September 20th, 2022
With Peter Sandeen, who is often called the “marketer’s marketer” for having many marketing experts as clients. Peter is a Value Proposition and Marketing Messaging Expert for more than a decade and helps business owners create a strong value proposition. Clients come to him to find out what it is exactly that motivates people to buy from them and to get clarity into what impacts their results the most. His approach is based on a decade of conversion optimization, looking at what improves your marketing results most consistently.
In this episode, Peter shares insight on how to approach building your business (and your marketing system), why he is known as “the marketer’s marketer”, and why so many people are looking in the wrong places for solutions to their marketing problems. He shares the importance of focusing on messaging and strategy, rather than language, where most businesses have large gaps in their understanding of effective marketing, and why marketing ends up being so difficult for so many.
Join us for this engaging conversation where you will walk away with some tremendous insights and a-ha’s that will help you fine-tune your marketing efforts.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- It takes a lot of skill, determination and faith to reach out to new clients.
- When it comes to the customer journey, many businesses have a way to reach new clients on the front end, and ways to close sales on the back end, but nothing in between.
- “For marketing to be effective, we have to narrow down to one fairly uniform viewpoint.”
- “You have to figure out what it is that you’re compared to (among the competitors) and what do they see.”
- What is the classic copywriters’ motto?
- “If there is one broken link (in your marketing system), that is enough to prevent you from seeing results.”
“Trust is another thing… you can’t feel safe with a company or a person unless you trust that what they’re saying is true, and that trust might need to be built with very logical things.”-Peter Sandeen
Check out these highlights:
- 07:04 How Peter relates poker to business and marketing.
- 09:55 Why do messaging experts come to Peter?
- 10:53 How his interest in messaging started.
- 18:57 What do marketers usually overlook when it comes to differentiation?
- 25:04 Peter’s thoughts on the most difficult thing to do in business.
- 43:56 The type of clients Peter usually work with and how he supports them.
- 01:01:39 A final piece of advice about marketing your business…
How to get in touch with Peter:
On social media:
Learn more about Peter, by visiting his website here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 00:00
Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business™ …
Peter Sandeen 00:06
I never gamble, but I still like some gambling analogies, because it’s such a good example – the best poker players do not, or let’s say any poker player doesn’t assume that they will win every single hand. Because that’s completely ridiculous idea. Rather, if you want to be good at it, you need to be able to look at well, what do I need to do consistently to win most of the time and ultimately get positive results. And that’s really how you need to look at business as well, and marketing. You can’t expect everything to work all the time perfectly on the first try. That’s just not how it goes. But rather, once you get some some data, some sort of result good or bad, you can. Again, it’s not necessarily easy, but you can make an analysis of what is most likely the best next step to take and then take that.
GGGB Intro 00:56
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business™ podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:28
Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving information entrepreneurs throughout the US and around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business™. I’m super excited to bring you our guest today, Peter Sandeen. And welcome, Peter.
Peter Sandeen 01:53
Thanks for having me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:55
Well, this conversation is overdue. I think we were just chatting about how we had connected early on midway through the pandemic, it’s been at least a year. And I know with international schedules, it’s taken us a little bit, but I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. For folks that don’t know, Peter, Peter Sandeen is often called the “marketers marketer”, because more than half of his clients are other marketing experts. They come to him to find out what is it exactly that motivates people to buy from them and to get clarity to what impacts their results the most. Peter’s approach is based on a decade of conversion optimization, looking at what improves your marketing results most consistently. This is a super important topic, Peter.
Peter Sandeen 02:44
Heather Pearce Campbell 02:47
Yeah. But it really truly I feel like you know, especially the optimization part. I feel like people really get lost in the weeds and like don’t do it the right way, don’t know where to look, or just attempting things. But really, you know, a lot of people don’t know how to measure results.
Peter Sandeen 03:07
Yeah, or even if they measure results, it’s a whole other thing to act based on them in a logical way. There’s for many reasons, not just because it’s difficult and like, do you know all the things but it’s also emotionally sometimes difficult to make the light smart choices instead of just like, I mean, the exaggerated example is like, do you just tweak what you’re doing? Even though it hasn’t worked? If there’s a reason to do it? Or do you try another silver bullets when someone offers a new online course or whatever on like this perfect system that if you just build it, it’s going to work for you. But you’ve probably tried it a few times before, and it hasn’t worked. So like, but it can still feel much somehow safer and easier than then some sort of optimization of what you’re doing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:57
Talk to me a little bit about that emotional attachment concept and how you see it play out.
