I had one of those "marketing lessons from everyday life" moments this morning as I made cinnamon sugar toast for my daughter.

If you've never made cinnamon sugar toast, the process goes something like this: toast bread, spread butter onto it, and sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on it. Pretty simple, but there are details that have to be done right for it to come out tasting the way it's supposed to.

Toast Your Bread

Cinnamon sugar really doesn't work on untoasted bread, and it's best if the bread is lightly browned. Too little toasting and it loses that satisfying crunch. Too much toasting and it gets dry and crumbly.

Your prospects are the bread. You'll get the best results selling to those who are ready for your product, but haven't already found a solution.

Spread the Butter While the Bread's Hot

The melted butter is what makes the cinnamon sugar stick to and soak into the bread. If you're off doing something else when the toast pops up and don't get the butter on quickly, it doesn't melt in very well. And sugar on unmelted butter creates an unpleasant mixture of gritty and smooth -- not the experience you're aiming for.

The problem your product solves is the butter. For your message to stick and sink in, you've got to agitate the prospect's desire for a solution to the problem while they're hot.

Carefully Reheat if Necessary

If you don't get the butter on quickly enough and it doesn't melt in, you can pop it back into the toaster for a few seconds to melt it more. When I was a kid, my parents told me not to do this, because the melting butter might gum up the toaster. Rebel that I am, I spread the butter thin and ignored their warning.

Be careful not to re-toast for too long, or the other side of the toast will dry out or burn.

Your email autoresponder does your reheating for you. Prospects who weren't ready to buy get a bit more heat, and with luck, the butter melts in and the message sticks.

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
Ha! Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy your toast.
(join the conversation below)

One more thing: sometimes its enough to put the bread back into the toaster without turning it back on. That's like having a long sales letter with multiple calls to action. If the customer doesn't bite on the first one, warm them up some more and try again.

Add the Cinnamon Sugar

Once you've got lightly browned toast with a thin layer of melted butter, you're ready to sprinkle on a thin, even coat of cinnamon sugar. The ideal blend is about three parts sugar to one part cinnamon. Too much sugar, and you get sweetness without flavor. Too much cinnamon and it tends to bite back.

Cinnamon sugar is your message. The sugar is the emotional content -- stories, agitating the problem that your product solves, painting a picture of how their life will be different once they've got your product, etc.

People make purchase decisions based on emotion, and then justify their decisions with logic. The cinnamon is the logic -- the hard information.

Too much sugar, and your prospect will want a solution, but won't be convinced that your product can deliver it. Too much cinnamon, and you'll fail to capture their interest. The ideal mix for marketing your product may not be three to one, but that's probably a good starting point.

Cut It in an "X"

This step isn't necessary for everyone, but to get my daughter to eat it, I have to get her past the crust. I could painstakingly cut the crust off, but I've found that it's easier to just cut it in an "X" and let her eat it from the center.

The crust is your prospects' objections and concerns. If you hand them a slice of toast that's still ringed in them, they won't bite. To get them past the crust, you've got to address their concerns in one way or another.

"Toast is Ready"

It wouldn't do any good to make toast for my daughter if I didn't tell her it was ready to eat. Likewise, your prospects need a call to action to tell them what to do next.

So here's what I'd like you to do next:

  • First, leave a comment below.
  • Next, share this message with your friends and contacts (tweet it, "Like" it, etc.)
  • Then, if you'd like a slice of toast each weekday, use the form below to join my mailing list (you'll get an email whenever I post something new to the blog).
  • And finally, check your own cinnamon sugar toast and make sure you're toasting it to perfection, buttering it while it's hot, sprinkling the right mixture of cinnamon and sugar on it, dealing with the crust, and letting your prospects know it's ready to eat.

Happy toasting!