Ten things you can do NOW to make sure you hit the ground RUNNING and smash those 2018 goals (instead of waiting to catch up.)Read More
WOOHOO! You work from home! You're livin' the dream.
You don't have to dress up in dry-clean only nonsense from now on. You don't have to stress out listening to the world's most annoying DJ while stuck in traffic. And you don't have to pretend to be amused when coworkers pop into your cube to blather about their weekend at the lake.
Yes, this is a real win/win/win.
At first it seems great, anyway.
After a while, though...
You get kind of lonely.
You develop weird habits.
You find that the grasp you used to have on daily grooming becomes... tentative.
And that's when you decide working from home is not so great after all.
I should know - my last day at an "office job" was September 10, 2010. I've had seven years to fall in and out of love with working from home.
The "I Can Therefore I Must Wear Yoga Pants Daily" phase? Been there.
The "I Don't Want to Meet Anyone For Coffee Because I Forgot How To Talk To People" era? Yep, lived through that, too.
And, of course, the classic "I Can't Hang With Traffic Therefore I Won't Go Anywhere More Than Five Minutes Away" stage - that one still gets me, really.
BUT THAT'S TOTALLY OKAY.
Because after all of that lightly-frosted headgame horsepuckey, I've figured a few things out.
And I'm BACK IN LOVE WITH WORKING FROM HOME. Which is GREAT, because there's no way I'm dusting off my resume anytime soon.
I thought you might feel the same way, so here. I'm offering you some ideas that work for me - maybe they can help you fall back in love with working from home, too.
In no particular order...
Get a dog and treat it right.
One, they're cute and fluffy. Two, they'll remind you to do stuff like get up from your computer to take them out (or clean up their pee if you screw up), play with them, and - this is really quite important - take them for walks. If you're walking your dog three times a day, you get fresh air, you're 37% less likely to wind up with deskbutt, and your furry officemate enjoys it, too.
You have a dog but it's too crazy to have fun with? Hello, train the dog. You'll learn so much about how to deal with customers in the process.
You hate dogs? Well, then I'm not sure we can be friends. C'est la vie.
Price your products and services so you can live comfortably.
When I first started out, I was incredibly nervous about the whole pricing thing and tried to spend as little as possible so I could charge as little as possible so I wouldn't OFFEND people with my outrageous prices. In fact, one month I looked at my bank account and my big splurge was that I'd purchased a drink at Starbucks - ONE! Not even a Venti! - and I felt disappointed that I had acted so indulgently. Why did I do that when I could have had coffee at home? Or no coffee at all? K-cups ain't free, yo.
Ok, that was just dumb. I worked DARN HARD and made my clients happy that month, and I DESERVED that coffee. In fact, that small indulgence kept me from feeling resentful - because working just to sustain is not fun, is it? - and was therefore worth every penny.
Figure out how much you need to live COMFORTABLY (and duh, pay your taxes), and then go from there when you run your numbers. If you do the math from a place of sustenance-only, you'll find yourself shooting for sustenance-only, and that's no way to live.
Don't worry too much about that whole "laptop on the beach" thing.
I used to feel stressed out because, for me, the #laptoplifestyle was NOT spent sipping tropical drinks on patios while swarthy cabana boys fanned me and my pretty MacBook with banana fronds - it was more like sipping Diet Mountain Dew while my kids pelted me and my PC craptop* with spare Legos.
But you know what? I recognized what I was jealous of was their FREEDOM, not their location. In fact, I'm not totally crazy about working while traveling - the constant search for good WiFi gives me conniption fits. So, freedom? I've got that. Knocking sand out of my keyboard? Not my taste anyway.
Those traveling entrepreneurs have a DIFFERENT life than mine, and it's not necessarily better, just different. This is true for you, too. Your life is pretty sweet EVEN IF you're not in Bali right now. Own YOUR sweet life instead of lusting after someone else's.
*(I have since kicked the soda habit, sent the kids to school, and gotten the coveted MacBook. It's pretty sweet, but not so sweet that you should covet it. After all, I'm still waiting on the cabana boys.)
Refrain from overdosing on internet news.
It's easy to forget there are other perspectives in the world when you're fed a steady stream of articles tailored specifically to your viewpoint. It's even easier to read one after the other after the other when there's no boss peeking over your shoulder. News feels Important with a capital I, so reading articles feels like something you SHOULD be doing, but... after maybe two or three on a topic? You're just gorging and it's not useful.
Getting caught up in too much news is a slippery slope - one that's bad for your happiness AND for your business. If you must indulge, set a timer - you can read as much as you want for 15 minutes, then it's time to pull back out of the stream.
Get out of your head.
On that point, make sure you're spending time with people who work in the world beyond your front door. It's good to hear perspectives and stories from other peoples' day-to-day life because it helps you re-engage with the Society of Humans Who Are Not You. When you're on your own all the time, it's really easy to get bent out of shape about the non-substantive internet fight you had with that dumb Facebook group leader, or feel super sad because only 44 people liked your last photo on Instagram. That stuff turns out to be really dumb and insignificant when you hear about the day your friend who teaches Special Ed had, or the incident that happened to your sister during her late shift at the ER.
There IS a whole world out there, and guess what? A lot of your old friends live in it. Go see them from time to time. They'll help you keep the small stuff in context.
Get into your body.
As in go for a freaking walk in the woods WITHOUT your phone in your hand.
Go to the gym and lift heavy objects repeatedly.
Do some yoga without the TV on in the background.
Run on the beach and let the sea spray make you feel like a sea god, goddess, or genderless deity.
Kiss a bearded stranger until your toes tingle.
(All right, maybe ask permission before jumping into that last one.)
Just do SOMETHING. Pay attention to what it feels like to be alive again. I don't know about you, but I spend so much of my time writing, looking at files, editing videos and images, creating content, et cetera, that sometimes I just feel like a walking brain. One day science may get us to that point, but we're not there yet, so in the meantime, enjoy the physical sensations that come with being ALIVE. LIVE, PUSSYCAT, LIVE!
Don't treat your mouth like a dumpster.
On that note, you're not a garbage person, so don't just eat garbage - this goes double for the work from home parents who eat the scraps off their kids' plates. Sure, there are days when I forget to eat and wind up scarfing down three pumpkin Noosas in a row (the small ones - don't judge me), but most of the time, I make a plan to succeed.
