Introduction to Symbiotic Ascension System Part 1: Symbiotic Marketing

Introduction To The Symbiotic Ascension System Part 1: Symbiotic Marketing

I know your time is tight, so quick question to help you decide if this 3-part introduction to symbiotic marketing is for you or not…

Which of the following most closely categorises your relationship to marketing and sales?

A. Someone who embraces the marketing chase, enjoys closing sales and all the lovely loot they can earn from it.

B. Someone who hates pushy sales tactics, thinks marketing is shady and wishes there was another way to sell their wares.

C. Someone who neither loves selling nor hates marketing, but accepts if you’re in business it’s just something you have to get on with.

If you fall into category A then what follows probably won’t be of much use to you. But if you’ve ever been a self-employed service provider (freelancer, teacher, coach or consultant let’s say), with a product or service to sell, and you find yourself anywhere on the spectrum from B to C, this 3-part series, could, make things a little - or maybe even a lot - easier for you.

If you want it to.

A Better Place To Be

Category C - someone who doesn’t love marketing, but gets on with it anyway - is basically me. And after spending way too much time with an aversion to anything remotely salesy, I’m happy to tell you - accepting it and getting on with it, is a much better place to be.

And so if you’re naturally attracted to helping, guiding and sharing what you know, this series is intended to help you see that - while not exactly revolutionary or new, there might - just might - be an approach to marketing that is a better fit for you.

It’s an approach that can help you move from B (thinks, marketing is shady) to C (accepts it and gets on with it), without resorting to any of the pushing, shoving and sharp-elbowing you may currently associate with online marketing and sales.

It’s an approach that may allow you to utilise something you’re no doubt already quite good at good at to build stronger relationships with potential customers.

It’s an approach that seamlessly aligns permission marketing, knowledge sharing and product selling into a symbiotic system that can help you…

  • Utilise your experience and expertise, to help your audience grow their awareness and knowledge, while you build credibility, authority and trust along the way.
  • Repurpose existing content or teaching materials to create a natural path towards an outcome your target audience seeks.
  • Strategically align key points on their learning and discovery journey with products or services you're looking to sell.

And while this is no get rich quick scheme or route to overnight success - it does take time, effort and resources to pull off, the good news is…

The first part of the SAS (Symbiotic Ascension System) can be set up using just 3 basic components, allowing you to get started and begin delivering results with least possible delay.

And it won’t cost you a thing.

There’ll be more specifics on this 3-step in Part 2, but before I get to that, we need to talk about…

The Money For Time Treadmill (& Businesses That Don’t Scale)

In an ideal world, being your own boss would mean the flexibility to the work the hours that suit and the financial security to say “no thank you”, but as with much in life, things don’t always work out that way. If you’ve ever been a self-employed service provider, you’ll be familiar with the money-for-time treadmill. A situation where, although you may be your own boss in theory, when you’ve got bills to pay - it may not always feel that way.

True, you may be acquiring just enough clients, students or customers through a mix of word of mouth, networking, gig searching, group scrolling or some basic advertising. But if you’re doing all this yourself manually - that’s also precious time you’re not actually earning anything. Bottomline being, if a significant proportion of your working hours are taken up with manual marketing tasks, then the ceiling of your earnings is directly correlated to market rates x the hours you’re willing or able to work in a day.

Of course, you know this. The question is, how to solve it?

If you want more flexibility in terms of when you work, how long you work, or who you work with day to day, then - unless you’re already financially secure - you need a business that can scale. A business that can scale, is one where you can leverage your time, experience and knowledge into products you can sell or services you can employ others to implement for you.

Courses, books, subscription programs and productised services (where the work can be outsourced) are products that fit this bill, simply because their potential to generate income is not so tightly-tied to the waking-working hours in your day. If you have products like this, or you’re thinking along these lines, then you’re on the right path to a business that can scale. If not, but it sounds like your cup of tea, then product development is the logical next step to take.

But that’s the easy bit. Well, not easy exactly. Things worth doing well are rarely easy. 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration I believe the saying goes. But perhaps easier, at least, when compared to what comes next, because, what come next is where the real work begins…

The Problem With Marketing

Whether your creation is a piece of music, an online course or flatulence-free sausages and beans, if you want to make a living from it - you need an effective way to let people know about it.

And one way or another that means...

Marketing.

Look-at-me extroverts, with teflon-coated thick-skins may not have a problem sharp-elbowing their way to sales. But for the rest of us? When it’s more bite-the-bullet than carpe-diem time, low energy, slow progress and opportunity-cost is the more likely order of the day.

Hello? Hello? Not Today Thank You.

Twenty years or so ago, my number-one ambition was to avoid a proper job (still is). My second was to make a living from DJing, music production and ideally start my own record label one day.

