Grit and Stick-with-it-ness

Let’s recap:

  1. You need leads. To get leads, you need marketing. To market consistently, you need habits around your marketing.
  2. The best way to build a habit is to have a documented repeatable process you can follow.
  3. An SOP is a great container for your process. It’s a living document you can read, execute, and update over time.

(Want to read this letter online? It lives right here: https://kaidavis.com/grit-stick-with-it-ness-and-marketing-habits/)

To succeed with your marketing habits, you gotta have all the parts in place. Let’s set an example goal and talk about how to make it a habit:

  • Your Goal: have a hot content summer
  • Your Process: publish and promote one Twitter thread and one email each week for July and August
  • Your SOP: how you’ll research, plan, write, and promote your content each week this summer

How do you make a habit and achieve your goal? You put in the time and do the work.

  • Follow your SOPs.
  • Make the content.
  • Publish and promote it.
  • Repeat.

Don’t break the chain.

Put in the time, don’t worry about the results. Focus on what’s under your control (doing the thing). Don’t worry about what’s out of your control (results depending on someone else). That’s to say, you want to:

  • Publish one thread/week. Don’t worry about getting followers
  • Write 250 words/day. Don’t worry about getting subscribers

And as with any habit, remember to be kind to yourself. Somedays, all you can do is show up and do the bare minimum (e.g., putting on your running shoes and then taking them off, walking into the gym and then turning around and driving home).

Those days still count. The streak is unbroken. On to the next day.

In other news, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. About damn time.

Let me wish you a ‘Happy Juneteenth Day.’

Excelsior!

Kai

Grit and Stick-with-it-ness

Let’s recap:

  1. You need leads. To get leads, you need marketing. To market consistently, you need habits around your marketing.
  2. The best way to build a habit is to have a documented repeatable process you can follow.
  3. An SOP is a great container for your process. It’s a living document you can read, execute, and update over time.

To succeed with your habit, you gotta have all the parts in place. Let’s set an example goal and talk about how to make a habit:

  • Your Goal: have a hot content summer
  • Your Process: publish and promote one Twitter thread and one email each week for July and August
  • Your SOP: how you’ll research, plan, write, and promote your content each week this summer

How do you make a habit and achieve your goal? You put in the time and do the work. Follow your SOP. Make the content. Publish and promote it. Repeat.

Don’t break the chain. Put in the time, don’t worry about the results. Focus on what’s under your control (doing the thing). Don’t worry about what’s out of your control (results depending on someone else).

  • Publish one thread/week, don’t worry about getting followers
  • Write 250 words/day, don’t worry about getting subscribers
  • Pitch 1 podcast/day, don’t worry about getting onto podcasts

And as with any habit, remember to be kind to yourself. Somedays, all you can do is show up and do the bare minimum (e.g., putting on your running shoes and then taking them off, walking into the gym and then turning around and driving home).

Those days still count. The streak is unbroken. On to the next day.

In other news, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. About damn time.

Let me wish you an early ‘Happy Juneteenth Day.’

Excelsior!

Kai

Marketing Habits, Matryoshka Dolls, and SOPs

How do you get better at a marketing habit? The trick is realizing you’ve got three things stacked together like a Russian nesting doll:

  1. The core habit you’re looking to build (e.g., guest on 2-3 podcasts/month). This is the vision, the goal, and or the outcome you’re working towards.
  2. The process you’re following to execute on that habit. These are the steps you’re taking when you execute your habit (e.g., research podcasts, find an email address, send intro email, repeat tomorrow).
  3. The specific tactical steps you’re following within that process This is the Standard Operating Procedure (kaidavis.com/standard-operating-procedures/) you follow when you’re working on executing on your habit.

With me so far?

These three pieces are stacked inside each other, like a nesting Matryoshka Doll (Russian Doll/Stacking Doll). You’ve got the core habit (e.g., get on podcasts), but inside that you’ve got the general process you’re following, and inside that you’ve got your specific Standard Operating Procedure.

Why is the process or SOP necessary?

First, separating these three bits gives you clarity on what to work on, optimize, or fix. Have you picked a habit? Do you have clarity on your process for your habit? Have you written an SOP? If you’re missing one of those pieces, you’ll struggle with your habit.

If you’re running into friction or not seeing the outcomes you want, it might be that the habit you’ve picked is the wrong one for your market or it might be that your process or SOP for the habit is janky or half-baked. If that’s the case, instead of thinking, ‘UGH. Time to switch habits,’ you can start to investigate improving your process for that habit.

Second, SOPs give you a repeatable playbook to follow. When it’s time to execute a marketing habit, you can open up your SOP and follow the process.

That means when you sit down to work, you won’t have to spend time remembering/figuring out what exactly you need to do. Instead, your SOP gives you a checklist-esq process to follow that you can iterate/optimize/refine over time.

