An algorithm for marketing, and how I applied it to my side project

Voice, landing page, HCVO, and then emails — the algorithm at a high level
  • Marketing is about trust and building relationships
  • Everyone goes through three phases of buying: Curiosity, understanding, and commitment
  • Curiosity grabs people
  • Understanding allows them to reason if it is helpful to them
  • Commitment comes once they know it is helpful and you are the best option
  • The book defines how to set up your landing page and how to send emails to encourage commitment
  • The algorithm optimizes especially for building trust and hence focuses on the Commitment stage:

1. Design your voice that must be used, changing voice hurts trust

2. Obsess on the simplest and quickest way to explain your idea verbally, clarity shows expertise that shows trust

3. Build a landing page to show that you have empathy (understand the problem) and authority (can and have solved it before)

4. Help people for free. This demonstrate your quality, building their trust in your abilities.

5. Prove you are the best by speaking to your customers via email. Honest and helpful conversation will further reinforce this.

Everyone experiences 3 stages before buying

First impressions are part of a ‘survival mechanism’ where you deduce is this person/product/service going to help me thrive.

You need to understand exactly how the thing will help you.

Being asked for a commitment before you get the first two will lead to a no.

Miller suggests you need at least 8 encounters before you trust something (discussed more later).

Alignment of voice

Miller says there are 5 things you need your business to have:

  1. A definition of the brand — to align everything
  2. A simple one-liner of what you do
  3. A landing page
  4. A lead generating PDF (a.k.a High-Value Content Offering)
  5. An email campaign

These will provide a constant persona, build trust, and direct customers to understand what you do. But these are the object, there must be an aim and theme to the generation of these…

To help think: what do you solve? How will people’s lives change? How do they start?

Answer these three and you have a simple first impression.

So for everyhour.xyz I would say...Everyhour stops you wasting time by helping you easily record every hour of your day.
It will motivate you spend every hour better (not on social media), focus on your targets, and recognise what you want to prioritise in your life.
To start (it is free!) sign up at www.everyhour.xyz.

Curiosity: First impressions

Don’t be meh. Stand out. Be loud. Be memorable.

State the problem immediately.

You would want to know more about this person: “You know how most families hardly eat together anymore, and when they do, they don’t eat as healthily as they should? I am a private chef…”

Most of us aren't happy with how we spend our time...

Make sure your solution is obviously solving what you said the problem is, use as few words as possible, have your name in there, and don’t be funny or clever — be simple.

Everyhour helps you easily record what you do...

Connect to both the problem and solution,

...so that you are motivated to not waste time, making you happier and more focused.

So…

Many of us aren't happy with how we spend our time. Everyhour helps you easily record what you do, so that you are motivated to not waste time, making you happier and more focused.

Other examples from the book:

“Most parents get stressed when they think about taking their child to the dentist. At Kid’s Teeth, our fun and welcoming office puts kids at ease so they aren't afraid and their parents actually enjoy their dentist visit.”

“Most businesses lack the time and expertise to build a website that gets results. At John Doe Marketing we’ll build you an amazing website at an affordable price so you can stand out from the competition and get more leads that turn into customers.”

Memorize it! Get everyone onboard so anyone can explain it.

You can also add it to business cards, email signatures, put it in the about us section of your site, and put it in your social media descriptions.

Design your landing page

Miller defines 9 sections that should be on your site (in no particular order) and each section after the header should have a headline:

This is your first impression. You need to get people past the first 10 seconds. Can people immediately understand what you offer, how it helps, and how to start? This should be shorter than your one-liner.

Examples: 
Injury lawyers committed to helping you get your life back.
Great managers aren’t born, they are trained: see how we do it.
Surprise and delight your guest with handcrafted desserts.
Everyhour:
Record every hour of every day to be happier with your time. Start now.

Where to put it? Fill the screen and use the z shape. CTA should be in the top right and in the middle of the screen.

The guide and www.everyhour.xyz

What are you saving customers from? This needs to be super clear.

Loss of time, opportunity, potential, business, or status are all examples of strong stakes. Miller suggests user testimonials, a checklist, bullet points, or a paragraph on the pain points.

Everyhour: Text: Most people under estimate how much time they actually spend at work, on social media, or doing nothing at all, and over estimate the time they think they spend with family, on their hobbies, and being healthier. Bullets: We are all bad with time. 
* Wasted time
* Missed goals
* Frustratingly little progress

List the benefits the customer would get. Can they save money or time? You should invoke all senses if possible too. Bullet points are recommended here.

Everyhour:
Be aware of your time
1. So you wont waste the next hour
...because you wont want to record an other hour wasted
2. So you will hit your goals
...to exercise instead of stay in bed, to stop procrastinating and focus on your work, to actually spend time with friends and family instead of social media.
3. So you actually complete projects
...because you do not want the 75+ hours already recorded to be wasted.

Introducing yourself as the person that can help. You need to show you understand the problem, and you have solved it for others — empathy and authority. Without both, you will not win.

