Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

Happy 2016, everyone! I am thrilled to ring in the New Year with you.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love new beginnings. The clean slate, the opportunity to brainstorm amazing new projects and create strategies and systems around getting them done…it gets my creative juices flowing like nothing else.

And the podcasts I have planned for 2016 are no exception! There are some really exciting episodes in store for you. We’ll be focusing on list building and building campaigns in your business so that you can sell more online. We’ll talk a lot about content creation and making sure that you’re getting in front of the right people to make the biggest impact. And we’ll make sure you are creating a business that you love as well as creating online training programs and products that your audience can’t get enough of.

But to get us set up for success in all these areas, I’m going to kick off the new year with some advice from my good friend John Lee Dumas. John is a favorite guest to have on this podcast because his brand Entrepreneur on Fire is a stellar example of the kind of success we’re all shooting for. And after hosting over 1200 interviews with successful entrepreneurs, John is definitely an authority on what it takes to achieve online business success.

SMART Goals = Surefire Success

John said that over the past few years, a pattern emerged in the emails he received from his audience. A lot of people were struggling with online business because they didn’t know how to set and accomplish goals in an effective way.

Contrast that with what John saw in the success stories of his Entrepreneur on Fire interviewees:

“I’m a big believer there is no silver bullet. It’s all hard work and getting your nose down to the grindstone, for sure. But I step back and ask what is one thing the Amy Porterfield’s and Pat Flynn’s and Michael Stelzner’s of the world all do well. … These people all know how to set and accomplish goals.”

So John decided to dedicate 2015 to creating a structure for his audience to take action with setting goals.

And now, in 2016, he has an amazing and beautiful product to help them do just that! It’s called the Freedom Journal: Accomplish Your Goals in 100 Days.

It’s a hardbound, 300-page physical book that walks you step by step through the process of not only setting a goal but accomplishing it within 100 days.

(True story: I have this journal right in front of me, and let me just tell you that simply holding it in your hands is a powerful thing. Something about this beautifully created physical product is inspiring and empowering in a whole new way. Looking at it makes you want to take action. Pretty amazing stuff!)

EPISODE 91

Click Here to Check Out The Freedom Journal

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Step by Step Guidance for Your 2016 Goals

The Freedom Journal starts with John guiding you through setting a SMART goal. You probably already know this acronym: it stands for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

The rest of the journal offers step-by-step guidance and accountability in carrying out your goal one day at a time.

In the remainder of this podcast, John and I talk through the process of two different real-life SMART goals. The first one is about John launching Entrepreneur On Fire; the second one is about how I launched Webinars That Convert. After hearing us explain how SMART goals guided our most successful ventures, you’ll have some super actionable example of how you can use the Freedom Journal to accomplish your own goals…did I mention in just 100 days?!

Click here to listen to the full episode now!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_91.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PST

Can you believe 2015 is over already?

I know, it's a cliche thing to say, but it's true--I feel like the year has just flown by! Maybe you can relate. I know when a year is packed with as many projects, launches, milestones reached and lessons learned as 2015 has been for me, it makes time race by.

It's impossible to anticipate the new year without thinking about resolutions. Ugh. I've never been one of those people who respond well to those.

Instead of thinking about resolutions, I found myself drifting back to a book that I've read about a hundred times. I'm sure you've heard me talk about it before: ReWorkwritten by the guys who founded Basecamp. This book was like a manual for success, back when I was first getting started...but it seems to be turning into a tradition that at the end of one year, I review it for fresh inspiration on how to smartly approach the coming year.

Call it a New Year's Rejuvenation, if you will.

This year, I was going through it looking for how its principles could help build online business. And as usual, ReWork did not disappoint. I was taking so many notes that I had to turn it into a podcast for you.

The strategies I'm going over today are all about different ways to approach your work so that...

a) you get more done
b) everything you do leads you to big results
c) you end the day feeling more satisfied with your bottom line

In particular, if you want to build a business around creating online training programs and courses, these strategies are going to be really applicable. They'll help you get more done with less time, less money, less resources…you know, the precious things we always seem to be short on.

Each of these 7 tips will have to do with one of these three words: Strategy, Saving, and Selling. And I have to tell you, this is a very dense, deep episode--give me a break, it's the final episode of 2015!--so you really should listen to the whole thing.

I suggest curling up with the last Christmas cookie, stir a little eggnog into your coffee, and enjoy a final moment of holiday hibernation to brainstorm your 2016 business year.

Strategy #1: Embrace your constraints

Limited resources force you to do make do with what you’ve got, and that in turn forces you to be creative.

Strategy #2:  Become a curator

It’s the stuff you leave out that matters--in terms of product value and saving yourself valuable time. Find out how--click here to listen now.

Strategy #3: Build a more focused product

What’s the one most important thing that your product is bringing to the table?

Strategy #4: Make decisions often

You’ll be amazed how strong your decision-making skills can get when you make it a habit.

Strategy #5: Create an offer your audience cannot refuse.

One of the best ways to do this is to offer more of you.

Strategy #6: Sell your by-product as an upsell or downsell

If you offer an upsell or downsell, you can work less! Find out how--click here to listen now.

Strategy #7: Make sure your work really matters

Nothing really matters if your work doesn’t matter to others…or to you.

In the end, your business' value is really all about your business' balance. Adding too little will leave your audience confused and you unsatisfied; adding too much value is just overkill for your audience and way too much stress for you.

Get the low-down on each of these tips...find out how they tie in with Strategy, Savings and Selling...and get your business systems aligned for an amazing new year!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_-90.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm PST

I've got a question for you. Ready?

What do Apple, Lululemon and Morton's Salt all share in common?

Take a minute to ponder each brand. What imagery does it conjure up? More importantly, what feelings do those images create inside you?

When I think of Apple products, I think of elegant, simple design and the feeling of effortlessly getting stuff done. Lululemon brings back that sensation of looking amazing when I'm working out (even if my workout itself feels less than amazing). And Morton Salt? I think of my mom's kitchen cupboard, which feels warm and nostalgic and makes me want to go bake cookies.

Here's the answer to the quiz: all three of those brands share the power of fascination.

Fascination, as my podcast guest Sally Hogshead defines it, means an intense focus.

"When you’re fascinated by a person or a brand, you’re completely consumed in that moment. It’s that feeling you have when you’re working on a project and you’re totally in the flow. You feel creative, you feel confident, you feel focused and energized by what you’re doing. Or when you’re out at drinks with a friend—the time flies by, and you seem to be building epiphanies together in your conversation."

Click here to listen to the full episode with Sally.

For years, Sally's day job was helping big name brands like Nike and BMW find the perfect words to describe themselves. The first half of that search was understanding what they offered to their customer base that nobody else did; the second half was knowing how to capitalize on that uniqueness and capture it in language.

At a certain point, Sally realized that nobody had really brought that idea over from products to people. Business owners were all about finding the right words to get customers fascinated with their products, but they weren't finding the right words to help people understand who they are and how they add value.

These days, she parlays her understanding of what works in advertising world into a training to help entrepreneurs understand how people perceive them through their communication.

EPISODE FREEBIE

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So here's a followup question:

What makes YOU fascinating?

And before you mumble "I'm not that fascinating, Amy" I'm going to stop you right there with what Sally told me:

"You don’t learn how to be fascinating; you unlearn boring. You’ve already been fascinating your entire life. It’s just a question of being able to identify what makes you fascinating."

Lucky for you (and me), we don't have to guess what makes us fascinating to your audience. Sally has created a totally unique assessment to help you "unlearn boring." Where most personality quizzes will tell you how you view the world, this one will tell you how other people view you.

And once you know have that information, you can use it to position yourself in a way that makes your audience fall head over heels in love with you.

"When you can identify how other people see you at your best, it becomes really easy for them to see why they should hire you, champion you, promote you. In business, the key—especially if you’re trying to grow a business online—is for you to have a very clear idea of the areas in which you can confidently deliver. And don’t try to be exceptional at the rest."

If you act quickly, you can get Sally's assessment for free! She's made a limited number of these super-valuable freebies available to the Online Marketing Made Easy community, so opt in now to get yours. And make sure to listen to the full podcast episode to get all of Sally's amazing insights on how to find what makes you fascinating.

Important Note: When you get your custom report, be sure to read the words that Sally uses to describe you. She’s one of the world’s most award winning copywriters, and your report is almost like a pre-written piece of marketing about YOU.

This is a free gift to our community, so share away! Post the code on Facebook and Twitter to get a fascinating conversation going. Describe your results and then ask them to share theirs too. Or you can get a group of friends and do your profiles together, and talk about how you apply your advantages in social media.

This can be a fantastic date night with your significant other. You can take the free assessment in about 3 minutes, and then then show each other your Fascination profiles. It’s measuring how other people see you at your BEST. So your results explain a lot about how you fascinate each other!

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm PST

I know that I've talked a lot with you about webinars this year. The fact is that I've been learning a ton about them myself, and every time I learn a new technique or crack the code on a revenue-boosting system, I can't help but pass it on to you!

This week, though, I'm doing something a little different. Rather than walk you through a step-by-step system, I'm going to focus with you on one very specific strategy that I learned from Tim Paige, the host of the podcast Conversion Cast and the leader of all LeadPages webinars.

Today is all about an engagement strategy that I've just begun applying it to my webinars. I’ll be sure to let you know how it's going, once I really get it off the ground. But I'll be completely honest with you: it's a little awkward, in the beginning. I've done a lot of webinars, and I still am finding my sweet spot.

The thing is that Tim, in addition to being a pal, is a true webinar ninja. This man has done 410 webinars to date! (Who knows--he may be up to more, by the time this episode airs.) No joke--his application is pending for the Guinness Book of World Records for most webinars done in a 12-month period. This is a guy who really knows the ins and outs of webinar success.

So when he tells me this strategy is worth working through, I believe it!

Listen to the full episode to get all the details on this amazing strategy from Tim Paige.

You can also check out Tim putting this revolutionary engagement strategy into action--just click here to join his latest webinar.

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We all know how important engagement is for our webinars. There's nothing worse than crafting and delivering a dynamic, informative presentation only to hear crickets during the Q&A.

Scratch that--there is one thing worse: delivering your presentation and seeing only a faint dribble of sales by the time you log off for the day.

What you're looking for is that special spark that sets fire to your content and gets your audience fired up in response to it.

Early on, I wanted to test the idea of taking every opportunity I could throughout the process of presenting a webinar to look over in the questions box and start answering questions live as we went, as long as they were relevant and weren’t off topic.

I found in answering questions, not only did I see a 98% stick rate (98% of the people that joined the webinar in the beginning stuck around all the way until the end) but in one split test I also saw a tripled revenue from one webinar to the next."
Um...did you get all that? A 98% stick rate and a 300% revenue increase?

I'd say this strategy is well worth trying, wouldn't you?So how does this work? If you're like me, you may be already thinking about how taking questions in the middle of your presentation will interrupt your flow. What if the questions make me get ahead of myself? Am I allowed to not answer questions if they aren't on topic? How is this supposed to work with replays and automated webinars?

...And just what is it about this strategy that makes it so incredibly powerful?

Listen to the full episode for all the answers--it's a short but intense masterclass on a single technique that is a true webinar game changer.

Do you want to see Tim’s webinar engagement strategy in action? Click here to check out his special LeadPages webinar and pay close attention to when and how he asks questions and engages with his audience.

EPISODE FREEBIE

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_88.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39am PST

As you are building up your business and starting to see some solid success, sooner or later you're going to arrive at a certain point.

A point where you, as the founder, brand visionary and chief hustler, cannot do everything alone.

This is the moment where you need to hire some people.

Not just anyone will do, of course. You need to build out a dream team inside of your business so that you can spend more time in your areas of genius, the areas that you really excel, the areas that you love to spend time in where your skill set is the strongest, so that you can make a bigger impact for your audience and on your bottom line.

There is nobody I know who is better at this dream team creation thing than my friend Melanie Duncan.

The first thing you should know about Melanie is that she runs a multiple-seven figure empire. In other words, she's an authority on this whole online entrepreneurship thing.

The second thing you should know is that the ways she's developed her business are, in large part, the result of her amazing hiring system. She has a process for hiring that is extremely unique--it takes quite a lot of effort and focus, but it's allowed her to find amazing people that are the perfect fit to support her business. And let's be honest, when you love the people you work with, everything seems flow a whole lot better on all fronts.

But what's even more to the point is how her hiring system has also changed her perspective on hiring. I’ve seen her go through the transition of hating to hire to absolutely loving the hiring process. And as we all know, loving an IMPORTANT process you used to hate is a cornerstone of achieving the success you want.

If you're ready to dive into Melanie's amazing system, click here to listen to the full episode now.

Below, I've got the bullet-point version to get you primed for what you're about to learn.

  • Make a Dream Team List

    The first place to start is identifying what you need/want help with. Melanie says not to start with your limitations--instead, imagine what positions you'd create and fill if money, time and managing were no objection.

    "One of the harsh realities of being a business owner is you end up doing a lot of the work that you really don’t want to do. And just because you can be doing everything in your business doesn’t mean you should be doing everything."

  • Create a Revenue Goal

    This anchors your hiring to a concrete need for your business. Your revenue goal lets you know what you need from the new position, how soon you need it, and how much you can invest into it up front.

    "A lot of times the growth of your business is correlated to adding more people to your team. A lot of times your business will grow as you grow your team because it starts opening up more bandwidth for you to be focusing on the things that only you can do and really excelling at them."

  • Hire with a Sales Page

    When you're looking for top-level talent, you need to create a top-level advertisement to attract them to the position. Melanie's "help wanted" ads are as beautiful, polished and persuasive as any sales page she creates for her products and services. This is what draws the right people to apply for her dream team.

  • Hire to Fit

    It sounds elementary, but you really need to find the right person with the right skills and the right attitude for your position. In other words, you can't simply hire an amazing person and adapt them to the role. An exceptional person in the wrong position will only end up frustrated...and so will you.

    By contrast, when you take the extra time and make the hard decisions, it pays off like you wouldn't believe.

    "When you get the right people in the right positions incredible things are possible."

    Wondering how long the process should take? Cringing at the thought of sifting through resumes? Want to know how to spot a truly stand-out candidate from the crowd? Get all of Melanie's detailed insight on how to hire people for your dream team. Click here to listen to the full episode now!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_87.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:34pm PST

Over the last few weeks on this podcast, we’ve been doing some intensive tactical trainings.

We’ve talked about adding upsells to your sales promotions, adding bonuses, when to add them. We’ve talked about the mindset of list building, and then we’ve gotten really specific about what you need to do to build your list.

Today I want to step back a little bit and look at the big picture and look at our team and how we’re running our business and setting things up. I thought there was no one better to do that than my new friend, Dale Partridge.

You probably already know Dale, either from Sevenly (the company he founded that became one of the fastest growing social-good startups in history), or from his many keynote speeches and feature interviews on the topic of doing business with integrity, or maybe from his recent book People Over Profits.

Dale is a creative leader whose mission is to influence an industry to rethink the models of how we do business today. And I invited him on the show today to help you (and me) learn about how to set a solid foundation for our long-term success.

One thing Dale's book really dials into is the importance of recognizing the pivotal moments in our businesses when small decisions could have major impact.

Dale went into business for himself at 18 years old...which means that even though he's still a young man, he's old in entrepreneur years. Within that time, he says, his whole mindset around business shifted from making major profits to making a major difference in people's lives.

"In the search for purpose and meaning I wanted to create a company that was more than just putting money at the bottom line. It wasn’t until I really shifted my thinking from how to make a million dollars to how to help a million people that really pushed me into business."

This is the core of Dale's "people over profits" message . . . and what I really want to stress in today's episode is that it's never too early in your business to think about how you're prioritizing people against your profits.

When you're in the early years of building our business, you're all too aware that every interaction in every business relationship matters. You're hyper-focused on bringing real, personal value to your customers with your unique talent and expertise, because you know that it's the key to your success.

But Dale points out that greed, dishonesty and customer contempt are not relegated to big corporations . . . that's just when they get caught in a big way. It's super important, he says, to set the foundation of your business integrity in these early years, while you're small, and learn how to self-correct in those moments when it's easy to make small compromises.

"I don’t want to be the most successful person that nobody respects or that nobody trusts. And I don’t want to create the biggest company that has great products but people don’t really connect with it."

Dale has done some impressive research on the most successful companies (and the ones who fell the hardest) of the past century. According to his research, the companies (and leaders) who really stood the test of time have seven core beliefs in common:

  • People matter.
  • Truth wins.
  • Transparency frees.
  • Authenticity attracts.
  • Quality speaks.
  • Generosity returns.
  • Courage sustains.

Listen to the full episode to hear Dale explain more about how these principles show up in online business practice, and how we can train ourselves to build businesses that uphold them.

"Whatever your dream is, make sure you crush on it because it’s not about you, it’s about them."

In the end, Dale says, our businesses' potential for growth is dependent on the integrity we build into our relationships with clients, vendors and colleagues. It can take real courage to honor a long-term relationship over short-term convenience. But that kind of courage is what creates a brand that really stands the test of time.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_86.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am PST

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

First of all, can I just be a little corny and express my gratitude for all of you? It's hard to believe we're up to 85 episodes of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast . . . and with those episodes have come lots of free weekly giveaways, 17 interviews with the biggest names in online business expertise, 1.6 million audio downloads. Oh, and one very exciting mention on MSNBC as a Top 5 Online Business Podcast!

I am truly thankful for each one of you in this little community of go-getter entrepreneurs. Every time you opt in, leave a Facebook comment, write a review of the show or share this podcast with your friends, my heart is genuinely touched. Nothing makes me happier than to know that what I'm sharing is valuable and helpful to you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Whew! Okay, on to business.

Today’s episode is all about . . .

Before I list them, a disclaimer: these are not little one-off tasks that you can incorporate in a few days. Sometimes I share "quick-win" strategies with you, but this week I wanted to go a little deeper with you. These are big-picture lessons that grew organically from my own journey as an online entrepreneur.

Because these are big lessons, I definitely don't want you to try tackling all of them at once. (I'm talking to all you overachievers...I know you're out there and I want you to give yourselves a break this time, okay?)

Instead, I want you to mull these over and see which, if any, really resonates with where you are in your business right now. If you feel like one of these could make a huge difference in your business, then by all means take that deeper dive. There are lots of resources on this blog that can help you devise a strategy to grow in each of these five areas. (In this week's episode, I mention specific past episodes where you can find more information--click here to listen.)

1)  Masterminding and finding a business coach.

I know I’ve already talked about this inside a different episode and I’ll link to that as well. But I’m going to share some more insights that I’ve never shared before about masterminding and finding a mentor.

A big thing I learned from my mastermind group was the power of webinars. You've heard me talk about this before, but maybe you've never really taken the plunge to learn about how you can use webinars to hit that five-figure mark in your business. For this week's freebie, I'm once again offering my webinar training, where I share exactly how I do webinars and how you can do them in your business.

EPISODE 85

Sign Up for Amy's Free Masterclass: How to Create a Wildly Profitable Webinar (Even If You Don't Have a List)

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2) Finding your marketing vehicle sweet spot.

This one is about platform. I’m going to show you what it looks like in my business and how it made such a huge impact. Then I will give you some actions to start investigating this in your business.

3) My partnership.

You may or may not know that I actually have a business partner. I’ve never really talked about him much, and I want to share with you how that happened, when it came about, why it came about, and what it looks like in my business (if you’ve ever thought about maybe adding a partner to the mix). This one will be really transparent. I’m going to share things I’ve never shared before, but I think it's time for me to talk about it. Click here to listen now.

4) Affiliate partnerships and my philosophy around affiliates.

Again, I’ve talked about this in past episodes but I’m going to put a little more personal slant on it in this week's episode, end give you some tips to build you own affiliate partnership strategy.

5) Consistency.

If there is any marketing lesson I need to be even better at and really focus on more and really take seriously, it’s consistency. We’re going to talk about that, what it looks like, and how we can add more of that to our business.

As I look back on my past 6 years in business, I feel incredibly thankful for these lessons, as they have shaped my professional and personal life tremendously.

EPISODE 85

Sign Up for Amy's Free Masterclass: How to Create a Wildly Profitable Webinar (Even If You Don't Have a List)

SIGN UP

Don't forget, if you want to learn how to create a five-figure webinar (even if you don't have an email list) you can sign up free for my webinar training. Click here to sign up now.

If one of these lessons really resonated with you, I'd love to hear about it! Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter and tell me which one you’re going to focus on.

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone. Thank you for being part of our tribe.

Mastermind Opportunities:

Each of these mentors have offered mastermind opportunities in the past but their masterminds might not be currently accepting new members at the moment. Do some research to learn more about each.

James Wedmore's Inner Circle
Jamie Tardy
Jeff Walker
Fabienne Fredrickson
Victoria Gibson's Breakout Success Mastermind
The Shine Academy
Natalie MacNeil's Conquer Club
Leonie Dawson's Glow Academy

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_85.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm PST

Welcome to the second half of our intensive "refocus on your list" training!

I hope you completed the short questionnaire from last week, because this week we're really building off those questions to get where we need to go. If you haven't done it yet, click here to download it and take just 10 minutes to complete it. (It's only 3 questions--super easy.) I promise, it will free you up and cultivate the right mindset to accomplish the goal for today's episode, which is ...

For those of you who might be new to the show, lead magnets are any free, valuable giveaway that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address.

To create a good lead magnet, of course, you need to know what your tribe wants and needs from you. Having it be a decent trade-off for the email address is just not going to cut it. You want your audience gasping "Wow! I can't believe he/she is giving this away for free!"

Let me say this loud and clear: Do not be scared of giving away your best stuff for free.

I give away my best information all the time! (I'm doing it right now, as you might have noticed...and I give away even more on the full episode of today's podcast.) It doesn't hurt my bottom line at all, because in my paid products and programs, I dive much deeper and train much more specifically on those topics.

If you want to go deeper into today's topic, click here to listen to the full episode. I'm going to teach a three-part strategy to help you build your list. And our goal is not conservative, folks! This strategy is designed to get you 75 new leads per week.

I've also created a great free download for you: it's a cheat-sheet with 17 stellar examples of different kinds of lead magnets. Not only does it give some great inspiration for how to model your own giveaways, but it shows you where to place the opt-in boxes on your website for optimal conversion. Get it here.

EPISODE FREEBIE

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_84.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:14am PST

For the last several podcast episodes, we've been covering all manner of marketing tactics. Creating webinars, building urgency, writing copy. And we've taken a deep soul-searching dive into the personal "why's" and "how's" of online entrepreneurship.

This week, we're bringing it all back home. It's time to refocus on the foundation of every successful online business:

Your email list.

This week and next week, I'm devoting the podcast to some list-building straight talk.

And if you're thinking "Come on, Amy--I want the black-belt stuff that will take my business to the next level!" ... then this episode might be especially for you.

Here's how you know if you need this episode:

  • If you’ve been working on your business for over a year now and you have less than 4,000 people on your email list

  • If you’re not growing your email list by at least 75 new leads a week

  • If you already have a solid list but it’s not converting into sales or sign-ups

  • If you are struggling with confidence in your business and are feeling "less than" or comparing yourself to everybody

  • If you ever launched anything in your business and your results were lackluster (i.e., you sold only one or two of your products when you thought you were going to sell 100)

  • If you truly love the business you're creating and are passionate about seeing it succeed--in other words, if you're in this for the long haul

If you answered yes to any of those things, here's the first thing I want you to do after listening to today's episode. Download the short one-page inquiry that I created just for you. It's going to help you sort through the obstacles that are holding you back from building a healthy, growing list.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get Amy's Cheat Sheet: "Uncover Your List Building Obstacles"

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Let me say at the outset that, for all my talk about the crucial importance of list-building, I truly understand the difficulty involved. When you're in the beginning days and months of your business, it feels like every opportunity is more important than the simple, daily effort of building your email list.

But I learned from the sad experience of my very first product launch just how essential the list really is. Listen to the podcast episode for the full story--it's eye-opening. For now, let's just say that with all the bells and whistles of my program design and the sparkle of my marketing strategy, the promotion totally tanked.

The reason? I had a weak email list.

I couldn't understand it. I'd been networking with all the right people, even getting invited to speaking engagements and guest blog spots, and I'd spared no effort to create an amazing product.

But because I was not actively focused on list building, I wasn't able to build the business that I really wanted.

(By the way, when I say “actively” focusing on it, I mean that I would think about my list every day...but it was that horrible “I should be doing this, I’m far behind, I know I need a list" kind of thinking.)

Everything else about my business just seemed more important, in those stressful early days.

That's why I've created this download for you--to help you think through what is pulling your attention away from the cornerstone of building your business. Once you understand why it's so easy to focus on other things, you'll be able to turn the trend around and start seeing the results you want.

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Listen to today's episode first--it will really help you with the mindset around list-building, and allow you to process the questions honestly.

And when you're done, drop me a comment to let me know what you're thinking! What is your mindset when it comes to building your list? How are your efforts coming along?

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_83.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:16pm PST

Hey there! I have a fun topic to cover in today's episode:

The Online Entrepreneur's Worst Nightmare. (Cue spooky music.)

Sorry...I couldn't resist. Blame the post-Halloween sugar overload.

The actual topic is how to keep your Facebook account from getting shut down.

Now, this is a topic that I know truly does scare some of you...maybe you've received warnings from Facebook about your content, or maybe you know somebody whose account has been shut down.

I know how upsetting this can be, not just to the people it occurs to, but to every other online entrepreneur in their community. It's just like that feeling when someone you know gets their house or car broken into. Suddenly it feels like the whole world is out to get you.

I don't want you going through your business day freaking out about this. That's why I'm devoting this episode to defusing the scare out of this "nightmare." Seriously...breathe. It's going to be OK.

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There's nobody who knows more about protecting your Facebook account than my friend Rick Mulready. Much of the credit for today's episode goes to him.

When I was talking to Rick about this issue, the first thing that came up was how often Facebook's ad guidelines change. If you've ever felt like the old FB is a little trigger-happy on the guideline updates, you're not crazy. Not only do the guidelines change very often, but they're always couched in vague verbiage. It's just not a simple "Don't do this, this and this" with Facebook.

Rick told me that it's important to understand the foundational principle of Facebook's guidelines. For them, it all comes down to creating a great user experience. In other words, Facebook wants to protect all Facebook users from feeling lied to, "sold to," bullied, harassed...you get the picture.

If you're thinking, "Amy, I would never lie to my audience!" ... believe me, I know. And I'm on your side.

But Facebook is going the extra mile to protect users from people who do lie.

So they're not letting people make bold, specific promises to our audience about concrete things (like saving money, making money, losing weight, etc.). And they're not letting us use highly specific imagery that suggests these things (like images of idealized body types, huge stacks of cash, etc.).

Why? Because some people hear/see those things on the internet and feel bad about themselves. And feeling bad is not a good user experience.

So what is an online entrepreneur to do? Answer: get creative! (Click Here to Listen to the Full Episode!)

As you're reading through the list of ten tips about protecting your Facebook ads account, try to adopt an innovator's perspective. Rather than feeling defeated, think about how you can beat Facebook to the punch by creating content that makes all users feel amazing, hopeful, inspired, uplifted. That's a win for everybody--Facebook, your audience, and you.

Tip #1: Add a privacy policy to your registration page.

If you’re running an ad to a page where you're collecting name/email (or any information) from people, you need to have a clear explanation of what you will/won't be doing with the information you're collecting.

We explain a lot more about how to do this in the full episode. Click here to listen now.

Tip #2: Disable all pop-ups on the page where you are sending your ad traffic.

A lot of people will send Facebook ad traffic to a blog post. Facebook loves this (because users don't have to opt-in to get the content), but what they don't love is if a pop-up ad shows up 20 seconds after the user clicks. Pop-up ads have a bad rap, what can I say?

Tip #3: Pay attention to your reputation on Web Of Trust.

This is a third-party reputation site that Facebook looks at frequently to decide if an account should be shut down. It's an extra step, but checking yourself out on Web of Trust can let you know if you're building up a negative reputation somehow...and can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

Tip #4: Use the Lead Pages plug in on your WordPress site.

Facebook currently counts a LeadPages URL as suspicious content. (We can thank shady LeadPages users for that.) As a company, LeadPages is totally above board, and they are working with Facebook to create a solution. In the meantime, though, they've created a plug-in that you can use to change your LeadPage URL to something Facebook-friendly. Again, an extra step, but it will help a lot in the long run.

It's a lot simpler to set up than you realize--listen to the podcast episode to hear me walk you through it.

Tip #5: Your landing page must accurately reflect what is being promoted in your ad.

This one probably sounds like a given to most of us ... but you'd be surprised how many people get confused when they make the transition from your ad to your landing page. Save everyone the confusion and use the same language/visuals/design in your FB ad as you have on the landing page, and everyone will be happy.

Tip #6: Be mindful of your ad copy.

You already spend hours laboring over your ad copy, I know...so take a deep breath here. The key thing to remember here is that 80% of the time, a robot is the first one judging whether your ad copy gets approved or not. Which means sometimes an ad that was just FB-approved gets disapproved the very next day...and if you leave it up, that spells trouble for your account. Key things to remember here are that you must not over sensationalize, create a false sense of urgency, or use metrics that don't apply to everyone.

(Listen to the full podcast episode to understand how different spins on ad copy can affect your Facebook account.)

Tip #7: Create a feel-good story.

#6 focused on what not to do...this one tells you what you should do. Instead of going down to negative town with your ad, you want to portray happiness, excitement, enthusiasm. You want to give your audience an overall good feeling about whatever it is you're addressing in your ad.

Tip #8: Stick to your account’s regular activity.

If you have a lot of different people logging into your FB account (for example, out-of-country VA’s or contractors) that could be a red flag with Facebook. It makes it look like there is some weird activity going on in your account. So either stick to one dedicated user (ideally yourself), or make sure you are using Facebook business manager instead of just a regular ads account.

Tip #9: Pay attention to your overall activity because it all adds up.

It's important not to push your limits too much with this stuff. I know it might be easy to think "Well, if they don't like my ad, they'll just disapprove it and I'll create a new one." But the thing is, if Facebook disapproves too many ads in a row, they may disable your ad account.

Tip #10: Focus on the relationship.

You'll rarely (if ever) see me sell directly from a Facebook ad. For me, the power of Facebook is creating and cultivating the kind of relationship I want with my audience: genuine, passionate, and truly friendly. Striking a friendly tone is what will build your email list, and keep Facebook happy.

Like I said at the beginning, this isn't something to freak out about. I just want you to be informed. Yes, it might take a little time to revamp your approach to ads, but in the long run, it's going to make for much stronger, more effective Facebook advertising for your business.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_82.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am PST

I first met Lewis Howes back in my days of working with Social Media Examiner. I liked his technique with video interviews, and wrangled up a lot of interviewees for him; he liked my Facebook trainings, and asked me to put together a book. That was not only the beginning of my career in online training courses; it was, as they say in the movies, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

This week, Lewis and I got the chance to reconnect over the topic of "greatness." Sound a little abstract? Let Lewis persuade you otherwise.

Lewis is a true expert in lifestyle entrepreneurship--a business coach with a top-rated podcast, a huge online educational program, earnings in seven figures, and a recognition from President Obama as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs in the country under age 30. Truly a great example to all of us working on our online businesses!

And you'd better believe Lewis didn't get to this level by aiming for "good enough."

His recent book School of Greatness is all about the importance of striving for greatness--in our personal lives, our health, our relationships and, of course, in our businesses.

What Does "Greatness" Really Mean?

As entrepreneurs, we're a little obsessed with the idea of "success." The symbols are always changing--this year it might be making a decent profit, next year maybe it's hitting six figures, and the year after that, it could be landing a book deal or paying off your house or...who knows?

This is the danger of becoming too obsessed with success--the target is always moving. Which means we run the risk of never being satisfied, no matter how much we accomplish.

But by focusing our sights on greatness, Lewis says, we're able to experience satisfaction with where we are in our business, and so much more besides.

