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Aug 9, 2018

On today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I welcome one of the best copywriters around, an award-winning designer, and a guy who knows his way around conversion rates and online marketing. Erik Stafford has won several AAF-ADDY Awards and ARDA Awards for his work, and now heads up Stafford Marketing, where he helps businesses define their brand, their tone of voice and all of the personality attributes a company needs to connect with their audience. This is a great episode of Just the Tips that you won’t want to miss.

“Hey I bought a circus today.”

Many of our guests start out in the corporate world and then get the bug to become an entrepreneur, but Erik has a truly unique background. His grandfather was a Russian immigrant who came over and worked his butt off and was the type of guy who would come home and tell his wife “Hey, I bought a circus today, or I bought a leather store today,” says Erik. So it was always in his blood. But growing up in Chicago, Erik took up graffiti art, and made money airbrushing jackets and more for gangs. But then he went to college as a fine art major, became a graphic designer, and eventually got into web design. All of this happens in the first five minutes of this episode of Just the Tips, so you know you’re in for a ride.

Creating beautiful online brochures for no one to look at

Erik did get a job as a web designer at an agency, and he learned quickly how to make beautiful websites and online content. But just as quickly he learned that he was making “beautiful online brochures” that would just sit there and no one would see. So he started digging around and learning about direct response marketing, and realized there was a better way to do things. So he was able to combine his experience doing brand strategy and brand voice, with the more action-driven angle of direct response, making him a Swiss Army knife of marketers.

What is an empathy map?

One of the fascinating things that Erik says in this episode is that he works with companies on building empathy maps. And what he means by that is creating an understanding of what motivates people, and what core emotions they’re looking to experience. And from there he builds a narrative that helps connect a company to that intended audience. The first step is building credibility, and from there it’s really fascinating how it all unfolds. Find out how on this week’s episode of Just the Tips.

How Hollywood impacts your marketing

Erik actually applies a Hollywood three-act structure to his clients’ work, meaning he tells them a story in a way that feels familiar to them, and ends with the action, the conversion, the company wants. It’s act one, the setup and the premise, act two is the climax or the confrontation, and then act three is the resolution. When you take an arc like that, that builds drama but has a payoff at the end, it’s something everyone recognizes even if they don’t realize they’re recognizing it. It’s a really fascinating breakdown, and the results speak for themselves. Listen to the episode!

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:44] Erik’s origin story
  • [8:26] How he became a brand strategist
  • [10:35] What is an empathy map?
  • [12:33] How storytelling is important
  • [16:19] The three-act structure
  • [23:15] How story archetypes play out in marketing
  • [29:47] How Erik audits a company’s marketing
  • [40:21] Be an ethical marketer

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Resources Mentioned

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