Last week I spoke at East Bay Women’s Network to a group of wonderful women attended who were curious about how to promote their businesses and themselves. It had been a long time since I’d given a “speech” as I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from speaking engagements or other public events.
My stomach was roiling that morning as I drove the hour to Alameda and before that I’d had weeks of worry, nightmares, and plenty of time to fret about the actual talk.
Afterward many women came up to thank me and tell me what they loved about my talk.
There was one man in the room. But he had no interest in complimenting me.
He wanted to criticize me so bad he could hardly wait his turn.
“I don’t know if you saw me sleeping in the back,” he started out.
“Nope. Didn’t notice,” I said, wondering why someone would bring that to my attention.
He then battered me with questions leading up to his punch line which was designed to tear me down, so he could tell me everything I’d done wrong. My stomach sank and my face fell. My first thoughts: I’m such a failure. I’m a stinky speaker. Why did I accept this gig? What was I thinking?
Then I breathed, relaxed my tummy, let it go and stayed open.
Eventually, he got to his point which was that I didn’t tell a signature story to let the group know who I was. “Oh gosh, I’ve got about 5 signature stories that I’ve told so many times I’m tired of them. I wanted to try something new.”
“Sure,” he said. “But WE haven’t heard any of them.”
He was right. I teach telling your signature story in every media appearance and when appropriate, your speaking engagements. The “why you do what you do” story.
I was out of practice. I had forgotten.
I thanked him and packed up my things. Point taken.
What to do you do when you receive uninvited criticism in person or on the Internet?
I recommend asking yourself these 3 questions (and then doing this last thing – which is the hardest).
1. Consider the source.
Is this person a nutball? If so, dismiss their rant without another thought. Don’t let it sink into your skin for a second.
When a friend had a very revealing piece published in the New York Times the editor warned her to expect a backlash from Internet trolls. She and I discussed not even reading the hurtful replies so she could revel in the glory of achieving her dream. We batted around the idea that later when she had some distance and perspective, she might scan them for ideas to write another article based on the responses she elicited, thus using them for the positive. Distance creates perspective and allows you to see things more “objectively,” and less personally.
2. Is there something I can learn here?
Is there a kernel of truth in anything this person says? Is what they say worth examining so I can improve myself, my course, my talk etc.? If so, great. If not, move on.
3. Did what they said/wrote trigger an unresolved wound?
If you find yourself becoming hurt, angry, embarrassed, ashamed, or experiencing a strong feeling arising, take a few breaths to steady yourself and come back to center in the moment. Later, examine what touched the nerve. The event can show you where there is still work to be done to let go of past patterns that we all have or harbor. Consider tapping to resolve challenging issues.
The hardest part? Staying open. To hear the truth, or someone’s version of it, and not react. Or, if you react, don’t judge your response just let it go so you can listen and assess the situation.
The second hardest part is to ignore the hurtful words and not let them lodge in our hearts and close us down.
There is a time and place to just ignore the offending party. Not give them or their words any energy at all. If you’re up for an “advanced” practice, send them a blazing bolt of love from your heart to theirs. Shoot it straight in. We are all hurt somewhere and if you can soften even a little consider that an accomplishment.
BONUS: Use hurtful words to open an interesting discussion. I witnessed an Instagram influencer do this when she raised over 50k to help a single mom of two in her congregation get a car, apartment and get started on a new life in an unfamiliar city.
It was quite amazing to see all the support her IG community gave and to watch the pot of gold grow. Then came the naysayers who accused her of doing it for the money. None of which she kept, by the way. So she shared the hurt and gave her followers the opportunity to discuss the negative comment and to give her even more support for her good deed, which they did.
Some people make it their mission to make you feel small. Ignore them. Others are devoted to finding infinite ways share in order to inspire you to feel good. Embrace them.
