- There are three things that I can always count on to bring me waves of pleasure, delight and deep satisfaction.
A kiss from my sweetheart.
A square of dark chocolate.
Oh, Pinterest. How I love you. I could spend hours prowling through your copious collections of perfectly-styled meals, curated outfits, far-flung destinations and inspirational quotes. (And sometimes… I do!)
For those of you who have yet to discover Pinterest, it’s a social media site that allows you to create beautiful “boards” by “pinning” images from other people’s boards… adding images from other websites on the Internet… or even uploading them, yourself.
It’s bizarrely addicting, and that intense pleasure can be put to good use because…it’s a powerful tool to generate tons of excitement about your business offerings — excitement that can lead to sales.
Think of it as a visual press release that you don’t need to send to the media.
Here’s how to use Pinterest to get out of this world results… while promoting a product, a service, an experience, a book or just… yourself.
Pinterest + A Product
Benjamin Moore is a company that sells something most people don’t get particularly excited about: paint.
But with this stunning Pinterest board, the smart team at Benjamin Moore has curated a collection of unique and colorful doors from around the world… while including a subtle reference (and link) to the company’s line of exterior house paint to “make a stunning first impression with a beautiful front door.”
Staring at this board, all I can think is, “My door is incredibly boring. It needs some gorgeous new paint, ASAP!”
Benjamin Moore’s mission = accomplished. No big smarmy pitch. No begging for business. Who doesn’t want to walk through a beautiful door, sigh, and say, “I’m home.”
You try it: Create a Pinterest board with curated images (tasty gluten-free recipes, summer nail polish trends, romantic wedding hairstyles, family game night inspiration) and then include a link to your (related) product in the Pinterest board description.
Pinterest + A Service
Simply Marketed is an agency that provides marketing and social media services to restaurants, non-profits and small businesses.
Peek at their Pinterest profile, and you’ll spot several boards packed with inspiring marketing tips and advice.
There’s a board called “Unique Marketing Ideas,” another one called “Logos We Love” and another called “Our Clients” featuring impressive portfolio samples.
Lots of terrific content for business owners who are hunting for fresh marketing ideas (zing! Those are the agency’s ideal customers.)… plus a clear description of what Simply Marketed can offer… and a link back to their website.
You try it: If you’re a service provider, try thinking about each Pinterest board as a “blog post” and fill it with helpful tips and advice on a particular topic… that can help your ideal clients.
Pinterest + An Experience
Mirella Saraswati is a yogi on a mission… to inspire YOU to come to her yoga retreat in Ibiza.
She has created a stunning Pinterest board filled with “Ibiza Inspiration” — photos of the landscape, the food, the drinks, local shops, and of course, that exquisite aquamarine water.
Customers who are thinking about investing in this experience will swoon over the imagery… and be far more likely to say, “Yes yes yes!”
You try it: Planning a retreat, workshop, webinar, seminar, class or conference? Curate images that inspire you — flowers you want to purchase for the entryway, candles for the dinner table, notebooks and pencils for each guest, photos of the venue, and anything else that evokes the spirit of the experience. Yes, it works for an online experience as much as an in-person one.
Pinterest + A Book
Leading up to the launch of her first book, 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome, author Alexandra Franzen created a Pinterest board full of encouraging advice on how to tell someone, “Hey… I think you’re awesome!”
The board included illustrations taken directly from her book, along with other photos that expressed the message of the book. (Like a cake with the word “YAY!” baked inside. Adorable.)
Here’s another great example: to promote her book Happier At Home, author Gretchen Rubin created a Pinterest board that featured a simple question: “What makes you happy at home?” Her board features calming, joyful images of things that make Gretchen happy… along with a few carefully chosen images of her book, including the cover design.
You try it: Create a Pinterest board that features photos of your book, quotes plucked out of your book, behind-the-scenes book photos (like a snapshot of you at a book launch party)… along with other images that sum up the essence of the book.
Pinterest + YOU
Gala Darling is one of the world’s most-read fashion bloggers — and the co-founder of a program called The Blogcademy, where she trains amateurs bloggers who want to “go pro.”
Gala has built a remarkable “lifestyle brand” with legions of fans who adore her unique twist on style, home decor, travel, love and friendship.
Her Pinterest universe is full of images that evoke her unique aesthetic and worldview — including boards devoted to Style Influences (quirky and offbeat, as expected), New York City (her hometown), and Tattoo Love (she has numerous tattoos — part of her signature look).
You try it: Build a collection of boards all about… you! Your home. Your work. Your life. Your style. Your favorite foods. Places you’d love to visit. Anything you like. When you’re building a “lifestyle brand,” anything goes.
With 335 million monthly active users worldwide. Pinterest is a serious social media heavyweight.
But what’s particularly intriguing is that Pinterest users spend an average of 14 minutes on Pinterest, per visit. To draw a stark comparison, most visitors will spend 15 seconds (or less) on your website homepage.
Pinterest is a place where people cozy up with a warm cup of tea, metaphorically speaking (or literally!)… lean in… and go deep.
As a business owner, Pinterest is the perfect platform for enchanting potential customers with a world of color, beauty and magic… while holding their attention for a remarkably long time.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create, publicize and monetize your own Pinterest boards (works for ANY niche or type of business!) then hop on over to this free training to learn from the Pinterest Kings, Daniel Hall + John Kremer, who have created their own Pinterest empire and taught others to do the same right here.
By Sharla Jacobs
When someone first told me I should choose a niche in order to attract more clients, I didn’t get it.
