clients on multiple levels. It’s this multi-dimensional marketing is the way that I love to describe it. It’s thinking about how am I connecting to my ideal client from the perspective of relationships? How am I connecting to my ideal client from the perspective of career? How am I connecting to my ideal client from the perspective of finances, from the perspective of any other aspect that is relevant to them? This is the piece that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with.

I’ll speak specifically to the service-based industry because I don’t feel I have enough experience in the product-based industry to be able to give enough advice there. In the service-based industry, it’s understanding who specifically that you’re speaking to. This is where a lot of people get hung up and they’ll pick a niche. They’ll say like, “I want to work with moms,” or “I want to work with this type of person.” Whatever the niche you’re picking, we’ll go with mompreneurs for example, there’s such a spectrum inside of that niche. This is where a lot of people miss the boat because when you’re looking at the niche of mompreneurs, that spectrum is talking about a few different things. We’re talking about levels of consciousness, but we’re also talking about relativity. The relativity comes down to depending on where they’re currently operating from their current level of consciousness.

There’s going to be different things that are more relevant and more prevalent in their life. For somebody who’s already running a six-figure business and she has been doing this for a few years, she’s been in the game for a little while, what her focus is and things that are going to be relevant to her and the topics that are going to connect to her in a very different than the person who’s struggling to get their business off the ground. You have to understand who is this woman on a human level. Aside from the business piece, what is her relationship like? What is happening in her fitness, self-love, these other areas of her life and figuring out what are those areas that are her core focus, the pieces that influenced her the most. When we are aware of that, that’s where the magic comes in your marketing. Because then you can connect on a personal level, which is where people are most magnetized.

[bctt tweet=”If you want authenticity, create a space for it both online and offline through whatever ways possible.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

When you have a service-based business, you are a huge part of that service. It’s that human connection because unless you’re one of the very few people in the world who have a unique thing like only you do, your services are not that unique or not unique at all. There are probably thousands of people who do the exact same thing, but there’s only one you. There’s only one person with your experiences, your unique combination of interests, desires, lifestyle choices and experiences. It’s important to be able to connect with your audience using that stuff. Those are your gifts. When you can connect that way with something that’s important for your client, they can see that you’re much more than another person offering the same service.

At that level, if you’re just another person offering the same service, then they’re going to go for the cheapest one. They’re going to go for the one that makes the most sense for them at the moment. That may or may not be you, but when it becomes a personal thing, then people can make all sorts of different decisions. It’s more than just money or time and it becomes a much more well-rounded experience for them. How many times have you decided to go back to a restaurant or a store because the people there are awesome? That’s the kind of thing that you want to create. You want to create that experience for your audience online. They keep on coming back to you, not just because of what you’d do for them, but who you are and how you make them feel.

That’s also important to have as more than just Instagram stories or posts that are ephemeral. Instagram stories are like lightning bugs. They’re gone. They’re on an out. Your posts, sure, they hang out online but it’s also important for you to have things that last. That’s why Sophie and I both have a blog. That’s why we’re creating a lot of videos, a lot of things that will last so that people can keep on coming back and keep on connecting to us and building it. It’s like if someone comes over to your apartment and they look around and they see your decorations and they see the story of you, your business and the story of where you’re going. It’s also good to have that online so people can go in there and see the same thing and get to know you.

What Dan’s talking about here is what I would refer to as brand equity. Brand equity is any assets that you’re creating that have longevity and they last more than the moment. The issue with social media is specifically speaking to Facebook and Instagram. There’s no SEO involved or Search Engine Optimization. What I mean when I say that is you post something, it gets engagement when it’s posted and then it dwindles down. It gets lost in the sea of content because there are many people constantly creating content. When we’re talking about assets, we’re talking about things that essentially live forever that have SEO. Those are things like blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels that are not dependent on you having to push to it to bring people to that content.

This is where I personally see a lot of the industry starting to shift to. It’s creating for themselves more than what they’re posting on social. This is where many people are in short-term burnout. It’s a great short-term strategy for profit generation, but it’s not a long-term sustainable business plan. That’s what a lot of us forget especially if we’ve had a lot of success in the social media marketing space where we’ve been on Facebook and Instagram and we’ve created profit and we know what to do to create profit. The thing is and I can tell you from personal experience, doing launches online and doing them year-round or doing them whenever we want to generate revenue, it requires so much effort. Even if we have systems built out, there’s still this expansion of energy that has to be put into creating, pushing and producing the content and engaging with the audience.

What a lot of us are wanting to shift into is how can we create this essence, this authority, this longevity with our brand where we’re not just this person who is showing up here, but we become omnipresent in a way. We’re constantly alive and around everywhere. One of the best ways that I’ve seen is through content like YouTube where it is its own search engine. The content that you put on YouTube if you optimize not to say that it’s a walk in the park, but when it’s done correctly, it’s something that lives forever. When people are searching and you’ve created content that’s highly searched content and you are able to rank at a certain level.

