This email recently showed up in my inbox. Take a gander at the subject line.
As a self-employed person, I depend on paid invoices. Without them, I couldn’t pay my bills. So, I tend to notice words like invoice and paid in my inbox. Throw in a re: and my brain instantly assumes it’s a real email reply that needs quick attention.
Of course, it’s not. It’s sales email sent en masse to everyone on this person’s email list.
It’s a marketing trick.
In fact, this is becoming a common trick. I’ve seen more of these subject lines in my inbox lately. This one was simply the straw that broke this camel’s back.
(I quickly unsubscribed from this person’s email list. I also left his Facebook group and unliked his Facebook business page. I wasn’t messing around.)
Deleting those who do this from my world just doesn’t feel like enough. Folks who employ these tactics are teaching others to use the same marketing tricks. (This guy, as an example, has a masterclass on how to “monetize your expertise without needing a massive audience.”)
Marketers do things like this because it works. The open rate for this email was probably sky high. I can only hope the unsubscribe rate was also through the roof, but I’m sure he was willing to take that risk. Fool enough people into opening the email, and you’ll likely also get a decent number to sign up for a free masterclass on how to make big bucks.
Sure, it works. Guess what else works? Stealing. You can pocket a candy bar at a grocery store and probably get away with it. Does that make it okay? Do the ends justify the means? Not in my book.
There’s more to this blog post than just me griping about marketing tricks. I have two reasons for bringing this up:
1. Don’t fall for this marketing craze. Don’t open or buy from these types of emails. It only feeds the beast and gets more people using the tactic. Also, if some marketing guru tells you to this, think long and hard about whether it aligns with your values. Is this how you want to show up in the world?
2. I’m making a pledge to you. I promise that I won’t do this to you. If ever you get a re: from me, it’s because I’m actually replying to an email you sent me. If ever you see an “invoice paid” from me, it’s because I’m sending you actual money. I will always do what’s right, even if it means a smaller open rate and fewer sales.
If you love (and use) these types of subject lines, that’s fine. Every entrepreneur has the right to conduct their business how they choose. But, we’re of two different schools of thought about business, and I’m probably not the type of business coach you want to follow. No hard feelings, for real.
To everyone else, thank you for not sending me emails like this. Thank you for delivering a service or product that’s so good it doesn’t require tricks to sell. Thank you for providing value and for keeping it real.
Want to surround yourself with other business owners who like to keep it real? The Own it, Crush it VIP membership community is exactly that—a super small, unbelievably supportive, and highly engaged space for women business owners. You also get lots of hands-on time with me and access to a huge library of masterclasses from experts (that I hand-pick) who give no-fluff, no-hype strategies for building your business. All for $25/month. JOIN HERE
Being a guest on podcasts can be great for your small business. It can help you build brand awareness and (depending on the show) may even allow you to pitch your services or product. If you target the right podcast, you can get your name in front of your ideal customer and have them pay much closer attention than they would to any ad you might buy. There are plenty of guides out there to help you determine which podcasts to pitch, and how exactly to market yourself to the hosts as a potential guest. If you’ve followed those tutorials and lined up some podcast appearances, that’s great news. But it may also be a bit terrifying if you’re new to being interviewed. You may be worried about sounding like a blubbering idiot. Fear not. As a journalist who has conducted thousands of interviews, I’ve learned a lot about how to talk to the media (or, in this case, a podcast host). Oh, and now that I host a podcast of my own, I’ve really learned what makes a guest great. Here are five things to do to make sure you’ll be a memorable (for all the right reasons) podcast guest.
1. Be Prepared
Do your research on the show and its hosts well in advance of your appearance. What’s the format? What types of questions do they tend to ask? Do they like you to use a lot of real-life examples? Do they like stories or do they prefer a focus on takeaway tips? How long is the show? How much self-promotion do they allow? Knowing all of this in advance will help you prepare and organize your thoughts so you don’t trip over your words. Use what you learn to create talking points that you can keep nearby during the interview in case you suddenly lose your train of thought.
