101 Marketing questions

How To Use This List:

Pick 10-15 questions.

Answer them as honestly and expansively as you can.

Follow your intuition. Trust the answers to lead you to make the right decisions.

Come back in three months and do it again, with the same or different questions.

Do that and you’ll have a better marketing plan than anybody I know. Including me.

1. What do I love to do so much that it doesn’t feel like work?

2. What parts of that activity are my favorite parts?

3. Is there anybody else on earth who might really dig doing the parts I don’t really dig?

4. Why are you different than all the other bozos who do stuff sort of similar to what you do?

5. Why are you BETTER than all the other bozos who do stuff sort of similar to what you do?

6. What’s wrong with your industry?

7. Can you fix it, even in a little way, even for only a handful of people?

8. Who really, really needs my product or service?

9. Who really, really WANTS my product or service?

10. What kind of person would I absolutely love to help?

11. How is that person different from the other people who are sort of similar to that person? (On this blog, I help people with really small businesses, yes. But I actually help people with really small businesses who aren’t jazzed by “normal” business advice. Go to the SBA! Fill out forms! Buy filing cabinets!)

12. How are the other bozos failing this person?

13. What, specifically, could I make or do that would blow this person’s mind?

14. More specifically, what would be their definition of perfection?

15. How could I let them know about it?

16. How can I offer it in a way they’d be crazy to refuse? How can I position what I’m offering concretely, so they know EXACTLY how their life will be better once they’ve sent me some money?

17. What could I write in my subject line that would make that person desperate to open my email?

18. What could I write in my signature line that would make that person desperate to click my link or call my

19. What very, very thoughtful thing could I do for that person to let them know I really like them? (Hint: contact management software comes in really handy here.)

20. What kind of sale could I offer that would make that person stop and pay attention? (Hint: Think of both the details of the sale — 50% off leather corsets until Thursday only — and the reason for the sale. A happy birthday sale might be more popular than a Black Friday one.)

21. What people could help me reach the people that I help?

22. What might people be typing into Google if they were looking for someone like me?

23. What might people be typing into Google if they DIDN’T KNOW they were looking for somebody like me? (People who need marketing consultants rarely know they want one until they meet one they like.)

24. What personality traits do I have going for me in my quest to help my right people?

25. What human resources do I have that will help me in my quest to help my right people?

26. What assets do I have that will help me in my quest to find my right people?

27. Where do my right people hang out online?

28. Where do my right people hang out offline?

29. What nice stuff might other people say about me if only I asked them to say it?
(Hint: You’ll get more testimonials if you ask for them.)

30. What could I do for the people who already dig me so that they’ll tell their friends about me? (Hint: Forget about money. Think niceness. And gestures.)

31. How could I use coupons for my product or service?

32. How could I use a time sensitive offer for my product or service?

33. How could I incorporate some kind of “buy one, get one” offer for my product or service? (Hint: It doesn’t have to be “buy Y, get another Y”. It can be “buy Y, get (much cheaper) X”.)

34. How could I say thank you to my buyers, referrers and chief champions?

35. Who could I team up with to create even more awesome stuff?

36. What can I give away for free that will make me look like the rockstar I am?
(Hint: Think stuff you do on the internet AND stuff you can hold in your hands.)

37. How can I get the people I’ve already got more involved in the process? (Maybe they’ll retweet you. Maybe they’ll stay up all night stuffing envelopes. You never know until you try.)

38. How can I improve my website so people will be more likely to go where I’d like them to go instead of wandering around aimlessly?

39. What could I do to be interesting to the media? (Hint: you’re probably already doing it. You just have to position it right.)

40. How can I encourage my current customers/clients/tribe members to give me their suggestions? (They’re really smart. Ask them stuff.)

41. How can I make my touch more personal?
(Handwriting instead of photocopying. Custom instead of auto DMs.)

42. How can I show everyone they’re important to me? (You know the dude with three Twitter followers? His money’s as good as anybody’s.)

43. What can I do now to get ready for the next 6-12 months? (It’s never too early to start thinking of your Boxing Day Sale.)

44. Where can I free up a little bit of money so I can put it back into marketing my ittybiz?

45. Why might my right people be afraid to buy what I sell?

46. Why might my right people be afraid to buy FROM ME?

47. What can I do to ease their fears?

48. What is my customer thinking about? (Hint: it’s probably not you. It’s probably whether they look good in that color of lip gloss or whether the funeral home will let them split the cost of their father’s wake over two credit cards.)

