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Do Your Email Messages Feel Like The Wallflower at the Middle School Dance?

Do you remember middle school? My biggest memory of that time is going to school dances and waiting for someone to ask me to dance. I’m probably giving away my age here a bit. When I was in middle school, you just didn’t go dance, you had to wait for a boy to ask you.

Most of them really didn’t want to be there, much less ask any of the girls on to the dance floor, so we waited… and waited… and most of us never were picked.

I used to wonder if my email messages felt like that sometimes. I would spend a lot of time crafting the perfect message, but nobody would ever open them! What a waste. Over the years, I made peace with the fact that a 20-30% open rate is actually good in most industries AND through some experimentation, learned a few tricks to increase my open rate. As more people opened my emails, more people signed up for webinars and in the end, more people bought programs. Even a small increase at the beginning of your funnel can make a big difference in your business?

Want me to share my tips for increasing your open rate? OK, here goes…

Your subject line is key. Even the most finely crafted email won’t help you, if it isn’t opened. You should be spending as much time on the headline as the rest of the message. For more hints on headlines, check out our latest solo biz hack – Headline Headstarts.

Keep track. Ideally, you would be split testing your messages (this week’s solo biz hack shows you how). But, that can be overwhelming at the beginning. Instead, make a simple spreadsheet of subject, time sent, list sent to. See which headlines and which times of the day do the best.

Focus on the From. People tend to open emails that come from real people. Even if the return address needs to be clientcare@XXXXXX.com – have the from address be from a person -or from a person at a company (example: meredith @ Time Traders.

If you’ve got something cool inside let people know. People are more likely to open emails with [PDF] or [VIDEO] because they know there is something valuable inside.

Want even more tips? Check out this week’s Solo Biz Hack.

To your business success,

How the Girl Scouts Used Classic Marketing Techniques to Boost Sales by 86%

It’s Girl Scout cookie time again! This year my daughter is in a troop that takes its cookie obligation very seriously. The troop can committed to sell 40,000 boxes. There are 80 girls in the troop. When I was a scout, if you sold 100 boxes you were doing well. My daughter’s goal is 750. We are signed up for booths every weekend in March.

Every year (this is Suzanne’s 6th year selling cookies), I learn something about sales or marketing from taking part in the cookie booth. This year was no exception.

Our first booth of the season was at the corner drug store. Booths at drug stores are never quite as busy as booths at Wal-Mart (either because fewer people are at the store, or everyone is sick and in a hurry to get home!). And, our table was strategically positioned behind a pillar.

The troop before us at that store sold exactly 25 boxes. For a girl with big goals, like my daughter, getting credit for a portion of 25 boxes wasn’t going to cut it.

So, she and her troop mate decided to go down to the main road and dance with a girl scout cookie sign.

The corner of two busy streets was a MUCH better location. WIthout having studied marketing at all they nailed the classic AIDA marketing steps.

First, they ATTRACTED attention by being their cute 12 year old selves dancing on the street corner in their Girl Scout vests.

Then, the created INTEREST by holding a sign that directed people to pull into the drug store parking lot to buy cookies.

The girls at the booth in front of the drug store stoked DESIRE by showing the different types of cookies.

Finally, the customers took ACTION and purchased.

Those girls are smart cookies!

The girls ended up selling 178 boxes of cookies instead of 25 – at 86% improvement.

So… what does this mean to you?

Make sure that you are really arousing your prospects interest in your lead and sales pages. The best way to do that is to speak to a problem they are having – using the words they would use describe it.

How do you know if your page is interesting? Sales are one way. Another is to have someone else take a peek at it and let you know what they think.

One of my most popular time traders “gigs” is a sales page review. I love looking at other people’s pages and making profit-boosting suggestions. I have a few spots open for non Time Traders members

Would you like me to look at your page? Go to http://bigbark.marketing/review and sign up for a slot.

Quick and Easy Content Creation

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot. Not only have I increased the amount of emails I’m sending to Solo Biz Bite subscribers, I am writing twice as much content as I used to for my clients. I’ve been busy and really loving it.

A few people have asked me how I’m getting all this writing done, so I thought it was time for a short Q&A session.

Q: How do you find new topics to write about?

A: Lately, a lot of my inspiration has come from hanging out with you. I spend a little bit of time each day in Facebook groups reading and listening to people’s questions. It is amazing how much information you can find in groups about what people are thinking, where they are struggling, etc. I also use a website called http://buzzsumo.com. Even on the free plan, you can type in topics and get a general idea of what is popular and trending. Usually, I find the articles are missing “something”. I try to fill that in with my blog posts.