Let’s say that you’ve decided to follow my advice from Chapter 4 of Get More Leads (https://kaidavis.com/products/leads/), and you’re building a Content Beachhead (a collection of articles/videos to reach and attract your ideal clients on a platform they spend time on).

In that case, creating your Content Beachhead is your core habit.

Executing that habit will focus on researching your audience, creating the content they’re looking for, and then publishing/promoting your content.

That’s the process you’re following.

To make that process as easy as possible for you to follow and execute, you’ll want to document the steps you’re taking each time you execute on that habit.

That’s your Standard Operating Procedure (aka, the three sexiest words in the English language 😏).

When it’s time to work on and execute your habit, you won’t need to spend time remembering what to do. Instead, you can pick up your Standard Operating Procedure, remind yourself of the steps to take, and then get to work on your habit.

What I love about this division is that it provides clarity on what to work on optimizing when stuff goes wrong:

  • Are you struggling to execute your habit? Work on improving your process to know what steps you need to take.
  • Are you executing on your habit, but it’s taking longer than you’d like? See if you can refine your Standard Operating Procedure, so your process takes less time moving forward.
  • Are you executing on your habit but aren’t seeing results? If you’re doing the thing, executing on your process, and shipping, but it isn’t working, think about if you’ve picked the right habit for your target market. It might be that you refine your habit to reach your target market better.

Excelsior!

Kai

How do you get started building a marketing habit?

How do you get started building (or rebuilding) marketing habits? Better yet, what can you do to make those habits as easy as possible for future you to stick with?

Well, first, you need to pick a habit to work on. Maybe that’s doing some podcast outreach or creating a content beachhead to engage with your market where they already are (more on that inside Get More Leads https://kaidavis.com/leads/).

No matter which approaches you decide on, you want to end up with ~1-3 regular marketing activities that you’re engaging in and building up as a habit. Some will stick for the long-haul; others will fade away after a few months, giving you room for new habits.

Alright, that gives you the big picture focus. But what about implementation? How do you avoid (or overcome) the challenges that come up when you get started working on these marketing habits?

To dethorn that rose, you want to take a few minutes and write down some notes (and answer a few questions) about the marketing habits you’re attempting to build. Here are the questions I like thinking through:

  • What are you attempting to do?
  • What would a small success look like?
  • What resources will you need?
  • What challenges might you run into?
  • How much time do you need to set aside (and how often) to work on this habit?
  • What could go wrong (and what will you do to get back on track)?

Together, your answers to these questions start to give you a plan for building a marketing habit.

But how can you make those habits as easy as possible to build and stick with, even when the going gets tough (or the brain gets distracted)? More on that topic in tomorrow’s letter.

Excelsior!

Kai

How do you get started marketing again after a break or pause?

The hardest part about marketing is getting started again after a pause. The muscles are weak. The voice is scraggly.

Put another way, if you’re on the wrong side of it, inertia is a pain in the butt. Getting started after a break is hard.

The trick? As John Cage says, “begin anywhere”. With anything inertia- or habit-related — like marketing yourself or generating leads — the secret isn’t to aim for big, huge, ambitious marketing outcomes, but to aim to build small, slow, steady marketing habits.

Those small habits, over time, build up to big outcomes.

Excelsior!

Kai

piled stones

But when should you throw out the initial price?

In yesterday’s letter, I shared that, ‘hey, you shouldn’t throw the initial price out for a project until you’ve asked questions and thought the project through.’

I mentioned that there were occasional exceptions to this approach. Y’all wrote in to ask about those exceptions.

So, let’s talk about those exceptions. When can (or, should), you throw out the first price on a call? And what risks do you accept by doing so?

Exception One: Productized Services

Productized services are services with a fixed scope, fixed price, fixed timeline, and fixed deliverables. By standardizing your offering (and shrinking the range of options), you make it easier to quote a price immediately. There’s less uncertainty for you or the client.

There are fewer ways the scope can unexpectedly shift with a productized offering, so you’re safe throwing out that initial (standardized) price.

Here’s an example:

<them> We need help with our website. Our marketing is terrible, and our homepage is out of date. Can you help us refresh our homepage to tell our story better?

<you> I’d be happy to help. I have a ‘Homepage Refresh’ offering. I meet with your executive team, talk through where the homepage is lacking, interview you about your brand and upcoming marketing focus, and then draft an updated version of your homepage to address the issues (with one revision included). The project will take six weeks from kickoff to delivery, and you’ll get the final copy (and layout suggestions) in a Google doc. The price is $3,500. Would you like to move forward?

Because you’ve standardized your process (and turned your offering into an off-the-shelf product), there’s less risk on the project. There are fewer bits you’ll need to figure out, you already know the steps you’ll take, and you’ve optimized the process the client will be moving through.

All of that adds up to it being less risky for you to throw out the first number. So go ahead!

After all, instead of quoting them a price on a squishy service offering (where the scope is made up customized to the client’s needs), you’re quoting them on the price for a standardized product you’ve delivered before.