"Greatness is discovering what your greatest gifts are, your talents, what you were born to do, maximizing those gifts, and impacting the maximum amount of people in the world with those gifts."

8 Principles of Greatness

Lewis' book breaks greatness into eight simple steps:

1. Clarifying Your Vision

Before you set out on your personal quest, you have to clearly see the action steps to make it happen.

2. Embracing Adversity

Challenge and struggle are a natural part of growth.

3. Cultivating a Champion's Mindset

You can't guarantee that you'll win every time, but you can always set yourself up for the opportunity to win.

4. Committing to Hustle

A willingness to do whatever it takes will take you where mere talent can't.

5. Mastering Your Health

Your health (emotional, mental and physical) can either hold you back or drive you forward--which way do you choose?

6. Practicing Positive Habits

Without intentional habits, life turns into a nothing but a series of reactions.

7. Realizing You Can't Achieve Greatness Alone

A powerful, reliable team is the key to building something that’s bigger than yourself.

8. Being of Service to Others

The crowning moment of greatness is giving your gift to the world.

This is just a summary of Lewis' eight principles--you need to hear these in detail! So click here now to listen to the full podcast episode.

Going Deeper

My chat with Lewis did more than just outline what it means to be great. It illuminated some of the finer points that past experience had "muddied up" for me.

For example...

  • The word "hustle" gives me a little bit of shudder, because I remember my corporate job days where I was really diving in, giving it my all, but felt like I lost myself. Fortunately, Lewis' definition of hustle doesn't mean prioritizing one aspect of your life at the expense of everything else important.

  • Even someone as multi-talented as Lewis feels exhausted and overwhelmed sometimes. Greatness requires a careful check-in system with yourself, to monitor your progress and where you're out of balance.

  • Certain aspects of achieving greatness will come easily to you, while other parts of it are going to be harder. Lewis explains how to fine-tune the process by uncovering the deeper roots of where you struggle.

  • You'll never accomplish the final point of greatness--being of service to the world--if you don't take care of one important thing first.

There's so much in this interview, I hope you'll take the time to listen to it today. But for now, I want to leave you with one final quote from Lewis that I thought was particularly...well, great:

"The biggest impact we can make is when we become a symbol of inspiration because we follow and chase our dreams. It is our greatest gift to follow our dreams...we are robbing ourselves and others around us when we cop out and don’t chase it out of fear."

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode__81_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm PST

It's time for another edition of Ask Amy!

Every now and then, no matter how good your business system is, you reach a moment where everything kind of splinters. I'm having one of those moments this week, trying to reassemble my podcasting setup after moving it into a bigger home studio.

While I'm glad to have this bigger space devoted to my podcast, I don't have the acoustics worked out yet--which means I'm a little bit stalled in terms of production. Little issues like this can really bother me, if I let them!

I'm sure you've experienced this, too. Think with me about an area in your business where you feel stuck because something else has to happen before you move forward. Maybe something’s not working properly and you have to figure it out first. Or maybe you’re just not comfortable moving forward and you’re not sure why.

All of today's questions deal with different things, but they all center around this core issue of obstacles holding back the progress of our business.

Let's take a look!

Question #1: How early do you contact affiliates if you want them to work with you to promote your course?

While I'm no expert in affiliate partnerships, I have worked with a small, carefully selected affiliate base over the last few years.

And one of the ways I select them is whether they're prepared enough with their annual business strategy to join me in planning at least three months ahead.

As my free download for this week, I'm doing a mini-training video of my new WordPress affiliate membership site. It's a great solution if you're pulling together all the materials for your affiliates. Not only does it help you get organized, but you can just show it to a programmer and tell them you want “this."

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Question #2: Remembering back to the first product you created, what would you tell us now that you wish you would have done differently back then?

I definitely wish I would have spent a little bit more time on developing a concept around my product suite. When you have a really solid product suite, you're able to help people in your niche that are at different phases in it.

Without this, you end up pushing away potential clients to other people. They ask you "What should I do in this phase?" and because you don't have a product around it, you point them elsewhere.

That's fine if it happens just occasionally, but when you get asked this a LOT (like I do with, say, creating online courses), your opportunity bells will start ringing like crazy and it starts to make you think "Why don't I offer a product for that?"

Question #3: What do you do when you see another site steal your content and sell it?

Um...throw something at the monitor? Just kidding. This has happened to me a lot, though. In fact, it happens with every new program I release.

One of the first things I do is remind myself that the "client" who would find my program on a shady site that is clearly not mine and go ahead and buy it is NOT a client I would want to work with. At the end of the day, it’s not about the money, it’s about the quality of people we’re attracting to our businesses.

There is, of course, a lot more I could say about this...and do! Click here to listen to the full podcast to hear all my thoughts on this issue.

Question #4: As an entrepreneur, how do you stay focused on what is at hand and not get distracted with wanting to start new projects, create new things, try a new form of social media? How do you stay focused?

First and foremost, I use Scrum. If you haven't heard of it, it's a system of project management that I explain in detail in Episode #75.

Of course, the success of this system depends on the things you can't get away from. Consistency. Deadlines. Accountability. All things I have varying degrees of success with!

But the biggest lesson I've learned with this is that I don't need to reinvent the wheel. I should model systems or approaches that I see working well for others. I don’t need to try every new tool that comes out. Bottom line, I just need to continue to do what works right for my business.

Like, for instance, my Wordpress membership affiliate site! Click the link below to get the training video now.

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Final Thoughts

A lot of times, those feelings of being held back or stuck are rooted in bigger fears or a lack of confidence we have in our business or message.

The truth is that a lot of the time, if I go ahead and move forward anyway, I'll mess it up once, figure out what went wrong, and now know what to do. I'll also have overcome the fear of failure because guess what? I failed and it didn't ruin my life!

I would rather be making those little mistakes along the way but still be moving forward. When you get the confidence to not really care about those little mistakes, you will usually fix them, keep moving forward and BOOM--you are way ahead of yourself, way more than you thought you would be!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_80.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56pm PST

It's a fact.  Sometimes people are reluctant to buy from you.

Even when they want your product, even when they’re smitten with your brand, there will be some prospective buyers that seem to have a built-in pause command that holds a their finger poised above the “purchase” button on your website. It's just par for the course when we are doing business online.

There’s nothing wrong with this, until it stands in the way of you making a sale to someone who truly needs what you’re offering.

There is one thing that can overcome this buyers’ reluctance.

The most successful marketers know what it is, and I’m going to share it with you today.

It’s all about adding urgency.

This is something I had to learn for myself, through plenty of trial and error, so I’m thrilled to be able to pass it on to you. It’s going to put you way ahead of your competition.

It starts with recognizing that it’s simply human nature to take our time and stay on the fence as long as we can, until we are pushed one way or the other. That push comes from learning that we must act.

That’s what urgency is: making sure that your audience knows they need to act now.

You want to build urgency into every promotion you create. There are lots of ways to do this, but the best way I’ve found to build it in is with a one-two punch: a combination of bonuses and deadlines.

I'm going to share several of my favorite strategies in this blog post, but this week's free PDF has even more urgency tactics from some of the biggest names in online marketing. Click here to download it now!

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Bonuses

Believe it or not, I’ve actually had people buy my programs just for the bonuses! While you definitely want to spend the bulk of your time crafting a great core offer, bonuses can sometimes make or break the offer by pushing people just a little bit further to finally say, “Yes, I want this.”

Now, it’s important to note that not all bonus offers have urgency attached. Sometimes you’ll create a bonus add-on to your core offer just to sweeten the deal.

Urgency bonuses are the ones that show up later in the promotion. They come in different “flavors. You do not need to do them all. You can mix and match them, based on what feels best for your offer.

1. Timely bonus

During your promotion, you pick a time where for a certain period—say 48 hours—you offer a specific add-on to your program. You email your promo list explaining quickly and thoroughly what the bonus is, why it’s valuable, and what’s in it for them. You paint the picture and tell them on what date and what time the bonus will go away.

When I do a timely bonus, I always email my list at least one more time, usually 24 hours before the bonus is going to end, to let them know that time is running out.

Let me tell you, it works really, really well. When you’ve got a really good, juicy bonus, especially one that addresses a pain point. The main thing here, is to be very clear when it expires.

2. Fast action bonus 

This is a bonus that you give away during a live situation. For me, it’s when I’m live on a webinar that I’m using as part of my promotion. If you attend the webinar and respond to the offer at the end, right then and there, you get the special bonus I’m offering.

I’ve been doing these fast-action bonuses for a long time. But that didn’t stop me from making a big, fat flub during my recent “Webinars That Convert” promo! Click here to listen to the episode where I explain all about it…and how you can make sure to avoid it!

3. The sweeten-the-pot bonus

This kind of bonus doesn’t have a timeline. Everybody who buys your product gets it. But this style of bonus allows you to add something during your promotion…which means you get another reason to email.

Finding really good reasons to email is an essential part of the puzzle in a successful promotion. The more opportunities you have to communicate to your audience, the better shot you have at winning them over…but you have to have a good reason to email! And what better reason is there than offering them something amazing for free?

I usually introduce this bonus four or five days into my promotion. I send out an email saying that I’ve created this special new bonus, explain why it’s great, give them the link and tell them to sign up.

Yes, they could still wait until the very end of your promotion, but having something new on the table immediately creates a sense of urgency.

It also creates some very valuable buzz for your offer, especially if you sprinkle a lot of hints about this new bonus of yours all over social media.

There are a lot more kinds of bonuses that you can create to add urgency to your promotion. Click here to listen to the full episode to learn about more ways to add urgent action opportunities to your offer.

Other Ways to Create Urgency

Early-bird pricing is a favorite of mine. Again, it creates lots of opportunities to email my audience, as I warn them of the approaching change in price.

The main thing with this is to make sure the price increase is compelling enough to create urgency. My programs go up by $100 when my early-bird window closes. I know that sounds like a lot, but that’s the point! If people are on the fence, a $100 price increase is definitely going to push them over.

Cart closing is a natural urgency creator. This is when the time frame ends for all buying opportunities, the last day when people can buy your product/sign up for your program/etc.

The key with this is to be true to your word. It’s really bad form, not to mention bad for your business long-term, to announce cart closing but then make all kinds of exceptions, or keep the cart open longer than you said you would.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main places to showcase urgency is in your emails. Once I attract people to a webinar, I follow up that webinar with some really strategic email marketing. I work really hard on those emails to craft not just a compelling sales message, but to help my new audience to understand why this program is so valuable and why they need it.

But sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why I love using the countdown timer.

As you are reading my email, the timer at the very top of the email is actively ticking away. When it comes to human instincts, the only thing strong enough to beat the buyer's resistance is being able to see time running out, second by second!

Finally, there is the “limited spots available” tactic. If you have a more exclusive version of your product (a special edition, a higher tier, etc.), it creates the perfect opportunity to email your list about the short supply of opportunities. Even if they weren't planning to buy in at this level, hearing the words "limited availability" again creates the urgency that you're looking for.

These are my favorite tools to create urgency. You'll learn about so many more when you download my free PDF for this week! Click here to get it now.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-79.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am PST

In the process of building my business, I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. The silver lining is that I get to pass the wisdom I’ve learned on to you. It’s always easier to do something right when you’ve got someone guiding you past the ways it can go wrong.

However, today’s post is all about something that recently worked really well in my business. It’s something you can apply quickly to your next promotion.

Ready? Let’s talk about upsells!

What Is an Upsell?

First, let’s get our definitions straight.

Say someone buys a program or product from you online. They fill in all the credit card details and finish the transaction completely. They are officially now a member of your program.

Before you take them to the purchase thank-you page that’s when you can offer an upsell. You are giving your new purchaser one more opportunity to buy from you within the same interaction.

Pretty cool, right?

Putting Together Your Upsell Offer

Three vital things to consider when doing upsells:

  • What is the best upsell you can offer as it relates to the program you just sold?
  • How do you price your upsell?
  • The flow of the upsell process.

I’m no expert in upsells. I’ve been in business a while, and just recently started using them.

But the success I’ve experienced has shown me that there’s a certain flow that’s really important to the overall strategy of your upsell.

An Example from My Promotion

In my most recent promotion, Webinars That Convert, I welcomed over 1,000 new members into the program in just under two weeks! That alone was awesome…but even more awesome was the fact that 58% of those new members purchased the upsell I offered! That generated an extra $170k in revenue!

Here’s how I designed that upsell—both the product and the process.

I put together a product that perfectly complemented the program I was selling. In this case, it was a pack of 5 slide deck templates. You need a slide deck for your webinar, and these templates gave purchasers five unique, polished looks for their presentation. They also made the setup process a lot simpler.

I had the template pack price fixed, BUT I offered buyers three different options. They could purchase the pack in one fell swoop, they could split up the purchase into two payments, or they could purchase a “lite” pack of just two templates.

I structured the upsell offer with a great deal of strategy. Here’s how it worked: if someone saw the offer and bought the five decks at full price, they would never see the two-pay offer or the lite version. You wouldn’t see the lite version unless you declined the first two offers. See how it works based on the potential buyer’s behavior? It also allowed me to learn more about the segments of my audience.

I go through a lot more the details of how to create your upsell (with ideas you’re welcome to steal!) and structure your offer in the podcast.  Also, there is ONE THING you do NOT want to do when creating an upsell.  I share the "don't do this" details in my podcast as well.  Click here to listen to it now!

For this week’s free download, I’ve included the actual upsell page I used in this promotion, so you can see exactly what I did and make it your own.

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Direct download: The_Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_78.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm PST

I know it’s only October, but I’m already thinking about how to boost my business in 2016. And one of my biggest goals is to do more video.

Video is a complex issue for a lot of entrepreneurs. You know that it could help you make an amazing connection with your audience. But all the tinkering that goes into it--the lighting, the camera setup, the script--is a surefire way to fry your brain.

Now, you actually may be killing it with video right now. Maybe you have a natural eye for what looks good on camera, you’re a master of improvising quick, witty nuggets of wisdom on the fly, and talking into a lens brings out all the warmth and sparkle of your personality (instead of turning you into a cardboard cutout like…um…some people I know).

If that’s you, my hat is off to you. But if not, maybe you're more like me —you’ve made some videos, it went okay, you know you can do better…but it's easier to just save it for another day. (Or year.)

My good friend James Wedmore dropped by the other day, and we started chatting about video, and before long I had to ask him if we could turn the conversation into a podcast interview. He has so much great stuff to share about why video is important, and how to make it really practical for your business.

James says that learning to connect with his audience on video changed his business and his life.

Our interview was OUTSTANDING video tips and tricks. I want you to listen to the whole thing so you don't miss any of it. I also want you to make sure to access the three-part FREE series he put together just for you on how to make great videos for your business.

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Here’s just a tease of what we covered:

Five Video Marketing Mistakes

Shoddy camera work 

You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese or anything, but you do have to avoid those black bars on either side of your video—they’re a huge turnoff to your audience. (Easy fix: record video with your camera or phone held lengthwise, not up-and-down.) Other no-no’s include shaky camera action, bad framing, and fuzzy focus.

(If these no-no’s are already breaking you out in hives, relax. All of these are easy, one-step fixes that James spells out.)

Lighting

Newer cameras and phones can correct for this, but it’s worth it for everyone to learn how to set up quality lighting. The bedroom lamp is just not going to cut it. Nothing makes your video (and your brand) look instantly amateurish like bad DIY lighting. James gives the name of his favorite lighting kit that's cheap and reliable. Click to listen.

Audio

James says stop using your in-camera microphone. Doesn’t matter if you have the fanciest phone or DSLR out there…the onboard microphones will not pick up quality audio and your beautifully shot video will either sound like it’s coming from the bottom of a well OR sound like your grandmother shouting over a long-distance call.

Again, just a little bit of cash outlay will get you a great-quality lapel microphone that connects into your camera or phone. Your audio will get instantly synched, and you’ll be able to talk in your normal tone of voice without worrying that the mic isn’t picking you up.

Don’t Be Boring

A lot of people protest that they can’t do video because they aren’t funny, they aren’t loud, they can’t talk fast, they aren’t an extrovert.

Well, guess what? You don’t have to be any of those things to have an engaging video. As James puts it,

"The opposite of boring doesn’t mean funny."

What you do have to be, James says, is passionate. And…well, just listen to what else he says. You’ll have no reason to doubt your “interestingness” ever again.

Not Doing Video

It’s not a rule that “he or she who has the most video wins.” (In fact, it’s definitely possible to do too much video, especially if you have no strategy.) That said, there are five types of video everyone should be doing in their business.

Learn more about what each of these videos accomplishes, and how you can pull them off seamlessly by signing up to get the free three-part video series James created on how to do videos.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_77.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am PST

My guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, as well as a speaker, blogger, and recognized expert on the topic of happiness.

A happiness expert? Oh yes, there is such a thing. Gretchen Rubin takes the topic very, very seriously. She put her Yale education to work with the goal of finding out systematic ways that people can cultivate, achieve and maintain happiness in any facet of their lives.

The book that came out of her study, The Happiness Project, took the world by storm. Book clubs adopted it, college professors assigned it, psychiatrists recommended it to their clients. This topic really resonated with everyone who read it. It’s an amazing title and I strongly recommend you give it a read.

Not surprisingly, my talk with Gretchen turned out to be one of my favorite interviews ever. It went in some surprising directions, offered tremendous food for thought, and really hit home for me in terms of how to define success.

Honestly, this interview is so rich that I don’t want to summarize it too much here. You really should listen to the whole thing.

In the meantime, you can download our free giveaway for this week, which Gretchen herself designed. It’s a PDF guide called “Working Better Than Before,” and it’s meant to help you understand your work habits and gain insight into how you can maximize your creativity and productivity. (You can also use it to help your clients!)

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If you just can’t wait to find out what Gretchen and I talked about in the interview, I’ll give you a few teaser points of what we covered:

  • We live in a world of one-size-fits-all solutions…especially as entrepreneurs. “Do it for 30 days,” “Start small,” “Give yourself a cheat day,” and on and on. If you’ve tried the solution of someone you admire, only to be frustrated by not having it work for you…guess what? Not all strategies work for all people! Gretchen says her research led her to discover that the really important first step in changing our habits is to begin by figuring out what is true for us.

    “If we want to figure out how to change our habits, we have to figure out what’s going on with ourselves and the change has to come from a true understanding of who we are.”

  • If there is something you are struggling with, ask yourself if there was a time in the past where you did a better job with this. Was there a time when it came easily to you? What was different? Why was it easy then and it’s not easy now?

    "A lot of times people, due to pressure, feel like they are failing because what all of the experts say should work doesn’t work for them."

  • Gretchen points out one of the puzzling things about habits: it’s easy to understand why we find it hard to make a habit of something we don’t want to do, but it’s often just as hard to make a habit of something we love! (And yes, she gives an answer to why this is the case.)

    "The secret is to question all the ways you could think about setting it up so that it would work for you. You can find a way that will allow you to succeed and be the most productive and most creative, the healthiest."

  • According to Gretchen’s research, all people fall into one of four types when it comes to how you respond to expectation (your own or someone else’s). Those types are upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. Knowing which one you are makes it a lot easier to know what it takes for you to come through on a commitment. (You can take this quiz at Gretchen’s website to find out which type you are.)

    “The secret of adulthood is accepting yourself and expecting more from yourself.”

  • The “just accept yourself” message gets frustrating to people who are very progress-oriented. But the people in “grow, grow, grow” mode eventually feel dissatisfied that they can’t ever just be okay with themselves as they are. Gretchen talks about the mindset that allows all of us to strike a happy medium between these two.

    "Research suggests that about 40% of everyday life is shaped by our habits. If we have habits that work for us we are far more likely to happier, healthier, and more productive."

  • So how does understanding ourselves and how we form habits contribute to the growth of our business? Gretchen goes over this, too. (Hint: you know how great it is to generate sales on autopilot? It starts with getting your work habits on autopilot.)

    "One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

As soon as you can, click here to listen to the full episode. Gretchen’s insights will help you set a foundation that makes every aspect of your business stronger…and makes you a lot happier in it!

And don’t forget to download the freebie for this week, “Working Better Than Before". It helped me a ton (which I talk more about in the podcast) and I know it will do the same for you.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

If you’ve been listening for a while, you've heard me mention the word Scrum. When you hear this word, you do one of two things:

  • Feel your heart surge with pride and joy because, as a fellow Scrummer, you know how amazing this approach is for running a small business.
  • Scratch your head / do a Google word search / roll your eyes because you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Listeners in both these camps are going to love today’s episode, because I’m going to talk about this amazing project management method and how it has revolutionized the way I get my business done.

To start off, Scrum is not my own made-up word—I got it from a book called Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. (Sounds pretty good, right?)

And basically, the concept of Scrum is just that: managing a team of employees and contractors in the smartest way possible.

I used Scrum throughout the process of creating my newest product, “Webinars That Convert.” Basically, I set up a checklist of every single thing that needed to get done on this product—from creation to promotion to sales to management—and my team and I “Scrummed” our way through it!

Not coincidentally, it’s the same checklist I used for promoting the Profit Lab last spring. That’s why I’m offering the same giveaway this week—the step-by-step project plan checklist that puts all the chaos of a new product launch into sanity-saving order.

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This checklist goes hand-in-hand with today’s topic—download it and you’ll be well on your way to Scrumming your first project.

Why Scrum? 

There are the four main ways that Scrum really helps my business reach its productive sweet spot:

It increases your team’s speed to completion.

  • My team is able to get through projects so much faster now that we use Scrum.

It highlights performance. 

  • The Scrum approach really pays attention to the work people are getting done and gives them the ownership on that performance.

It creates cross-functional teams. 

  • People are empowered to make decisions.

It fosters consistent communication. 

  • This is probably my favorite part of Scrum—it allows us to make sure everything is working smoothly. When it’s not we fix it instantly.

Scrum for Small Businesses

The book about Scrum was written with big corporations in mind, so I had to do a little tweaking to make it work for my small business.

For instance, the Scrum team is made up of the product owner, the team, and the Scrum master.

The product owner (that’s me) takes the vision of the project and translates it into a backlog (that’s the project plan checklist I put together).

In a giant company, the product owner would handle the backlog all by herself. But I’m lucky enough to have a small team of awesome employees that can help me develop the backlog. They’re going to see things that I miss and have valuable input. And because it’s a small team, it’s a manageable number of voices contributing to the project vision.

Next, the team develops the product or completes the project envisioned by the product owner. For me, that means delegating tasks to a couple of part-time employees and a slew of awesome contractors.

Finally, there’s the scrum master. That is the project manager. It can be a designated employee on your team, it can be a contractor, or it can even be one of your team who serves as scrum master temporarily for a particular project.

Note: I do not think the project owner should be the scrum master. This is a surefire way to end up burned out. I definitely fell victim to burn-out in the past, whenever I tried to fill both of those roles.

Hiring the role out is going to be better for you and for your team. Yes, you won’t necessarily know what’s going on at every minute of the day with your project, but take it from me: that is a beautiful thing. Do yourself and everyone on your team a favor, and delegate the scrum master role to someone else.

(If the idea of delegating this role to someone else sounds too hard, too expensive, too time-consuming, I get it. Listen to the full episode—I’ll give you some ideas to creatively enlist a scrum master, no matter how big or small your business is.)

How Scrum Works

#1: The Project Backlog

The project owner creates a list of all the tasks you can think of that will go into the project you are putting together.

#2: The Sprint

You decide what you are going to focus on inside the backlog during a small sprint—a week or so of focused work. These small increments save people from getting lost in the weeds. They also keep the product owner on the pulse of what’s happening.

You work as a team on the sprint, with daily scrums—15-minute check-in calls with the team.

#3: The Sprint Review

Once the week is over, you do a sprint review. What worked? What didn’t work? What needs to be tweaked? And then you are off to your next sprint.

These small increments of focused work are the real beauty of scrum. Just look at that project plan checklist I gave you—it would have totally overwhelmed my team if we had looked at the backlog and said everyone should just dive in and get it done!

The Daily Scrum

This daily check-in is the most powerful part of the Scrum method.

It’s me, my VA and my project manager (or scrum master). We never go over 15 minutes (unless we get a little too chatty!).

We focus on three words during a daily scrum: doneplan, and problems. Basically it’s me asking “What have you gotten done, what are you planning to get done, and where are you having problems?” As the scrum master reports on this and my VA chimes in with her feedback, we all end up with a total understanding of where the sprint is at.

The same thing happens when we’re doing a sprint review, just in the past tense. And we take notes on every part of the process—what worked and what didn’t work—so that when the next project comes up, we can adjust the backlog as necessary.

What Scrum Reveals 

Along with helping you manage the potential chaos of a big project, Scrum is really helpful for bringing to light the patterns in your work that need…well, that need work.

One of the biggest things the Scrum approach has shown me is that I need to give myself more time in every project I do. More time to plan, more time to create content, more time to brief my team on their tasks…you get the idea.

To be honest, I kind of knew this already in my gut. (I mean, that’s why we feel stressed, right? Because we don’t have enough time to get everything done!) If I feel pressed for time, it’s going to trickle down to my team and they’re not going to have the time they need to do the work I’m assigning them. It’s that simple. But I didn’t realize it until I started implementing Scrum.

The bottom line is, if you don’t take the time to communicate well with your team, it will cost you money because they will do it wrong. And Scrum is an amazing way to keep that communication alive.

Best of all, the Scrum method gets easier and more efficient every time you use it! It’s kind of intense, it’s all-consuming, but when it’s over, it’s completely done and you’ve got a completed project.

Grab the free PDF project backlog (if you haven’t already) and start warming up to Scrum in your business. And let me know how it works for you!

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_75.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

I know I have talked about copy many times. But can you blame me? It’s a hot topic!

Many of you that are growing your business online or have been growing your business for a while now still struggle with copy.

Believe me, I get it. I have definitely struggled for years with writing good copy for my business. And when I finally felt like I got that "copy mojo," things started to become easier in every aspect of my business.

That's why I'm so excited to bring you my guest today -- Nikki Elledge Brown. Along with being a proud military spouse, a mom, and a former park ranger, she's an amazing communicator and businesswoman. Nikki went from teaching communications at college-level to running a business that broke multiple six figures in under 18 months. (Wow, right?)

And the heart of her business is teaching entrepreneurs (like you and me) how to write their own copy, better than ever!

Nikki's approach to copy is putting it into "recipes." Sales pages, blog posts, video scripts, About pages...she breaks them all down into specific, doable steps that make copywriting easier than a "just add water" cake mix!

Today's show is packed with ridiculously simple recipes for every piece of copy you'll ever have to write, along with a few to help with your mindset around copywriting.

Stuff like...

  • How to write with purpose
  • The value of YOUR voice (+ how to use it in your copy)
  • Sales page tips (how to make it easy for people to buy from you)
  • Sample blog post recipe
  • Sample blog VIDEO recipe
  • How to write a great headline in under 10 minutes
  • What to do when you're not sure what to write about
  • How to avoid sharing TMI (too much information)
  • How to master your mindset around copywriting

Nikki also put together our freebie today, which is--you guessed it--a "recipe book" of copywriting formulas. Click here to get it now!

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As I mentioned, Nikki has built a hugely successful business in an amazingly short amount of time on her way with words. She had over 90 new clients sign up with her in her first two months of business!

And in her words, the key to this kind of growth is not just being good at helping others communicate, but being able to communicate her own brand clearly to potential clients.

"You are losing money if you aren’t communicating effectively."

Find out Nikki's recipes for maximizing your revenue potential with easier-than-ever techniques for communicating with your audience. Her free PDF is about to become your copywriting "Joy of Cooking"--an indispensable guide to everything you'll ever need to write for your business. Click here to get it now!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_74.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:35am PST

What a difference a tweak makes!

If you've spent any time on this blog (or podcast) in recent weeks, you know how firmly I stake my belief in webinars. Webinars offer a platform that lets you connect with people on an entirely new, personal level you just don’t get with most marketing strategies.

And what other marketing strategy can offer the opportunity for consistent on-the-spot revenue?

If you’ve done successful webinars in the past and are looking to make even bigger revenue, OR if you’ve never done webinars before or maybe have just dabbled with them in the past, today is going to be quite a pleasant surprise.

Starting with this number: $62,000

As the title says, just three little webinar-related tweaks made a $62,000 difference in my bottom line. I knew they'd have an impact, but the size of that number surprised even me.

See, I knew there were aspects of my webinar strategy that could use a shot in the arm.

  • I wanted more sales generated from my webinars
  • I wanted more people to show up live during my webinars
  • I wanted to attract a new audience and grow my email list with the webinars.

Whenever you want to reach a new goal, you know some parts of your strategy are going to have to change.

So I set to work making adjustments, starting with:

Tweak #1: The Sales Page

This might surprise you, but I always do a sales page for any promotion I put together. Where some people might drive webinar attendees right to their product order form, my style is to give people extra information, especially if they are on the fence.

In the past we used to send people directly from the webinar to the sales page to read all about the product and then buy. But over time, we realized I wasn’t getting as many sales on the webinar as I had thought I should.

And that's how this simple tweak came about. I still use the sales page, but I'm using it smarter. That single change resulted in instant sales from the very next webinar, as well as a bigger boost of those instant sales.

(Click here to listen to the full episode and find out the simple tweak that boosted instant webinar sales!)

Tweak #2: More Webinars During Promotion

I want to give a shout-out to a member of the mastermind I used to be in. He's the one who suggested this tweak to me.

He said if webinars work really well for me, I should be capitalizing on that.

This idea--do more of what's already working for you--was so simple, it was revolutionary.

In the past, I'd do one webinar for each promotion. But at his suggestion, I stepped up my game.

It took a while for this tweak to hit its stride. But once it did, I saw amazing results.

Tweak #3: Facebook Ads

This is one I learned from my amazing coach, Todd Herman.

I found that when I'm running Facebook ads for a webinar promo to a cold audience that probably doesn’t know much about me, that ad needs to look a whole lot different than an ad to a warm audience (my fan base, my own email list, or a retargeting list).

Here are some examples:

The warm-audience ad

The warm-audience ad is more "talky" and personable. It has a lot more of my branding in it, in terms of colors and design. These people already know me and like me, so it plays on that familiarity we have.

Compare that to...

The cold-audience ad

The cold-audience doesn't have a lot of branding to it. The text is short, punchy and blatant: "This is what we have going on, sign up here." Because this audience doesn't know me, I keep it much more generic.

Find out more about how to tailor your Facebook ads to different audiences. Click here to listen to the whole episode.

One More Thing

One other huge change I made last year that has been a game-changer in terms of webinar attendance is an email series I call the Pre-Webinar Onboarding Sequence. This series of emails starts the minute you register for a webinar, and it's become an integral part of my brand.

You'll get a lot more info about this email sequence (and how to make it your own) if you sign up for my upcoming free Master Class! You'll also get stories, case studies, and a lot more knowledge about how to make webinars work for your business. Click here to register now!

EPISODE 73

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_73.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:32am PST

I love these opportunities to answer your questions directly. And lately, the questions have swirled around a specific theme. (It seems we're all on a very similar wavelength right now!)

What's the theme, you ask?

How to grow your business to the next level. 

Whether you're just getting started or have been in business for years, the steps that take you from where you are to where you want to go remain pretty consistent.

In other words, we have a lot in common, you and I.

Question #1: What is the first thing you do before you start a brand new project?

The answer here may surprise you...unless, of course, you've participated in one of my programs in the past couple years. (I kind of can't shut up about it.) It's incredibly simple and incredibly effective cornerstone of every project that makes my process absolutely fly by. I can't live without it.

...and neither should you! Sign up for my free training to own this strategy for yourself!

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Question #2: What is the biggest struggle in your business right now?

Glad you asked. This is something I've been thinking a lot about. It feels like I'm missing something important in my team--some vital role isn't being filled. As a result, it feels like there's a "chokehold" in my business.  After much deliberation, I think I've figured out what it is.

Question #3: What’s one challenge you have overcome this year?