Peter Sandeen 04:03
Oh, so many ways. But I think that like big part is that when people haven’t gone through the process of building a business or building a new marketing system, that actually ends up working, if they haven’t done it any times or multiple times, they don’t see how little tweaks can ultimately be the thing that makes it work because it’s very much like a chain. If there’s one broken link, it’s just not going to function as a chain. A lot of marketing things are like that. Not all but many are that there might be just one broken link. And because of that you’re not seeing almost any results. Perhaps just a little bit of results here and there. But it might be just one little thing that’s just missing. But if you haven’t gone through that, it can feel sort of impossible that it surely it isn’t just one thing that I need to be like fix, but I’ve built this whole system I’m not getting any results. So the like, natural assumption is that surely all of it is broken, or all of it is not good enough, but I need to build something different. I’ve many times talked about how like, it’s, it doesn’t make sense to, like go for the best tactics or build the most effective sales funnel, because the best tactic on what scale? Like it’s, it might be a great tactic for someone in that sort of similar situation. But what if it isn’t quite the same situation, or what if that tactic or tool does something that you already have a way of doing, it’s very common for people to have a dozen different ways to reach new potential customers, then a couple of ways to ultimately close sales, but basically nothing in between. And there’s almost nothing that will take the new potential customers to the point where they’re comfortable with the sales conversation or ready to actually buy so that the sales conversation would make sense. And then they see there’s yet another way to reach new clients, or to close new sales. And there’s often these gaps that can be actually very big, because it’s, I’d say that maybe one or maybe let’s say, 5% of the marketing the whole system, or the path is sort of the lead generation and then another maybe 5% is the closing the sale, you still have 90% in between, and that it does isn’t usually perceived as such. So it’s that people might end up with a ton of things at the top of the funnel as a way to reach out, but very little that works, at least after that. But yeah, it’s it’s, it takes a lot of skill to be able to do it. And even if you are able to do it, it still takes a lot of determination and sort of faith in the system of faith in the process as to to go with it. And although I don’t gamble, like I mentioned, before, we started that I never gamble. But I still like to use some gambling analogies, because it’s such a good example of it that like the best poker players do not. Or let’s say any poker player doesn’t assume that they will win every single hand. Because that’s completely ridiculous idea. For other if you want to be good at it, you need to be able to look at well. What do I need to do consistently to win most of the time and ultimately get positive results. And that’s really how you need to look at business as well. And marketing. You can’t expect everything to work all the time perfectly on the first try. That’s just not how it goes. But rather, once you get some data, some sort of result, good or bad. You can. Again, it’s not necessarily easy, but you can make an analysis of what is most likely the best next step to take and then take that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 07:51
No, I like that analogy. I’m still thinking about this gap that you’ve described, essentially, in the customer journey, right people having some initial tactic or strategy that gets people to connect with them, but then falling down along all those midpoints where you nurture that client or, you know, use language or your website or email marketing or whatever it is to get them over here to this endpoint where you’re actually having an enrollment conversation with them. What is it that you think makes that so challenging for people to get that big middle part? Right?
Peter Sandeen 08:29
I think most people have never even heard what needs to happen in that middle part. Most people have never been told, this is what actually needs to happen there. And it’s very abstract. I’m happy to talk through it. But like, it’s just not something that you hear on any marketing webinar or just about any marketing course out there. I think I’ve heard maybe two people ever talk it out. And those have been in private conversations, not publicly. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s too abstract for most people, or they think that it’s too abstract to explain, but I don’t think so. But also it’s difficult to do. So it’s much easier to sell people the idea of like reach a million new people, or get this many new people on your email list, right? It’s much more difficult to sell the idea that well, there’s going to be a ton of thinking involved, to think through all the things you need to think through to do that 90% in between. It’s also when you do your own thing. It’s like when you’re selling it it’s so obvious, what is the value of it, who should buy it, why it’s better than other options. All those things are so obvious to you is that it’s, I would argue, maybe the most difficult thing to do in business, no matter how much expertise you have. I mean, I do messaging as the first thing and basically every client projects. That’s why experts come to me because even if they’re messaging experts, a It’s not that difficult to do for yourself. But when you are so close to it, it’s easy to think that, well, if this sort of a person comes here, then I just need to tell them, I do this thing and give them a free way to like schedule a time to talk with me. And surely someone who needs this thing will be happy to do it. But as your calendar will probably show, that’s not how it works. So it’s just very difficult to see what are the problems in your own thing? Because you’re always so close to it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 10:29
Right? Yeah. The perspective is just not there. I think for so many. I’m curious, because obviously, so much of what your work involves is finessing language, right and creating language that connects in the right way. Where did your interest in or skills in language start?
Peter Sandeen 10:51
Start? Interesting. So first of all, I’m not a native English speaker. So that’s one thing. But I think when that comes up, people might wonder, well, how did I become a copywriter? I started out as a copywriter. That’s not my main thing anymore. But yeah, I’d say it’s not really as much about the exact words it is about the thoughts you’re saying. So it’s the classic example is, why do most headline tests fail to create any difference in results, because people just say the same thing in two different ways. As long as you’re making people think the same thing in two different ways, it’s very unlikely there’s much of a difference in the results. Whereas if you say two completely different things, you get two completely different results, at least you’re much more likely to get that. So it’s really much more about catching the thought or the feeling you need to get people to see rather than testing. Do you use the perfect word for it? Yeah. So that’s one thing people don’t need to worry so much about, well, is this word or this synonymous synonym for it that kind of has a better feeling to it? Like? Yeah, you can think about it, but don’t stress about it. Like that’s not gonna make or break anything, almost ever.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:06
No, I love this. What you’re saying is spend more time getting the underlying concept, right? Yes, yeah. So how do you help people with that?
Peter Sandeen 12:17
I dig it out. It’s a ton of questions. I’m happy to give the big picture view though, because there’s a couple of things people often do wrong, even though they’re basically thinking of the right things. The first is the target customer. And everyone always starts with the target customer, which is good. However, the problem is that people are usually thinking of how do we see the target customer? How would we pick them out of a crowd? How would we target ads for them? So what would we tell Facebook as the description of whom we want to show our ads to? So it’s very important, I’m not saying at all that. But it doesn’t make any difference when we’re trying to think of what we should say to them. Because how we see them makes no impact on their decision. Whereas how they see what we do is all that matters. So when I start to look at a client’s situation, I mean, obviously, I want to know that like how we see them, but then the more important thing actually is narrowing it still down to just the people who have a similar viewpoint to what we’re offering them. Because, as a rough example, if one person is super worried about, let’s say how long something’s going to take, and another person doesn’t care at all about that, but he’s just super worried about can this thing work for someone like them for let’s say, there because of their age or whatever, it’s a completely different situation, we need to say completely different things in marketing for those people. So for marketing to be effective, we have to narrow down to one fairly uniform, a fairly homogenous viewpoint. Of course, we can have multiple target customers. But that complicates things. But that’s the first thing. So the target customer is not really about, well, what size business? Are they? Or are they women or men? Or do they have children or not? Unless that is really the thing that defines how they view the topic. And that’s the first sort of like, why it’s so difficult, because people don’t have…
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:18
I love that. Yes. And it sounds like it’s also so much about how your target customer views themselves. Right?
