This morning, I did my usual coffee routine:

  1. Check the water that’s been purifying overnight, set it on course to boiling point
  2. Get out some organic ground French roast
  3. Put a couple of spoonfuls of the stuff into an organic, recyclable sleeve
  4. Place the sleeve into a self-standing, plastic cone
  5. Pour 96 degree hot water (Celsius, of course) through all of it, straight into my porcelain cup.
  6. Top it off with the hot steamed milk purified by boiling.

Done! Every step done to perfection. Yet another morning started on a positive note. 🙂

Au Lait
Creative Commons License photo credit: ingridtaylar

Except… one step in this process is still seriously lacking, and it’s bringing down the whole of it. As much as I’d like to tell myself it’s perfect.

I’ll tell you which step that is in a minute.

First, let me illustrate why this is not only amusing but important to anyone selling anything.

Just the other day I critiqued an online sales letter. Yet another information product about selling information through Clickbank… the subject was hum ho but the content and the product was actually good – so far so good.

But the problem with the sales letter was… it started from nowhere. Or so it seemed, because it was skipping steps all over the place. It was almost as if it was the last part of a launch that went straight into selling the product. Except there was no launch, just this sales letter.

No backstory, no discovery, no rags-to-riches or before & after… No overcoming objections, and no proof elements outside of the product owners (which were convincing but still).

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Every movie goes through setup, confrontation and resolution. Every single human life goes through these phases. That’s why we identify with this structure so deeply, and actually SEEK TO FIND IT everywhere we go in our experience.

So why would you want to skip all that good stuff and go straight to the end in your marketing? Straight to old age before experiencing the joys of young age and adulthood, so to speak? Straight to the packaged product before you’ve even established there’s a problem and a solution?

Paying ATTENTION to every step… just so counts in marketing. If you see a product launch that didn’t do so well, they probably skipped a step or two, or just didn’t put enough attention on some of them.

Every match meets its maker.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Cameron Cassan

Now – which part of my near-anally-meticulous coffee-making routine is still tragically lacking, you ask?

Why, the darn plastic cone of course! Whether you like the idea or not, any liquid you consume out of a plastic container likely has been in it for a LONG time and will have residue from it as you consume. Even more so with hot water.

I’ll take copper, glass or even steel over plastic, any day of the week. 😀

But here’s the important part: Every time I improved every step in my coffee-making process, the coffee started tasting just that much better.

  • Best quality water instead of straight out of the tap
  • Organic fair trade, coffee over the el cheapo off-the-shelf choice
  • High grade sleeve instead of the toilet paper like variety
  • Water just under boiling point instead of boiling (which shaves away some of the aroma)
  • Hot milk instead of cold straight out of the fridge (cream is even better but not every time).

It all adds up to an overall effect that is VERY noticeable IN TOTAL.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Symic

The very same principle applies to your marketing: every step counts. So resist the temptation to plunge headlong into ‘hype and glory’ like the guy I critiqued (don’t worry though, he’s got it now).

Instead, use the tried & tested, age-old technique of telling a story, without leaving out a single step or a single compelling detail…

And with your meticulously crafted process, triangulate your prospect until they’ve backed into a mental corner and have no option but to buy from you.

If you don’t yet know how to do that, perhaps I know someone who does. 😉
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