Attract, engage, charm — inbound marketing or dating app strategy?

Jun 23, 2021 | Inbound Marketing, Mindful Marketing

Something that we talked about a few weeks ago in the Mindful Marketing Mastermind is the difference between marketing and selling.


It’s an interesting relationship between the two.


You can isolate them but if you only focus on marketing, what’s your end goal? And on the flip side, if you only focus on selling then will people actually know your business? Will you be left with cold selling or cold pitching? 


Outbound marketing (aka cold selling) 

My first job after grad school was in Business Development (code for Sales). I had to do several — not so fun — things around selling, like looking at a long spreadsheet of contacts to either cold-call or cold-email. And while I hated it at the time, it gave me a new perspective on the difference between the two (sales and marketing).


There’s often a reason why these are separate teams in bigger businesses.  They often involve a different approach or strategy.


Marketing is all about that long-term relationship and I love that one of the Mastermind-ers said, “I kind of think of them like a dating app. Marketing is all about swiping, reading the bios, seeing if there’s a connection, going on a second date. And the sales part is the actual…hook up.”


And because marketing is a long-term relationship, that means it may take several months to “see results.” Often bigger businesses don’t want to spend all that time on marketing so they go straight to outbound sales (i.e cold calling or cold emailing).


Interestingly, when we talk about stages in marketing it even has similar dating phrasing too— Attract, Engage, and Charm (if you Google the 3 stages of inbound methodology you’ll see something similar).


What are the 3 stages of inbound marketing?

I find that they are pretty self-explanatory but in identifying the stage that someone is in, we can begin to ask “Is this the time to offer my services? Or are we just getting to know each other?”


The first stage: Attract

People are noticing your business and brand! Developing different tools and techniques to attract people to your business is one of the first stages of inbound marketing (as a mindful marketer, I’m trying to find a better word for that but nothing is coming through. Maybe that’ll be a different post)

Here’s a shortlist of tools to attract. You don’t need to do all these, and it’s best if you focus on one or a few for a while to see what works.

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Videos
  • Website
  • PR
  • SEO
  • Podcasts (features)
  • Lead magnets

I would say the attract phase isn’t necessarily that stage to “sell” to people. This is the start of your relationship.

But what do you think? What have you seen work for your business or personal brand? What do you usually do to attract people to your business? It could even be old-school methods like posting flyers at a coffee shop.


The second stage: Engage

The right person is now engaging with your business and brand!

Collectively, in the mastermind, we all said this was probably the most challenging to keep up with. In a way, it’s easy to set up some systems in the attract stage but then actually engaging these people while continuing to offer something helpful can be tricky.

It’s natural for people to no longer need your services over time but if you never engaged them would they even stick around?

Here’s a short list in the engage phase.

  • Email
  • Email Automation
  • Personalized calling or text messages
  • Social Media (responding to comments, liking content, DM)
  • Following up (with email, phone call, text, or in person)
  • Having Conversation
  • Quarterly check-ins


The third stage: Charm (on the cusp between sales and marketing)

The right person now bought from you, soon to buy or will buy at a later time!

In order for them to take that final leap with you, your business needs to “charm” them in some way.

Here’s a short list of examples to delight or charm them:

  • Follow up email, calls, texts
  • Be yourself
  • Quality content
  • Nurture the relationship
  • Free events for people you’ve already engaged with
  • Automation (emails, texts)

 How to set yourself up for success in these stages

To start, explore some question that can serve as metrics or benchmarks to know if you’re on the right track or something has fallen off:

  • What am I willing to do for this stage?


  • How will I know my efforts are working in this stage?


  • What feels challenging about this stage?


  • What feels good about this stage?


  • Can I identify a person/client/follower in this stage?


What happens in a real-life context

When I’m working with clients on a monthly strategy I’m usually working within the attract and engage phase. But personally, in my own business — I was honest with the Mastermind-ers and I’ll be honest with you too — I’m not doing any of these stages right now!

I’m focusing on working closely with the one-to-one marketing partners that I have and secondly being present with the Mastermind cohort.

It’s ok if we’re not always producing or creating or converting or marketing. As a solopreneur with a part-time assistant, I don’t have a team to split all these stages up with (hopefully I will soon though! gotta keep the vision growing).

Now that Mastermind cohort is complete, I’m taking some time to reassess and rest and can’t wait to see what comes through to offer in these stages.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels



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