2. Practice, Practice
Choose a few points you want to make, and come up with answers to the types of questions you’re sure to be asked (if the hosts give you questions in advance, even better). Again, write these down on a cheat sheet that you can turn to during the interview if you feel lost. In advance of your appearance, consider doing a few Facebook lives (or, if you’re camera shy, record yourself on your phone or computer without an audience). This can help you get more comfortable talking on cue, and also gives you the opportunity to go over your talking points several times so you know them well. The point isn’t to memorize, but you do want to be so well-versed in your content that you can speak off the cuff about it confidently without fumbling.
3. Check Your Tech
If you’re being recorded via phone, do the interview in a place where you have reliable service and reception. If the show is recorded using an online platform (Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom), make sure you have a stable Internet connection. You don’t have to buy a fancy microphone, but make sure you have headphones with a built-in microphone. Also, don’t allow the mic to rub your hair, clothing, or jewelry during the recording (this creates a very distracting sound). Find a quiet room that doesn’t echo to do the interview (pro tip: closets are usually great for this). Also, ask in advance whether you’ll be on camera. If so, think about where you’ll film. Choose a space where you have light in front of you, not behind you. Choose a background that isn’t too busy and distracting. Wear a simple shirt, do your hair and makeup, and check yourself on Skype or Google Hangouts to make sure you’re happy with how it looks before you film.
4. Speak Slowly
Everyone tends to talk a lot faster than they realize, and it gets even worse when nervous. When we talk too quickly, we’re more likely to stumble over our words and use filler words like umm and uh. Make a conscious effort to slow down during your interview. Remember to breathe and talk very purposefully. You’ll be much happier with the results when you listen back to your appearance later. If you think you’re talking too fast, you definitely are. If you think you’re talking too slow, you’re probably doing well.
5. Follow Up
After the interview, email the hosts to thank them for having you on the show. Also, send along social media handles,photos, or anything else they requested (or anything you may have referenced during the show, such as links to a course or opt-in). Finally, don’t forget to ask when your episode will air and if they’ll be sending you anything to help promote the show. If they do send graphics and copy, be sure to do your part to promote the show when it airs. A killer podcast appearance can have myriad benefits for your business. A little advance prep and following these five strategies can help ensure you get your guest spot right.
In my last post, I helped you overcome your fears about hosting a webinar. Today, we’re going to take it a step further and talk about the many ways you can implement webinars into your business.
Did you know there are about 852 million ways to have a webinar work for you in your business? (Maybe not that many exactly, but it’s pretty close!)I recommend starting with one. I promise you this, once you start with one, you’ll start to see the impact and possibilities and you’ll want to use them in so many other ways.
Let’s start with the traditional version of a webinar.
The Sales Webinar
Pretty self explanatory, but there are many ways to handle these.Whether you’re selling a product, service, or program, you need to be educating your audience first.
An educated consumer is a consumer who will buy. The more they understand what you’re selling, the more they’ll see the value and the more likely they are to turn into a customer. But beware to not over-educate because this will lead to overwhelm.
Pick a topic to cover, or a piece of a topic that will be a natural lead in to whatever you’re selling. By the end of the session, they’ll be saying to themselves, “Wow! I have to have their coaching program!” Or, “I need to have them handle this project for me!”
These are great for really getting to know your target market or audience. A way to find out their struggles and goals.
With these type webinars, not only are you on a fact-finding mission, but you’re also building rapport and engaging with your audience. And they’re getting to know who you are and what you’re all about.
You could even figure out your next offering from a webinar like this. And this is gold, especially if you’ve been wanting to create a product or service.Ta-dah! Here’s your way to figure it out! You’re welcome.
Webinars are a great way to handle group coaching. You’re able to interact with multiple people at once and not have it be complete chaos. It can be recorded for attendees to revisit later. And everyone can do it from the convenience of their own home.
The camaraderie that is created from these group coaching sessions is magic that you cannot otherwise create any other way. All of them will naturally want to cheer each other on, support one another, or have the chance to offer another way of approaching a situation.
Do you have a business where you work one-on-one with clients? Does it require a qualification process initially to see if you are a good fit for each other?
Enter the qualifying webinar.
This is your chance to take that monotonous one-on-one qualifying conversation and put it into a multiplying machine and instead do it on a one-to-many scale to weed out any non-matches.This will save you time, energy, and, most importantly, sanity.
