tara gentile - how to unlock the door between before and after

Tara Gentile is known for helping people grow terrific businesses — without sacrificing ethics or heart.

Tara works with “idea people” — people who have an idea that they want to turn into a product, program, or service, but who may not always see themselves as business owners or marketers. She helps her audience and clients find the right business models, craft marketing that resonates, and structure their businesses for profit.

She calls her approach the Quiet Power Strategy — and it’s a complete reversal of a lot of the “cookie cutter” advice you sometimes see around digital business.

Listen and observe

A while back, Tara spoke with Rainmaker Digital CEO Brian Clark about how to thoughtfully observe your audience in order to strengthen your business.

Listen to Win: How Actionable Observation Provides Profitable Answers

Brian and Tara share a deep focus on listening in order to uncover audience interests, fears, and desires. When you master this, everything about your business starts to work better.

It’s also the key to marketing that doesn’t feel pushy or creepy — because you’re speaking directly to the problems and concerns of your audience, using their own language. Marketing becomes a direct expression of audience empathy.

Listening is the key to building a business based on service rather than selfishness.

“I see [listening] as probably the biggest thing that’s keeping people from creating marketing that works and products that sell easily … and sales processes that don’t feel slimy.” – Tara Gentile

What do they care deeply about?

In Tara’s world (and ours), the journey always starts with the deepest goals and concerns of the audience.

“How are you going to help them go from before to after?” – Tara Gentile

Tara’s process unearths what she calls the Target Conversation. Who are the people having this conversation, and what are they actually talking about?

Most of the time, the road from their problem to the solution you offer isn’t a straight line; it’s a series of somewhat meandering connections. This sequence of relevant ideas will click with the people in your audience where they are right now — not where you wish they were.

Tara calls this step Connecting the Dots: starting with where they are today, then moving purposefully to the next dot … and the next, and the next.

In this way, you create a clear path between your audience’s problems and your solutions.

Solving audience problems … even if you aren’t a renowned expert

“Don’t call yourself an expert … just be helpful. If you’re two steps ahead of your audience on the journey, you’re still a leader.” – Brian Clark

Tara and Brian share the conviction that a business that’s built on solving specific audience problems is far more powerful than starting with a notion of some abstract “market.”

“When you look at real people with real problems — or with real desires — they’ve got blanks. There’s something missing that isn’t allowing them to accomplish what they want to accomplish … There’s sort of a locked door between that before and after … And we’ve got insight into how to open it.” – Tara Gentile

Once you adjust your approach to focus your business’s marketing and products on customer problems and the solutions to those problems, you’ve set yourself up for success.

How to approach writing a promotion

“My best tip for copywriting is to feed your customers’ words back to them … They want to know that you’ve actually thought about what their problem is.” – Tara Gentile

First, Tara listens for the themes and language that come up again and again for her audience. Her promotional copy is then crafted to provide answers and solutions that speak to those specific issues.

She builds each sales page around a single key insight that’s arisen from conversations with her audience and customers. That gives the promotion focus, connecting Tara’s expertise directly to what’s most important to her prospects right now.

Promotions crafted this way stand out from the general background of noise and clutter that we see every day on the web and in our inboxes.

“The opposite of quiet isn’t loud; it’s noise.” – Tara Gentile

Let Tara walk you through her process: 7 Ways to Listen to Your Audience

We’re so happy that Tara will be joining us this October in Denver, Colorado at our live Digital Commerce Summit.

Here’s what Tara had to say about the presentation she’ll be teaching:

“It’s time to stop guessing about what digital product to create (whether it’s your first or your next). It’s also time to stop wasting time and money building the wrong products (i.e. the ones people don’t buy). Learn seven distinct ways to listen to your audience and build a system for turning what you hear into profitable offers. You’ll never have to guess about what people want to buy again.”

Tara’s process is applicable to any business — from selling a single ebook to running a multi-million dollar SaaS.

Join us October 13-14 for a carefully chosen curriculum that will give you the momentum you need to level up as a digital entrepreneur. Tara is just one of 15 speakers who have walked the walk. Over two days, we’ll teach you how to take your digital project to the next level — or how to get something new off the ground.

Click here to get the details and snag the best price on your tickets.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!


  1. Bob Bly says

    There are 3 positions to take: 1. You are the expert. 2. As Brian says, you are learning with them but are a few steps ahead. 3. You are a novice and exploring the subject and invite them to explore along with you and learn together. These were first articulated to me by Nick Usborne. In copywriting I take #1 and in Internet info marketing I tend toward #2.

  2. Sonia Simone says

    Tara delves into that question in some interesting ways in the interview with Brian. And of course we’ve talked about it a lot on Copyblogger.
    The way I usually frame it is: authority comes from your ability to help your audience. The specific positioning you may have an an expert — the “flavor” of expert you are — will flow from that.
    So to take you as an example, Bob, not only are you certainly a #1-level expert, but you’re also a #1-level authority (in the marketing sense that we use here) because you’ve done so much copywriting teaching. In other words, not only can you do it at an expert level, but you’ve also shown that you can help others as well.

  3. Daniel Z. Chohfi says

    I’m eager to see Tara talking along with all the presentations at DCS!

  4. Sonia Simone says

    I’m so, so pleased that we’ll see you there, Daniel!
    I may be doing just a bit of a happy dance right now …

  5. Matt R. says

    I agree, Tara may push me over the edge to go although timing may be tricky. We shall see, either way, thank you for sharing Tara!

  6. Sonia Simone says

    Well we’d love to see you there.

  7. Seth Morrisey says

    I have personally worked with Tara on a video shoot in Astoria Oregon and I can attest for her being the real deal. While on set filming, I had the opportunity to listen to her 2 hour presentation on the Quiet Power Strategy and it was great information! If you ever have a chance to see Tara live I highly recommend it!

  8. Mauricio Gatgens says

    Worst Idea for blogging: Calling yourself an expert even though you know you’re not.
    Seriously, nothing gets to my nerves as deep as people who call themselves experts and excell in proving to you that they’re not.
    I’d rather keep learning and improving my skills and helping people who want to go through what I’m going through, no need to proclaim myself as a guru….you’re better off just being helpful.
    Great post, Loved it

  9. Sonia Simone says

    Agree, that’s why I pulled that quote from Brian from the interview. If you’re really an expert, let other folks be the ones who say so.

  10. Cody Martens says

    I’m a firm believer that your clients will tell you what they want and need if you listen long enough. They will literally offer up exactly what you can do to help them!

  11. Don Mead says

    So True! You also have to demonstrate that you heard what they said and you comprehend it. This is what you told me you expect and this is how I can fulfill your expectations.

  12. sai kiran says

    I’m eager to see Tara talking along with all the presentations at DCS! i totally agree with this comment and nice article on the present situations an article has to be indetail with all the factors inclueded like the one above.
    thanks for sharing knowledge

  13. Feeding reader’s words back to them is a great tip! We’re tech entrepreneurs so blogging is kind of new to us. Our social media presence has really taken off so it’s interesting to see how much we can understand our audience. Thanks for the tips!

  14. Amanda Carr says

    Thanks Sonia,
    Very useful interview with Tara. I think that feeding your customers and showing that you have thought about their problems is really important. Getting personal and close to them is what makes success. Quite good interview overall.

  15. Sounds like really an interesting matter will go on at DCS. Well, looking forward to more details about Tara and one thing to say, thanks for sharing it here.
    Nice information.

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