I am really proud of this answer. (And guess what? It involves you.) And in overcoming this challenge, I've learned that it's not always a matter of changing something in order to make the challenge go away. Sometimes it's a matter of changing the way you look at the challenge.

Question #4: I've noticed you haven’t been traveling much lately. Why the change?

Aren't you observant? It's true--I've scaled way back on the travel commitments. And no, I didn't develop a fear of flying or lose my interest in participating in big events. Instead, it was a shift in my focus, and a commitment to doing even better at the things I do best.

Question #5: When you were first starting out did you feel a bit alone in your business?

Not at first--I was so relieved to be out of the busy corporate environment, a little isolation was fine. But over time, yes, I felt the need for more company in my solo-preneurship. Feeling alone squashes your creativity...so don't go there! (Click here to listen to the full episode, where I break down my strategy for keeping good company.)

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_72.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm PST

Next time you're networking with a group of entrepreneurs, keep your ears peeled for a certain word floating above the conversation.

The word is "mastermind," and it's a concept that is trickling down from the multimillion-dollar start-up set to homegrown entrepreneurs like you and me.

If you're not familiar with the term, the term "mastermind" can have a very "Great and Powerful Oz" sound about it. Simply put, a mastermind is a small, very focused group of business owners who meet regularly to sharpen and strengthen their business strategies.

One of the biggest advocates around for mastermind groups is Jaime Tardy, founder of EventualMillionaire.com. Jaime is the kind of person anyone would want in their mastermind group--she has razor-sharp focus, unwavering commitment to her goals, an insatiable appetite to learn...and she's also a lot of fun to talk with!

Jaime joined me this week to talk all things mastermind, and the takeaway is hugely informative. If you've been thinking about creating or joining a mastermind, or even if this is the first time you've the term, this episode is going to spell out exactly what the benefits are, what kind of mastermind you should be looking for, and how to conduct operations once you get started.

Jaime also put together a worksheet for forming your own mastermind, complete with email scripts for contacting potential members. Click here to download it so you can get started right away!

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Should I Pay to Join a Mastermind?

There are lots of opportunities out there to join an existing mastermind for a subscription fee. I did this early in my business, and it was helpful...but Jaime says that the most valuable masterminds don't involve money changing hands.

"Peer masterminds," as they're sometimes called, have these advantages over paid groups:

  • You have equal say to everyone else in the group--no single person is controlling it.
  • They tend to last longer than paid subscription-based groups.
  • It's easier to form true friendships with others in the mastermind.

Should My Mastermind Only Have People from My Niche?

Definitely not! Jaime is in a mastermind with a financial advisor, an internet marketer, and a professional sword swallower! What they do have in common is a high regard for systems and processes, and a level of success that they're trying to reach.

"You have heard the quote, 'You are the average of the five people that surround you.' We want the level of just about everyone else in the group to be about the same, or at least have different niches of what they can talk about. You want to make sure that each person has an expertise that other people could use."

It's also a good idea to reach out to at least one or two people who are way more experienced or profitable than you currently are. These people will raise the bar on the meetings and bring insight that could take you months (or years!) to achieve. These people should be at the top of your list to invite to your mastermind...even if it's a little scary to reach out to them.

"If it scares you, that’s a good thing. You are going to be creating something that you can have for three to five years. This group could help your business make so much money. Yes, you might be super scared to email them once. But what’s the worst that will happen?"

What Happens in a Mastermind Meeting?

You can organize a mastermind meeting in any way that makes sense, but here is the rough outline that Jaime's mastermind uses:

First 15 minutes: The group goes around on the call and shares their wins from the previous week. Whether it's making a million dollars or cleaning off their desk, no victory is too small to share.

"We are always looking forward, and never realize the amazing stuff that we are already accomplishing. So being able to share that lets us all rejoice in each other’s wins. And it is really inspiring."

30-40 minutes: Each week, one member takes the hot seat with a specific issue they're facing in their business. They bring any collateral or examples that can help inform the members about the issue--they might even email everyone ahead of time. The rest of the group will weigh in on the issue and offer their unique expertise to solve the problem.

"You can bring whatever you want to the hot seat. You talk about it and at the end you usually have some sort of clarity or direction to go in whether it be a resource, something to try, being introduced to a person. That makes a huge difference."

Final 10-20 minutes: The group selects the next member to take the hot seat for the following week. With the others' help, the upcoming member reviews his/her goals for the quarter, so that the group can help them solve a problem that gets them closer to that goal.

"As entrepreneurs, we can get really distracted. We are trying to make sure that our actions actually align with what we want. That is when you see massive progress."

How Do I Know if My Mastermind Is Working?

The same way you know if any relationship is working--if you feel mostly positive effects from being involved with it.

There are definitely masterminds that are not a good fit for you, that just don't offer what you're looking to get out of it.

Or perhaps it's going great for you, but someone else in the mastermind is routinely late to meetings, participates minimally, or contributes negative energy.In either case, a few meetings is usually all it takes to know that something's not working right.

"The level of commitment matters. If it doesn’t, people are not going to feel like they are getting value from it, and they will start backing off or will quit. And then it starts to feel icky."

Get Jaime's insights for keeping your mastermind on track! Click here to listen to the full interview now.  

Commit to Your Own Success

It can take one or two tries to find the right group of people for your mastermind. But from my own experience, I can tell you that my entire business changed when I finally locked into the right group.

I want you to have the same experience, so if this is something you have been thinking about for a while, commit to yourself:

"In 30 days I will have created my own small mastermind of five people."

Best of all, forming your mastermind is so incredibly easy if you follow Jaime's step-by-step worksheet. Click here to download it now!

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-71.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am PST

If you’ve sought out training to help you build your business, or tracked the success of other entrepreneurs, you have firsthand experience of the power webinars have to not only engage and excite an audience, but to convert them to into paying clients.

Maybe you’ve even been one of those people who signed up for a webinar to get a little free education, and ended up making a purchasing decision that you were genuinely excited about!

So why does the idea of putting on your own webinar have you quaking in your boots?

Let me guess...

  • You don’t mind a little grunt work, but you doubt your ability to string together all that technology.
  • You love the idea of delivering content in a highly personal way to your audience, but you hate the idea of a sales pitch at the end.
  • You’ve got a foolproof concept in mind . . .  however, you’re not sure how you’ll pull together an audience since your email list and sales funnel are still a work in progress.

Busy entrepreneurs (like you and me) don’t have a SECOND to waste on activities that aren’t directly linked to profit. If you’ve ever tried creating a webinar before, you know that sinking feeling of waiting, as the seconds tick by, for your sales to pick up speed. (Ugh! It’s the worst, isn’t it?)

In my experience, I’ve found that four major myths are to blame for a poor conversion rate.

I’m going to debunk those myths for you, and show you how to replace them with truly effective practices that will not only reward all your hard work, but have you out of your chair with excitement.

Myth #1: Webinars are just a marketing strategy (and not a whole system).

What most entrepreneurs think of as “webinars” is really just a small fraction of what they really entail.

Most view webinars as just the presentation component. In fact, the presentation constitutes no more than 15% of an entire, well-integrated webinar STRATEGY.

A truly effective webinar strategy involves 5 Key Stages (planning, pre, live, post, automated), all of which MUST be executed in perfect harmony in order for cash to change hands at the end of your presentation.

In short, a webinar isn’t a single tactic, but an entire system with many moving parts, specific timelines, and delicate levers to pull.

My webinar system is so much more than just a set of slides pulled together in a presentation deck.

Specifically, my webinar system includes strategic content designed to be precisely aligned with my paid program.  It also includes a list building component, an email marketing plan, a technology strategy, a focus on scarcity and engagement, special Q&A sessions to eliminate objections and so much more.

And when everything lines up perfectly, your business grabs hold of an effective, efficient sales machine that acts as the backbone of your business and gives you the opportunity to grow, scale and automate at will.

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Myth # 2: Webinars are a TON of effort and involve too much expensive technology.

True. Webinars AREN’T simple.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be relatively easy when met with the right A-Z blueprint that leaves nothing to chance.

From pairing together the most affordable/reliable technology to knowing exactly how many email follow-ups to send to maximize conversions, a step-by-step blueprint can take an otherwise COMPLEX strategy and make it attainable for even the most time-starved solopreneur.

And for the business owner that possesses such a blueprint, the “complexity” of running a profitable webinar actually becomes a huge competitive advantage, giving them the unique chance to be the FIRST in their space to use webinars effectively.

Just to name a few, some of the best webinar platforms (for both live and automated webinars) include GoToWebinarGoogle HangoutsEasy WebinarWebinar JamStealth Seminar and Evergreen Business Systems. I want to engourage you to check a few out to see what might be a great fit for your webinar plans.

And on a final note, YES, executing a webinar strategy requires effort…but you’ve already proven that you’re willing to put in effort--you just need the reassurance of knowing that every bit of energy you put into your business will come back to you tenfold.

What you CAN’T afford to do is waste time and energy in perpetual “figure it out” mode.

Myth #3 - I’m fine; I learned about webinars a few years ago.

While it’s awesome that you got a head start on webinar marketing a few years back, the very same early mover advantage can EASILY become a major detriment to you and your biz if you fail to embrace the MANY factors of success that have changed over the years.

Audiences have changed…

Attention spans have changed… (Thanks, Netflix.)

Technology has changed…

Customer buying habits have changed…

Presentation practices have changed… (There were a few things you were taught to say on a call a few years ago that are now surefire ways to make your viewers hit self-eject.)

And how we go about GETTING people to show up on the call (and buy after the fact) has changed as well.

Hint: It’s not enough to just invite your audience to the webinar and hope they show up. There are very specific things you MUST do to not only make sure they show up, but show up in a highly focused and engaged state. (Click here to download my freebie and discover exactly what I do to ensure I always get a strong webinar turnout when I go live on my webinars.)

So when you add it all up, there’s very little you can bank on from the tactics of years past if you want to succeed in the shifting paradigm of webinar strategy.

Which quickly helps us dispel our next myth…

Myth #4 - It’s too late. I already missed the boat on webinars.

Sure, you missed the boat on webinars as a tactic…

…but there’s always another boat coming!

And that next boat is...wait for it...

Webinars as a COMPLETE sales funnel.

And if you’re reading this post RIGHT NOW, then you’re in a unique position to catch wind of this new strategic approach before anyone else in your niche does, and in doing so, claim your stake in the rich blue ocean ripe with sizeable and scalable profits.

So chances are that even if your competitors are already using webinars (the old way), you can gain a competitive advantage by being the FIRST to build a complete webinar funnel based on the proven frameworks, techniques, and strategies that I’m about to share with you.

Keep reading . . . now that you know the 4 webinar myths, I've created a DETAILED, free cheat sheet to help you with your first (or next!) webinar . . .

My wish for you is to sidestep the countless traps that make most webinars epic disasters, and instead learn how to create a masterpiece.

I’ve been doing webinars for over 5 years now and I’ve made MANY mistakes along the way. You don’t need to do the same! I’ve compiled a list of 5 of my biggest webinar mistakes over the years and how to avoid them before your first (or next!) webinar. Click here now to get that list!

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_70.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am PST

When I say the word “blogging,” what’s the first emotion you feel?

If you’re like many entrepreneurs, it’s probably stress, mixed with a little bit of guilt.

Even if you truly love writing, keeping up a blog for your business can be one of the hardest things to get done…if you even get it done at all. Your business might be running full steam ahead, but your blog is lagging months behind!

Today’s episode is all about getting your blog back in gear, minus the stress. I’m talking to one of my favorite people in the online marketing world, Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger.net and one of the first people to recognize the potential of blogging for entrepreneurs.

He’s going to walk us through the bare necessities of blogging, and show you how to streamline your process so that you gain traffic, convert leads and build community with every post you write.

Despite having written an encyclopedia's worth of information about blogging over the past few years, Darren is no stranger to the stress around blogging:

“It’s pretty easy to get to a stage where your blog is running you instead of you running your blog.”

So why keep blogging at all?

Simple—your blog is the cornerstone of your branding foundation. It's the best way to get your name out there, and to help people get to know you.

Just ask Darren:

“I have discovered over the years that when I go to a conference people come up to me and hug me and say, 'I love you!' I always wonder why because I have no idea who they are. But it’s the regular contact, the personal aspect of blogging, that really helps people to like you. Then over time they come to trust you.”

Darren says the key to writing an effective blog post is to focus on one of these three aspects--knowing, liking, and trusting--in each post that you write.

And he points out a few simple ways to get it done:

Helping people know you

Highly shareable content that gets your name out there where people haven’t heard of you yet. This could be humorous imagery, inspiring quotations or informative infographics.

Helping people like you

Personal stories, motivational content, anything that inspires empathy, emotion and a sense of belonging. This is also a great category to embed photos, audio or videos that helps you connect on a face-to-face level.

Helping people trust you

How-to guides, case studies, even sharing mistakes you made in the past and what you learned from them. This is where you show readers that you know what you’re talking about.

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Reinvent the SWOT Test

Would you believe that when Darren started ProBlogger, he’d only been an actual pro blogger for less than a year? With so little experience under his belt, he was fearful of being called out for not being a seasoned expert. (I’m sure we can all relate to that!)

But rather than let his inexperience hold him back, Darren used this “weakness” to his advantage. He was transparent in his posts about aspects of blogging that he didn’t understand yet or was just learning about.

As it turned out, the transparency was a big hit with his audience, and earned him even more followers.

“To position myself as someone who was on the journey, maybe a few steps ahead of you but I still haven’t gotten it all together, really resonated well with my audience.”

Once you’ve run a SWOT test (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) on your blog, go back and reconsider the weaknesses and threats you found. They can actually be the ideal ways to differentiate yourself in your field. So many people out there position themselves as bulletproof experts, that your audience may find your “inexperience” very refreshing.

Become a Title Master

Darren leaves no uncertainty about the importance of titles:

"The title of your post changes the destiny of your post. …can be the difference between somebody reading it and sharing it and it just sitting in the archives and never being read again."

The simple fact is that people make decisions whether to read your blog post (or not) based on its title!

Lucky for us, Darren offered a few tips on creating irresistible titles, with examples pulled straight from some of his own top posts:

  • Communicate a benefit. “How to Take Sharp Images”
  • Ask or answer a question. “What the Numbers on Your Lens Mean”
  • Creating curiosity or intrigue. “Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own”
  • Spark controversy or debate. “Nikon Versus Canon”
  • Get personal. “Are You Making These Blogging Mistakes?”
  • Use one powerful word. "Six Stunning Secrets to Help You Break Through Bloggers Block"
  • Make a big claim or promise. “21 Techniques All Camera Owners Should Know”

How to Find Readers (Without Google’s Help)

The constant changes in how Google ranking works mean that SEO tags and hyperlinks don’t work as well anymore for getting your blog to show up in a keyword search.

According to Darren, that doesn’t matter as much as knowing who you’re trying to reach with your blog, and showing up where those readers hang out online.

"I am a big believer in adding readers one by one. I don’t think you need to be attracting thousands of readers everyday to your blog. For me it’s really about building a presence in the places that my potential readers are and being useful in those places."

Try watching on Twitter for people who use your keywords and respond to them. Be helpful in forums. Join Facebook groups that are on your particular topic and add value to the conversation. What you’re looking for is the opportunity to bring a new reader on who will love your blog and bring their whole network along with them.

 

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_69.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

A lot of you have asked me if it's a good idea for you to start planning live events. You see the entrepreneurs you admire staging weekend retreats where they get up and set their audience on fire with excitement, education and motivation. Maybe you've even been to one and thought "Hey, I could do that!"

The short answer is Yes! I started planning and participating in live events very early in my business, and while my inexperience made it a little terrifying at first, I couldn't deny the powerful boost it gave me--not just in terms of leads, but also in terms of confidence.

That's why I invited Rich Brooks to join me on the show today. Rich is a small business owner who just happens to be an event-planning powerhouse. I asked Rich to let me pick his brain for the fundamentals of planning a successful live event.

The Who and the Why

If you've ever attended Rich's amazing Agents of Change conference in Portland, Maine, it may surprise you to learn that his live event track record began with a simple lunch meeting.

The purpose of a live event isn't to wow everyone with your multimedia presentations and dynamic speeches. Those are great bells and whistles to add as you gain experience, but the real heart of a live event is to do four things:

  • Get your name out there and establish your credibility
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors
  • Generate leads for business
  • Turn a profit

The more you work on your online marketing, the more you start to notice how crowded it is out there. It's getting harder and harder to get noticed in people's social media feed, no matter how valuable your content is. So why not get the edge on your competitors and take your message directly to your audience, face to face?

Yes, it takes more time and effort to plan an event than to post something on Facebook. But, Rich says,

"A live event could be that thing that really separates you and raises you above all of the other people out there in your industry. If you are looking to kind of change up the way you engage with people, a live event may be the perfect thing for you."

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3 Phases of a Live Event: Speakers, Sponsors and Seats

Rich says that all live event planning boils down to these three phases.

  • Speakers - Getting people to offer valuable content for your audience
  • Sponsors - Getting people to contribute to your audience's experience
  • Seats - Getting people to show up in your audience

First Things First - Who Is This For?

Before you start worrying about getting people to show up (we'll talk about that later), spend some time thinking about who you want to show up. The key thing here is quality over quantity. Here's what Rich has to say about it:

"The #1 is that you are putting on an event for people. Who is this audience? What do they look like? Who is your avatar? What kind of information do they want to consume? What are they looking to accomplish? What are they looking to do?"

As in all other forms of marketing, you need to narrow in on your ideal audience member, and design the perfect event for them. I know it's counterintuitive, but being super specific will actually help you attract more people.

Once you know who you're planning this event for, you'll have a firm foundation to build on with the three phases.

Phase 1: Speakers

There are three main ways of attracting speakers to help lead your event:

  • Get them to do it for free as a way to gain visibility.
  • Pay them.
  • Have them pay you.

If that last item made you do a double-take, considering that many potential sponsors are eager to be seen as thought leaders, and would love the chance to get up and present to your audience. (Too many of these type of speakers can kill an event, though, so limit it to one or two sponsors whose product or service would truly benefit your ideal audience.)

Obviously, if there's an ideal speaker that you can afford to pay, then do it!

But it's actually much easier than you might think to attract quality presenters to your event for free. Call on people you have an existing relationship with. Ask colleagues to recommend good candidates...then get them to introduce you! Look around for people who have just published a book, started a podcast, have something they're trying to promote.

Yes, it can be intimidating to reach out to people--even a natural networker like Rich isn't always entirely comfortable with this part of the planning process. But it never hurts to ask...or even nag a little! You'll often be surprised at who says yes.

Hear more of Rich's stories about scoring great speakers for live events. Click here to listen to the full episode.

Phase 2: Sponsors

The idea with sponsors is, of course, bringing in some money from your event. Enough, at least, so that you don't lose money. They can underwrite some of the costs of putting on the event, provide technology services, even supply coffee, snacks and meals for attendees. (This turns out to be one of the most expensive aspects of planning an event, Rich says).

The key to looping sponsors into your event is taking a "barter" approach. Think of it as them trading sponsorship for something your event can offer them.

For example, Rich approached the local news station where he often appears as the "Tech Guy" and told them he was having a panel of people from Maine appear during his conference. This was a perfect tie-in with the station's brand, and they agreed to sponsor the event.

Bottom line: give some thought to how your sponsors will benefit from association with your event, and you'll make it a whole lot easier for them to say "yes."

Click here to download this week's free giveaway.

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Phase 3: Seats

This one is the biggie--"How am I going to sell tickets?"

It's also the number one fear that keeps people from planning a live event--"What if nobody shows up?"

This is where your list comes in handy! Rich says that with every event, his team tries new tactics for reaching people, and every year finds that his opt-in lists have the best yield.

"I discovered over the years that nothing sells tickets like email. It really does make a difference."

Two more things to keep in mind:

  • People really like attending live events. They want something to get excited about with other people--by planning a live event, you're offering something they truly want.
  • There is nothing wrong with an event that has 12 people as long as it is the right 12 people and they are paying enough money to cover the expenses of your event.

Find out more ways to fill the seats at your live event! Listen to the full episode here.

...And Just One Two More Things

What do I charge?

You may struggle with charging money for your event, especially if it's your first one. When the purpose of the event is to generate leads for your business, it can feel a little wrong to ask for money on top of that.

But Rich says charging for your event is an important part of everyone getting value out of it, including the attendees.

"I found that if you have a free event people will be excited about it and then they don’t show. They don’t have any skin in the game. ... You have to charge something so people understand that there is a value to what they are getting."

How much should I promote?

In the excitement around planning your first event, it's easy to just bombard social media with reminders that it's happening and people should come. But it's important to carefully craft a sales message around your event, so that people don't get sick of hearing about it! For example, Rich will post a "10 Fun Things to Do in Portland, Maine" article on his blog, and end it with a simple pitch for his event.

Try to time your more obvious promotions around FOMO-inducing moments in the sales process. Announcing Early Bird discounts, One Day Only specials, "Seats Are Rapidly Selling Out!" messages, etc. are perfect opportunities to jog people's memories that they want to attend.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19am PST

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a challenge with your business and wondering,

“How did I get here…again?!

Nothing feels worse than the suspicion that you’ve been spinning your wheels for the past month. (Or quarter. Or year.) The last thing we want is to get caught in a downward spiral, where we never get to overcome our struggles and rise past a certain level.

But what if that spiral was actually going up, not down?

I spoke with Nathalie Lussier, world-class digital strategist and email building expert, about this problem that confronts all of us: how to understand the recurring patterns in our business.

Not only does she give some sage advice on how to deal with these patterns, but she shows how embracing them can actually help you build your business by narrowing your niche.

We usually think of business strategy as being a line between Point A and Point B…and measure our success by how straight that line is.

But in real life, Nathalie says, the path is more like a spiral staircase. As we make our way up to the next level, we revisit the same issues, challenges and themes over and over again. 

When you come up against circumstances that make you think “How did I get here again?”, flip the way you’re looking at them. Even if it’s the same issue, you’re in a different place with it than you were six months (or even six weeks) ago.

What’s more, each time you revisit that same situation, you learn something a new and deeper lesson about it, which you can then pass on to your target audience. They’re all climbing spiral staircases of their own, and they need your story to help them keep going.

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Three Things that Define Your Niche

Whether you say “nitch,” or pronounce it “neesh” like Nathalie (who is French),  you already know that digging deep into your niche is a cornerstone of your business’ success.

According to Nathalie, your niche is the sum of three things:

  • Your topic
  • Your story
  • Your audience

Each time you make another look on the spiral staircase, you go deeper into each aspect of your niche. Here’s how:

  • Your topic - Each “spiral” builds new expertise that narrows the focus of your business. It takes you from a broad category (“I help people achieve better health”) into a very specific component of that category (“I offer natural healing methods that cure migraines in ten seconds or less”).

  • Your story - Each “spiral” is a new chapter in your story, which creates new opportunities for connection with your audience.

  • Your audience - Each “spiral” lets you understand more about your own challenges and develops new strengths to overcome those challenges. As a result, you have renewed insight into who needs you the most.

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Build Your Audience

It’s easy to assume that it’s better to go bigger in the beginning stages of your business, to collect as many people in your audience as possible, and then narrow your niche once you’ve got a solid email list going.

In fact, Nathalie recommends just the opposite: Go narrow in the beginning. Establish yourself as an authority in one very specific area, build a small but mighty email list, then unfold into new products and new ideas when you’ve built the relationship with those clients.

“[When] people already know you as an expert in one thing, it’s easier to add expertise in other topics."

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Say “No”

Narrowing your niche also helps you save a lot of time (and headache) by giving you opportunities to say “no.”

When all you want is to build, network and grow, it can be terrifying to turn down opportunities. The problem is that every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you have a little less energy to invest in all the other opportunities you’ve agreed to.

You have to decide ahead of time what the smart "yes-es" are, and then stick to your guns. Nathalie carries around an index card with her five goals for the quarter listed on it. When an opportunity comes up, she compares it against these five goals. If the opportunity actively promotes one of those goals, she gives it a yes. If it doesn’t promote those goals, no matter how great it sounds, she says no for right now.

It may be hard at first, especially if you’re someone who has a hard time turning people down.

But saying “no” in one place is what will give you time and energy to say “Yes!” down the road to unexpected windfalls. As Nathalie puts it,

“Saying no leaves margin for magic.”

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Ask for What You Want

Think about some of your mini-goals for this quarter. Maybe you want to get published in a prominent magazine or website. Maybe you want to speak at someone’s live event, or host an event of your own. Maybe you want to join forces with another business.

These kinds of opportunities don’t usually come knocking—you have to ask for them. Chances are, you’re one of several people asking.

But when you have a clearly defined, highly specific niche, you’re bringing something to the table that will stand out. 

Your niche gives you leverage to show why what you have to say matters, who is going to listen, and how success in that opportunity can be measured. Those are win-wins for you and the person you’re asking.

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Narrowing Your Niche Reconnects You with the Deeper Meaning of Your Business

Take a minute to really search your soul. What are you really passionate about changing in the world? Whom do you feel the most empathy for? Whose troubles do you burn to solve?

Your compassion is a powerful indicator of where your niche really lies. Identify the people whose struggles motivate you the most, and let them become co-creators of your business by defining your work around their needs.

“A lot of times, we get caught up in the logistics and the analytics, what’s the conversation rate, what’s the opt-in rate… Just remember that there’s a human being on the other side of that screen who has their own heartbeat, hopes, dreams and goals. When I’m sending an email, I’m not sending an email to my list—I’m sending an email to all these incredible human beings.”

Next time you find yourself in an all-too-familiar position in your business, don’t lose heart. Look for the opportunities it offers—opportunities that you’d never have seen last time you were in this place. There’s nothing wrong with a spiral if it’s leading you upward.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-67.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm PST

I started out this year with a fully fleshed-out calendar. I knew exactly what I was going to do, when we were going to promote, when we were not going to promote, when I was going to take vacations, etc. Everything was planned.

Well, as you probably know, things change as the year gets going. As entrepreneurs, the challenge is to be flexible enough to seize good opportunities, but not so flexible that we lose all our momentum.

Now that it's July--where did the time go?--I decided to hit "pause" in the calendar flow and regroup.

I'm going to walk you through a simple, powerful exercise to evaluate where you are right now in your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change.

I've also created a downloadable template that helps you chart your progress in this exercise. You can get it by clicking here.

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Ready? Let's get started.

Step #1 - Review Your Week

Write down every single thing you can remember you’ve done in the last seven days. I mean everything--creating content, training, phone calls, reading emails, writing emails. It's crucial to know how you've been spending your time.

Step #2 - Perform a Brain Dump

Think ahead to the next six months, and write down all of the things you need to get done. People to contact, products to create, events to attend, blog posts to write . . . I mean everything. (Warning--don't use this as an opportunity to come up with new ideas! This is just for what you've got in the works right now.)

Step #3 - Identify the Revenue

Now that you've got your list of six months into the future, take a highlighter pen and highlight every item on that list that will produce revenue for you, either directly or indirectly.

Learn more about how you can successfully "regroup." Click here to listen to the full episode.

Step #4 - Identify Misspent Time

Now take another highlighter pen in a different color, go back to the list you made in Step #1, and highlight the tasks that were either a big waste of your time or that you could have delegated but didn't.

Now go back to the Six Month list, take a third highlighter pen, and highlight all of the things that you could either do farther into the future, or that can be leveraged or delegated.

Lots of highlighter action, I know. But this is all about identifying where you should and shouldn't be spending your time.

Step #5 - Color Code Your Calendar

I use Google calendar, which makes it very easy to highlight each entry in a certain color. The point is that to have different colors for different categories--planning a project, upcoming deadlines, content creation, podcasting, being interviewed with someone else, even time off or personal errands (like getting my hair cut).

Once you do this, you can step back and see the big picture of your schedule. Where are your biggest blocks of time being spent? Is that enough, given what you know about your work flow? Are you spending enough of your week doing the things you really love?

After all, isn't that a big part of why we start our own business?

Don't forget to download Amy's template that walks you through this whole exercise, step by step. Click here to get it.

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At this point, it's time to pat yourself on the back, take a walk, breathe deeply.

That's the whole point of this exercise--giving yourself more room to breathe. You now have a bird's-eye view of what your schedule really looks like. You know where you need to focus your time. You know what things you can quit doing or delegate.

Without these moments to regroup, the day-to-day hustle can start to consume you. These regular check-ins with your schedule will put you back in charge of your business.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_66.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm PST

For busy entrepreneurs, the About page of a website is one of the easiest to put off. You might throw a few vital details up there, like your name (always a good place to start) and your credentials, and promise yourself to fill it out later. Maybe you even go back and try adding some details that paint a fuller picture of you as a person.

But for many, no matter how hard they work on it, their About page just falls flat. It feels fake, like you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. And that makes sense—we’re all taught never to brag about ourselves…so it feels pretty strange to suddenly write a whole page about why your customers should think you’re so great!

That’s why I’m so happy to introduce you to Melissa Cassera. She’s a publicity expert (as well as a screenwriter and an actress), and if you read her own About page, you can see that she is an expert on how to write about yourself in a way that comes out warm, genuine and authentically irresistible.

Why Is An About Page Important?

Melissa compares the About page to the gown a Hollywood actress wears on the “red carpet.” It’s the way to show off both your importance and your individuality at once, impressing people and engaging them at the same time. The About page is where you give people just enough information about you to want to know more.

In other words, you don’t want to give away the whole story on your About page—it’s their intro to all the excitement that awaits if they choose to work with you. For the reader, it should feel like they’ve met you in person, looked you in the eye and shaken your hand.

So how do you convey that feeling in words?

Think About How You Serve the World

Rather than begin by talking about what you do, begin your About page with a line or two about why you do it. This should be the element that guides you through the writing process for your About page. If you get stuck or are wondering if you are including the right kinds of details, ask yourself if what you’ve written paints a picture of the world/society/lifestyle/change that you are trying to build with what you do.

Hear more of Melissa's tips on how to make your About page shine. Listen to the full interview here.  

Make Your Credentials Fun

It’s important to list the things that give your business credibility—an advanced degree, an impressive title or certification, a number of years in your field or successful working relationships with noteworthy people. But rather than just list them, Melissa advises having fun with them! Try translating your credentials into an analogy that helps your audience understand what that kind of cred means in your industry. (“I attended the Harvard of health coaching schools” is a good example.)

By listing your credentials this way, you can use your bragging rights to gain your readers’ trust and build engagement.

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 Show Your Non-Professional Side

Would it surprise you to learn that the part of your About page that really sells you is the part where you talk about something besides work? This, Melissa says, is what really seals the emotional connection with people and allows them to get to know you on a more personal level. Not only that, but this section is what sets you apart from your competition. Nobody else has the same story, the same style, the same lovable quirks and personal motivations that you have.

As Melissa says in her "Better Bio Challenge" blog post,

"Personal details aren’t 'frivolous' — they anchor you in the reader’s mind and showcase the 'person' behind the 'business.' Try to include at least ONE little detail about your passions, guilty pleasures + personal life, in your bio — and you’ll sparkle off the page, every time."

Counterbalance Your Accomplishments

If your About page starts feeling a little self-indulgent, Melissa says an easy way to lighten it up is to “show your brushstrokes.” After mentioning the glowing review of your program on the Today Show, drop in a reference to that one time you tried to teach a college class and sat on a whoopee cushion. Details like this help keep you human to your readers, and show them that you’re the same as them—just a little farther along in the journey toward success.

Get Melissa's Mad Libs-style template for creating an irresistible About page. Click here to download it instantly!

Offer Fun Facts

Like the “non-professional life” part of your About page, this part is meant to connect with your ideal audience in a way that nothing else can. Tell a few “secrets” about yourself—that you cover your eyes during the scary parts of movies, that puppy videos make you cry, that your favorite place to work is in your kids’ treehouse.

Be forewarned—this will turn off some people. But they are the right people for you to turn off. At the end of the day, Melissa says, your About page is not meant to engage every single person out there.

