BUSINESS & MARKETING

3 Timeless Marketing Principles You Should Have in Your Tool Belt

Mahmud Ahmed, Founder/CEO,  New York

3 August 2019

Problem-Agitate-Solve, edu-marketing, and the rule of 7.

Unbreakable marketing principles

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Even though I had to learn a lot of things when I started in business years ago, marketing seemed to take all my time.

Part of this was because it was actually fun, with enough “hacks” and “tactics” to keep busy for a decade, but that was its downside as well. Before I knew it, I’d fallen for the dreaded “shiny object syndrome,” and my business was hurting.

This was a killer; I worked 18 hours a day without getting anything done, as I was constantly burnt out, and I had countless half-finished projects, where I’d get started but soon give up to chase the next big thing. After going through this far too long, I accidentally connected with a webinar consultant who changed my business forever.

I was excited to work with him, as I thought he’d teach me all the latest hacks that’d get clients to start working with me in little time. I thought he had some secrets I’d never heard and was going to tell me them so I could get clients now and for years to come. Although this is how he sold me on his services, I quickly realized he had a different approach.

He didn’t focus on the newest hacks and tricks, like connecting a chatbot with my webinar funnel, so I could get extra leads with fancy tools (i.e. shiny objects). Instead, he started with timeless principles that’ll work with every situation. He knew if I understood these, I could benefit forever, instead of learning one tactic, then being screwed once it was outdated.

I wasn’t happy at the time, but in retrospect, this was the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me because it’s impacted every part of my business since then.

From email marketing to explainer videos, I quickly noticed how important it is to understand everything in totality. This has helped me not only with my own business but also to get incredible results for my clients:

This is why I wanted to show you these three principles today. That way, you can learn marketing advice that’ll benefit you right away and for years to come.


Principle 1: PAS

This seems to be something most entrepreneurs know about, yet barely ever put into practical application. Business revolves around one thing: solving problems.

People will only buy something if it solves a problem. Some are everyday problems, like how fast food helps you eat quickly when you don’t have time. Others have been bugging people for a while, but they’ve never had a chance to solve them. If you can find a market in this category, you’ll never have trouble getting sales again.

PAS stands for Problem Agitate Solution.

It’s when you set up a sales message that begins by acknowledging a person’s problem, then shows how you can solve it.

Let’s assume you’re a digital marketing company that helps new accountants get clients. There are a few problems you could identify. The actual “delivery” would differ depending on what vehicle you used, such as email marketing, explainer videos, Facebook ad copy, etc. But no matter which, the logic always remains the same.

For example, I’d say something along the lines of:

  • Jason started his CPA business years ago, really excited in the beginning.
  • He had everything he needed to succeed. Seeing how a lot of people wanted to work with him right away, he thought business would take off in little time.
  • In the initial months, he was working crazy hours, but it was fun, so it didn’t matter.
  • After a bit longer, Jason lost enthusiasm. His life suffered.
  • He was never home to hang out with his wife and kids and was quickly burning through his savings account.
  • Scared, Jason hired XYZ Agency, who set up an automated client acquisition funnel for him.
  • Today, Jason’s business has never been healthier.
  • Contact us today at 867–5309 to see what we can do for you.

The main goal was to:

  1. Introduce the problem (i.e. getting clients)
  2. Agitate or “twist the knife” (i.e. he was working crazy hours, not hanging out with family)
  3. Provide the solution (i.e. XYZ agency saved the day)

Once you get that general message in, any vehicle works. The timeless principles are the important part; tactics are just a way to deliver them.


Principle #2: Edu-Marketing

As with everything on this list, it seems most entrepreneurs know this principle, yet have never successfully implemented it.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with most marketing today is how they try to do everything with ads, which look something like this:

Those never work well because nobody really likes ads. However, if they don’t understand why they need something, they’ll never move forward with it either. This is why “edu-marketing” is so important.

That’s when you find a problem people have, then show, in an “educational” way, how you’ll solve it.