When you go grocery shopping, think of that kind and lovely person who lives at your house. You know, the one who deserves a fresh meal - a better meal than a cold slice of last night's pizza and a half pack of Oreos? Hint hint, my little cherry blossom - it's YOU. What do you LIKE to eat for lunch? Buy that stuff - and then set an appointment on your calendar to cook and eat that stuff.
Oh, and BIG GOLD STARS if you sit down at a proper table to eat it. Got a looming deadline? OK, eat at your desk this one time, but all the other days, sit yo' butt DOWN at the dinner table. YOU DESERVE YOUR LUNCH BREAK. So take it and make a real thing of it.
Ditch the leggings and/or sweatpants.
Sorry, I know this one is going to be wicked unpopular, but I don't care. Sometimes the best part of the day is stripping off the shackles of gainful employment (a.k.a. pants with a zipper) and changing into your PJs. By wearing PJs all day, you're robbing yourself of that aaahhhhhhmazing sensation.
Also, you can't leave the house without running the risk of getting featured on People of Walmart, and when you look less legit, you act and feel less legit.
Get back in the habit of dressing for success BUT do it with a 2017 twist - be comfortable at the same time. Many pants and jeans have STRETCH in them nowadays, and even better? Betabrand makes something called yoga dress pants. They look like business but feel like a party. In your pants. That everyone wants to come to.
Anyway. Now that you've got pants on, you're ready for the last bit. Buckle up because this one is groundbreaking.
Put yourself out there. Again and again.
Want to know the great big secret of all of us who work in our secret lairs - I mean, home offices?
None of us are the cool kids. None of us.
We're all the misfits who don't WANNA do the normal thing, and you know what? That's GREAT.
If you're feeling lonely and want to talk to someone who gets it, or you suspect your dog is no longer listening to your great marketing ideas (DAMN IT, MR. SPARKLES - I told you to take notes!), or you just plain think it could help you grow your biz if you knew more people, then it's time to break out.
Meet people for coffee. Meet people for cocktails. Meet people for late-night bagels and mermaid churros and spaghetti sandwiches and porcelain teacups full of chocolate mousse - just find a cool spot, go ask some other weirdo who works from home, get together and chat WITHOUT pitching them your stuff.
NOTE - some people will say no. Don't let that break your heart - there are plenty of mermaid churros and plenty of people who will go with you to get mermaid churros. Just chalk it up to that's not the right person or the right time for them right now and move on to the next churro date.
This helps immensely.
You ready to try these steps? I think you are. I think you want to LOVE working from home, too.
Give 'em a whirl and let me know whatcha think. Or don't, and quit and go back to the salt mines. Your call. *wink*
Treat yourself to an Uncommonly Good Life and you will truly deep-down-to-your-toes be more prepared, refreshed, and effective in your Uncommonly Good Biz.
PS Know someone who's broken free from the cubicle life? Share this with them - BEFORE they get caught in the no-office-means-no-pants trap. They'll appreciate it and I will, too. xoxo! - M
Hear me now and believe me... well, also now.
Your ideal clients, your BFF, your Auntie Norma - people in general DO NOT VALUE FREE.
I'll say it again. People don't value free.
Don't take it personally. Don't get sad when they don't want your stuff. Don't assume that giving something away will entice people into buying and then get all sniffy when they don't.
One more time. PEOPLE DON'T VALUE FREE. Not really, anyway.
Just in case you're thinking I'm totes full of it, let's use a concrete example.
Let's pretend you own a donut shop - a good one, with fancy sprinkles and stuff.
When people line up in your shop, it's with the expectation that they'll purchase a tasty cruller, or even a bear claw.
Now, if you're giving away entire donuts to each person in line, you may have some folks stick around and buy a dozen, but the people like me, who were just there for a single item? Well, they're now full of sugar and unsure what to do. I mean, they wanted ONE donut, and now they've eaten ONE donut, soooo.... Now what? Do they have to buy a coffee just because they feel bad?
And that's an uncomfortable feeling. And uncomfy people - not only do they not BUY from you, they wind up associating that bad ickiness with you and then at least a tiny part of them winds up not even liking you.
"But Misha, I need to get people in the door! I need to give away free stuff to get them interested, or no one will know I'm alive! And PS - have you ever heard of Krispy Kreme, you big dummy?!"
Yeah, dude, I have.
Here's the deal, though - when you give away your goods and services for absolutely fluffing NOTHING because you think folks will appreciate them, you're putting yourself out there in a weird way. And if you're NOT in a storefront - if you're, say, an online entrepreneur or small biz service person (hello, photographers! interior designers! writers! and so on!), it's even weirder.
You don't have a REAL donut shop, and yet you're trying to hand me a free donut? Why, did you lick it or drop it or does it have drugs on it or something???
SO WHAT'S A BUSINESSCHICA TO DO?
First. Realize you're already giving away enormous value in your messaging.
What I'm doing here - me talking to you? It takes time. It makes you think. Hopefully, it'll change your business and life forever.
This is FREE, but it's not valueless. If you're here reading this, I don't feel compelled to GIVE you anything else for free.
THIS INFORMATION IS WORTHY ENOUGH. SO IS YOURS.
Second, admit to yourself that desperation stinks like a dead skunk in July.
Let's pretend you're a... fitness trainer. If you're offering to train people for a year and a half or until they get six pack abs - whichever comes first! - then serious people are going to assume you're a joker, and jokers are going to assume they can take advantage of you. And they will. And you'll burn out. And you'll hate your life.
Three, if you still NEED to give something away - and I get that, I do it from time to time, too - then DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE WHOLE DONUT.
(AND! Secret business secret of the people who wear their big girl chonies every darn day? *IT'S NOT ACTUALLY FREE.* Make them sign up for your emails, or join your group, or walk your pet chinchilla. It becomes an exchange, and not just a free freakin' donut.)
PRO TIP - Give a donut hole - share a bite sized piece of what it's like to work with you so that instead of being full and sugarsick, your people are salivating for more more MORE.
If people ask for another bite, happily point them to your sales page.
Like, with glee. Some will go away because they wanted a freebie - and seriously, they can take a hike, they will NEVER buy a dozen premium donuts anyway, and others will say, "That free taste was so delish, this is completely worth it, I'm IN!"
And THOSE people - they are YOUR PEOPLE. They are out there, I promise you.
OK SO NOW WHAT.
