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Category Archives for Marketing

Sometimes the Magic Mirror Lies

Magic Mirror on the Wall…. Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

Why YOU my Queen.

There are some days that I wish I had my own Magic Mirror to tell me that I’m “fairest of them all”. But, the truth is … mirrors lie.

Well, not really lie, but mirrors miss things.  And, the things that the mirror misses are the exact things that are going to help you and your business stand out.

Here’s a classic story that illustrates this,

Back in the 1950’s Schlitz beer hired an advertising agency to help boost the company’s sagging sales. The ad creative team went on a tour of the factory. There, plate-glass rooms where beer was dripping over pipes that were filled with filtered air, so the beer could be cooled in purity. Every pump and pipe was cleaned twice daily, to avoid contamination. Every bottle was cleaned 4 times by machinery. The ad execs were amazed.

They asked why the Schlitz never talked about their process.   Schlitz answered it was because everybody does it that way. The process wasn’t unique to them.  But… nobody else was talking about it either.  So, Schlitz started talking about the process, people were amazed.  And, beer sales went up. Schlitz became the number one beer.

What are you hiding in your business?

Are there things that seem very obvious to you that would amaze a potential customer?  The best way to find out is to show somebody else what you do?   The easiest way to do that?  Join the Time Traders Club. Want to learn how that works?  Come to our free webinar on 4/6 and we’ll lay it out for you.

Try to come live – I’m giving away prizes!

Lessons From the Cookie Trail

Girl Scout cookie season is finally over in New Mexico!   For the past month, we have been spending every weekend sitting in front of Wal-Marts and Walgreens selling cookies with my daughter’s Cadette troop. We worked over 30 hours in total. Just from working the booths and some online sales, my daughter sold 500 boxes.   I worked most of the booths as an adult volunteer. You can learn a lot about business working at a cookie booth.

Here are some important lessons:

  1. You need to ask (really!).  There were a lot of times when somebody was walking out of Wal-Mart, totally absorbed.  When the girls didn’t ask, they kept walking.  When they did ask, the person would stop and buy cookies.  Are you asking enough in your business?

  2. No doesn’t always mean no.  Often someone would say that they didn’t want cookies, but they wouldn’t leave the booth either.  In that case, the best thing to do was to ask again, a little more personally. “It looks like you are getting ready for a party, would you like some cookies to serve?”  I was surprised at how often that worked!

  3. Hard work trumps “cute” in the end.  My daughter belongs to a YUGE girl scout troop serving grades K-12.  In order for the older girls to get to do the things they want, their cookie booths are separate from the younger girls.   I would have guessed that the cute 5 year olds would outsell the slightly awkward pre-teens every time.  That was not the case.  The older girls did better because they worked harder. Sometimes it is tempting to go for “cute” in business.  You are better off putting the hours in rather than relying on the gimmick.

  4. Advertising works.  Usually the Walgreens’ booths were a bit quieter. We doubled the number of cookies sold just by standing out on the corner waving signs to attract passing traffic.  Are you using ads in your business?  How are you getting in front of the people who need to see what you are doing?

  5. Planning is key.   There were a few girls in my daughter’s troop who sold over 1,000 boxes.  They worked the sale from multiple angles They brought cookies to school, they sent them to work with their parents, they sold in the neighborhoods. They also had a written plan before they started out.  Do you have a plan for your business?  Is it written down?

Want some help coming up with a plan for YOUR business?  Sign up for a free strategy session and we’ll get started.

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/

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.

Step Away From the Computer: Online Marketing Is NOT for You

Online Marketing is NOT for everyone.

Whew. I just said it. If you have known me for a while, you are probably really surprised to hear me say that! But, it’s true. I think a lot of people are using online marketing as a distraction from getting on with the real business of getting customers.

Yes, the fantasy is alluring isn’t it? You put up a squeeze page, people subscribe to your list and you have customers. All without leaving the house!