I wanted to help everyone; and my training set me up so I could help anyone with anything. Choose a niche? I didn’t want to for a long time. I resisted the idea and felt frustrated anytime another person told me the first thing I needed to do was choose a niche.
Maybe you’ve already heard that it’s important to choose a niche (and maybe you’re even wrestling with the idea like I was). Or maybe you’re brand new in business and haven’t yet considered how important having a niche is.
One of the things we’ve found, after teaching over 25,000 coaches and holistic practitioners how to attract their ideal clients and get paid well for the great work they do, is that once a good niche is chosen everything else falls into place.
In fact, discovering your niche is the first key to set yourself apart from the crowd and attract your most ideal clients. And it’s one of the hardest decisions most coaches and entrepreneurs make while on the path to their first six-figure year.
One of the reasons it’s so difficult is that most people misunderstand what a niche is. Some people think it’s a specialty, like “authentic Thai massage.” But a niche is not a specialty (meaning a way you do your thing differently from others who do the same thing).
Get clients script
We define a niche as: a specific problem that you solve for a specific group of people.
Why do we use the word specific here? Let’s look at it this way. If you had a problem with bloating, cramping, nausea and constipation, would you rather see your family physician or would you prefer to see a practitioner who specializes in digestive disorders? The specialist, of course.
Why? Because you assume they have more extensive knowledge and experience to help you overcome your digestive distress and can get you the results more quickly than someone who is a “Jack of all trades, but master of none.”
The other reason it’s important is because your marketing message will speak to people directly, rather than not stand out for anyone (because it’s too general)
So we highly recommend you become the specialist in your field so people who need what you offer can find you.
To demonstrate how this works, let’s take a look at the story of one of our members of our $10,000 Month Club, Cinder Ernst. When Cinder came to us she was a fitness trainer and life coach. When she went through our niche discovery process, she realized that the best use of all of her talents and past experiences would be to help plus-sized women heal their knee pain.
Part of Cinder’s discovery process came from the questions you’re about to answer. During this process, she realized that she understands how plus-size feel about their challenges around their knee pain and what it stops them from doing. And she understands how they feel about exercising.
She knew that her passion is to help women move their bodies so they can have full, active lives. So Cinder’s niche is helping plus-size women eliminate knee pain. She set up her website and marketing to speak personally to this group and has had a really positive response, including being seen as an expert in this area.
Cinder now earns a healthy 6-figure income (working fewer hours than when she started with us) with this very specific niche.
Get Referral Clients Template
To get you started on your niche discovery, here are 4 questions to ask yourself. Start making a “Niche brainstorm list” as you answer these questions.
- Which problems have you faced and mostly healed in yourself?
We have found that for most coaches and holistic practitioners, there’s a link between the work they do and their own life experience.
We encourage you to write down the biggest problems you have faced in your life and how you worked through those problems. Taking Cinders’ example, she might list how she found a system to reduce her own knee pain, and perhaps faced struggles with exercise or body image
In case you feel hesitant about choosing a problem you have been working through yourself, we want to give you some assurance that you don’t have to be a master yet. We intentionally say, “mostly healed” because you only need to be two or three steps ahead of your clients. They will get massive value from you if you can help them get beyond their current state and to the next level.
- Which problems are you already helping people with?
One place to consider looking for clues as to what your niche should be is to ask yourself, “Who is already coming to me and what for? “You may notice that most of your clients happen to be women entrepreneurs or happen to be moms who are frequently overwhelmed by how to feed their kids healthy food. You may find that the same concerns, blocks, or interests keep coming up in your people. Make a list of what you notice.
Now look at your list and see which problems, categories, types of people, etc., make you feel excited. Let’s say you wrote, people struggling with their weight – does this excite you as a possible niche? Can you get more specific? Maybe when you get more specific it’s former athletes who, now that they’re older, are finding it harder to keep their weight at a healthy level.
- Which problems you want to become an expert at or learn more about?
You may have people coming to you with problems that you know you can solve for them and you might enjoy doing it, but you’re not curious enough to learn more about it. Maybe you’ve maxed out on this area.
Perhaps there are other possible niches you want to fully heal or master.
Taking our knee pain example again, let’s say you have dealt with knee pain and only get it every few months, but it is still frustrating when you get it and you want to immerse yourself in mastering healing knee pain. And you want to help other people get through it themselves. It’s a problem you can picture yourself working with in the future, learning more about, and expanding your business around. These are the problems you want to add to your niche brainstorm list.
- Which problems do you want to be thanked profusely for having solved?
Recall a time when someone was really passionate about what you did for them, and how this made you feel. Take some time to consider what you’re really passionate about. One of our members recently shared that she LOVES the feeling she gets when someone tells her they are feeling better (she’s a Naturopath).
What are the specific ways you want to change your clients’ lives and have them say thank you for? Add these specific problems you could possible solve to your niche brainstorm list.
This last category is one of the most important ones, because it adds in your passion. And choosing a niche that you’re not passionate about is not something we recommend.
One of the ways we got more specific about our niche was when we did some visioning work and realized our personal mission is to create a HUGE wave of transformational leaders who change the world. We define a transformational leader as an entrepreneur whose clients are getting great results, and where he or she is earning $10,000 (or more) each month. Whenever we get a heartfelt thank-you or a passionate testimonial from one of our graduates who are experiencing this kind of success, we feel so fulfilled. We know we’re on the right track and we know why we’re doing this work.
