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How Clear Are You About Who You Serve with Your Business?

Surprisingly, the number one mistake startup entrepreneurs make is not clearly defining who they serve. 

What’s the big deal? You might think.

Your marketing message is critical to the success of your business online. If your message is too vague or broad there’s little chance of it standing out in a crowd.

That’s where the power of specificity propels you to the front of the line for your ideal customers.

Maybe, you’re thinking…

But my product helps everyone. That’s great. To grab attention online, you must be specific.

I’m new and don’t know who I serve yet. To you, I say pick someone you would enjoy working with.

I have multiple types of people who could be my audience. Again, I say pick the one where you can provide the biggest value and reap the quickest income return.

If I pick one, won’t I be casting smaller net? Yes, and you’ll be doing it on purpose, too.

Why is targeting a smaller segment of people better?

Your marketing message needs to do two things: Attract the right people and repel the wrong people.

For it to do that, you must be specific. Some people will resonate with it and others with be repelled by it. That’s a good thing, trust me!

Which do you think is easier?

Selling 1,000 people on a $100 product. Or Selling 10 people on $10,000 product.

It’s actually much harder to sell more people for a lower priced product than it is fewer people at higher price points.

People who are attracted to a lower price point have a different mindset than those who gravitate to the higher price points.

Being specific about who you serve is kind of like setting yourself up to sell to the few people who will pay higher prices.

It’s ok to repel the wrong people because you only want to build your email list with people who want to be there.

The fact is the people that will follow you want to be on your email list. You teach, train, or coach in a way that really has an impact with them. And they will buy up whatever you put before them.   These people are there for a reason. They like your message. They trust you have the answers to their problems. They are willing to the take the next step with you, no matter the price tag.

That’s why getting really clear on who you serve is so powerful.

If you skip this crucial step in developing your marketing ecosystem, all your results will be disappointing to be sure.

How Clear Am I Talking About?

Crystal clear. 

Your Ideal Customer Profile is a representation of your ideal customer. It isn’t a real person exactly. But it is so detailed in the definition, it could be.

Let’s test your knowledge of being clear.  Which of the two audience examples below is more specific?

Audience 1 People between age of 25 – 35 years old Stuck in a dead in, minimum wage job Income $30,000 – $50,000 Looking for quick win.

Audience 2 Women age 47 Recently laid off from corporate job Earns $150,000 annual income via own consulting business. Works to improve her lifestyle with more control over her time and finances. She is well resourced. Invests in herself and her business. Not afraid to learn what she doesn’t know yet. Willing to ask for help. She does the inner work necessary to keep her mindset a positive asset. Hires experts to fill in for her own weaknesses.

Now, which of these two is more specific?

If you choose Audience 2, you are correct.

While this is not an exhaustive description of Audience 2, you can tell there is more substance there.

The deeper you go in building your ideal customer profile, the better your messaging will be.

Ready to Create Your Ideal Customer Profile?

Watch this mini-lesson below.

Download the worksheet that goes with the video here.

5 Things Business Owners Should Be Doing During the Coronavirus Shutdown

Strategic Activities Rule!

While the government may have shutdown a lot of businesses, there are still ways to keep your business alive and kicking.  If your business has slowed down, it’s a good to invest the time back into your own business.  Here’s a few activities worth mentioning that can help put your business on track to not just survive, but thrive through all this!

ONE | Now is the perfect time for a strategic marketing review

  • Reassess your marketing messages. Use the extra time to analyze your message in light of the current situation. The last thing you want to do, is continue your same marketing message and sound “tone deaf” to your audience.
  • Review your social media content. Is there anything mentioned that might sound out of place right now? If so, fix it before its published.
  • Review your website content. Is your main message still appropriate right now? How might you update it to better catch the attention of your audience? How might your call to actions be improved? What advice can you offer to help your customers right now?
  • Review your content strategy.Assess your buyer’s journey. Reassess their emotional state. Are there any content pieces that need to be updated? Are there any new content ideas you need to add in light of the current situation?
  • Review your email strategy. Review your autoresponder email sequences and update as appropriate for today’s environment. This is critical if you have autoresponders that you haven’t reviewed in several months.
Stay Connected

TWO | Reach out to your past and current customers.