While a healthy combination of fear, ego and naivety did get me out of bed each day, back then, marketing wasn’t something I had much awareness of (or interest in). Of course, knowing what I know now, I can see all my emailing, phone calling and networking was marketing. I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.

Anyway...

A few years of focus in, and my strategy of securing releases on trusted labels in the deep house scene wasn’t going too badly actually. Gathering stamps of approval from these well-respected gate-keepers, allowed me to build a recognised name (a brand I suppose you’d call it these days). Which I was then able to leverage into an album deal. Two well-received (but hardly platinum-selling) albums later and - with the aid of some advances, licensing and frugal living - I was able to scrimp enough together to start my own label.

Hurray.

Living the dream time then, right?

Er, no. Not quite.

Enthused by the idea of being the next Beardy Branson, but lacking his wizardly- business acumen, with hindsight I can see my timing sucked, while I was somewhat blinkered to the structural issues developing at the time: deep house’s moment had passed; vinyl sales were in decline; and the new-fangled cd copying and file sharing weren’t exactly helping. All in all, I was barely breaking-even from release-to-release and so the penny began to drop that ‘my dream’ might not be all I’d imagined it would be.

Needs Must

Searching for a fast-fix, my knee-jerk reaction was that those dastardly distributors; the middlemen happy enough to hold stock, but less inclined to actively sell to retailers on my behalf must be to blame. Push come to shove then, if these ‘villains’ weren’t going to get the word out, it was looking like I’d have to park my entitlement, get off my arse and do it myself.

The thought of spending half my day on the phone with “not today thank you” ringing in my ears was far from appealing I can tell you. But it’s surprising what you can find yourself doing when you're desperate (or really believe in something). That said, the reality, to be fair, wasn’t half as bad as I’d imagined it might be. It did actually work - to a degree. I sold enough extra units to keep the lights on. At least for a while anyway.

Get to the point Nick.

The reason I’m telling you this, is it comes back to the need for an effective, efficient and productive way of letting people know you or your creation exists.

So, was it?

Well, if tele-sales experience and a few extra sales was my aim, the time wasn’t completely wasted. But it definitely wasn’t the most effective, efficient and productive way to spend my days (or quite how I’d imagined a career in the music business might be).

So no, not really.

A Route To Sales That Just Doesn’t Scale

If half your time is spent writing emails, mining freelance sites or direct messaging, then you might relate. You might also recognise this kind of manual marketing is a numbers game, which takes you away from more productive things, while not being the most efficient, effective - or enjoyable - way of generating clients, customers and sales.

Bottom-line being, although manual marketing can be a route to some sales, if you’re working alone - it won’t ever be be a route you can effectively scale. And if you can’t scale, ‘some’ extra sales is about as good a result as you’re ever likely to see.

To scale and grow, you need marketing that leverages your time and resources effectively and efficiently over time. Which means you need systems that allow you to automate the process of driving traffic, attracting followers, generating subscribers and delivering sales in a consistent and measurable way.

Which, as luck would have it, is where a sales-funnel can come in.

In theory that is.

The Automatic Marketing Myth

Despite what you might have been told, there’s no ‘automated system’ you can buy from clickfunnels and their ilk that can do your marketing for you. The nuts, bolts, cogs and wheels of the delivery mechanism? Sure. But it’s not this infrastructure that creates awareness, build relationships and generates sales. It’s what you feed the machine in terms of your messaging, your copy, your content that creates awareness, builds relationships and makes sales. Which means, if you don’t prioritise these things, then your “sales-machine” can guzzle up precious resources and still struggle, splutter and ultimately stall.

So, writing a book, creating a course or developing a process into a productised service is one thing; getting it onto those virtual shelves is another; but getting enough attention, building enough awareness and actually selling enough to make it all worthwhile is another thing altogether.

To do that, you have to get comfortable with marketing. 

And so here’s the thing…

Marketing Is Not The Problem…

If you can get more comfortable with marketing, you can become more successful at marketing. And the way to get more comfortable with marketing (and so more successful at marketing) is to change your perception of marketing.

Which is not as hard as you may think.

There’s a simple trick to it.

If your own experience of online marketing is based on being interrupted, pushed, pressured and manipulated into parting with your cash, then - being the fine upstanding citizen you are - it’s little wonder you become sceptical, suspicious and maybe even a little bit nauseous at the thought of having to engage in that sort of shenanigans yourself.

Negotiating Your Marketing Mindset

Nevertheless, if you do want to develop an online business that can scale, you do need to accept that marketing your wares is a non-negotiable part of the game. Non negotiable in as much as you won’t get far without it.

Having said that…

What is negotiable, is the kind of marketing you choose to do. 

Because marketing doesn’t have to involve aggressive sales tactics.

Marketing doesn’t have to be hammy, spammy or downright scammy.