Blueprint for getting clients in your niche
This is what we want you to think about here, on a really specific level. List which solutions you want people to have that they will thank you for.
These four questions are a good start in helping you discover your niche. Once you have your niche brainstorm list, try one on for 90 days. Start sharing with people how you help people using specific language based on your niche…and watch how your ideal clients become attracted to you.
- The goal in the process of discovering your niche.
The goal in this work on your niche is not to put pressure on yourself to find the perfect niche right away. It’s a process. But it’s well worth the effort when you begin to connect with the clients who really need you, pay you well, and keep you excited about the work you do.
3 FREE Blueprints to Getting the Clients You Want in Your Niche [PDF downloads]
- Referrals are usually the highest-converting leads of all for your business. Get these copy and paste templates that you can send out right away and get a steady pool of potential clients .
- Once you’ve gotten an email or call from a referral then use this this Get Clients Template that gives you the structure of of the conversation to have to close business on the spot— if you are a good match.
- Lastly this Client Attraction Mastery Blueprint gives you the big picture on a page and leads you through the system that you can use again and again to fill your client roster with people who are thrilled and eager to work with you. (They’re free!)
Download all 3 now for your complete system of getting clients you love and who love you and watch your profits and happiness soar.
By Sharla Jacobs and Jesse Koren
About seven years ago, I (Jesse) was at a party and my former life coach approached me and said, “I’ve heard that you and Sharla have become quite successful. Congratulations!”
I was speechless. Us? Successful? Really? Is that what people think about us?
Why was I so surprised and embarrassed?
Sure, we had made $732,000 that year (in our third year of business together), but it didn’t feel like we had arrived… not even close.
I knew our struggles so intimately. I knew how many people we wanted to reach.
We weren’t even close to where we wanted to be.
Four days after that party, I entertained the idea that we really were successful. I realized that in comparison to some people we were successful and in comparison to others, we were failures. I discovered that nobody had the power to determine whether we were successful or not.
So, if success isn’t an objective truth then what is it?
Success is a choice as to how you see yourself.
Get clients with this fill in the blank script
If you look for evidence that you’re successful, you will feel successful.
If you look for evidence that you haven’t “made it” yet, you will feel like a failure.
After that party, I CHOSE to start seeing Sharla and I as a success.
And we attracted more success to us.
Even if you just started your business, you can see yourself as a success.
Look back at your life and find tons of small successes that have made you the incredible human being that you are today.
No matter how unsuccessful you may think you are, you get to CHOOSE how you see yourself. And you get to choose how you describe yourself to other people.
No matter how unsuccessful you may think that you are, I guarantee that you are at least two steps ahead of many people on this planet who could use your help.
And two steps ahead of your people is ALL you need, if you want to be of service.
In last week’s blog post: How to Position Yourself as an Authority Without Sounding Arrogant, I wrote,If you are trying to help someone get to the top of a mountain, would you rather get underneath them and push them up? Or stand above them and pull them up?
It’s a LOT easier to stand above them and pull them up to your level.
So as long as you are two steps ahead of the people you want to help, you are in a GREAT position to help them.
But how do you convey you are two steps ahead of them, without sounding arrogant, egotistical and full of yourself?
And what do you do if you’re just starting out or you’ve just been in business for a very short time? Or if you’ve been around for a while, but haven’t quite “made it” yet, then how do you position yourself?
As we shared in last week’s blog, if you just list your accomplishments or your expertise, with no humanity, you will sound arrogant.
So it’s important to share your humanity and your expertise.
Get client referrals now
Here are some true examples from our life that might spark ideas for how you can position yourself by sharing both your humanity AND expertise.
1. How many people we’ve helped:
(Humanity) We struggled a lot in the beginning, but we never gave up. And, because of our perseverance…
(Expertise) we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help over 25,000 people.
2. The collective results of our clients:
(Humanity) While we have had some clients who have not gotten any results,(Expertise) we do have a LOT of clients who are making six figures and attribute their success to what they learned from us. In fact, if you pooled all of our clients together, we could conservatively say that our clients have made tens of millions of dollars with what we have taught them.
3. Our personal results:
(Humanity)In our first two years of leading workshops, we gave our heart and soul to our participants, but never earned more than $1,000 for the workshop.
(Expertise) Recently, we led a live event that brought in over $500,000 in one weekend. We feel so blessed to have learned so much over the last 10 years.
If you’ve helped a lot of people, gotten great results for your clients, and had tremendous personal results, you can use the three ideas above to help you decide how to position yourself without being arrogant.
But how do you position yourself if you’re just starting out (or if you’ve been around for a while, but haven’t quite “made it” yet)?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Your personal story (we call it Your Hero’s Journey Story) is the story of how you faced something (and got through to the other side) that you now help your clients face. You can share how you walked through your own “dark night of the soul (humanity)” and are now living an amazing life (expertise). If you are someone who walks her/his talk, this also positions you in a way that has your Potential Clients believe that you can walk them through their dark night of the soul also.
- Your Image. We recommend you dress two notches higher than your potential clients.
Many people make the mistake of continuing to dress how they do when they’re with friends when they’re doing business. We recommend you dress like you’re making 6 Figures. Dress in a way that is both elegant (expertise) and uniquely you (humanity).
- How Long You Have Studied Your Profession (Personal Development PLUS Your Niche).