“Your bio or About Page is only intended to turn on your ideal customers and it should be repelling the people that you want to turn off.”

Create an “Action Step”

By now, your audience has fallen head over heels in love with you…so what’s the next step? Where does the relationship go from here? Melissa says this is the moment to offer them a concrete action step. Offer a free opt-in gift, list links to your five most popular blog posts, tell them to contact you to set up a consultation. Whatever your specific action step is, make it simple and immediate for them to make the next move.

Get more of Melissa's suggestions for making your About page actionable. Click here to hear the full interview.

The Bottom Line: What Is Fame For? 

Melissa has a stellar blog post called “Four Questions to Help You Identify What's Not Working in Your Biz...And Make It Better.” In it, she offers this really thought-provoking quotation:

“Getting famous is not all it’s cracked up to be and getting featured in the media doesn’t always lead to sales, either.”

It’s not enough to have people think you’re “fabulous.” Better sales come from a real relationship with your clients, and the About page is all about relationship building. So while a clear action step is a great way to end your About page, leave the sales messages to your sales page and emails. Focus your About page on building trust and rapport with your target audience, and they will search for ways to work with you.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_65.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20pm PST

Two weeks ago, in Episode #62, I reviewed the project plan I use for all of my promotions. And if you downloaded the free Project Plan Checklist that I offered, you might have had some questions about the bigger action items on that list.

I'm going to break down some of those bigger items in upcoming episodes. Today, though, I'm going to walk you through some of the details that led to the overwhelming success of this promotion.

This blog post is going to be just a tease for the podcast, for the simple reason we cover a lot of ground in the audio version! If you haven’t listened to this week’s episode yet, I really encourage you to download and enjoy the whole thing.

But for now, here are the basics:

Launch in Review

My recent launch of the Profit Lab was very different from past launches. I took some risks by changing things up and I’ll be honest—I was a little worried. But those risks paid off in a big way. It turned out to be the most successful launch I've ever done, with sales just under a million dollars, and some amazing new insights that will make future launches just as profitable.

Here's what really paid off this time:

Consistent Content

This launch came during the most consistent year I’ve had, in terms of offering free valuable content. Between my podcast, my blog, and the downloadable giveaways I offer each week, I was able to build a huge amount of affinity and trust with my audience. That really paid off when I started promoting my program for sale.

Surveying My Audience

A few months before the promotion began, I put a survey out to learn more about my audience. (I talk about that survey in Episode #55, if you haven’t checked it out yet.) That survey gave me immense insight into how my audience feels, what they need and, best of all, how they talk about those feelings and needs! When it came time to promote my program, I was able to speak their language better than ever.

A Targeted Giveaway

The Product Maximizer, which I gave away a few weeks before the launch, was more than just a free download. It was targeted at the exact people that I knew would benefit from my program. I had over 7,300 people opt-in for that free giveaway. When it came time to promote the program, I got to speak to those 7,000 people in a different way than anybody else on my list, because I knew they would be keenly interested in exactly what I was going to offer.

Educating My Target Market

Another pre-promotion I did was a live webinar series, where I taught on a topic related to the Profit Lab. The reason I did this was to help my target market understand what they truly needed for making more money online (i.e., a sales funnel). That gave me a perfect segue into selling my program, which is all about creating that sales funnel!

Rebranding

This year’s Profit Lab had a brand-new look and a brand-new name. The name change was a risk, but I went for it and it paid off. And I think the facelift had a lot to do with that! Everything from the ads to the imagery to the course materials was done by one great designer. As a result, the whole thing had a very distinctive look that appealed to people who had never heard of my program, and renewed interest from people who had heard of it.

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Retargeted Ads

This was the first time I’d ever done this. Retargeting means running ads specifically to people who showed interest in a product but then didn’t “pull the trigger.” In this case, it meant people who had visited a sign-up page for the free webinar I was offering, but then didn’t register for it. I created retargeted Facebook ads to reach those people and encourage them to go back and sign up. For those who did sign up, I retargeted them with an ad that sent them directly to the Profit Lab sales page.

There are so many more details of this launch that I want to share with you, including what worked and what didn’t work so well, especially when it came to running Facebook and Google ads. These details will be immensely helpful alongside this week’s free download.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_64.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am PST

Last year, one of my most popular podcasts was an interview with John Lee Dumas. But I invited him back this week because I wanted to talk about podcasting again, in a whole new way.

Today, I want to focus on about podcasting for somebody who already has a platform. Maybe you have a business with a blog. Maybe you have an online training program or course that you’re constantly perfecting and promoting from one year to the next. Maybe you are a coach or consultant.

Bottom line, you have something important to say. And maybe you’ve been thinking the podcast thing seems to be growing even bigger, and might be a good way to help your business get bigger, too.

Well, you’re right. It is.

No question, podcasting requires a fair amount of work, especially to get it all set up. But it can also be a huge boost to your business’ visibility, to establishing your brand as a leader, and  ultimately to your sales.

John is a podcasting superhero. His show Entrepreneur on Fire is consistently ranked among iTunes’ top business podcasts—he even got a Best of iTunes recognition within his first year! More impressively, though, he puts out a new episode every day! (As in seven days a week—no weekends off for this guy.) This makes him the perfect person to explain why podcasting is worth it, how he gets it done, and how he manages to stay fired up about it every single week.

Why Should You Podcast?

As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for other avenues to grow our audience. That’s why we use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, that’s why we blog and send emails to our list. The podcasting sphere is just another way to reach more people—a lot more people. iTunes has 525 million active subscribers, and SoundCloudStitcher and Spotify are catching up fast.

Podcasters are an obsessive crowd—they are constantly looking for new content to listen to during their commute, while walking their dog, while they’re waiting at the airport…you name it!

That’s the great thing about podcasting—it doesn’t require you to say “no” to something else, the way a lot of content does. In our multi-tasking culture, it’s the perfect way to get your message heard and deliver free, valuable and consistent content to your audience.

What Kind of Work Is Involved?

The great news is that you really don’t have to create that much more work to keep a podcast going. You just repurpose content that you’re already creating for one outlet into another outlet.

To get started, simply go back to your best blog posts (or videos, or images, or even social media posts), the ones that got the best engagement, and turn them into a bullet point flow. Then switch on the microphone and talk your way through them. Beef it up by talking about what led you to create that piece of content. Talk some of the comments you received. Talk about what you liked best about it. Talk about how you feel toward that content now.

By doing this, you’re getting the attention of people who may never find you on Facebook, or who always mean to read your blog and just don’t make the time to do it. You’re getting them in the midst of their busy day, and becoming a familiar voice in their  lives.

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How Do You Get It Done?

First let me assure you that you don’t have to create a seven-day-a-week podcast for it to be a valuable tool in growing your business. But even recording once a week can feel daunting, especially when you’re just getting into the groove, or you get sidelined by a busy week and suddenly realize that you’re scheduled to post a new episode tomorrow.

The key to getting it done is batch processing. This approach is one that will save your sanity, if you stick to it. And it all depends on one big thing…

Scheduling

The key here, John says, is owning your schedule. He doesn’t ask guests what time works for them—he sends them his calendar and has them pick from the slots he has open. And then, each Tuesday from 9am-4pm, John has eight one-hour conversations with podcast guests. At the end of the day, he’s done with interviews for the week! (Plus an extra, just in case.)

It works the same even if you’re not doing interviews on your podcast. Schedule the time, block it out, and power through several recordings in a row. You’ll find yourself getting in a flow that makes each one better than the last.

Template

Having a pre-determined format is crucial when you’re just getting started podcasting. What you don’t want is a lot of awkward silences, information getting repeated, or rabbit trails because you just don’t know what to say.

You don’t need to write a full script—what you do need is some sort of structure to give your episodes consistency and help you find your voice. It will also help people understand who you are and what your podcast is about. (If it’s too free-flowy at first, people may stop listening because they don’t have a framework for understanding you.)

Over time, this structure will become second-nature to you, and your listeners will have a grasp on who you are and what you’re about. More and more, you’ll be able to just talk into the microphone.

Voice

It’s normal not to like the way your voice sounds on a recording.

But John says “Get over it.”

The thing is, consuming audio content makes people feel a personal connection in a way that other media just can’t reach. For one thing, listening is a very intimate act—even more than watching a video. For another thing, people bring podcasts with them into, let’s just say, very intimate parts of their lives. John says people have told him they listen to his show while they’re in the shower! It sounds crazy, but having someone’s voice with you all through the day, even when you don’t know what they look like, makes you feel a real connection to them.

So don’t be afraid of how you sound. Keep your focus on your content and the people out there that you’re trying to reach.

But Wait...There's More!

John has some incredible free content for you. If you want to learn about how to find your ideal podcast topic, your ideal podcast listener, how to get your show noticed in the ever-growing podcast arena, and so much more, click here to get into his free podcasting workshop.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_63.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am PST

You know me--I teach what I know best. And what I know by now, more than anything, is that the key to making a sales plan work is having a proven, foolproof system. 

So today, I'm going to walk you through my project management system, line by line. This is one I've spent hours mapping out with my team. Some of it will be familiar to you, but it's in the little details that you'll find the most value--the tiny things that make your promotion polished, professional and, most importantly, effective.

Another great thing about putting together a promotion with this system is that it sets up your content to be "evergreen"--meaning you can use it over and over again to sell your product and build your business.

There's a lot of content in this post and in the podcast. But don't worry. I've put together a special checklist for you, so that you can put all this information into action right off the bat. No matter what kind of promotion you're planning, this checklist has all the basic steps you need to make sure it launches successfully.

Click here to download it instantly.

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I divide all my promotional planning into three categories:

  • The Pre category is everything you do before the cart opens (i.e., your product becomes available for sale).
  • The Live category is everything you do when the cart is open.
  • The Post category is everything you do after the cart closes.

I've launched promotions in the past that I've had just a few weeks to pull together. As my business has grown, I've had more time to plan and prepare. But here's the thing: it's never enough time! Let me encourage you to always get started on this system earlier than you think. There will always be last-minute tasks that have you scrambling. That scramble will be a lot less stressful, the sooner you get started. (Right now, I'm already starting on this system for a promo set to launch in October!)

Category #1: Pre-Promotion

As you might guess, 80% of the work happens in the Pre phase. I’ve broken them down into smaller categories, starting with…

Admin

The cornerstone of Admin is making all your decisions in advance, getting organized and scheduled, so that when you “hit the red button” for your launch, you can enjoy (mostly) smooth sailing through your promotion.

Organization

The first thing we do might surprise you: we organize our Dropbox. We have a folder for everything…no file floats alone. But  I’ll admit to being a little crazy about this, but let me tell you—it saves you from going a lot crazier in the long run, wondering where those files are that you need to send to your designer so you can launch in two hours!

Confirm and Document All Promo Dates

Before getting started, I put each stage of the promotion down on the calendar. For example, in my recent Profit Lab promotion, I had to nail down when I’d start running various Facebook ads, when I’d release each promotional webinar, when the early bird pricing began and ended…all of those little pieces are determined before anything gets started.

Schedule Promotion Phases

I have different phases in each of my promos. Phase 1 includes offering free content that warms up my target audience by offering value before I promote anything for sale. Remember the Product Maximizer from a few weeks back? That was a pre-promo content piece, scheduled for Phase 1. Phase 2 included free webinars that ended with a product pitch. Phase 3 was when the cart opened, so it includes lots of timely bonuses and heavy ad running to people who have shown interest. And the final phases are all about “Take Action Now! Cart Closing Soon!”

These are my phases—you’ll have your own. But the point is scheduling them in advance, to save playing catch-up with yourself later.

Determine Price Points/Membership Levels, Hire Designer/Programmer/Copywriter

This is where you're setting your ground rules for sales and assembling your team to make those sales happen!

Set Up All Campaigns in InfusionSoft

Decide in advance which emails you’re going to want to send, and queue them up for sending. You won’t have them all written yet, of course, because you don’t have all the links, downloads, maybe even some product language. But setting up the campaigns in advance will let know where there are holes you need to fill.

Content Creation

This is where I spend the most time...and the most worry...and the most creativity. I love this phase, even in its stressful moments, because it's when I get to spend quality time with my product, making it perfect for my audience.

I always start this phase by creating a content grid--a spreadsheet that helps me keep track of each component of the content I'm creating. Here's a snapshot of what mine looks like:

Program/Product Content Creation

This includes everything from creating the product name, brainstorming a logo, getting into all the nuts and bolts of the product. (For me, that means deciding on modules, creating outlines, determining what should be core content vs. bonuses.)

As part of this, I always include a “Stick Strategy”—a juicy bonus I send to people after they purchase, to keep them excited and engaged, and let them know they’re being taken care of.

Promo Content Creation

Same as above, except just for the promotion part. I use my free content—my blog, my podcast, social media posts, webinars and related giveaways—to offer valuable giveaways

Members’ Area

This is where people log in after they buy, and get all your product content. For the Profit Lab, I create a very specific outline for members to see how the course is going to run—I list all the modules, links for downloads, and bonuses they’ll get along the way. I also include a welcome video to let them know what I’m going to let them know.

Setting this up in advance is especially important so that you can test it before releasing it! There will always be bugs—the important thing is to catch them before your audience does.

Sales Page + Order Form Creation

As a team, we lay out the way we want these pages to look, write the sales copy (including testimonials), set up your countdown timer, and collect the images we need for it, and send it on over to the designer and the coder.

Again, you need to test it out! This includes double-checking the sales disclaimer, the privacy policy, the refund policy, all the little details that get overlooked in the stress of actual launch. Also, have someone do a test sale, to make sure that everything happens the way it’s supposed to when real customers show up.

Create Email Grid

This outlines every email we’re planning to send in InfusionSoft, and when we’re going to send it. Note the subject line, when they’re going to be sent, and who is going to receive it.

Wondering what kinds of emails you should send? Listen to the full podcast episode to get Amy's detailed list of what to send and when. 

Customer Support

Determine the language around your refund and discount policies, automatic responses, and answers to FAQs that your customer support team can be ready with. This could also include a pre-recorded voicemail if you have a customer support phone line.

Determine Graphics

In the past, we’d be frantically creating images at the last minute. But in my last Profit Lab launch, I had a complete list of every graphic I'd need for anything related to the promotion--imagery for emails, social media, website, the works. As a result, I was able get it all designed in advance by one designer, so it was ready early and it all looked consistent.

I've included that list in the free downloadable checklist for this week--get it here!

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Ad Grid

Facebook ads, Google ads…we have them all mapped out in advance, with imagery, copy and dates for when to run them in each phase.

Social Media

Creating a posting schedule has really saved me a few headache! We determine ahead of time what we want to post on social media about the promotion, set it up in Edgar (my favorite queuing tool), and have one less thing to worry about when the launch goes live. (Just make sure to glance at your social media from time to time throughout the launch, to make sure that your links and images are showing up correctly.)

“Mastery” Level

I don’t always do this for promotions, but sometimes I include a special “VIP” membership tier that includes extra bells and whistles—a Facebook group, live Q&A calls, all that good stuff. If you’re doing different levels, make sure you list in advance all the extras you’ll be doing, including times/dates, setup you’ll need to do, and whatever material that you’ll be offering.

Waitlist Page

It’s important for your integrity to close the cart right when you said you were going to. Right after the cart closes, I redirect all the purchase links to the waitlist page. This is super important to set up in advance—believe me, you don’t want to be setting up your waitlist page in the minutes right after your cart closes!

Tracking Document

Daily sales, units sold, whatever you want to track, get this tracking document set up in advance and designate the person who will be tracking it. One thing you don't during your launch is to be constantly adding up your numbers to see how you're doing!

Get more of Amy's insights on this step-by-step promotion plan. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Whew! The PRE phase is done…which means most of your work is done. The next two phases are really short and sweet.

Category #2: Live Promotion

Maintain the New Customers Area

As you start to sell, make sure everything’s working for your new customers, and that they’re having a smooth experience.

Price Change

If you did an Early Bird pricing, like I often do, you’re going to be increasing your price at some point while the cart is open. So you’re going to be switching out order forms and change your sales page in the midst of your launch.

Social Media Upkeep

Having this in your project plan is huge—you (or your team member) will know exactly when to change out any social media imagery from Pre phase to Live phase.

Category #3: Post Promotion

Shut Down Ads

Redirect Promo Pages to Your Waitlist

Remove Promotional Imagery from Website/Social Media

Celebrate! 

I’m always ready for a virtual champagne toast by the end of the process. I also send out thank-you notes to everyone who has helped: team members, affiliates, experts, etc.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_62.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10am PST

As humans, we are hardwired to connect emotionally with visual content. Pictures in particular--we process them very quickly--faster than text, video, or audio. Pictures allow us to make a really quick decision about whether we are going to engage with something.

It's no secret that some of the most successful brands in the world owe their popularity to their visual content strategy. Notice I said strategy--in other words, not just any visual content will do.

Fortunately, one of the world's biggest experts in visual social media and content strategy is also a good friend of mine.

You probably know Donna Moritz already as the power behind Socially Sorted, the award-winning blog about using visual content on social media. I know her as my #1 student from the very first Profit Lab course I ever launched. She's also shown up on this site more than once.

But today, Donna is here to school me--and you--in how to set up a visual content strategy that supports your sales and sends your message.

She's also put together an amazing freebie for us--a three-part video series that walks you through the process of creating polished imagery. This is where you'll learn how to use all the tools mentioned in this episode. Trust me--it's a must-have.

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Get Donna Moritz's Free Guide To Creating Visual Content

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Before she became the renowned expert she is today, Donna learned all the ins and outs of visual content strategy through simple practice. After working in several different businesses--sometimes for others, sometimes for herself--she saw how visual content really created that initial resonance with a target audience that makes them want to learn more.

The main thing with your visual content is to "stop the scroll"--in other words, arrest your audience's attention so that their finger pauses above their mouse or smartphone screen, and they take the time to engage with your message.

The more Donna learned, the more excited she got about the potential of various kinds of visual content. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer variety of visual content styles out there, don't worry--Donna is here to break it into three basic levels.

These are the really easy-to-create, easy-to-share individual images that would be on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Think funny photos, behind-the-scenes shots, images that incorporate quotes, tips or other short bits of text. They are really a good jumping-off point to lead into a longer message.

Here is a sample batch of quote images, observational humor, business tips, questions and motivational images ready to go (and all created on Canva and WordSwag).

These types of images are designed to increase reach and engagement.

Shareable images get their strength from their simplicity. But that doesn't mean you can only use them for short, simple concepts. By attaching an image with a call to action or link, you can increase shares (such as retweets on Twitter) and generate more visits to your blog or other "landing content."

Also, remember that tweets with images get retweeted twice as often...so post images!

Remember, on all platforms, it is important to keep a balance of your own helpful and entertaining content, and curated content from other pages or businesses. This earns you the right to post some promotional images with calls to action.

You can also work with your designer if you want to save time (and money) or can't design the images yourself. Ask your designer to create a template which you can then add text to.  This way, you can create a series of quotes or tips using a great design, but reduce the cost and time involved in hiring a designer. One image becomes many!

Using this template, she can create multiple images using a tool like Canva or Picmonkey

2. Step-by-Steps

Checklists, how-to images and tutorials are all great examples of "Step-by-Step" images. This format is deal for sharing procedures, systems or "secret sauces" with your community.

These images work particularly well on Pinterest and get shared a lot.

This kind of visual content doesn't need to be fancy or even overly designed--they just need to be helpful and easy to use. Remember, people love shortcuts...so with these images, they're probably going to look right past the bells and whistles of a great visual design to get to the content you're offering!

Social media expert Andrea Vahl did a great series of simple checklists to help her readers on her blog.

3. Showpieces

Showpieces are the pieces of content that require more investment of time and resources but are most likely to bring better return in terms of sharing and traffic. This includes infographics, slide decks and short video.

 

Donna recently posted a blog of her own about these three levels of visual content, with even more info about each one. It's called "9 Ways to Take Your Visual Content Up a Level," and it's definitely worth checking out.

Don't miss all of Donna Moritz's tips on where and how these three levels of images work. Click here to listen to Episode #61 in full.

Get Creative

If you're reading this and thinking it doesn't apply to you because you're not a "creative type," think again! The amazing tools that are available out there right now--tools like PicMonkeyWordSwag and (my personal favorite) Canva--are set up so that anyone can create simple but stunning visual content. Don't worry if you don't have a "designer's eye"--these tools have templates so that all you have to do is plug in your favorite background, choose a font you like, and voilà! Beautiful, polished, eye-catching imagery.

One important thing to note, however, is that size matters. Different platforms will have different optimum size requirements for your image. Donna has a blog post all about that, as well--just click here to find her 5 Social Media Size Hacks for Quick Visual Content.

There's so much more to learn about visual content strategy in my interview with Donna, so make sure to listen to the whole episode. Also, click here to get the amazing freebie she designed for us--it's a three-part video series where she walks you through the specifics of how to create images. It's a must-have for anyone who's ready to put their visual content strategy into action.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get Donna Moritz's Free Guide To Creating Visual Content

FREE DOWNLOAD

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_61.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24pm PST

When it comes to communicating the value of a product or service, Ray Edwards is a true legend in the industry. I met him way back in my corporate job days when my boss hired him to work his magic on a new sales letter for a product we were launching. That was when I saw the true power that words can have in generating sales and building a business. Since then, I decided to become a devoted student of copywriting, and a student of Ray’s, in particular.

Fortunately, Ray loves teaching, and he’s very generous with his expertise. You may remember him from way back in Episode 33, but I wanted to have him back to help you dive even deeper into the techniques of writing sales copy that gets results and comes from the heart.

What Counts as Copy?

Ray often encounters confusion about what constitutes “copy”…how is it different from simply writing?

"The first level is sales copywriting, which is the copy that is on the sales page—where we ask people to press a button and buy something from us.

"On the other level, though, I believe that all writing is meant to persuade people either that they can do something, or that they should do something."

Basically, if you’re writing something to either empower people so that they feel they can do something, or to persuade them that they ought to do something, you’re writing copy.

…I’d say that applies to just about everything I write for my business, wouldn’t you?

As our freebie for this week, Ray is graciously offering more than 100 email and headline templates that he uses for writing amazing copy every day. Click here to get them now!

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Why Is Persuasion So Important?

In a perfect world, we could just say “Here’s what I have, it’s good, buy it if you want to,” and all the right people who need our product would click Purchase. But the thing is, we’ve all become really smart, and really skeptical.

Ray points out that even Apple isn’t immune to the need for writing sales copy—they’re just so good at how they present it that we don’t realize we’re consuming their copywriting!

Very few of us like thinking about “sales writing.” It makes us think of smarmy used car salesmen, trying to con hardworking people out of their money. Ray is familiar with this aversion to copywriting, and here’s how he explains the way to avoid sounding “sales-y”:

"I think people get confused about persuasion versus manipulation. I like to define the difference this way: persuasion results in you making a buying decision that you will celebrate later; manipulation leads to you making a buying decision that you will regret later.

"The key to guiding your clients toward a decision they will celebrate is—no surprise—knowing your clients really well! You think of the problem that you’re solving, and you write about it from the perspective of the person who has the problem, and you describe their pain. Someone once said that the more accurately you can describe the pain of the person you’re selling to, the more they feel as though you automatically have the solution to the problem.

"There’s plenty of brain science that tells us that almost all, if not all, of our decisions are made emotionally. All the rationale that we come up with is to support the emotional decision that we’ve already made. If you can just support the emotions that they’re feeling, and you can do it with integrity—you really do have the solution—then you don’t really ever have to sell hard, or even push to sell. You just give the persuasive story of why what you have is going to help them, and they’ll make a buying decision."

Whew. Great stuff, huh?

Get even more of Ray's insights on how genuine, emotionally persuasive copy can make selling a breeze. Click here to listen to the whole episode.  

Okay, now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of writing great copy.

Ray has a couple of frameworks that he teaches anyone who is trying to improve their copywriting skills. The first one is called...

The "Pastor" Framework

This one gets its name from the original meaning of the word “pastor”—having to do with being a shepherd. (Kind of an old meaning of the word…look it up.) Not only does this word help you remember the purpose of your business—to help and take care of people with what you sell—but it also just happens to be a handy acronym for setting up the points of your sales page.

P — Problem

Recognize the pain that your client is experience. Describe it to them. Empathize.

A — Amplify

Specifically, amplify the consequences of not solving that problem. This is probably one of the biggest secrets of making a sale—that it’s less about telling people how cool your product is, and more about letting them understand the long-term cost of not getting a solution for it.

S — Story

Every solution has a story about how it was discovered. You’ve heard me tell how I discovered the solution to online marketing that became the sales funnel I teach in the Profit Lab. How did you go from being a person with a problem to being an expert with a solution? This is the “meat” of your sales page.

T — Testimonial

You follow up the story of your solution with the stories of people who have used your solution. The more variety your testimonials have, the better—it shows that your solution can work for anybody.

O — Offer

This is where you say, in plain English, what you’re offering to your clients. You want to focus mainly on the benefits, here—less about the deliverable and more about the results of owning that deliverable.

R — Response

Ask people to take action.

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This last piece of the Pastor framework brings up an important point that should be present in your copy:

Any Decision Is Better Than No Decision

Ray says that he would always rather have a potential client say “No, that product is not for me” than have them not take action but constantly wondering if maybe they should.

Bad sales copy leaves people with a feeling of burden or pressure, that they should make a decision, but they’re not sure, but they’ve got to decide soon because the window is closing, maybe they should shop around more, etc.

Good sales copy, on the other hand, can be extremely passionate in expressing “I really think this is the right decision for you!” while still showing that you’re only interested in your client making a decision that serves them. And it doesn’t serve them to constantly be on the fence!

The "Buyer’s Journey" Framework

You’ve heard of the “hero’s journey,” the kind seen in epic movies or classic novels—this is basically the same, but seen through the lens of copywriting. As a copywriter, you’re leading your reader through this mental journey, step by step.

Step #1: The Existing Situation

You identify the pain that the buyer is in.

Step #2: The Dream Solution

You contrast how the client’s world is right now, and here’s how they wish it could be.

Step #3: Discovering the Trusted Guide

You bring in the reasons why they should trust you to lead them on their quest for this dream solution.

Step #4: Presenting the Unique Solution

You announce that there is a dream solution, and you’ve found it.

Step #5: Describe the Features

This is the more “physical” description—what’s actually contained in this solution.

Step #6: Describe the Benefits

Explain what each of the features does for the person who uses this solution.

Step #7: The Transformative Offer

Tell them what they have to do to access the solution. (Click a button, make a phone call, etc.)

Step #8: Present Proof

Bring in the stories of others that have used this solution.

Step #9: Justify the Value

Acknowledge the cost to your buyer of making this decision, and explain why it's valuable. You can draw comparisons to other similar products out there, to show how yours is more valuable for the cost.

Step #10: Eliminate Fear and Risk

A buyer’s biggest fear is not that you don't have the solution, but that you’ll rip them off. So frame your offer in a way that takes the risk on yourself, and relieves all the buyer’s fear.

Step #11: Offer Bonuses

These should offer value that relates directly to your product, and that enhances or magnifies the benefit of the product.

Step #12: Invite a Decision

Emphasize that you are genuinely interested in your client making a decision that serves them.

Make sure to listen to my full podcast interview with Ray Edwards--we covered so much more than I could fit into this blog post! And don't forget to sign up to receive more than 100 templates for writing your own persuasive headlines and emails. This is the stuff that Ray normally offers only to students of his copywriting course, so you're not going to want to miss it!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PST

One of the business guides I return to again and again is the book Great Leads. This book tells you everything you need to understand about communicating with your audience in a way that cultivates the relationship and results in increasing sales.

No matter how many times I've read this book, I'm always blown away by the statistic they open with:

“80% of emotional impact will be determined by the first 20% of the copy.”

Did you know that? Because I sure didn’t!

The first few hundred words of your copy are known as “the lead.” And if those first hundred words are the entryway to a sale, your headline is the front door that every client has to walk through, in order to get to your product.

Of course, what you really want is for them to be stampeding through!

To get this, you need a killer headline for your sales page.

Four Essentials of a Killer Headline

#1:  The Rule of One

Readers don’t want to hear everything you know about a topic. Instead, they are looking for just a single, useful suggestion. Something they can take action on and see results.

In advertising firms, they refer to this as the Rule of One--focusing on one powerful emotion within your reader.

Too many ideas sends the reader’s mind in too many directions. You can use any number of different stories, predictions, statements or promises, but they all have to support that one Big Idea that your reader will grasp immediately.

Here are a few classic examples of headlines that use the Rule of One:

  • “Is the Life of a Child Worth $1 to You?”
  • “When Doctors Feel Rotten, This is What They Do”
  • “How I Improved My Memory in One Evening”

When you stick with this Rule of One, it makes the copy stronger AND it makes writing the rest of the sales letter easier.

Learn how to use the Rule of One in our free guide--click here to download it now!

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#2: You need to provoke emotion.

Strange but true fact: people respond to emotion before they respond to reason.

So you need to grab your readers' attention by appealing to their current emotions. Once you have their emotional attention, they'll give you their intellectual attention so that you can convince him with all the great reasons to become your client.

Here are some examples:

  • “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” This one appeals to the emotion of fear--nobody wants to be helpless in this situation!
  • “Do you make these mistakes in English?” This headline appeals to the emotion of insecurity--that you might be making a mistake and everyone knows it but you.

#3: Determine Which Lead to Use

Any advertising or marketing offer can be categorized as one of these six major types. The trick is to determine which type of lead is the best setting for your Big Idea.

The Offer Lead

  • “I Guarantee That You Will Shoot Your Lowest Score Ever on Your Next Round of Golf!”
  • "Don't Pay One Penny Until This Course Turns Your Mind Into A Mental Magnet” 

The Promise Lead

  • “A Hollywood Smile in 3 Days”
  • “Build Your Memory in 4 Short Weeks”
  • “Grow $500 into $4.8 Million”

The Problem-Solution Lead

  • “Do You Have a Secret Fear of Losing Your Job?”
  • “Don’t Put a Cold in Your Pocket”
  • “Feel Stronger Fast”

The Big Secret Lead

  • “The Strategy That Turns Every $1 Into $50”
  • “The Only Investment Legally Obligated to Pay You 181% Gains”
  • “An easier, more foolproof way to garden — anywhere”

The Proclamation Lead

  • “Warning: Your PDR is Obsolete” (I don’t even know what a PDR is, do you? But I definitely don’t want mine to be obsolete!)
  • “Why Most 20th Century Medicine Will Soon Become Extinct”

The Story Lead

  • “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano...But When I Started to Play!”
  • “15 Rivers to Cross ... and only 7 bridges Here’s how we were able to bring you … THE GRANADA"
  • “I’m writing to you from our shelter tonight…”

All these leads are super fun to play with. If you like getting creative, you’re going to love experimenting with all these.

Get more info on these lead types, including what type of audience responds best to each one--listen to the full episode on iTunes.  

#4 Determine Your Reader's Awareness Level

Finally, to determine the most effective lead for your sales page, you need to know what your target market already knows about:.

  • Who you are
  • Your product
  • The research behind your product 
  • Their own problem
  • The possible solutions

The awareness of your target market can be divided up into 5 different levels of awareness, from completely unaware to well-informed and already raving about your brand.

Now here's where it gets fun: each awareness level fits best with a certain kind of lead. Once again, knowing your audience really well is the key to communicating your offer in a way they can't resist!

Want to learn how to practically put this all together? Click here to download our free guide.

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Creating a Gateway for Your Ideal Customer

As you might remember from earlier episodes, there are a few different ways to determine your target market's awareness level. Go back and listen to Episodes 55 and 56 if you need a refresher.

Or, if you're ready to take a deep dive into the strategies for finding your ideal audience, you can sign up now for the Profit Lab--but hurry! Registration is closing soon, and today is the last day to get a massive "early bird" discount on this course.

