If you think you are the only woman entrepreneur that doesn’t have an actual marketing strategy in place – I am here to tell you that you are definitely not alone.
It’s incredibly common, and often the main reason our businesses don’t see consistent growth.
Think about it – you try a little of this and then move on to a bit of that. Someone said reels was the thing to try, so you did that for a week, then you tried some facebook ads, and then that seasonal promotion.
Does this sound familiar?
Okay – so you know this is not the way to grow your business and you realize you are probably wasting your budget by spending on marketing without a plan in place.
So now what?
Today’s episode is exactly what.
Janice Hostager is with us today and she is laying out her simple process that gives you the path you need to follow called the "Trail to the Sale".
I wanted to high five her after every step she laid out for us. It doesn’t matter what stage of business you are at or what type of business you are in, her process will help you create growth and start seeing results.
So let’s get into it!
Links from this episode:
FREE Download "The Trail to the Sale": https://janicehostager.com/small-business-marketing-plan/
Janice's Website: https://janicehostager.com/
Buyer Persona's Workbook: https://www.shecorporated.com/buyer-personas-workbook
Visit SHEcorporated main site: https://www.shecorporated.com/
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Kristy: [00:00:00] If you think you're the only woman entrepreneur that doesn't have an actual marketing strategy in place, I'm here to tell you that you are definitely not alone. It's incredibly common. And often the main reason our businesses don't see consistent growth. Think about it. You try a little of this and then move on to a bit of that.
Somebody said reels was the thing to try. So you did that for a week and then you tried some Facebook ads and then that seasonal promotion that you thought would be a good idea. Does this sound familiar? Okay. So, you know, this is not the way to grow your business and you realize you're probably wasting your budget by spending on marketing without a plan in place. So now what.
Today's episode is exactly what.
Janice is with us today and she's laying out her simple process that gives you the path you need to follow called the trail to the sale.
I honestly wanted to high-five her. After every step she laid out for us. When we recording. It doesn't matter what stage of business you're at or what type of business you're in.
Her process will help you create [00:01:00] growth and start seeing results. It's amazing. So, Let's get into it.
Kristy: is a brand and marketing strategist who partners with CEOs, executives, and solo preneurs to help grow their businesses. And after spending more than 25 years working in marketing for a variety of multi-million-dollar brands.
And new startups. Janice knows what truly drives conversions can nurture leads and can create solid brands. And she's actually developed a marketing framework called the trail to the sale, which we're going to talk about today. So today Janice is going to help us move more potential customers into customers and make sure that we're capturing all the sales we can for our brand and our company.
And Janice, I'd love it. If you could give us a bit more insight into kind of how you got here and exactly what it is
Janice: that you do. Absolutely. like so many other marketers. I started out in the corporate world and worked with some smaller businesses and some nonprofits and sort of all over the map.
before we moved to a small town in Wisconsin where I had [00:02:00] no. Really job opportunities available to me. And I had two little kids at home, so it was a great opportunity for me to kind of, um, start my own thing. And so I had always been, kind of on the creative side of marketing. And so I started out with, a little design firm, a little agency, that ran out of my home at the time.
And as I started working with small businesses to do, their websites and their branding and all of that, I started realizing that they didn't really know what to do after that this started a business that's, you know, and so they said, well, I think I need a logo on a website.
And then after that, they'd get a Facebook page and there were sort of lost, you know, so it was kind of a situation where. I was trying to grow my own business at the time. So I really had to work through what the process was, because even though I, I knew a lot of things with marketing, cause I had that had been my career.
I didn't really understand how they all [00:03:00] fit together. And I knew that just looking at a conventional marketing funnel, whereas, the top part of the funnel is where people just. Basically come into the final and then they consider it and then they buy, I knew that that wasn't really accurate because first of all, people will hop out of the funnel and then come back later or they might, you know, need some extra assistance getting through the funnel.
