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Marketing Lessons from TED Talks: Mel Robbins on How to Stop Screwing Yourself

Key Points

  • Mel Robbins’ TED Talk, How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, delivers a powerful lesson on becoming self-motivated in your ongoing quest for personal growth.
  • Robbins’ message is that our minds are often our biggest obstacle along our path to success.
  • Brands can use Mel Robbins’ Talks to understand how they fit into the picture when it comes to helping their customers grow.

While Robbins’ Talk is focused on helping individual people become the best possible versions of themselves, her words can also help brands understand how they fit into the picture when it comes to helping their customers succeed.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

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Your Customers May Be “Fine” — and That’s Not Okay

Early on in her Talk, Robbins addresses the fact that, quite often, when people say, “things are fine”, they’re really anything but.

Not only that, but many people who say they’re “fine” often don’t even realize that they aren’t happy, or that things aren’t going as well as they’d hoped. Or they realize it — but won’t admit it.

As marketers, we’re often confronted with prospects and leads who fit into either of these categories.

Typically, these individuals fall into the Awareness stage of the sales funnel.

In some cases, they aren’t aware that their lives could be better than they currently are. Others may have become somewhat complacent and have convinced themselves that they’re “fine” with keeping things status quo.

They might be hesitant to spend money on your solution, or to defect from a competitor to join your community. Whatever the case may be, they’re “fine” with their current situation.

And this means they won’t be doing business with your company anytime soon.

Your job, then, is to show your potential customers just what they’re missing out on — and what their lives could be like if they engage further with your brand.

This is why social proof is so important.

Case studies, testimonials, and other content featuring your current, successful customers can make your target audience aware that there’s more to life than being “fine”. The more relevant and specific this content is to their lives, the more convincing it will be.

By getting your target audience to realize that “being fine” isn’t necessarily a good thing, you’ll make them much more likely to check out what your brand has to offer them.

Create a Safe Space for Your Customers to Grow — and Feed Their Desire to Explore

Robbins makes it crystal clear:

You need to get out of your head, and out of your comfort zone, in order to make strides toward growth.

The same can be said for your target audience:

In order for your customers to truly experience the value your brand brings to the table — which, in turn, will lead to growth on their end — they’ll need to make changes in their lives that aren’t exactly “comfortable”.

Of course, your job is to make them as comfortable as possible as they set out on their journey toward success. Moreover, you need to give them what they need to continuously progress along their path.

Your customers need to feel safe when engaging with your brand. If they feel like they’re risking too much at any given time, you risk losing them for good.

One key way to ensure your customers feel safe is to offer valuable experiences to them without asking for anything in return.

Some common examples:

  • Free product trials
  • Hands-on demonstrations
  • Money-back guarantees

You also want to allow your customers to immerse themselves in all your brand has to offer — and to do so without feeling vulnerable.

To this end, you need to focus on building a branded community. Your website, social media channels, and even your brick-and-mortar locations are all key platforms on which your audience members should be able to engage with each other and strive toward their goals.

There’s a ton of uncertainty in growth — and it’s often what holds your customers back from attaining true success. Eliminate this uncertainty within your customers, and they’ll have every reason to dig deeper into the experiences you have to offer them.

Prepare Your Customers to Do the Necessary Work

To paraphrase one of Robbins’ main points:

“Getting what you want is simple — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”

Now, as we’ve recently discussed, you certainly do want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to achieve success.

(It’s pretty much the reason your company exists in the first place, no?)

Still, your customers will have to put effort into using your product or service on their way to growth and success.

You have two tasks ahead of you, here:

First, you need to ensure your customers know what to expect when using the solution you offer. Specifically, you need to keep them informed regarding:

  • The processes and best practices involved in using your product/service
  • The challenges they may face along their path to success
  • The “aha” moments and milestones they can expect to reach along the way

Again, relevant and specific testimonials will allow them to visualize the path others have forged — and that they’re about to embark on. Though they’ve yet to experience the journey themselves, they’ll at least have a decent idea of what to expect moving forward.

You also need to ensure your customers know how to proceed at different points along their journey. As mentioned above, this means providing step-by-step instructions for using your solution to the best of their ability.