Peter Sandeen 14:27
Yeah, related to what you do. So if I mean a rough example, you help people with the legal side of business. I’m in Finland, my view to the legal side of things is vastly different from anyone who’s in the US because the legal system is completely different. I don’t need to worry about what is the literal way this has been put into the law. It’s like, well, how would a reasonable person interpret this? That’s how the law works. Like the worry, it is completely different. I would be worried about like, well, what if someone is in America? And like, how do I avoid that jurisdiction? And so the viewpoint is so different, that you would have to talk to me as a potential client entirely differently, even though I would still be a valid potential client. Right. But yeah, that’s just the first of these three main issues, or let’s say for the second one is, how do we describe the benefits, the classic example of the classic instruction is that we’ll tell them about all the benefits, all the great benefit, good outcomes they will get. Every good copywriting course will tell you to do that. So clearly, it’s not bad advice. It’s just easy to mess up. Biggest, if you tried to tell people about all the great things, it becomes messy, you start to sound like a stereotypical used car salesman. The problem is that if I say that URL Imagine you go to, um, you go to my used car store, and you point to a car, and they’re like, Well, what is this car like? And I say that? Well, it’s really high fuel efficiency and ecological and it’s very safe. And it’s good for family trips, and long trips, and before long trips and short trips and in the city and in the highway. And it’s really cool looking and long lasting and great value for the price. And it has great stereo and great brakes and great airbags, and you don’t probably remember any of that anymore. Because I’m saying way too many things. I’m basically claiming that it’s great in every single way. Whereas, and then if you point to another car, and I say the same thing about that, like it becomes completely meaningless. Whereas imagine that for you, the most important things about a car would be that it’s safe, family friendly, and ecological. Like, let’s just say those would be your most important things, the ones that affect your decision most. And you’d point to a car and say, What is this like? And I say, well, that’s a really good family car. It has amazing, like ecological stuff. And it’s like the best safety features. Do you want to hear more about this? Or some other different kinds of car? Now you think that this is your car? I did that with like, 10 words, right? You don’t necessarily buy it, but it’s damn hard for me or anyone else to sell anything else anymore, because you heard exactly what matters most to you. Right. And it’s the same thing with the benefits overall, there is a way to bid like to bring in all the other ones. So if I want to hype up the brakes, then instead of just saying that, well, it has also great brakes, I’d say it has great brakes, which is one of the reasons it’s the safest car in its class. It also has one of the best airbag systems, which again, makes it even safer. And it has these USB chargers, which if you’re out with your kids and a longer road trip yatta yatta yatta, like most of those benefits and outcomes are built around the few key things that matter the most, and then it becomes effective. So I can say basically all the same things, but how I’m structuring it takes it from sort of a meaningless sales pitch that no one really takes seriously. It’s not that you think I’m lying, like that’s not the thought of this person must be lying. It’s just that. Okay, like that. That’s like, okay, cool. Apparently, it’s a good car.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:21
Right? But it’s positioned very differently. It’s like, the difference in my mind between just being presented with a long list where you’re left deciphering, like, how do these things all fit together? What does this mean? Versus given like the three signposts, right, it’s this, this and this, and then kind of centering everything else around those?
Peter Sandeen 18:45
Yeah, exactly. Then the next issue comes with a differentiation. Everyone knows they need to tell people what differentiates them. Yes, that’s true. But the, let’s say the part that is often overlooked is again understanding the perspective of the person you’re trying to talk to. They don’t necessarily know of all the same competitors that you know of, and they don’t usually even think of competitors. What they think of is alternatives. So yes, your competitors are alternatives, but there are usually very different kinds of alternatives. So a simple example I always use is that if you’re a therapist, you’re not just competing against other therapists, you’re competing against people’s friends or bars are both basically solutions in some people’s minds to the same problems that you as a therapist can solve. Not necessarily very good solutions. Most friends are not able to give the same kind of perspective and outside guidance or outside like perspective to your problems as a good therapist would. But that is still an alternative solution to a lot of the same things you do provide which is like comfort, getting to talk to Your problems and so on. So, first, you need to understand, well, what are you actually compared to not just the competitors, your target customers might never have heard of any single one of your competitors? So what do they compare you to? Then how do they see those alternatives? It doesn’t matter if you know that some solution is completely pointless, like, well, if you buy this product, it’s gonna break within two months, like everyone in the industry knows that right? But clearly not if people keep buying it. Like I almost worked with a company that produces hospital beds, certain kinds of hospital beds are no some sort of medical beds anyway, they know that people who buy those beds typically buy too, even if they need one, because they break so often that they’re going to be they need to because one will always be getting fixed. And this company rather sells very high quality wants. So that’s something that even the buyers would understand as okay, this can be different. However, will they believe it? If the biggest name in the business creates products that break that easily? Will? How easily will they believe that this little company from somewhere else can produce the same product that doesn’t break all the time? So just because people could see something as different? It’s like, well, will they believe that it is different? And also do they care? So there’s a lot of things that you know are significant differences. I’m sure that the way you help people with legal stuff, you know, a ton of things about how you do it that are significant, and probably rather unusual. But can your potential future clients appreciate it? A lot of those things? No, because they’re not the experts. And they’ve never been burned by those specific issues. So you need to really narrow down to just the things that people understand very easily believe they’re real, and see as significant for them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 22:00
So when you’re talking with people about alternatives, how are you recommending that they approached that just narrow it again, narrowing down the focus of what they’re talking about?
Peter Sandeen 22:12
Well, usually I look at it as well, what are the things that you are most often compared to part of it is that if you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a pretty good sense of what people point out as the alternatives. If you sell any sort of software, then you’re probably compared to some 15 year old Excel sheet that is used in the companies, right, like one click away from destroying decades of data. But so it’s a completely like, ridiculously bad solution. But it kind of works.