Creating a business and getting it off the ground is itself a huge achievement for a budding entrepreneur. Yet, soon the entrepreneur learns that starting the business is only the beginning. Some business people lose their strength to keep going when they discover that they must invest as much effort in promoting their business as they did launching it. No wonder so many businesses do not make it to their first anniversary.
All the same, unlike in the past when marketing required big budgets, today many marketers leverage the power of social media to help even the smallest of enterprises make considerable headway in the marketplace. Experian reports that 80% of today’s marketers have already embraced social media marketing. In a few years, this percentage will be very close to 100%. Given how significant social media has become to the well-being of today’s businesses, marketers must know how to do it effectively. The following are ten ways you can boost the performance of your business by leveraging the power of social media.
Define your target audience first
The excitement of starting a new company often drives many businesses to post generic content that no one wants to engage with on social media. Social media is not just about uploading videos and images and adding captions to them. It is about creating a platform that connects you to your audience, starts a conversation and leads to conversions. None of these things can happen if you fail to clearly define your target audience.
Take time to learn more about the habits of your target audience, the type of content they would want to see and how you can make your products better for their consumption in future. Without a clearly defined target audience, the information you would obtain about people’s response to your business will be false. Use the data-rich features available on Twitter and Facebook to narrow down your target market so that you can put all your energy towards getting this target market to know your brand and its products and services.
Engagement is the key to success
The more posts you publish on social media is not equivalent to increased engagement. To attain any noteworthy success, you must be patient through the process of growing an audience that is willing and excited at the through of engaging and connecting with your brand. Take time creating unique content that speaks to your audience. The idea is to, without necessarily saying it, create an assurance to your audience that someone is listening to their complaints, queries and comments and will respond with answers.
Work on your social profiles
Businesses with big ad budgets sometimes jump fast to ad campaigns and neglect their social media profiles. They spend little time creating social profiles that will get the attention of anyone who happens to visit them. Consequently, they find themselves hardly growing an audience without spending money when the opportunity to grow organically keeps evading them just because they have lackluster profiles.
Don’t make this mistake. Make sure your profile clearly reflects the image of your business you wish to see on display. Remember to optimize the bio so that everyone who comes across the profile is left with little doubt that you have what it takes to deliver excellent products and services.
social media marketing tips
Determine when it is best to post on social media
Social media users in different social networking sites have certain hours of the day that they are most active. Understanding this will help you craft a social media posting schedule that has the best chance to succeed. CoSchedule reports that social media posts published on Saturdays and Sundays have 32% more engagement than those published in other days of the week. The same also said the best times of day for social posting is 9AM, 1PM and 3PM.
Utilize tools and opportunities made available by social networks
Social media marketers know many tools they can use to grow on social media. For instance, HootSuite is excellent for scheduling; Growr is perfect for growing an Instagram following; Buffer is ideal for managing Twitter. However, before you consider third party tools, you should exhaust the functionality of those tools that the social networks have made available. Facebook has scheduling and analytics tools and Twitter has Tweetdeck and its own analytics tools. Use these tools and measure the changes you will see in your efforts in social media marketing.
Offer exclusive, entertaining, useful information and deals
Asking people to follow you on social media can seem odd yet it works. All the same, you should provide value if you want people to follow and engage with your brand. That is why you should think about the promise you can make to those who follow you on social media. This is especially necessary when you are just getting started building a social media following. Talk to your marketing team about creating value that you can leverage on social networking sites to make your audience feel special and part of something great and beautiful.
Video is as social as you can get
For a few years now, marketers have been talking about the power of video in marketing on social media. Yet, few business executives have decide to invest considerable resources towards creating video content. Those who have embraced video have clear results to show. Perhaps this is why YouTube remains one of the most visited website in the world and the second largest search engine platform the world over.
Practically everyone wants to watch videos. Indeed, available statistics show that 82% of Twitter users regularly watch video content on the platform. On Facebook, users watch around 100 million hours of video every day. So, why not create videos for them to watch as part of your social marketing initiatives?
