Archive for the 'Marketing' Category

Step Into Your Leadership Potential

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Whatever your business model, whatever your industry, your clients are crying out for your leadership. They want you to bring a community of like-minded people together to share creative ideas and solutions. They want to hear what you have to say on the subjects which are most important to them.

They don’t want to be brainwashed or bamboozled. But there are a lot of gurus out there who are talking loudly and urging people to believe that there is only one way to get the life you want: their way. You and I know there are many paths, many creative ideas, many elegant solutions to help people create the life and business of their dreams.

But if you don’t get out there and share your knowledge, wisdom and humanity with your clients, they have no choice but to listen to people who say, “There’s only one way.”

In the film, The American President, there is an incredible soliloquy on leadership:

“People want leadership. And in the absence of genuine leadership, they will listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”

What your clients want is to connect with you and your ideas.

They need to hear your voice and your unique ideas. Social media is a great way to do that. By blogging, by having conversations on Facebook and Twitter, by posting your videos on YouTube and your audio podcasts on iTunes, you share what you believe in with others who want your leadership on these topics.

Networking, giving speeches, teaching classes, and writing books are other great ways to spread the word. Design a webinar or run a mastermind group. Be creative.

Be the leader they seek.

If you believe strongly in something, don’t wait for someone else to step up and share their thought leadership. YOU are a thought leader, too. If it’s important, get out there and talk about it.

  • If there are rules that need to be broken — break them.
  • If there are better ways of doing things — show us.
  • If there are injustices in the world — fix them.
  • If there are things you’re passionate about — talk about them with your community.

And if there isn’t a community yet, create one.

As Seth Godin says, “You don’t need permission from people to lead them. But in case you do, here it is: They’re waiting — we’re waiting — for you to show us where to go next.”

So go out there in any way that appeals to you, find others who think and feel like you do, and create a community. Step into your leadership role. We’re waiting for you. And we want to follow you.

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Category: Marketing
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On Being YOU in Business

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A few years ago, a client (let’s call him George) asked me whether his marketing is “professional enough.” He was worried that his text was “too personal” and didn’t make his company look like a large company.

George is a very funny, likable, insightful person. His email newsletter is extraordinarily humorous and real. He’s always telling stories about himself and his nutty family in his articles, then relates those stories to the point of the article. George exposes who he really is to his customers and prospects, and they love him for it.

People are so numb to all the marketing that’s coming to them. Let’s face it, we ignore a lot of email and offers that come our way. When I asked George what his open rate was on this email newsletter (“open rate” means the number of people who actually open his email as a percentage of the total number he sent), he said his open rate was 75%!! Wow!!! In this day and age when 20% open rate is considered industry average, 75% blows me away.

You really want to form a personal connection with your customers and prospects. It’s crucially important for you to be you, whether you’re crazy or serious, spiritual or pragmatic. Let people know who you are and what you’re all about. Don’t try to hide behind a corporate exterior. Professional, yes, but not distant, remote or unapproachable. If there is more than one person in your business, it’s okay to say “we,” but don’t say “we” if it’s only you. (Why hide that you’re a one-person business? It’s a tremendous asset to be a one-person business!)

I’m so tired of faceless companies and I bet you are, too. I’m not saying that you should expose all your personal problems and foibles which might detract from your message, but exposing your personality really helps to build relationships. It’s a little scary to let people know who you really are, but it’s also honest and full of integrity.