And, wouldn’t it be amazing if that were true. Sometimes the model does work. I would recommend having a basic website and a way for people to get into your e-mail list. A presence on social media is also very useful.

But…

And, this is a big BUT…

You are spending too much time on online marketing and too little time getting out of the house and meeting people. I have a client with a big online business. She doesn’t have clients in her hometown. Still, most of her sales come from face to face speaking engagements and phone calls. People will buy inexpensive (under $500) products online, but selling anything more expensive that that takes a conversation.

And, if you are marketing to people who aren’t online, then you need to be spending time with your clients!

The other day in our Time Traders Club town hall meeting, we were masterminding with one of the members. She is an award-winning trainer who is well known in her local area. She could easily get five figure corporate consulting gigs. Instead of doing that, she is creating a $97 product. Most employees, won’t spend money on work training on their own time. Most companies are suspicious of $97 webinars. Most companies are *really* suspicious of anything that looks “homegrown”.

She would be much better off spending her making lunch dates and have conversations with people who could refer or hire her about what the big problems are that can be solved.

But, how do you know this if you are just starting out? Most of the coaches you’ll find online want you to teach you online marketing? How do you get out from behind the screen?

You need to find some allies who are vested in your success, but who don’t have an agenda. Where do you find them? Time Traders Club. It’s free to join.

Check it out today.

The Trouble with Telesummits (or why I hate the number 5,000)

I was talking to a Time Traders Club member recently about telesummits. She is a really talented virtual assistant who wanted to participate in a telesummit not only to grow her list, but to learn the ropes so that she could help her clients with that type of event in the future.

Smart cookie!

And, she had people e-mailing her every day. The typical scenario, would go something like this.

Original E-mail: “We would LOVE to have you on our telesummit”
She would e-mail back: Yes, of course.

Response: Let’s have a phone conversation to discuss logistics.

So then on the phone. The person describes the event (sounds great!), the promotional requirement (do-able) and then asks the BIG question. So, how big is your list?

Her response: Ummm…. 1,150

Their response: I’m sorry, I love what you are doing, but my coach says I can only take people with at least 5,000 on their list.

The conversation ends and both parties feel bad. What a waste of time!

I could argue that smaller lists are more responsive (they are!) or that my smaller list out-performs big lists all the time as far as numbers of sign ups…

But instead, I’m going to tell you how to start getting those telesummit and speaking gigs even if your list is tiny.

One of my favorite clients is Michele Scism. Michele now has a list in the tens of thousands, but it wasn’t always that way. She started, like we all do, with zero. When I started working with her she had a few thousand. Yet, she built half million dollar a year business almost completely on speaking, right from the start.

She agreed to write a solo biz hack for us on exactly how she got those first speaking gigs, when her list was small, just like yours. You can grab the hack with all 5 hints here.

Here’s one hint to get you started. Think about podcasts. Podcast owners owners are always looking for guests, and they generally don’t ask about your list size. They are more interested in the story you have to tell. You can grow your list by appearing on podcasts and offering an interesting freebie.

Here’s what to type into google to find podcasts in your niche:

[Your-Topic] inurl:/podcast/
[Your-Topic] inurl:category/podcast/
[Your-Topic] inurl:/podcasts/
[Your-Topic] inurl:category/podcasts/
[Your-Topic] intitle:podcast
[Your-Topic] intitle:podcasts

You’ll end up with a nice list of podcasts to contact. Make a point of reaching out to a few a day and before long, your calendar will be full and your list will be growing.

Michele gave some other great hints in the solo biz hack. You can grab the hack with all 5 hints here.

Let’ me know how this goes for you and when you get your first bookings. I love listening to podcasts!

Are You Making These Three Facebook Marketing Mistakes

Let’s get serious for a minute.  Are you spending ALL your time on Facebook – but just not seeing any returns?  Facebook is a great way to reach your audience.  After all, according to Needham.com, 1.44 billion people are spending 20+ minutes a day liking, commenting, taking random “true personality” quizzes”.  Your audience is likely there too!