Heather Pearce Campbell 22:41
So it’s just about knowing then what options your people are looking at as alternatives in the marketplace,
Peter Sandeen 22:49
If you don’t know, then you need to find out. And there’s obviously many different ways of doing it, depending on what sort of business you’re in, how many clients you have, and all that. But you need to figure out what it is that you’re compared to, then what do they see? Like how do they see those alternatives? Whether those are correct or incorrect beliefs, right? It doesn’t matter. And then only then you can start to look at well, what would be different about you from their perspective? And yes, some people can’t like you can basically built around fake differences. So a classic example was Schlitz beer, an American company that I don’t remember when some decades ago had lost a lot of market share. And they hired a one of the greatest copywriters ever. And he came to the manufacturing plants and looked at one big thing and was like, What is this? Like? I like beer. And I have no idea what this is. And manufacturing, I don’t know, was it the company owner or someone anyway, they said like Nevermind, it’s just purifies the water. Like, that’s how the process works in every company. And the guy just wouldn’t let that play and the eventually, he built the entire advertising campaign around the purity of switch beer. There was nothing special about how pure the breeder was, all the companies did the same exact stuff. But they just because no one knew, right before they were able to build around it. I don’t recommend that, because it’s usually too easy for other companies to catch up. On the other hand, if you don’t have big companies as your competitors, then you don’t usually have to worry about it so much. But anyway, the key is what can make people see you as different in a way they actually care about. Preferably things that are actually different.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:34
That are actually relevant. Yeah. But it is an interesting question to think about, what is it that somebody wouldn’t know about my service or the way I do things or my product that’s relevant, right, that should be highlighted. And I think that takes kind of getting out of our own skin and looking at it, you know, from alternative perspectives.
Peter Sandeen 24:57
Yeah, I mean, it’s really hard. As I said, This is, I would argue, the most difficult thing to do in business. For your own business, this is probably the hardest thing you will do in your entire business career. That’s why it might make sense to get some help with it mine or somebody else’s. But it is difficult to see your own thing from another person’s perspective. If you have friends who are really good at it, great. But a lot of people think that well, I’ll just ask my clients, and it can be helpful. But people I mean, as a race, human race, we are just very bad at understanding our own decisions on that level. And we’re also not very good at telling the truth, when we do understand. There’s a very low chance that people truly understand why they chose you. They might, but most people don’t. And they will come up with some excuses that they might even believe are true, right, that they justify afterwards. But even if they do recognize the real reasons, most people will not tell. I mean, why do I buy a fancy iPhone? When I bought the first one, I excused it by saying that, well, it syncs the calendar really well with my Mac. But did I really spend several 100 euros extra on an iPhone compared to what I had previously just for the calendar to sync slightly more consistently? Like, you know? And really, I mean, I’ve used this example for years now. So I’ve had time to think of what were the real reasons, and I probably still don’t want to say, because I’m embarrassed about the actual reasons. It’s not like, it is very unusual. And I mean, some extreme examples of it would be like, if you’re selling to companies, but not for the owner of the business, it is quite common that one of the key motivators for people is that they think they will look smart in the eyes of their superiors. Are they going to say, when you ask why did you buy this? Right? Because I think that how you do this will make me look really smart. This was waste more expensive, and all that. I mean, no.
Heather Pearce Campbell 27:05
That’s a good example. Yes. Well, isn’t that the truth? I mean, I think any of us can think back on any number of decisions. Who was I talking with the other day, right? But we were reflecting on the fact that all decisions are made by the limbic brain, not the neocortex, right? It’s like an emotion that you feel that is either like a yes or a no in regards to a decision. It’s only later that your neocortex catches up and creates all the reasons why. Right? And this is exactly I think what you’re saying is like, that is absolutely how we make decisions. It’s like a gut instinct or a feeling we make the decision and then our you know, neocortex gets busy creating the list of why this was a good decision. We’re just justifying it after the fact.
Peter Sandeen 27:54
Yeah, yeah. The classic copywriters like motto is that people buy based on feelings and justified with with their thoughts. So or logic is only a justification method. It can be a misleading, like idea. It is true, but it can be misleading. So it’s not that if you’re selling, I don’t know, let’s say some manufacturing parts. It’s not like you wouldn’t need to also point out the logical benefits. Like I’m not saying that people take it too far, often and think, Well, I’m supposed to make, I don’t know, sell screws as if it was perfume like, like, that’s not the point. I can see why it would sound like it but no…
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:38
But if you’re selling screws, somebody might have a feeling about you, and how they feel about interacting with you when, you know, they’re about to make that decision versus this other supplier or this other store or whatever.
Peter Sandeen 28:52
Exactly, yeah. And a lot of that feeling can be created with logical things. Now, we’re getting pretty deep into this. But like, you could, for example, let’s say that one of the reasons to buy from you, like one of the most impactful things people could know about you is that you guarantee that, I don’t know how this works in manufacturing screws, but let’s say you would guarantee that if there are faulty screws, you will like pay it back to the person who bought it or like, I don’t know, you may somehow make up for it. So your overall trying to build this very reliable, trustworthy image. So the feeling you’re building is that like, comfortable and this and the low risk and all that. So the reason people buy from you is not that they might be like, reimbursed for some minor inconvenience, but rather the feeling that they will be taken care of, even in such small ways. And if you take care of even such small things, then you surely take care of also a much bigger thing. Slyke if you’re late with a shipment, you will pay them like or lower the cost until it’s delivered all the way to you actually paying them while delivering the stuff. Like, it’s you should build something that is coherent feeling. So it wouldn’t make sense to just be paying for the faulty products if you wouldn’t otherwise also have something similar rounded. Yeah, yes, the connection between the logic and the feelings gets rather complex. But yes, ultimately, it’s the feeling that you have to create, but a lot of it can be created with logical things.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:33
Right? This information that helps them actually feel better about that decision.