And marketing doesn’t have to mean buying into all that “always be closing” shit.

What it comes down to, is this…

If you want to become more successful with your marketing, you don’t have to love it, but you do need to change the way you think about it. And if you want to change the way you think about it, it can’t involve too much time spent doing things you really don’t like doing. And so for a more positive perception of what marketing is or can be to take hold, a marketing methodology that fits with your world-view is really the only way to go.

Not a methodology that allows you to avoid doing any marketing, obviously. But at least, a methodology that can make you feel more comfortable about the work you’re involved in day to day.

And a methodology that fits this bill, is what I call: symbiotic marketing. 

Symbiotic, because the objective of this kind of marketing is a win-win, where both you and your prospects get what they need.

A radical, revolutionary idea?

Yes and no.

Yes, radical to you, it could be, if it encourages you to think about marketing in a way that allows you to embrace it more openly and so become more effective at it over time.

But revolutionary?

Possibly, not, as one of the core pillars it’s built upon is really nothing new and its main delivery method is certainly one that will be veryfamiliar to you….

Seth Godin’s Guide To Selling Things On The Internet

If you want to know about selling things on the internet, Seth Godin  practically invented it. His first start-up trailed such an - internet marketing - blaze, that Yahoo paid him $30m for it in 1995 (1995!). This then lead to a role as their vice president of direct marketing, before he went on to practically invented ‘the blog’ - all before Mark Zuckerberg had left high school (and started breaking things).

The intervening years have seen Seth go onto to publish 19 books (19!). And not just any old books, bestsellers including Purple Cow, The Dip and Tribes - have inspired and influenced countless entrepreneurial adventures (including mine) over the decades. Arguably his greatest legacy though - at least according to me - is the premise he set forth as an antidote to interruptive advertising in his seminal book (from 1999)…

Permission Marketing

The premise he put forth was simple enough. 

Permission marketing is that which is…

  • Anticipated – people look forward to hearing from you.
  • Personal – communication is directly related to the individual.
  • Relevant – the content is something the prospect is interested in.

Boiling it right down, marketing is permission based  when a potential customer invites you to interact with them, as opposed to you interrupting them (cold calls, tv ads, newspaper ads all fit this bill). But in a world where everyone is fighting for attention in an overwhelming sea of content, this kind of permission is a highly sought after commodity, giving those that can earn it an advantage. 

As long as - they can keep hold of it.

So, you have to deliver good shit. And an onus on this, also helps avoid the peddling of misleading, exaggerated or manipulative shit. Which - spoiler alert - is exactly what I’m trying to do with this, er, shit. 

Anyway…

Allow Me To Illustrate…

If you decide you do like the cut of my gib, you do want to hear more from me, and so you do subscribe to my mailing list, the golden rule is that my marketing begins with sharing not selling. That’s the sharing of information, knowledge and guidance intended to help you get closer to an outcome you seek.

And that’s because…

If I can earn your trust by delivering useful-actionable value now, then - assuming I don’t blow it - you’ll be more open to the idea of paying me for something that can add value to your life down the line.

If I do want you to stick around - which of course I do -  the crucial mindset - which is easy to forget - must remain: it’s not about me.

You must be the centre of my products, services, content and messaging. Because, if I don’t make the effort to understand who you are and what you need…

I’m unlikely to communicate in a way that’s relevant to you.

I’m less likely to provide the type of content you’re most interested in.

And it’s therefore highly unlikely, you’ll look forward to hearing from me.

And I wouldn’t blame you.

Bottomline, if I can’t get these basics right, there’s every chance you’ll withdraw your permission and that will be the end of that.

However…

Permission marketing ain’t what it used to be

Permission marketing ain’t what it used to be, simply because it’s no longer a radical idea - every invitation to subscribe to a mailing list has its roots in it. But note how thought leaders begot marketers; begot online entrepreneurs; begot influencers; begot the idea that you can bribe people onto your email list with the offer of free shit.

Not that there’s anything wrong with free offers or lead magnets per se, but - my take is this - without strategic foresight and a desire to deliver value and relevant, useful information, the result is a list of people who just grab the freebie - even if it’s implicit “we’ll be emailing you shit” - before being distracted by the next shiny object.

So, yes, most email marketing is still permission based, sort of, and yes, it’s still a better state of affairs than the spam-fest of the early days. But inevitably, some of its integrity has been lost along the way. Which is why now, these days, to be effective, it’s necessary to get back to the essence of it.

Time for a remix?

Possibly.

We can blow the dust off the needle to appreciate some of the detail and nuance a little better at least…

Which brings neatly back to…

That Symbiotic Marketing Thing

Symbiotic marketing is a philosophy with its roots in the permission marketing way of doing things, but it’s also fundamentally about developing win-win relationships with customers over time.

