📚 Book in 3 Sentences

  • Step by step, workbook on marketing which focuses on execution.
  • The first section focuses on the three states of a customer relationship (Curiosity/Enlightenment/Commitment).
  • The second section focuses on creating a marketing sales funnel, through actionable checklists, tasks and meeting agendas.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Who Should Read It?

  • any marketing professional or small business owner who wants grow their business.

📜 Top Quotes

  • “after having sold millions of books, I lost everything.” “I realized I’d not taken responsibility for my career. I’d trusted outside managers, publicists, investors, and publishers to guide me.” “I decided then to become the CEO of my own life. I’d make the decisions. I rebuilt.”
  • “People do not want to be enlightened about you (get to know you more) unless they are curious about you (you have something that can help them survive), and until they are enlightened about how you can help them survive, they will never commit.”
  • “if you don’t tell somebody how you can help them survive, they will set you aside—or worse, discard you”
  • “A one-liner makes people lean in rather than tune out at cocktail party.”

📝 Highlights


  • the easiest and best marketing plan starts with a sales funnel.


  • success with the framework hinges on one crucial imperative: execution. This book is all about execution.


  • It is wrong for a marketing company to charge you money and fail to get you a return on your investment




  1. Created a BrandScript. I should have clarified my message.
  2. Created a one-liner. I should have distilled that message into a single sentence.
  3. Wireframed a landing page. I should have elaborated on that message and brought it to life on a clear and compelling website.
  4. Created a lead-generating PDF. I should have used a lead generator to capture emails.
  5. Created an email campaign. I should have earned the trust of people who had given me their email address by sending them helpful emails that practically solved their problems.


  • after having sold millions of books, I lost everything.
  • realized I’d not taken responsibility for my career. I’d trusted outside managers, publicists, investors, and publishers to guide me.
  • I decided then to become the CEO of my own life. I’d make the decisions. I rebuilt.


  • All relationships move through three stages. And, these stages cannot be rushed. The stages of a relationship are:
    • Curiosity
    • Enlightenment
    • Commitment
  • People do not want to be enlightened about you (get to know you more) unless they are curious about you (you have something that can help them survive), and until they are enlightened about how you can help them survive, they will never commit.


Stage 1: Curiosity

  • Without knowing it, what’s making you curious about this person is one thing: you sense they can help you survive or thrive.
  • We tend to collect people with similar life journeys for that very reason; they make us feel like we have a tribe.
  • Being alone, by the way, is a vulnerable state.
  • person we are talking to is a few years ahead of us in the same career, the way they can help us survive is more obvious.
  • They can help us avoid pitfalls and may know some strategies so our career can advance a little faster.

Curiosity Is a Snap Judgement

  • Human beings collect physical, emotional, and social resources that help them survive in the world.
  • if you don’t tell somebody how you can help them survive, they will set you aside—or worse, discard you

How Do You Get Past a Person’s Curiosity Filter?

  • to pique somebody’s curiosity, you must associate your products with something that will help them survive

Your Customers Are Not Curious About You, They Are Curious About How You Can Solve Their Problem

  • Customers are not interested in your story. They are, rather, interested in being invited into a story that has them surviving and winning in the end.

Stage 2: Enlightenment

  • The next phase of your marketing should enlighten them about how your products work to solve their problems.
  • Notice I didn’t say that you should enlighten your customers about how your product works.

Customers Will Not Move Into a Fog

  • The answer to confusion is always no.

Your Marketing Should Enlighten Customers

  • I built StoryBrand, the marketing division of BusinessMadeSimple, using a lead-generating PDF called “Five Things Your Website Should Include”

Stage 3: Commitment

  • The two main reasons customers do not place orders are because:
    • The brand never asked them for the sale, or the brand asked them for a sale too early.
  • commitment is risky, and taking risks works against our survival mechanisms.

Timing Is Everything

  • When the time is right, though, we have to make our intentions known or we will lose the relationship.

Move Slow, But Move

  • Having a “buy now” or “schedule a call” button on your website makes sure they always understand the kind of relationship you are inviting them into.
  • Businesses that pretend to be their customers' friend in order to create sales come off as users and stalkers.
  • business leader, it’s our role to be trusted advisors to our customers.
  • We do not have to take the place of their parents or their spouses.
  • Nobody wants to be “tricked” into giving up their resources.

Rushed Relationships Are Not Healthy

  • if the relationship is moving at the right pace asking for the sale, even when the customer isn’t ready, won’t break the deal.
  • invite the customer on a journey at the pace of a natural, healthy relationship.

To Create a Good Relationship You Must Keep in Touch

  • for most products a customer needs to experience about eight touchpoints before they are ready to place an order.
  • less expensive the product, the more likely they are to impulse buy, which means fewer touches.
  • But the more expensive the product, the more they will need to hear from you before they will take a risk.
  • The absolute best way to stay in a relationship with a customer is to email them.
  • You should have an email campaign for every product you sell

A Sales Funnel Controls the Pace of the Relationship

  • In a relationship, you talk about things on a fourth or fifth date you might never talk about on a first date. Intimacy and trust take time.
  • build trust with your customers in a way that is natural and safe.
  • your customer will enjoy interacting with your brand because you’ve respected their autonomy and space.

Assess the Strength of Your Marketing Campaign

  • People fall in love with brands for the same reason they fall in love with each other. The brand helped them survive and got them a great return on their social, emotional, or financial investment.
  • What if a significant amount of trust building could be automated?
  • What if, by the time you or one of your sales representatives sat down with a potential client, it felt like that client was already on the fourth or fifth date with your brand?


  • Many companies confuse branding with marketing, and this confusion is costing them millions.
  • Branding affects how a customer feels about your brand, while marketing communicates a specific offer.
  • Branding concerns itself with fonts and colors and design, while marketing puts the right words together to pique a customer’s interest and close the deal.


  • Most brands make what I call an invisible first impression.