49. What is my customer worried about?

50. What does someone get when they buy from me? (Like, what do they actually get? Physically. In the box. Or the download. Or the consultation.)

51. What does that thing give them emotionally?

52. What does that something give them quantifiably?

53. How can I add to my product lineup so I can start offering products or services that are cheaper than my current ones?

54. How can I add to my product lineup so I can start offering products or services that are pricier than my current ones?

55. What other stuff could I offer to make me a one-stop-shop of awesome?

56. Is there anything about my buying process that’s a pain in the ass?

57. Is there anything about my lead generation process that’s a pain in the ass?

58. Is there anything about the actual exchange that’s a pain in the ass?

59. Is there anything about my after-sale process that’s a pain in the ass?

60. How can I make it even clearer how to buy from me?

61. How can I make it even clearer what customers or clients can expect?

62. How can I make my refund or exchange process even clearer?

63. How can I give a guarantee that makes my potential clients and customers feel completely safe?

64. Do I have too few options?

65. Do I have too many options?

66. What would make a really great bonus for my buyers? Blog readers? Referrers?

67. How can I suggest my customer or client buy something a little extra?

68. Can I afford to raise my price, even a little bit?

69. How could I give existing customers and clients a great deal on something extra?

70. What could I do to get over my fear of promoting myself and my awesome stuff?

71. What would I have to do to make my perfect customer say, “Holy ****, that was awesome service”?

72. How could I help out more in social media?

73. How can I make myself an indispensable resource?

74. What can I do that will make my perfect people want to thank me by buying my stuff?

75. How can I change my copy to make me a little more human?

76. What one thing could I do today to make one person like me more?

77. What mentor or peer could I thank today? Could I do it publicly?

78. Where can I eavesdrop to find out what problems my people might have that I could solve? (Hint: forums, blogs and magazines are good places to start.)

79. How can I make sure people don’t forget me? (Hint: People aren’t reading all your emails, direct mail pieces or tweets. Nothing wrong with saying it again.)

80. Where do the people I haven’t even thought of hang out? (Hint: Not everyone’s on Twitter or Facebook. Have we considered LinkedIn?)

81. Can I steal some tricks from my competition? (If they keep doing certain things, they’re probably working.)

82. Can I steal some tricks from businesses that AREN’T my competition? (Marketing and sales are marketing and sales. The person buying shoes is the same person who buys copywriting.)

83. What could my customer mean when they say they don’t have the money? (Hint: Just because they don’t have it now doesn’t mean they won’t have it later.)

84. Are there other methods of payment I could use to make buying easier? (PayPal. Credit cards. Checks. Dirty, filthy cash in an envelope. Payment plans. Discounts for not using payment plans.)

85. What’s the best thing I’m doing now, in terms of getting new leads, clients, or customers? Could I maybe be doing a little more of it?

86. What other groups of people might be interested in buying my stuff? (Ittybiz owners buy my books. So do my competitors. I make sure to market to both.)

87. Who has the money? (Hint: It’s just as easy to sell to rich people as it is to poor people.)

88. How can I make myself easier to get ahold of? (Hint: Not everybody likes email.)

89. How can I externally establish my expertise? (Hint: Think online AND offline.)

90. How can I stay in contact with my people more frequently without pissing them off? (A really, really good newsletter full of stuff they’re going to love is a nice choice here.)

91. How can I make my communication more personal? (Hint: People never want to be part of a group. Even in bulk mail, you can still write as if you’re only writing to one person.)

92. How can I make life easier for my customers?

93. Can I keep making their life easier, even after the sale?

94. What boring stuff haven’t I done yet? (Join the Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Association. Gone to a Meetup group. Put up flyers.)

95. How can I reduce my turnaround time? (This applies to shipping and deadlines, yes. It also applies to email and direct messages.)

96. What do I want to do by the end of today? This week? This month? This year? (Knowing what the hell you’re trying to do increases your chance of doing it, at least marginally?)

97. Is there anyone who could look over my marketing materials so I can get a second set of eyes without having to pay a pro?

98. Am I worth talking about?

99. What am I doing today that sabotages my success tomorrow? (There’s probably something you could be doing right now. Like, say, signing up for our Growth Guide?)

100. Are my colors, images and branding choices really doing their job? (It’s awful easy to go with pink just because you like it, but do your customers?)

