Welcome to my personal book notes of Marketing Made Simple by the author Donald Miller.

Let’s dive in.


  • Title: Marketing Made Simple
  • Subtitle: A Step-By-Step Storybrand Guide For Any Business
  • Author: Donald Miller (with Dr. J.J. Peterson)
  • Author’s website: storybrand.com
  • First published: 2020
  • Type: non fiction
  • Genre: marketing / branding
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Recommended: Yes

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Introduction
  • Part I - The Three Stages of Relationship
    • Chapter 1 - The One Marketing Plan You Will Never Regret
    • Chapter 2 - The Actual Stages of a Relationship
    • Chapter 3 - An Introduction to the Marketing Made Simple Checklist
  • Part II - Create Your Marketing Made Simple Sales Funnel
    • Chapter 4 - Create Your One-Liner
    • Chapter 5 - A Wireframed Website That Works
    • Chapter 6 - Lead Generator
    • Chapter 7 - The Power of Email
    • Chapter 8 - Nurture Email Campaigns
    • Chapter 9 - Sales Email Campaigns
    • Chapter 10 - How to Execute the Marketing Made Simple Sales Funnel
  • Conclusion

Key Concepts & Ideas

Marketing should be easy and it should work.

A sales funnel is the basic foundation of a good digital marketing plan.

A sales funnel is a way to capture and convert leads.

While there is more to marketing than a digital plan, your digital strategy, including your website, lead generator, and email campaign will serve as the foundation for all your other collateral.

This book is all about making the execution of a marketing strategy easy.

We can talk about marketing all day, but you will only make money on what you execute.

Most marketing plans do not fail in intent or philosophy of communication, they fail in execution.

People simply don’t get it done.

Not having a marketing plan cost me millions of dollars, serious international influence, and the chance to accomplish at least some of my dreams.

In short, there are five things I should have done twenty years ago to keep the momentum going.

And after I did these five things, I should have done them again and then again and then again.

They are ridiculously pragmatic.

The Five-Step Marketing Plan That Works

  1. Create a BrandScript. Clarify your message.
  2. Create a one-liner. Distill that message into a single sentence.
  3. Wireframe a landing page. Elaborate on that message and bring it to life on a clear and compelling website.
  4. Create a lead-generating PDF. Use a lead generator to capture emails.
  5. Create an email campaign. Earn the trust of people who give you their email address by sending them helpful emails that practically solve their problems.

This is a book about building a platform and growing a company.

I’m going to keep it simple and specific.

Following this simple, five-step marketing plan over and over is what built my company and rebuilt my life.

Once you create your first sales funnel, start working on the next one.

Ultimately, your marketing plan will consist of many sales funnels, each selling your products and services to varying demographics.

Donald Miller On Why People Have to Get Curious and Enlightened Before They Will Commit

Our five-step marketing plan will invite people into a trusted relationship with your brand.

Understanding the stages of a relationship is important because it helps us understand what our sales funnel has to accomplish.

The truth is relationships are built slowly.

All relationships move through three stages.

And, these stages cannot be rushed.

The stages of a relationship are:

  • Curiosity (you have something that can help them survive, “Can this person, product, or service help me survive?”, you meet somebody and you want to know more about them, you sense they can help you survive or thrive)
  • Enlightenment (get to know you more, how you can help them survive)
  • 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.

Curiosity And Marketing

  • the header on your website,
  • the subject line of your email,
  • the opening statement of your proposal,
  • the title of your lead generator,
  • your entire elevator pitch,
  • the first line of your keynote address,
  • and a thousand other things

need to succinctly express one of the ways you help people survive.

If they don’t, people will not listen.

Very little of what makes us curious is actually rational.

People don’t buy products, vote for candidates, or join a movement because they are thinking rationally.

If you look around, that’s pretty obvious.

Regardless, the point is this:

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

WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)

Your customers are not curious about you, they are curious about how you can solve their problem.

Most businesses make the enormous mistake of telling their story to their customers, as though their customers are somehow interested.

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.

Instead of telling your story, the first stage of your marketing plan should pique a customer’s curiosity about how their own story could be made better.

Stage 2: Enlightenment

This is the process by which your customer begins to trust you.

If curiosity is what gets us to pay attention to a brand, enlightenment invites us into a relationship.

I’m not talking about the “you’ll understand the meaning of the universe” kind of enlightenment:

I’m talking about the kind of enlightenment that helps us understand how something works.

An enlightened person is somebody who understands and an unenlightened person is somebody who doesn’t.

If you want customers to take the next step in a relationship with your brand, you need to enlighten them about how you can solve their problem and help them survive.

A Confused Mind Will Never Buy

Customers will not move into a fog.

Being confused about something is a vulnerable state.

A human brain is designed to experience pleasure when it understands something and fear or resistance when it doesn’t.

When somebody is confused, in varying degrees, they feel exposed to danger.

Therefore, people move away from situations in which they are confused and toward contexts in which they understand the situation and feel in control.

This principle is why politicians with repeatable, simple messaging statements usually win.

The answer to confusion is always no.

When you enlighten your customers, you lift the fog and help them see clearly how your product can help them solve their problem.

Stage 3: Commitment

The point at which your customer is asked to make a risky decision.

The two main reasons customers do not place orders are because:

  1. The brand never asked them for the sale, or
  2. The brand asked them for a sale too early.

The reason asking for a commitment too early in a relationship doesn’t work is because a commitment is risky, and taking risks works against our survival mechanisms.

Making our customers curious and then gradually enlightening them reduces the sense of risk and greatly increases the chance they will commit their hard-earned dollars on our products.

Our sales funnels should invite people into a journey that never attempts to trick or coerce them to make a decision they will later regret. That’s one of the keys to staying in business for decades rather than months.
- Donald Miller

It’s true you always want to be asking for the sale, but 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.

Always piquing their curiosity while enlightening them allows a customer to reject your offer while still asking to know more.

The key to marketing - and sales for that matter - is to invite the customer on a journey at the pace of a natural, healthy relationship.

The 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.

Depending on the kind of email campaign you are creating, you will continue piquing their curiosity, further enlighten them, and call them to action.

Intimacy and trust take time.

As you create your sales funnel, you will be piquing your customers’ curiosity, enlightening them, and then asking them to commit.

In your marketing copy, don’t be cute, be clear.

Simplify your message and repeat it over and over using the same language and customers will finally figure out where you fit in their lives.

Closing Thoughts

This concludes my personal book notes of Marketing Made Simple by the author Donald Miller.

My notes only cover small parts of the book, so if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

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