Here’s a great template that includes Humanity and Expertise:
“I’ve studied personal development and ________ (your niche: health, money, beauty, or love) for many years. During this time, many people have been drawn to me, and asked for my support. Enough people have approached me that I decided quite some time ago, to dedicate my life to helping a LOT/hundreds/thousands of people overcome this problem.”
Here’s how to come up with your own Positioning Statements:
Step 1. Make a list of all the different ways you can position yourself as an authority in your field (be truthful, of course). (If you are struggling with the six positioning strategies listed above, we are happy to give you 10 more in our Client Attraction Mastery Home Study Program (we’re launching on March 31st, so stay tuned).
Step 2. Write up phrases you can say in conversation, in your emails, or on your website that bring humanity and expertise to your communication.
Step 3. Practice saying these phrases in a safe place. You can practice in front of the mirror or with a good friend. You can also come to the Client Attraction Summit, which is a very safe place to practice positioning yourself in a community of heart-based people.
Get the FREE templates [PDF Download] that you can send out today to get clients by referral (from people you know who want you to succeed!).
Want to close every client who is a good match for you? Here is the template [PDF Download] for that. FYI it’s gentle and heart-centered. Thousands of coaches, consultants and healers who couldn’t stand to sell have used it successfully.
By Guest Blogger Danny Iny
Too many of us fall into the trap of trading time for money.
You may have already launched a product—but had disappointing results. Or you may have created a product that got some traction, but didn’t get the kind of success you’d hoped. Or, you haven’t developed a product yet, but you feel pretty sure you’d like one especially since….
Coaches, consultants, speakers, freelancers… all of us are in the same boat of working for an hourly wage.
Now, for some of us, the hourly wage can be very attractive; if it’s a cage, then it’s one made of gold, and studded with diamonds.
But still, it’s a cage; if we don’t work, then we don’t earn – which means that in some ways, we never get to take a real break and get off that treadmill without a gnawing fear in the back of our minds about what our business will look like when we get back.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way…
Your First (or second) Product: The Secret to Scalable Revenue
There’s a way to escape the time for money paradigm, and it lies within your first digital product.
As freelancers, we often find ourselves daydreaming of that perfect situation where we can walk away from our business for a few days without everything falling apart.
We think about what it would be like to create something that creates huge impact, making the world a better place.
And we think about how wonderful it would be to create that something once, and how easy it would be if it worked behind the scenes, even when we weren’t there.
We dream of vacations on white sandy beaches, holding drinks with tiny umbrellas and laughing with friends as the breeze gently sweeps across the beachfront.
All the while our business hums away quietly in the background, leaving us free to enjoy life.
But as much as we dream of this lifestyle, it’s not something we know how to create.
We aren’t sure how to scale our business outside the bounds of trading more time, or possibly the same time for more money.
You may have thought about building a product, but don’t know how to balance the time you’ll take building it with the money that you won’t be making in the meantime.
It’s a vicious cycle.
What if I told you that there’s a way for you to get paid to create your first product, while virtually guaranteeing that it will be successful?
There is, and when you implement the strategy, you will build a product that scales with ease, and it may not even matter if you’re there to deliver it, once it’s automated.
If Products Are So Great, Why Don’t More People Build Them?
It’s a legitimate question.
Up until now, product creation has been fraught with danger.
Using the standard model of product creation, an entrepreneur might spend months of their time and a serious amount of money slaving away to create what they are sure will be a groundbreaking new product.
The entrepreneur has spent enough time interacting with their audience to know exactly which of their great new ideas will be the best to build out.
They know their audience better than anyone else, after all.
But in the end, most entrepreneurs creating new products will have their offering met with a lukewarm reception, or even worse: silence.
CREATE A PRODUCT BLUEPRINT
The opportunity cost is too high for most people, and for those intrepid enough to break into product creation, failure can be painful and costly.
The problem here is that entrepreneurs base their product creation on an assumption.
And they not only start with an assumption, but they either use faulty reasoning to validate their ideas or don’t validate them at all.
So how do you avoid the assumption trap and create something that your audience really wants, and at scale?
You take a little lesson from the technology industry.
Rapid Prototyping for Training Products
Now that you know why so many others have failed before you, how can you avoid the same fate?
Start by listening to your audience, and using what they tell you to quickly and profitably validate that they want what you’re going to build.
By listening, we don’t mean just skimming over what they say, picking and choosing which pieces seem to validate the ideas you have.
It’s about meeting your client or customer’s deepest needs. You want to figure out what problems they are having, and the exact language that they use to describe that problem.
How do you find out that information?
1. Listen and Validate
The first step is to find out what your audience wants, and quickly test to see if they really want it.
There are several ways that you can listen to your audience that will help you discover what they would pay you to create for them.
- Listen to the questions that your audience sends to you via email. What are they asking for?
- How do they respond to your blog posts? Which posts are they sharing or talking about most on social media?
- The same thing applies to your emails and newsletters: which emails result in a lot of enthusiastic responses or questions?
- You can also “eavesdrop” on conversations on social media to find out which topics are the most discussed.
- Or, you can review comments left on blog posts and forums around the web. What questions are people asking repeatedly?
2. Dig Deeper with Surveys and Interviews
To dig deeper into the problems your audience is facing, you can create a simple survey, asking what their biggest challenge is.
And then, to gather additional information, you can conduct informational interviews with members of your audience or the people who responded to your survey.
These interviews can be conducted over the phone or by video chat. During the interviews, you can go in depth about the topic and the problem they are having.
3. Analyze Your Data
When you have finished your eavesdropping, surveys, conversations and interviews, you should have gathered a lot of data.
