Howie’s Marketing Self-Assessment Tool

Save the dates: February 23 and March 2, 2009, from 10-11am EST, for a two-part telecourse on AdWords Checkmate. Learn an advanced technique for doubling CTR and conversion rate – even (heck, especially) in highly competitive markets. Check it out…

The nice thing about a website is how easy it is to change.

The hard thing about a life is how hard it is to change. And how easy for that change not to stick.

So when I change – when I grow as a person, lose some fears, embrace new beliefs, etc. – I want to make sure my environment reflects and supports those positive changes. Including my website.

You see, when people contact me for coaching, or consulting, or to attend a workshop, what they know (or think they know) about me comes from my marketing material. The book (AdWords For Dummies, for those of you who are here accidentally and have no idea who I am), the website, my contributions to blogs and interviews and other products and so on.

I don’t want to broadcast an outdated message and attract clients who won’t be in sync with my current reality.

Some of the stuff I’ve done is just out there, and can’t be put back in the bottle. You can see all the iterations of my first site,, on the WayBack Machine at Like snapshots from a childhood, there are versions that make me laugh, cringe, crow in pride, and shake my head in amazement in how far I’ve come.

There’s nothing wrong with improvement – in fact, I always take solace in the fact that when I create a new web page, it’s the worst it will ever be at the beginning. Improvement is inevitable if I ask for feedback and pay attention to it.

But just as I update my resume and wallet snapshots of my kids, I want to make sure that my website represents my current reality. Not just the details, but the heart of my business.

So today I’d like to share with you just a few questions I’ll be using over the next several weeks as I update and upgrade my marketing messages at askhowie.

Website "Marketing Makeover" Queries

Is this page telling the truth? Is it still technically accurate? Is it missing anything?

Is there anything misleading on this page?

Am I focusing more on my own needs or the needs of my prospects and clients? In other words, is this page motivated by service or selfishness?

Am I speaking with confidence? Do I deeply believe my own claims?

If someone just reads this page and doesn’t convert, are they still better off than when they started? (Thanks to my coach Christian Mickelsen for that insight.)

Does this page try to get the sale by appealing primarily to the "lower self" of the reader, or to their better nature? In other words, does it elevate or suppress consciousness?

Am I teaching a technique that, when applied, supports or raises the standards of my client’s industry?

Does this page sound like me today? If I wrote it today for the first time, what would be different?

Not the same as split testing

This process is not a scientific march to higher conversions. It’s not a technical fix to a poorly performing site.

Instead, it’s an acknowledgment of my personal discovery that my business is a projection of my self. A trailing indicator of the person I keep becoming.

And the Queries listed above are my queries, not necessarily yours. They reflect my own journey – into greater self-confidence and away from marketing "trips and tricks" that sometimes substituted for true connection during my business odyssey.

I’m sure I’m missing some pretty important questions. But I trust that the ones I’ve listed will move me and my website in the right direction.

So my question to you is – what are your big queries to ensure your marketing is in sync with your being?

Please post to comments, if you’re inspired to share. Otherwise, feel free to make this an internal process (or to ignore it completely and go on with your day;).


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15 Comments. Leave a comment or send a Trackback.
  1. #1 • Ray Watkins said on February 17 2009:

    Is there a “sparkle” to my page, perhaps almost a “chuckle” that rises up from the fundamental delight in interacting with others who enjoy the chance to equip and be equipped for more effective living?

  2. #2 • Kian said on February 17 2009:

    Great posting. Will definitely abide by the principles and questioning on my website.

    Have a splashing week!!


  3. #3 • JB said on February 17 2009:

    “Content may be king, but Character bestows the divine right to rule.”

    Excellent !

  4. #4 • said on February 17 2009:

    Howie, you ask, “So my question to you is – what are your big queries to ensure your marketing is in sync with your being?”

    I’ve been in the payday loan industry quite a long time as a consultant. I have multiple web sites, a Blog… The payday loan industry is not particularly exciting and comes with a lot of derogatory connotations; “legal loan sharks” is but one!

    AS I read your book (Adwords for Dummies)and worked on my writing I began to get more feedback from my readers. Not long ago I wrote in my Payday Loan Industry Newsletter about a party in Newport Beach, California I attended with my girlfriend who is a dance teacher.

    The personal detail I included in that Newsletter caused my readers (several thousand) to respond with unprecedented feedback, inquiries, and sales. As time went on I learned it was forwarded to others in the payday loan industry who eventually subscribed as well.

    Your theory, “They reflect my own journey – into greater self-confidence and away from marketing “trips and tricks” that sometimes substituted for true connection during my business odyssey” is exactly on target!

    Thanks to you Howie, and a few others, I’m evolving into a smarter and much happier business owner who’s readers are better off as well!


  5. #5 • Mike Barr said on February 17 2009:

    Good post, Howie!

    I’ve been told that my website copy sounds like me talking. And, that’s exactly what I try to achieve. Website copy should sound like a conversation between you and the visitor.

  6. #6 • Alex Newell said on February 17 2009:

    “Does this page try to get the sale by appealing primarily to the “lower self” of the reader, or to their better nature? In other words, does it elevate or suppress consciousness?”
    – That seems to condemn 90% of sales pages which seem to be about fear or greed.

    It is such a relief to see reference to moral and spiritual matters in marketing.

    Thank You!

  7. #7 • Howie Jacobson said on February 17 2009:

    Thanks everyone for these responses. Alex, that query also seems to condemn at least half of my own sales material as well.

