Business Tips from A Cinderella Story

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In this blog—I’m gonna break down what you can learn about website design & marketing from A Cinderella Story.

You’ll learn:

  • Why your industry may not be as saturated as you think 👑
  • What your ideal clients need to know when they first land on your website 🌯
  • Why you might be dealing with a lot of nightmare clients 🐟
  • How not to lose your flip phone at the Halloween homecoming dance 🤳🏻

(Never watched A Cinderella Story before or need a refresh? Click here for the summary.)

(PSA for this newsletter, I’ll be focusing on the OG A Cinderella Story movie & not the full series, because I haven’t seen all of them 😊)

Let’s start with the marketing & launch for A Cinderella Story.

A Cinderella Story premiered in July 2004 (this summer marks the 20th anniversary 🎉).

The movie is set during fall time but unlike some other movies (*cough* Hocus Pocus *cough*), even though the plot does sort of surround a Halloween dance, it’s not the central focus of the story per se—so premiering it in July actually worked.

Released at the height of Hilary Duff’s teenage career, the film almost wasn’t made until she signed on for the project. It premiered in theaters against movies like Spider-Man 2, coming in 4th at the box office.

BUT what’s really interesting is that it debuted during the same season that some other popular throwback princess-themed movies were released—like Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement & Ella Enchanted. <<< The latter of those 2 movies also has a Cinderella-based storyline just like A Cinderella Story.

And what can you learn from this?

Your industry isn’t too saturated—you’ve just gotta find what makes you different than everyone else.

While A Cinderella Story has a VERY similar theme to a lot of other movies, especially Ella Enchanted, it still works & stands on its own as an iconic nostalgic movie.

There are a LOT of people doing the same things as you (as far as deliverables go)—BUT your processes, personality, etc. can’t be replicated.

And if your inquiries for your services are mainly from not-so-ideal clients, it might be because you’re blending in with the crowd too much.

Which brings me to the stepmother in this Cinderella equation…

Fiona’s the definition of a nightmare client.

And if you’re dealing with a lot of nightmare clients who have ridiculous expectations (like Norwegian salmon in their pancakes or green lawns during a drought) & push your boundaries, trying to scoop-creep to get more than what you both agreed to.

^^^ That usually means either a) you need to charge more for your services, b) you need to have better processes in place than you do now or c) both.

Generally speaking, higher-paying clients are going to behave better than lower-paying clients—assuming we’re talking about the same *exact* service just at a different price pointe.

^^^ BUT if you don’t make it clear to your clients what’s to be expected of them during their project, it might not be all their fault if a nightmare occurs.

You’ve probably heard the saying before that to be unclear is to be unkind—well the same applies when you’re walking your clients through the project. And If your timelines & processes aren’t clear then you can’t expect your client to behave.

And while Fiona might be the perfect example of a nightmare client…

Rhonda is a classic example of StoryBrand’s definition of The Guide aka. *YOU*

While StoryBrand can be hard to follow as a solopreneur (or even a small team) for your website layout, the basic principles still apply. When someone lands on your website you need to GUIDE them fairy-godmother-style through not just how to work with—but also why they should work with you so that they can reach their goals.

Basically, you have to show how you can solve someone’s problem in a way that’s clear & easy to understand.

^^^ And that’s why you need to make important info, like your contact page easy to find.

The plot of the movie really wouldn’t have happened if Sam’s dad hadn’t hidden his will in the storybook from the beginning of the movie—BUT that’s not going to work when it comes to your website.

People in general have shorter attention spans than ever before—so you need to make your website easy to navigate AND key info easy to find. <<< If not people are gonna leave your website faster than Sam trying to make it back to the diner before midnight.

Here are some notable quotes & plot points from the scripts of A Cinderella Story that can help you with your website design & marketing.

Quote: Sam Montgomery: “My dad owned the coolest diner in the whole valley…it was the kind of place where diet was a four-letter word, & grease came at no additional charge.”

Business Lesson: The beginning of the movie does a great job of setting up the plot in approx. 2 minutes & 57 seconds. <<< And you need to do the same on your website, BUT in about 5 seconds someone needs to understand what you do & how it can help them when they first land on your website.

Quote: Hal & Sam Montgomery: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Business Lesson: When you’re first starting your business or testing a new offer—imposter syndrome is all too common. And it’s easier said than done to just do it scared. BUT that new whatever-you’re-thinking-about-doing idea as a way to serve your ideal clients, is on your mind for a reason. My advice? Just test the waters & see what happens.

Quote: Rhonda: “Bobby, enough with the salmon. You already made a salmon omelet, salmon

soup & salmon pudding. Come on.” & Austin Ames: “You’d think I’d remember those eyes.”

Business Lesson: Even though it’s kind of dumb that Austin doesn’t figure out that Sam is Cinderella wwwwaaaaaaayyyyyyy earlier in the movie—unlike Bobby with the salmon, your ideal clients are probably gonna be more like Austin.

While the marketing principle that it takes 7x for someone to decide to purchase from your business (which ironically was first coined by movie studios in the 1930s) may not be an exact science—I think it’s safe to say that someone will need to interact with your brand at least twice before they’ll hand over their $$$. <<< That’s why it’s so important to grow your email list so you can keep in touch with leads.

Quote: Andy Ames: “You’re throwing away your dream!” Austin Ames: “No, Dad. I’m throwing away yours.”

Business Lesson: This kind of goes along with what I said at the beginning of this newsletter—BUT what works for someone else’s business (or what people “think” you should be doing in your business) isn’t always the right fit for YOUR business.

Side Note: After rewatching this movie again, it’s much easier to see Austin’s dad’s perspective than it was in 2004 but I digress because this is not a movie review 😉

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