It can strengthen trust with potential customers by helping to inform decisions and solve problems. It helps strengthen loyalty among new customers by continually delivering value. And it can strengthen relationships with repeat customers, because the strongest relationships are those where each party gets what they need.

Symbiotic see.

But…

It’s all in the mind

The foundational piece of a more symbiotic way of thinking, is in the understanding that while marketing may be a non-negotiable part of the game, marketing that doesn’t fit with your world-view can be non-negotiable too. The path to more enjoyable, perhaps even more satisfying marketing, is to think about how it can naturally align with something you actually like doing; teaching, coaching, sharing, informing, let’s say. And the key to opening up more symbiotic opportunities is to think about marketing as a conduit to the development of relationships with your target customers built on mutual interest, trust, respect and understanding.

That’s what a symbiotic marketing mindset means.

And by rejecting any dubious “whatever it takes” sales techniques in favour of helping, guiding and informing, symbiotic marketing allows us to create a more natural path from cold audience to warm subscriber to red-hot customers over time.

Which is nice.

Short term gains = long term fails

Key is, that while sales are of course crucially important, there is more than one way to skin a cat. It doesn’t have to be sales-at-all-costs. It doesn’t have to mean doing anything you don’t feel completely comfortable with. Because, even though high pressure, pushy sales tactics can deliver short term gains, they don’t tend to endear feelings of trust and respect among those who’ve opened their wallets for you.

Simply put, customers who’ve been persuaded to part with their cash quickly, only to find your “secret to success” was not all it was cracked up to be, are not the kind of customers who will stick around and buy from you repeatedly.

So if you’re too selfish, too greedy or just too plain needy, the most desired and discerning subscribers or customers will soon figure out what you’re all about, and you’ll find yourself having to constantly feed your list building machine with new subscribers at a cost of more money, resources and time.

Which is a far from ideal place to be.

The Good News Bit…

If you do like the idea of building a more consistent, reliable and loyal quality-over-quantity customer base without getting stuck on a hamster wheel.

If you have the foresight to take a more tortoise than hare approach, forgoing short term gains for a more sustainable business over time.

And if you really don’t like the idea of pushing, pressuring and manipulating your way to sales, but win-win marketing does sound more like your kind of thing…

Then may I be so bold as to suggest, you stick around as we dig deeper into the what, why and practical how’s of the Symbiotic Ascension System.

A marketing methodology that offers…

  • A logical way to utilise your existing skills and experience to educate your audience on various ways and means they can achieve an outcome they seek.
  • A subtle way to build credibility and authority over time, so your audience gradually comes to trust you’re someone who can help them get what they need.
  • An efficient way to re-purpose existing content or learning materials into a strategic journey of discovery, that is naturally aligned with products or services you're looking to sell.

And of course, if I want to develop a relationship with you built on trust, I have to practice what I preach, deliver as promised and of course, do it without any salesy bullshit.

Meaning...

  • No BIG promise to make you rich. 
  • No amazing secrets to share. 
  • No life shattering myths to bust.

Just an introduction to a practical, methodical approach you might want to consider if…

You do want a marketing model that can scale.

You don’t like the idea of exaggerated, manipulative, pressurised sales tactics.

And you would prefer your marketing to involve more things you’re comfortable with and pretty good at, than things you’re not comfortable with or kind of suck at.

Sounds good? Feels right? But the question of how on your mind?

Then, you’re in luck…

For more examples, demonstration and practical context of how a symbiotic marketing campaign might work for you, please…

1. Click through to part 2 , so you can get stuck into the what, why’s and how’s of the ascension & CPR models straightaway. 

Or if time is tight today…

2. Simply Sign up to grab the free SAS Blueprint in PDF format, to get a nice introduction and overview of the SAS system and I can then - with your 'permission' of course - send you the best bits from this 3-part guide via email one day at a time.

Win-win?

Only if you begin…

Click Here To Go Straight To Part 2 & Learn More About The Ascension & CPR Models Straightaway

Click Here To Get The SAS Blueprint In PDF Format With Highlights of Parts 2 & 3 Sent By Email


Who?


Over the years - ok decades - Nick Conneff has turned in his best work initially as a deep house DJ-turned-producer, then a property investor-turned-entrepreneur, but for the last few years has been turning his hand to helping like-minded individuals with digital marketing and sales funnels.

Conversion  copywriting,  conversion optimisation, landing pages, content creation (writing, video, audio),  email marketing, traffic acquisition and funnel design are all things he's happy to lend a hand with.

He's nice like that.

Significant projects in the past have included running an independent record label and co-founding an education & welfare program in S.E Asia.

He works from his home in Manchester, England until the weather takes a predictable turn for the worst - lockdowns permitting -  then remotely from much warmer climes such as Chiang Mai, Manila & Gran Canaria among others.

>