Your next step is to analyze the information you collected, looking for patterns and repetition of problem language.
If you have enough data points, and your audience really cares, you have likely just uncovered a problem that your audience is practically begging you to teach them how to fix!
4. Sell a Pilot Version
Finally, you need to validate that your audience will take out their wallets and pay you for the solution to their problem.
The best way to validate your product is to sell a pilot version of the course.
After the pilot, you can then use the outline and student feedback to build out your full product.
The process outlined above means that you will get paid, ahead of time, for creating a scalable product for your audience.
What’s even better is that this post includes both a case study about exactly how this works, and templates that will help you to create this success for yourself!
Case Study: The Course Builder’s Laboratory
At Firepole Marketing, we used this exact model of product creation as we built our soon-to-be-launched program, Course Builder’s Laboratory.
In our case, we had audience members and students in our Audience Business Masterclass come straight out and ask us to solve a problem for them.
We looked at all of the requests that came in and found there was a real pattern.
There were different ways that our audience asked for it, but in the end everyone wanted to know how to teach effectively online, and how to sell their own digital courses.
Then, rather than taking those requests and just building the final product, we used the process we describe in this post to validate that our audience would actually pay for the course.
We ran an initial pilot program called Course Builder’s Bootcamp; these live weekly calls went over what we thought the biggest pain points in terms of building and selling online courses would be. This program lasted six weeks in total.
We received some amazing feedback from the students, and were able to make smart choices about how to build out the final product in a valuable way.
We also ran a second pilot to gain more insight: a higher end in-person weekend in Montreal called Course Builders LIVE. We decided to run the additional pilot because the eventual course we were thinking of building was going to be HUGE.
This in-person pilot was a much smaller group, and allowed for a very intensive, hands-on experience for the students.
We were able to see places in the pilot curriculum where students were asking lots of similar questions, requesting additional features, or getting stuck – so we could fix them for the final version.
Through the two pilots, we were able to really refine the course material for the ultimate product. And we made about $70,000 while we were at it.
How to Do it Yourself, Starting Today
Following the process outlined in this post, you can easily create your first product.
Start by listening to your audience, analyzing the data you gather, and validating the problem that you think they are having.
Then, sell a pilot version of the product.
When you reach out to your audience, you will want to use the same language they use to describe the problem your pilot solves.
If having sales conversations isn’t your strong suit, we have created a set of free templates that will walk you, step by step, through how to get started creating and selling your pilot.
Then, once you’ve sold your pilot, you will deliver the content and gather feedback from your students.
Afterwards, you will use the basic outline of the course material and any student feedback to create your final product.
This final product is your key to scalable revenue.
So, does it feel like it’s time to break out of the hourly wage cage?
Then let’s get started!
We just have one favor to ask of you: send us a postcard from your next vacation!
Danny Iny is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, and creator of the Course Builder’s Laboratory. For a limited time, he’s giving away a comprehensive “Done For You” swipe kit of email templates that you can copy-and-paste to sell your own pilot course
This is a curated list of the very best posts from top social media peeps. It’s all of THEIR best posts. So you get a giant dose of great tips, tools, strategies, and ideas to start the New Year. Enjoy!
- Buffer’s top 10 most-read posts of 2014
Curious about copy that converts? Want to know the best length of everything online verified by research? You got it.
- Top 10 Social Media Posts of 2014
Get solid strategies from an active social media strategist who walks his talk. Good stuff.
- Digital Marketer’s 10 Most Popular Articles of 2014
Small business alert — you can use the same system that Starbucks and McDonald’s do for their mega campaigns and more….
- Top 8 social media posts of 2013 (doesn’t look like they’ve done 2014).
Who knows what tickles the psyche when it comes to going viral. Check out the most popular posts of last year. Prepare to be astonished. Be sure to check out the crazy Norwegian video.
- Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2014
Trends, Tools, popularity, people, and marketing strategies. Lots to learn and use.
- 10 Types of Images to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
You know that images boost engagement. But, I bet you don’t have all of these in your bailiwick ….
- 10 Best Social Media Tool Posts in 2014
Get hyper productive with these Apps and software. Includes video marketing, Pinterest tools, and plug ins. (Plus, how to get 1000 shares on your blog) from a very reliable source I follow.
- Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts: This Year in Social Media
You’ll want to follow Social Media Examiner you’ll find consistently useful info. Want to generate leads? Create content? Understand Facebook’s metrics? It’s all there.
- 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros
These are tips and tools that got results. We want that, yes?
- 50 Ways to Promote and Market Your Blog PostsYou want your great posts to reach your tribe, to expand your reach. Here’s how. Jeff Bullas’ blog is a regular must read. Always relevant. One of my favs.
BONUS: 19 free social media analytics tools
No budget? No problem. All these tools are yours for the taking. I bet you haven’t heard of some of these terrific online helpers.
ONE CAVEAT: No matter how great your social media presence is your strategy won’t work unless your website does. You’re directing people back to your blog or your website so people who are intrigued by your social media updates can have more than a taste of your great content. Don’t disappointment them by having a website doesn’t look and feel like you, your tweets, pics, and posts. Here are 3 free highest converting home page website templates from Marisa Murgatroyd. You can choose the layout that best suits your personality and goals—so your website and social media messages are aligned.
By Guest Blogger Marisa Murgatroyd
Blink your eyes three times.
That’s 1 second — the amount of time it takes for 10 new websites to hit the internet. (That’s 86,400 new sites each day!)