If you're yelling, "HECK YEAH, MEESH! But... no one wants what I'm offering yet", or you're struggling with how much to give away, or you just like to talk about donuts, go apply for an Email Opt In Strategy Session. I will set you straight and you'll be back on track to serving up bite-sized info with INTENTION.
All right, rock star. Go fix your freebies, have a glass of wine, and I'll catch you on the flip-flop.
Uncommonly Good CopyBoss
Want to get only dreamy clients? The ones who are always on time, sign contracts without complaints, and spend the exact amount you want them to?
If you've ever wondered why you keep getting clients who blow off your meetings, dicker about every clause of your contract, and then only spend the absolute minimum while moaning that they "had NO IDEA that this would be SO EXPENSIVE!!!", I'm telling you RIGHT NOW, Starshine. This is why:
If you don't know exactly who your absolutely ideal client is and you're not talking to them in the way they understand, you will never, ever get them to book with you and love your business.
Think of it this way - if you're going fishing (and I really tried to make this a shopping metaphor but couldn't, so endure the fish story, please) for bluefin tuna and you cast a huge net all willy-nilly without knowing exactly where the tuna schools hang out, you could wind up with some bluefin in your net, sure. But you're more likely to wind up with two mackerel, a dolphin, a boot and a random surfboard.
In order to be a successful fisherman, you need to first decide that BLUEFIN TUNA is what you're looking for. After that, you research where the bluefin tunas are - do they hang out in rivers? The Indian Ocean? Off of Newport Harbor? Then you find out what they like for bait. Then you get the right equipment and THEN you set sail and attempt to catch yourself a future sandwich.
What if you ran your business like a true fisherman would?
Would you keep casting out the net of "You look cool - hire me! Oh, hey, I can do whatever that guy can (but don't look at my website because it's messed up at the moment) - just trust me! Bite-sized pricing! - I'll work with anyone and anything for any teeny tiny price you wanna pay me! "
Or would you decide that you want Alison, age 32, with a lawyer husband named Brian and 2 kids, Matt and Abbie, huge fan of J. Crew style, Pilates fanatic, who really wants to hire someone to solve her XYZ problem, but is a little bit overwhelmed by the decision making process - oh, and by the way, she spends quite a bit of free time on Facebook and Pinterest and she's really close with her whole mastermind group and is very likely to refer you if she loves you.
If you picked Alison, you could then go on to create a great service just for her where the medium package (which is priced at $950, your sweet spot) includes a personalized consultation where you showcase the exact XYZ she's dreaming of.
Then, you'd make a really eye catching, modern J. Crew-esque image for your Facebook business page sharing all the details about said service. You could go one step further and print the image out and take it to area Pilates studios (if you're local) and ask if there's somewhere you can display it.
Or you could even decide that since you know a lot of people just like Alison work at USAA, you could advertise a USAA special - employees get a free groovy little upsell like an extra chunk of time, or a cute add-on item.
Voila. You're no longer fishing in the dark.
Just by deciding you're fishing for Alisons, you've got your equipment (that primo service), your bait (personalized consultation to soothe her decision-paralysis), and even prime locations to fish for her (Facebook, Pilates studios, USAA).
Will this guarantee you catch her? NO. But it makes it a hell of a lot easier. (And you know who won't take this bait? Angry contract-hating Client-from-hell-Bertha who thinks $950 is highway robbery - so you'll never even have to deal with her!)
OK, if you're still with me at the end of all that, I owe you a big treat. Anyone care for a tuna fish sandwich?
(Of course, if you want help with this exercise, you know where to find the exact program to walk you through step by step.)
Now, go think about who you're going fishing for so you, too, can build an Uncommonly Good Biz!
Hello there, my petite cabbage!
There are SOOOO many messages out there on the 35,987 steps you need to take to rock your email marketing, right?
You know the ones - they have titles like, "One small trick to getting a kajillion subscribers overnight!!1!!!@!" and to be perfectly honest, they're usually full of totally obvious or outdated ideas ("Offer an opt-in!" No duh, really?) or useless fluff ("Make sure your emails are interesting." OMG, so THAT'S what I've been doing wrong all this time?!?!?)
Well, this message is different. Instead of telling you "how to be an email rock star / ninja / guru / duke-or-duchess!", I'm going to give you seven easy steps to follow if you'd like to FAIL MISERABLY.
Here we go!
1. DON'T start an email list.
This is the most obvious one ever, so let's get it out of the way. If this is making you scratch your head and say, "Well, I was GONNA sign up at MailChimp the other day, but I dropped a crunchy taco on my keyboard, so I didn't", then CONGRATULATIONS - you are already failing at email marketing.
What, you don't like hearing this? WELL THEN - you know what you've got to do. Get thee to MailChimp (which is free) or ConvertKit (my fave) or any of the dozens of other services that can handle this for you. It's easier to set up than you think - block out an hour or two and GET STARTED.
2. DON'T try to add quality subscribers.
Look, you can just take the emails of everyone you've ever met and stuff 'em into your list, right? Or just CC them all - who really cares how this stuff looks?
Except... the former is actually illegal (and if I'm going to go to jail, it's NOT going to be for something lame like email fraud), and the latter looks so un-profesh I can almost guarantee you'll have a success rate of zero with it.
Furthermore, if you get a ton of unqualified people on your list, you'll then get to pay for the privilege of sending messages to people who will never buy! Now THAT'S total failure at its finest!
If you're trying NOT to fail, and you're really sure that step 2 isn't for you, take the time to build a great opt-in and target the RIGHT people with said opt in. This takes some thinkin' work, but it's well worth it.
3. Send the email equivalent of potted meat - Canned Copy.
Once you've got a few great people on your list, you can always bore them to sleep by using a service that writes barely-relevant content for you. Heck, go all out and add a boring stock photo while you're at it! There's a service in particular I'm thinking of - rhymes with Shmonstant Shmontact - and their stuff is just bland and lame enough that people will STOP opening your email messages in no time at all!
Are you thinking, "Holy Jeezwow - I don't WANT to bore them out of their chairs - whatever shall I do instead?"
Well, you're not going to like this answer - it involves work. Yes, the dreaded W word.
You cannot just set it and forget it like a Ron Popeil chicken. You have to create a plan and then actually write (or pay someone super smart to write) interesting, engaging content that fits your goals. I KNOW, I KNOW - super unpopular opinion, right?