Consider using employee advocacy programs to leverage communities. This way you can take advantage of the numbers and use your content to reach more people on social networking sites. You can find social media communities on Facebook, Pinterest as well as on LinkedIn. Look for a group in your niche and join. Through this community, you can advertise a product or service to people you are certain that they have some interest in your products or services.
Experiment with content creator communities
Sometimes you may find yourself with no viable ideas for creating content to publish on your social media channels. This is why content creator communities come in. Some of the most popular communities include Viral Content Buzz,Social Buzz Club and Triberr.
The reason these communities exist is to help content creators find creative ways to present content, brainstorm on new and unique content and improve social media promotion initiatives. Furthermore, participating in these communities will give you the perfect opportunity to learn from other content creators regarding what works and what doesn’t.
Share on the right platform & at the right time
Any marketer will tell you that each social media platform has its own unique culture. For this reason, a good plan in social media marketing should include creating customized content plan for each social network. For example, Instagram is big on hashtags, Twitter is perfect for real time conversations and Facebook is ideal when have a lot to say.
Take time to understand the culture that exists in each social platform and how it can help you advance your business. Additionally, familiarize yourself with new and emerging networking sites and see if they offer new opportunities that the existing platforms struggle to offer. Whatever you do, resist the temptation of copying and pasting everything you post in one platform into another. This “dumping” approach will result to low engagements and uninspiring social media marketing results.
Social media industry watches believe that it is still at its infancy and that many things will change as it matures. Businesses that will invest in learning the most effective ways of marketing on social networking sites will continue to record impressive results that will bring conversions and increase sales.
One of my goals this year is to give more things away. This is a carefully curated treasure trove of free goodies that will help you and your business move into the public eye gracefully with more ease and fun.
Click on the image and you’ll be whisked to the right place to download a PDF or register for a training.
NOTE: Some trainings aren’t offered at this time. But register anyway and you’ll be notified the next time they run.
I forgot the mention my favorite Instagram feed. This one always makes me laugh and feel good. So if you’re feeling low, and like everything is just too darn much, head over here for a jolt of joy. Then once uplifted you can move forward.
Still thinking about your New Years’ Resolutions? Some more things to ponder from past years here and here.
Many people want to promote something — like a book or themselves. But what the most savvy entrepreneurs know is that that model isn’t scalable — because it’s your one-on-one time.
When I work with clients I encourage them to look for the intellectual property that they already have that we can convert into a course, a program, or a downloadable audio, video, printable that they can sell to dozens, hundreds or thousands.
Then, when people who have heard, read or seen you in the media come to your website they can purchase something other than your expertise and time.
Maybe you’ve wondered this yourself….
I know I’m still learning ways to be able to do this and I want to be fully transparent with you here, that although I teach this, I too can continue to learn and perfect these.
This is where more people focus. How to get more clients. But it can be short-sighted. Sure if you’re just starting out, this is your priority! But the further along you are in your business, the value is in the lifetime customer value or the length of your relationship.
It’s way easier to sell to someone who has bought from you before and it costs you nothing, versus generated new leads and converting them. Of course you want to have some focus here, but be mindful of the other two points.
The best ways to sell to more people are:
#1: get more leads
#2: increase your conversions (on sales calls, webinars, sales page, sales emails, etc)
2. You can increase the average purchase price
My simple solution to this is to raise prices. It’s a quick and easy fix, especially for the big chunk of online entrepreneurs who undervalue their programs and services.
Another suggestion for this at the event was to add upsells. This is where you make an offer on the thank you page after someone purchases from you. This is an area that I know I can work on for my launches.
Although I have used upsells in my funnels, during a launch I’ve never offered an upsell and I am leaving money on the table. I could expect to see 20% of buyers take me up on such an offer.
Another way of increasing the average purchase price is to offer a VIP option, which you’ve probably noticed I use and highly recommend. There is always a segment of your audience that wants to go deeper with you and are willing to invest at a higher price point for this.