  • Before you create your sales funnel, come up with three or four things you want your customers to know about your brand.
  • If you understand the StoryBrand framework this is simple. Just use the words from your BrandScript to populate your sales funnel.
  • If you don’t understand the StoryBrand framework, consider answering these questions in your sales funnel:
    • What problem do you solve for customers?
    • What will your customer’s life look like if they buy your product?
    • What consequences does your product help customers avoid?
    • What does somebody need to do to buy your product? (“Click buy now?” “Call today?”)
  • In your marketing copy, don’t be cute, be clear.


  • The five pieces of your sales funnel will be:
    • One-Liner (Curiosity)
    • Website (Curiosity)
    • Lead generators (Enlightenment)
    • Nuture email campaigns (Enlightenment)
    • Sales email campaigns (Commitment)


  • The more thoroughly an organization implemented the Marketing Made Simple Checklist, the more confidence employees had in creating marketing messaging, and the more time and money was saved in creating marketing collateral.
  • make a commitment today to follow through on this simple sales funnel and you will see results.


  • Make a commitment now to finish the process.
  • Most marketing agents believe marketing is an art, not a science.
  • We disagree. While there is art involved, it is very much a science. A science you can learn.


  • The One Magical Sentence That Will Grow Your Business


  • Our entire world is made with words
  • The most infamous origin story of all time has God speaking us into existence.


  • I do believe saying the right words in the right order can pick the lock in somebody’s brain. We just need a little help. We need tools and a process.


  • A one-liner makes people lean in rather than tune out at cocktail party.
  • When a screenwriter writes a film, she must also write a one-sentence description of the screenplay that makes investors want to take a risk on the story.
  • Just like some businesspeople are better at creating products than marketing them, some screenwriters are better at creating a film than they are at describing what the story is or why it matters. But to be a financial success, we all need to be good at both.


  • The one-liner is composed of three parts—the problem, the solution, and the result.

Step 1: Problem

  • A good storyteller knows to get to the problem fast, otherwise they will lose the audience.
  • The same is true when we’re talking about our businesses. We need to get to the problem fast.
  • The story only gets started when you state the problem.

Stating the Problem Adds Value to Your Products

  • Why start your one-liner by stating a problem?
    • Because the problem is the hook,
    • because the problem adds value to your product or service, and
    • because stating the problem is a great way to be remembered in your customer’s mind.
  • Thinks to consider
    • Make sure the first statement is a clear problem and make sure it is a pain people actually feel.
    • Do not try to include every problem your customer faces in your one-liner. Name only one problem and make it the one the most people feel.
    • Make sure the problem you start with is a problem that your company can actually solve.
    • Think about how you are different than your competition.

Step 2: Solution

  • Every single product you buy you buy only because it solves a problem.

Make Sure the Problem and Solution Are Connected

  • I know it’s tempting to talk about how your grandfather started the company or that you’ve won all kinds of awards, but don’t fall for it.
  • In your one-liner, you simply want to state how you resolve the customer’s problem.

Close the Story Loop

  • Another mistake some people make in stating the solution to the problem they solve is they become too wordy.

Don’t Get Cute or Clever

  • Cute and clever language is almost always the enemy of clarity. Clarity sells, while cute and clever confuse.
  • When stating the solution to your customer’s problem do three things:
    • Connect the solution directly to the problem.
    • Close the story loop.
    • Avoid using cute and clever language as a substitute for clarity.
  • Things to consider
    • Keep it simple.
    • Use your name in the solution. By including your company name in the solution, you are associating your brand with the problem you solve.
    • Make sure your solution is connected to the problem you just stated. The one-liner has to be cohesive.
    • Do not try to explain everything you do for your customer in this section. This is a short, clear description of what service you offer.

Step 3: Result

  • The third part of your one-liner should release all the tension you created in the first section.

The Problem, Solution, and Result Should Connect

Keep Asking “Which Results In . . .” to Get to Your Solution

  • Things to consider
    • Make sure the success you talk about is directly related to the problem stated earlier.
    • The success should be about your customer, not your company.
    • Commas are not your friend.
    • Do not overpromise. Any success you state here should be something you are able to deliver.


  • Once your one-liner is refined, memorize it. Have your entire team memorize it.
  • When everyone on your team can repeat the one-liner, your entire staff is transformed into a salesforce.

Other Ways to Use Your One-Liner

  • Put it on the back of your business card.
  • Make it your email signature.
  • Print it on your wall in your retail space.
  • Make it the first sentence in the paragraph on your about us section on your website.
  • Use it for your profile descriptions on social media.



  • Here are a list of avoidable mistakes you’re likely making on your website:
    • You are using too much insider language
    • You are using too many words in the header.
    • The call to action buttons use passive language.
    • The call to action buttons are not repeated down the page
    • The images do not relate to the product or back up the words you’re using on the page.
    • The language is cute or clever but not clear.
    • The site does not promote a lead generator.
    • You’re using a slide show so the text changes too fast and frustrates potential customers.
    • The site tells your story rather than inviting customers into a story.
  • Most businesses need a website that serves a single purpose: it creates sales.


  • The right questions a designer should be asking are:
    • What is the problem you solve?
    • How does your customer feel after you solve their problem?
    • How does somebody usually buy your product?
    • Was there unforeseen value that was added to your customer’s life when you bought this product?


  • A wireframe is a long piece of paper (or digital page) that includes the text in a rough-draft drawing of what the website might look like.


Nine Sections of a Website That Work

  • The Header. The very top of your website, in which you use very few words to let people know what you offer.
  • The Stakes. The section of the website in which you explain what you are saving customers from.
  • The Value Proposition. The section of a website in which you add value to your product or service by listing its benefits.
  • The Guide. The section of the website in which you introduce yourself as the brand or person who can solve your customer’s problem.
  • The Plan. The part where you reveal the path a customer must take to do business with you and solve their problem.
  • The Explanatory Paragraph. A long-form BrandScript in which you invite your customers into a story. This is also where you will improve your SEO.
  • The Video (optional). A video in which you reiterate much of what was on the website in more dynamic form.
  • Price Choices (optional): The divisions of your company or your list of products.
  • Junk Drawer. The most important part of your website, because it’s where you’re going to list everything you previously thought was important.