This section should have testimonials, logos of companies, statistics.

Don’t brag about yourself, or overstate authority.

Define the path to start their change in three steps. Without the plan, the customer has to assume the actions you will do, which degrades trust.

Simple, clear, and bold next steps.

Example: 
Schedule a consultation, create a plan, get results
Everyhour:
Login, track the things you do, become aware of your time

A longer section of text to help SEO and tell your story. The intent of this is to convince the reader that they do not need to investigate more. By now they should have clarity on the product, but not the understanding of the area. Miller gives 7 steps to write a good inviting story:

  1. Who do you customers want to become
  2. What do they want
  3. Define the problem setting them back
  4. Position yourself as the guide
  5. State the steps to solve the problem (using your product)
  6. Tell them to act on the first step now
  7. Project a vision of their future

He also suggests adding a section answering the reader's objections: it won't work for them, is too expensive, unsure how to use it, will take too long, tried before and it didn’t work…

But be sure to space things out well — people run from walls of text.

Where you reiterate the above and help with trust. If you can get customer testimonials in the video that is great but simply reading a script on top of images also works. Keep it short, state the problem immediately, make sure the audio and words are clear, and show that you have the best solution.

If you make a longer video, consider giving that video away in exchange for an email address — like a 10 minute+ TED talk on your problem.

Ensure you have a title above the video on your site that makes people want to click it — such as “how we’ve helped thousands” or “here is how our process is different”.

Different divisions of products or prices should be shown if they are fixed (it goes without saying they should be competitive). And don’t talk about cheapest, talk about the best value for them.

Any other things you want, such as links to other content: About us, contact, careers, FAQ, etc. Literally, any link not covered above should go here.

Lead generator (a.k.a HVCO)

For someone to give out their contact information, there must be some trust between you and them. You need to have established this trust.

Miller suggests giving them value, similar to Suby suggest giving them a High-value content offering.

The value could be a PDF, video, free sample, event/webinars invites, interview with an expert, a checklist, a worksheet, or anything else helpful and desirable. Really focus on this.

Miller further suggests that anything you create needs to position you as the guide (with empathy and authority), differentiate yourself, be specific to the type of reader (make them say — “yeah that is me”), create trust by giving true value, and have an interesting title (How to make… Five mistakes…).

Anybody who gives you this email address is ‘very interested in your product or service’. They have the problem you described and they want to know more, they just don’t know if you are the right one yet.

Miller also gives a proforma for writing a PDF lead generator:

Catchy Title:The big problem 
Empathy for the problem, and how you solved it
Another insight on the problem
The solution to that bit of the problem
Spell out the entire solution in a step by step plan or list of tipsDefine what will happen if they don't solve the prolem (list)
What should they do next

Miller strongly pushes for it to be a popup — “Yes, I know, pop-up ads are annoying — but they work.” He suggests to only pop up after a while, or when it looks like someone is about to click off the site. Perhaps most shocking, he also suggests removing the X button to close the ad.

He also suggests your marketing budget should be spent on promoting the lead generator, not the product, and even to build landing pages just for the lead generator (very similar to Suby).

Some will not get attention, some will rocket. Just keep helping solve problems.

So you have email addresses… now what?

So you have a list of people that suffer from the problem, are interested to learn more, and have some trust in your solution.

Email them anytime you can help add value and be interesting. Miller aims for “at least one email per week”.

Recognize all other emails you actually read. Why did you open them? What caught you? And then do the same.

Be conversational, be clear, write fewer words, use active language.

Email #1: Give them the HVCO

Where to start: Sales Campaign

When you get their email address, send the sales. Then if it didn’t work go to the nurture campaign.

Email #2: Reiterate the problem and the solution

The call to action is the whole point. It should be everywhere. Invite them to imagine what the solution would do to them.

Email #3: Customer Testimonial

Make them feel comfortable they are not the first

Email #4: Overcome an objection

Answer the most common objection, even if it isn’t the person's main one it can help convince them that you know what you are doing.

Email #5: Paradigm Shift

People may think they have already tried something similar. Tell them why your solution is different.

Email #6: Ask for the action

Straight up ask for the action you want them to take.

If applicable, make the offer more valuable by making it scarce. Put a time limit on it.

SendGrid, a brilliant email tool, has Automations that will allow you to automate a lot of this!

Nurture Campaign

People only engage when they feel ready, nurture campaigns are small bits of value, that add to gaining trust, as well as a reminder that you are a solution. This way you are present in mind when they are ready.

  1. Remind of the problem and stakes
  2. Remind of the solution/website
  3. Offer value (HVCOs)

Just don’t tell them about your company news — they won't care.

Finally, avoid these mistakes on your website:

insider language, complicated wordy headers, passive language in call to action buttons, no repeated call to actions, images don't relate to words, language is clever but not clear, content moves too fast, no lead generator is on the page, you tell a story instead of inviting a story.

Founder of EveryHour.xyz and Product Owner @ dunnhumby; just genuinely interested in a lot of things. Built racecars, built electronics, now building software