    For myself, I don’t always mind someone appealing to my greed – after all, greed is based in something beautiful and true – the desire for expansion. When it stops at the material level it often transmutes into something twisted, but very few people can pass straight to enlightenment until they’ve tried the other stuff – money, power, status, sex – and eventually asked, “Is this all there is?”

    Same with fear. In my case, fear has been a motivator to do things I’m very glad I’ve done. And I wouldn’t have responded to a “spiritual” approach at that point in my life.

    The key for me is, “will this marketing prevent the emergence of higher consciousness?” Or something like that.

    I’m not entirely clear yet – as I reread what I’ve written, I can’t find a line in the sand that separates OK from not OK.

  8. #8 • Alex Baisley said on February 17 2009:

    Lead the way Howie. These ways of seeing and being in business, are heart opening, and refreshing. I will revisit my webpages with your great questions. Thank you for them, and to the first posting from Ray – nice question there as well.

    Thanks folks,


  9. #9 • Jason Howard said on February 17 2009:

    I don’t really advertise this, but one of my favorite parts of running this business is transcribing audio related to an issue I care about myself and then asking clients if there are any organizations they support related to that issue.

    We make a list of these organizations and sometimes at a later date we make donations in the name of the client who shares our interest in a particular organization or issue. In some cases the donation we make will end up being larger than the amount of work the client actually paid for (which can be a pleasant surprise).

    This makes us happy. It makes them happy. It appeals to both of our higher natures. And it always reflects who I am at any particular time since I make the decision about where to donate. It’s not something that’s advertised, but it definitely exceeds expectations, and it leads to a lot of referrals! So we donate to a good cause and generate more business that allows us to do more of that.

    AdWords is great but it helps me relax a bit to know that, if we can generate lots of referrals, ROI through AdWords might actually be a lot higher than it looks at first glance.

    It was a little risky advertising ourselves as “a digital transcription service that shares your values,” but wow, being genuine really works! I don’t actually know our conversion ratio but when I look at analytics I can very accurately guess that for every 20-30 site views (and that’s page views, not unique visitors!) we’ll have one person contact us looking for work. And when I ask people why they went with us rather than any number of other options, they usually say something like, “Your company just felt right.”

    Very interesting insights about fear and greed, too. What a valuable post!

  10. #10 • Sheri Porter said on February 17 2009:

    Thank you for the reassurance. I have been running a maternity business for several years and really enjoy it. Being the mother of four, and one on the way, I feel like I can connect to my customers. Being on-line, makes me feel like I’m sharing part of myself. When we first took over the website, it just didn’t feel like me, or my style. Little by little, I am personalizing it more and more. I enjoy the business so much more when it reflects me and what I care about!

  11. #11 • Pete said on February 17 2009:

    Great post Howie! Sometimes I find myself getting too caught up in trying to write great copy, when I should be more focused on being “true” to myself and my audience. Thanks for the reminder and for the tips…very helpful!!!

    Wishing you good health,


  12. #12 • Baron said on February 18 2009:

    Thanks Howie for this post.There is always something new to learn from you.

  13. #13 • Ron said on February 19 2009:

    I have this infallible “sinking-feeling-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach” detector. I don’t know what causes it. (Antacids don’t help.) Thus I am reduced to constantly re-writing everything until it just goes away. And I never know why it goes away. The same applies to the features of my products. If my gut sinks, I have to keep thinking.
    Love your stuff. You’re workin’ hard for us.

  14. #14 • Glenn Livingston - Pay Per Click Search Marketing said on February 20 2009:

    “Does this page try to get the sale by appealing primarily to the “lower self” of the reader, or to their better nature? In other words, does it elevate or suppress consciousness?” ….

    Fascinating question. I hope people pick up on the marketing philosophy behind it

    Most marketers never consider the TYPES of customers they’re attracting into their business, nor what it will be like to service them day after day, month after month, and year after year.

    The truth is by appealing to people’s higher, self-actualizing, socially conscious, positive striving selves rather than their more base motives, … you’ll probably make fewer sales but have more content and satisfied customers to inspire you, intrigue you, and make YOU happier with your work.

    One of the benefits of having been a clinical psychologist before I was an online marketer is there’s perhaps no job where one feels the impact of the sales process AFTER the sale more than in a therapist’s office. If you sell too hard, or appeal to people’s natural desire for immediate gratification, you wind up with clients you can’t really help, who constantly complain, and who, in the long run, aren’t nearly as financially valuable.

    On the other hand if you more carefully screen patients and work hard to attract those who mirror your values, who you can REALLY help, everything runs more smoothly, every day is a wonderful adventure, and the finances take care of themselves (after some time).

    It actually took me a little while to get this online when I started marketing information products. Initially I didn’t think about how what these people saw on my website would impact what they would be like as customers after the sale. The illusion of anonymity (hiding behind my computer screen) made me think these people were just electrons flowing into my bank account, and I should get as many of them as I could to do so as long as I didn’t do anything unethical, illegal, or immoral.

    But I soon realized it wasn’t about getting the MOST clients, it was about getting the RIGHT clients.

    While I do REALLY LIKE money, I’ll take 10 solid clients who are in tune with my business and my values over 100 pains in the tush any day!

  15. #15 • Dr Paul Stephens said on October 16 2012:

    Excellent work by Howie here.

    Simply follow his advice, and I truly believe that your advertising results will improve dramatically.

    Simple, honest, genuine