Peter Sandeen 30:38
Yeah. And trust the feeling, because that’s another thing. You can’t feel safe with a company or a person unless you trust that what they’re saying is true. And that trust might need to be built with very logical things. In some cases, not always, but sometimes it does.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:56
No, I love that. So at what point in your career did you start recognizing and become the marketers marketer, right, where you had other people in marketing coming to you for help,
Peter Sandeen 31:08
Actually, very, very early, which is kind of funny. But that’s because of the very first successful offer I made. So I started out as a copywriter. And the first thing that really started working well was that I contacted other marketing experts who already had good sales pages, I would say that I can write an even better one, for no money at all, you’ll ABX test yours, the current one you have against mine. And based on the results, if I beat yours, then I get paid a proportion of what you make additional money, so you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. And I won all but one of those tests, which was a time I didn’t do it for very long. And not that many times. But in a way, that’s when it started. And then I very soon got into conversion optimization, because I wanted to see what else affects website results. And it started out as just website stuff. I just wanted to see the website. But very quickly, I noticed that while the messaging What do you talk about, not what tactic to use, or where you put a button, like and make a big difference, but usually they don’t. Whereas what you talk about or who you’re talking to, how you narrow it down, or what you offer them. Those are really the foundation, but who do you talk to? What are you offering them? And how do you describe it? Or what do you say about it? Those are the impactful things. And as I said, that’s really hard to do, even if you’re an expert. And experts know that so they very often look for help with it. And since I had all these clients, I had done copywriting for. It just sort of snowballed from there. And although I’ve never done any marketing for marketing experts, specifically since then, it’s still the case that they are the most common client for me. Yeah, but it’s also because as soon as I got outside of the just website conversion optimization and looking at the bigger picture optimization, that’s also something most people even marketing aren’t even trying to be very good at they’re tacticians, they might be brilliant at running Facebook ads, or they might be brilliant at running a specific strategy. But are they good at analyzing a ton of data? Are they good at not only analyzing the data, but finding the bottlenecks and then figuring out well, often just estimating which one has the highest potential compared to the risks it has the costs is has to actually solve it, compared to how much like how much you know about it. And like I mean, there’s a bunch of things you have to more or less calculate, to get to the ball you should be doing on this thing in this way to have the best chance of seeing a positive result. And also a lot of people, even people who are good at it don’t like doing it for themselves. Even if they basically could, it’s still hard to find that time to do your own business. It’s very easy to be like, Well, I have this deadline for a client. I will not miss it. But I can think about my own business next week.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:09
Yeah, working on this business versus…
Peter Sandeen 34:13
Yeah, just having the like consistency of talking with someone weekly. And like even if you haven’t done anything, things have still happened. And we can again look at well, what should you work on? Is the same plan that was the best yet last week. Still the best plan probably is but maybe not. And also, if it wasn’t easy to get to it, then why wasn’t it? What do we change so that it’s easier for you to do the work? Do we need to change the instead of you making a video you raise a bow posts, or instead of doing a video in this specific way? What if you would do it in this completely other way. I just had a client who really struggled to make a video promoting an offer he made whereas he’s really good at making videos while just walking out with his dogs and talking about exactly the same topic, but just the setting and how the video is framed completely changes it. If you’re trying to sell, let’s say, an online course about X, that’s really hard. But if he’s just talking about what sort of a course should be, or what would make a course about x good while talking, walking his dogs, that’s easy. Select just finding all those things for yourself is really hard. But yeah, I think point is marketing experts recognize the value of what they do for others, but they also see how difficult it is to do for themselves. And they like referring people. So, yep.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:37
Now that’s so great. So are you saying that you will help people then look at the whole picture, like you said, you moved on from just website optimisation to looking at other marketing assets, how they’re launched into the world, how they work together, I assume that includes email marketing efforts online, other online platforms that they’re using to run their ads?
Peter Sandeen 35:59
Yeah, yeah. I’m not an expert. I’m not the world’s leading expert on any one of those. But I know almost all of the major tactics well enough to be able to analyze them, and well enough to know if it makes sense to try it. And if it makes sense to try, then what is the first way we probably should try it. But once we see good results on let’s say, a client starts with Facebook ads. And we start to see, okay, this is working, we are starting to see profit, or at least we’re breaking even with very, very little time and very little money put into it, then Okay, great. Now let’s hire someone who will do nothing but Facebook ads, eight hours a day, for years, like, surely they know more about the algorithm than I will ever, but it’s Duff Gordon, someone we both know, had this brilliant analogy. I don’t think he uses it anymore. But he talked about marketing plumbers. The idea is that if you go to a plumber and say, can you build me a house, they’re gonna look at you like you’re an idiot. And like, no, I cannot build your house, I can deal with the plumbing. That’s what I’m good enough. But if you go to a Facebook ad expert and say, can you build my marketing? 99% of them will be Yes, surely I can, even though they can do Facebook ads. That’s what they are good at. They might also know something about the landing pages or some other pieces in here and there, but it’s very unlikely that a Facebook ad expert is really a great expert at the big picture. So I’m like, the same way. I’m not the greatest expert in Facebook ads. I just can’t tell if it makes sense to try. And if yes, then how, just so we see if it makes sense to dive deeper into it?
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:41
Well, it’s such a great example.
Peter Sandeen 37:44
I definitely look at the bigger picture rather than a single thing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:48
Yeah, well, people need help with the strategy. And I think too often they’re jumping into, you know, it’s like the hammer and nail analogy. You go to somebody who has a hammer, and you know, you’re gonna be the nail, but in that specific thing that they do, and only that, right, unless you are dealing with somebody who’s going to help you with the overall strategy, and choose, do we need to use the hammer? Or do we really need a wrench or whatever, right? So it’s an important point, because I think people just ended up making choices based on what they think they should be doing what other people are doing. Right, but it may not make the most sense for their particular business.