This is not a time to shrink back, isolate, or stop any business development efforts. Quite the contrary, you should be focus on reaching out even more!  There are several ways to do this.  Keep in mind you’re not in selling mode. You don’t want to sell anything. Take this time to reach out, make a connection, and see how you can help.

  • By phone. People who are not used to working from home or have been laid off recently, will appreciate a friend call.
  • By email. Write a friendly email letting your past and current customers know you’re thinking of them. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help them.
  • By direct mail. Plan a direct mail package. Write a letter, include a helpful promotional or branded item, such as an eye glass clothe, computer screen cleaning clothe, letter opener or a
Check In

THREE | Reach out to your referral partners.

Before you reach out, do a little planning. List out all your products and services and identify which one would best serve your referral partner or their audience. Then when you speak to them you can mention you are offering a finder’s fee for any referrals needing your XYZ service.  This is a great way to stay in touch and plant seeds for the future business. You never know who your referral partners might know that need your product/service.

Brainstorm with others

FOUR | Review your product offerings.

Now is a good time to look at your products and services.  Are there any other products you could create that would help address the new problems people are facing right now?  Are there any skills or knowledge you have that could be turned into an instructional product you could offer at as a low-ticket item? Are there people wanting to learn something from you that would benefit from a group coaching or mastermind program?


FIVE | Reallocate your budget.

Look at your budget. Perhaps there are things you are no longer spending money on, such as live events, specific advertising at live events, travel, hotel, car rental, etc. How might you reallocate those dollars to make better use of them right now? Could you shift your travel budget into digital marketing, online ads, and content creation efforts? How might that grow your business while you’re stuck at home?

Elizabeth Marks

You’ve just discovered five strategic activities you could be working on to strengthen your business during a difficult period. Which one will you work on first?

Call or email me when you want help with any of these activities.

How to Write Persuasive Copy in a Voice That’s Unmistakably Yours – Recap

Mike Kim of Copy Proof gave a 45 minute (not counting the Q&A) session at Social Media Marketing World February 29 – March 2, 2020 about how to write persuasive copy in a voice that’s unmistakably yours.

For those of you who don’t know yet, Mike Kim is a brand strategist and direct response copywriter who has worked for thought leadership like John Maxwell, Donald Miller and Suzanne Evans. (By the way, he’s also trained by my mentor, Ray Edwards!)

He shared key principles from marketing personality-based businesses you can use to infuse your own marketing with personality, nuance, and psychology.

Mike talked about the 3 identities of a brand:

  1. Verbal
  2. Visual
  3. Value

Verbal identity of a brand is determined by your copywriting. He shared a great example of a Louis Vuitton product shot with Walmart tagline. And the something just didn’t feel right.  When he switched it to actual copy Louis Vuitton used, it feel congruent with the brand.

That was a powerful example of how important copy is for your brand.

“Marketing isn’t about closing a sale, it’s about opening a relationship.” – Mike Kim

For every relationship to work there must be communication. That’s what copy does for your brand.

He share the 3 principles to creating a brand that sounds as unique as you are.

  1. What pisses you off? This will stoke up the injustices in the world that fuel your passion.
  2. What breaks your heart? This stirs up compassion for the people you serve.
  3. What is the BIG problem you solve? This is your business.

Using these three principles to craft the story of your brand will set up apart from everyone else.

To implement your brand consistently, you need to create a brand guideline. This is a collection of things that demonstrate how you want to communicate.  Mike shared his own brand guideline to give you an idea of what to put in yours.