Holy Christmas! How do you compete against that?
It’s actually easy.
- First, stop following the latest & greatest “web design” trend articles that get put out every year. Web designers can tell you what’s new & what looks good, but they’re rarely experts in what works to CONVERT traffic into results online.
- Second, implement these 8 new conversion trends I’ve identified. (By sticking to whatconverts, you’re guaranteed that you’ll get a return on your investment.)
Here they are, starting with the MOST important one of all. The one trend to rule them all.
1. The World Has Gone Mobile.
Last year, mobile, cell & tablet internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time — up to 67% of people are now visiting you with a small(er) screen.
“So what”, you ask? Well – think about it this way young Padawan.
If YOUR site looks craptastic on smaller screens, what do you think up to 67% of your visitors are going to do?
That’s right — they’re going to hit the back button as fast as their fat fingers can find it.
Without a great mobile experience, all of the hard work you’ve done up until now (and money you’ve spent) will be for nothing because you could be losing up to 67% of your traffic INSTANTLY.
No, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here right off that bat. On the contrary. Take this as a great opportunity to get out ahead of this huge trend and bring in a bunch of new business that are currently visiting you on their tablets from their couch.
Quick plug: I’ve got more information about how to do just that in my upcoming trainings on Jan 14 and 15. It’s free to attend and you can get more info here.
OK – so moving on to the next trends.
2. Big, gorgeous, full-width graphics and videos!
Global internet speeds have increased 2-3x in the last few years, bringing with it demand for more episodes of The Walking Dead, along with demand for more “eye candy”.
This means designers are now featuring large photos, graphics and videos that stretch full-width across a web page – expanding to fill an extra large monitor or shrinking down to fit a small handheld device.
The upside for you is that these large image areas grab your visitor’s full attention helping them focus on the thing you want them to do.
3. Modular Organization of Pages
It’s easier to scroll down a page on mobile devices then it is to click a small button. Web pages are getting longer and making greater use of full-width graphics and backgrounds to organize the page into “modules” that focus visitor’s attention on one concept at a time.
In case you’re wondering, your “So What” factor is this…
Many of us were taught to think about websites one page at a time. But website structure is evolving along with the technology, and we need to start thinking about them one section or module at a time.
(More on that in my upcoming free webinar! Woot!)
4. Sticky Nav. (AKA navigation…)
As pages are getting longer, it takes more time to scroll from the top to the bottom of the page, where the site navigation is usually featured.
Enter the “sticky nav”.
By minimizing the top navigation and allowing it to “stick” to the top of the page as a visitor scrolls, they now have access to the most important pages on your site at any moment in time.
5. Modals, pop-ups & “microinteractions.”
As we’ve already seen, pages are getting longer while attention is getting shorter.
This means it’s become more important to direct your visitors to thet one single action you want them to take at any given time — such as signing up for your email list or scheduling a free call.
For example, a single extra large button in your top banner launches a modal or pop-over focusing your visitors attention exclusively on inputting their name and email address.
Or a well-timed pop-up directs your audience to do the same.
6. Less text, bolder type
Just like it’s predecessor, the newspaper, people scan rather than read when they’re online, often consuming 30% or less of the text on any given page.
Up until now, smart designers have made use of bullet points, numbered lists, headlines, short paragraphs and other ways to chop text up into smaller and smaller pieces.
Now designers are using typography itself to draw attention to the handful of headlines & content that’s truly important.
Google Fonts plus low-to-no-cost type libraries are allowing businesses to craft custom font palettes that allow them to treat content like design – grabbing attention and pulling the reader in – while reducing the amount of text on a page for greater consumption.
7. Cleaner, fresher, flatter, simpler
Websites used to be jammed pixel-by-pixel with textures, graphics, tables and animations.
But the 80s are gone and these dense designs don’t convert well for seamless browsing on smaller screens.
The best sites coming online today make use of the full length (vertical scrolling) and width of the page (full page-width graphics & backgrounds) to create more spacious, modular designs that work on every screen and device.
They’re also making greater use of space and color to create cleaner, fresher designs.
8. Live chat
Only scammers still bury their contact information — social media has created a culture of transparency and accessibility where people demand conversations with businesses before making a purchasing decision.
Easy live chat technology now allows and encourages visitors to interact with business owners the exact moment they have a question, which skyrockets conversion.
PLUS: Jan 14 and 15 Marisa will give a live training on how to apply the ideas above and more to YOUR website.
Join Marisa free to learn the details, plus she’ll show you how you can actually have other people do all the work for you, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best. (How cool is that?)
(Sign up for her webinar on January 14-15 and download your website templates now)
A little while back, I did a PR Secrets survey.
I asked you to tell me what you’re struggling with, what you crave, and how I might be able to help.
There was a theme that percolated through nearly every response.
That theme… summed up in three words?
“I am overwhelmed.”
No surprise, there. Most of the business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, authors, speakers, coaches and consultants that I know place an incredible amount of pressure on themselves to create… serve… help… heal… and of course, grow their revenue. I do it, too.
And when you are running your own business, there is no “5 pm.” There is no timecard to punch out for the night. There is just you, your computer, and a seemingly endless list of things that you could do, should do, ought to do…
Overwhelming? Heck yes.
The perfect solution? I wish I knew.
What I do know is that when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed — when my projects feel too big, when my to-do list feels too long, when my bones feel too weary, when my head feels too foggy to carry on — there is one thing that keeps me sane and keeps me on track.
PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO
Connecting with people.