Regardless of whether it’s been years since you posted that video, if you streamline it correctly, somebody can be consuming your content years down the road, going through whatever the system you built out and then investing in whatever your service is. It becomes this much more automated piece. You also get to maintain your social presence, but you’re not dependent on Facebook and Instagram anymore. That’s the shift that we’re starting to see in the entrepreneurial space, this move from short-term marketing on social to long-term brand equity and brand assets and what that looks like.

That does a number of things as well. You have a world that you create for people in this when you have all that brand equity, when you have that place, whether it’s a blog or you have your videos, you’ve got something there that people can get lost in your world and become a raving fan. You don’t need that many of them. That’s the thing like the book, 1,000 True Fans. It’s the idea that you can have a thriving business essentially forever and all you need is 1,000 hardcore fans. You don’t need that many more. You create that by getting people hooked on you and having people easily find you. You’re omnipresent, you’re everywhere. Increasing the Law of Familiarity so people can feel like you’re already a part of their lives. They already know you may be better than some of the people that they’ve met in person.

When you drop an offer to work together in person or doing something like that, then it makes sense. It feels right and it converts a lot better. What we’re trying to do is increase or deepen your relationships with people online, and anything that can help you do that will help your business. That also expands. You want to do the same thing online and offline. Some of the things that I’m going to be testing pretty soon is hosting dinners and lunches. I’m creating actual communities, people who can see and touch each other in person to allow each other to get to know each other, allow people to get to know me and create even more relationships. That’s the whole thing. If we want authenticity, then we can create it both online and offline through creating as many conversations in whatever way possible.

I love the whole concept of in-person events. This is something that’s been coming up a lot lately. There’s a great way to do it. Somebody who’s mastered it in the coaching space is Alex Moscow. He’s done an incredible job with leveraging live events and creating a community, a raving culture through events and being able to have many people from the online world come and connect in person. From that deep intimate experience, they then decided to take those next steps. It’s a powerful process. There are many different ways to do everything. There’s not a right or a wrong way. It’s about the right way for you and then obviously testing. The biggest piece here and what I and my business partner, Mel, found over the years is that you have to test.

[bctt tweet=”Sales can and will happen once the human connection and the value of the service are established.” username=”iamsophiekessner”]

Regardless of how something works for somebody else, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work the same for you. It’s important to feel into what it is that you’re wanting to create and that you’re getting insight from people that have had incredible success, that mirrors your business and your model so that you can have some insurance in the sense that it’s worked for what you’re creating. In the sense of the in-person events space, it can be something highly profitable. It’s something that a lot of people in the online world are craving deeply. I feel like there’s a system that gets to be created to amplify the results from that. That’s where the magic lies. It’s leaning on it and discovering because this isn’t something that I’ve had a whole lot of experience with quite yet. I’ve run probably two intimate small retreats and they were so fun but not highly profitable. We were doing more testing with it versus wanting to produce profits. It’s interesting to hear these models and test them and see what’s happening. I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen in the online space over the next few years as people are craving a lot more of that in-person connection.

It’s something that I’m also seeing like everybody was doing webinars at first and it feels like there is the movement to make it even more personal. You’re seeing more live webinars or more Zoom conferences. It’s live and fairly informal. It feels like having a conversation with someone in a room. I think that’s coming from that. People want to see you and they want to hear you. They want to be able to talk with you and ask you questions and interact with you. There are all sorts of ways to do it. There are all different platforms, different tools, and apps you can use to get it done. Sophie’s right, you’ve got to test it out and see which one you like the most. It might be Instagram Live or Facebook Live events or whatever it is. Maybe it’s one of those things where you do have most of your stuff online and then gives them an opportunity to meet you in person either at a paid event or what I’m starting to see is a lot of free events.

You’ve got to test it to network, meet people, take it offline and add that human touch. I’m not talking about a networking group where people come and try to do the mix. They’re trying to be a normal person but also trying to be an ad at the same time. What I’m starting to see is more people inviting each other to these groups literally to get to know each other and to talk like an informal mastermind. It’s amazing what can come out of that because what we’re looking at is entrepreneurs going more into the energy of pure service rather than always the sale. Realizing that the sale can and will happen once the human connection and the service are established.

This is relevant not just in the offline in-person world, but online too. The biggest issue for most entrepreneurs is there’s a lack of patience when building relationships. People are quick to want to create profit that they completely negate the fact that it’s important to connect with your audience and build and deepen your relationships with your audience. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through messaging, connecting. Not direct messaging to pitch products, but genuinely building relationships to say, “I love what you posted. That was genuinely valuable.” It’s wanting to have these amazing people that you feel like, “This is something new that I would love to work with.” You’re not coming from that place of “Buy my product.” You’re coming from this place of, “I want to add value. I want to be of service.”