  • Never start a sentence with “And”
  • Yes, we use the Oxford comma
  • First paragraph of all blog posts must use a drop cap
  • Never use an ellipsis in mid-sentence, instead use double-hyphen
  • Web writing: No paragraphs longer than two sentences
  • All CTA buttons should end with a chevron >>

He not only shared 5 of the different types of brand “voice” can be used, but also shared several examples in each category.

  1. Academic
  2. Professional
  3. Emoji
  4. The Snark
  5. The Motormouth

He ended the session with encouragement to use the guideline to help you get started writing in your own voice by applying the answers to the three principles above with the “voice” type that works best for you. Then you pick a medium (social platform) you write for most frequently, and start sharing using your newly formed brand guideline.

If you’d like to learn more from Mike follow him on Instagram at @mikekimtv.

Jasmine Star’s session on How to Build a Brand on Instagram that Stands Out and Thrives – Recap

What if you could get more Instagram followers, turn them into raving fans, do it for free and it wouldn’t take forever?

That was her opening question to the audience at her keynote presentation at Social Media Marketing World February 29 through March 2, 2020.

Jasmine is a big fan of using Instagram Stories to become the master of her destiny.

If you don’t know Jasmine Star, she’s a first generation Latina college student and she went to law school! Then her mother was struck with cancer for the second time and it rocked her world. Her husband asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She said “I want to be a photographer.”

Now she’s a photographer, strategist, and owner of Social Curator. She beat the odds with her brand.

She shared repeated in her talk that the fastest way to grow on Instagram (or any other platform) is to build a brand.

The good news she shares is you don’t need any money, experience, talent, education, or connections to build a brand.  All you need to do is make people feel something.

She addressed three common excuses she hears from people.

Excuse #1 – I have a small following

She reminds the audience that people buy from pleasure or pain.  

She encourages us to use social stories to cast yourself as the go to person when they need your service.

Tell a stories, offer a solution for free.  She offered two examples. One a lawyer who surfs and a dentist who does videos that go viral.

Excuse #2: I don’t know what to post.

She honestly admits she doesn’t know what to post either. That’s why she test ideas out in two ways:

  1. How followers respond to the visuals of your story

She tested three stories, each with a different visual and posted one every other day.  She collected data on each an compare which one did the best.  Then she knows which direction to go.

2. How followers respond to calls for engagement

Try using different ways to call for response. See what data you collect has to say and then you’ll know what how well your audience will engage.

She says none of this is too hard. In fact, anyone can do it. She says “Don’t think about it, you must do.”

Then she gave the audience 5 stories you can do right now. Not only did she show you the types of stories you could post, but she offered free templates to use too.

The caveat is that your stories must be of value to your audience.

Don’t share a picture of what you ate for lunch but how that lunch fueled you to be more creative in serving your audience.

Excuse #3: I don’t have time to post.

It’s not about you. It’s about what your audience needs to know.

Show up for your audience. She admonishes us with this… “When you care more about creating VALUE for your followers, you stop making EXCUSES.”

What NOT to post

“We’re here at #smmw20 with@smexaminer in San Diego, CA”

“Super excited about this session #smmw20”

“Ready for #smmw20. Got my learning boots on and ready to get learnt.”

If you’re not getting engagement, it isn’t the platform that doesn’t work. You might want to look at the content. Is your content offering any value?

What TO share instead

Your goal is to offer value to your follower.

Here’s a suggested way to share:

Can I share with you some of the best kept marketing secrets for FREE?

I’m at #smmw20 and I want to share the Top Three best tips for marketing your business

  1. (Tip#1)
  2. (Tip #2)
  3. (Tip #3)

I’m learning even more and can’t wait to use new strategies for our clients…always staying ahead of the curve at Agency X!

Which tip is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below so I can dig deeper into marketing your business.

A brand is an experience.  You need to get people to feel something.  Make your followers feel like they are seen, known, and belong. A brand is how you make someone feel.

You can ask yourself “How does this make my dream customer feel?” if you doesn’t move them, don’t post it.  