Me? I’m a lot of things, some of which you already know, and some that might be a surprise:

  • I love being self employed. I’m an evangelist about it.
  • I adore being in nature and hate crowded, polluted places. The photo above is my husband and I one autumn, at the top of a mountain we hiked. We’ve hiked all over the place, from Cornwall, England to Yosemite National Park, and will continue to enjoy nature until the last breath leaves our bodies. :).
  • We bought a house in the country so that we could be in nature always. It’s heaven. Okay, the deer eating my flowers isn’t heaven, but the rest of it is.
  • I have a distinctive laugh that people seem to enjoy. Which is cool, because I love to laugh! My sister and I have the exact same laugh, and when we get together the energy escalates through the roof.
  • My family is loving, warm, supportive and totally insane. I couldn’t live without them.
  • My spirituality is simple: I believe we all are here for a reason, we all have gifts to give, and it’s our responsibility as humans (and souls) to give these gifts to the world.
  • I get angry at people who are being mean to others. Or are lying to others.
  • I love to share what I know, and when I learn something new, I love to tell others about it. This is sometimes annoying to my family who really don’t care about business plans or internet marketing. Spoil sports.

What about you? Who are you and what’s unique about you? What are you going to share with your customers?

So go ahead, be YOU!

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Category: Marketing
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Hand-Milked by Amish Farmers

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A few years ago in the grocery store, I had an epiphany of the effectiveness of marketing message and marketing differentiation.

My husband loves cheese — specifically cheddar cheese. He swoons over the decision about which cheese to purchase. He’ll stand in front of the display of cheeses in the market for ages and ages, reading each and every label, like he was choosing the next Nobel Prize winner.

I laughed so hard, my stomach hurt, when he rationalized his latest cheese-buying decision:

“Look. Right here on the label is says ‘Hand milked by Amish farmers.’ It must be great cheese.”

‘Nuff said.

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Category: Marketing
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The Value of Double Opt-ins

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When creating an email mailing list, there is a feature you should consider using: the double opt-in.

A double opt-in works like this:

  • First, a person who wants to be on your mailing list either fills out a form on your website or gives you their email address in some other way. That’s the “first opt-in.”
  • Second, the mailing list system sends a confirmation email to them, asking them to click a link to confirm their email address and that they really DO want to subscribe to your mailing list. That’s the second or “double opt-in.”

These are my thoughts on double opt-in:

Pros

  1. In the end analysis, it’s a good thing.
  2. If you want to be GDPR-compliant, double opt-ins ensure that the person who signed up for your mailing list actually wants to hear from you. This prevents (or, at least, reduces) the number of fake sign-ups from harvested lists via form bots. Some mail providers like MailChimp, are requiring double opt-in for EU-based subscribers as a way of complying with GDPR. By using double opt-in, you’re ensuring you have the subscriber’s consent, and that’s the rule in GDPR that you need to pay attention to. Note: I have not seen any wording in the GDPR regulations that specifically requires the use of double opt-in technology, and Infusionsoft says the same thing. What GDPR does say, however, is that you must have the consent of the subscriber to capture and store their personal dates (name, email address, etc) and communicate with them using it, and that they should be easily able to manage and/or delete their information from your system.
  3. Double opt-in doesn’t stop spammers and bots from signing up to your mailing via your website, but it prevents them from getting on your “white list” of subscribers you mail to on a regular basis. Spammers and bots rarely click the confirm link.
  4. By using the double opt-in feature from your email service provider, your email will be sent from a “proven clean” mail address, which will decrease the number times your business gets marked as a spammer by other email service providers.
  5. You can see who has not confirmed yet, and you can email them again to ask them if they want to confirm and continue receiving information from you.
  6. Most people now understand the double opt-in concept and look in their Inbox for the confirmation email they’ll receive. (Not everyone knows to look in their spam or junk folder, so you remind them about that as they are subscribing.)
  7. By having your mailing list in the same database as your shopping cart, you have a huge benefit of sales and leads data that you wouldn’t have if they were in two separate systems. You also have the benefit of upselling to previous customers, thereby increasing your revenue.