Create a sales funnel
3. You can increase the lifetime customer value
When I worked with financial advisors, this was a goldmine of potential revenue. One of the first things I would do is help transition the way they do business. Instead of charging commission per buy or sell trade, we would transition their business to a reoccurring fee.
In the online space, you see this model being used with Membership sites.
Here are some other ways to increase the lifetime customer value:
This one came from James Wedmore. After people buy his BBD program during his launch, he sends them a thank you email along with a 20% coupon that they can use within 48 hours on his entire product suite.
Using an ascension model. Although this is more advanced and isn’t recommend when you are just starting out or at least until you have perfected one offer. An ascension model is basically a ladder of offers that lead into each other. Here’s my own example:
Strategy for creating passive profits
They are one of the best tools for building community and getting paying clients. Hands down.
But beyond that, it’s one of the best ways for your peeps to have an inside scoop and pulse on you, your business and the message you have to share with the world.
SUSAN’S INSIGHTS RE: PR + Passive Profits:
One way to build your credibility is to create your own Facebook group.
4. Host a Facebook Group.
I always teach my students, if you are a Facebook group host you want to make sure that you’re getting people from your Facebook group onto your email list as well, which is an asset you own and you can continue to market to, no matter what.
If you’re building your business off of other people’s Facebook groups, are you bringing those connections back to your community where you are in the driver seat?
Mark Zuckerberg has announced his commitment and vision in growing Meaningful Facebook Groups.
So the way I see it, they are here to stay.
And those who have a purpose or a mission behind their community, who are using their group as a tool to connect and have a greater impact, will stand strong when the current goes out.
SUSAN’S INSIGHTS RE: PR + Passive Profits:
There are some marvelous opportunities to share your knowledge within other people’s already established Facebook Groups if you don’t want to start your own so you can build your business organically and authentically using online marketing vs. traditional publicity. Here’s how.
(With a note of warning. You have no control if that host decides to shut down that group so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Many hosts are doing that given that the changes in Facebook and perceive market saturation. Find a number of groups that cater to your ideal market).
And my takeaway to increase the lifetime customer value of my client base is to perfect and shrink down my ascension model. I will be retiring some of my own programs and narrowing my own focus to deliver the best value possible, for my clients.
Christina Jandali is a Biz growth strategist who teaches coaches to create solid cash creating strategies for their online business.
Scaling for Passive Profits Mastermind
SUSAN’S INSIGHTS RE: PR + Passive Profits:
Join us for the passive profits masterclass so you can create your offers BEFORE you begin your publicity campaign so you can monetize your appearances. You will have the choice of getting insights from any or all 40+ experts. Go here now to register.
I thought, for a bit, that I should really title this post ‘How To Network With Bloggers’ – because, you know, SEO and what not.
But the word ‘networking’ feels intimidating and overwhelming and slightly gross. Eating subpar appetizers while someone shoves their business card in my face and shrieks their elevator pitch? No. Sharing super useful advice/client referrals/traffic/cream cheese wontons with someone who I connect with, like, AS A HUMAN BEING? Yes.
Really? Networking is mostly just making friends. And if you approach it as such (and think about what you can bring to the table, rather than what you can get from an interaction) you’ll be befriending bloggers left, right, and all over Twitter.
If there are any bloggers you’d like to collaborate with/pitch/take to coffee, here are a few things that you should do before you drop into their inbox.
6 ways to befriend bloggers
1. Leave productive, smart, helpful comments on their blog
No matter how big and famous they are, bloggers read their comments and if you’re regularly saying awesome things, they’ll start to remember you. Of course, some blogs and posts engender better commentary – it’s hard to leave a mind-blowing comment on an outfit post. But personal essays, tutorials, or thought-provoking posts are an opportunity to chime in.