What Order Do They Go In?

  • With the exception of the header going at the top, there is no magical order.
  • Try not to skip a section because you’ll be surprised at what you come up with when you give it a little time.

Section 1: The Header

  • According to Chao Liu and colleagues from Microsoft Research, the first ten seconds a potential customer lands on the page are the most critical for users' decision to stay or leave.

Does Your Header Pass the Grunt Test?

  • Let’s say in our imaginary universe the caveman could look at your website. But only for ten seconds. Could that caveman grunt the answer to these three questions:
    • What do you offer?
    • How will it make his customer life better?
    • What does he need to do to buy it?
  • If a caveman can grunt the answers to these three questions, you’re on to something.

Question 1: What Do You Offer?

Question 2: How Will It Make Your Customer’s Life Better?

Question 3: What Do They Need to Do to Buy It?

Don’t Be Passive-Aggressive

  • Being friends with your customers is a great idea, but don’t forget, this is a business relationship and business relationships are, by nature, transactional.

Where Does Your Call to Action Button Go on the Website?

  • When visitors land on your desktop website, their eyes read your page in either a Z pattern or an F pattern.
  • Different studies have revealed different patterns, but regardless, visitors' eyes do not move randomly across the page.

Choose Your Images Carefully

  • Few images work better than smiling, happy people enjoying your products. So if you can’t figure out what images to use, smiling happy people are a good place to start.
  • Branding is all about repeating the same simple message over and over until your customers have it memorized.

Let’s Build Your Header

  • Write out the headline for your header, plus a subtitle if you need one, and write your direct call to action in the empty boxes below.

Section 2: The Stakes

  • This is the Failure section. Stories love tension. A story without stakes is no story at all.
  • A story that fails to get started always has the same problem: there is no conflict!
  • A story gets started and hooks the reader the second the character experiences conflict.
  • If a positive scene followed by a negative scene is how enthralling movies work, then why not follow the same formula on our website?
  • What Is the Cost of Not Doing Business With You?
    • story is a trustworthy guide. And if there are not stakes in a story, there is no story.
    • But don’t be tricked into telling a boring story.
    • The stakes matter, and if you don’t let people know what pain you are helping them avoid you’ll lull them to sleep rather than stimulate them to place orders.
    • Some examples are:
      • More wasted time
      • Missed opportunities
      • Lost business
      • Embarrassment
      • Loss of sleep
      • Frustration
      • Weight gain
      • Confusion
      • Isolation
      • Lack of access
      • Lack of guidance
      • Loss of status
      • Not reaching potential
      • Losing to the competition

When It Comes to Communicating the Stakes, Just a Little Bit Goes a Long Way

  • the negative stakes in the story we are inviting customers into can be overdone.
  • The brain is only willing to go so far before it decides it would rather live in a happy world, even if that world is a fictional construct.
  • After all, the purpose of negative stakes in a story is to contrast with the happy ending we all want to experience.

What Are You Helping Customers Overcome or Avoid?

  • Examples:
    • No more sleepless nights, tossing and turning on a mattress that doesn’t work for you.
    • Most people don’t realize how much time they’re wasting in their email inbox every day. We have a solution.
    • We meet people all the time who are wasting their money because they don’t know how to invest it.
    • Are you tired of paying money for marketing that doesn’t get results?

Section 3: The Value Proposition

  • from here on out you can put the sections of your website in any order you like.
  • But one reason I like putting the value proposition third is because it follows the positive and negative flow we often see in stories.

A Good Story Loves Contrast

  • Because these contrasting scenes have worked for centuries to captivate a human mind, let’s use them to captivate people browsing our website.
  • Again, the simple use of contrast (positive and negative messaging) on our website will suffice, but directly writing the first three sections so they vacillate from positive to negative to positive is going to give your message a familiar and attractive flow.

What Value Will Your Customer Receive if They Do Business With You?

Tell Your Customer Everything They Get

  • For some customers, the bottom line question is What do I get in exchange for my hard-earned money?
  • In this section of the website, you’re going to tell them.
    • Can they save money?
    • Can they save time?
    • Will they reduce risk?
    • Are they getting quality?
    • Will this help them simplify life or avoid hassles?
  • If so, this section of the website should spell out the added value.

Be Specific. Be Visual.

Include a Headline

  • Here are some example headlines that work great:
    • “Our customers no longer struggle with . . .”
    • “You don’t have to be confused anymore.”
    • “The stakes are high!”
    • “Act now and avoid the hassles.”
    • “Our heart breaks when we see people struggle with . . .”
  • With a header and a list of problems you help people solve, you’ll demonstrate both your understanding of your customers' problem and your compassionate desire to help them find resolution.

Section 4: The Guide

  • Help your customer win at all costs.
  • At the end of their training, our StoryBrand guides take an oath. One of the agreements of that oath is that they will “obsess over their customers' success.”
  • By this we mean that they will not simply try to get money out of their customers but rather provide an incredible return on their investment.

A Guide Is Empathetic and Authoritative

  • All good guides in a story exhibit two crucial characteristics. They understand the challenges their customers are experiencing and they have been able to solve those challenges for other people.
  • At StoryBrand we call this empathy and authority.
  • To position yourself as the guide your customer needs, you need to express empathy and demonstrate authority.

The One-two Punch of Empathy and Authority

  • Empathy without authority falls flat, as does authority without empathy.
  • But it’s the guide who can empathize with your pain while also demonstrating a competency to get us out that we ultimately trust.
  • Testimonials. All testimonials aren’t created equally—below we will discuss testimonies.
  • Logos of companies you’ve worked with. This works especially well for B2B.
  • A simple statistic. Talk about how many people you’ve helped, how many years you’ve been in business, or how many clients have worked with you.