That’s where a lot of people miss the ball. There’s what almost feels like a stream of arrogance in the sense like we’re above connecting, messaging and building relationships with our audience and with our people. The truth is that’s where the magic lies. It’s in you spending the time connecting, answering questions and getting to know people. That’s where people get to know you, to trust you and get to see who you are. There’s a lot of value in messaging and connecting. There are different ways to leverage this on different platforms. DM works best on Instagram. On Facebook, it’s more so in commenting and engaging in posts.

Not a lot of people are as enjoying the process of direct messaging on Facebook. There’s a little bit more resistance there, but people love to engage in comments and have conversations going in threads, then with permission moving to DMs. It’s having awareness around what is the platform that you’re using and what is the culture there? Being somebody who is adamant about consistently engaging and, in a way, prospecting potential clients to build relationships and get inside of those networks and communities.

Think about business and dating. Let’s say you’re single. This would be what I did when I was single, which is you can have your entrepreneur way, which is you just target the people who you want and you speak only with them. You go in hard like Sophie is saying, totally impatient. That’s going in there and finding your person and immediately walking up going, “I’m pretty awesome. Do you want to go on a date?” See how that works versus what I used to love doing, which is walking into a place and making friends, talking with a lot of people and seeing who connects. Knowing that even if this is a person who might not be someone I want to date directly, I don’t know who they know. I don’t know who they’ll introduce me to. I don’t know where this might lead or I might have an awesome friend or a business partner or a client.

God knows what can come out of it, but it needs to start with a normal conversation between two people interacting. However your style is, whether you’re curious, teasing, you ask a lot of deep questions or you’re funny, whatever your interaction style is. Go with the idea of getting to know people and interact. Who knows what can come out of it. It’s the same exact thing online. You don’t know. You might talk to someone you might think is a prospect but through the conversation you find, maybe they’re not a great prospect but they know three people who they can refer you to. Because you built that connection, they like, know and trust you because you like, know and trust them, they’ll feel good about referring their people to you. All of a sudden instead of getting one client, you get three. It’s because you were patient and because you lead with authenticity and you cared about real connection.

We’ve shared a lot in this episode when it comes to social media marketing, the shifts that we’ve seen in the last few years. The biggest place that all of this is going to is basics in a lot of ways. It’s getting clear on who you’re speaking to and connecting with that person. It’s being who you genuinely are and allowing yourself to be seen, whatever that means for you. Focusing on genuine relationship building and connecting whether that’s through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever platforms you’re using. The final piece is how are you building longevity with your brand and creating brand assets for yourself so that you’re not always living in the hamster wheel of posting every single day on social media about whatever it is that you’re doing. You’re not constantly trying to nurture and engage people, but you’re creating an actual community online that is obsessed with you in a lot of ways and that your brand perceives your reputation.

All that being said, the biggest thing for you is to decide and tune in. You’ve got a lot from this episode but tune into what feels most relevant for you. Where do you want to start? The biggest thing here is to pick one thing. Is it refining and getting clear on who your ideal client is? Is it focusing on starting to create connections online and building relationships through messaging? Is it looking for what is that third avenue going to be as far as creating brand assets? It’s deciding what’s going to be the one next step, and then focusing on that one next step. If you try to do all of it, nothing’s going to get done. Pick one, dive in and let us know how it goes. We love hearing from you.

As part of letting us know, if you did get a lot out of this episode, head over to iTunes, give us those five stars, give us the review, and help us out. It would make a big difference for us, but also let us know that this shit’s working for you. We love that interaction. Reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook. Create that human connection with us. If you’ve got questions, any comments or requests for something you want us to talk about or want to share an experience that you had because of something you learned on this show, we would love to get to know more about you and love to hear from you. It makes a big difference for us too.

On that note, we will see you in the next episode.

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I'm Sophie Kessner

First generation Mexican American mama that’s gone from hood to strategic hustle. I’ve spent the last 10+ years inside the personal development space supporting 100’s of coaches in scaling 6 figure businesses online & supported 4 different companies in surpassing the 7 figure mark. Today, I focus on making scaling more sustainable by integrating the lenses of business, systems, automation and CEO Development through an Equity centered and Trauma informed lens.

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Sophie is the founder of The Sacred CEO™ Agency and has been in the service based coaching industry since 2015. She’s created and scaled 4 different multi 6 figure coaching programs including their latest course, The Online Business Automator.

Soph has also founded her SaaS business called ScaleUP where she work with her clients and building custom backend systems and a high quality template shop with Brand and Web Design expert, Mel Judson.

You can find Soph snuggling up with her son on the couch, spending weekends at Trauma retreats or dancing her heart out at the next EDM Festival.

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