Q: How do you have time to write a daily e-mail?

A: I generally write my e-mails on Sunday nights. I find that once I get into the writing zone, it is easier to keep writing. Throughout the week, I post ideas for topics in a to-do list so when Sunday rolls around I’m all ready to go.

Q: What is the most important thing to include when writing an email or blog post?

A: A call to action (CTA). A CTA doesn’t have to be a direct sales link. All you need to do is have an action for people to take at the end of the post or email. That action could be buying your product (if the product is relevant to what the post is about, and including it is not too salesy). The key is to inspire your audience to take an action. By including a CTA, you can begin to tell whether or not your email sequence is
effective.

This week’s Solo Biz Hack is all about how to write less and get more love from Google. You can check it out here.

All that work… and for what?!!!

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was working as a Public Information Officer near Washington DC and I had just spent 6 weeks planning a recycling carnival. There would be clowns! Face painting! We would recycle bikes, paper, eye glasses, cell phones!

I had done my homework and lined up press coverage for the event. I had commitments from the Washington Post, the local news channel, the local paper.

Awesome… except…

It really rained that day so nobody came (not even the clowns!) and
An airplane crashed in the Potomac River – so we got no coverage.

6 months of my life wasted. Ugghh! I was totally crushed.

Have you ever felt like that? You work HARD and it just doesn’t turn out. You write the sales page, promote the event and nobody shows up.

The pits!

Fortunately, life does do-overs.

I did the same event the next year and it won a national award. I built on my previous work – and lucked out a bit (i.e. the weather was much better and there were no crashing planes).

When your marketing campaigns don’t work, don’t start with a whole new product. Build on what you have! Why waste the work that you’ve already done?

And make sure that you have the information you need to make your project a success. We think solo biz hacks is a great place to get that info. Check it out here https://timetradersclub.thrivecart.com/solo-biz-hacks/

5 Ways to Get More Mileage From Your Facebook Posts

Tired of slaving over your Facebook posts only to see that 10 people viewed them. What’s the point of posting if nobody ever sees your hard work. This week’s paid solo biz hack is an audio class with 21 ideas for getting more traction on Facebook. You can grab it here.

Here are 5 ways to get more traffic for your post:

Use a hashtag. Yes, I know hashtags used to be used for Twitter. But, using hashtags can get you traffic on Facebook too. In the class, we talk about exactly where to go to find out which tags are most effective.

Follow the crowd Posting about popular topics can get you more views. It can also make it harder for your voice to rise above the din. It is all a matter of making your posts relevant to your audience.

Verify your account If your business has a phone number, go to settings and verify with Facebook. Your reward – slightly better traffic AND access to Facebook Live and the ability to stream videos live.

Don’t post things you wouldn’t want to see While you don’t have to be super positive ALL the time, don’t post nasty pictures, profanities, super political posts, etc. Facebook pays attention when people hide you from your feed.

Don’t waste a good post It takes 11-15 impressions for a message to “stick” in your prospect’s mind. Use your post on other social media, post them on your blog, e-mail them to your list. Don’t let your hard work go to waste.

Want more tips like this? Check out our audio class.

Just because I live in Albuquerque…

Yes, election season is getting into high gear all across the United States. And, I am starting to get some campaign messages. That’s fine.

They are in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish.

Just because I live in Albuquerque, does not mean I speak Spanish. So, all of that time and money you’ve just spent sending me materials I can’t understand or use was just wasted on me.

Yes, you say, but isn’t Albuquerque in New Mexico? And don’t most people here speak Spanish.

Yes, but… with the advent of big data and targeting, there is no excuse.

Using Facebook and Google Adwords, you can easily create audience segments so that the people who are getting your message are people who want to hear it.

You’ll spend less money and waste less time by reaching the right people.

Want to learn how to do it? I created a Solo Biz Hack where I show you how to combine the power of Facebook and AdWords to send your ads to exactly the people who need what you have to offer. Check it out here.

Down with the 1% – Let’s Start an “Occupy Facebook” Movement!

Do you remember the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Hundreds of people camped out in Zuccotti Park in New York City’s Wall Street financial district protesting against social and economic inequality worldwide.

I would like to start an Occupy Facebook movement!

Since going public (and having to make money), Facebook is rigged against business who are just starting out.

The only way a lot of people will see posts on your page is for you to take out an ad (that takes money).