  • We trust people who are like us, so you want to create a statement that shows you not only understand your customers' pain, but you have felt it.
  • Here’s a trick: Complete this sentence: “we know what it feels like to ______________ .”
  • Examples:
    • We know what it feels like to be overlooked for a promotion.
    • We know how frustrating it is to have a great looking website that doesn’t result in sales.
    • We know what it feels like to worry you’re not doing the right thing.


  • make sure that the evidence of your authority directly relates to solving the problem your customer is facing
  • Only put authority on your site that directly relates to their success.

Don’t Overdo the Authority

  • Here are a few different soundbites you can look for when collecting testimonials:
    • Overcoming objections
    • Solving problems
    • Adding Value

Keep Testimonials Short

  • make them short and scannable.
  • You can even write them for your customer and then send the testimonials to them for approval.
  • I’m not saying make something up or lie, I’m saying that you might have heard them tell you how you changed their life and you will know how to write it better than they do.
  • Put a couple short sentences together and send it to them for approval. Your customers are not writers. And they are not marketers.
  • Once you have the right testimonial, make them short and scannable. You can even write them for your customer and then send the testimonials to them for approval.

Use a Head Shot

  • People trust others who are willing to publicly stand behind their words.
  • Unless you’ve got NDAs to deal with, use your customer’s name and image.

Including Images of Customer Logos on Your Site Adds Authority

  • Another way to demonstrate authority is to include logos from B2B interactions, or even logos of press outlets in which you have been featured.

Including Statistics Speaks to the Authority You Have

  • The kinds of statistics you want to share should quickly and clearly let people know they can trust you to solve their problem.
  • Here are some examples of statistics that demonstrate your competency:
    • Number of years helping people (number of years in business)
    • Awards you’ve won
    • Number of clients you’ve served
    • Number of hours you’ve saved your clients
    • Amount of money you’ve made your clients

Let’s Put the Guide Section Together

  • If you don’t have testimonials, don’t worry. You can collect those and include them in the future. If you’ve not won awards, don’t worry. All you need to do is quickly express empathy and quickly demonstrate authority and then move on.
  • In that story, you play the guide, not the hero, so position yourself as the customers' guide and then get back to inviting them into a meaningful story.

Section 5: The Plan

  • Pave a path for the customer and they will follow it.
  • By visually demonstrating what path your customers need to take, they see how easy it is to work with you and identify their next steps.
  • Remember, customers are bombarded with commercial advertising and pitches every day and they will not spend mental bandwidth “figuring out the obvious,"
  • Using Three Steps Is the Key
    • We recommend a three-step plan. You can use four if you like, but don’t go much past four.

Keep the Plan Visually Simple

  • You can also use icons for each step, bolded headers, and short descriptions so the visitor doesn’t have to burn very many mental calories to figure out how you’re going to lead them to their successful result.

Section 6: The Explanatory Paragraph

  • As the landing page or website gets deeper, though, you can use more and more text.

The Explanatory Paragraph Is Where Your SEO Will Come From

  • While SEO algorithms change often, simply including long-form text using words that sell your products is going to help.
  • In addition, including a long-form explanatory paragraph allows customers to feel like they’ve done due diligence in researching whether or not to buy your product or service.
  • What your customer really wants is to be invited into a story. And your explanatory paragraph is going to accomplish exactly that.

Invite Customers Into a Story

  • I recommend following this formula word for word for your first pass, then nuancing it so that it feels true to your voice.
  • Your explanatory paragraph is going to do the following:
    1. Identify who your customer wants to become.
    2. Identify what they want.
    3. Define the problem setting them back.
    4. Position you as their guide.
    5. Share a plan they can use to solve their problem (which includes your product).
    6. Call them to action.
    7. Cast a vision for their lives.
  • This magical paragraph is essentially a story your potential customers can lean into. And they will feel that as they read it.
  • Let’s look at the paragraph Mad Lib–style, then I’ll slowly explain each piece so you can fill it out on your own.
  • A Sample Explanatory Paragraph
    • At______________[your company name] we know you are the kind of people who want to be______________[aspirational identity. What kind of person do they want to become?].
    • In order to be that way, you need_____________________[As it relates to your product, what does your customer want?].
    • The problem is______________[What’s the physical problem holding them back?], which makes you feel______________[How is that problem making them feel?].
    • We believe______________________[Why is it just plain wrong that anybody should have to deal with that problem?].
    • We understand______________[Include an empathetic statement].
    • That’s why we______________[Demonstrate your competency to solve their problem].
    • Here’s how it works____________________________[What’s your three-step plan: step one, step two, step three].
    • So______________[Call them to action], so you can stop______________[What negative thing will happen or continue to happen if they don’t order?] and start____________________[What will their life look like if they do place an order?].
  • Write and rewrite your explanatory paragraph until it is smooth and makes sense.

Another Option for the Explanatory Paragraph: Overcome Your Client’s Objections

  • Sometimes just overcoming one objection can lead to a sale.
  • These questions could be:
    • The product is too expensive.
    • I doubt it will work for me.
    • What happens if it doesn’t work for me?
    • I doubt the quality is as good as they’re saying it is.
    • The process is going to take too long.
    • I won’t know how to use it once I place an order.
    • I’ve tried something like this and it didn’t work.
  • After you have listed the top five excuses, craft a sentence or two that overcomes each objection.
  • No landing page is too long, as long as the text and images are interesting.
  • If you do use both explanatory paragraphs, just make sure to separate them by a few sections so your landing page doesn’t look like it contains too much text.
  • Never forget, your customer wants the process of buying and receiving your product to be easy. So even with these long-form paragraphs, don’t waste words.