Cons

  1. It ads a second layer of technology that might fail. It’s possible that the subscriber will not receive the double opt-in email. Check with your email service provider about how many times you can sent the double opt-in email, or that it will go to their junk/spam folder and they’ll miss it.
  2. Some people will subscribe but not click the confirm link in the opt-in email. It’s the risk of doing business online. (Just like some people move to a new house but don’t tell you their forwarding address and all your marketing brochures get sent back to you.)
  3. Some email service providers, like MailChimp, are setting up single opt-in by default. Their reason is this: “61% of people start but do not finish the double opt-in process.” On my own list, it’s much lower, around 23% don’t complete the opt-in process. Of those who don’t, half will open future emails. The other half we delete. (Our system flags a good portion of those who do not confirm as spam bot signups, so it’s likely that they’re not real people anyway.)
  4. Some email service providers will not allow you to email someone who has not double opted-in. Check with your email service provider for their rules.

Our test results

Last month, we set up two subscription forms on our website. Each page gets about the same amount of traffic, but one form requires a double opt-in confirmation before the subscriber can receive the free item we offered. The other form did not require double opt-in: it asked for it, but didn’t require it in order for them to get their freebie.

Here’s what we discovered:

  • We tracked the number of people who submitted the sign-up form for the two free offers.
  • We then tracked the number of people who ultimately confirmed their subscription (68%).
  • Regardless of whether they were required to confirm or not required, there was virtually no difference in the percent of people who confirmed.
  • But the percent of people who consumed the free offer (in this case, a free ebook and a free video tutorial) was lower among those who were required to double opt-in. They never saw the link to consume the free offer because they never confirmed their email address — the step that was required before we would send them their freebie link.
  • However, of those who did not confirm, 51% did open and read subsequent email newsletters. Even though they did not confirm, they were still active and engaged.
  • Opt-out rates were the same, regardless of confirmation status.
  • Requiring double opt-ins gives us the benefits above, but doesn’t stop us from mailing to those who don’t confirm (if we want to).
  • Our new rule: If someone doesn’t confirm, and doesn’t open or click on subsequent emails, they are deleted after a month. Why mail to someone who isn’t interested in what I’m writing about?

Don’t focus on what you’ll lose

Some people focus on what they’ll lose if they ask people to confirm an opt-in. Focus on what you’ll gain: a clean list of motivated subscribers that won’t bounce or be marked as spam, and who have proven they’re interested by clicking on your double opt-in confirmation link.

And remember:

  • Your list size does not determine your loveability or your business success.
  • Your list size does not tell you if you are a good person, or if you are worthy of the best things in life.
  • People who don’t opt-in or who unsubscribe are not rejecting you personally; they’re probably just getting too much email and want to cut back.
  • People who DO optin are saying, “Yes, I like what you have to say and would like more of it.”
  • Many business owners have excellent revenue numbers with lists under 3,000 people, especially if these are your perfect target audience.
  • What counts is the relationship you have with your subscribers, and what strategic marketing you do with your list.  🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
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3 Headline Formulas For Non-Copywriters

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This article is for the rest of us – people who are NOT professional copywriters, but need good copy and good headlines for our websites and email newsletters.

Let’s focus in this article on writing good headlines. Or, in the case of email newsletters, good subject lines.

The purpose of a headline or subject line is to grab the reader’s attention and motivate them to want to read further. If you can’t get them past the headline, the rest of your copy is wasted, no matter how elegantly it’s written.

Most of the examples are funny, but you’ll get the point. When you’re done, check out my companion blog post, 6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters.

I’ll share 3 headline writing tips today:

  1. Use numbers
  2. Tell a secret
  3. Use emotion

Use Numbers

Formula:

  • _____ (number) _____ (adjective) Ways To _____ (thing they want to do or to have or to become)
  • _____ (time) to Learn/Get _____ (topic)

Examples:

  • 10 Easy Ways to Wash Your Dog
  • 5 Exciting Ways to Make Spinach That Children Will Eat
  • 20 Minutes to Learn Chess Like a Pro
  • Get a Complete Personality Makeover in 10 Minutes or Less

Tell a Secret

Everyone wants to the learn the insider secrets of people who have been successful.

