Biggest Mistake When Marketing Yourself or Your Business

What you offer vs what they want.

The biggest mistake I see in branding and marketing is the battle between trying to communicate what you offer vs what a customer is actually looking for. I see it over and over again, whether it’s tech startups, or personal brands…and any business in between.

You want to tell people what you do. Why you’re better. How awesome your technology is. You do the talking first. In my world of StoryBrand, that makes you the hero. You know you have have a great solution and you want to be sure your potential customers and clients believe it too.

The problem is that most potential customers don’t THINK they need everything you offer. From my experience, they actually believe they only need something simple. In their minds, they have a problem they are trying to solve and they want the most simple answer or solution to solve it.

But we all know better.

You and I both know (and the client if they were honest with themselves) that they actually need more than what they think they need. People end up connecting with me because they need ‘words on a website’. It doesn’t take more than 2 questions for me to realize they need much more. Usually they need clarity around their vision, and then a simplified way to describe the services or products they offer. They have overcomplicated things, and then used fancy words to try to cover up the confusion.

I had a friend ask me this week about how to market herself as a consultant. She told me about her skills, experience, past clients and all the ways she could help a company. Then I asked her what problem she would solve for a prospective client and the answer was, “Anything they need help on, I’m good at lots of things!”

There is no doubt in my mind that what she said is true. 100%. She is smart, and can solve just about any problem someone might have. But, the challenge is how to communicate this type of service. Businesses are not looking for “someone who can help them with anything”, they are often times googling and searching for something specific.

They think they know what they need.

So, rather than spend your time and energy to try to communicate all the ways you can help someone, spend that time getting a clear understanding of their most immediate and high level need. If you can capture their attention for more than 5 seconds and they believe you can solve that small and urgent need, then you have an audience. They might hire you to solve the initial problem, but once trust is built and dialogue has started, then you can show them all the ways you can bring value.

So, here are four takeaways:

  1. Name their problem, clearly. And then poke the pain until they resonate with it emotionally. This is not fear based marketing, this is empathetic marketing that connects you with your customer on a deeper level than just products and services.
  2. Put your story second. You don’t really show up on the scene until you can make it clear that you understand their problem. Be the guide, not the hero.
  3. Only speak to their pain. Don’t overwhelm them with all the potential problems, and all your solutions. If you confuse them, you’ll lose them.
  4. Give them a simple way to choose you or your product. A simple call to action that they would naturally feel comfortable with. Schedule a call. Register today. Order Now. You have to tell them what you want them to do, guide them how to move forward.

Let me finish by reiterating what I said above. What you offer and what they think they want are often different things. To be successful, speak their language, talk about the problem they think they have and roll out your solution in stages. This is easier said than done and requires really digging deep to know what your clients specific problems are and how it makes them feel. Once you get good clarity on this, you can craft a great message that will resonate and lead them to consider your solution.

If you need help with this, reach out. I’ll walk you through the process to get clarity so that you can create a simplified message that will accelerate game changing growth for your business.



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Lisa Cumes

Lisa Cumes

Copywriter and Certified StoryBrand Guide. I coach freelancers and entrepreneurs how to create a thriving full-time business. — Los Angeles