Section 7: The Video

  • While you don’t have to include a video, we recommend creating one that repeats your message narratively and visually.
  • Many potential customers will simply scroll down to the video section without reading much of anything. For this reason, your video simply needs to repeat what’s already been said.
  • If you’re going to include a video, though, here are some rules we recommend following.
    • Keep it short.
    • Hook the viewer.
    • Consider giving a longer video away in exchange for an email.
    • Give your video a title.
  • The general rule here is that your video should be a sales pitch.
  • It should help you close the deal. Don’t make the mistake of being vague and elusive in your video, turning it into some sort of brand identity art installation.
  • Your customer wants to hear your pitch in a concise, clear, and interesting form, and your video is a great opportunity to accomplish this.

Section 8: Price Choices

  • When listing the prices of your products, we recommend having three different options
  • Because customers like having options, and when you give them a few options, they are more likely to choose and purchase one.
  • If you are selling many products, simply list your bestselling products on your landing page here and then move into a more catalog-style layout when customers click “shop.”
  • Or perhaps include divisions of your offering like “Men,” “Women,” and “Children,” and then use the three-price-point option on each product when you create those separate landing pages.
  • customers usually choose to buy the item featured in the middle. They don’t want the cheapest or the most expensive, but they do want good value.

Section 9: Junk Drawer

  • Many websites feature too many buttons and options at the top of the page. We strongly recommend putting most of these options at the bottom of the website in what we call the junk drawer.
  • Simply move the contact, FAQ, about, employment opportunities, and so forth to the bottom of the page so that if people want to find them, they can. Use your junk drawer to clean up the clutter!


  • While there are many digital tools that allow you to create websites, I recommend using paper and pen to write all the text.
  • Why? Because by handwriting the text you’re paying a great deal more attention to what you are saying and how many words you’re using.
  • You also aren’t getting distracted by digital images that may look pretty but sell nothing.
  • The real key to increasing sales is the process of collecting email addresses and sending out emails and sales scripts. That process leads to orders in an automated system.


  • Give Them a Reason to Give You Their Email Address or They Won’t
  • Lead generators that capture emails make sure that when someone finds you interesting you are getting their contact info. Stop missing out on the opportunity to get those digits!


  • A good lead-generating PDF should take about twenty minutes to read, which, while it doesn’t sound like much, is actually quite a commitment from any customer.
  • The more culture changes and the less people want to give you their email address, the better the lead they actually are.


  • The great thing about starting with a lead-generating PDF is that they are cheap to create.
  • a lead generator can be short, visual, compelling, and helpful and yet can be created and designed in a weekend.


  1. Position yourself as the guide.
  2. Stake claim to your territory.
  3. Qualify your audience.
  4. Create trust by solving a problem.
  5. Create reciprocity.
  6. Have an interesting title.


  • Let’s look at ten ideas for PDFs that will be easy to create and offer terrific value to customers:

1. Capture an Interview With an Industry Expert

2. Checklist

3. Make a Worksheet Your Audience Will Use Over and Over

4. Host an Educational Event

5. The Sampler

6. Webinars

7. Develop a Keynote Presentation Into a Lead-Generating Event

8. Scratch the Curiosity Itch

9. Pitfall List

10. Open House


  • Never stop thinking about lead generators. You should probably spend about as much time thinking of lead generators as you do creating products.


Create Your Captivating Title

Content: The Meat in the Middle

  • If you aren’t a professional writer, don’t worry. All you need to do is create a little outline and hire a copywriter to flesh it out.
  • Believe me, this little outline is going to make the copywriter’s job much more easy, and the end product will be terrific. Here we go:
    • Catchy Title: ____________________________
    • Section 1:
      • Paragraph 1: What’s a problem your customers are experiencing?
      • Paragraph 2: What is an empathetic statement you can make about their pain? And what have you accomplished that would elicit trust that you can solve their problem?
    • Section 2:
      • Paragraph 1: Agitate the problem a little further. Speak, perhaps, to the emotional frustration a person may experience when dealing with the challenge you help solve.
      • Paragraph 2: Offer a solution to the problem. Three tips, a paradigm shift, a recipe or formula, something that resolves the conflict for your customer.
    • Section 3:
      • Spell out the solution in a step-by-step plan or in a list of tips. Offer the five tips, expert advice, or worksheet that can help your customers overcome their problem. This is the main content of the PDF.
      • Step/Tip 1 ____________________________
      • Step/Tip 2 ____________________________
      • Step/Tip 3 ____________________________
    • Section 4: Define the Stakes
      • What’s at stake if they do or don’t heed your advice? What will be won or lost if they don’t take action on what you’ve recommended?
      • Paragraph 1: List the negative consequences that might happen if they don’t act on your advice followed by the happy ending they may receive if they do.
      • Paragraph 2: Call them to action. What should they do next?
      • This is a basic template for creating a lead-generating PDF, but it works quite well.


  • Once you have your lead generator created, the first thing you want to do is promote it on your website. You can create a section on your website to advertise it, but I also recommend a pop-up ad.
  • A few tips for pop-up ads
    • Give the visitor time to browse.
    • Know the rules
    • Don’t let them close the ad with an X


  • We actually spend more advertising dollars promoting our lead generators than our products. They are that effective at leading to sales.
  • also create separate landing pages that focus on each lead generator exclusively.
  • The landing pages don’t need to look exactly like your homepage, but make sure the copy on each page adheres to your brand’s StoryBrand messaging principles or you’ll risk confusing your customers.
  • Keep the text clear, easy to understand, and punchy.


  • The biggest mistakes people make are:
    1. Focusing on too many problems at once
    2. Using too much text. Make your PDFs scannable.
    3. Being too vague.
    4. Not using a catchy title. Make sure your title sounds interesting.


  • Test, test, and test again.
  • Once you put the lead generator on your page, make sure to track how it is working.
  • If it isn’t working, take the time to create a new one and start all over.
  • I’d say about 60 percent of the lead generators we’ve created have found an audience and 40 percent were duds.
  • The most important thing is to have at least one lead generator that is working well for you and then to keep adding to it until you’ve got a pretty good number of emails coming in daily.