Formula:

  • My Secret Formula to _____ (thing they want to do or have or become)
  • Insider’s Guide to _____
  • Easy Success Secrets to Create _____

Examples:

  • I’m Drawing Back The Curtain and Revealing My Secret Formula to Buying Pencil Holders
  • 10 Secrets Steps to Finding Online Grammar Mistakes

Use Emotion

People are only motivated by two things: to go towards pleasure and to get away from pain. But pleasure and pain can be subtle. For instance, I find it a pleasure to learn something new, to increase my mastery of a subject. So if I see a headline that promises to teach me something, I will always continue reading.

Another thing that motivates people is scarcity. If you TRULY have a limited number of items available (don’t lie to people about this, folks, they can see right through a scam), then telling them how many are left can get them to read the rest of your web page or email newsletter. Also, if there is a time limit, that motivates, too.

Think about what emotion your customer wants to feel. Confident? Energetic? Free? Safe? Take a moment and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Then you can write a headline that speaks to their emotional needs. (Look at the photo above…who would respond to a Stop sign like that?)

Formula:

  • _____ (number) Keys to_____ (topic or outcome)
  • Learn _____ (topic)
  • How to _____ (outcome)
  • Only _____ (number) of _____ (item) Available
  • You Have Done _____ , Now Try _____
  • Do You Have _____ (name of problem)?
  • _____ (name of problem) Got You Down?
  • Do You Want _____ (name of desired item or outcome)?
  • Never Be _____ Again!

To increase the motivation level, use phrases like hurry, last chance, and only.

Examples:

  • 3 Keys to Better Prison Life
  • Learn to Buy Fresher Bread
  • Only 5 Seats Available for Seat Sitting 101 Seminar
  • Last Chance! Special 1 Percent Off Coupon Expires Wednesday
  • Do You Want a Better Goldfish?
  • Find Your Keys. Find Your Children. How to Solve Your Clutter Problems.

Plain and Simple

Don’t forget the basic, informational headline. You don’t always have to get jazzy with your headline or subject line; sometimes just saying what the article is about is motivating enough. What if you were to see these simple headlines or subject lines?

  • 50 Percent Off All Classes
  • How To Type Faster
  • The Recording Is Available Now

TAKE ACTION NOW: Now take these headline tips and write three possible headlines or subject lines for your next article or email newsletter. Play with them until they feel right. Then try them out and watch the results!

Want more information on copywriting? Let me know in the comments area of this post and I’ll create more copywriting blog posts in the future! I could write about this stuff all day. 🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
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Passionate Students Become Passionate Customers: How to Use Teaching to Grow Your Business

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It’s getting harder and harder to get your customer’s attention. They are deluged with information, so they scan-click-delete.

Yet they cry out in the night for someone to explain things simply.

The rules of modern marketing have changed, and it’s only going to get worse. You’d better find the most effective, most efficient marketing techniques to nurture your leads and build trust and loyalty with your audience, or you’ll be left behind.

One technique stands out above all the rest – teaching. 

Offering free classes helps you sell your services and products, and fill your mastermind groups and your paid classes as well.

But there are tricks to doing is right or you’ll lose your lovely customers in a heartbeat!

Getting to Know You, as a Teacher and Expert — and Human Being

Teaching gives your audience the personal interaction with you that’s missing in most marketing techniques. When they get to experience you in a very personal way — whether it’s through a in-person presentation, a video conference or a webinar — it builds a connection that lives on long after the class ends.

Whether at a live event, or through a webinar or video live stream, teaching helps you be seen as an expert in a very crowded marketplace. It helps you expand your reach — and your revenue. Your students remember you as the person who has the answers.

Best of all, you get to share what you know with your audience, which empowers and inspires them.

You’ve Got to be Well-Prepared

Want to run an excellent class to use as a marketing tool — one that students talk about and share with their friends and colleagues?

Start with a brilliant class plan.

Not only will you cover amazingly helpful content, but you’ll be more relaxed and teach it better if you have a plan.