Peter Sandeen 38:29
Yeah, and I think, especially in the marketing business, a lot of people don’t put a whole lot of value on what fits a person. So even if it’s some if something would fit your business, is it something you feel comfortable doing? Is this way of doing it something you feel comfortable with? like you wouldn’t believe how many people have come to me saying that I have a webinar that converts, but I feel really bad about it. Like, I just don’t want to have a webinar out there that is so salesy, and so like, aggressively pushing people into a decision like itself, but like, can I have something else? Yes. Like all those reasons why such a webinar, or works can be done in a way that isn’t aggressive and isn’t manipulative, but it’s still equally if not better, more effective.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:18
Right. And in that example, you probably have a bunch of people that built a webinar in such a way because somebody else told them, This is how you build a webinar, right? Yeah. So they chose that tool. They did it and then they didn’t feel right. And I love your example of the guy on video, right? Like sitting maybe in an office like this on Zoom or whatever recording a video just feels wrong to him, or not fun or not authentic, but out walking the dog and being in the moment is so much easier. That’s such a great and powerful example that, you know, people shouldn’t throw out a certain strategy or marketing asset. They just maybe need to do it in a different way with a little help from somebody that can say A, hey, do it this way, not that way.
Peter Sandeen 40:03
Yeah, yeah. But it’s a balancing act between like, what how much time do you have? How much money you have? What experience do you have? What skills do you have? Like, if you don’t know anything about, like the technology of all these online tools, then let’s not build something super complex. If you’ve never built I don’t know if you’ve never built a sales funnel than like, it’s the most ridiculous claim I’ve ever heard pardon to all those people who sell these things. I think it’s complete BS when people say you need the most advanced sales funnel, or you will be left behind. It’s like, if you sell like nutritional supplements, maybe like that’s just such an insanely competitive field and maybe, okay.
Heather Pearce Campbell 40:50
We upsell the down sell, right?
Peter Sandeen 40:52
Yeah, yeah. But like, looking at some of the stuff that they tell you to build. It’s huge. Like, if you talk with them, and I know a bunch of these people, like if you ask them, Well, how long does it take you to build your own funnel? According to the same plan? Well, like six to nine months, like, Okay, so did you do all of it yourself? Oh, no, no, I outsource the writing of all the videos, writing of all the emails, editing all the videos, editing and setting up all these pages is like so you outsource 90% of the work, and it still takes you the expert, nine months to do this. Yeah. And then you people can do this in what three weeks? That doesn’t sound quite right. So then it’s still like 0.1% of people who actually even finished the hole. And even fewer of them get good results. Build something that complex, there’s a good chance something is broken. That complex, it’s extremely difficult to figure out what is broken. And even if you do find it, can you figure out why it’s broken? And if you figure that out? Can you change it without changing everything else?
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:57
Oh, that just makes my heart hurt. Right? For all the people that are like wanting to do it and do it well, and just, you know, don’t have an easy path from here to there.
Peter Sandeen 42:09
Yeah, yeah. And it’s like, I mean, if I would try to build that, and I have built those sorts of things, many times, it would take me months, or at least weeks, if I spent nothing. If I did nothing else than that, it would take me multiple weeks, or 12 hour days. And I could not expect it to work, right? And if it didn’t work, right, like it probably didn’t, I could not expect to be able to figure out why. And I’m pretty good at analyzing. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So when I show people like after I like, typically with a coaching clients, I would plan them the marketing based on what has worked for them, what they’re good at what they like doing and all that. And I would say Okay, so here it is, we have these things, the most common question is, so what else do I need to do? Because it doesn’t need to be that complex. The whole point isn’t that we build something perfect immediately. The point is to get something done quickly that has a good chance of working well. Yeah, probably works well usually does works well right away. But more importantly, truly, more importantly, it’s something that we can easily see how to improve allows that like, that’s the consistency part. Like don’t count on. And if you don’t build based on the fact that you assume to improve, you’re really making things very low probability for yourself.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:26
Right? Well, and the way you describe that, that just feels so much more doable, like one to a system that will happen and get done and that you can start to measure. Yeah, right. So how do you do so I’m glad you brought that up? Like how were you typically start with your clients share with us the ways that you work? Who do you support? Who do you really love working with? And, you know, what does your work typically look like for them?
Peter Sandeen 43:56
Okay, well, most of my clients are other marketing experts. But the rest of the people I actually do marketing for are anything and everything at it like everything else than that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:06
Principles are the same. Yeah.
Peter Sandeen 44:08
Yeah. Like there’s anything from jewelers and E commerce, businesses to industrial like manufacturing, to therapists to consultancies to outsourcing businesses, to medical device businesses to like, artists and architects and like really anything and everything. So, I mean, I know I should narrow it down, I would be easier. But I really enjoy having a huge variety of very different kinds of businesses, because that’s how I get better at what I do. But I get to look at instead of sort of seeing that, well, I can just do the same thing I did with the previous client. It forces me to look at well, this case, what makes sense in this case, what is best in this case, and that’s, I think what I enjoy most in this the most common option if people don’t just want to do a quick project is weekly coaching. And we start by going through the target customer perspective figuring out what are the motivating benefits? What are the differentiators, I create them? The what I call the core value message that gathers those three most important things together, that then guides everything else, then I also plan them the, what I call the conversion path. So what are all the path like all the blocks on the path? What are all the steps from the first contact to the sale? That’s based on what they have done, what they want to do, what they don’t want to do? What has worked for them, what hasn’t worked, and all that. And I give them instructions for all of this. And then every week, we go through what they have done. And once it’s built, usually this I mean, they have usually all of it done within about two months into the work. And then we start looking at well, how is it working? What should you do next? Whether within that one conversion path or in business otherwise? Like I’m not a systems expert, or outsourcing expert, I mean, I’ve been doing this for decades. So I’ve seen a lot of these things. I can often refer to someone but like, usually, let’s be honest, we will talk about marketing and sales. But within that realm, what is it that you should be doing next? And how. And then just about always I can give the instructions so that you know what to do until next week. And then we have another call. So like, I was actually just talking today with someone who asked about the same question like how do I work with people? And I pointed out, or why do I work this way. And I pointed out that I had a lot of hobbies as a kid and I had a teacher or coach and each one, whether it was individual thing, like I played classical guitar, or it was a sport, like table tennis or soccer, there was someone to tell me what to do and how to do it. Look at what I do and tell me how I do it wrong, and how to fix it, what exercises I need to do and so on. And then the next week, the same thing again, again, I would show well, this is what I did. Here are my questions. Now I’m doing it like this, what should I do next? And how do I do that. And then I would be on my merry way for the next week. But the results as long as I did, my parts were very, very good. And I think that’s not missing from business. There’s plenty of people who tried to do that. But again, most of them are technicians. So they look at their expertise. And again, nothing wrong with that, if you’re the best person in Facebook ads, great, like literally hire you and hire you for my clients. Like nothing wrong with it. But it is a different expertise to look at the big picture, or to really hold on to that one tactic or one thing. But yeah, that’s that’s the whole point, looking at what it is that you should do, how to do it, and make sure that you feel comfortable with what you need to do. Because I think the greatest reason in my experience for why people procrastinate in business is that they have two reasons. One is that they don’t really know how to do something. So the instructions they have are too confusing. They are very often conflicting instructions from multiple sources. Or they don’t feel actually comfortable with doing it the way that they feel like they should do it. Like a lot of people think that they should do email marketing so that they send an email every day. It’s like, No, I mean, it can work. In many cases, it can work. But like I don’t do it, it certainly could work for me, but like I don’t want to do it. But I like sending one really good email every week that people actually enjoy getting instead of sending five pitches a week. I think that’s just not something I would want to do. Could I make a bit more sales like that? Maybe possible? I mean, yes, it is possible. But it’s not at all like there’s multiple ways of doing things than just if the instructions that we came across last week or even created for you last week, if you couldn’t do it, then let’s figure out why. Let’s not just think that while you suck.