Show the benefit of the value you provide.

Respond to every comment. Let them know you see them.

She follows the 10X rule – go leave comments on 10 other accounts for every one of your posts that you ask for engagement and you’ll start getting responses.

Be thoughtful in your comments.

You might believe the excuses you’ve been telling yourself. If you do, you won’t get far in your business.

If you want to be bold, grow your brand, build an audience, and get your business from struggling to thriving, consider the wisdom shared today.  Pick at least one thing to go implement.

Learning is great, but the results come from taking action. It’s your turn now. Go take action!

Interested in learning about LinkedIn Video? Check out Goldie Chan’s recap here.

12 Reasons Storytelling is Critical for The Future of Your Business

I love a good story. But why do I love them so much? So I did some research to find out more about why…

Storytelling is the single most effective way to capture people’s attention, influence them favorably towards you, and cause them to take action.

So here’s a few comments from articles I found on why storytelling is so important to your business.

In the Forbes article 3 Reasons Why Brand Storytelling is the Future of Marketing, we learn stories (1) make you unforgettable (2) helps you build your tribe and (3) drives profit through humanness.

In the Quantified Communications piece on Storytelling is 22 times more memorable, we discover stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just plain old facts. (5) Stories help with memorization. (6) Stories engage our emotions. (7) Stories use our brains differently. To create a story, you have to map out the Story Arc – characters, tension, climax, resolutions, and the new normal.

In the Harvard Business article What Makes Storytelling So Effective for Learning, Kendall Haven, author of Story Proof and Story Smart, shares this…“Your goal in every communication is to influence your target audience (8) (change their current attitudes, belief, knowledge, and behavior). Information alone rarely changes any of these. Research confirms that well-designed stories are the most effective vehicle for exerting influence.”

In another article Power Storytelling Use Stories Differentiates Connect Influence we see…“Our stories (9) help define who we are and what we stand for. (10)They set us apart in a noisy, competitive world. And they help ensure we’re remembered,” Rob Biesenbach signs off.

In Tony Robbins post on The Power of Story by Peter Guber we discover storytelling is a vehicle (11) to create loyalty, build an emotional connection with your audience, and (12) a place to be transparent and authentic.

There you have at least 12 reasons why storytelling is beneficial to your business.

Here’s a quick video on the topic of stories.

Do your marketing efforts incorporate an element of storytelling? If not, why?

How Using “The Power of One” Increases Clarity In Your Writing

Have you ever read something and was confused by what you read? It happens all the time.

A writer who is overly enthusiast about the subject they are writing on begins to write about everything relating to that one subject. They throw in multiple facts to “support” their claim but end up only muddying the waters. They toss in a story or two thinking this also will help convey the message. The words keep flowing.

What’s the end result? Reader confusion.

A confused reader will not take action of any kind, except maybe to click away from the page they are reading.

What does “The Power of One” mean?

It means that each piece of writing (web page, blog post, letter, email, etc) ought to have ONLY one core idea.

Remember when you sat in English class in school and had to write a paragraph? You were taught the first sentence is the main topic of the paragraph. The rest of the sentences are supporting the one main topic.

Why did they teach us that?

To help us communicate clearly. To help us stay on topic during a written conversation. To help our brains learn to share information in way that others can easily process.

That is one skill we could use every day to improve our communications.

Well, it’s the same way with writing for your business.  Use one main idea in each piece of content you’re writing.  Don’t clutter up a piece of content with too many ideas thrown into one piece. That would be very confusing for the reader.

Along with the one main idea, think about what one emotion you want your writing to evoke.  When someone reads your message…

How do you want them to feel?

The great copywriter, Mark Ford, explained the “Power of One” this way…Stir one core emotion. Emphasize one good idea. Tell one captivating story. Direct your prospect to one inevitable response.

Every word you use has a purpose. If it doesn’t support your core idea for the piece, cut it out. Every sentence should emphasize that idea. Lead your reader on a journey to taking the next logical action.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like to read How to Craft an Irresistible Headline That People Want to Read.