Let’s say you were a Commercial Finance company that helped small business owners get loans.

Most of these simply put up an ad that says how they’ll help people get loans. That works for some of the market, as some people will always need a loan, but it misses out on a huge share as well.

Even though any company could use additional funding to grow their business, most don’t know how. Recognizing this obstacle, I’d write an article along the lines of “How to Set Up a Facebook Marketing Campaign That’ll Increase Your Revenue by 300% This Year.”

Every entrepreneur will gladly read this. After that, you could simply put a call to action at the end, like “P.S. Need funding to finance your first marketing campaign? If so, please click here—and we’d love to see what we could do for you.”

The main goal of edu-marketing is to show how your product/service can help your audience reach their goal. You have to get creative sometimes, like showing how to set up a Facebook ad and offering your finance service afterwards, but when done correctly, edu-marketing will always work. It’s benefited marketers for decades, including the great David Ogilvy:


Principle #3: The Rule of Seven

Although most entrepreneurs have heard of the first two principles, very few people know about (or are consciously aware of) this one.

Everybody thinks they can always get the sale right away, which is never the case. One reason is that people will never buy from a brand (including personal brands) unless they have seven “touches” with them. You need a system in place that ensures you can achieve this without wasting too much money.

It seems like companies that do know about the rule of seven always do this by spending more on ads and getting more touches that way. This does work, but it’s not very cost-efficient.

On the other hand, if you just spend money on ads for the first touch, then let an automated system take care of everything after that, that’s when results start to happen.

I’ve done this many different ways, and there’s really not a “correct” approach, but an approach like this works best:

This strategy includes everything we’ve mentioned so far.

Let’s go back to our “digital marketing for accountants” example. For the initial ad (I’d advise turning this into an explainer video, works best), we could use the same outline we created earlier, which looked like this:

  • Jason started his CPA business years ago, really excited in the beginning.
  • He had everything he needed to succeed. Seeing how a lot of people wanted to work with him right away, he thought business would take off in little time.
  • In the initial months, he was working crazy hours, but it was fun, so it didn’t matter.
  • After a bit longer, Jason lost enthusiasm. His life suffered.
  • He was never home to hang out with his wife and kids, and he was quickly burning through his savings account.
  • Scared, Jason hired XYZ Agency, who set up an automated client acquisition funnel for him.
  • Today, Jason’s business has never been healthier.
  • Contact us today at 867–5309 to see what we can do for you.

However, we’d also want to make a small tweak to the back end.

Instead of having them contact us, we’d now want to move them to the next step: a case study (so we can not only educate them but also get their email and follow up later on).

All we’d have to do is change the call-to-action from “Contact us today” to “click on the link below to view case study.” From there, they’d visit a landing page that collects their email address, then redirects them to the case study.

After watching it, they will already be somewhat sold. If you can show them how you’ll get results for their company, they’ll likely want to work with you right away.

Since we know about the rule of seven, it’s important to have a follow-up system as well.

This works great for a couple reasons, like how we’re getting more touches with them and making them more comfortable with us, but it’s also a form of edu-marketing, so we’re benefiting from that too.

Few entrepreneurs fully understand this. Most companies send out sales emails that don’t do any good because nobody likes them. If you instead have content marketing (via email) that answers other questions they might have, such as how to create an irresistible offer, the business math of Facebook ads, etc., and leave a call-to-action at the end that sends them to the next step, it works incredibly well.

You’re not only building relationships but breaking down obstacles, which is everything you need to get the sale later on. Since you’re doing all this on autopilot without wasting money (since you only have one ad), it’s efficient as well.


The Recap

After working in a marketing-related field over the past few years, one of the biggest problems I’ve noticed with most companies isn’t their tactics, budget, or anything like that. It’s that they don’t understand the timeless principles and how to deliver them with today’s tools.

Once you understand that one-two punch, you’ll have great success with your marketing campaigns, as human psychology never changes.

You can build it once and use it for years to come: the ultimate asset every entrepreneur is looking for.

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