Finally, click here to download this week's free guide--it will walk you through each of these four essentials to create a killer sales page headline of your very own.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episdoe-59.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am PST

Last week, I put out an invitation on my Facebook page. I invited you to throw all your questions about online marketing at me! What do you want to know? Where are you stuck? What are you confused about?

Well, the overwhelming majority of the questions people posted on my Facebook page were about--surprise!--Facebook. And the questions showed me that it's time for a major reframing of how we think about Facebook. Most people are just not looking at Facebook in a way that's going to serve them.

And since my mission is to help you get results with your online marketing, including your Facebook marketing, we’ve got to address that...stat!

The Facebook System that Changes Everything!

Larissa asks:

"How do I increase my FB followers? It seems I have hit a plateau. Also, I don’t want to spend copious amounts of money with FB ads…I feel they keep changing the algorithm to line their pockets by making you pay for advertising through them, and no one will see your post."
If you feel this way about Facebook ads, then I’m guessing they haven’t been working for you. And believe me, I don't want you using Facebook ads if you're not generating revenue.

This is where we need a reframe. I want to help you see FB as a place where putting in a little bit of money will result in bringing back a lot of money.

The first thing to realize is that Facebook ads cannot work on their own. You have to incorporate them into a social media sales funnel--a system that turns your fans and followers into subscribers to your email list, and turn those names into paying clients. 

I know lots of people who make money every week from Facebook ads, but they aren't just using that ad to send people to their sales page. They're using those ads as part of their sales funnel system. That’s the key to getting the Facebook marketing results you’re looking for.

Showing Your Value to Your Fans

Toni asks:

"We have a children’s clothing website. We have 4000 likes. But only 700 people have signed up for our newsletter. What is the best way to get Facebook “likes” to sign up"
A lot of people are focused on how many “Likes” they have, and are scratching their heads at low organic reach. This is happening to everyone. Free organic reach is way, way down. No matter how many Likes you have on your page, it’s entirely possible that very few of your fans are seeing your posts!

This causes a lot of people frustration—why should I have to pay to get my fans to see my posts? I won't sugarcoat it--these changes to Facebook's algorithm do kind of suck for people who have worked hard to build their Facebook following.

You could get frustrated and abandon ship...or you could start to look at Facebook differently.

Paying will get your posts seen by more people...so you want to make sure that they're seeing something that makes them want more.

To get your fans to engage—sign up, respond, make a purchase, take any kind of action—you have to make sure you're offering them something they see as valuable. 

In Toni’s case, it might be a discount, free shipping, an add-on product. If you sell information or education, you want to give away some of your valuable information for free.

I did one recently called the Product Maximizer—it was a report that I gave away offering four strategies to make more sales online. I knew my audience needed more sales, so I knew it would valuable to them. And it just happens to be a little piece of exactly what I offer for sale!

Remember, the number one area where Facebook is most valuable is in turning fans into email subscribers. The email list is where you can really cultivate the relationship with your customers.

Take a minute right now to brainstorm a valuable, irresistible giveaway that you could offer and try a Facebook ad built around this freebie—say you spend $10 a day for three or four days—and see how many people sign up for your newsletter (or email list) when there’s a free giveaway at the end of it!

Get even more of Amy's answers to your Facebook questions! Click here to listen to the whole episode on iTunes.

Boosting vs. Paid Ads

Kate asks:

"I’m gradually realizing that organic reach has been pitiful in my recent posts. I 'boosted' a post for the first time yesterday. I got more likes and engagement, and it was seen by 2500 people. Is this the way forward? Is there any point in not boosting a post anymore, and relying on people seeing it organically?"
I’m so glad you asked this question! "Boosting" a post means you’re spending a little money to get more of your fans to see that post. I don’t think that’s the best use of your money. If you’re going to spend money, it’s much better to spend it on an ad that gets people to sign up for your lead magnet.

Remember, people “liking” your post does not translate to a real customer relationship! Email marketing does that. 

How to Make Your Business Bloom

Tara asks:

"I would love to see a visual of how your business blossomed. I mean, there are so many things we’d like to do in our business, but how did you prioritize the tasks over the years, and most of all, what makes sense to do what when?"
Back in 2010, I’d just quit my corporate job. I didn’t have a product ready to sell yet, so I took some social media consulting clients. By the end of 2011, I looked at my business and thought “Freedom is a joke!” I was a yes machine to 8 bosses, practically chained to my desk but never working on what I really wanted to do. I’d tried to sell a couple of my programs, but they never went anywhere…much like what some of you are feeling!

We all talk a lot about freedom when building our businesses, but there’s not really freedom when you’re not generating revenue!

2012 is when I hit upon the importance of this sales funnel system. With a product to sell and a lead magnet to capture interest, I fell in love with Facebook ads, because I realized how to make them work!

The secret to my business blossoming is all in using this system.

I don’t want you going to bed each night worrying about where the next dollar is going to come from! All that does is squash your creativity and confidence.

Instead, I want you to wake up excited to build your business each day, enjoying the freedom to work on all the projects that help your business grow, and taking time for the rest of your life.

What Would $5000 Mean for You?

Before closing, I want to ask you this question:

If you had a social media sales funnel running on autopilot in your business, making you $5000/month for you, what does that mean for you? What does that free you up to create, to dive into, step out of? 

*The masterclass registration has passed but to be sure to stay on the list for future webinars! Subscribe to my list or checkout one of my free cheat sheets here.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_58_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I want you to succeed.

It is genuinely important to me to help you reach that place in your business where you can say, “Yes, I made it; I love my work and I love my life!”

But there is something else that is equally as compelling that I want for you:

I want you to enjoy the journey—the process of making it all happen.

If you’ve been with me for a while you know that I often talk about the kinds of strategies that have worked for me, that I know can work for you too. Things like building your email list early in the game, effective ways of using Facebook to engage with your audience, and the importance of having a marketing plan—knowing what you’re going to do before you set out to do it.

I stand behind all of these things 100%, but there is something else you need to know. Something so critical it can actually make or break your online business dreams.

I'm talking about what you believe regarding your ability to achieve success in your business.

Now before I dive into these 3 things that you have to believe in order to see the results you are yearning for, we need to dip a toe into psychology first.

The thing about belief is that it’s one of the few things that you can’t be taught to do. You and I both know that you don’t just flip a switch to believe something. That’s because belief is not an outward action that you take; instead, it’s a state of your inner being.

I can teach you how to do a lot of things, but I can’t teach you to believe.

Because belief is such an individual experience, it’s important from the outset to identify how you most often come to believe something for yourself.

Do you believe…

  • Based on your own experience
  • Based on the experience of others
  • Just by acting “as if”
  • Because it seems to make sense—logically or intuitively
  • By trusting a mentor
  • Having an “aha moment”
  • The opposite hasn’t worked for you

It's okay if you need to think about this and can’t answer right away. Maybe there are even several answers to how you believe, not just one on the list. It’s just something to keep in mind as we continue talking about the three critical beliefs you need to have for success in your business.

The 3 Beliefs You Must Have to Achieve Success in Your Business

Belief #1 - I believe that one of the biggest strengths in my business is knowing my target market intimately. Knowing how they think, what they need, and what words and emotions they use to express themselves is crucial to my success.

Belief #2 - I believe that I am not alone, shipwrecked on a desert island needing to have all the answers myself. I thrive and my business thrives with a few core mentors that I trust and can turn to again and again.

Belief #3 - I believe I have a great idea (product/service) that will impact people’s lives, and that my idea needs a clear and easy-to-navigate system to generate sales.

Whew…how did that feel? Chances are that at least one of these beliefs…and maybe all three…felt like a big effort for you to even read, let alone internalize.

Maybe it felt too audacious, too daring, to really own those beliefs for yourself. “I’d like to believe those things, but I don’t know if I’m really the kind of entrepreneur she’s talking about here.”

Maybe you felt skeptical. “Yeah, down the road maybe I’ll believe those things, if things work out well…”

Maybe you’ve just lost so much confidence in the past few months that reading those beliefs made you even more hopeless. “I wish I believed those things—I used to believe them. It would be nice to think that something that simple could turn things around.”

Listen to Episode 57  for Amy's insights on how to restore your confidence and increase your sales.  

Understanding the Three Beliefs

Let’s examine each belief more closely and see what’s important about it.

#1 Knowing Your Audience

Would it benefit you if you could step into the minds of your readers and listeners and customers-to-be? You bet it would! This essential ingredient is so powerful because it allows you to create core messages that you know will instantly attract your perfect audience.

Knowing your target market takes time and strategy, but it will boost your confidence more than anything else. When you can speak to your audience like you’ve known them for years, and they feel that you “get them,” everything else you do to build your business is a cakewalk.

There’s another big advantage to understanding your audience intimately: you become congruent with your business. What this means is that your vision for your business and what is actually happening in it come into alignment. You get up close and personal with your mission—the reason you started your business in the first place.

#2 Finding Your Mentor

It is tempting to think that running an online business is a solo venture. After all, we sit for hours oftentimes by ourselves, building and communicating through a computer screen. It feels isolating, but at the same time, a lot of people think that it’s the only way…that being “self-employed” means spending most of your time by yourself.

I promise you, nothing could be further from the truth! “Self-employed” simply means being your own boss…and guess what? The best corporate bosses in the world actually seek out contact with others—their peers, colleagues and employees. That’s how they learn what’s working and what's not in the way they run their company.

The same goes for entrepreneurs like you and me. I know a lot of very successful entrepreneurs out there, and I don’t think I can name a single one that doesn’t have some assembly of mentors, advisors, and team members helping them sort through all the information and advice that’s out there, to find the best way to run their business.

I did the same thing, early on in my business—I chose a few people I could connect with and relate to, and made them my virtual mentors. I signed up for their courses, followed their blogs, listened to their podcasts, and basically became a mini-stalker online. I was their student and I trusted the road they set out for me when it came to building my business.

I can’t tell you what an amazing confidence boost it is when you know who to turn to, when things get rough. You immediately stop feeling overwhelmed and inadequate; over time, you actually start thinking like the expert you’ve been following. This is the turning point, where you know YOUR BUSINESS WILL WORK and you will succeed.

#3 Having a System

In order for you to stand out amid all the noise of the internet, to be noticed and taken seriously, you need a system to keep you from getting off course. You can think of this as a roadmap that makes it absolutely clear and easy to navigate your message into the minds and hands of your customers.

Maybe you feel like your business is too small to really get a sales system in gear—your product is still new, your website isn’t very fancy, you want to “clean house” (so to speak) before you put together a powerful marketing system. Think again! EVERY BUSINESS, no matter what stage you are in, needs a sales system.

Here’s the thing: powerful doesn’t mean complicated. A sales system can be incredibly simple, run on its own steam, and produce revenue daily. You set it up and boom—your business is moving forward. From there, you can add the bells and whistles of advanced sales strategies to gain momentum in your already thriving revenue stream.

In fact, simplicity is the key when it comes to your roadmap for taking effective action. Once you have the system and understand how it works, you can take your business as fast and as far as you want!

Get more of Amy's secrets for how to keep your sales strategy simple and stress-free Listen to the full episode.

The Consequences of Not Having the 3 Beliefs

Okay, now you understand what these beliefs are for.

Let's talk about what happens when you don't have them.

If you don’t believe it’s that important to identify your ideal customer on a deeper level, your attempts to engage leads will miss the mark. It may be subtle at first, but you will be wondering why that spark just isn’t there. You don’t want to go down that road because this lack of deeper connection will keep you desperately striving while keeping your pockets empty.

If you believe that you must figure everything out yourself, or that your business is better off without the input of mentors, you will lack the connection you need for your business to thrive. You’ll keep trying every new thing that comes along in hopes that it will bring you success, and never gain momentum.

This one hits close to home for me, because I’m remembering what my own business was like, before I had a sales system in place. Let me tell you from experience that this foundation is not only critical to your success—it is mandatory. If you don’t believe that a sales system is important for you, or if you believe that it’s too early for you to implement, there’s a good chance that your wonderful idea, product, or service has a good chance of never seeing the light of day.

I want you to have a System in place for your business, because I know you need one. Which is exactly why I created this FREE Master Class to walk you through the steps you need to take to get a simple system up and running in your business, quickly. Just click below to join!

Why You Need These 3 Beliefs

I said at the beginning that belief is a tricky concept, because it’s not something I can teach you. I can only tell you, and back it up with my story and many others. But at the end of the day, the best proof of a belief is to look at your own situation.

If you don’t have these beliefs, how are things going for you? Is your business on track with your vision? Are your sales what you want them to be?

And if they’re not, isn’t it time to change your beliefs?

I know it isn’t easy at first. It’s scary to change, to risk spending money or time on learning to do things in a new way. Don’t let fear hold you back.

The purpose of belief is to shape the actions we take. And as soon as you begin taking action on these beliefs, you already have them. You will feel the difference inside you—you’ll feel your confidence growing, and your sense of purpose will feel more grounded than ever.

Before long, you’ll also be seeing the difference on the outside—more email subscribers, greater audience engagement, and an increase in sales.
I want all of that for you, from the bottom of my heart.
I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Have you tried a system that has worked well for you? How are you getting to know your audience? Do you have the kind of mentorship you need to succeed? Keep moving forward and know you are not alone!

Don't forget to join me on my FREE, Master Class where I'm revealing the EXACT marketing system I use (and where Facebook fits into it to!) generate multiple sales every single day.

*The master class registration has passed, but be sure to stay on the list for future webinars! Subscribe to my list, or check out one of my free cheat sheets here.

Direct download: Online_MarketingMade_Easy_Podcast_Episode_57.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56pm PST

There are two kinds of content in this world: content that attracts and content that sells.

It's easy to spend all your time and effort focusing on the second part. Eyes on the prize, right? And believe me, I want you focused on that end result.

But it's crucial to remember that the end result needs a strong beginning. In other words, you'll never get to that sale if you haven't attracted the people who want to buy your product!

Today is all about the first half of the sales equation.

The more you craft content geared toward your ideal customer, the more sales you'll make. And these won't just be one-time sales. You'll be talking to people who want to buy from you over and over, because they feel connected to you and your product. When you create content that makes them feel understood, that communicates an empathy for their situation and an excitement about helping them with your product, they are going to be watching their inboxes for your emails and jumping up and down each time you launch something new.

These are the people you want to find, right?

So let's talk about how you can reach them.

First, the Good News...

When you know your target market really well, creating content for them becomes incredibly easy. We talked last week about creating a survey that helps you get inside the heads of your target market. Once you're there, you'll be able to instantly rattle off ten things they need...

Which then become the topics of each piece of content you create.

Let me jump ahead really quick to tell you that our free giveaway for this week is a list of inspiration boosters for creating magnetic, empathetic content that your audience can't resist. Click here to get it now.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get the Free Guide: "15 Content Inspirations To Help You Attract Your Target Market"

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What Counts as Content?

Ready for some more good news? Everything you do online is content.

A Facebook post counts as a content piece, whether it's video or words or simply an image. So does a tweet. An email (whether to your whole list or just a segment of it), the text and imagery on your landing page, a free giveaway, a podcast, a thirty-minute webinar...

You get the idea.

We all have our favorite places to post content. Maybe you're Twitter-happy and can post 140-character quips all day long. Or maybe you love doing quick video updates from wherever you happen to find yourself.

So don't worry if you're not the world's most prolific blogger. If you're making your voice heard online, you're creating and posting content, and you are ahead of the game.

Consistency Is Key

This is one thing I have learned from all of my mentors: the people that are most consistent in terms of posting content beat out the competition in reaching any given market.

This is because consistency is one of the primary ways you earn the trust and respect of your target market. They come to rely on hearing from you every two days, or every other Thursday, or whenever it is that your regular updates take place. It's less important how often it is, and more important that it happens on a regular basis. I'll say it again: Consistency is Key.

Believe me, I know how hard this can be. It seems like every time I get on a roll with posting content regularly, a product launch derails my schedule and all of a sudden I'm scrambling to come up with new content.

For me, the key to being consistent is batching. For instance, with this podcast, I come up with lots of topics in advance, and get started right away with creating and scheduling episodes, coming up with images, queuing the social media updates...the whole nine yards. This way, I don't find myself scrambling (as often!) on Wednesday afternoon for something to post the next morning.

Simplify by Diversifying

Okay, so say you have a lot of fun within creating short Facebook videos, but your brain dries up the second you sit down to write a blog. Does that mean you should abandon writing and just rely on Facebook videos to communicate with your audience?

Definitely not. First of all, you're going to miss a huge segment of your potential customers by relying on only one form of content. Second, there are just things that a blog can communicate that videos can't...and vice versa! You don't have to do all kinds of content in equal measure, but if you want to reach as many people as possible, you're going to want to use as many different kinds of content to catch their attention in all the places they might be hanging out.

Fortunately, every idea you come up with for one kind of content can be easily translated into a totally different piece of content. Your videos can be turned into a blog post. Your blog post can be turned into a slide deck. Your slide deck can be turned into a series of Twitter images.

In other words, creating different content pieces just got a lot simpler.

Open the Conversation

Obviously, even with all these ways to repurpose your existing content, you're going to have to create new original pieces sometimes...you know, so that you can repurpose them later!

This is where you really tap into the insights about your ideal customer that you learn through sending the kind of survey we talked about last week. These insights help you spark a conversation that surprises your customer with how well you understand them, how "heard" they feel.

Here are some prompts to initiate the conversation with your audience:

  • Identify the #1 question you get asked all the time…and answer it.
  • What should your ideal customer be asking you that they are not asking yet?
  • What are your top three posts on Facebook in the last six months?
  • Which experts does your ideal customer find valuable, or who do they really value the opinion of?
  • What could your ideal customer talk about all day long?
  • What is your ideal customer most afraid of?
  • What does your ideal customer need to know about you?
  • What is your ideal customer posting on Pinterest/watching on YouTube?
  • What is your ideal customer’s “want” and what’s the Trojan horse you use to deliver it to them?
  • What could help your ideal customer right now?

Get more of Amy's insights on creating content, including an interview with social media maven Donna Mortiz. Listen to Episode 56 in full. 

Our free giveaway this week has even more of these inspiration boosters for helping you create content. It also has a list of 20 specific ways you can repurpose your existing content in fresh new pieces. Click here to get it right now.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get the Free Guide: "15 Content Inspirations To Help You Attract Your Target Market"

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_56.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28pm PST

In the last several weeks, I’ve been getting a product ready for launch. It’s called the Profit Lab…or, if you want the full title,

The Profit Lab:  How to Create Marketing Systems In Your Business So That You Can Find Your Target Market, Grow Your Email List and Sell More Products

I launch this product twice a year, and every year, I recreate it so that it stays fresh and valuable, even for people who have gone through it before. I make new videos, I rewrite the worksheets, all that good stuff.

This year, as I’ve been getting this product ready for launch, I wanted to make sure I was truly connecting with my target audience. After you’ve had some success with a product, it’s easy to start coasting on that success, which means you stay the same while your audience continues to grow and change and develop new needs. Not my style.  ;-)

To find out more about my target market, I needed to find out:

  • Where they are at, in terms of their business goals and growth.
  • What they needed from me
  • Where they were struggling, not just in their business as a whole but with the versions of the Profit Lab I’d released before.

Knowing all this was going to help me tailor this new version of the Profit Lab into exactly what my target audience desperately needs right now.

So I put together a survey. And the responses knocked my socks off!

The thing is, I knew who my target audience was, but I didn’t really know them the way I thought I did. The survey gave me a chance to understand how they think, what kind of language they use, what keeps them up at night, and why they come to me as opposed to anybody else in the online marketing world.

I learned so much from this experience of surveying my audience that I wanted to share some of those insights with you…how to create a survey that gets you into the minds and hearts of your target audience, so you design, redesign or market your products in direct response to their needs.

The result of this will be that you sell more of your products to them.

And don’t worry if you’re just starting out and your list isn’t that big yet. You can still design a survey that gets you these answers and helps you build your list...and I’ll tell you how.

I've also got a great freebie for you to download this week, which will give you lots more insight on creating a survey, as well as how to use the information it yields. Click here to download it now!

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First Step: Design Your Questions

Remember, your survey isn’t a Gallup poll. You’re probably not trying to find out whether your audience is in their 20s or their 50s, if they are male or female, or other information like that. So before you start drafting questions, take a minute to think about what your survey is really trying to find out about your target market.

We all know that endless surveys with loads of questions get really, really boring. And you want to steer clear of that with your survey. So make sure that your questions are all focused on the goal of learning something specific about your target market that relates to the product you’re offering them.

You want to include bigger picture questions that give you a clearer picture of who they are and how they define success, as well as more focused questions, such as what products/services in your niche they're already using, and what specific needs do they have that aren't being fulfilled?

To get more in-depth guidance on how to design your survey questions, click here for the full episode.

Second Step: Get People Engaged

Obviously, the first step in the survey process is putting together something that they will agree to participate in.

While it never hurts to offer an incentive to entice people to take your survey, it’s a lot more effective to create a survey that is as painless as possible.

Contrary to popular opinion, a survey doesn’t have to be dull or dry. You can create a survey that is quick, enjoyable, and creates excitement around your upcoming product. Simply take the same approach you would with designing a product, answering a complaint, or anything else that involves interacting with your client: offer them a great experience.

Here’s how:

  • Give the survey your personal touch. Write it the way you’d write your blog, your emails, or anything else. This actually increases your rate of answers.
  • Make the experience as user-friendly and smooth as possible. Use a platform that you’ve vetted for bugs.  (My favorites includes Survey Monkey and Pop Survey.)  Make sure it’s very mobile friendly, so that people can complete your survey while they’re waiting at the doctor’s office or sitting on the subway.
  • Skip the long intro whenever possible. The people who receive your survey already follow you on social media or are on your email list...so they already know who you are and what you’re about. No need to announce your survey with anything more than a subject line that conveys the survey’s purpose. (“Help Me Improve My Product with Your Feedback” or “Tell Me About Your Fitness Goals.”)
  • Keep in mind that answers are for action. When creating questions on your survey, ask yourself this: “What kind of action will I take with the answer to this?” If the answer is “Nothing,” or you simply don’t know, don’t ask that question. There’s no purpose. You should limit your time (and the survey taker’s time) to questions that have a tangible purpose.

Want more specifics on how to make your survey fun and informative? Click here for the full episode.

Third Step: Getting Your Survey Out There

  • Email to your list. Studies have found the highest survey open and click-through rates occurred on Monday, Friday and Sunday respectively.
  • Promote online. Several survey programs (like Survey Monkey and Poll Daddy) have an option that helps you with this.
  • Embed in a post on your own blog and as a guest blogger
  • Link to your survey on social media. Again, some survey programs have a code that lets you embed the survey easily into Facebook.  (Make sure to click the “Like” button after you post because this will allow it to go viral faster.)
  • Post your survey on LinkedIn
  • Post a short video on YouTube explaining why you created the survey and encouraging your audience to take a few minutes to complete it. Give your viewers the URL and also post a link under your video on YouTube.

What if My List Isn’t Big Enough?

You don’t need hundreds of responses for a survey to be valuable. If you’re still working to build up your list, create your survey and reach out to ten friends or colleagues that you think would be your ideal customer. Ask them to fill out the survey, and also to pass it on to just one other person they know like themselves. You can learn about who your audience is from just a few people filling out these questions.

In addition, you can use Facebook Ads to promote your survey. Or you can put links to your survey in your blog post and guest blog posts. When you’re getting ready to make your blog post live, make your opt-in the survey. Offer readers an incentive in exchange for taking your survey--a chance to win something, a link to premium content, a limited-time membership to your service, something like that.

There are tons more suggestions on how to design your survey in this week's free download. Click here to get it!

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The Bottom Line

Sending out a survey is kind of like going on a first date. If you spend the whole evening trying to make sure the other person understands you, you’re probably not going to get to see them again. But if you spend the whole time asking them questions about themselves, you’ll come away with a really good understanding of who they are, and whether you have what they need.

When you’re creating this survey, don’t think so hard about what you’re trying to accomplish in your business. Think about getting to know your target market, and the goals of your business will fall into line.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_55.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm PST

I hope you’re buckled in, because my guest this week is an online business expert who is renowned for “telling it like it is.” Ramit Sethi is a master communicator who pulls no punches. When it comes to sheer mental confidence, there's no one quite like him in the online marketing world.

As a result, he’s had massive success in developing products that get huge results for his clients. His secret to developing these products is just one of the things we discussed in our interview. Our conversation was a great mix of lessons on mindset and tactical product creation strategies.

You should really listen to the whole interview, because there's way too much to fit into a blog post. But here are some of the highlights:

Redefining a Rich Life

Ramit’s landmark book is called I Will Teach You To Be Rich. But the strategies he teaches in this book and elsewhere aren’t aimed exclusively at people who want to blow $5,000 on a weekend in Vegas (but if that's your jam, Ramit thinks it's great!). Ramit says that the rich life is different for each person. For many of us, a rich life simply means being able to work from home, take our kids to work with us, building a business where money is automated and we can focus more time on the things we love.

In other words, money is an important part of having a rich life, but money is not the whole picture.

No matter how you define a rich life, Ramit says it all comes down to just a few big “wins.” If you get just five or ten of these wins, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff, and you can focus more on the things you really love.

How Fear Will Hold You Back

Ramit talks candidly about the toxic influence of fear, which gets in the way of achieving these big wins. You’d never know it to hear him talk now, but Ramit himself struggled a lot with fear in the early days of starting his online brand.

"I had been writing my blog for about two or three years and I had never made a cent. I didn’t want people to think I started my blog just as a way to make money because that was never the intention.

I was absolutely petrified that people would not buy it or, even worse, that they would call me a sell out. You can see it in the sales copy that I wrote. The way I wrote that sales copy was so cowardly.

I literally said, 'Why should you pay for this? I know you can find a lot of stuff for free.' My self confidence was so low that anyone would buy it that … I literally tried to defend it before they even bought."

But people did buy it. And they thanked Ramit for putting his information out there. What’s more, those buyers ended up opening his emails, joined other courses he offered, and took action on the things he taught them.

"The real people, the people I actually wanted to focus on, were buying and they were delighted to pay."

In other words, Ramit had found his target market. (Want to listen to the entire interview?  Click here now!)

Learn to Fail Well

If you read Ramit’s blog, you’ll find a tag in it labeled “Failures.” This is where Ramit keeps an ongoing log of the things he has tried that haven’t worked out. Believe it or not, even go-getters like Ramit crash and burn sometimes. He even told me about one occasion, not that long ago, where one of his courses had a flaw in it so bad that within an hour of releasing it online, he was getting refund requests from people who had just purchased it!

Ramit says he has trained himself to look at failures not as catastrophes, but as tests. Every failure reveals data, he says, and every bit of data you get is pointing you in the right direction.

In the situation above, if he’d simply decided his course didn’t work and then moved on to the next one, that would really have been a waste of time, effort and resources. Instead, he took it as a test of the course’s weak points, found the problem, fixed it, added some new material, remarketed it to a different group, and ended up building massive success.

"My belief is if I’m not adding multiple failures to that every month then I am probably not trying ambitiously enough. If you go talk to a successful person and ask them to tell you about their failures they ask you if you have all day, because they have 50 things they have had problems with."

The Making of “Zero to Launch”

Ramit’s latest course is one that he calls his most ambitious ever…which is saying something! In our interview, he gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of how this product was put together.

  • A luxury experience. Ramit’s products are carefully tailored to the client who buys them, for their expertise level and for their needs right at that moment. He compares the experience to visiting a great tailor or hairdresser, where you don’t even have to tell them what you want—you just sit down and let them work their magic. Similarly, Ramit’s clients can trust the material to guide them through every aspect of what they’re learning.

  • 1 answer instead of 20. As with all his products, Ramit did thousands of hours of research while creating “Zero to Launch.” Clients, he says, don’t want to sift through the “Ten Best” or “Twenty Best” options—they trust him to curate the best one for their specific need. So Ramit vets all the best resources that are out there so he can choose the best one. Simple, easy, and a big relief for his clients.

  • Don’t always listen to conventional wisdom. Ramit’s sales emails are sometimes ten pages long…something nine out of ten marketers willl tell you is a big no-no. But Ramit has found that his market loves his long emails. They open them, they read them, and they follow them. That doesn’t mean you push yourself to write ten-page emails; instead, figure out what’s right for your market. To find this out, Ramit strongly encourages the use of surveys. Surveys are the surest way to find out what your audience wants from you, and how you can serve a niche that your competitors are overlooking.

EPISODE FREEBIE

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Do I Need to Be Rich to Get Started?

A lot of people may wonder, after reading Ramit’s content, whether they have to be rich already to implement his strategies. Ramit says no…it’s all about starting from where you are now. After all, if you put all your money into a fancy email provider or a slick website design, you have nowhere to build to…and you might go broke before you have a chance to build your audience!

A lot of the strategies Ramit teaches are doable with less than a few hundred dollars. Setting up a website, creating surveys, and a lot of payment providers and technology out there are almost free. What really matters, he says, is your commitment to finding your clients and listening to them.

"Most people don’t need more money. They need to focus on following the right action steps, to listen to their customers, and create something their customers will pay for."

One More Thought

This was a quote from the interview that was so good, I had to share it:

"So many people right now believe they have something the world needs. But you created something the market doesn’t really want. So this is a huge problem. If you’ve created something they don’t want or if you are putting it in terms they don’t want, it doesn’t matter how fancy your design is or how cool your conversion technology is. If you are getting tepid reactions you are not getting a real pain point. But when we have created something that they desperately want they will do anything to get it. They say, “Tell me now, take my money, here you go.”

That’s when you know you have a winner.

To listen to my entire conversation with Ramit, click here now.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-54.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm PST

Today’s topic is very near and dear to my heart.

We are talking about how to find your calling--what you were put on this earth to do.

Even those of us with jobs we love can sometimes feel unclear on whether we're really making the best use of our talents and utilizing our passions to the fullest. Even I find myself in this place sometimes, wondering if I'm on the right track or if certain decisions or circumstances are causing me to veer off course.

I know there are a lot of you out there who feel this way. You have talent to burn, and dreams of putting your best out into the world. Some of you are hustling hard every day to make those dreams a reality. Others of you haven't found the right opportunity yet, and are maybe working hard at a job that...well, let's just say a job that you don't really love, that doesn't quite fit the size of your aspirations.

Whether you're an entrepreneur, a 9-to-5'er, happy in your work or desperate to get out, my interviewee on the podcast today has a tremendously empowering message about finding your calling no matter where you are, and taking steps toward doing the work that you are built to do.

His name is Jeff Goins, and he just released a fantastic new book called The Art of Work.

Take a minute to look through it by clicking here.

If you order it now, you can also get $250 worth of free bonus material, including exclusive access to Jeff himself, a workbook, extra video features, all kinds of good stuff.

There are lots of books out there about how to find fulfilling work. You've probably read a few of them. Jeff's book really stands alone, though, because he's not delivering his message from a pedestal of wealth or prestige. Instead, he offers beautiful stories of real-life people that have found their calling in a multitude of different ways. He gets into the day-to-day stuff that, if you pay attention, helps you discover what your calling is.

This was such a great interview, you should really just listen to it on the podcast. But I'll give you a few highlights from my talk with Jeff:

What Is a "Calling," Exactly?

Contrary to popular belief, your calling is not the same thing as your passion. Passions change as we mature, learn what really matters to us, and refine our understanding of what kind of impact we want to have on the world.

Calling has more to do with purpose. Jeff says it's not a single moment of sudden understanding; it's more a lifestyle, a constant evolution of understanding what you're here for.

It's Never Too Late

...Or, as some of you may be dreading to ask, when is it too late for a person to find their calling?

If you've been in the same line of work for a while, it's easy to think that you're stuck in the track you've created, and that your current job is simply your "default" calling. Maybe you feel like you wasted your past, that the opportunity to really take hold of your purpose has passed you by.

Jeff says that couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, he tells me the story of how he found his calling as a writer after being quite well established in a marketing career.

I wanted to change my life. I was one of those people who had one job, and it was a good job. I kind of felt guilty for not loving it. But I wanted something else.