That's ok - we're trying to FAIL, so you can go back to the Shmonstant Shmontact mindset and let it all fall apart if you like.
4. Sell to them ALL THE TIME. No Value + All Pitch = Red Hot FAILSAUCE
Man, oh, man. Those suckers will never know what hit them! Surely they're just walking wallets, right? Wrong. This hard-driving sales method is great - if you're a used car dealership - but nothing more than a set-up for email fail if you're not. So remember - if you want to fail, every contact is an opportunity to shove something for sale right. in. their. faces.
If you simply MUST remedy this, then try to remember Gary Vee's Jab-Jab-Jab-Right Hook approach - give them good content consistently and THEN go in for the close. Or you can think of it as my approach - you wouldn't try to marry that guy or girl in the first ten minutes of a date, would you? Woo, then smooch, then send flowers, then cuddle, then buy them a Shetland pony, THEN whip your thing out, ok? (And by thing, I mean the engagement ring, of course.)
5. NEVER sell to them!
I know, I know, I just said you can't sell all the time, BUT here's yet another step at failing. This one's kind of weird, but I myself learned it firsthand, so I know it's true.
You see, when you provide content, content, and more content without ever giving an opportunity to buy, readers start to think of you as "That chump with all the free goodies!" Never a good place to be. I know, because this is what I did at first with one of my blogs. And it was a glorious fail - after awhile, everyone thought of us as the finest resource for sunshine and rainbows, but when I eventually DID come up with an offer? It was all, "WHAT IN TARNATION? YOU WANT MY GOLD DOUBLOONS? WHAT KIND OF FREE WEBSITE IS THIS??!"
When I remedied that the next time around, just offering a product for sale from time to time cemented my value in their minds. There was no hissy-fit - only the sweet cha-ching of the virtual cash register.
On a mission to fail? Never talk about the sale.
Want something MORE than a total fail? Let them know this is a bookstore - not a library - from time to time. Not only will it let them know your stuff exists (which will HELP them!), it will also help establish your authority. (Remind me to tell you the free sandwich story in the future.)
6. Sign up for Affiliate-O-Rama!
Here's one of my FAVES. It's a great way to make a quick buck and crash and burn AT THE SAME TIME.
First, sign up for every affiliate program you're even remotely eligible for - even the ones for products you've never used and/or don't really believe in! Next, write email after email - maybe 8? Maybe 43!? Depends on how bad you want to fail - about the thing you're schlepping. Ramp up the pressure accordingly no matter what - if they're not unsubscribing, are you even emailing, bro?
In a grand finale move, accuse all the people who didn't take you up on the "offer of a lifetime" of "not really wanting it bad enough" or "being a doodoo-head". They'll appreciate the tough love. Or unsubscribe and report your shhh as spam - one of the two.
If you're one of the few, the proud, the folks NOT in it to make a cash grab every time an "opportunity" comes down the pike, you can use the common sense method of not-ticking-your-list-off. First, only share products you truly have tried and believe in - or at least ones you've got real familiarity with. (I've got one pal who creates consistently fabulous content, and I'm happy to share what she's selling because I know what insane value she gives. Anyone else, though? It's a no-go for me.) Second, email with your clients in mind - don't waste their time with a 43 email sequence - that's just rude. There's nothing in the WORLD I'd sit through 42 emails for and then suddenly decide to buy on number 43 - how about you?
7. Overpromise and underdeliver!
Did you tell people you'd give great tips when they signed up? Well, you should probably only reach out to them sporadically, and when you do, make sure that email is full of selfies and a "personal invitation" to your $3000 retreat.
Or maybe you promised a comprehensive workbook as your opt in goodie. If you REALLY want to fail at email, just give them a lame one page PDF checklist instead - they probably won't notice the difference.
Oh, and if you said you'll update them regularly, just wait until you've got something to pitch - six months is NOT too long to wait between emails, especially when affiliate launch season is coming up!
Orrrrrrrrr you could always set aside time in your regular schedule to make CERTAIN your emails go out the way they're supposed to. Your call, really. I mean, if you're short on time, you could even find someone super smart to write them FOR YOU, and then it would get done while you're eating bonbons and watching monster truck rallies really working hard, right?
All right, campers, that's the seven BEST ways to be an email marketing dumpster fire.
You got that? What happens next is totally up to you - you can choose one or choose them all!
Oh, and one last "worst practice" to keep in mind? Showing the people on your list any kind of disrespect - thinking of them as a number, as in, "I've got a list of 2300..." instead of 2300 PEOPLE who have lives and families and businesses of their own is a good start.
If you're a true overachiever (*sigh* you WOULD want to be fantastic, wouldn't you? I mean, you DID come here because you want to build an Uncommonly Good Biz, so here we are), I GUESS you can remember that every time you go to send an email.
You can remember to entertain, educate, care for, and respect the people who opted in to hear from you, I SUPPOSE.
(So there you go - even an eighth step. I guess I'm an overachiever, too.)
Next time you go to send your peeps an email, keep this stuff in mind. Dumpster fire failure? Or Uncommonly Good Email Allstar? YOU DECIDE*.
Until next time!
PS Want to spread the good word of emails without FAIL? Pin this post so more small-biz marketers can read up. Thanks a bunch!
* I once wrote a term paper on various paranormal specters. I ended every section with, "Is the XYZ creature REAL or a figment of human imagination? YOU DECIDE." so I added that here because it amuses me. That's just the kind of weirdo I am. Thank you for tolerating me.
Sales copy. Who needs it? Uh, only just EVERYONE who's trying to run a business.
Rather than just give you super boring "do this, not that" ideas on how to improve your sales copy, though, today, we're talkin' ice cream.
I'm not just here to ask you your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's, though. We're talking about what making a proper ice cream sundae has to do with making sure your copy isn't terrible.
Here's the deal - ice cream sundaes have what?
Ice cream, obviously. Sauce - maybe chocolate or caramel, strawberry if you're freaky like that. Then some whipped cream, either rainbow sprinkles (if you're my kinda person) or chopped nuts, and a big ol' maraschino cherry on top.
All that added stuff - that extra ooey-gooey goodness - makes a sundae GREAT. But the base? The ice cream? Without it, you just have a pile of sugary slop. GROSS.
On the other hand, if you just serve a scoop of ice cream, it's not extra fantabulous, but it DOES stand on its own.