Peter Sandeen 49:04
It’s usually not that it’s not just that, well, you were busy. Are you really that busy? Or did you just want to prioritize something else than doing this thing that he feels really uncomfortable with?
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:15
Well, this is such an important point, because actually, David Wood who’s episode went live this morning, we had a conversation about like any of us in life have limited time, limited attention, right, limited energy, there’s only so much that we can do and sometimes if we have a priority that we’re not getting to and I think marketing and getting your language right did like doing this is really important. And yet so many of us still fall down and actually getting it done the right way. We need a forcing mechanism, right. And this like that consistency that that process that you go through and working with your clients on a weekly basis. I think is that forcing mechanism, right shows people, it forces people to show up, have the conversation, you know, at least do the work while they’re attending to the meeting or whatever, and then have a much better chance of prioritizing it than if they don’t it’s like going to the gym, right? If you’ve got a coach or a trainer, like you’re way more likely, in many circumstances to actually make that happen on a consistent basis, right?
Peter Sandeen 50:29
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think just, it’s not about like, just looking at, well, why didn’t you do something? And like, I think just check taking away that idea that well, you should have done it like this. Like, that’s not the point. The point is that well, you didn’t. Why is it? Can we change it? Yeah, like, I don’t judge. I have plenty of that myself. Like, I don’t do something even though I had intended to do it, then I need to look at well, why is it? Do I need to change it? And usually, yes, I need to change how I’m going to do it so that I feel good about it and actually do it?
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:08
Well, and I think there’s a really important point that most of us need help, especially with those things that feel a little outside of our comfort zone or whatever, to really look at it creatively in a different light from a different perspective, right? And it’s, it’s not something that we can just power through, like, we literally just need some help.
Peter Sandeen 51:32
Yeah, and like, I mean, obviously, this is a bit biased view, because I do coaching. But like, if my always used this example that like, if I would need to suddenly make money, like become a professional singer, and make money with singing, I am not a singer, I am not an expert on it in any way. If I had to do that, if I like my and my family’s financial future dependent on my singing skills, the first thing I would do is hire a coach, right? Like, the very first thing. So it’s like, it’s not like, unless, let’s put it this way, even if your thing that you sell forward, the thing that you’re supposed to be the greatest expert on is being able to look at business and analyze all that you should still hire a coach to help you do it for your own stuff. But if that is not the thing yourself forward, then why should you be the expert of that, that like leading expert of that, yeah, you need to learn some things. And it’s like, if I coach people, the goal is to teach them not just not just blindly give them like do this. But explain why. So that we can get to have slightly better alternatives later on or get a little more advanced or get a little trickier once it feels comfortable, because they’ve gotten that much better at it. And even more importantly, it’s really taxing to do something every week that you don’t understand, and just sort of blindly go through these motions, you don’t really understand and like all the time struggle with it. But if you actually start to see that, oh, when we did this thing, it worked like this, and it created more sales because of this. And this, I see it now. I’m like you can like you can enjoy it much more, because you start to see how those things fit together. But yeah, overall, like 90% of the time, I tell people to do much less marketing stuff, and just focus on like, one to maximum three different things until the next call. And like…
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:31
Like just hearing that right, what a relief people are going. Yes, please, I want to do less, not more.