Jeff says that one of the biggest things he learned from the interviews in The Art of Work is that your past prepares you for what is to come. You can use everything as an apprenticeship for what is coming next. He calls this listening to your life. Everything about where you've been up to now--the passions you've had, the failures you've experienced, the opportunities you did or didn't take--can help you figure out the larger purpose is in your life. Pay attention to what came before, and use it to fuel your next move.

The Biggest Factor in Achieving Your Calling

The idea of a self-made man or woman, Jeff says, is simply not true.

I think every story of success is really a story of community.

As he wrote The Art of Work, he found again and again that people who felt a strong sense of purpose in their lives had discovered that purpose through the help of others who believed in them...and even one or two who didn't support them, but gave them an opportunity to say "Yes, I can!" and prove the doubters wrong.

This, by the way, is particularly true for people in the online business world. Jeff pointed out that all online marketing is based off of relationship--building trust with your clients and audience, and partnering with your peers in the business world.

The more I understand the principles of success and what it takes to achieve a dream and what it takes to make it, it always takes community.

Start Where You Stand

There's no single road map to finding your calling and achieving your purpose. This can be daunting for a lot of us, who feel overwhelmed and just want someone to tell us what to do. And there are plenty of people out there, Jeff says, who "sanitize" their story after they've achieved success. They only tell us the cleaned-up version that comes with hindsight, and leave out all the dead ends, the wrong turns, and the times they went in circles.

Finding your calling takes practice. It involves a lot of learning as you go, because nobody else has the exact same calling as you, so there's no one who can tell you exactly what to do.

To start with, Jeff advises to examine wherever you are. Don't assume that because your current situation or circumstance is less than ideal that the time you've spent there was wasted. Even if it's not where you want to stay, there is something in that situation that you have been practicing. Use that practice and knowledge to your advantage.

This is the first part of listening to your life. The second part, Jeff says, is taking a few steps forward. Clarity on your calling comes with action. Most of us are waiting to just know what we are supposed to do, but you won’t just know. Jeff says he was surprised to find that most of the people he interviewed who are doing meaningful, remarkable work never saw it coming.

I would ask if they knew they wanted to do “this” when they were a kid. They all answered, “No, I didn’t. I had no idea.” But now that they are here, they can look back and understand all of it makes sense, as it was all preparing them for what they are doing.

Start thinking about what you love doing, and what you're really good at. Connect with others to get their take on what you're good at. Find people doing the kind of work you admire, take them out to coffee, and ask them how they got there. And learn to be both purposeful and flexible with the things life throws at you. You have to be really intentional, Jeff says, to make the most of whatever is happening right now. This is how life gives you clues as to what you should take action on.

What You Can Do Right Now

A study I read not too long ago said 87% of the world’s workers are disengaged with their jobs. They either absolutely hate their job or they are indifferent about it and are punching the clock and work is a means to make a living but is certainly not a way to make a life.

This, Jeff points out, is a big problem. If work is our means of making an impact on the world, we can't simply disengage from it until something better comes along. Because, Jeff says, what happens when something better does come along? If we haven't cultivated the habit of adding value to the world no matter where we are, we aren't going to be in shape to make the most of those opportunities.

What needs to happen, Jeff says, is a pivot--a turn of direction. Yes, it might mean a pivot in your external circumstances--changing the job you hate for one you love, take your career in an entirely different direction.

Sometimes, though, that kind of pivot takes years. In the meantime, your other option is to do an internal pivot: learning to orient yourself in your work toward a greater good of serving other people. 

If you are really going to move the direction of your life’s purpose, it may not happen overnight. The internal pivot is the first way to change your job from drudge work to a higher purpose. This is how you first become attuned to what your calling is.

You do have control. You have some control over your situation right now. So as you get an idea of what you might want to do try, use your current situation to practice for what’s to come. I don’t think you will regret it.

Visit The Art of Work to learn more about Jeff's book. And remember, if you order it now, you will get a bunch of bonuses including a freebie from Jeff himself that deals with these mindset shifts we talked about here.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_53.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am PST

If you've been following this blog (or podcast) for a while, you know we've come a long way since the days when everything about online marketing started and ended with Facebook.

Still, we all know that social media and Facebook in particular remain a BIG part of how we drive traffic to our websites, build community, grow our email lists and turn leads into happy paying customers.

The journey you create for your prospects that takes them from casual social media fans to loyal customers usually starts on social media. Which means you have to constantly be aware of what's changing in the social media world, and tweak your strategy to take advantage of these changes.

Don't worry--that's why I'm here! To help you master these tweaks and make social media your own.

That's why today we are diving into Facebook and video, to learn how the two together can make a big impact in your online marketing success.

In Episodes 50 and 51, we talked about the importance of videos for your business.

And of course you already know that Facebook is important for your business.

But do you know how crucial Facebook WITH Video is for your business right now? Here are some stats that prove it:

  • It’s been reported that there are over 1 billion videos viewed on Facebook each day.
  • The average Facebook user worldwide watched 75% more video this year compared to last year.
  • In the US, that increase in views was actually 94%!
  • Brands posted 20,000 more videos on Facebook than they did on YouTube in December 2014.

I can vouch for these stats from my own personal experience--I've been very impressed with the organic reach with any given video I post on Facebook. I've been seeing instant traction when I post a video on my page, much more than a post with a static image. The greatest thing about video is how it takes on a life of its own through sharing.

And no, I'm not talking about highly polished, professionally edited videos. I'm not a video editor and I don't have a big production budget for these. No, the traction I'm getting is with simple, quick videos made mainly on my smartphone and edited with simple software.

Simplicity and ease are the key to making these videos a practical part of your marketing strategy--if they're not easy, you won't do them...and if they're not simple, people won't pay attention to them! Studies have shown that short video across all social media platforms get the most views and engagement. Short and simple is good.

Today, I'm going to highlight some people and companies that take full advantage of this trend in online marketing through short, simple video posts.

I've also made a free cheat sheet for you, with tips for how to post great video to your own Facebook Page. It's called “The 7 Tried and Tested Tips to Increase Your Facebook Engagement with Simple Videos.Download it by clicking here.

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Great Video Example #1: “3 Tips to Prep Your Yard for Spring” (Lowe's)

Yes, this video was professionally produced--after all, a big brand like Lowe's can afford to put money into their video. But that's not what makes it great.

Along with being short (just 54 seconds in length) and simple (it’s all imagery--no humans were used in this video, the great virtue of this video is that it’s timely.

At the time of this recording, the first day of spring was just a few days ago, and this video steps right alongside the Lowe's target audience to offer exactly what they need (and nothing extra) to get ready for this moment in the year. The tone is easy, friendly, conversational--like a friend next door is giving you advice. This is the perfect feeling to ignite action in the Lowe's audience...and where does that action take them? More than likely, to a Lowe's store.

Great Video Example #2: "How to Make Chocolate Cake Infused Vodka" (The Tipsy Bartender)

This page rotates their posts between videos and images, all accompanied by a different cocktail recipe. And they've nailed the formula for success. In fact, one of their quick instructional videos--a how-to for turning a leftover slice of cake into chocolate vodka--had more than nearly 55,000 shares after just one week! It also accrued more than 66,000 likes and nearly 13,000 comments. Not bad for a video that's only 54 seconds long and uses super simple imagery.

What really makes this one work, besides the brief length and the simple setup, is the snappy cuts between shots and the text layover of all the ingredients being used. This keeps it interesting while getting the point across.

Great Video Example #3: "Check Out My Latest Podcast" (Chalene Johnson)

If you visit Chalene's Facebook page, you’ll see that she uses simple videos to promote her blogs and podcast episodes. 

The teasers range from 30 seconds to slightly longer than a minute, like this one. Each includes a direct link to that blog post, making it easy for fans to visit her site and get the rest of the info. 

In addition to entertaining live-action videos, Chalene uses a really cool technique. (I didn't mention this technique in the podcast audio, so this is an extra feature for all you devoted blog readers!) She takes an audio clip from her podcast show and puts it into video as a voiceover, with simple images that illustrate the point. I love this innovative way of mixing up video material. For those of us who don't love being in front of a lens, it also cuts down on the number of times you have to get your confidence (and your hair) in camera-worthy shape!

Great Video Example #4: "The Bus Pole" (Lysol)

At the start of flu season, the company launched a “Lysol That” campaign with some great humor. Each video in the series highlights ways to avoid one of life's...well, grosser aspects.

Touching the bus pole, the bathroom stall, elevator buttons, handshakes during flu season...all these distasteful everyday situations create an instant connection with an audience, because they're instantly relatable. Lysol follows this connection with a one-two punch--humor and education--and seals the deal with a gentle pitch: how about a little Lysol anti-bacterial hand gel?

Great Video Example #5: "Love Your Curls" (Dove)

Dove has been leading the way with marketing videos for quite some time now. Remember their Real Beauty campaign a few years ago? These videos and the ones that have followed keep people watching with relentless pulls at audience's heartstrings, encouraging their impulse to do good in the world.

These videos also tend to be on the long side. But Dove makes up for the length with quick shots and lots of variety--interviews, action, text--that hold the viewers' attention.

Watch the video above one more time...did you actually see Dove's product? Did they even mention it? The answer is no. Through this emotionally appealing video, Dove has successfully created a call to action that encompasses both buying their product and doing good in the world. Oh, and also grabbed over 5 million views, nearly 80,000 likes, almost 7,000 comments and 47,000 shares.

Videos with this kind of emotional appeal get massive shares. They're also a little bit harder to create, since they require more thought and craft. But if this is a style that you feel will work for your brand and you are up for the challenge, don't to pass them up.

Make Your Own

Ready to start making your own videos? Instantly download our free cheat sheet “7 Tried and Tested Tips to Increase Your Facebook Engagement Using Simple Videos" to speed your process along...and also learn about some really cool video apps that will give your video a lot of viewer-friendly polish.

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If you have a great Facebook video that you've seen success with, or would like to get feedback about, share it with the community here! Post a link to your video in the comments below, or share the video on my Facebook page.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_52.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:03pm PST

I have a question for you. What do Seth Godin, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, and Richard Branson all have in common?

If the first thing that comes to mind is that they have millions of followers on social media, you are right about that. That’s definitely true.

But the answer I am looking for is the reason behind their millions of followers on social media. There’s a single strategy they all share, a strategy that drives enormous numbers of people to follow them.

The answer: their brands are big on personality. 

It would actually be truer to say that their personalities are their brands. From their signature look to their unique ways of expressing themselves, these people package their content in a way that sets them apart from anybody else in their niche.

When you have great content, really smart offers, and a foolproof marketing strategy and you are still not getting the traction your brand deserves, what you may be missing is personality.

People respect someone who works really hard. But they love someone whom they feel is real, someone they can connect with. And in a marketplace that’s bursting with hard-working, hustling entrepreneurs, people are more likely to follow their heart than anything else.

What you want is for their heart to lead them to you.

Today’s episode is all about making that authentic connection with your audience by infusing your brand with personality--your personality.

Before I dive in, today’s free download is called “The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Infusing Your Personality In All You Do.” It shows some of the best examples of strategies I am going to highlight for you today. Download it by clicking here.

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Believe it or not, there is even an industry term for this way of infusing your brand with personality. Marketing analysts call it the “personality differentiator.” Here’s what it can do for your business:

  • It demonstrates why you are different from others who provide very similar products or services.

  • It engages your audience capturing their interest and drawing them into your message.

  • It establishes an ongoing rapport between you and your audience, creating a bond that will help you convert leads into clients when the time is right.

  • It proves there is more to you and your brand than just facts, figures, and fancy technology. It shows you actually have heart.

  • It transforms your message from boring to fascinating, increasing both the impact of your message as well as the quality of the opportunities your messaging generates.

Big corporations recognize the importance of personality in their brand—that’s why so many of them get celebrities to endorse their product, or invent engaging fictional characters for the job. (Think Flo from Progressive Insurance.)

But entrepreneurs like you and me usually can’t afford to hire an outside face for our company…and guess what? We don’t need to. Instead, we get to use our own personality and everything that makes it special, magnetic, intriguing, funny, maybe even a little bit controversial, to help our own brands instantly stand out in the crowd.

Being Authentic and Professional

Some of you may be hesitating, “Are you suggesting that I use Kim Kardashian tactics to increase my brand’s visibility? No, thanks!” Don’t worry—that’s not what I’m recommending here. There’s definitely a fine line between between showcasing your personality and going to unprofessional lengths for attention.

If you look at someone like Oprah, she definitely has the whole look-into-my- real-life thing going for her while still keeping the respect of her audience. Throughout her career she has given plenty of hints as to her real life so that we feel like we really know her. We’ve seen her gain and lose weight. We’ve heard her start and abandon projects. We’ve heard her talk about friendships and politics and everything else in between. Through it all she’s been admirably consistent with her brand.

The key to being real but maintaining respect is found in being relatable.

Relatable = Staying In Your Niche While Reaching Out to Others

To be relatable to people on a wider scale, you have to do two things:

  • The first thing is to give of yourself. Don’t just tell them what they need to hear; tell them what you need to say. Speaking from your heart shows that you know your stuff and you’re passionate about what you do.

  • The second thing is to be honest. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You’ve got to be real about what your life is all about.

Now let’s jump into the various ways that you can start infusing your winning personality into your brand through various kinds of messaging.

Written Content

This applies to blogging, of course, but also to social media updates, email marketing, and anything else your audience might read from you.

It’s a pretty general rule that it’s best to write the way you talk. For some people that comes naturally. For others, it sometimes feels like rocket science.

It can also feel a little bit vulnerable if you want to be taken seriously as a professional. But believe me, it’s always better to sound like you—quirks and all—than to sound like a generic “professional” with nothing unique or charming to make your voice memorable.

If it’s hard for you to write the way you talk, then run your next piece of content by your best friend or spouse, and ask them to tell you honestly if it sounds like you.

Your “About” Page

About Pages can represent over 60% of your website’s total traffic. Sound crazy? It just goes to show that people really want to know who you are. When they click on your About Page, it means they like what they have been reading so far and they want to get to know more about the kind of person you are. Which means you’re more than halfway to getting a new customer!

The most foolproof way to create a compelling About Page is to tell a story. Don’t just state the credits of your resume or the praise you’ve received. Craft a narrative of how you ended up where you are, what you love about it, and what you hope to accomplish in the long run. The silly stuff, the entertaining stuff, the things you think really don’t matter, are what round out your personality and create trust between you and the reader…because they seeing you as a fellow human being.

One person whose About Page helps her stand miles apart from her crowd is publicity expert Melissa Cassera.  Her About Page is so good that I’m including the entire thing in the free PDF that I’ve created for you. Click here to get the download now.

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Photos and Imagery

You may already realize the power of Instagram as a messaging tool. But are you using photo sharing to its full potential?

If you narrow your focus just a little bit with the images you post on all social media, this could have a huge effect in terms of defining your brand personality.

Start limiting your brand accounts  to a specific image, or even a category of images, that reflect something true and unique about how you see the world.

A great example of this is Foster Huntington, a graphic designer who created an iconic brand for himself with his photos of camper vans accompanied by the hashtag #vanlife. You can see this and more examples in my free download.

Wondering what to post? The key is not to think about it too hard. Just pare away the number of cute photos of your dog or your lunch, and focus more on images that you really like, the ones that really resonate with you. The pattern will evolve over time, and come to define your brand in an organic way.

Listen to Episode 51 in full to get even more insights...click here to download the audio from iTunes.

Video

If you listened to our last episode, you learned some basics about how to get a lot of compelling lead action into a short amount of video footage. So why not use that same technique to infuse personality into your brand? Videos let your visuals and your words come together with that certain something that makes your personality unique.

A lot of people get really scripted in their videos, because they want to be taken seriously as an authority in their field. There’s nothing wrong with a script, except when it leaks all the real-person charm out of your delivery. Looking like you know your stuff but having a dry, soulless delivery is actually worse for your brand than, say, flubbing one of your lines or having your dog bark in the middle of your recording.

The answer to this is simple: write your script, read it over a few times, and then throw it away before you hit “Record.” Just talk to your audience through the camera about what you want them to understand. (It may take some practice…we’re not all natural players to the camera.)

And no, you don’t have to specialize in videography for your short videos to be a valuable addition to your content. Approach your videos this way: What can you say to your audience that will help or inspire them in 15 seconds?

Network with Your Community (Virtual or Local)

Create a place on your site where you turn the spotlight back on your community.

For example, the office supply company Poppin has a web page where they feature photos people have taken of themselves with their brand new Poppin products, tagged with #workhappy.

Another example is Zipcar, the rental car company. When you search for cars to rent,  you'll find little blurbs about iconic local destinations in whatever city you're searching. This gives the Zipcar brand a well-traveled impression...a very good thing for a transportation business.

The Behind-The-Curtain Approach

Not everything you post has to be about you. If there’s something you’re passionate about, zero in on it and feature it.

Even if it’s something that has nothing to do with your business, maybe a charity project, a certain travel destination, a hobby, a favorite TV show, offering little updates on this throughout your content gives people a sense of who you are.

What you value enough to talk about tells people about you and it will resonate with them in ways you probably can’t even imagine.

Be Yourself

Maybe this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway…

The key to infusing personality into your brand is to be yourself. 

I know that feels scary at times. You don’t want to lose potential customers because you say something one way and not another way. When you take risks and really put your personality out there, sometimes it can be a little polarizing. But that’s okay. All you really need to worry about is that

  • You are being yourself, and
  • You’re creating content that will resonate with your ideal audience.

Don’t forget to download the free PDF I’m offering with this episode. It will show you examples of infusing your personality in your brand. I’ve also included some practical steps on how to use storytelling to infuse your personality into your messaging. Click here to get it now.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm PST

Today’s show is #50…that’s right, my 50th episode of the “Online Marketing Made Easy” podcast.

In honor of Episode #50, I’m giving away a prize: a membership into my signature program, The Profit Lab. This program shows how to build business funnels so that you can grow your email list and profit from your leads. Entering to win this free membership is easy—just click here to leave an iTunes review for the “Online Marketing Made Easy” podcast.

For Episode #50, I’m talking all about paid advertising.

And nobody knows this subject better than my good friend Rick Mulready. He actually has a podcast of his own called “The Art of Paid Traffic.”

One of the biggest things Rick does on this podcast is dispel the notion that paid advertisements are a negative thing. People often think you need a big budget to run a paid ad campaign, or lots of time for planning out a strategy. Or they might think they simply shouldn’t have to pay for advertising.

In fact, anyone can engage audiences through paid advertising…and they should!

In order to get started right away with two of the most popular types of paid advertising—Facebook ads and YouTube ads—with a simple cheat sheet that I created with Rick. It’s called “The Anatomy of High-Converting Paid Ads.” Get it by clicking here now.

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There are three main types of ads that you can and should be using now:

Native ads

A native ad is an advertisement that sends people to a piece of content (as opposed to a direct opt-in form or sales page). It could be a blog post, a video, even show notes from a podcast.

The great thing about native ads is that they contribute to your brand’s total value. They put helpful content out into the world that adds value right off the bat, in addition to pointing to other things (your program or service) that can be of even more value.

When people end up on your content page, that’s where you can introduce an opt-in form, a lightbox or some other kind of offer for your program or service. Just make sure it’s relevant to the content that you’ve sent them to.

They also allow you to retarget people who visit the content that your ad is pointing toward, and put them on a separate list from your regular email list.

This separate list that comes from native ads is what we call a “warm list”—it lets you know a very specific interest group within your list. So if you’re running a native ad for a particular program or service and people click on it, you know that next time you promote that same program (or a similar one), those are definitely people that you should retarget.

Retargeting is also something you need to know about for our next kind of paid advertising:

Facebook ads

Around here, we talk a lot about Facebook ads. The fact is that Facebook changes its setup all the time, and what worked six months ago or even six weeks ago may have changed dramatically. That’s why it’s crucial to be consistently checking out Facebook’s terms and conditions for ads. Check the help pages to stay current with the rules, so that you know your advertising isn’t going to get pulled out from under you!

These days, Facebook’s foundation for advertising is a lot like the native ads we just talked about...ads have to add value to Facebook users. In other words, the less salesy you can be with your ad, the better.

To be honest, this change benefits you as the business owner—running an ad that leads to a blog post is a lot cheaper in what you pay per click, versus running an opt-in page ad. It also builds trust with your users. They click on your ad, get to a page of real, valuable content, and they feel good! That’s something that people will keep coming back for.

Retargeting comes into play when you set up your Facebook page to target who you want to be tracking and what pages you want to track. That way, you can build a specific list from anybody coming to any page on your website.

Don't worry--Rick and I made a special video just for you that shows how to set up the retargeting audience within Facebook (also known as "Website Custom Audience"):

Get all of Amy's secrets for easily creating effective paid ads! Listen to Episode #50 in full.

YouTube ads

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, second only to Google. Just like Facebook, you can search it by topic, not just by keywords. But the biggest advantage YouTube has as an advertising platform is that videos are, by nature, extraordinarily appealing.

This is the drawback for some people considering YouTube ads…they don’t like the idea of being in front of a camera. In fact, you don’t have to spend any time in front of the camera, if you don’t want to. You also don’t have to hire a huge production crew. Some of the most effective ads are made with just a person holding up an iPhone and talking into it.

If you're new to YouTube ads, a great place to start is with “in-stream” ads…the ones that come up when someone starts to watch a video, that they can skip after a few seconds if they choose to. What's more, the ad creator (that means you) start actually paying for the ad after it reaches the 30-second mark.

With these ads, it's crucial to make your mark on an audience within those first 30 seconds. This is where our handy free cheat sheet comes in. You can download it and get the secret of how to create an effective ad that includes a memorable message and a call to action within those precious 30 seconds before someone hits “Skip to Video.”

Take Your Time

It’s important to note that if all these strategies are new to you, don’t feel like you have to implement them all at once. It’s much better to explore one of them at a time. Test things out, educate yourself, take notes on what you see around the Internet that appeals to you.

Don't forget to download our free cheat sheet for a fast, simple understanding of how to create these ads yourself!

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am PST

Today’s post reminds me why I love doing this podcast so much. Not only is the material great, but it comes from two of my favorite people—a power couple in the online marketing world.

Their names are Joshua and Jill Stanton and together, they run a business called Screw The Nine To Five where they teach people who are dissatisfied with their day-to-day jobs how to take their skills and transform them into a self-run online business.

Whether you’re well on your way in creating your online business, just getting started, or even simply circling the waters trying to decide whether to get your feet wet, this post is tailor-made for you. It’s all about mining the raw material from which online businesses are built, and crafting it into the cornerstone of your success.

Entrepreneurs are an idea-happy bunch. You probably have tons of ideas swimming in your head right now. Maybe you’ve even grown used to hearing people say “That’s crazy” or “Wow—that’s going to take you a long time.”

It’s never a good idea to pay much attention to the naysayers. The fact is that nearly every idea is a good one, if you can figure out how to make it profitable.

That’s where Jill and Josh come in. They are showcasing some of their concrete strategies for determining any idea’s profitability.

Actually, we’ve condensed their strategies into a series of four step-by-step tests that you can run any idea through.

Spoiler alert—those tests are today’s free download. Click here to get it now.

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Josh and Jill have been making money online for quite a while, but their spunkily named website came about after they were asked repeatedly how they did it. They decided to start a program specifically for training others to do the same thing they did--a place where they could just send everyone asking their advice.

Ever since, they've been helping people see how they can translate their day job skills into an online job that generates way more income in way less time. In other words, you don't have to learn a brand new skill set in order to start an online business. You simply take what you know and strategically build a business around it.

The "strategic" part is where we can all use Josh and Jill's expertise. Because of course you need to see whether your idea for how to translate your skills to your own business has wings...or not. Odds are it does, but it's not going to be a get-rich-quick situation. However, if you put the passion and hustle and hard work into it, you'll be amazed what you can do online.

I can speak to this personally. Back when I was working my own 9-to-5, I was dreaming of starting my own online business but resigned to the fact that none of my knowledge would translate into the outside world.

All it took was a good friend who reminded me that I worked in marketing...something every online business needs to know how to do well. I was sitting on a gold mine.

You might be, too. Here are the four tests that will help you find out.

Test #1: Udemy.com

This is best suited to people who might want to sell digital products or programs. Udemy is an online learning marketplace. They have five million customers and they have digital products and programs ranging from everything from crocheting to IT. In other words, there's a lot of opportunity here.

I have to say, it's pretty great that there is a resource like Udemy, where you can simply go and see if somebody else is currently making money with your course idea. It’s that simple.

Test #2: Amazon.com

This, again, is best suited to digital products and programs. But you can also use it if you want to start a service-based business. It’s not limited to information products. As you may know, people can skew their Amazon ratings by canvassing their audience to buy books or post reviews at certain key periods of time. But ratings and reviews aren't what you're after. The sales results are what you really want to know about, and those are updated hourly by Amazon.

The way to make sure you are getting an honest reading of sales results is to look for a few different books in that category that are in that lower ranking. You can open up a whole bunch of different listings and see how well that topic, in general, is performing.

Get all of Josh and Jill's insights on these four profit validation tests. Click here to listen to Podcast Episode #49 in full.

Test #3: Google Keyword Tool

It's really important to discover if there is an audience for you to market your great idea. One tool for this is Google’s free keyword planner tool. (You can find it by simply Googling “keyword planner.") It allows you to run a search for any keyword or phrase and find out how many people per month are searching for that phrase. It’s a really great way of gauging how big an audience is searching just Google alone.

For example, enter the keyword phrase “how to become a real estate agent” and you'll see that that search gets 14,800 searches per month. In other words, almost 15,000 people every single month on Google are trying to find information on how to become a real estate agent. So if you already are a real estate agent, there's an opportunity for you to offer a course that guides people down the path to becoming certified.

Test #4: Facebook Ads

This final test is where you go when a Google search doesn't turn up any results. What that usually means is that the people in that market aren’t seeking their answers on Google.

Instead, they're probably on Facebook.

To find out what kind of audience is waiting for you on Facebook, you want to find blogs within your industry...blogs that nearly always have Facebook Pages associated with them.

Alltop.com is a service that lists every single blog, all of the top blogs, in any category. Search on Alltop, and you're likely to find the industry that you work in right now under one of those categories. When you select that category, it will bring up a list of all the top blogs in that industry. You can go through those sites and see if they have a link that goes through to a Facebook Page. Once you discover their Facebook Page, you will then use Audience Insights to see what size of audience they have and what demographic it lies in...what age range, what interest group, what gender, etc. (Audience Insights is a tool that is located inside your Facebook Ads Manager.)

Essentially what you are doing is targeting your already existing competitors to see what kind of audience they've already built up. Later on, you can use that information to run ads to those same people to sell your own products and services.

What Next?

If you put your idea through these four tests and find its profitability is validated on all four...well, then, it might just be time start creating a program or product. Even if your idea is validated on just one or two of the tests, I agree with Josh and Jill that it is definitely worth pursuing. You just have to make sure you are actually willing to commit the time and energy to really giving this a good go.

As I said earlier, creating an online business not an overnight thing, by any means. It’s going to take some time. But these tests will also give you insight on where you want to be spending that time, as well as where you want to price your product.

If you want to see these ideas in action, you can join Josh and Jill in an upcoming webinar called the Money Test Webinar. In this free online class, Josh and Jill will walk you through each of the four validation tests, step by step.

You can get the sign-up link by downloading our free guide...which will be very helpful to use in the webinar, I might add.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_49.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm PST

Here we are, two months into 2015...is it the future yet? On one hand, still no flying cars. On the other, we talk to people directly through screens we hold in our hands! Every now and then, in the middle of a Skype session, I start to feel like I'm on the Jetsons.

This post is all about how to deal with the future happening right now...specifically with regard to Facebook.

We all know that Facebook changes rapidly. It’s changing all the time. Just a few years ago, Facebook engagement looked very different. And maybe you've started to feel frustrated by the changes, or have just given up keeping track of them.

I get where you're coming from, with that. It can be daunting to keep up with Facebook's constant changing of its own rules. But Facebook is still a valuable place for you to gain traction for your business. That's why my mission for you in this post is to help you understand what’s working right now on Facebook, and how to make it work to your advantage.

First, I want to tell you about the free download I have for this week. I've collected 20 different posts from all over Facebook that I've seen capture maximum engagement--not just views, but likes, comments, and shares.

On this free cheat sheet, I explain in a few words just what is so engaging about each post. Download this cheat sheet for free and use these posts as rough guides for creating your own super-engaging Facebook content.

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To begin with, let's talk about why Facebook engagement matters, starting with...

The Facebook Definition of Engagement

Facebook (or FB, as the kids call it) defines engagement in one way and one way only: fingers clicking specific buttons. If a fan doesn’t engage with your post in at least one of four ways—like it, leave a comment, share it with others, or click on a link—it’s not considered engagement by Facebook standards. Period. So what does non-engagement look like?

Here are things that your Facebook fans may be doing that do not count as FB engagement:

  • Read your update. Kind of makes you rethink how much time you spend crafting the perfect status, doesn't it?

  • View your image. Photos, infographics, inspirational quotes, etc. are great ways to grab attention, but simply having them seen does not constitute engagement.

  • Click on a photo. If your photo is not linked (via OpenGraph or some other plug-in) to a specific site, all that will happen is that the photo will open in a bigger window. That's an opportunity to giving your reader yet another chance to engage...but in itself, FB doesn't count it as fan engagement.

  • Like your page. You heard right. People liking your page doesn't affect engagement; it only counts when they like specific posts.

Engagement from a Purely Relational Perspective

That’s how Facebook sees engagement; let’s explore what engagement might mean to you. When someone interacts with the content you have posted, they are expressing interest in you. That means your WHY, your meaning, your purpose. What do you do, and how do you do it?

Don’t sell yourself short. Your why and how are powerful stuff to people out there. Knowing about you is reward in itself.

If you are message driven, sharing what you care about in a true attempt to educate, entertain, or inspire people, and those people communicate back to you or push it out to the world… that is a reflection that you are doing something right!

So Why Does Engagement Matter?

This is where mindset enters the picture. Mindset is what will connect the dots for you between fan engagement (likes, comments, shares, and clicks) and exposure to your business (such as getting your posts into your tribe’s News Feed).

The equation is simple: Boost your engagement (likes, comments, shares, & clicks) and get rewarded.

See, the more often your fans engage with you in the ways listed above, the more often your posts will be pushed out into their News Feed. This is how Facebook helps your business--by noticing that people are interested in what you have to say, and giving them more. Therefore, in each and every status update you post, you’ll want to influence your audience to engage in at least one of the four ways that count: liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking a link. This is where your mindset is critical. When you're creating a Facebook post, it's not enough to be clever, or even thoughtful.

When you create a Facebook post, you need to come at it this way: "How can I thoughtfully construct this post to ignite the action needed for my fans to engage?"

Remember, if there is no engagement, Facebook simply thinks your audience is not interested. And they're not going to promote something that they think people aren't interested in. On the other hand, the more people take action on one of your posts, the more your posts will show up in their feed. Not just that one post they liked, but all your posts.

Say you've been getting lots of "likes" on a particular photo you posted, or had people commenting throughout the week on a status update...and then, later in the week or month, you post something about a specific promotion you're doing. All those likes and comments are what will take your promotional post straight to your fans' News Feed.

Simply put, an increase in fan engagement also = an increase in the exposure of your promotional posts.

Are you beginning to understand the roadmap? As you consistently offer high quality, valuable content that captivates your audience and motivates them to engage, through an indirect process you will increase your sales.

Is Your Story on the Minds of Your Fans?

Mark Zuckerberg recently shared his vision for Facebook. He wants to create the “perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world.”

What this means is that FB is focused on the fan experience. The fan's. Not yours. That's why sharing what is relevant and significantly useful to your fans will give you a BIG advantage to being seen in News Feed. Failing to share what is highly useful will alienate you from your fans. You really do need to get to know your audience. This is the FIRST step to engagement.

