Time to Start Backwards?

Updated: Feb 7

Or upside down, if you're into funnels. How to rethink your marketing & sales.


A blog about smarter, and often contrarian thinking in design, marketing, and sales to energize businesses leaders to beat the bullies.


A contrarian perspective can be so refreshing and insightful

"To put on another person's shoes, you first need to take off yours"

—unknown author

In the spirit of doing things in the wrong order, and discovering some benefits, too, I thought I'd share one of my tricks.

It started with high school art projects. I found that looking at artwork in the mirror immediately revealed flaws, and sometimes inspired big improvements!

As I evolved from artist to designer, and eventually to a marketer, my trick evolved beyond reevaluating things in a mirror. Now I often think about reordering design, marketing, and sales solutions backward and upside down also, to better empathize with an audience's perceptions. Over the years the method has uncovered countless and valuable ways to simplify and improve whatever was being considered.

Since almost everything we're asked to do here these days concerns online commerce or branding, I'm sharing the questions we use to assess a home page's content and find issues that impact performance. These can be modified for many other marketing efforts too.

Of course, every project is unique, so these typically get customized. I hope you find them helpful for your website and more.

Backward (or upside down) Home Page Story

Put yourself in the audience's shoes then ask yourself:

  • Who is this for?

  • Customers like me?

  • Why am, or would, I be a repeat customer?

  • Does it clearly present what I need and want?

  • Why did, or would, I buy, subscribe, or book the first time?

  • Was there a clear fit in the services/products/experiences presented?

  • Could I immediately access backup info and validation?

  • Did intangibles like feeling connected, sharing values, etc. make a big difference?

  • Why did I commit the time to consider the product, service, or experience?

  • Did the first impression make a difference?

  • Did I see examples that represented the outcome I sought?

  • How did I evaluate or validate the business?

  • Did I see evidence of their expertise (testimonials, certifications, awards, impressive customers)?

  • Did I learn their relevant backstory and core purpose?

  • Where did I hear or learn about the business?

  • Referrals? Promos, etc. Review sites? Social Media? Online ads, Print ads, Press stories, etc.?

  • Why hadn't my need been solved previously?

  • Uncertainty how to proceed? Perceived hassles? Perceived costs? Too little time? Wrong time? Too many similar solutions?

  • What was my problem?

  • Was it based on: Survival needs? Safety and security needs? Social and status motivations? Aspirations and fulfillment?

  • Could I act on it immediately?

  • CTAs: Call us, email us, chat, book a meeting/appt, subscribe, shop, create a wish list, place an order, etc.

  • Was assistance offered with links, chat, phone access, etc., offered?

For each question with an unsatisfactory answer, you can probe deeper and ask yourselves why? We've discovered some pretty exciting insights during this process. —Things right in front of our client's eyes, that became game changers for them, and their target audiences.

How we can help you with this process? We've developed some exercises and tools that leaders and teams can use to collaboratively rethink and reenergize what they're doing.

For more info, email me at: rob@addwater.com