  • While a few people will buy a product immediately, most will need to continue to learn more about your company before feeling a sense of trust.
  • Not following up with your customer after they download your PDF is like getting somebody’s phone number after asking them out and then never calling them back.
  • two types of email campaigns we recommend are:
    • Nurture campaigns. These are designed to keep in touch with a potential customer and earn trust over time.
    • Sales campaigns. These are designed to close the sale.


Question: How Many Emails Do I Send?

  • As many as you can while always adding value and staying interesting.
  • We recommend sending at least one email per week.

Question: How Do We Master the Art of Writing Email Copy?

  • Just get a little bit better each day and you’ll be on your way.
  • Here are a few tips:
    1. Read email subject lines you get from other companies.
    2. Read magazine headlines.
    3. Write in a conversational voice.
    4. Always be thinking, “What problems can I help my reader overcome, what value can I add, and what empathy and authority can I show to my potential customer?”
    • final four pieces of advice I’ll just lift from Ernest Hemingway:
    1. Use short words.
    2. Use short sentences.
    3. Use short paragraphs.
    4. Use active language.


  • Nurture emails are designed to be ongoing email campaigns that continue to “nurture” your relationship with a client.
  • Some people calls these drip campaigns because they slowly drip information to customers over a long period of time.


  • The reason a nurture campaign is important is because most customers don’t want to buy your product right away.
  • Often, they have to hear about a product five or six times before they’re willing to make a purchase.
  • That’s how a relationship with customers tends to work. And because you’re sending them emails, you sped up those touchpoints and entered into a relationship of trust much more quickly.
  • In fact, without those emails, they may have never placed an order at all!


  • Sending out a weekly email ensures that when they hit the buying window you, and not your competitor, are fresh in their minds.
  • Earning the right to be in that sacred space is critical. And it’s an honor.
  • If you aren’t leveraging the power of an email nurturing sequence, and your competitor is, they will beat you in the marketplace.
  • It’s absolutely essential that you are emailing your list consistently with valuable content.


  • Stay connected until they want to make a purchase.
  • You may ask for the sale a number of times before they’re ready, but if you’re providing enough value in your nurture emails, they will stay subscribed even if they aren’t interested in making a purchase right now.


  • The unsubscribe button is your friend. You don’t want to waste your customers' time and you don’t want an email list full of people who don’t want to receive them.


  • high-level overview of what emails should accomplish:
    • Solve a problem.
    • Offer value.
    • Remind them you have a solution.
    • Send customers back to your website.
  • One great characteristic of an email nurturing campaign is that it offers free value.
  • It positions you as the forever guide your customer has been looking for.
  • This means all the information you give away should be your expert advice on what’s going wrong in your customers' lives and how their lives can be made better.
  • If you sell a management consulting services you can talk about why common management assumptions are wrong, about mistakes managers make, or about the need to set up an actual execution plan.
  • If they want to take a deeper dive, they can purchase your consulting.


Kinds of Email Nurturing Campaigns

  • Weekly announcements.
  • The real power of the email podcast announcement is that it gives me an excuse to send an email to my list, week after week.
  • Both are terrific touchpoints for our customers.
  • Share weekly tips.
  • The structure of these types of emails is fairly simple.
    • Think of the email as a blog post or short magazine article.
    • Start with a clear title.
    • State the problem
    • Deliver the strategic tip or value
    • Position yourself as the guide
    • Let them know you have a product to sell
  • The great thing about this email is it offers to solve a problem whether the customer pays the gym anything or not. But it also offers to hold the customer’s hand if they’d like to solve the problem together.
  • Take each tip and elaborate on it a little further and ten weeks' worth of terrific content are ready to go. That’s ten touchpoints with a customer!
  • Share a weekly notification
    • If you have a brand that consistently makes or carries new products, your nurturing email can simply contain a catalog-style page revealing what’s new. You don’t have to overthink it.


  • Start slow. Repurpose content you have already created. And if you aren’t a writer, hire a writer to help you out.


  • Many of you came up with five or ten PDF ideas, but you’re only going to create one.
  • What about using those other four or nine PDF titles and turning them into emails?
  • The bottom line is this: if you are not emailing your customers at least once each week, you’re missing out. And worse than missing out, you’re being forgotten.


  • How to Close the Deal
  • the sales campaign will focus on closing the deal.
  • Creating an email sales campaign is your opportunity to share the full story of how your product is going to help solve your customers' problems and actually ask them to buy it.
  • An email sales campaign is not about being shy, it’s about challenging your customers to take a step in solving their problems. Today.


  • business relationships are transactional.
  • People want something to accept or reject.
  • It’s true that if you ask for a commitment too soon, it gets weird.
  • But at this point in the relationship you’ve built with your customers, you can ask for a commitment. I give you permission.


  • Most people will still not make a purchase. But that’s okay. You’ve been respectful of their time and earned the right to be heard and nobody is going to fault you for asking for a commitment.
  • There is a name for businesspeople who fear rejection. We call them broke.


  • We recommend starting with the sales campaign and letting it run for about a week. Then we want you to put people into your nurture campaign so you can stay in the relationship.
  • Often, we recommend creating the email nurturing sequence first and then inserting a sales email campaign later.
  • We’ve seen customers doing terrific only with great websites, lead generators, and nurture campaigns double their sales once they inserted a sales campaign.
  • Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to creating a sales campaign:
    1. Determine which product you’re selling.
    2. Identify the problem this product solves.
    3. Turn the entire email into a call to action.
    4. Give them a short window in which to buy.