Also: make sure that the icon that shows up when you leave a comment matches the headshot on your blog and the icon for your Twitter profile, otherwise it’ll be hard for the blogger to recognize you.
2. Interact with them on social media
Respond to the comments, answer their questions, ask them questions, send them links you think they’d like. Just the same way you’d do with a friend.
My readers know my painfully, awkwardly well. Three different people sent me a link to this inflatable cat unicorn headband and two people sent me links to Macklemore’s Thrift shop song. And I loved it. And I totally remember who sent me those links. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you like and admire with information that you think they’d find helpful.
5. If you’re going to pitch them, triple check that what you’re pitching is a good fit
Do they host guest posts? Do they offer giveaways? What is the monetary value of those giveaways? Do they review products? Do they use c/o items in their outfits posts? It would be a pity to waste your time (and theirs) crafting the perfect pitch email and then sending it to the wrong person or the wrong type of blog.
6. Avoid doing any of these annoying things
Just like in real life, sometimes friendship is about Not Being Annoying. I promise i’ll pay you that money I owe you, I won’t share that secret with So-and-so, and I won’t have four drinks when I promised to be the designated driver.
Here are some things you should avoid doing:
Misspelling their name
Sending them a template email
Asking them about anything you could Google
Asking them to locate a post they wrote
Writing an email that is more than two paragraphs long
I’d love to hear from you, bloggers! How do you like to be treated? How do you network and befriend other bloggers? Small businesses, tell us about your interactions with bloggers!
You can’t escape it. The ubiquitous upsell. No sooner have your gotten something for free or bought, there is more. You’ve just gotten something delicious – and now there might be more deliciousness right around the corner.
Of course I train all of my clients to offer an upsell in an online marketing campaign or funnel. We want to engage our followers and fans and then inspire them to invest – in themselves and in us.
And, on the flip side it can go too far. Like those endless sales cycle loops that ask you questions like, “Do you want to have more free time? No thanks.” Which makes you seem like an idiot. Like you made the wrong choice and you may live to regret it.
You can’t get away from the upsell, no matter where you go. We’re here in Bali and went to a little local massage place about an hour’s walk from Ubud (the town that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about in her book, Eat, Pray, Love). As soon as we sat down in the tiny, bright green reception area to peruse the massage menu the owner was hovering over us pointing to the expensive packages.
Susan Harrow and Clare Barry in Ubud at the Yoga Barn
Enter the ugly upsell.
It was ugly because she had no idea what we wanted – just what she wanted. More money. The package she wanted us to get included a facial (which I can’t stand) and dinner. We were on our way to a restaurant so while we were interested in eating, but having a meal in a spa that was the size of a broom closet and had a bit of a rancid oil smell didn’t appeal. She kept pushing. “You come back and get package.”
A beautiful upsell inquires, engages, entices. It shows you glorious pictures of a place like Clare Barry and Alex Franzen’s upcoming London retreat. (Sign up in the next 2 weeks and get a 10% savings with coupon code Alex10 at checkout for either the Create a Tiny Book workshop or the Reviving Retreat in London next month).
It tells you about all the wonderful feeling you’ll have – exploring yourself or breaking bread with others. A beautiful upsell transports you to your future self. It plants a little flag on where you are now.
Then moves that little flag to a different, imaginable spot — after you partake of our offering here is the transformed you. The happier, lighter, more present you or ___________________________. (Fill in the blank to the promise of your beautiful upsell).
The bottom line…
Upsells do not have to be ugly. They can be uplifting, energizing and quite glorious.
How to do an upsell the right way
This is not an upsell – it’s (hopefully) a beautiful offer:
My Next New Client – You?
Some recent clients have asked me for help to redo their websites, create webinars + speaking topics, media train them for local and national TV + documentaries, create TV segments, and get their book proposal done. If any of this sounds like you — or if you have something else in mind, hop on over here and tell me a bit about yourself. I have space for one new client. I hope it’s you!