Real, living, human people.
My daily check in with my web designer insures that I’m on track for the next E-zine, new product design, website update, or software implementation.
My daily email back and forth with my social media manager holds down the blog and social media front and makes sure we’re always rolling forward with new (hopefully) delightful content.
My monthly call with my virtual assistant keeps me focused on the business priorities that matter—and protects me from getting involved with products and people who take me off course. Very challenging as there are so many delicious (and some treacherous) temptations!)
My weekly 2-hour writing stint with my Wild Writing group ensures that I’m adding new material to my novel, even on weeks when it feels impossible.
My monthly day with my writing coach means that I’m guaranteed to publish at least a few new blog posts and newsletters (like this one) to stay connected with my clients and customers, even when life feels incredibly busy.
My weekly phone calls with my two best friends who live far away keep me centered through struggles and make me feel alive and loved.
And of course, my evening snuggle and kitchen chats where I keep a notebook for impromptu witticisms with my sweetie, Will, (plus kittie love!) helps me stay grounded and laugh at myself.
It’s those daily, weekly and monthly connections that help me to break through feelings of overwhelm, more than anything else.
If you, like so many of the people I’ve spoken to, recently, are grappling with a heavy cloud of overwhelm and resistance… and if you feel like those emotions are holding you back from making progress with your business, your projects, or your publicity efforts…
PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO
I urge you to connect
Specifically, people who get you, care about you, make you feel alive, and want to see you succeed.
You can get your daily dose of connection with people in your circle of friends. You can do it with buddies in your yoga or martial arts class. Or, if it feels right, you can do it with me and a wonderful circle of peers.
Starting in January 2015, I am opening the doors to a new membership club and online community. A place to get media training, business inspiration and encouragement from people who want to see you take action — and who will lovingly nudge you when you don’t.
This membership club is just $25 a month and features a monthly opportunity to get your personal questions answered, live, by me, on the phone (First Q&A January 13). That, alone, is reason enough to join. 🙂
Learn more about The Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul Membership Club right here. Registration for 2015 is open now.
Wherever and however you do it, get some humanity and community in your life, today.
Nothing is ever truly accomplished “alone.”
We all need to connect.
It’s what allows us to show up as our best.
A THOUGHT: I’ve been thinking a lot about daily routines and productivity so keep your eye out for an upcoming blog post on how I structure my days to keep on track and enlivened.
I love E.M. Forster’s sage advice: “Only connect.” It’s only everything.How do you stay connected? Love to hear.
Sometimes I’m totally obsessed with pinning, tweeting, and blogging. Then I catch myself….Whhhhaaaaat am I doing? This isn’t work.
Or is it?
Dunno. I go back and forth.
Is sharing this pic good for my brand because I think it’s funny—or cute?
Some things to think about BEFORE you post something on social media.
1. Does this link really represent a great article that will help my further my business or brand?
I admit I ALWAYS click through and read any article before I share because some people are fabulous at writing headlines/titles, but don’t deliver on content. Are you curating your content closely to make sure that you don’t send something that is potentially offensive or worthless? Don’t be in a super hurry to promote things just because others think it’s great. I’m not always of the same opinion.
Best times for social media posts
Photo by: Fey Illyas
2. Should I schedule my posts during optimal times?
Sometimes. I have discovered that, though our Sprout Social app may tell us the best times to tweet and post to Facebook, it doesn’t always predict who is online in the wee hours. I’ve had tons of favorites and retweets when I’m skimming for content ideas on those nights I can’t sleep.
Surprised? Yes, so was I. So don’t always believe the stats as when your tribe is or isn’t tweeting or Facebooking. Learn from your own experience. Those tools are great, but they aren’t God. They are algorithms, not people. The only way to find out what’s piquing your tribe is to choose things that please you or have already piqued others. (Though, neither is a guarantee). Lady luck plays a huge part in viralocity. As does timing and the tenor of the times.
3. Should I hire a social media manager?
You want a social media manager who understands you and your brand and can sift through content quickly and make recommendations for posts, articles, pics and respond to people in your network in your voice. Sometimes this takes a bit of training – once you have the right person in that role.
Most of the time I leave all the social media stuff up to my social media manager Kayli Schattner to help me choose and post things I think you would like and share. That said, I send her things i want her to schedule AND I still want to approve most of the content before it gets posted. My VA Kelly has chastised me about this, saying it’s a waste of my precious time. But I’m super particular about my reputation. So that’s your own personal call.
For example, if someone makes a request that Kayli doesn’t know how to answer or feels uncomfortable answering, she’ll jet me and email so I can write up a response. We’ve created a bank of responses for the most frequently asked questions that she can tailor them to any request. That way I ensure that my followers are being handled in the way that matches my conversational style and integrity. And it saves a ton of time for all of us.
And, you’re in for a treat because…
Kayli has a few openings for a new client.
Social Media Marketing
Kayli is the most positive and optimistic person I know. She is always willing to help—and will tell you honestly when she doesn’t know something —or what doesn’t suit her strengths. I depend on her to handle all my social media and the administration of my blog. She’s a gem. Best to be fast. I scooped her up within an hour of interviewing her as she shined far above all the other candidates.
Here’s what she’s looking for:
Are you a creative entrepreneur or blogger looking to refine your web presence and generate leads through the power of social media? Find yourself craving more time to focus on what makes your soul happy rather than community building and small-talk? Social Media Strategist and Web Presence Consultant, Kayli Schattner, is taking on a couple of extra clients and would love to discuss how she can help you and your business. If you’d like a creative, upbeat and dedicated Social Media Manager for your business, be sure to jet her an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss strategy and pricing.
