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Photo by Siviwe Kapteyn on Unsplash

I’m related to Doc Holliday, but I’m no doctor. I’m just a grower of companies searching for marketing strategies that work. Everything that follows came from my study and application of psychological principles to help my clients (and my company) sell more. I’m going to walk through 3 psychological principles you can put to work in your marketing in this article:

  • Reciprocity
  • Social Proof
  • Decidophobia (a.k.a. decision paralysis)

Robert Cialdini’s book on The Psychology of Persuasion got me started on this path, but I also credit Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made To Stick and a gaggle of other authors whom I’ve read over the years with shaping my views. Reading books from intelligent people helped me form hypotheses that I have since tested to see what works. …

An interview with Amazon expert Mike Sitrin of Riverboat.

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Amazon sells $283,000 worth of goods every minute. That kind of spending can catapult your brand to success almost overnight. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to get swept away by the competition and buried ten pages deep.

I sat down with Amazon expert Mike Sitrin of Riverboat to understand what separates the success stories from everyone else. Mike shares priceless tips about how long it will take to get traction, how to use Amazon’s advertising products, common pitfalls to avoid, where to do research, why you need to register your brand, and whether you should use FBA or self-fulfillment. …

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Facebook is a pain in the ass. I’d happily close my account if it didn’t work so damn well as an advertising platform for our clients. Bottom line, we’re getting customers from Facebook and Instagram so it’s hard to leave.

It’s actually gotten a little too easy to sit back and rely on big blue to send us a steady flow of customers. Our dependency on this one platform leaves our clients vulnerable. …

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Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

I work with brands daily to help them tell their story. There are a few message killers that pop up repeatedly. If you’re struggling to win buyers, I’d bet one of these issues is to blame…

  • You’re trying to be an option for everyone.
  • It’s not clear how giving you money will deliver the result they want.
  • You’re blabbering about how great you are.

Don’t sweat it if one or more of these describe you. It just means there’s a lot of opportunities ahead when you get your message right. …

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Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash

VF Corp bought Supreme for $2.1 billion last week.

Nerdy Nuts has gone from $4k to $500k per month in sales.

The new PlayStation 5 keeps shutting down the Walmart site and is going for over $1k on eBay.

What do all of these success stories have in common? They’ve connected product, brand, marketing, and sales around limited supply and community to drive their growth strategy. You can put these same concepts to work in your business, even if you’re a service business. …

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Photo by Firza Pratama on Unsplash

You aren’t spending hours on quality blog posts and Medium articles for passion alone. Whether it’s attracting people to your product, racking up dollars on Medium, or selling your services, there’s something in it for you.

Don’t be ashamed of your agenda. We all have one. If you don’t, you need to get one.

Putting out helpful articles is how I grow my business. Even with a small (yet growing) audience, I consistently draw new client inquiries and email subscribers from my content marketing efforts.

That’s the thing though, even if we all have an agenda, the secret to better articles is your reader not sensing you’re pushing one. Think of it like writing purely for SEO. It’s painfully obvious (and painful to read) if you’re chasing keywords at the expense of true value for the reader. …

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Do customers know, like, and trust your company? When they see your name or logo, do they associate it with a solution to one of their problems? If they do, that little piece of real estate you’ve claimed in the heads of buyers is what we call brand equity.

There’s a lot of value in that real estate. Being known for something specific is powerful. It makes marketing, sales, and word of mouth easy. Customers walk in your door already knowing who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.

It also makes your company more valuable. Larger competitors will jump at the chance to purchase a brand that has built a reputation with a specific customer base they want. In short, brand equity is the tangible return on the time, money, and resources you invest in rebranding. …

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Blogging weekly keeps clients coming to my door. I invest a minimum of 10 hours a week into writing. I say invest because that’s exactly what it is—an investment in the future of my business. I’d love to tell you writing is a breeze, but I won’t blow sunshine and daydreams up your arse. Writing takes work. You understand if you’re putting out daily, weekly, or monthly articles.

Unfortunately, most companies give up on their content marketing efforts before they get to enjoy the benefits of that hard work. I understand how it happens though. It’s easy to get demoralized when you spend time researching, writing, and sharing articles on social media and all you hear is crickets. …

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Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash

Why should I pick you over my other options? That’s all I really want to know before I give you money. Put my worries to rest with one good reason.

Notice I didn’t say two, three, or ten reasons. Decide where you’re going to hang your hat as a business. You can be serviceable everywhere else as long as there’s one spot where you’re exceptional. That’s your Special Sauce (a.k.a. unique selling proposition).

Why do I need a unique selling proposition?

We’re all competing in crowded markets with a wealth of options. If you’re making buckets of money and have no competition at the moment—you will soon. Competition follows cash. …

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Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

I ran another agency for thirteen years before starting Special Sauce. We won awards, made the Inc. 5000 list, and had multiple seven-figure years. We also struggled with inconsistent cash flow, stressed employees, and a dangerously top-heavy client list where 50% of our revenue was from one company.

It felt like we were always fighting for life. The rollercoaster was caused by our lack of focus. We did everything from design Whole Foods stores to manage social media. Our staff was maxed out and underutilized at the same time.

I sold that company to my partner, started Special Sauce, and committed to developing a set of products backed by systems. Productizing our services has been the path to growth and sanity. I’m willing to bet you’ll experience similar benefits by applying the principles outlined below. Implementing a product funnel will improve your marketing, sales, retention, client results, cash flow, and revenue. …


Andrew Holliday

I help companies grow. Father of 5 | Founder of

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