Simple Marketing, Simple Sales, Simple Rules

I wanted to talk about simplicity as it applies to business. Why? Because most people really make this far too complex. I love simple. Here’s some of that.


My marketing setup for my business is dead simple. Here it is:


Freebie online events → newsletter subs → potential buyers → referrals + affiliates.


And even that’s probably more complex than I actually think about it on a given day. Here’s what I think:


* If I give some kind of awesome free ebook or online event, people will get my newsletter.

* If I have more people on this newsletter, some will want to buy my courses. Once they buy one course, they tend to love it and buy another.

* People who really get into what we’re doing, tell others, and some amount of those people actually sell our products to their communities.


So, when I need more action, I have two levers I can pull:


1.) Get more people into the newsletter group for longer term growth.

2.) Push out a selly-sell email and ask you to buy something.


That’s how my marketing runs.


My sales are easier still: number of people who click on the potential “buy” link divided by number of people who actually do. This gives me three areas to improve:


1.) Improve the explanation of the offer so people get it and choose to buy.

2.) Improve the flow of the purchase process so it’s simple and fast.

3.) Deliver more value so that people realize the price is unbeatable compared to what you get when you buy.


I love that my sales and marketing processes are that simple. I love simple. Simple is awesome.




Most every process that is simple “hides” a lot of complex little things. I have to deliver really great free online events or people won’t get my newsletter. I have to maintain a strong level of trust or people won’t believe my offers. I have to make sure that the technology I use to offer what I offer is as flawless as possible, or people might not enjoy it.


But the best version of simple is that which makes your client or customer or guest feel like everything you’re doing is effortless and that they are the most important person in the room. That’s how Disney operates. That’s how the bike store in my town operates. That’s how you operate, if you want to stay in business.


Simple to them; lots of effort and some complexity to them.




First, be ridiculously clear of the goal. If you know the goal you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll know what to measure.


Second, measure something and make it something you can affect with a change. It doesn’t help to measure the weather if you can’t alter it.


Third, test whether the pairing of goal and measure work.


Fourth, set up boundaries for internal resources so that people understand how the goals can and can’t be accomplished. For instance, one way to raise “percentage of newsletter subscribers who purchase a product” is to just unsubscribe 50% of the list. However, that would be disasterous. Be clear that everyone understands the parameters.


Fifth, work from the perspective of trusting the goals and measures you’ve set up.


In my personal world, I’ve switched to a macronutrient-focused diet. That means that I pay a LOT more attention to how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats I take in, and a lot less to calories and the other intricacies of the diet. These three numbers are making my fitness efforts a lot easier to manage, and by knowing my numbers, even if I have an off day, I can trust the process.


And that’s the package. That’s how to understand the method.


1.) Simple and clear goal.

2.) Measure that can impact that goal.

3.) Test and retest the usefulness of the goal and measures.

4.) Make sure everyone knows the goals and boundaries.

5.) Trust the process.


What do you think? How does this apply to you? What do you like or don’t like about this level of simplicity? What makes you nervous about it?

And thanks so much for being here. See you next week.


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  • Ben Fanning

    Love this level of simplicity and it really resonates with me. For me step 1, getting ridiculously clear is always the biggest challenge. It requires so much patience to take your time on that step and dedicate yourself to getting crystal clear.

    The process of getting clear can seem like nothing’s happening or you’re wasting time. It feel better to start on steps 2-5 because you’re “doing something”. Of course, that’s a trap.

    What are some helpful strategies to help get ridiculously clear and even expedite that part of the process?

    • Roland Hairston

      Great question Ben. I look forward to Chris’ ideas on this.

      Here are some things I’d suggest as well.

      1. Go back to WHY. WHY do we do “this” anyway? Is it something we still have to do? Is it something we still want to do? Why should we keep doing “this”? The WHY question is best answered by this WHO question—WHO am I? WHO are we? Look at motivations, aptitudes and past, present and future opportunities to get a better idea if you’re not sure. Our identity should inform our activities.

      2. Look at the foundational purpose of the organization. What do you HAVE to be/do/have to exist?

      Answer this question: “If we stripped everything away, what things could we absolutely NOT do and still be who we are?”

      For example, could Starbucks NOT sell coffee and still be Starbucks? Could Kroger NOT sell groceries and still be Kroger? Could a Christian church NOT talk about Jesus and still be a Christian church?

      I think the answers to these questions help us gain clarity about WHAT we have to do?

      3. The other WHO question to answer is: Who are we as a team/organization/family supposed to serve/make life better for? The answer to this WHO question helps us achieve clarity as well.

      • Ben Fanning

        Thanks, Roland. Some really helpful insights here.

  • Lincoln Parks

    Simplicity is what we need more of. This blog post made the light bulb go on for me. I will be implementing more ways to provide free value to my customers in hopes for them to join my mailing list and eventually buy from me. Great..

  • ModelSupplies

    Effortless is such an important appearance because, just like in yoga, that is when you are in the zone. You’re very skilled at making people feel as if you are speaking directly and only to them. I’ve been doing that in my business for over 10 years and the results have developed beautiful friendships with my loyal clients :-)

  • tonywrighton

    Nice blog, and good reminder of the power of simplicity.

  • Master Intuitive Coach Carolin

    Even though you made it simple (which I love) there is still a tone of work behind the simplicity (just like you said). And I guess it feels like a tone of work because I’m not really clear on how to measure…

  • Karl Staib

    I know I forget to measure the simple things. It’s easy to look at how many people looked at my sales page in a month compared to how many bought. This number can be increased with a little extra hard work. Thanks for the kick in the butt. :)

  • Michael K. Redman

    It seems to me that the most beautiful things in the world seem simple and some would say efficient. The master of any skill does effortlessly what other people struggle to attempt. I think that doing the right thing over and over again, for a long time, will get anyone to simple on the outside and eventually on the inside. I think the right thing correlates to your “clear goal” and over and over again definitely requires trusting the system. Thanks for the thought Chris. It’s a good reminder today.

  • Jared Easley

    Thank you for delivering really great free online events, maintaining a strong level of trust & making sure that the technology that you use for offers is as flawless as possible. I also appreciate your attention to grams of protein, carbs & fat. I am inspired, convicted & proud at the same time. Well done good sir. #GeneSimmonsPose

  • Paul Ryan

    I would definitely agree and this is how I develop solutions for my current customers.

    Your talking mostly about your knowledge package but the same formula applies equally to software products where your solving a customers problems.

    I know that I have to do this same kind of iterative path to simplicity to get software packages that work for the customer. If you don’t your superusers might get it but the general population of users won’t and nobody will enjoy the experience, thus losing all possibilities for evangelism.

    Great article again and thanks for your insights.