Make Marketing Suck Less

Expertise Matters: Defying Marketing Topes In Online Business


Have you ever thought that one of the reasons that you're hesitant to market and put your expertise out there is because of the way we're taught to market in the online space.

Because what we're taught is not for you, especially if you are an expertise-based business that's been doing it for a while.

What works for the masses doesn't work for you.

On this podcast, we're diving into 3 big messaging tropes that you commonly hear in online business that don't work for expert-based businesses like yours and what you should do instead.

(Click play or read the transcript below.)

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The ineffectiveness of traditional marketing strategies
  • Three messaging tropes that do not work for experts
  • Alternative approaches to showcase your expertise so your business is seen

Learn more about Michelle Mazur:

Resources mentioned:

Listen on your favorite podcast player or read the Transcript below:

Michelle Mazur [00:00:00]: Have you ever thought that one of the reasons that you're hesitant to market and put your expertise out there is because of the way we're taught to market in the online space.

Because what we're taught is not for you, especially if you are an expertise-based business that's been doing it for a while.

What works for the masses doesn't work for you.

So, let's talk about it. Today, we're gonna dive into 3 big messaging tropes that you commonly hear in online business that don't work for expert-based businesses like yours and what you should do instead.

Let's dive in.

Michelle Mazur [01:00:]: Welcome to Make Marketing Suck Less. The podcast that knows marketing is freaking hard, especially when you're a solo business owner trying to juggle it all. I'm your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, author of the 3 Word Rebellion and founder of the Expert Up Club. Forget the latest marketing fads and tactics promising social media stardom. I'm here with research-backed strategies to help you clarify your message and get twice as effective with your marketing. And while I can't promise you'll ever love marketing, I'm here to make you hate it a tiny bit less.

Michelle Mazur [00:01:32]: I asked the members of the Expert Up Club, what is some marketing advice that they received from coaches and other programs that just flat out didn't work for their business. And, oh my gosh, I got an earful. There were so many great ones that I'm going to need to revisit this topic on a semi-regular basis. But what I learned is there's a lot of messaging advice, and there's a lot of marketing tactics and strategies that are taught that tend not to work for expert-based businesses.

Michelle Mazur [00:02:20]: So first, I wanted to focus on messaging tropes because I love talking about message strategy, and I also have a lot of experience with these tropes. It's early on in my business. And these things are supposed to make your marketing easier, but for experts, it makes us feel like people don't care about expertise. They just want to hire the person with the shiniest marketing that people don't want nuance. They just want quick fixes and silver bullets and overnight success. They want business that is easy, fast, and lucrative. And us experts, we know, oh my gosh, that's not how any of that works. Right? So here we go.

Michelle Mazur [00:03:14]: Let's talk about the first messaging trope, “Rags to Riches Stories.” I will never forget this. When I started my business, I signed up for a 3 part training series from Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula. Now at this time, I didn't have a product to launch, but I thought, okay, I'll get some good information. And I remember watching the first training and he said, “Hey, if you're not an expert, it's not a problem. What I recommend you do is have an overcoming story where you talk about a big obstacle that you overcame and that's the thing that's giving you credibility to teach what you're teaching.” And I remember sitting there, and I was like, seriously? Seriously. People don't want to work with experts.

They wanna hear these overcoming stories. And then the story that he gave was the formulaic rags to riches story where, you know, you are down on your luck. You spent your last dime, $100,000 in credit card death. You're sleeping next to your brother's toilet. Then you start your business and magically, you're making all of this money overnight. And for most of us, we don't have stories like this. Not to even mention in 2024, this shit doesn't work anymore. Right? Like, we see through these rags to riches stories.

