Apologies to those of you who aren't football (soccer) fans, but I'm going to overuse an analogy that's been front of mind for me all week.
When most people talk about marketing, they tend to focus on the very last step.
The sexy bits. The sales page that gets people to buy. The email they click on to go to the checkout. The social media post that leads to a sale.
But I think that focus is a bit misplaced.
In football we're (usually) a bit more sophisticated. We know the objective at any point in time is to score a goal. And we know we can only score if we take a shot.
But that doesn't mean we should shoot every time we get the ball. Far from it.
Instead, we know we have to get the ball up the pitch and into a danger zone where a shot is much more likely to result in a goal. And that's where coaches put most of their attention.
Get the ball into a dangerous position in the opponents' penalty area often enough and you will score. Even if you don't have the greatest strikers in the world.
I believe the same thing applies in marketing. In other words, rather than focusing only on the final step that leads to a sale, we should focus primarily on the steps beforehand that get your clients ready to buy.
Nurture your relationships so that clients understand their problems and impact. Show you understand them and have a unique solution that will work for them. Give them confidence they will succeed with you.
Do that often enough and you will win clients, even if you're not the greatest marketer in the world or your sales pages and emails are a bit basic.
Winning clients is 80% about the build-up play.