But wait a second…

Facebook is a little different than many of the other communication channels you use. And that means a whole lot of marketers make the following three mistakes once they start engaging their marketing on social media.

Check it out – are you making these mistakes too?

Mistake 1: Talking “At” Your Fans

Social media is, as the name suggests, an interactive social platform. So if you sit on your Page with a bullhorn and just blast out ads, your audience is going to be turned off in big way.

So what should you do instead?

Interact. Engage. Create dialogue (rather than monologues).

A good way to do this is to start posting content where you specifically ask your readers for feedback. For example:

  • “What’s your opinion on this idea? Let me know below…”

  • “How would you do this differently? Share your ideas below…”

  • “What is your favorite weight-loss trick? Leave a comment below…”

  • “Are you as mad about this as I am? Comment below…”

Next up…

Mistake 2: Not Capturing Emails

Here’s the problem with Facebook: they only show your content to a small part of your audience, unless you pay to boost your post. So if you’re relying on this platform to communicate with your entire audience, you’re going to be pretty disappointed.

The solution? Capture emails. Create a “sticky” post at the top of your Page that offers your audience something really desirable and valuable for free if they join your list.  Check with your e-mail service (i.e. Active Campaign, Infusionsoft), You might even be able to create a tab on your page just to capture emails. Then you can market to them via email.

Here’s another common mistake…

Mistake 3: Posting Non-Viral Content

Facebook is built in a way to make content easy to share with others. That’s the whole point of Facebook. But if you’re not creating share-worthy content, then you’re not going to get any traction.

If you want a good example of someone who has a rocking Facebook page and gets thousands of likes and shares with everything he posts, check out George Takei’s Page at: https://www.facebook.com/georgehtakei

He posts a ton of funny stuff. The vast majority of it isn’t even his own. But every time he posts something funny, it goes viral – and he gets even more fans.

His audience is super-engaged because he’s sharing stuff he knows they’ll love. So when he shares an affiliate link to Amazon or a link to one of his sites, you can bet this engaged audience clicks and buys like crazy.

So the point is, create content worth sharing. This might be something novel, something funny, something really useful, or even something controversial. This engages your audience, which gets your content in front of even more people (which sends more traffic your way).

Want more tips on how to create shaerable Facebook posts?  Join Solo Biz Hacker. We are putting the finishing touches on an audio class that will show you how to create Facebook posts that are shared and get seen. The class will be released as next week’s solo biz hack. Grab it now.

MythBusters and Your Latest Business Idea

One of my favorite TV shows is MythBusters.  In each episode, two teams of nerdy stunt scientists create “experiments” to prove or disprove urban legends, things that happened in movies, etc.

I love to watch Adam, Jamie and the team as they creatively devise ways of testing their theories.  Over the past 15 seasons, they have done over 2,500 experiments.  The experiments generally have two parts.

The first part is trying to directly replicate the myth.  Then, the team tweaks the experiment to make it work if it didn’t work the first time. Really good stuff.

What if you took a MythBusters approach to your marketing?   If your inbox is like mine, it is full of new ideas and new tactics to try.  And, often my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to trying them all out. Sound familiar?

What if instead of just going after every single shiny object, you took some time to experiment and determine if the strategy would be a good fit? What if, instead of giving up when the strategy didn’t work at first, you tweak the experiment to make it work?  What if, instead of carrying on after it is clear that the experiment failed, you moved on to the next thing.

It would be very powerful, wouldn’t it?   Need help?  I am doing some market research for the development of future Solo Biz Hacks and would love to talk with you about your idea (for a business, for a new project, for a new class). I can help line you up with the resources you need to test your idea out. I call it an Idea Spark session.
I also still have a  few extra copies of Pat Flynn’s book “Will It Fly?” to give away to the next few people who schedule their idea spark session with me. Sign up here.