Michelle Mazur [00:05:01]: So we're not going to fabricate one, and, really, we should not be telling stories like this. They do not work for real experts. The reason your people will want to hire you is because you know what the hell you're doing. So what should you do instead? Tell a story about your expertise and how it benefits people. Right? So when I do presentations, whether I'm in another person's group or I'm speaking to an audience, I have a story about my expertise and I boldly show what makes me a credible expert. On a slide, outlining the PhD, my years of experience running this business, how many people I've worked with, my years in corporate that speak and inform the work I do today. Right? Like leading with the expertise, but not only that, showing how that expertise actually benefits your audience and your right-fit clients. That is always going to be a more powerful way to position yourself as an expert and also position yourself not as like, oh, look at me, how smart I am.

But as someone who can show the clear benefit that their expertise has for the people they're talking to. So rags to riches stories in the word of Seth Meyers, You're Burnt. Let's not do them. They don't work for experts.

Michelle Mazur [00:06:50]: Now messaging trope number two. If you're a fan of my sister podcast, Duped, that I cohost with Maggie Patterson, you've heard us talk about this one before - “Income Claims.” I remember when I first started out, people told me that if I was talking about the results my clients get, that it has to be a number or an event.

That's what you need to know about. It needs some be a number like I made $500,000 from my launch or I landed a six figure book deal, but it had to be big and it had to be tangible. We're still in this era where we see people talking about their income all the time. And for experts in our heads, we're like, wait. Why is my income relevant to how I can help you? Like, how I can solve a problem? And the thing is, it's not. So I saw a post the other day that really pissed me off. This person was talking about income claims and she's like, I know income claims are problematic. They're not ethical, but every time I talk about how much money I make, I make sales.

Yeah. I'm sure you do. And let me explain why.

Michelle Mazur [00:08:12]: Because when you talk about how much money you make, people will think if I do what she does, then I will make that much money. That's a load of bullshit. Right? And also, there's this idea that Jay Clouse brought up the other day about marketing with envy, that people use income claims or, like, look at how big my audience is. Here's how I do it because people will see it and be like, “Oh, I want what that person has.” Right? It makes them envious.

Michelle Mazur [00:08:47]: But as experts, you and I don't want people to hire us because they want what we have. Like our lifestyles, how much money we make, how bare our audiences are are really irrelevant to our ability to deliver results. You want people to hire you because you're useful. You solve a problem. You're making their life better in some way. So income claims, you're burnt. Let's not do them. But what we should do instead, and I love this framing of thinking about the typical versus possible results that we get our clients.

Michelle Mazur [00:09:33]: So typical results are things that everyone who experiences your work can experience. And then what's possible, the results that some people experience. They're kind of the results not typical, but they can make compelling stories, but you have to frame it this way, typical vs. possible. So example, typical results for people who are in my community, the Expert Up Club.

Michelle Mazur [00:10:04]: Number 1, they stop either over-marketing, which is doing too much marketing, or undermarketing, which is not marketing at all, their business. So they find that just right point where they feel like they can show up and confidently market and lead people to their offer. They show up with more confidence in their marketing and message because they know how to translate their expertise so that ir resonates and it's relevant and people see the need for it. They also know what to say to lead people to their work. It helps them own their own expertise. So this is all typical stuff that people accomplish.

Michelle Mazur [00:10:47]: Now, there's other possibilities that happen in the Club. There's a lot of collaborations that happen in the Club. Some of those are business collaborations where people are going in on an offer together and creating something together. Other times, it's just podcast collaborations, email swaps, lead magnet swaps. It's all possible because they're building relationships. The other thing that's possible, other people hire them in the club. Business happens. It's cool. Can't say it's gonna happen for everyone, but it does happen because people who are also experts want to hire experts, and you can find that in the Expert Up Club.

And then there's pivots happening. There's rebrands happening all inside the Club. And so those are what's possible when you have this community of support and when you know what to say in your marketing and you have a strategy that you don't freaking hate. Right? Alright. So income claims, experts, you don't need to do it.

You don't need to traffic and like, look how great my life is and how big my audience is. There's a better way. And that's by talking about the typical impossible results you get your clients. So income claims, you're burnt.