And so, and as I was developing websites too, I realized that people's sites were not really set up for, all of the stages that people go on. When they are trying to decide who to buy from and then ultimately to purchase again and then also to, send others to it. So it was this sort of this long process where I had to take a look at how my own marketing was.
And look at the clients that I had and look at how they were marketing themselves. And what I found then it was that a lot of small businesses where we're throwing kind of just, everything had to have like a marketing soup, you know, it's like, I need business, [00:04:00] so I'm gonna run a Facebook ad. Oh, that's not working.
Let me try Google. Ooh, that's hard. I'm losing a lot of money that way. Or maybe, maybe what I'll try is, you know, Pinterest or, you know, and, and there was no process and there was no strategy involved in that. So, that's kind of where this all began. And, with this framework, it's just made the world of difference both for my own business and for other people's businesses that I've worked with.
Kristy: I think you've, you've hit the nail on the head is that most. And I see exactly the same thing. I work with, brand new startups, as well as, people in the first five years of business. And, and it is the most common threat. Is that nobody has an overarching strategy for their marketing.
And if you ask people, they have a marketing plan, they say, well, yeah, I have a plan. You know, I do this in February and I'll, I'll do that. You know, you do this at Christmas time or whatever, but there's no, there's no written strategy. There's no, complete cohesive plan and, and they're just, it's reactive.
They've been proactive and planned.[00:05:00]
Taken that marketing funnel and you've looked for the problems and then you've innovated some
Janice: solutions. Yeah. I kind of combine a marketing funnel with a customer journey map. making it generic enough and based on human behavior enough that.
trend in and out. cause people are people and our process has been the same since the beginning of time, you know, we have to, I mean, it starts out with the awareness phase. Well, obviously you need to be aware of something before you're even going to consider it. And even before that, you need to know.
What your problem is, and you may not be aware of that. You have a certain problem. You may just be aware of the symptoms of that problem. Right. and so, as a consumer, we have to get to that point first, like, okay, I have this problem. I have the symptoms. I don't know what the problem is. Oh, I see.
Now it's this, I get it now. And then at that point we start considering. the solutions, it, or consider a certain business or a certain vendor to fix that problem. Right. But then we're looking around and you're like, oh, I don't know. This person offers that [00:06:00] same solution or a similar solution, you know?
So you start looking at comparing now. And then you think, okay, well this one looks good. Maybe I'll try them out. So that's the evaluation stage. And then they finally decided to jump in and, buy it, which is the sell stage. And then, as businesses, we can take that opportunity at that point to make sure that, they may want something slightly different or they may want something more.
So I call that the supersize stage and then after they make that purchase, it's still important that we serve them. So that's the serve stage. And then of course we want people to refer us as, businesses. So that's the sin stage. So it feels it's kind of an acronym. It spells. access, but I called it thrill to the sale because it really, that is what it is.
And, and I think together, if I'm working with a company and they're just doing a promotion for a new product, we go through that process. If we're working at a new startup, we go through that process. But before even the. Can do this process. We really need to know, what your business is.
So how it's [00:07:00] positioned in the marketplace and positioning is how you define your product, and, how it fits in and how it's unique and better than any other alternatives out there, which that in itself can take a lot of soul searching. It's it's hard to narrow down and then really understand your target customer actually.
Kristy: And so for, for those first two steps before you get into the, trail to the sale. What would you suggest as a couple of, kind of quick tips for somebody who's just starting out their business in the first few years of their business? How do they do that?
Janice: Oh, that's a great question. so I know I'm, most me included, we want, we don't want to turn business away, right?
We, so we want to be as general as possible and, and yeah, you can come here and you can. You know, I'll do business with you. So I do with this and a little of this and, and, you know, and I can do that too. And, and the, the problem doing that is that. success is rooted in how it's positioned in the marketplace, not how versatile it is.