Website Redesign: Design Versus Words?

Are You Considering a Website Redesign?

If so, you need to know that design alone will not give you the results you’re looking for in a website redesign.  

Listen to Cathy’s story.

Cathy is responsible for the global marketing of her company. The only problem is her website isn’t working. Oh, it’s beautifully designed. She spent thousands of dollars to ensure the design was appealing to the eye.  But when her boss asked how the newly designed website was performing, she was gripped with fear. How can she tell her boss that all that money they spent had little to no effect on the performance?

I’ve had plenty of conversations with business owners discussing websites. Some don’t know that the words are not part of the design aspects. Although, the smart ones do.

Which Comes First?

Design or Words. It’s kind of like the chicken or egg question.

Pictures do help communicate a message, it’s true.

However, will the designer know what image captures the intent of your message without the words communicating the message? 

You must instruct the designer using words that convey the feeling you want to come across in the images.

You must communicate…

  • the type of audience you’re targeting
  • your audience’s problems
  • how you understand those unsolved problems are causing them pain
  • you know the impact to your audiences’ lives because of that pain.

Without that, you receive only pretty pictures or snazzy design that’s hollow at its core.

Words Really Do Matter

With one phrase you can provoke people to take inspired action. Or drive them away faster than a pack of wild hyaenas.

As humans, we communicate with words. Always have for centuries. Why would anyone think a mere picture or image can convey the complex message we want to share?

Stories are the best vehicle to carry our ideas to the masses. Stories are how history has been passed down from generation to generation.

Even God’s message to His people was written into words to be read and shared with millions and billions of people. And there are no pictures in the Bible, just words.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ is called the Word of God who became flesh and dwelled among us lowly humans.

The Word of God was with God. The Word of God was God. The Word of God was Jesus, God in human flesh.

Don’t Make the Mistake

When you’re tempted to redesign your website, don’t make the mistake of hiring only a designer. Else you’ll end up with a beautiful website that doesn’t do its job converting visitors into paying customers.

Hire a direct response copywriter. Work out the words you want to use to convey your message. Make the language conversational. Speak to your ideal audience with words that they understand. Convey your expertise by showing how you know about their struggle and have a solution to help.

Then and only then do you hire the designer. Armed with the right words, coupled with a capable designer, you’ll have a website that not only looks good, but does what it’s supposed to – generate leads and convert leads into customers.

In Conclusion

If you don’t want to end up like Cathy, when you’re thinking about a website redesign, get my 35 Point customer experience checklist. It’s a free and powerful checklist to ensure you’re designing in customer experience elements that make your website irresistible.

6 Tests for High-Quality Content

NewsCred Insights post says “marketers who produce high-quality, relevant content enjoy audiences who spend significant time on their sites.” The median time people spend on articles is 37 seconds. While many people simply skim content, there are consumers who actually read the articles marketers post.

So how do you produce high-quality, relevant content your audience enjoys?

I’m going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. There are 6 elements to high-quality content.

  1. Research, research, research

This is where many writers fall flat on their faces. Research is the crown jewel of any written piece. Without research, the words are just words slapped on the page. But with research, the words can sing and resonate with the reader because they speak to the audience.

What is the point of research?

It’s simple – to get to know the audience before writing a single word.

So how do you research that?

Well, you look for places your target audience hangs out. Visit the sites they visit. Enter the communities they belong to. Read comments they post. Why? Because this gives you valuable insight into the mind of your audience. You can find out what they are concerned about, what keeps them up at night, and what problems they have.

I could write volumes on this topic alone. But for sake of this article, the above should be sufficient.

  1. The Power of One

The best articles ever were written with only one topic of focus. This is called the Power of One. Any article that introduces too many topics in the same piece will confuse their audience.

Make the piece about one thing. Every word added should strengthen that one message, not subtract from it.