You also need to be timely when offering assistance and providing instructions to your users. Lifecycle marketing and automated behavior-based outreach is key here, allowing you to home in on the micro-moments that can propel your customers to further success.

As a product or service provider, your goal isn’t to do your customers’ work for them — but you do need to make their job easier. By delivering guidance at critical moments along their journey, you’ll make their path to success as clear as possible.

All they’ll need to do is start walking it.

Ensure Your Customers Take Advantage of Opportunities to Grow

In her Talk, Robbins mentions that the odds of a given person being born are about one in four hundred trillion.

She then ties that into the idea that every second we’re alive provides an opportunity to grow. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these fleeting moments disappear into the ether — leading to an ever-growing pile of missed opportunities in their wake.

Translated to your customers, the fact is that every moment they spend as patrons of your brand can potentially be life changing.

But this is only true if your customers are aware of these moments — and if they take advantage of them. To be sure, many of these opportunities won’t be all that obvious to your customers.

It’s your job to bring these opportunities to light, and to ensure your customers know how to best take advantage of them.

Typically, this comes in the form of showing them what the next steps in their journey should be.

For example, if a customer consumes a piece of content, you’ll want to point them toward additional information to help supercharge their knowledge on the topic at hand.

If they’ve completed a certain task, you may need to give them a few options as to where to turn next.

Once they reach a major accomplishment or milestone, you’ll want to help them broaden their horizons, allowing them to see the next “big picture” goal they should be focusing on.

You simply can’t assume your customers will take it upon themselves to engage further with your brand or take the next steps along their path to success.

Rather, you need to do whatever you can to increase their chances of doing so. The more aware your customers are of these opportunities, the more likely they are to take advantage of them.

Embrace Robbins’ 5-Second Rule

As Robbins begins to wrap up her Talk, she calls her audience to take a very specific action, using what she refers to as the “five-second rule”.

This ties into what we discussed in the previous section:

We not only tend to overlook opportunities for growth, but we also shrug off these opportunities even when we’re aware of them.

Robbins’ challenge to her audience is simple:

If a thought crosses your mind with regard to what you should be doing at any given moment, it’s crucial that you act on it. If possible, you should actually do what came to mind. Whether it’s take the garbage out, call a friend, or hit the treadmill…if nothing’s in your way other than your own thoughts, just do it. If it’s not possible, or is a bit more involved, do something that will solidify it in your mind and get you to take action when you can.

(For example, set a reminder to hit the treadmill right after you get home from work.)

As we said above, you can’t take for granted that your customers will take the next step in their journey to success.

They probably know what to do.

They might know how to do it.

And they almost certainly understand the value that taking action will bring to their lives.

Still, they might just move on with their day without a second thought.

Needless to say, you don’t want this to happen. The more they put your solution on the backburner, the more likely they are to lose interest in your brand altogether.

You can capitalize on these fleeting moments by instilling a sense of urgency in your customers. More than just prompting them to take action at the right time, you also need to provide a clear incentive for them to act immediately.

One-time freebies, limited-time discounts, and similar offers can eliminate hesitation in your customers’ minds — and get them to take the action they know they should be taking, right when the opportunity arises.

No matter how intent your customers may be on engaging further with your brand, life happens. There are an infinite number of reasons a motivated customer will let your brand slip to the back of their mind.

By continually delivering timely, urgent messages and offers to your customers, you’ll keep them focused on their goals — and on the fast-track to success.

Don’t Let Your Customers Get in Their Own Way

Overall, Robbins’ message is that our minds are often our biggest obstacle along our path to success.

This is extremely important to keep in mind when engaging with our customers, as it’s often the reason they end up fading away from your business. Even if the product or service you offer is top-notch, your customers can easily get in their own way — causing them to miss out on all you have to offer them.

To combat your customers’ human nature, it’s vital that you:

  • Paint a picture of their future lives after achieving their goals
  • Pave a path to enable them to reach their goals
  • Provide motivation and encouragement throughout their journey to success

In turn, your customers will be ready, willing, and able to take full advantage of everything you have planned for them.

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