Your copy is just like this. You can have all the clever product names and silly subject lines in the world, but if the substance isn't there - the clear information people NEED to make a decision - you ain't got shhhhhtuff.
When you're writing a piece of copy - and just about anything you're writing IS copy - make yourself a little cheat sheet. Write down the what, the who, the how, the when, and the where and make sure that stuff is included.
Once you've got all the basics covered, go back and add in the fun - get silly with the whipped cream.
Writing this way - creating a framework of what people need to know, then filling it in, then adding the saucy goodness - is not only fast and fun, it's also extremely effective, too.
Give it a shot, will ya?
PS - My favorite Ben and Jerry's flavor is Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch. Sweet, salty, crunch factor - what's not to like? OH, and if you need help with your sales copy, I'm right here to serve you up somethin' sweet.
Are you super happy with your email open rates and conversions?
If so, you can close this email and give yourself a high five - you go, Glen Coco.
If not, though, you might want to think about the way you're inviting people to your email list. I know, I know, having the MOST subscribers EVER!!1!!!1! sounds like a good thing, but not all email subscribers are equal.
When you create your freebie or message your list with EVERYONE in mind, it's like inviting every kid in school to your party.
Even the mean ones - the smelly guy who shoved you in the hallway, the evil girl who cut a chunk out of someone's ponytail last week, the jock who may or may not slip people roofies at parties - everyone.
Next thing you know, they're handing out flyers and people from other schools you've never heard of and those weird burn-out community college kids (why do they still go to high school parties, anyway?) are showing up at your door, too.
You don't want to have that kind of party, do you? Stuff gets broken, someone will definitely barf on your mom's new couch, and the cops will get called - in other words, you'll totally lose control.
In email land, what does that look like?
You'll start getting people reporting you as spam - even when they KNOW it's not. Your open rates will plummet. And the offers you send out will shrivel up and die from the lack of love.
Worst of all, in the mean time, you're paying for all these mean kids to be on your list. BOOOOOOOO to that.
What's the answer to this problem? Well, that all depends on your situation, buuuuut...
If it was me, I'd cut out the people who spent six months getting your messages and not reading them.
I'd segment the people who'd never spent a dime with me and do some research to find out what's up with that - I'd send an email just to them and ask what I could do differently for them. (Whether or not I'd do what they asked is a whole 'nother email).
And then I'd move forward with highly specific and authentic communications and pat myself on the back every time someone unsubscribed. See you later, mean kid!
And THAT'S your food for thought of the day. Thanks for being one of the cool kids at this particular party - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Now go thin your email list and build yourself an Uncommonly Good Biz!
PS Are you watching my daily videos on Facebook Live? There's good stuff there - try it, you'll like it.
How do you pick the right call to action?
I mean, in a perfect world, people would like your post, share it all over the place, then go like your page, then join your email list, then look at your services page, then immediately call and hire you and - of course - buy your most lucrative offering, right?
Sunshine, I've got bad news. The world isn't that kind of perfect.
A while back, my kid made a great Facebook Live video (and that's 85% truth, and only 15% proud parent-itis).
He was funny. He engaged the audience. He stayed relatively on topic - which wasn't hard, he was just reviewing candy and snacks, but still.
He stuck to the format of introduction, content, call to action.
And that's where it all fell apart.
Instead of giving ONE DIRECT ACTION, he gave a list of six or seven things he wanted people to do. Most of the time, this kind of "Do this, and that, and then go over here, then do this other thing, then..." list of directions will end in an audience member being utterly confused and then doing NOTHING.
This defeats the purpose of having a call to action at all.
Now, I know what you're thinking -
"BOOOOO!!! Hisssssss! What kind of harridan critiques their eight-year-old?"
This harridan does, I guess.
I mean, when there's a perfectly good teachable moment, you can't just expect me to let it sit there.
So here's what you can learn from this. One piece of content = one call to action, or expect your results to drop off dramatically.
After all, you've got one keister, so how many horses can you ride at any given time?
You've got to pick one call to action and stick with it. Practice this on your next blog post or Facebook Live. Make a habit out of picking the absolute BEST CTA for that particular piece of content and watch your desired results go up, up, up.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go congratulate my kid on his awesome video.
Go build yourself an Uncommonly Good Biz!
PS If you want to see his video, it's here. Seriously, this kid's got chops and he's only eight.
Hey hey hey, there!
If you're at the tail end of a launch that didn't go so well, this is for you. (And NO, it's not all about my hair.)
I'm majorly bummed about something. After babying my hair for a year and a half - using all sorts of conditioners and treatments and potions, only washing it with the tears of a fairy in the light of a full moon, and blowdrying it with a hairdryer made of platinum and children's wishes (to counteract the fact that I color the bajeezus out of it), it's finally long enough to touch my shoulders.
And it's breaking. A lot.
This is TERRIBLY ANNOYING to me. Even worse? It's not the first time this has happened.
The last time was in October of 2015. A sizable chunk came off as my stylist was brushing it out after a color treatment and we just stared at each other in the mirror, eyes as round as saucers, both of us thinking, "Holy crap, did that just happen???"
And I lived with it like that for about two days, then I had a hissy fit and was like, NO MORE and cut it all off into an pixie style. Don't get me wrong - the pixie cut is totally cute on some people, but DUDE when you want to look super fancy, or even just throw it all into a messy bun or a ponytail? The emergency pixie is not where it's at.
It took me all this time - coming up on two years - to grow it all back again. And it's freaking BREAKING again.
I could very well cut it all off again. I'm irritated enough because HONESTLY, doesn't my hair KNOW how good I treat it? How can it DO THIS TO ME AGAIN????
What does this long story have to do with you, right? I mean, we ALL love my hair, I know, but surely not enough to talk about it in a blog post.
My hair = your launch.
More specifically, my breaking hair = your failed launch.
You put so much time and effort into that thing. First, you dreamed it up - with happy customers and dollar signs in your eyes. Then you built it, recorded it, breathed it into life.
Maybe you even washed it in the tears of a fairy in the light of the full moon. I mean, that would be weird, but I don't know what the heck your launch was about, so maybe.
And then when you went to sell it, you started to notice the cracks. Not that many people opted in. Then even fewer opened the emails, and when it came time to buy?
I know that feeling - when you expect to see the sales come rolling in and they DON'T, it's like a punch to the gut.