You might be thinking, “Huh? Interviews as a webinar?” You read that correctly. Some of our most successful clients use webinars in this way. All. The. Time.
They interview a guest about a certain subject matter of interest to their followers. This makes it feel very natural, and like they’re getting an opportunity to eavesdrop on a really great conversation that also imparts nuggets of wisdom. They’ll feel like they’ve been given behind-the-scenes access to really great stuff.
And, if you allow for a Q&A session at the end, they’ll feel like you really care about them and that you’re truly interested in their success.
Next up?Think about how to apply one of these type webinars into your business today. What do you know about your target market? What do they need help with? What problem are they looking to solve? From there, you can figure out which of these types of webinars is your best way to start.
Teryn Ashleyis the ultimate Mom-preneur. She helps mom entrepreneurs create winning business and marketing strategies, remove their roadblocks or resistance, and reach their definition of success. She knows a thing or two about being a business woman. Teryn started her first business helping leaders in their respective industries with webinar recording, editing, production, and product creation, with an infant in tow, and grew it quickly to be the benchmark for her field. In 2017, she launched Teryn Ashely Live, The Messy Bun Revolution Podcast, and is coaching other boss moms and female entrepreneurs to help them reach their definition of success.
What if you could start doing one thing in your business today that would make a dramatic difference in your list size and revenue on a continual basis? And that would automatically start positioning you as an authority in your business?
“What is it?”
“What could possibly do that for me?”
“How much is this gonna cost me out of my pocket and time?”
The answer is webinars.
I’m sure by now you’ve been on at least one or two. And I’m sure you’ve seen some of the entrepreneurs or experts you follow using webinars in their marketing plan and making massive strides in their business and income.
Webinars are one of the most engaging ways to reach your target market, followers, or audience, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime to start. (There are free webinar platforms out there that can get you going if you don’t have money to allot to a paid platform yet.)
Webinars allow you educate, inspire, showcase, interact, and connect in a way that sales letters and Facebook posts just can’t. Don’t get me wrong, those definitely have their time and place, but if you want to kick it up a notch and put yourself in front of the pack, webinars are a surefire way to achieve that.
In this post, I want to address some common fears about webinars.
Not Tech Savvy
“A webinar! Are you kidding me?! I’m just now getting the hang of posting a status update in Facebook!”
The great thing about webinar platforms is most of them are fairly intuitive, or they have a quick-start guide to get you going.
I tell my clients all the time, “Let’s just get you going first, and then we can worry about the bells and whistles later.” My goal for them, as it is for you, is to just get started.
It’s ok if it looks like “amateur hour.” All the gurus and experts started in the same place as you. They were all newbies and had no idea what they were doing at first. They all experienced the, “holy crap, I don’t know what I’m doing” feelings, too.
Share with your audience that it’s your first time doing a webinar. It’s endearing, and they’ll love you for it. They’ll feel like they got to be there from the beginning. Believe it or not, some of those people will end up being your biggest fans.
Just start. Like a client of mine always says, “Done is better than perfect.” And he’s right. We’re human, we make mistakes, and are are from perfect. So, embrace it. Own that fabulous mess.
(I’ll let you in on a little secret. Some of my clients, who are at the very top of their industries, still have those moments. It never stops, no matter how “big” you get, no matter how much money you bring in a year, or what you’ve done. Accept it, and push forward my friend!)
There’s always someone out there that’s at least one to two steps behind where we are, who haven’t experienced all we have, who don’t have the information we do now. That’s your audience, that’s who you are speaking to, that’s your sweet spot.
To them, you’re an expert. Because you’ve leaped over the hurdles they have yet to tackle, you’ve climbed the mountain they have yet to step foot on. You absolutely are the person to impart knowledge on them.And that’s where you start.
Think about where you were one, two, five years ago. Before you got to where you are now. What did you want to know? What do you wish you had known? Make notes on all of that. Pick a piece of it, and that’s your starting point.
You’ll be amazed at the grateful responses you’ll get from your audience for bestowing your knowledge, wisdom, and experiences with them. (You have my permission to do a happy dance after that happens!)
I Can’t Sell
“I’m not a sales person. I don’t know how to convert leads into sales!”
I hear this one so much. I tell my clients if the information is valuable enough, it’ll sell itself.