  • Email #1: Deliver the asset (“here’s how to use it”)
    • This email should be nice and short and shouldn’t sell anything. Just deliver the free content you promised. The only thing you should add is your one-liner,
  • Email #2: Problem + solution.
    • In the second email, perhaps sent a few days later, you’ll want to identify the problem you’re going to solve for the customers.
    • Once you identify the problem, acknowledge and empathize with their pain. Then introduce your product or service as the solution that is going to resolve that exact pain point.
  • Email #3: Customer testimonial.
    • If successful, your last email made your potential customers want what you’re offering. But they don’t want to make an impulse buy.
    • One of the feelings they may have is that they’re going to be played for a fool. Of course, we know they aren’t, but we need to help them understand they’re safe.
    • One of the ways we feel safe is if there are more people involved.
  • Email #4: Overcome an objection.
    • At this point many customers want to buy and maybe even know they are going to buy but have one doubt that is holding them back.
    • In the fourth email, you want to help the customers overcome a common objection people have for not buying your product.
  • Email #5: Paradigm shift.
    • But if you can explain to them how you’re different and that they actually haven’t tried something like this, exactly, they’ll be more likely to look at you through fresh eyes.
    • A paradigm shift is language that says, “You used to think this, but now you should think this way.” It’s a powerful tool used to make people reconsider buying your product.
  • Email #6: Sales email.
    • only ask for the sale. You heard me right. Don’t sell, just ask for the sale. At this point, we don’t want your customer thinking about anything other than whether to accept or reject our offer.
    • This is a great time to bring up the limited-time offer. Is an opportunity going to expire? Is the bonus that comes with the offer going to expire? If so, bring that up in the P.S. of this email and you’ll have great success.



  • Having a strategy to execute your sales funnel will help insure it actually happens.


  • In order to execute your sales funnel, you’ll need to schedule six meetings.
  • The people who need to attend these meetings will be web designers, copywriters, managers whose approvals will be needed, and any support staff who help these team members execute.
  • All team members will understand their roles and tasks and be given deadlines to reach those benchmarks. If you are creating a sales funnel on your own, stick with the meeting schedule anyway.
  • Feel free to invite outside contractors. Outside contractors attending these meetings will help to ensure they understand expectations and will save you creative hours in the long run.

Meeting #1: Goal Meeting

  • objective first meeting decide which sales funnel to create first.
  • what the most profitable division or product is, I’m asking which sails are powering the ship forward.
  • I also want to know what the least profitable (or successful) product or service is, to determine how much bandwidth is being spent on something that isn’t working.

What Product Are We Going to Sell?

  • decrease the size of the sails that are not billowing and increase the size of the sails that are.
  • the greatest opportunity is to pour gasoline on the fire that’s already burning!
  • After deciding what we are going to sell, we should set goals and expectations.
  • We usually set goals by establishing three specific numbers.
    • the actual goal
    • significantly lower number that represents a failure. By failure, if we sell only this few products, we need to analyze the product itself and then the sales campaign to see if the problem was with the product or if it was how we tried to sell it.
    • fun one, and that’s the stretch goal. If we hit the stretch goal, we know we’re on to something.

Meeting #2: BrandScript Script and One-Liner Meeting

  • get started writing some of the content you’ll use in the sales funnel itself.
  • The BrandScript and one-liner meeting should take between three and four hours.
  • After creating your BrandScript, transfer your answers to the BrandScript script.
  • Once you define the story, you must stick with the script. Keep bringing up the same internal, external, and philosophical problems.
    • At_________________[your company name] we know you are the kind of people who want to be_________________[aspirational identity].
    • In order to be that way, you need___________________[what your character wants].
    • The problem is_________________[external problem], which makes you feel_________________[internal problem].
    • We believe________________________[philosophical problem/statement]. We understand_________________[empathy].
    • That’s why we_________________[authority]. Here’s how it works____________________________[plan: step one, step two, step three].
    • So_________________[call to action], so you can stop_________________[failure] and start_________________[success].
  • This BrandScript script can now act as a filter for the rest of your content creation.

Meeting 2 Part 2: Create Your One-liner

  • one-liner passes the StoryBrand test:
    1. Does it sound normal when you say it out loud?
    2. Is there anything that can be changed to make the one-liner sound more conversational?
    3. Is it easy for your staff and customers to memorize?
    4. Are all the parts simple but give enough info that nobody would need to ask the question “What does that mean?”
  • Your one-liner can be used in almost every piece of collateral you create for the campaign.
  • It can even be used as the email signature in all of your nurture and sales emails.
  • You can use it on your website or landing page, on brochures, on in-store signage, and more.
  • Your customers will get confused if the story you are inviting them into is not consistent.
  • sample agenda for Meeting #2:
    1. Meeting opening: a. Introduce all those in the room to highlight that the reason they are there is because they bring something important to the table. b. Talk about the purpose for the day: to get everyone on the same page with a clear message about what the company does. c. Introduce the concept of BrandScript script and one-liner.
    2. BrandScript script activity a. Introduction and purpose b. Group brainstorming c. Decision
    3. One-liner activity a. Introduction and purpose b. Group brainstorming c. Decision
    4. Assign tasks and deadlines
    5. Remind people about the next meeting for website wireframe.

Meeting #3: Wireframe Website

  • objective is to wireframe the website or landing page.
  • The great thing about wireframing the website or landing page is it’s also an exercise in memorializing your entire pitch.
  • I can’t tell you how many marketing strategy sessions I’ve done in which I had no interest in the product but by the time we finished wireframing the website found myself wanting to buy the very thing I was helping somebody else sell!

