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.

Have you ever had that awkward moment where you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, the doctor has left, and you’re like, so is the nurse coming back and then I’m leaving, or do I just walk out? What’s next? Maybe I’m the only person who experiences this and if that’s so, it’s my true confessions of being paranoid at the doctor’s office.

But this is what we’re gonna talk about. I have these four different stories, and then we’re gonna talk about this through-line theme because I think that there’s something that we can learn from all of these little snippet stories. 

The second one is that last weekend, we took our dog, Max, to the vet. And in the end, they brought Max back out. He needed his rabies shot. The vet tech dropped him off with my husband and there was this awkward moment of like, so…do we pay here? Or are you just gonna automatically charge the card? What happens? Again, not a big deal, Just like a weird moment. 

My next one is actually a client’s story. Today I was working with a client when we were exploring some functionality on her website. She’s having a hard time because she wants students to apply. She does evaluations of certifications for foreign people wanting to come and study or work in the United States, and so she does these evaluations and they have to apply and submit these documents. But lately, she’s been having students who don’t read the instructions because the instructions are lower on the homepage than the “Apply” button. They just jump ahead, press apply, get halfway through the application, and realize, oh crap, I needed these documents. And so, in this case, they’re getting the instructions after the fact.

Last story. The last story happened in San Diego. My husband and I were on our baby moon to San Diego, and we were walking the beach walking by the piers. There was this pier that very clearly looked open to the public, but when you got to the entrance, you realized it was gated off. But it was confusing because we had seen people as we were approaching it, we had seen people go in and out, but we couldn’t tell where they were going in and out of until we saw, over off to the right, a sign that said to use this gate, like the gate had like a door.

The reason there was a gate, FYI, was because cars could drive out onto this pier to this little resort, and they didn’t want just anybody driving out, but it was also open to the public. But again, we were confused. 

So what do all three of these stories have in common? There’s this element of confusion. People, our customers, our clients, us—we are not stupid. I am not saying that at all. We want what we want, but we also want to know how to get what we want. We want it to be a clear path. So I, at the doctor’s office, want you to tell me do I need to walk myself out or do I need to wait for somebody?

My clients’ students need to know, hey, these are the instructions. Don’t start cuz you’re gonna waste your time until you find your documents. At San Diego, we just wanted to know how to get out to the pier and we want it to be clear.

StoryBrand. If you’ve been here for two seconds, you know about StoryBrand. But StoryBrand, one of the biggest mantras is, “If you confuse, you lose.” And I really truly believe that’s true. But as business owners, how are we looking at our own marketing? Looking at it through the eyes of our consumers? Or are we just saying, “Oh, people should get it. I don’t need to explain that, people can just guess or get it.”

Then what we’re creating is, we’re actually creating a bad experience. They may be able to figure it out, but when we make them guess and we don’t clear the path for them, that we want them to take, one, we might get frustrated because they’re taking the wrong path or doing the things that we don’t want them to do, but two, if we can clear that path, they’re gonna have a better experience.

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

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And so this is what I want us to think about: when you approach your website, as somebody who is not you, is it clear what you want people to do? Like on our website, for example, we want people to schedule a free consultation. We want them to schedule an appointment, and it’s really clear that we want that because that is the singular call to action that we use.

If you have a shop, is it clear how to get to the cart? We recently had an experience where I was trying to enroll in some swimming lessons for our baby. I wanna do those swimming lessons where you teach ’em not to drown, and I was looking at our rec center’s website and I could find all of the spring classes, but I couldn’t find the fall classes. So I emailed them and they sent me this link and said, “The fall classes are in this place, you just have to press this button.” I think it was, press the swimming lessons button, then press the fall schedule, then scroll down to the parent and baby classes and then click the schedule, and you can see it.

So I had to go through five steps, and this is after emailing them because it wasn’t on their regular website. So it was really confusing, and I’m a motivated person because I wanna take these classes, and they’re the cheapest in the area. I don’t wanna spend more than I have to, so I am gonna go out of my way to find those details.

But that’s the thing is, if you are dealing with somebody who is on the fence and it’s confusing, they’re gonna walk, turn around, go the other way. In San Diego, when we were on that pier, we could have just as easily given up and said, “Hey, we’re not really sure how to get out on this pier. We’re not dumb, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to get out there. We’re not really sure how those people are.” If we were extremely motivated, we could have asked somebody, but if we were not motivated, we could have just said, “Hey, this isn’t worth our time. Let’s go find something else to do.” 

So if you have trouble looking at your own material through other people’s eyes, ask your clients to do it for you. Or ask a stranger. Ask them, “Hey, if you look at my website, what is it that you think I want you to do?” Make sure that you have a plan. Do you have a three to four-step plan on your website, on your social media, in your marketing, even in your sales process? Tell people what’s next. We always do a process where we have a discovery call, and then we say at the end, “Hey, you’re gonna get your proposal on this date or this date. And also, can we set up a phone call a week from now so that we can answer questions?” So automatically, when we finish our sales calls, people know, hey, I’m gonna get the proposal on this date, and then I’m gonna be able to talk to Julia or Bryce on this date next week to answer questions.

We give people. here’s the next. Here’s the next step. Here’s the next step. We want it to be clear so that people are not confused. So keep this in mind as you are exploring your own marketing, but also watch it happen around you. Just like we were at the vet and we were like, So do we pay? Or you’re gonna charge the card; what happens?

It happens to us in real life. Notice how it makes you feel when other people are not clear. Like obviously, don’t call them out on it. I did actually email our rec center and was like, Hey, this is actually a little bit confusing, FYI, because I was really confused, but I don’t necessarily want you to call other people out on it, but notice how it makes you feel when you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do because then that’s gonna help inform how you build your own marketing and all of your own plans and calls to action because you’re gonna not want your customer to feel that way. So join us on social media. Tell us about a time that you were left hanging and had no idea what to do, whether it’s trying to visit a pier, pick up baby swim classes, et cetera.

I have a ton of them because now that I know that confusion is hard, I notice it more often. And so it makes me really mindful that I don’t want the people who I’m working with to feel that way. Guys, we’ll see you next week. Have a great one.

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.