How to Market Effectively: Lessons From Donald Miller at BMS

Marketing sells products, so effective marketing translates directly into success. Many businesses have difficulty with marketing because they aren’t sure where to start or how to turn leads into customers. This overview will walk you through the best way of marketing your products and services according to Donald Miller, CEO of Business Made Simple.

The Sales Funnel

Creating a sales funnel or a customer journey is a great way of building relationships with customers and getting them to engage more with your products and services.


A well made sales funnel helps you build trust with your customers and allows them to become familiar with your business, which makes them feel more comfortable. Repeated interaction is what builds trust — after all, nobody trusts someone they just met. As Donald notes, “there’s incredible power in a customer seeing your company’s name over and over.” The sales funnel also helps your business implement new messaging quickly without a lot of disturbance. This is because of the way the sales funnel is set up. According to Donald, there are four main components:


  • A one-liner: A single sentence that catches interest and makes people curious about your product or service.
  • Direct and impactful landing page: A straightforward and attention grabbing website.
  • Lead generator: Something of decent value to offer people in exchange for their email address.
  • Email campaign: Consistent emails over the course of several weeks, months, or even years to build familiarity and trust.


Start With a Powerful One-Liner

Powerful One Liner

Donald defines a one-liner as “a sentence designed to pique a customer’s curiosity about whether they need your product or service.” Instead of just saying what your business does or what you sell, you want to set up your one-liner as an attention-grabbing and engaging story. This can be done by treating the customer’s problem as the hook at the start of the sentence, followed by the solution (your product), and the happy result.


This should be short and succinct, and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. For example, a freelancer that creates wedding invitations might have the following one-liner: Planning weddings is incredibly stressful, and it’s impossible to accomplish it alone. With my completely custom calligraphy service, your guests will receive beautiful invitations and you can spend more time focusing on what really matters: the love of your life. 


The above one-liner introduces a relatable problem, positions the product as the solution, and paints a happy picture as a result. Putting your one-liner wherever you can, including business cards, emails, and on your website will help people memorize it and take it to heart. As Donald says, a one-liner is “a short story that you’re trying to get people to memorize.”

What’s on Your Website?

Your landing page should be a summary of what you are offering your customers and why they need it. While branding is used to help people feel a certain way or influence perception, marketing is used to make sales. This is why the main focus of your landing page should be enlightening your customers to the ways in which your products will improve their lives. 


Donald makes it very clear that “your landing page is a sales pitch,” it’s not a place for paragraph upon paragraph of information about the history of your business. He shares the three questions that customers need to be able to answer very easily: What are you selling? How does it make my life better? How do I buy it? People process information rapidly, and you need to be able to ask and answer these important questions as clearly and quickly as possible.

Make Lead Generators Enticing

The word “newsletter” is everywhere nowadays — businesses in every industry try to encourage people to sign up for newsletters in order to acquire leads. As Donald says, “nobody signs up for ‘vague’.” To generate more leads, you have to offer something more enticing, and you have to be specific. 


If you’re a meal service, will you send a list of delicious recipes every week? If you’re a language learning app, will you hold a live event or post a free, short education series for those that sign up? In order to earn the email addresses that turn into leads, you must pique curiosity and offer something of value.


Donald outlines the three stages of a customer relationship as curiosity, enlightenment, and commitment. Foster curiosity by making your lead generator attractive, enlighten the customers by showing them the value that you can provide, and get commitment when they decide to 

purchase from you.

Email, Email, Email


Once you have leads, use them. Making your business’s name recognizable to people is a large part of the battle. This can be done through consistent emails, as repetition gains people’s trust. It may seem futile to send email after email with no commitment from leads, but as Donald states, “you want to be known to your customer when the window opens in which they might be willing to buy your product.”


This is an incredibly important statement. A lot of the time, you aren’t marketing to get immediate sales, but you are priming people for purchasing from you when they are in the market for your product or service. To stay consistent and stick in people’s minds, Donald suggests sending emails at least once a week, and highlights how important it is to add a call to action at the end of every single one.


The entire point of marketing is to make you money. When you market effectively, you create valuable relationships with customers over time. Be direct, straightforward, and always position your product as the solution to the customer’s problem. Once you have leads, don’t be afraid to email them — the worst they can do is ignore you!

If you loved this lesson from Donald Miller, click here to read another one of his lessons.