“Have you seen the new [insert software platform here]?”
With that, the conversation is off to the races. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. It’s the long-awaited answer to our marketing problems. It’s the last missing ingredient to make our funnels finally start churning out fat stacks of cash.
That’s what we marketers want you to believe.
And it’s not always a total lie.
In fact, it’s often true.
But, a half-truth that hurts more than it helps, if you’re missing the other half.
The often-asserted claim that “my technology will make your marketing better/get better results” is the half-truth.
The other half is that if your marketing sucks, it will still suck.
Put bad marketing in the latest landing page builder or funnel software? It’s still bad marketing.
Put good marketing in — with a good offer, being presented in a good way, to a good audience of potential prospects — and the right tech can have a multiplier effect.
Email autoresponders, as old as they are, are that kind of perpetually-valuable tech.
If you’ve got a strong marketing message, promoting a strong marketing offer, and you’re able to find an audience of good potential buyers, adding an email series to the mix is a smart way to increase profits.
You get them to sign up for more info. And over the course of a few days, you send them a specially-curated message explicitly designed to introduce them to you and your offer, and to convert them into buyers.
There’s a reason email service providers are probably the most-used vendors in a modern marketer’s “tech stack.”
Short of actually taking orders and processing payments, that one tech is probably the most useful for driving revenue, out of any other tech.
It’s not the tech, and it never has been…
I have, at various times, referred to my model, The Architecture of A-List Copywriting Skills.
It breaks down what makes a difference in skills development and getting results — and frankly, while I titled the post to appeal to copywriters, it’s a universal model of skills development and I even used it to inform how I helped my 4th-grade son with math homework last night.
At a surface level, any skill is executed as a combination of TACTICS. These are the little actions and visible features.
Underneath the tactical level is the TECHNIQUES. This is the set of rules for how to apply learning in a tactical way.
Deeper still is the STRATEGIES. These are the “Why?” answers behind the rules. That suggest certain techniques, in certain situations, over the alternatives.
And underlying all of it is PRINCIPLES. This is identity-level. These are the guiding rules for your life, that dictate what you focus on and what strategies you choose.
The deeper you go — towards principles — the more impacts all the superficial stuff. In other words, new strategies and principles require reworking or replacing your techniques and tactics.
It doesn’t work the other way, though. A new tactic doesn’t improve your strategy or principles. Deciding to pick one landing page color scheme over another may be a choice in tactic. Changing that color scheme doesn’t change the broader principles and strategies that dictate your approach.
What does this all have to do with the marketing technology and tools you use?
Well, it puts it in context.
The latest tech will change your marketing on the level of techniques and tactics. Seldom will it shift your strategy. And a technology choice will pretty much always by dictated by your principles, NOT the other way around.
Let’s go back to the autoresponder example.
From a principles and strategy level, more compelling messages sent to qualified prospects through time will increase their education and motivation to act on your offer. Plus those who opted into your list in the first place and read your emails are self-qualifying as interested.
At this point, any reasonably-good techniques, applied tactically with much competence, will lead to decent results.
The technology itself, when you use it as designed, leverages a proven strategy.
You didn’t need that technology for the strategy. Back in the days before computers and databases, direct mail marketers used sequential letter sequences to accomplish the same thing. The technology made it more efficient and cost-effective, and in doing so it made it more accessible and automatic for marketers to apply this sound strategic and principle-driven practice. But the technology was nothing more than a vehicle for the success — not the origin or cause of it.
Likewise, funnel software like ClickFunnels — as cool as it is — wasn’t some revolution in itself. The strategy of building a funnel of offers, one-after-another, was the breakthrough. The technology was built by Russell Brunson and his team to make it stupid-simple for Russell himself to build those funnels.
Russell started on a tried-and-true direct response principle: a buyer is a buyer is a buyer is a buyer. And figured out that if you presented a related offer just after a buyer had made one purchase, they might buy this next thing. That’s a strategic test. Getting into techniques, you can define how you structure the upsell copy, when and how you present that offer, and so on. And on a tactical basis, you can test headlines and price points and so on, in that funnel.
ClickFunnels, as a tech, made all of that economical and manageable. In that regard, it’s a fantastic technology.
But here’s the rub…
If your marketing or your offer sucks, ClickFunnels won’t fix that for you. Neither will autoresponders, or any other tech platform.
If you’re a copywriter, the next writing platform or tool won’t make you churn out more compelling messages.
Any tool or technology you buy won’t make you better at what you do. But if you are good at what you do, the tool can help you maximize the quality of your work.
Focus on your thinking first. Learn the principles. Get your strategy right.
Then, look to technology, tools, techniques, and tactics to most efficiently and effectively execute on that.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,