Every FB fan sees a constant stream of stories and now more than ever only the best of the best will get through on a consistent basis. You can use this to your advantage by taking action. Consider it an opportunity to up your game by taking your communications to the next level.

According to Zuckerberg,

There’s more competition for what they (users) see, so only the highest-quality content is actually going to get through and get shown to those people."

Does your content match that description? If you're not sure, now's the time to start taking inventory! If you have taken the time to learn about the people sitting in front of you, your fans will have you on “notifications” because they won’t want to miss a single one of your FB posts!

Caution for Overly Promotional Posts

As of January 2015, Facebook has taken on a new philosophy regarding overly promotional posts that will affect how your promotional posts are seen in your fans’ News Feed. In an ongoing survey, Facebook asked hundreds of thousands of people how they felt about the content in their News Feed. The feedback revealed that people wanted to see less promotional posts and more stories from their friends and Pages they loved. When FB says promotional posts, they're not talking about paid ads. They mean the free status update posts that are advertising something. Examples would be:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

If you’re wondering why fans are not as bothered by actual paid ads in their News Feed, it’s because FB has executed more control and limited the amount of ads fans see. The same control has not been allocated toward free promotional posts. Until now.

So what's a business owner on Facebook to do?

Earn Your Right to Promote 

You may be wondering why I'm talking so much about promotion when this post is supposed to be about engagement. In fact, in order to do engagement right, you have to understand the relationship between engagement and promotion.

Your mindset around promotion directly effects engagement and therefore exposure, even when you are not actively promoting with a given post. It works the other way around as well. Holding a mindset that drives you to heavily promote while not offering your fans compelling content they want to consume will decrease fan engagement and decrease your organic reach.

On the other hand, cultivating a mindset that propels you to create posts with the intention of informing and meeting the needs of your fans (without an intent to sell) will both increase engagement and News Feed reach.

Two Types of Posts: Native & Non-Native (And How to Integrate Them)

Native posts blend in. They are non-promotional. Instead, they create a conversation or add to an ongoing conversation among the tribe. Their high-quality content is an authentic offering from you, often delivered in a voice that is familiar to your audience and is easily recognized as an extension of your brand.

Non-native posts are specifically created to promote your course, product, or service. While your fans’ needs are still at the heart of the content, non-native posts show a clear intention to sell, or at least move your fans closer to the end buy.

There is another type of post that is less black and white. We can call this a semi-native post. Its purpose is to accomplish the tasks of both native and non-native posts.

Examples are posts that offer free webinars, free irresistible giveaways, or a free video series etc. While giving away useful and valuable content, you are also moving your fans through a sales funnel.

The Mindset of Integration

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to separating native and non-native posts. They can be mixed and matched to your liking and intuitive sense of your audience. What is important is that your native posts go out consistently and much more often than your promotional posts. Here are three suggestions for integration:

  • Keep native posts running regularly and consistently during promotional and non-promotional periods. They should never stop.
  • Intentionally post non-native status updates (go ahead and promote) for a specific time period during which native posts are also running.
  • Intersperse your semi-native posts casually alongside your native postings.

It is normal for promotional posts to get far less engagement than native posts so don’t be alarmed. The mindset here is to know that you will be relying on native posts to really boost that engagement so that when you do promote, you’ll get the organic reach you are looking for.

As your fans like, comment, share, and click on your native posts, Facebook will deem your page valuable. As a result, the number of your promotional posts served in News Feed will increase.

Earn your right to promote by offering purely valuable and sometimes entertaining content. Go ahead and give away the good stuff. Make it about your fans… not you. Go the extra mile. Over-deliver! Connect and make it personal.

How to Make a BIG Splash to Elevate Facebook Engagement

You may have heard that organic reach (the number of fans that see your free posts in News Feed) has declined. Perhaps you’re already experiencing it.

Here’s the deal: What you decide to do with that information can either set you apart from those who fail or land you in the same boat.

Once again, it comes down to mindset. It is your choice what you focus on. You can see this as an opportunity to fly high or a disaster waiting to happen.

It has been said that during times of economic downfall, there are folks who seek to discover what works. They read between the lines and take the extra steps that others don’t take. They find a way to use the situation to their advantage, creating tremendous success against all odds. Failure has no place in their vocabulary. Don’t let it be a part of yours.

Don't forget to download my free cheat sheet, "Top 20 'High-Engagement' Facebook Posts."

12 Suggestions to Improve the Quality of Your Posts & Boost Engagement

1. Get personal. 

A post with no commentary feels like sending a greeting card without writing anything in it. If you're posting photos, status updates, longer columns, etc. and getting no feedback, it's probably because it doesn't feel personal to your fans.

And yes, it's even important to make your business Page feel personal. 

Your posts need some commentary from you--a note about your feelings, your friendships, your goals, showing a vulnerable or even humorous side. This is what allows people to connect..and connection leads to action.

They want YOU, not your brand. Don’t be afraid to show your silly side."

Anytime you invite your audience in and have a little fun with them, they are sure to pay attention. They want YOU, not your brand. Don’t be afraid to show your silly side.

2. Focus on the fans that are actually paying attention to you right now.

So many times I head people say, “I have 2000 fans, but only ten of them will actually comment on a picture."

Rather than stress out about the vast majority who isn't engaging, you're better off getting really, really personal with those ten.

Respond back to the people who are responding to you. Click "Like" on their comment, and generate more conversations underneath their comments. Remember, it doesn't count as much on Facebook if you to have a lot of fans. What counts is that you have a few engaged fans.

Want to see more examples? Download my free cheat sheet to see how these tips translate into real Facebook posts.

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3. Make sure you ask questions that are going to ignite a true conversation.

About once a week, I ask questions to my audience about their concerns with growing an online business, the struggles they are facing, and some of the worries they have actually had while building an online business.

Recently, I asked my audience what was one of the biggest fears about their business right now. And wow--I was so pleasantly surprised to see how much honesty came through in the comments!

Mind you, it wasn't just any vulnerable-making question. I picked one that rang true with my own brand, that followed from things I talk about regularly.

That's the key to making these kinds of big questions work for you, instead of against you. Pick something that seems like a random bombshell, and people might feel alienated. Pick something that aligns with who you are and what you offer, and people will begin to open up like you wouldn't believe. Your openness will give them the much-needed outlet to express some of their concern about whatever it is that they are working on.

4. Try to stick around a little bit, especially after you post a question, even if it’s for ten minutes.

Following the response to that big question--"What's your biggest fear?"--my instinct was to stick around, rather than leave my desk and let the comments flow in. I just didn't want to leave those people hanging.

So for the next 20 to 30 minutes after I posted that question, I stuck around and replied to each of the people that posted and used their first name as well. I wanted to let them know that they were heard.

This means the world to people, in the impersonal realm of the Internet. The fact that you'd not just ask your audience to get vulnerable with you, but stay to hear their answers, is a huge gesture. When people see that you are answering them in real time, they will be more likely to start the conversation again next time with you.

5. Create posts that are relevant to your brand and tell a story.

Storytelling is always tough for me to express when I’m trying to explain it to a new customer because when you think of a story, you think of something on the longish side, right?

Something that takes a while to get through.

But when I’m talking about storytelling on Facebook, I mean just little short snapshots of what you want to convey. Sometimes a great little story is a perfect lead into a link that goes to a blog post. In fact, I often use the first paragraph of my blog post as my Facebook post.

The purpose here is to ignite a feeling in your audience. Each time you post, question what you want your audience to feel. Do you want them to be happy? Do you want them to feel inspired? Do you want them to feel empathetic or informed or supported or connected to you? Feelings, after all, are what get us to take action.

6. People will share posts that put them in a good light.

Studies have shown that people will share your post if it puts them in a good light. That’s why inspirational quotes get shared the most on Facebook. If it’s an inspirational quote and I share it with my friends, it makes me look like a person who inspires people. If you want more shares, then you want to make sure you are putting out content that people will be proud to share and will make them look good.

7. Create each post as though you are talking to a friend.

After this episode, I want you to go back to your Facebook Page and read your last ten Facebook posts. Do they sound like you are talking to your best friend? Or are they a little stiff? When posting on our business Page, we can take a very unnatural tone...not at all the way we'd post on our personal Facebook wall. But if your personal Wall has way more "friends" than your Page has "likes," that just proves the point!

People connect with you much more easily when you talk to them conversationally. It might take some practice to get out of the habit of being in "Business Talk" mode, but trust me, it will go a long way toward engaging your audience.

8. It is all about the image.

You already know that images on Facebook go a long way. For the majority of your posts you should be including a really eye-catching image. But this tip is not to create images. This tip is about finding a simple way to get a bunch of images done at once so that when you are posting on Facebook, you actually have what you need to make that post look fantastic.

Images are going to get you more likes, clicks, comments, and shares--I can promise you that.

I love using a tool like Canva for this. They have tons of backgrounds and images and text to use. But if you're the type who will go down a rabbit hole while creating an image yourself, don't go there.

Instead, you're better off outsourcing your image needs on a platform like 99Designs. You can find a designer who will work at a price you can afford...trust me, it's a lot cheaper than you might think...and get some great, eye-catching images in a lot less time than it takes to make one yourself.

9. Make sure when people share your content from your blog that it looks really good on Facebook.

You know when you go to a blog post and grab the URL, you copy it and paste it into the post on Facebook and the image and title of whatever is on the web page should get pulled through. You know what I’m talking about? Have you ever had the experience that nothing gets pulled through or just a thumbnail of the image gets pulled through?

That is not what you want to do.

In Episode #44 I offered a cheat sheet to walk you through how to use a specific WordPress plug in that will make sure all of your posts, when shared on Facebook, actually get pulled through correctly and look really good. Go download this cheat sheet now--it will show you step-by-step how to actually install a WordPress plug in called OpenGraph that will help you make sure your blog posts get pulled through correctly on Facebook. The image will show up correctly, the title will be there, the description. This is important stuff.

Each time you create a new blog post, pay close attention to the image that gets pulled into the post when fans share it on FB. Create images that instantly say what your post is about.

10. Mix up your content on Facebook.

This is an easy one; consider this another reminder to actually do it.

If you want posts to be shared and to get the likes and comments and clicks you have to keep things interesting. That means using video and different images with your posts and maybe trying a few posts without images just to experiment.

  • Sometimes people get more engagement with the non-image posts. (Rare, but it happens!)
  • Some people want image quotes and they want to share them.
  • Other people love to see posts about your blog post so they can be reminded what you’ve got out there.

Mix up your content as often as you mix up the type of posts. Sometimes include links to blog posts. Other times just use quotes, quick tips, facts, or whatever it might be.

If you want to know what’s really interesting to your audience go into your Facebook insights. Inside of insights you can actually see which posts are getting the most engagement. You will see on that very first page, if you scroll down into Facebook insights (every single Page has Facebook insights, it’s like analytics) you will see what people are sharing the most. That's what's working; do more of it.

11. Upload video directly to a Facebook post.

I want to actually take one idea that I just mentioned in Tip #10: video. The reason video deserved its own tip is because I’m seeing amazing things with my content and those of my customers in terms of sharing video on Facebook. I’m talking about uploading the video directly to a Facebook post. I’ve been doing this a little bit pretty consistently. Each time I post a short video I already have thousands of people I have reached, versus maybe a few hundred with an image post. If you upload a short video, let it go for 30 minutes and then come back. I promise you your reach is almost guaranteed to be higher than anything else you have posted over the last week.

What do you put in your video?

  • You can make a quick video of yourself talking directly to the camera.
  • You can have a few slides that you go through on the video telling people about your latest podcast episode or blog post.
  • You could also do a quick video where you invite people to a webinar or tell them about your cheat sheet.

If you are in an niche that you can give quick, helpful tips in the form of a video, DO IT. You don’t even need to be on the video. In this example I used Screenflow to record a short tip.

12. You’ve got to check out one of my favorite scheduling tools.

Confession: I am in love with Edgar.

You can go to http://meetedgar.com for all of the details.

Edgar is not a free service, but it’s worth paying for. I’ve always struggled to find a tool that I’m comfortable with that’s really easy to use that will help me schedule my Facebook posts. It’s a lot of work to constantly be looking for content to schedule in advance and post on your Facebook Page: a mix of your own content, other people’s blog posts and videos, re-posts of your old content, quotations, etc.

With Edgar you can add a Bookmarklet to make it easy when you find an article that you want to add to your content library. I love how easy they make it!

Edgar allows you to become a superstar with Tip #10 (mixing up your content). You choose what you want to share, where you want it to share, you make sure it looks good, and then you just click enter and it goes into a queue. It will then be posted at random times (you can choose the times if you want) on your Facebook Page and Twitter.

Edgar has skyrocketed my engagement. This is why I love him so.

Engagement Truly Matters

When you make an honest effort to understand your audience and you give BIG and share freely, your fans’ trust in you will snowball. Their loyalty to your brand will be obvious by their level of engagement. From there you are golden because you will have built a foundation of extraordinarily useful content and a tribe ready to consume it.

Now I would love to hear from you! What’s working for your business when it comes to Facebook engagement? Please post in the comments below.

Also, don't forget to download the free cheat sheet that I'm offering with this episode. It will make these tips come to life for you.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm PST

If you’re anything like me...or if you're just human...you have faced your share of challenges and fears in the process of growing your own business. That might not be so bad, if we could all solve those challenges by simply trading stories. But no two people's challenges and fears are alike!

The reason our challenges are so unique is because our minds are. Unique, that is. Struggles and fears originate in your brain, and how it processes whatever you're dealing with, from one day to the next.

That's why one day you can be flying high, confident and on top of your game, and the next day you're sunk into despair, wondering how you got into this mess and whether it's too late to get out.

As I've said before, the real key to every aspect of growing your business is CONFIDENCE. And we all need a little help with confidence sometimes.

That's what today's post is all about--getting your head "unstuck," learning how to move forward with purpose even when you're struggling, and using each day to take the action you want.

That's why I invited my personal business coach Todd Herman to join me in today's podcast episode. He's a bit of a legend when it comes to performance mentality; big-deal people come to him for help with achieving mastery and improving performance. I'm talking Olympic athletes, corporate billionaires, members of international royalty...plus thousands of online entrepreneurs just like me.

Todd is all about action, productivity and results…which is exactly what I need for my business right now. To put it simply, he helps people perform so that their vision and what they do matches up.

I have to tell you, this Q&A with Todd is a landmark episode for me. Lots of listeners sent in their questions about improving performance for Todd to answer right here on the show. His answers will blow you away; in fact, even my editor told me that this is the most insightful podcast episode I'd ever done.

Honestly, there's just too much great stuff to list in a single blog post, so why don't you click the play button at the top of the post to listen right now? Trust me--this is stuff you're going to want to hear.

Also, I'm offering as today's "freebie" a special task-tracker that Todd gave me to use as part of improving my professional performance and guide my daily actions. It's called an Entrepreneurial Scorecard, and it's a simple, one-sheet tool that has been rocking my world ever since I started using it.

You can get the Entrepreneurial Scorecard for free by clicking here.

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What follows below is just a tease from my interview with Todd. Make sure to listen to the podcast to get all the insights Todd provided to listener questions.

Question 1:

"I am constantly working on a million things at once and nothing seems to ever get my full attention. How can I manage my day more efficiently, so things actually get done?"

To answer this, Todd takes us through a process known as "context switching."

Question 2:

"How can I overcome the fear of failure that constantly prevents me from making decisions?"

Todd offers a tip from the world of professional athletics that strengthens your mind against fear of failure and self-sabotage.

Question 3:

"How do I know what are the right things to do at the right time, and stay focused while doing them?"

One of Todd's signature phrases is "mental toughness." Get his secret for developing this important trait.

Note: This is where the Entrepreneurial Scorecard really comes in handy, folks. Using the scorecard will give you a crystal-clear picture of what activities are worth your time, and what you should be leveraging or delegating so that the time you are spending on projects is quality time...in other words, time that makes a difference in your business.

Download the Entrepreneurial Scorecard by clicking here.

Question 4:

"I need guidance in picking the right kind of marketing for my small business, in order to stay relevant but not become too scattered."

Todd says the key to knowing what kind of "reinvention" your business needs is all about the big picture--context is sometimes even more important than content.

Question 5:

"I have insecurity over getting that first paying client."

In order to get past insecurity, Todd tells us about embracing your alter ego.

Don't miss out on Todd's great advice - click here to listen to Episode #47.

No matter where your business lies within the growth process, Todd's specific, detailed insights are going to help you achieve mastery and gain confidence...every single day you sit down to work.

As I mentioned, the Entrepreneurial Scorecard is all about helping your goals gain traction each day. Download this valuable freebie by clicking here. The Entrepreneurial Scorecard is going to help you identify where you are spending time wisely and not so wisely, along with the areas you should be leveraging for maximum return on your effort.

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Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am PST

As a kid, I loved the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book series. It featured a magical and resourceful lady who lived with all her children in an upside down house. When money was tight for Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, she would send all of her kids through the house to find hidden treasures.

That story stuck with me from the moment I read it. As a kid, I felt ready for any moment when money came up short—I’d just go on a treasure hunt! Does it surprise you to learn that my perspective hasn’t changed, even now that I’m an adult? What's more, I no longer wait for the “running out of money” moment before I set out on a treasure hunt. Not when I have a five-step treasure map that leads me right to the gold.

As an entrepreneur, there are going to be times when cash is tight. It’s natural for you to feel the squeeze when you’re just starting out. Even after your business has liftoff, you might feel strapped from time to time. Or maybe you are looking at investing in some kind of new business tool or business opportunity and you need a little cash before you do so.

Running your business means living through cycles of financial growth and…dormancy, shall we say? If that’s where you find yourself now, these hidden money opportunities will definitely speak to you. I’m going to reveal five very specific hidden money opportunities that I’ve used in my own business to bring quicker cash flow.

The key to a good treasure hunt is knowing you have gold hiding somewhere. And you do! Let’s go on a treasure hunt together, and find the places where your gold is hiding.

Opportunity #1: Finish Your Online Training Program

You might have an online training program, nearly finished, waiting in your digital library. Maybe you've tinkering with it, fine-tuning the details. Or maybe you just have a growing list of ideas for programs that you know have huge potential…once you finish them.

So what are you waiting for?

This not-quite-finished training program has money hiding under it.

Seth Godin has a great term for this occasion:

“Ship it!”

It's the online marketing equivalent of Nike’s motivational slogan “Just do it.” Get your program out there. Don’t keep procrastinating under the "it's not finished yet" excuse.

Instead, release it as a beta test, and get some feedback from people. As it happens, I’m doing that very thing right now, with a Facebook Ads program I created.

Believe me, I understand the temptation to keep tinkering until your program feels ready to join the really “pro” trainings already out there. But that’s not where you need to start, especially if this is your first online training program.

Start with something simple; call it your “introductory product.” Include a few videos, transcripts, maybe a PDF of your slide decks, some supporting documents, and that’s it. The point is to get it out there and get some feedback to develop your product, while at the same time creating a little buzz for yourself.

If you’re ready to get aggressive about claiming this hidden money, set a completion date to get that online training program. Get it user-ready in 30 days. Take another 30 days after that to promote it. Then release. It doesn’t have to be a perfect or a huge launch.

My Experience

My business dramatically changed when I finally just got a product out there. It was a program to help authors launch their book online—it had nothing to do with what I ended up becoming known for. I just had some expertise in helping authors in this way, and knew that I had something to offer.

I so wish I had released this training sooner! Once I put it out there, I got great feedback, learned a ton about my target audience…and found out that I didn’t love that topic enough to grow in that direction. Releasing that program was a huge help in moving forward with the business I really wanted.

You’ll never move forward if you don’t get something out there. And you definitely won’t make any money from a program that’s never offered to the public.

Need Help? It’s Free!

Maybe you've never attempted to create an online training program. In that case, the “hidden money” doesn’t exist for you…yet. But if you're ready to start developing in this direction, I’ve created a free PDF giveaway that is just what you need.

It’s called A Course Creation Starter’s Guide, and it's going to get you moving in the right direction for your program.

This freebie is great even for those who are already working on online training programs. If you’re looking for some ways to be a little more efficient in how you deliver this program or how you create it, skip to the section called "The Seven Power Tools." This is something I use with every single online training program I create, and you can easily incorporate it into your existing workflow.

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Listen to Episode 46 to get all the details on how to make the most of hidden treasure in your business.

Opportunity #2: Do a Mini-Promotion and Make an Offer

There are three ways you can access this hidden treasure:

1. Create A Webinar

If you’re a regular follower of my content, you know about my love affair with webinars. Take it from me—they are a great way to build your business. And contrary to popular belief, creating them is neither overwhelming nor stressful. First, you choose an existing program, product or service and decide what you want to say about it.

Spend some time outlining the content, bearing in mind how long you want this webinar to be. (My webinars typically last for about 90 minutes, and the first 45-60 minutes is me presenting my content.) Your goal is to teach participants something they can apply as soon as they walk away…and then offer your program, product or service for sale to anyone who wants a jump start on what you just taught them.

Once you’ve determined what your content will be, focus on the way it flows inside your webinar. Get specific and strategic about how you move from content to a sales promotion. You don’t want to just put a bunch of text on a slide. Believe it or not, the kind of images and number of slides you use makes a huge difference in the number of conversions you get from your webinar. For example, 20 to 25 slides for a 60-minute webinar is not nearly enough.

People get overloaded easily when there’s too much text on each slide. Overloaded people hit “pause” or start multi-tasking, and wander off. When you lose attention, you lose a lead. For a 60-minute webinar, you want at least 80 slides, each with minimal words on it, plus imagery. Your goal is to use your slides to simply punctuate your point; you don’t want your entire script on the slide. Keep your audience’s attention by constantly switching slides, and using great imagery and lots of it. (Note: avoid cheesy stock photos.

There are some great sites out there where you can find really beautiful imagery. BigStockPhoto is my personal go-to.) Another part of creating good flow is aligning your content with your sales offer at the end. You’ll spend 45-60 minutes of your webinar on content; the final 15-20 minutes is when you transition into talking about your program, product, or service and what’s in it for them. A great way to make this transition is open up a Q&A session.

For example, I’ll say “For the next 15 minutes I’m going to take some live Q&A,” and I have a few questions (and answers) ready, in case people aren’t jumping forward to ask questions.

I also make it worth their while to take action now. I don’t want them to get off the webinar and think about it later. That’s why, in between questions, I’ll say “For the next 15 minutes, if you buy while we are on this webinar, you get this fast-action bonus.”

This could be a cheat sheet, a checklist, anything related to what I just taught them.

Finally, it is extremely important to follow your webinar with an email series. I typically send out a replay as my first email, linking to the webinar so they can watch it again, and ending with a pitch about the program I’m offering at the end of my webinar.

After this, I send a series of three more emails, talking about the benefits of the program, giving case studies, showing them they can’t live without my program or product. See how that works? Believe it or not, this is something you can do within a week, especially if you already have a program or product you want to promote. You can do it all live, or you can do an automated version called “evergreen.”

For this, you record the webinar in advance and then let people sign up for different dates and times.

My favorite tools for live webinars are GoToWebinar or Google Hangouts. If you want to do an automated webinar, I use Evergreen Business Systems. I’ve also heard good things about Stealth Seminar.

Right now, I'm running an ad for a free webinar called "7 Strategies to Get Your Business Up and Running on Facebook" and in it, in addition to offering 45 minutes of highly valuable content, I promote my Facebook 101 program, Jumpstart Your Facebook Marketing." If you want to see my webinar sequence in action, you can sign up for the webinar here.

By using Facebook ads to promote it, this webinar is generating an average of $1,500 a day as well as helping me grow a very quality email list. Bottom line: webinars work really well.

2. Create a Live Mini-Training

This is something you can truly do next week if you already have a program, product, or service ready. When I say “live” I don’t mean in person; it’s a live event. You “sell tickets,” record yourself doing a live event, then release the recording to buyers. You can do this alone, or with a partner. About a year ago, David Siteman Garland and I collaborated on a two-hour live training. Anyone who bought tickets could attend the event or simply receive the recording, along with a PDF of our slide deck and some support documents (cheat sheets, checklists, etc.). We spent a week creating the event. We both emailed our lists and promoted the training for another week. All told, the event made us about $70,000…all for just a couple weeks of work!

3. Set Up a 30-Day Challenge, Followed By an Offer

The best kind of mini promo I know of is the “30-day challenge” variety, where you get people enrolled in a kind of movement with you. They opt in to go on this journey with you for 30 days, and then at the end you promote whatever it is you want to offer. Here are some highly successful examples I know about:

  • Simple Green Smoothies:They do a 30-day challenge for creating a green smoothie every day for 30 days. They run Facebook ads to the challenge. They build up their list like rock stars. At the end, they promote an eBook or some kind of guide for smoothies.
  • Money Love Challenge: My good friend Kate Northrup recently did this…not to sell something, but to start building her list with quality people that truly care about what she is putting out there. She had amazing success, with tons of engagement and a big opportunity to promote at the end.
  • 30-day list-building challenge: My good friend, Natalie Lussier does this regularly. She uses imagery, hashtags, all of the stuff that gets people engaged and active in a way that’s fun for everyone.

Opportunity #3Creating a Four-Part Email Sequence That Leads to an Offer 

You don't need a big list for this one to work. In fact, it’s better to try this one when your list is still small, because you’re going to get better and better at it as your list grows.

These sequences consist of four emails that get sent over a short period of time. Your goal with them is to paint the picture of a challenge you know your audience is facing…the solution to which is, of course, your program. What makes this opportunity so powerful is that people on your list might have already received an opportunity to buy your program, but chose not to.

After all, we all buy at different times, for different reasons. So don’t be afraid to put this out in front of people who have already seen your program promotion. This may be the moment when they make the decision. In the first email, you are easing people into the idea that there is a challenge and you have the solution. Get their attention by letting them learn something, and assure them that you are there to offer value. The emails that follow will be a little more aggressive in terms of selling the program—not in a spammy way, but demonstrating the features and benefits of your program.

  • It’s going to help them do X.
  • It’s going to solve problem Y.
  • It’s going to take away stress and overwhelm around Z.

Make the email about your audience, and tell the story of what will happen to them when they buy your program. Use case studies and examples, images, and screen shots from inside your program.

Don’t be afraid to serve it up—these are not short emails with a link to your sales page. These are meaty emails that paint the picture. The final email is going to be the one that introduces scarcity.

You can say that you are running a special promotion with a discount or free bonus when they purchase by a certain date. Make it very time-sensitive: “By Friday, this offer is going away. You are not going to get another opportunity to get this bonus when you purchase.” Click here to download this week's valuable freebie, "A Course Creation Starter's Guide."

Opportunity #4: Offering Your Services to Your Audience

Caveat: I’m not a huge fan of the service model of business if your goal is to create a more automated system. I am passionate about teaching you how to build a business that does not rely on trading your time for dollars.

This is a temporary, special opportunity, offered to a small group on your email list. Choose a special skill or a knowledge base that you have, and create an opportunity to offer your time and services to this select audience for a premium. Again, this is temporary.

This is not something that should take over your business and derail all your other projects in the meantime. This is a little bit on the back burner for some quick extra cash. Maybe you are a nutritionist and you can help people make a 30-day meal plan. Maybe you’re great at hacking website-building platforms and can offer your expertise to others.

In my first two years of business, I set up an opportunity where I would review others’ Facebook marketing strategy. I would review people’s Facebook pages and profiles, interview them about how they were using Facebook, and about how their program or product came into play. Then I would create a report—I’d made a template for it, so it wouldn’t take me hours and hours. I would create the report to offer you insight in ways you could make your Facebook marketing better, how to brand your Facebook Page in a different way to get a bigger impact, all that good stuff.

I knew Facebook so well that this didn’t take tons of time and energy. But it was really valuable to my audience. Taking on just a few of these projects per week provided instant revenue, in the midst of building my online training programs. Just think of your niche and decide what you can offer that help boost revenue for a short time as you get things going.

Opportunity #5: Becoming an Affiliate to Somebody Else’s Program or Product

I saved this one until the end because you can use it in tandem with Opportunities #1-4. Webinars, 30-day challenges, mini live promos, four-part email sequences…all those can all be used as an affiliate.

You’ve heard of this before, I’m sure. But have you actually done it? Have you done it right? I have been an affiliate for many years for different programs and products.

For instance, you’ve probably heard me talk about my B-School Bonus.  I am a proud member of B-School and I promote it any chance I get because I know it changes lives and businesses.

This is a huge part of my affiliate revenue. I am also an affiliate of Lead Pages. They do amazing things and they have changed businesses quickly based on how easy their tool is.

But I don’t let it take over my business and I definitely never want it to make more money than my own programs. The idea is to let it complement all of the stuff I am doing on my own.

Three tips for smart affiliate marketing:

1. Believe in it.

You have to have used the program or product you’re helping to market. You must know that it works, have your own results that you can talk about, and be so excited to sing its praises. You know you’ve made a good affiliate marketing partnership or connection when you tell everybody about it even if you’re not going to get money for it.

2. Build a funnel with your affiliate.

Webinars, four-part email sequences, and mini trainings all work for this. For example, if you click here, you’ll find an affiliate promotion that I did a training for. I literally walk you through how to use Lead Pages. For B School, I have an entire B School bonus experience: five bonuses you can’t get anywhere else, including the live two-day event, including a special Facebook ads program, including my new webinar program that’s not even out yet. You only get this stuff in B School when you use my affiliate link.

3. Read this article

My good friend, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, wrote a post on his blog “Smart Passive Income” called Five Ways to Unbox the Mystery and Increase your Affiliate Income. It’s a really smart strategy for affiliate marketing, especially for those just starting out. Definitely check that out, along with his other great article, How to Stop Hoping and Start Earning.

One Final Tip

These are all ways for you to find hidden money that can add to your cash flow. But an equally helpful action is to find the hidden places where you are losing cash. I can almost guarantee that you are paying for something right now that is not necessary to your success.

We all have been guilty of this. To find the leak and make it stop, spend 20 minutes right now going through your latest credit card statement and checking account statement. Make a quick list of everything you are paying for monthly for your business: apps, tools, subscriptions, etc.

Are you using everything you are paying for? If not, stop paying for it. You’ll instantly start saving cash. Voila! Instant money that you can start spending where it will actually work for you.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get "A Course Creation Starter's Guide"

FREE DOWNLOAD

Make sure to listen to the entire episode for more tips and personal insights from my experience in hunting out hidden money opportunities.

And don't forget to download this week's valuable freebie, "A Course Creation Starter's Guide" for creating your own online training programs. Click here to download it now.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

It’s no secret that the longer we work on our business, the more confident we become. It makes sense—confidence comes from little wins building up to big ones.

But what if you could have that confidence now, and skip over those early years of making costly mistakes and feeling that constant overwhelm?

This post was created to help you do just that. Today I’m launching a new series that’s going to help you create a blueprint for achieving the dreams that motivated you to start your own online business.

Build Your Business Blueprint

Let me tell you, I wish I’d had this kind of blueprint when I was getting my business started. I look back now and think about how I would have spent time and money differently, in those early days, and how much more quickly I would have seen results.

The series I’m going to bring you is built on the three stages of business development. Today, I’m going to walk through those stages so you can identify which one you’re currently in, and prepare for taking giant leaps forward.

I’ve invited along my favorite mentor on the business building journey—Marie Forleo.

You might have heard of her through INC’s 500 fastest growing companies list in 2014, or through Oprah, who named her as a thought leader for the next generation. Maybe you know her from her award-winning show, Marie TV, or her extremely popular training program “B-School,” which shaped the success of my business when I went through it at the time I was starting my own online business.

In addition to all these credits, Marie is a personal friend and an invaluable mentor whose guidance helped me realize my business’ potential at a time when I was constantly second-guessing myself.

Just like you and me, Marie started deep in the trenches: building her list, figuring out programs and products, determining a voice for her blog, nailing down the techniques of creating video content. Over the years, she has built a multi-million-dollar business, and she is here today to offer her hard-won insight on what the three stages look like and how to navigate them gracefully.