When you can bring someone in with an intriguing, need-to-know topic, and give them the answer they’ve been looking for, chances are better than not that they’re gonna want more. They’re gonna want to go deeper. They’re gonna want to hear what you have to say on other parts of that puzzle they’ve been trying to put together.
If you’re sharing some true nuggets with them, they’ll be more than happy to get out their wallets for the whole enchilada because they’ll be saying to themselves, “If she’s sharing this stuff, I can only imagine what she teaches in her program!”
That, my friend, is the best starting point for you.
I guarantee once you step through that door and into the wonderful world of webinars, there will be no looking back, and you’ll celebrate the day you did.
NEXT STEPS: Join me for my next post where I dive deeper into all the ways you can implement webinars into your business!
Teryn Ashley is the ultimate Mom-preneur. She helps mom entrepreneurs create winning business and marketing strategies, remove their roadblocks or resistance, and reach their definition of success. She knows a thing or two about being a business woman. Teryn started her first business helping leaders in their respective industries with webinar recording, editing, production, and product creation, with an infant in tow, and grew it quickly to be the benchmark for her field. In 2017, she launched Teryn Ashely Live, The Messy Bun Revolution Podcast, and is coaching other boss moms and female entrepreneurs to help them reach their definition of success.
The majority of businesses understand the importance of advertising and marketing online, such as buying ads or using social media, but they may not understand the value of content marketing. Inan age where people are becoming ad-blind and skeptical of the “hard sell,” it may be time to take a more subtle approach.
One popular method of doing this is content marketing. Content marketing is the creation and distribution of written content (articles, blogs, etc), video, infographics, and lengthier social media postings that aim to inform the web user rather than beat them over the head with your products and services.
This means if your website doesn’t have a blog or section for articles that cover topics in your industry or niche, you could alienate a large number of potential customers. After all, it’s content that drives search results in the first place. If your site focuses mainly on your products, services, and company info, people using search engines might not even find you. The more content your site has targeting your keywords, the better.
Likewise, data suggests consumers view an average of 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase. This may include reviews, general articles related to the product, and tutorials. Today’s consumer wants to be informed before they buy something, and that doesn’t mean just reading the product description.
In 2017, the content at a marketer’s disposal differs greatly from just 10 years ago. Video is now ingrained into consumers’ daily lives and they crave visual stimulation. This is demonstratedby video content, which is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media. Users who view videos about a product are also 1.81 times more likely to purchase said item. Even including the word video within an email subject line boosts the open rate by 19 percent and the click-through rate by 65 percent. If you don’t have video content related to your products or services, you’re missing out.
Interestingly, it’s much easier to rank for keywords in the search engine for videos on the likes of YouTube than it is with pages from your own website. To take advantage of this, you could create a video for every blog post you make, ensuring you get the most organic exposure.
Video can be used across your social media profiles, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. You should also embed video within your site’s content.
Users can also embrace visual stimulation in the form of images. One modern medium that should be included in your content marketing strategy is infographics—text and images based on facts and data. Hiring a graphic artist to design the infographic will ensure it’s as eye-catching as possible.
Users are 30 times more likely to read an infographic than an article and infographics are shared 3 times more on social media. This doesn’t, however, mean articles are dead. In fact, because infographics often take the form of images, you should include an accompanying article on your website so the graphic is indexed by the search engines. With this in mind, infographics generate 45 percent more search volume and traffic than other types of online content.
It’s also important to include relevant images within blog posts and articles as 94 percnet of written pieces that contain images get more views. In fact, articles that have an image every 75 to 100 words are shared twice as much on social media as those that don’t.
Don’t forget that the filename of the image, title, and alt text should all include descriptive keywords as your site can gain a ton of traffic if it is ranked well within Google image search.
Ultimately 85 percent of marketers now use content marketing to increase web traffic, social media engagement, and sales. You’re losing out to the competition if you aren’t one of them.
Colin Cieloha is an American author and content marketer at Skilled.co. He writes about everything that will draw his attention with a general focus on the trends in the tech world. When he’s not writing, he’s spending his time traveling the globe and snowboarding. You can follow him on his Twitter at @ColinCieloha or on Linkedin.