101. How can I show my potential customers that other people dig me? (Social proof is good. It’s social. And proofy. Think: comments, testimonials, a high number of Twitter followers.)

102. How can I give people more than I promised?

What to do right now

A lot of people who read impossible-to-consume-all-in-one-chunk articles like these like to bookmark them so they can come back later. It’s not like you’re going to ask all 102 questions today, right? So don’t lose them!

Also, if you know anybody who’s thinking about starting a business or has a business but doesn’t really like the marketing part, forward this on to them. You might unlock something for them that changes everything.

35 Comments on 101+1 Marketing Questions For People Who Don’t Speak Marketing

  1. Andrew @ webuildyourblog.com
    November 3, 2009 at 7:41 am (7 years ago)


    Now the hard part – answering them.

    I can truly understand how answering just a few of these will help with my marketing. Thank YOU so much!


    • Naomi Dunford
      November 3, 2009 at 9:50 am (7 years ago)

      The trick is, just a few at a time. Or you spin round and round like a top and go nuts.

      Not that I’d know anything about that.

  2. James | Dancing Geek
    November 3, 2009 at 9:44 am (7 years ago)

    I got as far as Question 5 and suddenly realised I was ready for this. Thanks for the being the one to write it – as usual, I love the way you write!

    You may now continue to be awesome,


    • Naomi Dunford
      November 3, 2009 at 9:49 am (7 years ago)

      That is so awesome, James. I am so happy for you. I know it’s been a long road to here. :)

      How are the bunnies?

  3. Chris Elliott
    November 3, 2009 at 9:58 am (7 years ago)

    Here I was thinking I didn’t already have enough homework from you the past few weeks. I guess I will have to give up sleeping and watching Lost.

    Thank you for a very focusing and inspiring post.

    • Naomi Dunford
      November 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm (7 years ago)

      Nah, Lost is cool. It’s, what, 40 minute on the DVR? Sleep is like, 7 hours. Give up sleep before you give up Lost.

  4. Beth
    November 3, 2009 at 10:06 am (7 years ago)

    This might be the most useful post I’ve read yet.

    Thanks, Naomi.

    • Naomi Dunford
      November 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m so glad you liked it, sweetie.

  5. Sarah
    November 3, 2009 at 10:08 am (7 years ago)

    Oh this is very useful Naomi. Not just for me but for some of my clients. Good stuff. Loads to think about here.

    • Naomi Dunford
      November 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm (7 years ago)

      YES! Send clients! Send your neighbors! Send your mom! :)

    • Travis Allison
      November 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm (7 years ago)

      Exactly what I was thinking… I’m going to draw the attention to our clients to the article.

      Thanks, Naomi.

  6. RhondaL
    November 3, 2009 at 10:53 am (7 years ago)

    Wow, Naomi. Wow, wow and wow again. Any one of these could serve as one of your fabulous SpeakEasy “Get Off Your Ass” email nudged. And here they are, all spread out on a long buffet table. Thank you.

  7. Amber Shah
    November 3, 2009 at 11:16 am (7 years ago)

    Very cool. I’m on question 18 and already have more good/relevant stuff written down about my business than in any other book/exercise before.

    Thank you!

  8. Ingrid Tappin
    November 3, 2009 at 11:31 am (7 years ago)

    Thanx so much for this post! Its usefull for my business, for my clients and for that scary dream of mine to start take my own personal marketing and branding to the next level. Super!

  9. Andrea_R
    November 3, 2009 at 11:37 am (7 years ago)

    The only thing more awesome that this list is seeing I know the answers already to some of them. I just have to do it.

    You rock!

  10. Charlotte
    November 3, 2009 at 11:39 am (7 years ago)

    This r0xx0rz my s0xx0rz. Thank you ma’am.

  11. Laurie
    November 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m loving #77. What mentor or peer could I thank today? Could I do it publicly?

    Yes, I could.

    Hey, Naomi!

    You don’t know this yet, but your classes and content have changed the lives of me and my right people.

    Your stuff has improved the way I put my stuff out there, and helped me make my message so much easier to hear and find.

    And THAT means helping a lot more people get out of awful jobs and do work they love (which is what I do out here in the world).

    You deserve a big, shiny and sincere thank you. So, thank you so much, Naomi, for the very cool ripple effect of what you’re doing. It’s life changing, no exaggeration. Life changing for the much better.

    (Alternate thank you: margarita on the rocks at SXSW)

    Kudos, man.