Wireframe the Website or Landing Page

  • Once you’re done, call the meeting to an end. The reason you want to stay focused is your website will likely be the most important tool you create when it comes to closing sales.
  • Remember the sections of the landing page from Chapter 5? You will use those to wireframe your page in this meeting:
    • The Header
    • The Stakes
    • The Value Proposition
    • The Guide
    • The Plan
    • The Explanatory Paragraph
    • The Video (optional)
    • Price Choices (optional)
    • Junk Drawer
  • Here is a sample agenda to make this meeting simple, clear, and easy:
    1. Meeting opening a. Introduce all those in the room if necessary and explain why they are there and what they bring to the table. b. Talk about the purpose for the meeting: to create a website wireframe complete with all the sections of the website homepage. c. Introduce the sections of the website you will be covering today.
    2. Review BrandScript script and one-liner and explain the website needs to stay on theme as much as possible.
    3. Website copy creation a. The Header i. Does it answer the questions: What are you offering? How does it make our customers’ lives better? Where can I buy it? How can they buy it? ii. Do the pictures you intend to use support the sales pitch or confuse customers about what you are selling? b. The Stakes i. What is life going to look like if the customer does not buy your product or service? ii. What negative experiences are you keeping your customers from having to deal with? c. The Value Proposition i. What positive results will a customer receive if they buy your product? ii. What does your customer’s life look like if they buy your product or service? d. The Guide i. Empathy: what empathetic statement can you make that expresses your care, concern, or understanding about your customer’s problem? ii. Authority: how can you reassure your customers you are competent to solve their problem? iii. Testimonials iv. Other: logos, statistics e. The Plan i. Three or four steps: What is the path a customer needs to take before or after buying your product? ii. What are the benefits of each of those steps? f. The Explanatory Paragraph i. Simply use your One-Liner followed by your BrandScript script to make this section simple, clear, and easy. g. The Video (optional) i. Decide on video ii. Decide on title h. Price Choices (optional) i. How will you visually display the price or prices of this product. i. Junk Drawer
    4. Assign tasks and deadlines.
    5. Schedule or remind the team about the next meeting in which you will discuss email sequences.

Meeting #4: Lead Generator and Email Sequence

  • For meeting four, you may not need the entire team. The task assigned in this meeting will mostly go to copywriters.
  • The purpose of the fourth meeting is to decided what language will go into your lead generator and emails for your nurture and sales sequences.
  • By the end of this meeting, you want to have the title of your first lead generator, the basic content outline for the lead generator, a list of possible nurture emails, and a list of topics and types of sales emails you’ll then ask copywriters to create.
  • The first goal of the meeting is to decide on a lead generator. Don’t let this conversation drag on and on.
  • The key here is to agree that you’ve got a good one, quickly outline the content, assign the writing to a copywriter, and move on.
  • The second task is to either create a sales email sequence, a nurture email sequence, or both.
  • The only mistake you can make in this meeting is to close it out without making firm decisions the team can act on.
  • Sample Agenda:
    1. Meeting opening A. Introduce all those in the room if necessary and explain what their role will be as it relates to the campaign. B. Talk about the purpose for the day: to decide on a lead generator, create content for the lead generator, and outline the various email campaigns you have decided to create. C. Introduce the concept of the lead generator, nurture emails, and sales emails.
    2. Review BrandScript script and one-liner as an effort to stay consistent in your content
    3. Lead generator A. Brainstorm a list of ideas for lead generators. B. Decide on the first one to create. C. Create an outline for content. D. Save unused lead generator ideas for potential nurturing email content.
    4. Nurture emails A. Brainstorm possible types i. Weekly Announcements ii. Weekly Tips iii. Weekly Notifications B. Make a decision and create subject lines and brief talking points for each. Your copywriter will love the head start this brainstorm delivers
    5. Sales emails (outline the contents of each type as you go) A. Title of “Deliver the Asset” Email B. Title of “Problem + Solution” Email C. Title of “Testimonial” Email D. Title of “Overcome Objection” Email E. Title of “Paradigm Shift” Email F. Title of “Sales” Email
    6. Assign tasks and deadlines.
    7. Discuss when the next meeting will take place. In the next meeting you will refine the content.

Meeting #5: Content Refinement Meeting

  • I recommend printing out a physical, designed copy of everything involved, from the one-liner to every email.
  • Use Post-it notes and tape to put physical pieces of paper on the wall so you can see the entire campaign visually.
  • Looking at your campaign visually, using color-coded sections, allows you to see if your campaign flows and is even in its execution.
  • During the last part of this meeting, you’ll want to schedule when everything will be launched.
  • What day will the new website launch? How often will you send out the emails? Which email campaign will you run first?
  • sample agenda for meeting five:
    1. Meeting opening: a. Talk about the purpose for the day: to go over all the collateral created in order to get ready for the launch and to set the calendar.
    2. Review and edit one-liner.
    3. Review and edit website.
    4. Review and edit the lead generator.
    5. Review and edit the nurture emails.
    6. Review and edit the sales emails.
    7. Decide when you are going to launch the campaign.
    8. Assign tasks and deadlines.
    9. Set date about one month after the campaign launches to review the campaign and make changes and improvements.

Meeting #6: Results Analysis and Refinement Meeting

  • it is so easy to launch a campaign and just let it ride whether it works or not.
  • Questions to ask?
    1. Does one email seem to be working more than the others?
    2. Can we duplicate what is working in other emails by adding P.S.’s or similar language?
    3. What are customers responding to in terms of our message?
    4. What are customers not responding to in terms of our message?
    5. Are our calls to action strong enough?
    6. What is the most confusing aspect of our campaign and how can we fix it?
  • If you have data, review the data. What emails are being opened? What percentage of people who come to the landing page are making a purchase?
  • What’s the open rate for each email? (I love to replace the least-performing email with something completely new.)
  • The objective of this meeting is to refine, refine, refine.
  • sample agenda for the sixth meeting:
    1. Explain the objective of this meeting is to refine a specific campaign.
    2. Pass out the emails for the campaign.
    3. Review the data. What’s working and what isn’t?
    4. Revise, edit, or replace anything that is not working.
    5. Discuss what is working and see if you can use some of the language in other places on the website or in the emails.
    6. Assign the revisions to those who will be responsible to execute.
  • While creating a sales funnel takes creativity and hard work, it should not be hard. In fact, it should be fun.