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Get More Clients + Customers: The One Step You Absolutely, Under No Circumstance, Aren’t Allowed to Skip. Rahr.

In: Online Marketing

Remember Monday's riveting post where I swore less than usual, pretended to be a drunken Spanish sailor and emphasized the importance of getting clients and customers in the door?

If you don't, Ginkgo Biloba comes highly recommended. By herbalists, not me. I tried that shit once and it did absolutely nothing to help me remember my one night stands. Go figure.

So, jew wanna get di clients and di customares, eh?

(Fake Italian accent inspired by the one and only @amandavella, who tweeted this to me this morning in a better-than-mine fake Italian accent:  Lika dis priddy girl! You wanna pana di casa? )

Well, Imma gonna tella you a little secret…

*raises right hand and waves it back and forth vertically in your face with thumb in palm*

The very, very, very, very, very first thing that you need to do, when setting out to get more clients + customers has absolutely nothing to do with your clients + customers.

It's got everything to do with you, buddy old boy old chap. *

*Not a sexist sentence.

In my program 97 in '11, where I allowed folks an exclusive view inside my business, from finances to strategy, I talk a lot about target markets, and how important they are way, way, way more necessary to have pinned down than you and your five future children could ever imagine.

And it's true – you DO need to have a laser – sharp idea of precisely who it is that you want to buy your stuff, before you can even think about selling anything. Especially if you are trying to sell your panties on eBay.*

*Not recommended.

And while we'll get to that, intimately knowing your target market and their beliefs, behaviors and fears, isn't the first thing you need to do. The first thing you need to do is get really, really ungodly clear on:

1) Who you are

2) What you do

3) Why you do it

4) What's made it hard

5) Why anyone should care

I've watched many people do it the opposite way; they pick a target market first, and then try to mold what they do to fit that target market. And in theory, selecting who you want to work with first, and then figuring out how you can help them, certainly can work. I'm not arguing that.


I'm really, really big on business that doesn't just feel good for your pocket, but feels good for your soul, too. And with that in mind, I would advise figuring out what it is that YOU want first…and then figuring out who could benefit from it. If you do it the other way, you run the risk of marginalizing your true desires, wants, needs, skills, ideas and visions in order to please an arbitrary target market. If you decide who you are, what you do + why you do it first…and then seek out the right people for it….your target market becomes YOURS.

That said, there IS a very direct relationship between what you do and who your target market is. But like I said, we're not there yet. We're taking baby steps today. In the next post we'll be talking more about that relationship and why understanding it is THE KEY to getting more clients.

But for today, let's stick to you.

The reason why the items I listed above are so important–who you are, what you do, why you do it, what's made it hard and why anyone should care–is because having a BACKSTORY is out-of-this-world important to your success, and these are the items that form the backbone of your backstory. Try saying that three times fast.

Basically, your business needs a hook. You need a way to make your business talkable. And that's what the purpose of crafting a compelling backstory is all about.


Rewind for a second and let that sink in, quicksand style.

The reason you're not selling your product or service, is because PEOPLE DON'T BUY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. THEY BUY MESSAGES. (Which, ideally, translates into a solution for them.)

Because messages, my friends, evoke emotional response. And people buy based on emotion. Nothing else. (Even if they justify with logic, which they will, the purchase itself will be based on emotion.)

So, that leads us to the very obvious conclusion:

We need a way to tap into our prospects' emotions. The quickest and most effective way to do this without giving in to the temptation to commit a triple homicide, is by being diligent about crafting a solid backstory. It gives your prospects something to dig into, and A REASON TO CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS.

That last part is important.

If you just exist online and offer a product or service, but no backstory, first of all, you'll have trouble getting anyone's attention, but second of all, you'll have a hell of a hard time building trust. And if your prospects don't feel they can trust you, you will make approximately 0.0 sales.

Mind you, I'm not talking about a basic About Page.

I'm talking about a real story that you would tell another human being about who you are why you started your business, what bumps you've experienced along the road, and how you overcame them. Way different, right? Go ahead – try and read your About Page out loud. Does it sound like something you'd actually tell another person in conversation? Probably not.

You need a story…and one that your prospects can not only latch onto, but can tell others about. Easily. And with delight.

At this point, it isn't so much about the sell…as it is the set-up for the sale. Ze foundation, if you will.

That said, this is most definitely not about fabricating your story – please, please don't do this. It's about artfully telling your story in a way that's purposeful and deliberate.


How to begin crafting your story?

I like to recommend a good old-fashioned mind map. You know – those fun little diagrams you used to despise from middle school English class, where you take a topic, put it in the center, and then draw little lines around it and brainstorm sub topics? Yeah, that.

If you're feeling particularly artsy, I'd go get myself a gigantic piece of posterboard, and divide it up into five sections.

In the center of each section, write one of the five items I listed above:

1) Who you are

2) What you do

3) Why you do it

4) What's made it hard

5) Why anyone should care

And then, section by section, go through and brainstorm every detail you can think of related to each category. Draw lines. Arrows. Circles. Hearts. Ideas. Phrases. Words. Memories. Facts. Dreams. Wishes. No dirty stick figures, please. (Just kidding. Draw them all you want. This is suppose to be fun.)

And then, take a look at your big ass poster board holistically – in what ways do the pieces fit together to form your greater story? Again, start drawing lines and arrows and get messy, and see what you come up with.

The key elements you want to concentrate on incorporating are:

  1. Making yourself relatable + human
  2. Showcasing how you got to where you are today
  3. Sharing your greater vision for your industry/craft/business

This is precisely why I wrote The 67 Emotions of Online Success.  (By the way, you don't have to just tell your story once in one sitting; you can continue to sprinkle pieces of it over time as well. For example, that's why I recently published the piece you may have read on Erika Napoletano's blog.)

You might be worried that your story won't be interesting enough. Or special enough. Or witty enough. Or anything worth talking about.

But I'm a big believer that any story can be made interesting, and more importantly, that any story can be made to be sticky–which means your story has an impact and will be remembered. Turns out, you just have to know a few tricks on how to do so.

If you're into this, I highly (highly) recommend checking out the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. If you have no money to buy said book, spend a day on the street corner begging strangers for money. It will be worth it.

They actually went ahead and studied the principles of what makes stories stick, and according to them, its the following factors:

  1. Simplicity – pack a punch
  2. Unexpectedness – violating expectations makes peoples ears perk up.
  3. Concreteness – compare abstract ideas to real things people can relate to
  4. Credibility – people need a reason to believe you
  5. Emotions – people care about your story when they feel something

Is all of this making sense to you?

Did you fall asleep yet?

Do I need to start sprinkling in YouTube videos of nuns getting their skirts blown up over their heads? (Don't tempt me.)

That's where we'll stop for today. My dear friend Kaity will be arriving here to Barcelona in a handful of hours, and clearly I must have the wine chilled, the cheese cut and my underarms bathed. (This is not France, after all.)

That is all.

If you've struggled with getting clients or customers in the past, in the comments I'd love to hear what your greatest challenges were…and how you overcame them. If you did. And if you didn't, that's cool too. Let's talk about your current challenges. Ready? Set? Go team, go!

Remember. Italian accents. Unless you're a stick in the mud. Or have no idea how to write in an Italian accent, like me. I will let it slide this time. 😉

And for the record?

I don't really have one night stands. Gross.

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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