So if you think about like a physician, if you've got, some vague symptoms, you might go to your general physician or a general practitioner. [00:08:00] But if you know that you, have a problem in your foot and you need surgery, you would go to a podiatrist, you'd go to a specialist. and no one person.
Is really an expert in everything. So you need to kind of look at where are you are an expert in, and once you've established your expertise in that area, you can also charge more. You can become the go-to person in that area because you are an expert in that smaller area. And sometimes people are considered themselves local businesses.
but oftentimes people are, let's say you're an accountant or, you've specialize in, well you just do accounting in general and you might. call yourself a local business and your customers, probably choosing you because you're convenient. You're close by and you're cheaper.
and in, a sense you become a commodity and, convenient, cheap are not words people use when they're talking about a premium price. And so the first couple of things to think about is how you can focus on being a specialist in one area. And like I said, I know it's hard. I struggled with this myself, for sure.
and then [00:09:00] really getting to know your target customer.
Kristy: when people start out and I think it's one of the most common starting out mistakes is that you want as many customers as you can have. Right? So we think we need to appeal to the broad audience because we think that's going to give us more customers.
But what it actually does is give us more competitors. And if, we look at it that way, it makes it a little easier to say, okay, I don't want more competitors. I want to stand out on my own and I need to do this.
Janice: Yeah. That's a great point. If you can kind of do that as much as possible.
And like I said, it does take some soul searching because he's got, you've gotta be happy with the specialty you've chosen to, you know, and there's gotta be a market for it. You don't want to get so specific that you, you know, only work with left-handed blondes with green eyes, you know, or whatever. But you, you, you really want to get to a point where there's, there is a, an audience for it.
There is a need for it, but it's still a lot more narrow than broad. And then the next thing is the target customer, because oftentimes I'll work with businesses and they'll say, well, my target customer is a woman between the ages of 25 and 45.[00:10:00] The problem is that that target customer who's 25 is going to be a whole different person.
That's a customer, who's 45. They're going to be on different social media platforms. They're gonna, have a different life, you know? And so. You know, you're better off saying, you know, my target customer is 47 year old nutrition coach who lives in a water key Wisconsin. And she likes to garden on the weekend.
She has two kids in college, you know? So you get so specific that even though that person isn't really a real person, you are talking to that individual in your head when you were writing every email, when you're ready, social media posts, because that's your dream customer, that's your ideal customer.
And that's, those are the two things that are. foundation law would say, even before we talk about, getting on the trail to the sale. Yeah.
Kristy: I think again, get caught in that trap, especially if you're an online business. Your audience is infinite. You know, there are, there are hundreds of thousands of that 47 year old, even if you get that specific that are out [00:11:00] there.
And if you can talk to her, your message is going to resonate so strongly with her that she just can't not do business with you. Right. So, oh yeah. We actually have a whole exercise. If you're listening now and you want to get a little deeper on that, we've got a buyer personas template on the website that she procreated.com.
You can actually just go there and look for free downloads and download it. And it'll take you through that whole exercise that Janice is talking about. And it's a really powerful way to get really clear on who your, who
Janice: your target. Right, right. And it really does make it, it really is a game changer. It makes a ton of difference, especially in your communication, because if you're ready out there to everybody, it just sounds kind of watered down.
If you're writing to that person, it's. Feel awkward at first, but you're going to see a difference for sure.
Kristy: So those are the things we need to do before we really get into the trail to the sales. So now how do we get started on the trail to the sale? How do
Janice: you guys. Great. Great. Well, let me, I'm going to give you a pitch here.
I do have a free download, Janice stagger.com[00:12:00] forward slash trail. And that will give you a little workbook and sort of this outlines, all of this, for you as well. But, how we get started is we started asking ourselves questions. So you've got to, let's say we're, we're launching a new product.