Here are the six steps to designing a class to use as a marketing tool:

  1. Start with what the audience wants to learn. Students don’t care about what you want to teach. They only care about what they want to learn. So do your market research and ask your audience what challenges they have, then design a class around solving those problems.
  2. Write a sizzling lesson plan. Map out what you’re going to say, in a logical order that simplifies the information. Take the information that’s overloading your audience, and sift it into what’s most important, with usable action steps.
  3. Design a red-hot opening. You’ve been in those “salesinars” where the teacher spends the first 20 minutes talking about themselves. Your eyes roll back in your head and you mumble, “When will this teacher ever get to the important content?” Don’t do that to your students — they deserve better for committing their time to attending your class. Start with a big bang: huge, useful content in the first 5 minutes. Then they’ll be saying, “Oh, I can’t wait to hear what comes next!”
  4. Make it interactive. Create discussion questions, tell stories and create exercises so your students don’t fall asleep halfway through. Adult students need you to change the pace of the class every 10 minutes or so. “All lecture” classes are a thing of the past, and there are dozens of teaching strategies that put some jazz into your class design. Remember that there’s a high ratio of lurkers to participants, so learn how to reach both introverts and extroverts and learn how to engage them in the learning conversation.
  5. Set your marketing goals. Whether you’re offering a free class to build your mailing list or you’re introducing your audience to a new product or service, have specific marketing goals for your class so you can measure if it’s working.
  6. Have a plan for what you’ll do, after the class, to continue the conversation. Your class isn’t a one-off marketing technique, it’s part of a bigger marketing plan. Decide how you’ll follow-up with the participants. Consider a post-class email marketing campaign that provides them with recordings, handouts and resources to cement what they’ve learned and remind them of the products or services you offer.

Choose a Teaching Method

Once you’ve designed your class, it’s time to decide which delivery method to use.

In 2015, I asked thousands of small business owners, “How do you prefer to learn?” From the results of my Learning Survey, I found that people have strong preferences about how they prefer to consume your educational material. (You can get the results of my Learning Survey here.)

People’s learning preferences change over time, so pay close attention to how you prospects react to your class offerings.

There are several effective teaching methods, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each:

  1. Live event – There’s nothing better than meeting your audience face-to-face. Unless you’re strictly inviting a local crowd, timing, weather and cost can play a role in attendance. If you’re inviting an out-of-town audience, consider making it a one- or two-day event, even if you have to charge them a small fee to cover your costs. This gives your audience the ultimate experience in learning deeply from you, but may limit your audience to those who have both the time and money to leave their office and home for a day or two (or more, if they’re traveling).
  2. Webinar – A webinar is a live, virtual event where you show slides as you teach. The best part about webinars is that there’s both an audio and a video feed, so participants are engaged on two levels. Most interaction happens via text chat unless your participants have microphones in their computers (or they connect to the webinar via a teleconference line so they have audio capabilities, too.) A big problem with webinars is that most of the time the audience is looking at a slide, not you. There are ways to juggle back and forth between face-time and slide-time to mitigate this problem.
  3. Video Conference and Live Streaming Events – When your audience can see your bright, shining face on their computer screen, it’s the next best thing to a live event. As with webinars, if they have microphone capability (either through their computer or if they’re dialing in via telephone), nearly anyone can ask questions. And of course, if they also have a video camera, you can see their face and have a real conversation with them, too. It’s easier than ever to do live streaming videos through tools like Zoom or Facebook Live.
  4. Self-Study – Teaching via self-study format, from pre-recorded webinars, videos to ebooks, has been around for decades and it’s an established way to deliver training material. It allows your audience to learn when it’s convenient to them. However, it negates two of the principles of Education As Marketing: they don’t get to experience you directly in a live environment, and you can’t be sure they’ll consume the material, even if they download it.

Afraid? Don’t Be! Just Teach

Start with a smart plan and remember: you were put on this planet to help other people, and there’s no better way to help than to teach.

You’ll be surprised how much you love it!

Remember:

  • Capture your audience’s attention, and gain their trust and loyalty.
  • Deliver usable content in a logical way they can use immediately.
  • Teach them what you know in a free class, and create passionate customers.

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Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes, Marketing

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