  1. The 4 U’s of Effective Headlines

This is one of my favorite tools in my writer’s toolkit. Once you know this, you’ll never write another dull headline again! The 4 U’s stands for four things to check in a headline or sub-headline. First look to see that the headline conveys “Urgency.” Next, look for if it conveys “Usefulness.” Move on to see if the headline is “Unique” or not. Lastly, make the headline “Ultra-Specific.”

This one tip is worth its weight in gold! If the headline doesn’t get the reader to read the rest, it’s not doing its job!

  1. The 4 P’s of Body Copy

The main body of writing occurs in what’s known as “the body.” Here we utilize four P’s to remember the following: Promise, Picture, Proof, Push.

First, ensure your piece conveys a promise to the reader. Then strengthen this by picturing the promise being fulfilled. Offer proof. And close with an effective call-to-action.

  1. The Four-Legged Stool

In addition to the 4 P’s, this next tool adds oomph to your body copy.  Here you focus on adding elements to strengthen and balance your copy. Ensure to show your track record to highlight proof. Add elements to demonstrate your credibility. Convey the Big Idea (The Power of One). Lastly, remind readers of the future benefit.

  1. Powerful P.S.

When closing a piece you want to end with a powerful 1-2 punch. You want to lead the reader to take action. Therefore, you want to remind them of the benefits. Make another promise and introduce a surprise benefit you haven’t mentioned before. Add more credibility. Communicate urgency. Finally, restate or expand your guarantee


So there you have it. I’ve spilled the beans. You know my secrets on how to test content to see if its High-Quality or not.

Now, it’s your turn. Are you going to take the next step with me?

Book a call with me now before my schedule fills up!

How to Build Your Network in LinkedIn

In today’s digitally connected world, it is critical you know how to reach out to others and build lasting relationships.  LinkedIn is, by far, the best platform for business people to find other business people.

Why should I grow my professional network?

You’ve heard that saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” right? Well, I offer a small twist on that saying…”It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you that matters.” I’ve certainly found this to true. After all, marketing is about letting people know who you are and how you can help.

As I’ve experienced much success with LinkedIn in my own business, I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you benefit from the 7-step process for growing your professional network.

Step 1: Identify Who You Want to Reach


Step 2: Research Profile

  • Click on the person’s picture to go to their profile
    1. Scan their profile looking for any common ground.
      1. Articles shared or liked
      2. Past experience
      3. Education
      4. Skill
      5. People they know
      6. Groups they are in
      7. Volunteer or causes
      8. Accomplishments

2. Find one thing you have in common.

Step 3: Personalize Invite

  • A sample message might look like…
    1. “Hi, Name, as we’re both women in marketing and belong to AMA-OC group, want to connect to grow both our professional networks?”
  • Almost 100% connect rate
  • LinkedIn Help tells you how to personalize your invitation at
  • Hint: If using a cellphone, don’t click Connect Button! This will send a generic request. Click the three dots in the upper right corner or the down arrow next to the Connect button to personalize the invite.

Step 4: Follow Up in LinkedIn

  • After they accept your connection request…
  • Send a message like the following:
    1. “Hi, Name, thanks for connecting I’d like to know more about you and your business. Let’s chat <link to calendar>”
    2. Note: Use app like or
  • 5% – 10% meeting rate

Step 5: Share Content Relevant to Your Audience

  • Someone else’s connect
  • Meeting recap
  • Helpful tips
  • Anyone connected to you will see post in their news feed.
  • This helps keep you top of mind in your prospect.

Step 6: Follow Up after 1 on 1 call with an Email

  • Recap your conversation
  • Ask them to connect on social media with you
  • Send one or two days after you meet

Step 7: One week later, send a thank you email

  • Thank them again for the initial call
  • Remind them what you do and who you help
  • Ask for a face to face meeting <link to calendar>

If you’d like a professional review of your LinkedIn Profile with suggestions on how to improve, contact me at .

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