And so we just have to ask yourself, okay, where is your target customer? You know, generally who that customer is, but let's say you've got specific then. And how will people, how will that person find me, you know, online, Through SEO, will it be on social media or, you know, kind of how old I find them too.
but often now we have, in the internet age, we have more pull marketing than push marketing. So we're going to want to pull people in with. free downloads or, some other tactic where we can get people to come through us when they need help versus running ads, which is what happened, back in the olden days, where that's all that was available, really.
and sometimes in this awareness stage, it can be word of mouth. It can be conferences, it can be, you know, a bandaid on your car door, or it can be [00:13:00] any number of things. T-shirt just to let people know. Who you are and what you do. The awareness stage is anywhere that your customer can discover you or you can discover your customer. And then after that, we go into the consideration stage, and this is where we diagnose your customer's symptoms and show them how you can basically transform their life.
And at this point is when I like to pull people in for an email address because, that's really, email marketing is still, the most cost-effective form of marketing out there. We still opened emails every single day. And, there are some other ways to, I mean, you know, SMS short message stand for texting isn't that has gotten more popular now, too, but, really just try and get some contact information so you can continue to have some conversations with.
And then, the question I ask at that point is how can I offer them a value in exchange for their contact information? And then after that, I talk about the compare stage, and this is where you show, how you [00:14:00] stand out and you're different from your competitors because no matter how unique you are, no matter how blue ocean you think you are, there are going to be other solutions out there that your customer is going to be like.
Or you need to assume that there are anyway, or even work around whatever. So the question then is how can I address people's concerns about my product and with working with me. And that's where your branding comes in to play too. It's like, you need to let people know who you are and what your company is all about.
Kristy: And just a tip there for people, because I hear this all the time as well. They say, well, I don't have any competitors, just like you alluded to there. Even if there's not someone out there selling exactly the product that you are selling, something is being used to fill that need. So whether it's a similar product, whether it's whatever it happens to be.
So look at who your target customers are, what the problem is that you are solving and, and look at all the other ways that they can solve that problem because that's your competition.
Janice: Absolutely. Yeah, we kind of miss that one. You think our product is so unique and it might be, and the [00:15:00] flip side of that is that you may have a product that is a commodity.
Basically. Let's say you're a hairdresser. And obviously there are hairdressers everywhere, but I think back to one, when we lived in Wisconsin for 20 years, I went to the same hairdresser. And that was because it was her personable brand. Her brand stood out to me. I would pay more to go to her because she did what she did so well.
So on the flip side, absolutely don't want to be a commodity, but you want to be able to help them and set yourself apart at the same time, help them be your customers. and the next, next agency evaluation stage. And that is now if it's a higher price item, we kind of want to give them, a low price point that can lead to a higher price purchase later on.
So it could be a sale. It could be 10% off I pop up on your site for free shipping or something like that. You kind of want to get them to make that first purchase, because if they can make that first purchase, they're more likely to make a second purchase. And so on. It's not always relevant.
it's less relevant. Like. Are selling chewing gum or something like [00:16:00] that. You know, it's, it's less of a, an investment for people, but we always evaluate, we always make a decision whether or not our purchase was worth the price we paid. And, we always make that decision.
So you need to be aware of that and address, what you can offer them that would make, Try you out a no brainer.
Kristy: And make sure you pack a lot of value into whatever that first introductory purchase is going to be so that they really feel that they've got a lot of value and they're willing to step up to that next.
Janice: Totally. Totally. and then after that, we were going to talk about the cell stage, and this is where you look at your pricing and messaging around the sale of your product. So. you, ask yourself, I mean, how could I encourage, this purchase without necessarily discounting the price There's a lot of psychology that goes into the pricing. really the, the pricing probably at that point, can encourage or discourage people as well.
Not always, it's not always the turning point for people. Sometimes people don't know. They pay it, they just need it, but generally that's kind of what I look at at that point. That's a good place to be. [00:17:00] I know, right. That doesn't happen
Kristy: often enough. It's a great place to be. It doesn't matter
Janice: what it costs.