When people give Facebook classes and share their big results, look at the ad spend. It usually totals in the thousand at least.

The more fans you have, the more effective your ads are… so this is truly a case of the rich get richer and the poor don’t get anything.

Facebook can/and will ban you for posting too many promotional posts. I know people who have had their ad account completely shut down.

And all of this is too bad… because Facebook has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of people just starting out online. You can (still) get reach with Facebook that you couldn’t afford with traditional media.

It just seems like the playing field is getting more and more tilted to people who can pay.

As I said, I want to start a revolution. So, I created a little something for you (and for just $7 it is very affordable!).

I wrote up 21 ways to get some real traction with your Facebook posts without spending a fortune on ads. You can grab your copy here.

I want to see you using these tips and doing well. Let’s “Occupy Facebook” together.

Stuck in the E-mail Abyss?

When it comes to e-mail, are you totally flummoxed? Do most of the people on your list either share your last name or work at your last job?

Or… if the list is humming along nicely, are you wondering why nobody ever buys when you send out an e-mail?

Yep, have been in your shoes. I had an e-mail list that was stuck at the same small number for 5 years. While I’m incredibly that the core list has stuck around through several permutations of my business (thank you!) – I knew that my list needed to get bigger to get the traction I needed to succeed.

Luckily, I have an amazing coach, who is also an elite Time Traders member, who helped me put together a plan. In the past year, using Michele’s plan, my list has grown from hundreds to thousands (welcome – I’m glad you are here!).

Here’s what I was doing wrong:

I didn’t have a plan to regularly grow my list. I was doing “things” but it wasn’t tied into a strategy.
I was targeting the wrong people.

And the biggie,
I didn’t have the right sequences set up to keep my customers happy.

And, even though I help people with email marketing. I needed to set aside time to really look at what I was doing and make the appropriate changes.

It turns out, Michele is doing a webinar on the email sequences you need in your business on March 3 at 1pm Central. If any of this sounds like you, I suggest you register. Here’s the link.

Tasks flying everywhere… Make a Taco!

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Are you a service provider who is involved in multiple teams?  Does each team have it’s own project management app?  Me too.  And, it used to drive me crazy because I was spending all day in multiple Asana workspaces, Trello, TeamworkPM, Basecamp, etc.

For a while, I tried transferring my tasks to my own personal to do list.  The issue I had with that was that I would do the task, check it off on MY list, and then forget to check it off on the team list.   My clients would be confused because I left the task open, when it was obviously done.

Then I tried using TaskClone which lets you create tasks in Evernote by creating text boxes and have them magically appear in your task manager.  The issue again was that checking off the task in Evernote – did not check the task off in Asana, Trello, etc.

Finally, I’ve found something that works well for me and I want to share it with you. Taco.app  is a free app that lets you import all of your tasks from all of your different task managers in to one place.  Before you panic at the potential task tsunami, know that you can set filters to show only tasks assigned to you, only tasks due today, etc.

Taco.app also allows you to add a widget with your current calendar so you can see your schedule AND your tasks in one place.

For people who are easily distracted (like me), there is a feature where you can collapse the BIG task list and drag the task you are working on to the center of the screen.

Taco is free.  It has been very useful to me – try it out here.

Seth Godin’s Coffee Obsession

I just finished listening to an amazing podcast where Tim Ferriss interviews Seth Godin. (Click here to listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast).  The podcast is 2 hours long!  I listened to it in bits while ferrying by daughter to and from school.

At the very beginning of the interview,  Tim asks Seth about his coffee-making.  This is interesting because not only does Seth not drink coffee, he has very high standards about the coffee he offers to his guests.

He grinds his own coffee beans.  He says that the roasting and the high quality beans are the most important part of the process.

There’s a saying, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”.  Being thoughtful enough to go out of your way to provide a high-quality experience to your guests (even if you are not partaking yourself) is a way to make sure that you succeed in business and in life.  How do you go the extra mile for your customers?

The other lesson from Seth Godin’s coffee bean obsession is simply that you need to start with the best ingredients.  Seth’s coffee is good because he starts with the best beans.  Any true foodie will tell you that the quality of the ingredients is a big factor in determining the quality of the dish.

Before you spend a lot of time and effort on creating a marketing machine for your business, ask yourself – is my product good?  Is it truly meeting the needs of my customers?  Not sure?  Then, before you go too much further, spend some time doing some market research. We have a market research hack to help you with that here.

Taking time at the beginning of your business to make sure you are building from a quality product, will pay long term dividends for your business.