Then, as soon as you stop feeling nauseated, you want to BURN IT ALL DOWN. Ugh, the sales page was obviously crap. The pre-launch content was embarrassing. The people who shared it were lying about how great their lists were. The price was too high. And what kind of an idiot were you to think you could even do this, anyway?
So you hide it from your navigation. You cut it all off, and you try not to think about it ever again.
I know it hurts. I know it's embarrassing. I know that when your friends ask, "So how'd that launch thing go, anyway?" you mumble for a sec and change the subject because you'd rather die than share how hard you failed.
Just like with my hair, though? THIS IS THE WRONG APPROACH.
If your launch didn't go as planned (or your hair broke off unceremoniously), it doesn't mean it's time to quit.
It means it's time to reevaluate.
Take a few days to lick your wounds and then start from the top.
Did you get enough traffic?
Was the traffic qualified?
Was the opt in content relevant to the offer?
What was the open rate on your emails? Did you retarget those emails to the people who didn't open with new subject lines?
How many people actually made it to the sales page?
Did you test out the BUY NOW button to make sure it works? (You laugh now, but this was a problem for someone I spoke to yesterday. I went through her whole sales funnel and WHAM - the BUY NOW button led to a dead page. Oops.)
Did you remind people the offer existed? How many times?
You see what I'm getting at here? This can be a frustrating list of things to review, but it is OH-SO-IMPORTANT to go through.
Instead of burning everything down, take a breather, then come back and see where things fell apart. Then fix them and RUN THE LAUNCH AGAIN. Yes, the same program / course / service.
No one will laugh at you. It's likely that people won't even notice. Listen, did NASA make to the moon on the first try? HELL NO - they blew up so much stuff it cost millions and millions of dollars and they were just like, "Well, that happened. Let's fix that thingamajigger and go again."
Where would we all be if everyone took their ball and went home after the first time they failed?
We'd all have emergency haircuts and there would be no Matt Damon movie about going to Mars because we never even would have left the stratosphere. (It's important to note that I'm not super well-versed in space travel stuff.)
Here's the deal -
Failing SUCKS. But did you really fail? Or did you just get the information you need to move on and try it again?
I'm thinking it's the latter.
I'm thinking you're just about ready to get up, dust off, and try again.
And the best part of all? You already have ALL THE STUFF you need to launch. You don't need to hire a graphic designer to make a workbook. You don't need to spend hours writing your content. You don't even need to buy new tools or headshots or anything at all.
You just need to see what happened last time and tinker with the marketing.
You can do this.
That's all I wanted to say about that. If you want someone to take a top down look at what happened with you, you know where to find me.
And if you're still curious about what I'm going to do with my hair, I guess we'll find out together. I'm not cutting it all off again, though - I've waited TOO LONG to have it the way I want, and I'm not starting over from almost scratch again.
All right - you go get back to work on building your Uncommonly Good Biz, and I'll do the same.
Smooches, cheers, etc.
In my line of work, I visit and critique a lot of websites - I mean a LOT.
It's to the point where I can't even help myself. If the communication isn't crystal-flippin'-clear, it irritates me and I can't stop thinking about it.
One place many people mess this up is their products / services.
Either they leave it off entirely and I have to go hunting around to find exactly what it is they do, or it's there but it's so vague I'm still left thinking, "YEAH, but what does this MEAN - do you offer the specific thing I'm looking for or are you just trying to be Joe All-Purpose over here?" *
(* hint * If you're trying to be Joe All-Purpose (AKA everything to everyone), you've failed, but we'll talk about that another day.)
Back to the services page, though. Your task du jour is to go to your services page and make sure it explains what you do and that it's crystal flippin' clear.
When you're reading it, I want you to ask yourself - is this is as clear as a diner menu?
YES, A DINER MENU.
There are no secrets at a diner. There's no "Uh, is this burger stuffed with goat cheese? Will there be capers on the side?" It's CLEAR AS CAN BE.
Breakfast section =
Eggs - scrambled, fried, sunny side up. PERIOD.
This level of clarity benefits the reader AND the service provider.
Do you think diner patrons ever say, "Hey, I don't see any Eggs Benedict here, but I'm a special snowflake, and I only ever eat poached eggs with hollandaise, so I'm going to need you to make me some of that. K THX BYE."
NO. They don't.
Everything that diner does is spelled out. Expectations are set. You know what you're going to get and you're happy when you do.
If your products and services menu is just like that - clear! and! spelled! out! - your clients will behave accordingly, too.
No more asking for extra hours of your time. No more confusion over whether they're getting the large or the small or the pink or the green or the whoozits or the whatzits.
OK, go check your site and see if it makes sense to you. THEN (bonus gold stars if you do this!!!) ask a friend who only kinda knows what you do if they can look over it, too. Buy 'em a coffee for their troubles. And LISTEN HARD to what they tell you.
That's all for now, my friend. Thanks for reading - I appreciate you.
Go build yourself an Uncommonly Good Biz!
PS Need professional help with this? I got your back - get your Strategic Copy Consultation here.
PPS Wondering what kind of eggs I order at a diner? It's kind of embarrassing because it's childish and slightly trashy but I trust you so I'll tell you - scrambled. With a TON of ketchup on them. Told you it was bad.
So. The people who opt in to your email list are MORE than just numbers, right? They're, well, people. Actual people with individual wants and needs and ideas.
When these people opt-in and you begin your relationship with them, you've got to ask yourself - is this just a one-night stand or is this a relationship for the long haul?
Now, you might think I'm automatically going to tell you to think for the long haul, but the reality is that depends on your business. If you sell coffins, for example, you're going to have a harder time getting repeat business from a customer.* Same with something like wedding photography - if that's the only service you provide, chances are good you'll only get one whack at the piñata per client (unless they're a chick on a soap opera. I'm looking at you, Nora Hanen Gannon Buchanan).
If you sell a product or service that people might want MORE than once, however, you will want to consider every interaction as part of a longer term relationship.
From the word go, that looks like
- extending a warm introduction to who you are and what you do
- giving a delightful sales experience
- providing a world class offer
- checking in on them shortly after the purchase
- maintaining continued communication
- creating new offers to serve them
- lathering, rinsing, and repeating this cycle as the sweet, hot, American dollars roll in
Now, that sounds like a lot of freakin' work, and it CAN be - especially when you're first getting set up.
Check it out, though - you can automate a whole lot of that stuff, and more importantly?