I'll take it. Well, you know, there are some situations too where, you know, it's like, okay, I need this. I'll figure out a way pay for it because people do find money for things they really need here that they are convinced they really need, honestly. and then we just, at the supersize.
stage, and this is the way that you can up-size the offer, or suggest something that's additional and that will benefit them. So it may be, that you have three packages for instance, and you want to give them, but this extra bonus over here, because it will help.
What's this other problem that you see that they have. So I know it's a little vague, but I really
Kristy: like that. I think that's such a missed opportunity for, for so many businesses. We just think about that thing that we're selling. We don't think about all the other opportunities that come with it too.
What else does that customer need? How else can I package this? What can I add on to it? Like the extended warranty or, you know, whatever, whatever it happens to be. Something else that they need. And it's a huge revenue opportunity because they're already [00:18:00] there. You've already spent the marketing dollars to get them there.
It's it's, you know, it's a
Janice: lot more profit. Not only that, but, but think about this, that people come to you because they have this problem. They need solved. And sometimes we can get in our head that, oh, I don't want to sell them things. You know, it's like, it feels sleazy to us.
They need help and you can provide that. So I think there's no shame in that at all. You just need to, like you said, just let them know that you have this available for them and that you think that they could use it.
Kristy: So, yeah, I think it's an, and it's an issue for women. more so than men it with, with marketing and sales.
And we talk about this all the time. If you believe what you have is. Worthwhile. If you believe it's good, if you believe the service, the product, whatever it is, is something that people need. Then you've got an obligation to let them know that you have it. You have an obligation to market, to them, to sell to them, to explain to them all of the benefits and let them know that they're going, gonna make up their own mind.
But you need to let them know that exist. Otherwise they, you can't
Janice: give them the help that they need. Oh, [00:19:00] totally. They are reaching out to you because they need help. And there's no shame in letting them know that you can help them. And then, the next, aspect of this trail, the next stop on the trail is, what I call the serve, section.
And that's kind of after the sale, how can you continue to offer them value? it could be through customer support, special bonuses. if it's an ongoing, membership or something like that, keep showing them that you appreciate them many, even if they don't, it's not an ongoing thing, you know, sending out an email saying, Hey, I really appreciate you.
And you know, I want to offer you this since you bought from us, we're going to give you this or whatever, just let them know that you're there for them to help them. If they have any questions, if they have any concerns, what, whatever that you can be available.
Kristy: the warm, fuzzy feelings and the appreciation and there's, there's that aspect of it.
And then it's also, it's so much easier to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. I mean, strategy wise, what does it, is it five times? It costs five times as much to sell to a new customer than to an existing customers. Something like
Janice: that. [00:20:00] Yeah. Something like that. and it's cheaper to do it.
because you've, if you've already, gone through all the trouble to get them to the point where they buy, then you want to keep them happy. I mean, there's some things that are just, oh, Once and done thing, but if they need that again, or if they have friends or if they know anybody else that needs that service, that brings me to the last section, which is the Sen section, which is, think about how you can encourage your customers to tell other people about their great experiences with you.
And. offer a thank you, just don't say, oh, well, we, you know, we love referrals, which is great, but, a thank you. Gift is always appreciated. I know whenever anybody would send me a client, I would send them a, you know, just a Starbucks gift card or something like that, you know, just, just to say, thank you.
And they appreciate it. They remember it. It's amazing to me, how many people remember those things? things not to send them a coupon for their next purchase with you. I've had that happen to,
Kristy: oh no. When I think depending on the size of the purchase, one of my other companies is a promotional products company, and this is what we do all day long is, is [00:21:00] gifts for people.
And we have quite a few referral programs and thank you programs that we run automatically for our own clients. and you know, if it's a big client, it can be a big, thank you. a medium-sized client, maybe it's just a little gift that comes in the mail or something that comes virtually.