Interested in more tips for social media? Try these:
Last week, when I was on a walk, some boys were selling bracelets and rings made out of colored rubber bands. I stopped at their lemonade/jewelry stand by the side of the road and looked through their goodies. I wanted to get a ring or everyone in my writing group. As I chose a number of rings the little boy who made them started doing the math and adding up everything in his head and shouting out the numbers each time I picked up a ring – even before I chose it. He was so anxious to get the sale – but he didn’t care about me.
They were a dollar each. I said, “Wait, I’m not done yet.” But he kept shouting out the numbers. Totally focused on how much he would make.
Then his big brother stepped in and said, “It would be nice if you charged $2.50 for three of them.”
He said, “No. They are a dollar each. Three rings for three dollars.”
His big brother said again, “Yes and it would be nice if you gave her three of them to her for $2.50.”
Pause. No response from the little brother.
Big brother: “It would be nice.”
Finally, the younger brother gave in.
So it wasn’t fully given. Which makes a difference in how the giving feels. I would have appreciated my rings even more if the younger brother had given wholeheartedly.
As a little something that “would be nice” I have pulled together some of my most popular posts and free stuff so you can fill yourself with some goodies after Thanksgiving and through the holidays when you’re enjoying family and friends after a feast or get-together.
First, the most popular webinar / live training of the year….
THE #1 MOST POPULAR WEBINAR
Become a Celebrity in Your Niche [Podcasting]
Save your seat now (choice of times!): http://bit.ly/PodcastKG
THE 3 MOST POPULAR POSTS
9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader — and Become a Media Darling
5 Things I learned From Jack Canfield’s Mastermind Group: To Help Make Your Book a Bestseller
Fabulicious: 5 Strategies to Prepare You for a TV Interview – My Personal Secrets
What is one TV appearance secret you can share? Love to hear!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
May the gifts you share be extraordinary.
May the love you give be wholehearted.
May the way you live be inspiring.
By Christine Gallagher
When you hear the word “marketing,” how does it make you feel?
If you’re like many business owners, it doesn’t exactly cause you to jump for joy. Why? Because for so long, it has conjured up images of the sleazy used car salesman trying to get you to buy something you don’t need. No one wants to inflict that on someone, right?
The truth is, marketing today doesn’t have to come with a side of slime. The real deal is that modern marketing is simply compelling, effective communication that has nothing to do with manipulation or sleaze. It’s about meeting your client or customer’s deepest needs, and no matter what business you’re in, it’s NOT optional.
The good news is, it’s not about lying or being out of integrity to make sales, no matter what you’ve heard in the past. Happily, you can still really profit while still being completely truthful and ethical.
Remember, it’s your job to remind people that you’re in business and that you have a solution to offer them. Marketing is simply the vehicle that allows you to do that, and without it in your business, you’ll stay broke. (It’s the hard truth.)
If that’s the case, how can you really rock it out with your marketing? Here are five simple ways to keep the cash flowing while remaining sleaze-free.
Schedule it and be consistent.
The only way your marketing is going to get done is if you make the time to do it. Put it on the calendar and DON’T move it! If you’re lacking in clients and cash flow, it usually means you’re not marketing enough. Be brutally honest about how you’re spending your time. Schedule at least three hours a week to do it and beware the temptation to stop once the money begins to flow. Yep, to ensure your success continues, market even when you’ve got a full pipeline.
Ask your market what they need.
Click for a larger view of image
Find out what your market needs and how they want to be served by simply asking them. Survey your list, email or call past or current clients, ask probing questions. Ask them what their biggest challenges are, what their perfect solutions would be, and what they’ve tried that hasn’t worked. Find out how critical it is for them to get their problems solved, and listen carefully to the words they use. You can then position what you offer as a solution to the needs you’ve discovered.
Be curious about copywriting.
Copywriting chops are not just for the pros! Because it’s one of the most expensive things to outsource, it’s wise to sharpen your word-slinging skills. Practice writing headlines and bullets. Use words that evoke emotion. Especially online, much of your communication will occur via the written word. Learn how to use your writing to pique curiosity and showcase the benefits you offer.
Track and tweak.
Tracking your results shows you what you need to change and improve. It also helps you understand your market and what fuels their behaviors. Don’t be super-hard on yourself if something doesn’t work—think of it as a learning opportunity and a chance to do things better. Do more of what works!
Keep soaking up the knowledge.
I’m a big believer that the learning never stops. Read blogs and books, attend workshops and seminars, and take courses. The more you learn, the better you can serve your market.
These days, the absolute best marketing is relationship-based, honest, and best of all, it has the power to change the lives of others. Sounds a lot more appealing, doesn’t it? Keep these five ways in mind and you’ll be a marketing rock star in no time.
Join us for Free webinar training called “Get the EXPERT FACTOR: Simple Steps to Stand Out, Serve More People and Turn Relationships to Revenue Online.”
Christine Gallagher is founder of ShesGotClients.com, a company dedicated to teaching women entrepreneurs all over the world how to use authentic relationship marketing and online strategies to attract raving fans, enroll more clients, and enjoy more income and freedom in their business, all while sharing their gifts and their message in a much bigger way. After applying Christine’s proven online marketing methods, her clients typically experience a significant increase in traffic, subscribers, clients, affiliates and lucrative joint venture opportunities.