It's SO much easier to get an existing client to open their wallet a second time.
Oh, and rather than always looking for new clients? You've already GOT these people's contact information, you know their likes and dislikes, you've built rapport - in other words, a repeat client is a cakewalk compared to luring in new peeps all the time.
Something to think about, my friend.
As you go about your work today, consider what I said above. How can you make that cycle work for you and turn the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am into the to-have-and-to-hold-until-death-do-you-part?
What can you automate to make this easier, and what do you have that's a natural upsell to your existing peeps? Can you offer it to them RIGHT NOW? If not, what would it take to get those things ready to roll?
Now, go work on these ideas and build yourself an Uncommonly Good Biz!
PS - The first step to finding those LTR-worthy clients is defining exactly WHO you want to work with. My one-of-a-kind course on this topic can be found HERE. It's good stuff.
*Psssssst - even if you're in the coffin biz, you still want to think relationship and not turn 'em and burn 'em because of one magic little word. That word? REFERRALS. Oh, how we all love qualified referrals. Ya dig?
Here's a quickie - and it's a GOOD one.
If you're having problems getting people interested in your email opt-in offer (or any copy, really, but this is a great place to start) you need to watch your language!
Nah, I don't mean if you cuss, they'll wash your mouth out with soap.
I mean if you're using industry jargon or confusingly weird terms, you're gonna lose 'em before you ever had 'em.
Remember - the people who NEED you don't know as much you do, and that includes industry specific language.
I know, I know - it's HARD to forget what you know and write in a vernacular your peeps understand. You MUST, though, or more often than not, perfect prospects will scroll on by (instead of jumping on your red hot offer! Sad panda!)
How do you remedy this?
Three tips -
1. Speak plainly.
When you've only got a limited amount of space to work with - like in a facebook ad or on a landing page, clear beats cute. So no wasting characters on stuff like "Sad panda!" or using twenty-five cent words like "vernacular" - save all that goodness for email campaigns or blog posts instead.
2. Don't use jargon.
You might know what the greatest peer-reviewed CRM tool for real estate agents who need list-segmentation capability!) but the people looking for this info are probably not thinking in those terms. They might just want sales and email software that's easy to learn. Break it down and keep the jargon out.
3. Spy on your ideal clients.
If you're wondering, "what DO people search when they need me?" there's a surprisingly low-tech way to see. You can go to Facebook (let's face it - you were there anyway) and find out what words your ideal clients use by reading their posts / groups / etc about your topic. This is something I do when I'm answering objections in a sales page - I join a well-populated Facebook group for a similar product or service and then I get to work noting what questions people have, the objections they bring up, and the actual specific words in the posts - simple, right? Simple but EFFECTIVE.
All right, champ - you know what to do now. Need help with the whole copy thing? Get 90 minutes of laser-focused copy therapy right here.
Otherwise, get out there and go back to building your Uncommonly Good Biz!
Hey there, champ!
Remember when you'd pick a fight with your sibling, and your mom would make you apologize, only instead of a meaningful apology, you'd sneer, "SAWWWWREEE. What? I SAID I was SORRY!"
And then you'd get into even more trouble than you already were in?
Chances are good your mama said, "It's not what you SAID, it's HOW you said it."
And that applies here, too.
You've go to figure out how to phrase what your opt-in is so people actually WANT it.
No one wants another PDF. Trust me.
But they DO want you to give them the steps to solving a problem so they can have an end result.
15 page PDF where they learn the essentials of creating a new visual brand?
A mini-workbook with easy-to-implement strategies so they can get their branding right the first time (even if they have no graphic design experience at all!)?
YUP - sign me up.
The differences between those two descriptions aren't major, but they make a BIG impact.
What steps can you take to describe your opt in better and snag all those cool new subscriber-friends?
First, sell the benefit NOT the features.
Who cares if it's a 15 page PDF? I wanna know what I can GET from this thing - what has it done for me lately? - and what change it will make in my biz-life.
Next, ditch the word "learn"
Learning is not sexy. Having the actual result of that learning, on the other hand? Bow-chicka-bow-wow - that's sexy!
Finally, overcome objections right away
You already know the number one reason people believe it won't work for them - maybe they think it takes too long, or it costs too much, or they've tried other methods and they all stunk up the joint. Whatever that number one objection is, you can easily defeat it by letting your reader know, "Hey, I know you're thinking a visual brand costs BIG BUCKS, but that's not a problem - with this guide, you can get the brand elements you need about for less than $15!" Voila. Objection overcome. Curiosity piqued. Subscriber subscribed.
OK, friend, I hope that helps you see this in a whole new light.
Need help creating an opt-in so whiz-bang hot people can't HELP but subscribe? Get a one-hour strategy session HERE and we'll knock it out together.
So you need to raise your rates...
A while ago, I shared an informative and fun video on FB all about how, when, and why to raise your rates.
It's here if you missed it - RAISE YOUR RATES!
You can go watch it, I'll wait here patiently until you're back if you like.
*imagine hold music here*
OK, back with me? Cool. Now you know you can raise your rates, so I want to ask you a question.
What would charging higher rates look like for you?
How many clients would you serve? What would the average ticket be? And most importantly -
How would it change your life?
If you're like lots of entrepreneurs, you're not charging quite enough to be comfortable, and you feel like you're working your tush off to get enough clients to be profitable. That's not a great place to be.
You want to raise your rates, but you don't feel like you CAN, because you're afraid you'll lose your client base, you're unsure if anyone will actually pay the new and improved rates, and you don't even know how to communicate the rate change in a way that makes sense and won't have everyone throwing rotten tomatoes at you and telling you to get the heck out of town, because who do you think you are???
This is how you do it.
It's dead easy. First, change the pricing on your site and in your invoicing software. Step one is DONE.
Next, you write all former and current clients an email like so:
"In the past year, I've worked with SO many amazing clients - I am incredibly lucky! - and written killer copy for everything from a Bali health retreat to a freezer-cooking workshop to an indie pop group.
I've spent thousands of dollars on education, and hundreds of hours reading, watching, and testing to make sure that the guidance, information and copy I provide for you is the very best possible.
I do this not because I'm an education junkie. (I'm not. I love learning, but I'm not IN love with it, you know?)
I do this because when you succeed, I succeed.