But if it's, even if it's tiny little purchases like the coffee and you see them all the time, the, even the tiny little referrals can be rewarded in. Points that they could accrue and they can spend towards something or there's, there's all sorts of ways to do it, to, fit it to the situation that that fits your business.
Janice: Absolutely. And every one of these, little signposts on the trail at a column, I mean, there's so much. And there's so many opportunities. It really, really depends on what it is that you're selling and who you're selling it to. And that's why it's nice to just start with this as a framework, because you can fill in the blank set and you can decide, how this is relevant for you and, and this particular promotion and this particular customer.
So that's where It really depends on human behavior and, you're plugging in. The right [00:22:00] information.
Kristy: And I think everything that you've covered here is really every single business can benefit from this. It doesn't matter whether you're online, whether you're brick and mortar, whether you're whatever industry you're in, these are basic foundational strategy pieces that you can put into place for your own business.
I think it's fantastic.
Janice: Thank you. It's, it's very, it's been very helpful for me and it's still evolving, you know, it's like if I learn something new, it's like, cause I, I didn't have serve in there initially. And you know, I missed some things initially. So I think, you can customize it to your own business as well.
Maybe evaluation isn't going to be necessary, but, it's versatile. So that's why I use it.
Kristy: we're going to put the links this download that Janice is giving us this goes through all of this and it has all the information. So I'm sure you didn't get to write all that down, especially if you're driving.
we're going to put it in the show notes. And then anytime you're looking for anything, if you, don't have notes on the platform that you're listening to the podcast, you can also go to the podcast website, one-step empire.com, all the shows, all the show notes, all the links from.
[00:23:00] are going to be there as well.
And I like to ask at the end, when we have some time, what's your advice or your best advice, Janice for newer women found.
Janice: Oh, that's a great question. I would say well, a couple things come to mind. one is get out of your head. I have certainly been there. you get all excited. You have this idea, you're starting this new business and, immediately think, oh, I can't be on video or, oh my gosh, this is so much.
And you start, the overwhelm kind of starts setting in. And that's the whole reason why I came up with this framework to begin with too, is because that overwhelm of it. overwhelming. So I would say, you know, it just start taking action because we tend to overthink things. I think maybe as women, we tend to do that more and we're a little less brave about getting out there and.
Putting ourselves out there especially showing ourselves on camera and, it's a little hard to get out of my head sometimes, but I think just generally taking action is important and reminding yourself that you are there to [00:24:00] serve others and that you are there for a purpose.
And, there's a lot that you can. Added to your customer's life and you are doing them a service by being a business and those kinds of affirmations I think have helped me over the years. So definitely the mindset thing. And then, definitely just taking action for sure.
Kristy: a big one. This is just getting it going. as women, we tend to, we have this perfectionist thing don't we, it's gotta be perfect before we show it to anybody because we don't want anyone to criticize it. We don't want it to be not perfect. And you got to get it going because it's never going to be perfect.
Janice: Oh, I know. Yeah. And it, yesterday I was working on a blog post and I, chunk out my days, like two hours for this project three hours. Cause it's the only way I can get things done. And. You know, I ran out of time and I was like, this isn't where I want it yet. and I, you know, my mantra is 80%. If I can get to 80%, I'll be good, you know?
And, but it's hard to put something out there it's only 8,000. Perfect. You [00:25:00] know, so definitely that part of it can be challenging and, I still struggle with it.
Kristy: So in the show notes, we're going to have all the links for Janice and for the download for the trail to the sale.
So you can go and download that from Genesis site. And then also, Janice has tons of. Done for you marketing services available, do it yourself, packages with all the tools you need. If marketing is not your jam and you need some help with this and lots of other options, if marketing is something that you want to get off of your own plate, so you can check that out when you go to Genesis site as well.
But I just wanted to say, thanks for coming and hanging out with us and dropping all this
Janice: wisdom to really appreciate it. This was fun, Kristie, thanks so much for having me appreciate it.