Exception Two: You’re Selling Roadmapping

Roadmaps are strategy- and discovery-focused initial projects, typically sold as a productized service.

The goal of a roadmapping project (or as I like to call it, a roadmapping session – https://kaidavis.com/roadmapping/) are to:

  • Discuss the project with the client
  • Identify unknowns or potential sources of risk
  • Get on the same page in terms of goals, target outcomes, budget, and timeline
  • Define a plan outlining the next steps to take to move the client towards their desired outcome

Roadmaps are excellent at reducing risk for you and your client. When you meet, talk through the client’s goals, and define a plan to follow, you’re getting on the same page and identifying (and eliminating!) sources of risk.

I love roadmaps. I recommend them to nearly every client. (In fact, Double Your Ecommerce’s Website X-Ray is a strategy- and discovery-focused SEO roadmap, focused on identifying the top ~5-8 SEO opportunities and issues facing a Shopify store and defining a plan for what high-impact optimizations to tackle first.)

When you’re facing down a project with a squishy scope where the client wants a price, and you need more information before you can share a price, you should recommend that they start with a roadmap.

Here’s an example:

<them> We need help. Our competitors are outranking us in Google. We don’t know why that is, and we’ve tried EVERYTHING. How much will it cost to fix our SEO and get us ranking #1?

<you> I’d be happy to help, but, alas, I don’t know enough yet to quote you a price that’s more than a wild guess. To help you move forward, I recommend we start with a discovery- and strategy-focused project to build a roadmap on how to get you moving towards #1. My roadmaps are $1,000, and at the end of our work together, you’ll receive a strategy document from me outlining the recommended path forward, a list of recommended high-priority projects, and a price quote for the next project we should work on together.

Because you need more information, it makes sense to start with a roadmap. And because you can sell roadmaps as fixed-price productized services (learn more here: https://kaidavis.com/roadmapping/), it’s very easy to quote a price for this discovery work.

Bottom-Line Recommendations

  • Don’t throw out the first price until you’ve asked questions and thought the project through
  • If you’re selling a productized service, it’s easier to quote a price because your process, deliverables, timeline, and price are all standardized. (The client is buying an off-the-shelf product from you, like a can of soup at the grocery store.)
  • If your client doesn’t have the information you need (or you have many questions to ask and think through), you should start by recommending a roadmapping session. That will make it easy for you to determine what steps to take and share accurate and realistic estimates and prices with the client.

And if you’re looking to learn more about selling and delivering roadmapping sessions (and how to sell them as a productized service), I recommend you check out Quick Start Roadmapping.

Inside, you’ll learn:

  • What goes into selling and delivering a roadmapping session
  • How you can get started selling strategy and discovery to your clients
  • The process to take a client through from ‘you have a new lead’ to ‘how to deliver your roadmapping project.’

Plus, templates. Glorious templates to help you sell, perform, and deliver roadmapping sessions, including:

  • Project Questionnaire Questions Swipe File (learn what questions to ask in your roadmapping sessions)
  • Roadmapping Meeting Agenda (get a battle-tested agenda as a starting point for your roadmapping meetings)
  • And the advisory sheet, “Top Mistakes To Avoid With Roadmapping Sessions” (avoid the common pitfalls as you get started selling roadmapping)

Learn more about how you can get started selling roadmapping right here: https://kaidavis.com/roadmapping/

Excelsior!

Kai

Should you give out a price on an initial call?

A reader recently wrote to ask if I share numbers (e.g., price estimates) during an initial conversation with a prospect.

I told that them I do not. And except in some unique cases, I strongly recommend against it.

Why?

A few reasons.

First, what’s the absolute worst that could happen if you give a price on the spot on the phone?

Well, you could end up…

  • Leaving money on the table
  • Underestimating the work required
  • Ending up with a less profitable project

Not great things, tbh.

So, how do you overcome this?

First, you must never forget ‘The First Rule of Negotiation’: Don’t give out the first number until you have enough information to anchor your price.

That means before you share a price, you want to make sure you have answers to these questions:

  • Where do they need help?
  • What’s their current situation?
  • What outcome are they looking for?
  • What are they looking to invest in a solution?

Why?

Because until you have a solid understanding of those elements, you don’t have enough information to estimate (e.g., guess at) a price.

And! Even if you’re on your initial call with a prospect and you get all of that information, you still shouldn’t give out the first number on that call.

Not for any nefarious purpose.

Not for any reasons of psychological trickery.

Just for one simple reason: you should think through the project before you give out a number.

  • What seems challenging?
  • What seems easy?
  • What seems risky?

Once you’ve thought through the project and started to understand both what the client is looking for (e.g., their expectations) and what will go into the project (e.g., your work), you can share a price.

At that point, the information you’ve collected will help you anchor your price quotes.

Excelsior!

Kai

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