Michelle Mazur [00:12:07]: Alright. Before we move on to trope number 3. If you're listening to this episode, nodding your head and thinking, “Wow. Yeah. That BS never worked for me. In fact, it felt really terrible.” Are wondering how you can show up and market like the expert you are? The Expert Up Club might be a great place for you. It's a curated community where experts become recognized and sought after leaders in their niche. This community is tailored to solo business owners who've been at it for quite some time. The Club is a “choose your own experience” place. I pride myself in tailoring the support you receive in the Club to what your business needs. And on April 9th, we are having our live quarterly marketing retreat where we'll get your marketing strategy sorted and your 90-day marketing plan that results in sales done and dusted.

Michelle Mazur [00:13:10]: So if you wanna join us, go book a private tour of the Expert Up Club so I can show you around and show you how the club could support your business. So that way, you can make an informed decision about whether or not the Club is right for you. The link to book your private tour is in the show notes. So, just open your podcast app and tap into the show notes, and you'll see it there. Or you can always go to expertUp do Club.

Now let's get back to our final messaging trope that makes me want to walk into the sun.

Michelle Mazur [00:13:46]: And here it is. “If it worked for me, it will work for you.” Fuck all the way off with that BS.

There is so much marketing that is based in personal experience. Like, this is how I built my business. This is why I'm pivoting, and I can show you how to pivot your business too. There's nothing wrong with building in public, like giving people the behind-the-scenes tour of what you're doing in your business. The issue comes when the programs, the courses, the memberships, the communities that are being sold are built on one person's personal expertise with an underlying message of “if it worked for me, it can work for you.” And I think when experts hear this message being taught, they feel like their expertise doesn't matter, that the years of experience, the accreditations, the education, the work they've done with their clients, like, none of it matters because it's all about personal experience. And I am here to say that that is not true.

Michelle Mazur [00:15:17]: We need experts to have more nuanced conversations about what works and why it works. Because what these, “if I can do it, you can do it for you,” messages are basically saying there's, like, one way to do things. There's one true right way to market your business or to build your business or to live your life or to get to success or to have your morning routine, whatever it is. And experts know that that is not true. And social media, I know it's a terrible place for team nuance, but what you should be doing instead, yeah, share the behind-the-scenes in your business, but then you can also share the nuance tape like, “Hey, what I am doing might not work for you because it's based on these different variables.” Right? Like, one of the big things I talk a lot about is audience growth. And there's so much mass marketed, one size fits all audience growth. And the truth of the matter is, depending on your business model, you might not even need an audience at all and that's a more interesting message that demonstrates your expertise.

Michelle Mazur [00:16:36]: So “if it worked for me, it will work for you.” You're burnt. We don't have to market that way. We can market in a way that showcases our expertise. Because at the end of the day, I want you to own your expertise. I want you to stop listening to the mass marketed advice and realize that you can market on your own terms. You can create your own strategy, have a compelling and persuasive message that helps you stand out and undercut all of those pseudo experts out there. So you don't have to use any of these messaging tropes in order to successfully, effectively market your business.

Now, next time, we're gonna talk about owning your expertise because I feel like that's another reason why experts struggle to get out there and market. Because Number 1, as we talked about, sometimes we don't think people value expertise, but your right client does. So let's talk about that journey of how to own your expertise.

Michelle Mazur [00:18:00]: If the Make Marketing Suck Less pod is making your marketing more effective so that your clients can find and hire you, please share the show with a friend. The easiest way to do that is through pod link. You can find the show at, and that page will allow anyone you share the show with to subscribe and start listening in their favorite podcast player.


The Make Marketing Suck Less podcast is a production of Communication Rebel. Our production coordinator is Jessica Gulley-Ward. The podcast is edited by Steven Mills, our executive producer is me, Dr. Michelle Mazur.

The make marketing suck less podcast is recorded on the unseated traditional lands of the coast salish peoples, specifically the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish people, original stewards of the land, past, and present.

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