Let me tell you a little story. A woman reached out to me on Facebook about an online summit (virtual conference) she was hosting. She wanted to know if I was interested in being a speaker at the event.
I’d been focused on visibility at the time (I’d already done two of these events and enjoyed them) so I agreed to a phone call to learn more about her audience and goals. By the end of our chat, I decided it was a good fit and we hammered out a topic for my talk. She sent along the contract, which I signed and returned. I put the event on my calendar and started thinking about my presentation.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened my email the next day and saw this:
Yep, I just got list shamed.
Although she never mentioned it in her initial message to me via Facebook, during our phone call, or in several email interactions, she was only interested in expert speakers with email lists of 10,000 or more. At the time, my list had 500 people on it.
Before she knew the size of my email list? My topic was perfect, my background was excellent, my experience was on point, and she was excited to have me be part of the event.
After she knew the size of my email list? Buh-bye.
I won’t lie. It stung. It immediately stirred up all my imposter syndrome feelings. My list is tiny, no one likes me, I suck, why do I even bother? Thankfully, I’ve been doing enough self-growth work that those feelings didn’t last long. In just a few minutes, I got angry. That’s no way of doing business. That’s not how you should treat people. At least, that’s not how I want to run my business or treat people.
To make sure I wasn’t reading the situation all wrong, I asked a couple of Facebook groups if they thought this was an acceptable way to run an event. The response was overwhelmingly in my favor (out of the hundreds of comments I received, only one person took the side of the event host).
While I was sad to hear from many other people who’ve fallen victim to this type of list-elitism, I was uplifted to learn that almost no one believes it’s a good business tactic.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that she also expected me to email my list about her event twice. And I wouldn’t be getting the email addresses of everyone who registered (only she would get that), just those who signed up for my opt-in bonus. So, to say it was unfair to the other experts is disingenuous. The only person my small list hurt was her.
Does Email List Size Matter?
Why am I sharing that story with you? First, I am hoping everyone learns a little business lesson from it. How you treat people matters. It’s important to be upfront and honest if you have certain expectations (like a list minimum), but it’s also valuable to realize each person you meet is more than just a number. When you are rude and unprofessional, people will remember and it will come back to haunt you.
But mostly I’m sharing this story because I feel compelled to tell other “small potatoes” like myself, who have small but mighty lists, you are more than your email list.
That said, I think it’s important to avoid getting overly fixated on list size. It’s easy to do—I know I’ve been guilty of checking my subscriber count multiple times a day—but I don’t think it’s healthy or helpful and here are two important reasons why:
Your list is not you. The size of your email list is not a reflection of who you are as a person or a business owner. It doesn’t speak to your skills, knowledge, talents, or worth. The most amazing entrepreneur can have a list of zero, and an ignorant fool can build a list of hundreds of thousands.
There are so many factors that affect list building. You need the tools to create and manage a list (technical skills). You need to understand what motivates people to subscribe (psychology skills). You probably have to make an attractive opt-in (design skills). You need to attract an audience (social media skills). You have to figure out what to say to them in your emails (marketing skills). And it also takes a heap of time and often a lot of old-fashioned luck.
Judging a person or their business based only on the size of their email list is just plain silly. It’s shortsighted, rude, and a piss-poor way of really understanding anything about what they have to offer. Don’t do it to others, and certainly don’t do it to yourself.
Quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality. There are a lot of things that determine the value of an email list, and size is only one (and, honestly, not the best one). Having a list of 10,000 matters very little if only a handful of those people actually read the emails and take action. Meanwhile, a list of 100 people who read every word and eagerly buy anything you’re selling is pure gold.
Just as important as the number of people on your email list are things like open rate (are people actually looking at what you send?), click-through rate (do they take action?), response rate (are they engaging in conversations with you?), conversion rate (how many people actually buy what you are selling?), and unsubscribe rate (how many people stick around for multiple emails?).
Also, your email list doesn’t show how well you’re engaging with your ideal clients and audience in other ways. Do you have a giant blog readership, a huge social media following, or tons of repeat clients? Those are all awesome things that aren’t necessarily reflected in the number of email subscribers you have.
So, the next time someone tries to list shame you (or, worse, you start doing it to yourself), just remember you are more than your email list!