Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

So the first time I heard this analogy, was at a workshop with Donald Miller. He was talking about how on a first date, you should never ask anybody to marry you. He was obviously talking about this in relation to marketing. At the time, I was very single and by that, I mean, I had no prospects on the horizon. And so for whatever reason, this analogy, well, for that reason, actually. For that reason, this analogy has really stuck with me and it’s something that I have really been thinking about since then. Because that’s actually how relationships work. You don’t ask somebody to marry you on the first date. 

This is a problem. A lot of businesses do exactly that. They jump from the first date to marriage without spending a lot of time or investment in between. A good, solid relationship is gonna have a foundation. That means that you’re going out on several dates, seeing each other in different situations, under stress, et cetera.

And while I am not a relationship counselor, we won’t get into that, find your own therapist. PSA. That is something that I see a lot in businesses. I worked with a business late last year that always wanted to be asking for money. They never did nurture emails. For those of you who aren’t familiar with nurture emails, those are the ones that you send out in between sales or on a regular basis that give people value.

All this client wanted to do was sell. They wanted to sell packages. They wanted to send out coupons. They wanted to send out discounts. They wanted to talk about how great their product was. But the problem was that they were getting new leads through the ads we were doing and just jumping straight to the sale.

Donald Miller, in his book, “Marketing Made Simple,” talks about the three stages of a customer relationship being curiosity, enlightenment, and commitment. They have to go in that order. You wouldn’t want to jump to commitment without telling somebody who you were and explaining the value that they’ll receive.

So I recently had this just this past week. I was interested in an offer that was posted on social media and I was sent this link to said offer. I expected, like I’ve been following this person for a while on social media, and I expected that I would get invited to like a free webinar or even like a low-cost webinar. But this offer was a multiple thousand dollars offer. So get this, we were jumping from, “Hey, I’ve been following you on social media for a while” to “Hey, can you pay me several thousand dollars for what I wanna give you?” Granted, while I’m not gonna mention their name. I have been following this person for a long time. I have been served value. I know I can trust them, but it was jumping from a, “Hey, you can follow me for free and get all of this information” to “Hey, I want you to pay a significant chunk of money.” 

I mean, that is, for me, where I’ve been following this person and it felt a little bit jarring. Yes. I asked for that link, but I didn’t know it was gonna be a paid offer and an expensive one at that.

But imagine how that would feel to somebody who had just started following this person. And hadn’t had a lot of background experience. They would’ve been in a curiosity phase and then being asked to jump to this commitment phase. There is no enlightenment in the meantime.

Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I wanna share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.

Hey guys, it’s Savannah, the web designer here at Stratos. And I wanted to let you know, if you’re DIYing your own website, you’re gonna want this freebie. Our website layout worksheet is exactly that a worksheet that helps you lay out your website. Create a webpage that draws your customer into a story while also selling your goods and services. You’ll find a free copy of the worksheet at marketinginthewildpodcast.com/freebies.

A lot of smart marketers are doing this, navigating through these stages through via free webinars or even low-cost webinars. They’re taking people who are followers, who are curious about their product, giving them some value, maybe through a free lead generator. And each of these steps move people into this enlightenment and then finally into a commitment stage.

Your enlightenment stage might last for a long time, depending on how long it takes you to close a client. It also might take a longer time depending on how high your offer is. And this is why a lot of people use the concept of a value ladder. I tried to figure out who came up with this idea, but literally everybody, every marketer in the world has it on their blog. and I can’t tell who wrote about it first. But a value ladder, also sometimes called a product ladder, is where you almost have these like steps or a ladder where you have a free offer at the beginning, all the way to a big offer at the end.

So free offer, and then you’ve got a little bit smaller offer, and then something that’s just slightly bigger than that smaller offer. And almost like these stair steps where each of them costs a little bit more leading up to this big offer. So for example, one way that we do it in Stratos is we are giving out free lead generators everywhere. You can download our 101 Social Media Prompts. Then we might invite you to a Brunch and Learn. While they’re still free, it does require a time commitment. So we’re asking for a little bit more from you, growing in that relationship. Then we might invite you to our content repurposing workshop, which is a $50 offer.

And so we move you, and this is behind the scenes. So we move you from one relationship level to another, all the way to the point where you might become one of our monthly clients. You also might not, but either way, we’re creating this reciprocal relationship with you where it’s, “Hey, we’re asking for, for your time, we’re asking for maybe your money, but we’re also like giving you value and we’re creating relationships.”

Usually our clients are people that we have known and established our value with them over time. They aren’t just people who are out of the blue. We’ve been working with them for a while on lower offers. Maybe then we move to a higher offer, et cetera. 

And this is the thing you guys. In business, We have to move in this order. We cannot ask people to marry us right out the gate. That would be weird, but let people get to know you. Make them curious, give them value. There’s a lot of different ways to do this. Don’t forget to ask for that commitment and that sale, but don’t expect to make a huge jump. If you do that, you’re gonna be sorely disappointed.

This is an opportunity for you to show people you’re trustworthy. And frankly, relationships last longer. We do not want one night stands with our customers. We want relationships where they are gonna come back and we are gonna have this reciprocity. And it’s not just a one time and done. People say all the time, repeat customers are worth far more than just single time customers.

So if you’re creating that relationship, you’re gonna have those customers who have a huge lifetime value. So all that to say, this is why marketing is like dating . We have to invest the time, we have to invest our money. We also have to invest our hearts and souls into the people we wanna be in relationships with, whether that’s marriage and friendship and real life relationships, or even with our customers. Those are the customers that are gonna stick around. 

I’d be curious to hear from you: have you experienced one of those jumps from curiosity to commitment that you were like, “Hold the phone! That was too fast. I’m not ready.” Or have you seen this play out? 

As you’re adapting this and putting it into your marketing really think through, are we asking people for a commitment too soon? How much enlightenment do we need to have in the meantime. Per usual, you can reach out to us anytime via our DMs on Instagram or Facebook or via email. We love hearing stories from our listeners. We’ll feature you on social media if you let us. Somebody sent us some examples of billboards recently that we loved. So make sure you reach out to us, especially if you have a story of how you can see marketing and dating being similar.

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.

Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.