Peter Sandeen 53:38
But in like, an exam, like analogy I used as a little kid was like, how do you peel 1000 Potatoes, one at a time, like you don’t try to peel all of them at the same time somehow, like you can’t juggle them like that, it’s completely ridiculous. You might have three different peeling knives, maybe if you had completely different kinds of potatoes. And you might do three at a time, I don’t know. But like, the analogy was the 10 year old Peters analogy, but the point stands, you can’t do very many things. And the more you switch between different things, the harder it gets to actually complete those things. And point is, the sooner you complete things, even if overall like let’s say you would have 52 projects in a year. And you can either complete one every week, or you can complete all of them at the very end of the year, which one is going to create better results. So if you complete one, the first week, then you have 51 weeks to see the results from that you have 50 weeks to see the results from the second one and so on. So the sooner you complete things and I think it’s software you say like the sooner you ship it, so let’s put it via the better just the sooner you start to see the results, the sooner it can affect your profit. And that’s really ultimately what it’s about. Of course there can be other values like how often you like, how much you work? What sort of clients you have? What do you help them with, like, some people want to work with nonprofits or want to work only two hours every day, or they want to work only two days a week, or, like all these things affect as well. But ultimately, you need to get things actually completed for them to make any difference in business. Most of the time, there are some exceptions, but mostly it’s like that. So it’s better to prioritize ruthlessly. And it can be much easier if someone else tells you that you don’t need to worry about that. I know you’re stressed about it. But no, it’s you don’t need to worry about it. It’s not the thing for this week. Forget it, it’s fine. It’s not gonna get any worse. There’s nothing going on, nothing’s gonna break. Just breathe, and do this other thing. And here’s how, like, I’m exaggerating for comedic effect. I’m not quite that patronizing about. But the point being that, like, people get really just tense about those things, and very scared to stop what they’ve started, right. And also very scared, like, if someone has decided that, okay, they’re going to now try this strategy. And they will build this one thing that they saw someone do, and until they’re done, they won’t look at anything else. Well, if someone can point out that will not work for you, because XY and Z, they should be willing to be like, Okay, so let’s deal with XY and Z first, and then get back to it. But even that can be tricky. Like it, it requires quite a bit of I’m not sure what it requires, like just comfortableness with like changing your plan and admitting to yourself that your initial plan wasn’t perfect, just so that you can change what you’re doing so
Heather Pearce Campbell 56:44
Right. Well, and again, with the outside perspective on Is this reasonable, right? Like because I think a lot of people if they have not had the chance to look at many businesses, find out what results are good, and which ones are less than good. They may not have the perspective in their own business to realize like, Oh, this is actually not an adequate result extra change this, right, especially if it’s trickling, if it’s working a little bit, right, they might hang on to it, like, Oh, I just need to do it better or whatever. And it just may not be the path for them. But I think, again, that outside perspective of like, no, that’s actually an unreasonable assumption or an unreasonable expectation. It’s really important for us to be able to, you know, to get that kind of help.
Peter Sandeen 57:30
Yeah, but not to make this sound too much like a sales pitch for coaching. I think like, yes, coaching can help a lot. But even if you don’t hire anyone to help you, just, first of all, reducing the number of things you’re working on, is usually a good idea. All the way down to one, it’s usually a good idea. So basically, the sooner you can complete things, the better. In some situations obviously, you sometimes you have to work on multiple things, that’s fine, but like, the sooner you actually get things done, the better. Even if you’re not doing them perfectly, it’s still usually much better that you get it done sooner, rather than tweak it so that it gets marginally better before you publish it six months later.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:14
Well, your phrase ruthlessly prioritize right. So important. That reminds me of a quote, I think I’ve seen it posted numerous times by John Assaraf that says, do less better to completion. Right. So powerful, and yet so challenging for so many of us to actually do that.
Peter Sandeen 58:36
Yeah, yeah. Like I’ve often talked about marketing essentialism, the idea of like, do fewer things, but do them well enough for them to actually work. And often it means doing them better. But typically, it means aiming to do them worse, so that you get them done sooner.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:55
Progress over perfection. Yes. Yeah.
Peter Sandeen 58:58
Done this much better than perfect.
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:00
Yes. So true. Oh, I love that. Well, Peter, for folks that are listening today, we’re and they’re thinking I need to go connect with Peter, I need to figure out how to hire him or how to learn from him. Where do you like to send people?
Peter Sandeen 59:16
My website? petersandeen.com.
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:19
Peter Sandeen 59:19
You should get a sense of what I do from there. If this wasn’t enough of a lecture. Enough of a monologue. I like going on long tangents. Pardon me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:29
No, no, no, it’s so good. Because I think just hearing this from somebody who is an expert in this space, I mean, it does a couple things. One, I think it reminds me how complex it is to try to do everything ourselves. Right and also how a little bit crazy that is. And to the power of getting the right help in the right areas of our business, especially when it comes to simplifying like that. Just feels good to think about versus later. going on and doing more. Right. So I think it’s been very helpful.
Peter Sandeen 1:00:04
All right, well, that’s good. But yeah, my websites, like, should be all the links, whether you’re looking for one big expensive project, or some much, much more affordable coaching. But I mean, I think it might sound like I only work with big businesses, and yes, most of them are, like multi six to multi seven figure businesses, but I even work with people who are just getting into business and haven’t made even their first sale. I try not to price myself out of it, because I really like working with people like that, assuming they are dedicated to it. So if someone’s just thinking of doing it as a hobby and like an I don’t mean that they need to be like workaholics that’s not at all what I go for, but rather that if someone’s not really like in it committed on really want to do it, then I’m not the right person to help them. But it’s no happy to if someone has a question, they can send me an email contact at petersandeen.com. Might take a couple of days to get a reply, but I will reply,.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:01:09
Right? I know, I joke with my VA, my tech guy, that some emails, you know, they take a couple of times around the world and they stop in France and have a glass of wine and then we can get to them. It’s good to train our people to not expect an immediate response. Well Peter, it’s been so fun to talk with you and connect with you again, I really appreciate you being so generous with your time. What final thought would you like to leave people with today?
Peter Sandeen 1:01:39
Well, this doesn’t apply to everyone. I admit that. But I think if business isn’t fine, you’re doing it wrong. I mean, yes, some people do their business is just this game of kind of how much money they can make. And it might not be very fun. Yeah. Okay. But I at least I tried to approach it as like, if you’re more stressed than anything positive, then something is wrong. And you should do something about it. Whether it is getting a coach to help with it, or just something else. But it shouldn’t. It doesn’t need to be like that. It can be a fairly, not necessarily relaxing thing in the beginning, especially if you’re really like struggling to get going. But it’s not supposed to be this, like endless grind.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:02:24
Right? Yes, it should at some point be enjoyable, right?
Peter Sandeen 1:02:28
Yeah, I’m fairly early. Yeah. It should get to that point fairly quickly. I mean, I can’t say it’s this many months for everyone, but it shouldn’t take a massive amount of time. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:02:39
Oh, I love that. That’s such an important reminder. Peter, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
Peter Sandeen 1:02:45
Thanks for having me. It’s always fun to talk with you.
GGGB Outro 1:02:50
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business™ podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.