Listen to Episode 45 to get all of Marie's expert insights on identifying what stage your business is in.

In addition to our talk, Marie is offering an immensely exciting freebie to all of you: a free video mini-training series WITH A FREE DOWNLOADABLE PDF all about the ins and outs of building a business you love. Get instant access to it here.

Stage 1: Start Up

Start-up stage is all about testing the waters. You need stamina, grit, a whole lot of hustle, and flexibility. Embrace trial and error—you’re going to mess up a lot in this stage, and that’s okay.

Marie recalls that her start-up stage was messy. In addition to working on her business, she was holding down other jobs on the side. She frequently felt scared and skeptical of herself, wondering who was going to hire her.

“I was running completely on passion and drive, not on experience and certainly not on education.”

But the upside of all this was that she was constantly moving, observing from the inside how various businesses were run, overcoming her personal challenges of time and ability. She also realized that, despite the crazy, working on her own business felt more right than any of the big, prestigious jobs she’d had in the past.

During her start-up stage, Marie focused on two important things:

1. Mindset

Your mindset is crucial in every stage, but it plays a particularly big part in Stage One. Your self-doubt will tell you that you're too inexperienced, too young (or too old), that you don't have the skills or knowledge you need, that you're not worth what you're charging people...in short, that you don't have what it takes and no one will listen to you.

The followup to these messages, of course, is that you'd better jump ship and go back to your old job, if you can.

The only way to combat this voice and right your mindset is with the other voice--the one that motivated you to start your business in the first place. For Marie, constantly referring to that other voice--the one that said "You must do this"--was crucial to getting her mindset right throughout Stage 1:

"I knew I wasn’t meant to work for anyone else. That was really the thing that drove me past all of those emotional and psychological hurdles that we all face. I knew I had to make this work because I tried the other route and that just isn’t me. This was just not going to cut it."

2. Free stuff

In the start-up stage, you do a lot of work for free just to gain experience and build up social proof and testimonials.

Marie remembers offering her services not just to her friends, but to any friends or relatives they might have.

“Just get me people I can work with so I could feel confident, not just from textbook learning but from real world experience. I wanted to figure out how to work with people who I could create real results in their lives.”

Main Focus of Stage 1: Discipline and Habit Development

In Stage 1, you are the primary source of cash and energy—in other words, you are doing it all. You are creating content, you are building your email list. You are networking. This stage is all about adding value, giving more than you are asking for in return. All the while, you are growing in your understanding of your target audience.

In the midst of all hustling to make ends meet, Marie forged some solid habits on behalf of her fledgling business: she consistently created content, she attended trainings, and she committed to building her email newsletter.

Habits like these are crucial in Stage 1, no matter how busy you are. You have to train yourself to do is be disciplined enough to do the things that matter the most for your business. For online business, that means publishing content and getting it out there to your audience.

Danger Zone of Stage 1: Creative Cul-De-Sacs

This is Marie’s term for those loops that we get stuck in, where we can waste hours and days and months without making a decision, moving ahead or doing things that truly matter.

This can include things like naming your business, or coming up with a logo—little tasks that somehow can siphon hours out of your day. You can also easily get stuck comparing yourself to others who seem to have reached the kind of success you would like to experience, which seems so far out of reach in Stage 1.

Rather than get down on yourself thinking they have done it already, and there is no room for you, use their success as inspiration. Rather than waste time and energy and emotion and passion being down on yourself, stay in your own lane and realize if someone else is successful that means success is possible.

Stage 2: Monetization

This is the stage where you are at last making a consistent profit. You streamline your product offerings, learning what works and doing more of it. This gives you more freedom in terms of creativity and support and cash to optimize what you’ve created.

Marie remembers the great feeling that came with reaching this stage.

“It was so awesome to realize I had so much to share and that people wanted to pay attention. I recognized if I did certain things I could turn it into a physical product… I started recognizing the power of leverage.”

At the same time, however, she was still doing side jobs. Marie cautions people against moving too quickly in Stage 2—it’s wise to take it slow, methodically and strategically building your business over time. A lot of growth happens in the monetization stage, bringing with it a lot of figuring out where your sweet spot is, what you are great at, how you can serve people the best.

Main Focus of Stage 2: Learn to Delegate

Once your business starts to expand, it’s vital to break the habit of having everything in your own head. This is where you start learning how to delegate, to organize yourself, and to set visions and goals for yourself and your company.

These things—delegation, organization and vision—are related. Here’s why:

Most of us start off as a one-woman or one- man show, running the whole ship from our minds. You have to articulate your vision very clearly so that you can delegate effectively. You need people on your team to see the vision of where the company is going, so that they can help you get there.

As Marie’s profits continued to build and she started to get more sophisticated, she realized her need for support. During this stage, she began to hire her first assistants to handle customer service, content creation, tech support…all things that she couldn’t keep going on her own. This left her free to test different content ideas and experiment with optimizing her programs in different ways.

That's how B-School came to be. Marie's events were started gain momentum. When numbers reached into the hundreds, she had to figure out a new way to reach all the people who wanted to attend her event, without compromising the integrity, value and personal feel she was known for. Rather than livestream the event or rent a vast auditorium, she came up with the idea for video programs that deliver the high brand experience while reaching millions of people.

Killing off her other offerings meant sacrificing a couple of million dollars a year in revenue, at first. But by focusing on excellence, she was able to reach her authentic vision for her company, both from a financial standpoint and, more importantly, from an impact and lifestyle standpoint.

This is what it takes to transition from a one-person show into a thriving company. When you articulate those visions for the coming months, you can begin forecasting out, and planning for bigger and better things.

Danger Zone of Stage 2: Forgetting to Stop and Analyze

Entrepreneurs are a fast-moving bunch. We are going from the moment we get up in the morning until late at night…and the next day we get up and do it all over again.

But it’s really important in the monetization stage to regularly stop moving so fast and analyze your numbers. Ask yourself if what you’re doing at such a furious rate is really the wisest way to reach your long-term vision and goals. What do you want? Where do you want to go in the next year? Are your actions lining you up to get there?

Don't be afraid to confront yourself and take the opportunity to make big changes, if necessary. It’s easier to make those changes now than it will be down the road.

Download Episode 45 for more details on how you can prepare now for taking your business to the next level.

Stage 3: Expansion

Although you are never done growing or expanding in your business, in this third stage you have more financial freedom and creative freedom than you have ever had. Your mind is more open to think of other opportunities you’ve wanted to explore. You’re going full force and everything that you’ve created has gotten even better.

Stage 3 is where you get to reap the rewards of everything you’ve created. For example, during the last holiday season, Marie declared two weeks of total shutdown for her company. Everyone unplugged and enjoyed the opportunity to not be “on." It was, Marie says, the best thing they’d ever done—and it was all made possible by the freedom afforded by their hard work in the first two stages.

Of course, during Stage One and Stage Two you wish you could find that down time. It doesn’t come as easily and it’s probably not going to be shutting down the business for two weeks. But there are pockets of time that you can take those breaks.

Main Focus of Stage 3: Follow Your Vision

Stage 3 can feel like a mountaintop, but it's not the end of the journey. When your business is enjoying the creative freedoms and financial stability of Stage 3, it’s important to remain true to your vision and expand it in the right ways, especially as more opportunities arise.

Danger Zone Stage 3: Ignoring Your Intuition

Bigger isn’t always better. More isn’t always what you truly want. In Stage 3, as new possibilities and greater freedoms arise, you’ve got to listen closer than ever to your own intuition to build the business that you want.

Enjoy the Journey

The great thing about this business journey is that it never really stops. Even while Marie is in Stage 3 of her business as a whole, she’s in Stage 1 with certain aspects. No matter where you might be right now, you can always find yourself circling through these stages, embarking on new territory.

All the things we’ve talked about today can be found in greater detail in the content Marie shares in this free mini training series. Click here to access Marie's guidance through the three stages we talked about today, delivered with her signature flair.

EPISODE 45

Click Here to Check Out Marie's Free Training Videos

LEARN MORE

And don't forget to listen to Episode 45 in full--there's a lot more that Marie and I discussed in this interview that you won't want to miss!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode--45.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm PST

To a large extent, blogs are living, breathing things. They're a place for you to record the day-in-the-life of your brand, to explore new possibilities and take the occasional look back to see how far you've come.

This is precisely what makes your blog the primary place where brand loyalty is fostered. Your posts allow your audience to come along with you and experience the development of your brand as it happens.

Ideally, your blog is your audience's closest connection to you. That's why it's a good idea to step back now and then to reexamine your blog. Even if you've had a blog for a long time and your subscriber numbers are strong, it's always a good idea to find ways to breathe new life into it.

Don't worry--I'm not talking about a whole new site redesign. There are lots of simple, no-cost ways to tweak, amplify and expand your blog's potential, making it more valuable for subscribers to read...and more streamlined and effective for you to use.

To help us really understand what launches a blog from good to great, I've invited master blogger, Mike Stelzner, to share his insights and tips.

If you don’t know Mike Stelzner yet, he’s the founder of Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest social media magazine, and the host of the top-rated podcast “Social Media Marketing.” Mike and I go way back—he offered me my first paid gig when leaving my corporate job.

That feels like a lifetime ago, but in reality, it was just a few shorts years ago! You’ll also learn about a really cool way to make sure that all of your blog posts look fantastic when they are shared on Facebook.

This is SO CRUCIAL to attracting new visitors to your blog! To learn how to make this happen, click here to access the special quick guide.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get the Quick Guide: "How to Easily Set Up Open Graph and Make All Your Posts On Facebook Look Outstanding"

FREE DOWNLOAD

Mike is a goldmine of insight on creating a successful blog. Here are just a few of the things we talked about in my recent podcast episode:

Choosing Content

Social Media Examiner churns out huge amounts of quality content in the form of long, newsy blog posts…every single week! How do they choose what to blog about?

⇒ Run smart surveys

As of my conversation with Mike, Social Media Examiner was producing their 2015 survey to find out how marketers are using social media to grow their businesses. It’s coming out soon!

You'll learn about trends in mobile optimization and social integration, which content categories and social platforms to prioritize, and what to expect from the future of social media marketing. (If you can’t wait until the 2015 one comes out to see what one of these surveys looks like, click here to see the 2014 version.) The data collected in these surveys is used to decide what their audience wants more of as they design their editorial calendar for the year. This narrows down the field considerably to topics that will instantly catch on with their readers.

There’s still a lot of brainstorming to be done, but it’s focused within certain categories that are important to the Social Media Examiner audience.

⇒ Reach out to great writers

Make it worth their while. A lot of talented writers contribute to Social Media Examiner in exchange for their huge number of page clicks. Find out what exposure on your site can offer your writers, and start sending out feelers. If you find a couple of truly standout writers, snap them up—put them on retainer or hire them for specific blogging projects. When you can marry great content to an engaging, authentic voice, you’ve got blogging gold.

⇒ Pay attention to what your audience likes

Facebook shares and “likes,” retweets and comments are important, but they aren’t always the most important. In their first couple years, Social Media Examiner would take their cues on content from the number of tweets and page views any given post received.

If an article got a lot of Twitter play, for example, they would write more articles on that topic. But then they realized that page views weren’t their goal; their method of monetizing had to do with growing their email newsletter list. After tracking conversions, they started to see patterns in what brought in paying leads. Those became their new guidelines for what kind of content to produce and where to channel it. Don’t miss out on more of Mike’s priceless advice for optimizing your blog—click here to listen to Episode 44 for the full interview.

Don't Be Afraid of Sending Too Many Emails

Social Media Examiner is famous—some might say “notorious”—for emailing their list every single day. Here’s what Mike had to say about all those emails:

⇒ Consider the end game

Statistically, most people come to your blog once and never come back. By getting them on your email newsletter, you have a chance to lure them back over and over. The daily email from Social Media Examiner teases subscribers with their great content—little 70-word blurbs that include the day’s articles and lures them back to the website.

⇒ Use FOMO to your advantage

Daily emails are an implied brag, i.e. if Social Media Examiner has something to email about every day, they must have a lot going on! It creates FOMO (fear of missing out) in the subscriber—they want to stay up to date—which gets those emails opened.

⇒ Give your followers something to share

Everybody wants something cool to share with their friends and followers. If you produce a lot of content, your audience will always have something to share online—“Check out this cool article I read on Social Media Examiner.” Even if they never buy a product that you have to sell they become evangelists for your brand, offering the most powerful kind of advertising: word of mouth. Recently, all those great blogs have parlayed into the Social Media Examiner Show, a podcast that comes out four times weekly and repurposes longer articles into abridged versions delivered through audio. An entirely different editorial staff handles these audio episodes, as opposed to the written ones. Obviously, it takes really rich content to be repurposed in so many ways. If you don’t have the budget or the time to manage a big editorial staff, here are Mike’s top two priorities for soliciting help in creating content that can be mined for multiple uses:

⇒ Copy editor

The most important step is making sure your content is pitch perfect—you can’t have misspellings, punctuation errors or awkward, clunky, repetitive phrases. No matter how great an authority you are on your topic, misuse of the English language will undermine your readers’ respect for what you have to say. When I asked Mike which was the single most important blogging-related hire to add to your team, he answered without hesitation "A copy editor."

⇒ Graphic designer

First impressions are a big deal, when it comes to content getting shared. You want something that looks beautiful wherever someone shares it—a Twitter Card, for example, is a lot more visible than a simple tweet, even one with an attached image. An Open Graph-optimized image for Facebook and Twitter will get your content optimum play on social media. Open Graph data is how Facebook decides what image to post in your feed; you can determine it yourself, instead of letting Facebook (or whoever is posting the link to your content) decide for you. One image with eye-catching typography and white space left in the right areas will draw an audience’s roving eye and get your content opened. Download our free quick guide that walks you through the process of setting up Open Graph. This free download is extremely valuable to attract even more traffic to your blog!

Tracking Your Traffic

You probably already know that Google Analytics will tell you what percentage of your traffic is coming from Facebook and Twitter and so on. But by using UTM tracking codes—a little extended code that goes on the end of your URL and compressing that with bit.ly—you can assign campaign-level triggers to any particular thing you do. It works like a homing device to see where your posts end up and which ones are getting the most traffic. This allows us to segment what percentage of our social traffic is coming from our own sharing versus other people out there sharing on their own.

Get More

You can listen to the entire podcast and get all of Mike's valuable insights on how to make your blog better than ever. Just click here to go to iTunes and choose Episode 44. And don't forget to download the quick guide that we created to help you set up Open Graph--an easy way to make sure your Facebook posts look outstanding and consistent.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get the Quick Guide: "How to Easily Set Up Open Graph and Make All Your Posts On Facebook Look Outstanding"

FREE DOWNLOAD

Don’t miss Mike speaking at Social Media Marketing World, an annual event held right here in San Diego, California. It’s the place to be if you want to rub shoulders with people just like you who are trying to figure out social media marketing. If you can’t attend this March event, make sure to download the recordings from the more than 100 sessions being offered.

Direct download: Online_Market_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_44.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

How many times has this happened to you? You’ve spent hours composing the perfect email to showcase your content, you’ve carefully segmented your list to a specific audience, you’ve queued it up to send at the optimal time…and a week later, your analytics reveal a dismal click-to-open rate. Ouch!

It’s frustrating and discouraging, the kind of thing that can make you second-guess everything you know about online marketing. But it could be that the only thing holding back your campaign’s potential is the email subject line.

Get the full story--listen to Podcast Episode 43.

Don’t underestimate the power of this one simple sentence. As I’ve mentioned in the past, email marketing is the most effective means of online marketing. The gateway to that email—the first thing your customers see—is your subject line.

It has to contain hints of everything your email has to offer—the specificity of your product, the authenticity of your brand, the urgency of your offer. It has to convey not only your knowledge and authority, but also your personal empathy for your audience’s needs. Tall order, right?

Fortunately, crafting an enticing subject line is not rocket science. The best subject lines can be broken down into five basic strategies, each built along a simple formula.

Strategy #1:  Focus on the Benefit

  • With this strategy, you focus on the end result your reader wants most.

  • Meet your readers where they currently live by speaking to their wants, desires, interests and concerns.

  • Answer their question:  "What's in it for me?"

  • Here's an example of a benefit-driven subject line:

⇒ Example: "See How Easily You Can Learn to Paint"

⇒ Formula: See How Easily You Can Learn to [insert topic you are going to teach]

Click here to download a free cheat sheet with even more benefit-driven subject line formulas!

Strategy #2:  Be Specific

  • Set the hook for your readers by hinting at something super valuable contained within your email.

  • Identify your target audience very clearly: age group, professional demographic, special interest

  • Give a couple of specific details to ground your hint—let them know that you know what you’re talking about.

Here’s an example of a highly specific subject line:

⇒ Example: “What Every Accountant Ought to Know About New Tax Laws”

⇒ Formula: What Every [identify your target audience] Ought to Know About [something specific you will teach them]

Strategy #3: Get Relevant

  • Relevance = useful + timely. Your reader should know this and act on it…right away!

  • Localization (mentioning a neighborhood/city/state of your target audience is proven to increase opens…even for people who don’t live there but are curious)

  • Make reference to an upcoming event, current trends, news items

  • Here’s an example of a subject line with powerful relevance:

⇒ Example: “Feeling out of control? Your Guide to Family, Food and the Holidays.” ⇒ Formula: [Bring up something--a feeling, situation or new development your customer is interested in] This [your content] can help you with [upcoming event, season or timeframe].

Get even more tips and examples--click here to listen to Podcast Episode 43.

Strategy #4: Make It Personal

  • This works best when you already have a strong, loyal following.

  • Use your subject line to show readers that you’re on their side, that they are not alone, that you are here to help them.

  • Hinting at a related story of your own will increase their trust in you, and their curiosity to see how you addressed the issue.

Here’s an example of using highly personal connection: ⇒ Example: “How I finally stopped skipping my workouts.” ⇒ Formula: How I [action] [something your audience wants too]

Strategy #5: Call Out a Problem

  • We all want to make less mistakes, feel confident to overcome challenges, and take risks with more confidence.

  • This is another strategy that serves to help your readers identify with you, and teases them to open the email and find out how you tackled a problem.

  • The key to this strategy is integrity. Steer away from scare tactics—you’re here to offer constructive awareness.

  • Here’s an example of calling out a problem with positivity and integrity:

⇒ Example: “Here's How Goal-Setting Can Hurt Your Business” ⇒ Formula:  Here's How [fill in the blank] Can Hurt Your [fill in the blank]

Get More

Don’t forget—you can listen to the entire podcast and get the full details on how to craft subject lines that get your emails opened! Just click here to go to iTunes and choose Episode 43.

In addition, I have even more formulas and examples outlined for you in a cheat sheet I created for this episode. You can download it for free right now by going to amyporterfield.com/43download, or you can text 43download to 38470 and I’ll send it to you right away.

EPISODE FREEBIE

Get the 10 Highly Effective, Irresistible Subject Line Formulas

FREE DOWNLOAD

There’s definitely an art to crafting irresistible email subject lines. And as with any art, practice makes perfect. Try crafting at least five subject lines each day to feel out the different approaches and find what works for you. Then pick the best one to perfect for your email that week.

Daily practice will give you the confidence to not only write your marketing emails faster, but will serve to ground you in the knowledge that you have something valuable to offer the world.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_43.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm PST

On this episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast, we are going to dive into a new way of goal-setting and business planning.

Now if you follow my content, you already know that I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to planning for the New Year.

I love it! I love new beginnings. I love looking back on the year, examining what worked and what did not work and then building something new or improved from there. I am going to cover 3 Lessons from this year that I am taking into the New Year. Some of them were easy lessons to learn, some not so easy.

So let’s go ahead and dive in!

Lesson #1: If you don’t build in the margin now, you will struggle to find it all year.

Margin is all about finding time to breath, to be creative, and taking time away from the computer to recharge.  Margin allows you to be better when you return and dive into your big projects. Finding margin is easier said than done and in this episode we are going to talk about ways to make it actually happen!  In this lesson I will also share with you how you can use an at-a-glance wall calendar to see the pockets of margin in advance.

Lesson #2: Build a team around your core skills.

We all know that building a team is crucial for longterm success.  In this lesson I suggest a different way to approach your next hiring decision - one that will help you do more of what you love. Building your team is one of the most important steps you may take in the new year - this lesson will help you do it better.

Lesson #3: Add some soul to your goal-setting experience.

I realized that goals without the "why" are empty promises, meaningless in fact. They can quickly deplete your energy, make you feel unproductive, create massive overwhelm and suck the creativity right out of you. Who wants to feel like that? In 2015, I am changing things up - I am approaching this whole goal-setting thing differently and starting with the WHY.

These 3 lessons are exactly why I am so passionate about helping you change your goal-setting experience. I want your new goals to move you forward, invite in new opportunities and make you feel fully alive. In my journey to a more meaningful goal-setting experience, I was introduced to Michael Hyatt’s goal setting philosophy.

He also believes in starting with the WHY, getting to the root of what we really want and focusing on what matters most.

Right now and for the next week or so, Michael will be releasing a video series on goal-setting - it’s totally free and 100% aligned with creating a more powerful goal-setting experience.

I encourage you to check it out! He put a lot of effort and time in this series and it shows. It’s quality stuff.

You can check out his free goal setting trainings at www.AmyPorterfield.com/Goals but only for a very short time, so don’t wait to check it out!

Key Takeaways:

The three lessons I learned this year that you too can apply to your planning process as you get ready for the new year.

#1: Build margin into your year IN ADVANCE. Don’t wait to find
pockets of time that you can take off - be intentional about this
time and protect it with your life.

#2: Get strategic about your hiring plans and build a team around
your SKILL SETS - find that one person or the people that will
accentuate your skill sets and talents.

#3: Create goals with more meaning. Specifically, identify the
WHY before you set your big goals for the new year. Don’t set
any goals that you don’t identify WHY you really want it.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast-Goal_Setting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09pm PST

When it comes to online marketing, most people are overlooking their number-one biggest asset.

Social media activity, off-site ads, and all other tricks are a drop in the bucket compared to the power of the email list. You may have heard me say it a million times on this site, but I’ll say it again here: the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list.

But don’t just take my word for it.

“I have literally built a million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my #1 business priority and asset.” (Michael Hyatt)

“Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.” (Douglas Karr)

“Email is the most important channel for you to cultivate in your online business.” (Mike Stelzner)

These guys are heavyweights in the online marketing world; each of them has a subscriber list numbering well over 100,000. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that a list in the hundreds, or even thousands, makes your email marketing strategy less important.

No matter what your subscriber numbers are, your email list is one of the most valuable assets you have in the quest to help your business thrive. When you really understand the value of that list, you’ll be more than happy to invest your time, energy and budget to help that list thrive.

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight three foundational strategies for growing your email list. Once you implement these strategies, you’re well on your way to creating smart marketing funnels that will put your list-building efforts on warp speed, as well as lead to increased revenue from each email you send out.

The Main Thing: Quality over Quantity

When my good friend David Siteman Garland (of The Rise to the Top) started out, he had an email subscriber list of just 500 people. In those early days, he did a small product launch and generated $19,800 on the strength of that list.

These days, David’s email list is much larger. What hasn’t changed is the incredible loyalty of those subscribers. Whenever I do any kind of affiliation with David, I’m astonished at the way his list gravitates immediately toward any email he puts out.

It’s all because he started with a focus on list quality.

David never fails to infuse his emails with his authentic personality. He is genuine, super funny, and a little bit quirky…all reasons why his subscribers love him and keep coming back for more.

David is a prime example of my first strategy for growing your email list.

Strategy #1: Build Remarkable Content

This means more than simply content that people want to share. Remarkable means truly leaving your mark by ensuring that you’ve niched your business well.

When you direct your communication in general terms toward anyone who might be listening, no one feels like you are talking to them. The key is talking to a very specific audience about a very specific message.

When it comes to content, niching yourself can make all the difference between great and remarkable.

The difference starts with how it affects you, the content creator. The people that get very specific with their message tend to get much more excited about their business, because they know exactly what they’re doing and who they’re trying to reach. Creating the content stops being a chore, and starts to simply flow out of them.

A message that tries too hard to fit too many different types of people is not only less rich, it’s just not as exciting to create.

In contrast, niching your business empowers you to send an extremely powerful message. This is what attracts the people who are going to stay with you. Those are the subscribers who constitute a quality list.

Let Your Personality Shine

To build a loyal following that eats up everything you putting out there, make sure that you bring your personality to every email.

If you are silly, bring that to your emails.

If you’re really witty, make sure that shines through.

All of those little quirks that make you unique should shine through in your email content. Use stories—especially your own—as much as you can. And when you’ve done a good job of niching yourself, your target audience will instantly see themselves in your stories.

This is what remarkable content is made of. It’s what speaks to your audience in a genuine, heartfelt way. It’s what makes them excited to open your emails.

Strategy #2: Understand the Opportunities and Limitations of Your Email Service Provider

Your “email service provider” is the company you use to send out your bulk emails, as well as manage all of your new opt-ins and leads. Some of the most popular options are AWeber, MailChimp, and Infusionsoft…but there many, many others out there.

Before getting into the specifics of this strategy, here’s a little pop quiz to see how well you know your own email service provider.

(Don’t worry—if you fail, no one’s even going to know.)

Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Email Service Provider?

  • Does you email service provider require a double opt in from your new leads or do you have the choice for single opt in?
  • Are you able to easily do A-B split testing with your emails?
  • Can you manually import a customer list and mail to that list instantly?
  • Are you able to send out time-based email autoresponders?
  • Are you able to send out a new autoresponder based on a specific action somebody took in an email that you sent?

If you just aced that test, bravo. But if you didn’t, don’t worry—you’re not alone.

A lot of people sign up for mass email services but never take the time to learn how they work. Invariably, these people get held up in the process every time they try to email their list. It becomes such a negative experience that, over time, they start finding reasons not to email their list. Or they simply rely on sending out the same newsletter template over and over.

Being limited in your understanding of how your provider works means stifling not just your creativity, but also your ability to make money. If you're happy with your email service provider, but you don’t know the ins and outs, it's time to make some time for it. If you’ve been thinking you needed to upgrade your provider, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you can do a whole lot more than you realized.

Many providers have great tutorial videos. A lot of them also have Facebook groups where you can ask questions and learn from other users. And if you have an idea in mind that you want to try, but can’t figure it out on your own, take advantage of the provider support desk. Get on the phone with them and tell them exactly what you’re trying to do.

Bottom line: the more educated you are about how your email service provider works, the more innovative and strategic ways you’ll come up with to market your business.

To help you with this, I’m offering a special free download—a cheat sheet that shows the opportunities and limitations of some of the most popular email service providers. You can download it for free by clicking here. Or simply text 42download to 38470 and I’ll send you that cheat sheet right away.

Get the Top Email Service Providers: Pros and Cons

FREE DOWNLOAD

Strategy #3: Create Multiple Lead Opportunities

This third strategy has two parts to consider:

1) Creating Multiple Lead Magnets

In my opinion, everybody with an online business should have at least three lead magnets running at any given time. No matter how niched your audience is, you’re going to appeal to more people within that niche if you offer a diverse array of valuables.

Some people prefer a webinar.

Others just want a cheat sheet PDF.

Still others want a full-on report that walks them step-by-step through an important process.

We all respond to different modalities. That’s why it’s important that you provide multiple opportunities for your target audience.

You can even create multiple lead magnets out of the same content—make a webinar, a PDF and a video out of the same material. Or you can create unique lead magnets for each topic. Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for your business. The results will tell you a lot about your audience.

In addition, once you start to use your email service provider to its full potential, you can track and tag your various leads to see where they’ve come from. This is really valuable because it lets you see which platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or others) is converting the most leads for you, as well as which individual lead is converting the best.

Never forget that the point of having a lead magnet is to lead your new prospect into becoming a paying customer. Therefore, you must create lead magnets with your profit path in mind.

It’s okay if you’re not ready to launch a program or product just yet. Even if you’re in a place in your business where you’re just building up your online presence, it’s still extremely important that you create your lead magnet to start building your list.

If you are ready to sell, think about your end game. Is your lead magnet aligned with what you plan to sell? What does you idea audience need to understand, be aware of, or believe in order to want or need your product, program, or service? Design your lead magnet content to ensure that your audience truly understands the value of your offer.

Where most people fail with a lead magnet is creating it with the idea of only offering immense value. That’s important, but it’s not the only thing to focus on. A well-designed lead magnet not only offers value, but also leads your prospect to a buying decision.

Let’s say you are a health and fitness coach, and your business is all about helping people lose weight. If your paid program is a ten-day meal plan to detox from sugar, a great lead magnet might be “Ten tips to beat sugar cravings.” The two are aligned with each other; with a lead magnet like that, you’re going to attract the perfect audience that would be genuinely interested in what you have to sell.

2) Placement of Your Opt-In Form

There are six places where you must create opt-in opportunities for your audience:

#1: A Feature Box

Feature boxes work like gangbusters. Splashed right across the header of your website, they are a great representation of your brand from the moment someone lands on your home page. (You can see mine at amyporterfield.com.)

#2: The Sidebar

Everyone is familiar with this one—the right column of a website is where people expect to find the links they need to navigate your website. You definitely want an opt-in opportunity here.

#3: Inside Your Blog Content

It just makes sense to have a link to your free valuable content in the midst of your primary content. By hyperlinking a word or phrase, readers can click to make a box appear that allows them to receive your free giveaway by entering their name and email. This is where I use Lead Pages—it has a feature called Lead Boxes that allows you to do exactly that.

#4: The End of a Blog Post

A reader who has followed your blog post to the very end is a hot lead for you. So create an opportunity with an opt-in box at the end of a post where they can sign up to receive even more value.

#5: The Pop-Up Box

If you just cringed when I said that, stay with me. Pop-up boxes definitely get a lot of bad press. But the fact remains that they are extremely effective.

Between January 2011 and January 2013, Social Media Examiner grew their email list by 375% to over 190,000 readers. Founder Mike Stelzner attributes nearly 70% of that growth to the site’s pop-up box.

Here’s a contrasting example from renowned blogger and author Chris Penn. After he took his pop-up box down from his website, he said his subscriptions “fell off a cliff.” Within weeks, he started running a new series of pop-up boxes and saw an increase in his opt-ins.

Pop-up boxes definitely work, especially if you are cultivating a quality audience. I promise, if your audience really feels loyal to you, they are not going to be annoyed by it.

Pop-ups are infinitely customizable these days. You can design them to look the way you want and appear only when you want them to. (One of my favorite tools to customize pop-up boxes is optinmonster.com.) I like to have them appear within minutes of someone being on the site, but not appear again until 15 or 30 views later. You can also make sure they are mobile friendly—in other words, that people viewing your site on their smartphones can make the pop-up box go away, if they want to.

#6: Your “About” Page

You might be surprised to hear that your About page is one of the most popular pages on your site. So if you’re not including a few email sign-up opportunities on your About page, you are likely losing some great traffic. Again, Lead Boxes is a great option for embedding an opt-in opportunity inside your About page text.

You might be thinking that’s a lot of places to incorporate an opt-in box on your website. But it all comes back to being appropriately aggressive in building your list. Don’t think you’re bothering somebody with an opt-in box. If your content is remarkable, and you’ve built a quality audience that is eager to hear from you, then they will be eager to sign up as well. If they’ve already signed up, they will just ignore the opt-in opportunities.

It’s a good idea to mix up your lead magnets and opt-ins throughout those different placements. For example, on my feature box across the top of my website, I have a free mini series about social media and list building. But inside my About page, I will have a PDF of all of the tools I use online. Then in the right sidebar I have an opportunity to sign up for a webinar.

This is not something you can do overnight. It takes a little bit of time to build up your lead magnet opportunities. But it’s definitely worth the effort.

Key takeaways

Three online marketing strategies to help build your email list:

  • Build remarkable, personalized content
  • Learn to really use your email service provider
  • Create multiple lead opportunities and embed them throughout your site

And always focus on quality, and the quantity will follow.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm PST

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