  12. Nathan Hangen
    November 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm (7 years ago)

    This is perfect for me right now, as I’m trying to narrow my focus and specialize a bit more. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Susan
    November 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm (7 years ago)

    Wow! Just discovered your site and love this list. This is the season when I encourage my clients to start reflecting and planning for the year ahead. Your list will now become a part of my arsenal of tools as your humorous approach makes the planning and reflection process fun! I became a loyal follower today – blessings!

  14. Michelle
    November 3, 2009 at 1:22 pm (7 years ago)

    *reads list*
    *raises eyebrows*
    *emails to two different colleagues*

    And what do you know, we’re scheduled to have a company meeting within the next two weeks to go over a business plan for the new year…I think this will be something good to bring up. :-)

    Thank you, Naomi!

  15. Ali Hale
    November 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Okay, I may take back everything I’ve ever said against list posts…

    WOW :-D And thank you!

    Hey, can I now quit SpeakEasy and rely on this instead of the Get Off Your Ass emails? ;-)

  16. Geoff Heith
    November 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm (7 years ago)

    This is great…tough to do but good.

  17. Mick Morris
    November 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks Naomi…. this posted landed just as I’m doing some thinking about a couple of ventures and directions…I’m looking forward to using this post as the basis for some serious homework!

  18. Armando Leija
    November 4, 2009 at 2:42 am (7 years ago)

    Well ill not answer all of it, but i can see where it goes and is seems to me great !!!! also i read the book for making your brand and useful tricks for your bussines image i cant remember the name because i give it to my sister to start her bussines with new and classic ideas for it, but in the front page had a Absolut Vodka bottle sure it has a well desing and strategy because i remember from the bottle only!

    thanks !

  19. some other Naomi
    November 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Duuuddee. I’m totally printing this out an taking it with me everywhere I go.

    • Naomi Dunford
      November 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm (7 years ago)

      If you get really small font, you might be able to tattoo it somewhere. You’re artsy. You could totally make it work.

      • some other Naomi
        November 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm (7 years ago)

        Oh yeah. It could be like a cheat sheet on my inner left arm or something. Not that I would know anything about how that works. Not me.

  20. Christine Livingston
    November 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm (7 years ago)

    Hey, Naomi, this is a brilliant post! I’ve had to do a bit of commuting by train yesterday and today, so printed it off and have been working through it. Some fabulous and thought provoking questions. I haven’t got anywhere near the end yet, but thought I’d come up for air for a while and post a comment to say how much I’m enjoying the exercise.

    It has come at a brilliant time for me and is helping me get real focus on what to do next. Not only that, but it’s stimulating my creativity, and challenging me to plan not just for the next post, but in a strategic way over, say, the next six months.

    Fabulous! (Oh, I said that before…!!)

  21. David Walker
    November 4, 2009 at 6:16 pm (7 years ago)

    This is my first visit here and this is brilliant; food for contemplation. I’m a full-time internet marketer yet see I have my homework cut out for me. It’s a lot; 102 thought-provoking questions that make me look at everything objectively. I will be coming back. Thank you Naomi.

  22. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome
    November 5, 2009 at 10:02 am (7 years ago)

    I’m not bookmarking it. I’m copying and pasting all 101+1 questions into a Word document and each day as I work on my marketing stuff (yes I now dedicate a chunk of time each day) I’ll answer one question and incorporate it into whatever I’m currently working in.


    • Christine Livingston
      November 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm (7 years ago)

      Wow, that’s a brilliant idea, Alex. I’m going to copy it – just thought I’d say!

  23. Mark Keating
    November 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm (7 years ago)


    Thank you! once again, you demonstrate how full of awesome you are!


  24. Heidi Fischbach
    November 8, 2009 at 10:30 am (7 years ago)

    I love this list so much. I will post it to my facebook page and twitter. A wish: it’d be lovely if you had easy links to do that at the bottom of your awesome entry. You know, where you can simply click on twitter, facebook icons and off it goes, lickety split. (Of course, I could very well just be blind over here! There is that chance) Thanks again!

  25. Michael Hartzell
    November 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm (7 years ago)

    This list of questions can actually be the foundation for a class / webinar. Cover 10 each class session and do a series for 3 months.

    WOW backwards.


  26. Dree
    February 24, 2010 at 2:42 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you Naomi. This was when I needed this list. I’m getting somewhere tonight!