When your site is DONE, and you can finally show up and get those ideal clients, I dance around my kitchen. When your blog posts blow up and get shared tons of times, I yell, "Whoohoo!" out loud, no matter where I am. (Ask my husband. It's true.) And when your launch makes tens of thousands of dollars, I PARTY. HUGE.
My words make you money. Like, a LOT. And I LOVE IT.
I've kept my rates the same for about a year now - it's time for me to change them, and I've known it for a while, but I wasn't quite THERE yet. I want to help everyone possible, I want to WRITE ALL THE THINGS! BUT... I'm not the Robin Hood of copy (and you're not the Robin Hood of your field, either).
So it's time, I know it, and here we go. I have adjusted my copy prices on my site - starting as of August 1, copy for a complete five page site, navigation direction and MUCH, MUCH more is $4250, and a single page - sales, services, about - you name it - is $1550.
If you're like, "Aw, DANG. I was really hoping to hire you!", if you contact me and sign your contract within the next week, we can complete your copy for the original, lower pricing. I'll schedule your work between now and November, depending upon our mutual availability, and we can create a payment plan if necessary. Contact me directly by replying to this email if you're interested - I'd love to get you on the calendar and that much closer to clients, fame, and bigger profits, and I'm pretty sure you'd like it, too!
I look forward to hearing from you, and I REALLY look forward to making you more money!
That's how you communicate a rate increase, and I hope you're ready to raise yours. Got questions? Not sure how this works for your industry? Hit me up over on Facebook and we'll chat.
When you're writing copy for your website, it's EASY to fall into the trap of just giving the bare-bones information about yourself and then waiting for the dollars to roll in. Only... they don't. No one calls. No one emails. The gaggle of enthusiastic new clients and customers you thought you'd have to beat off with a stick never shows up...
What the heck happened?
Here's what went wrong with your web copy and how to fix it...
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who wouldn't SHUT UP about themselves?
"I went to XYZ school. I like to salsa dance. I never wear green polo shirts. I lost fifteen pounds. I don't... I like... I want... I think... I... I... I..."
It's enough to make you want to yell, "HELLO, conversation is a two way street, mister! What say we talk about ME for a minute???"
Your readers feel the SAME WAY. When they stumble upon your site, or see a bit of copy you've sent out into the high seas of social media, and it's 100% "I - me - my" oriented, they will tune you out, or worse, unfollow you altogether.
The next time you sit down to write, instead of phrasing every single sentence with the I orientation, remember to make some (at least 50%, if not 75%) the YOU orientation.
"I want to teach you acrobatics. I love acrobatics, and I've studied acrobatics for many years, and because of this, I know that acrobatics are great for improving flexibility and strength. My method of learning acrobatics is 100% proven, and I will even promise you..."
Your copy becomes:
"Do you want to improve your flexibility and strength? Have you ever thought of trying acrobatics? When you learn this method of acrobatics, you're taking a 100% proven course designed to make you stronger, more lithe, and way better at acrobatic-like-activity in general. I've studied acrobatics for years, and my students love it, so you will, too!"
See how much more appealing and conversational that is? Instead of sounding like an I-focused jerk, you become a person they want to engage with and learn more from, because it seems like you care about THEM.
So give it a shot and tell me what you think! My clients love this, so you will, too!*
So you want to write a great email optin offer - you want to create something so great that people are practically throwing their email addresses at you, begging to subscribe, right?
But it's not as easy as it used to be...
We're all suffering from email fatigue, and we no longer give our addresses to any opt-in with a pretty face, right? I mean, you can only subscribe to so many of those "One Quick Tip That Will Change Your LIFE!!!!" email lists before you start to get really wary - and your potential readers feel the same.
Here are a few major mistakes to avoid so you can zoom past their skepticism and create an offer so good they'll beg for more (instead of rolling their eyes and scrolling past...) -
Email Opt-In Offer Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague!
1. The lame opt in offer.
Back in the day, it was no big deal to get people on your list. They’d sign up for a tiny discount, or a quick tip.
Now, these things STILL DO WORK, but there are a few things to know about them.
First, for the discount thing to work, they have to be ready to buy from you right then and there. Ten percent off of a purchase I plan to make RIGHT NOW is cool. Ten percent off of some random thing from someone I don’t even know that I might buy from at some point in the future? Not gonna get my email. So, yes, this works for selling goods – assuming I’m familiar with you – but not so hot for services.
Also, when you start your relationship out on the discount foot, you’ve just created a relationship dealing on price. And you don’t want to do that – when the relationship is based on price, you’ve just gotten yourself in with a cheap-o. You know what happens next.
And now for the other idea – the quick tip.
The problem with this is that it’s been abused to heck and back and now people are really leery. WAY too many people promise an awesome, life-changing quick tip, and then it turns out it’s something you could have found out from a quick Google search, or worse – something you already knew.
Even if you’ve gotten their email address, you just lost their trust. YES, you lost their trust on day ONE of the relationship – how are they going to react when day ten gets here and you ask them to buy?
It’s gonna be Unsubscribe time, baby. Unsubscribe, Ignore and don’t even open, or worst of all – SPAM. Even if they signed up and opted in forty-seven times over, they will still label you as spam if you annoy them enough.
You don’t want that to happen ever, if you can help it. It hurts the deliverability of all your other emails, and if your stuff is no longer being delivered to the inbox, your chances of success are worse than those of your local Nigerian prince.
So if you’re going the quick tip route, this tip had better be GOLDEN. Make it like your actual best tip ever – if you’re a personal shopper, say, it can’t be something like, “Wait for a sale, and then clothes will cost less money.”
It’s got to be something like, “If you go to Bloomingdale’s on the third Thursday of the month, and ask for Jolene, she’ll take you to the secret hiding place where all of us stylists get our greatest deals!”
Now, some people worry that this is giving away the farm. But let’s be honest – what are the odds that I’m ACTUALLY going to get off my butt and go to Bloomingdales on the third Thursday of the month every month and scoop up discount stuff and never hire you? Very slim.
If I DO choose to go one month, I’ll find out that you’re an extremely legit person and you gave me a great tip.
I will like you. I will trust you. I will still need your services, because remember – I looked up personal stylist services because I suck at buying clothes for myself, and when your next email comes in telling me about your signature service? I will be THAT much closer to hiring you.
OK, now SECOND overall mistake to avoid –
2. The one size fits all strategy.
This is a huge one – assuming that the opt in you’re creating now, today, for your specific business and your specific ideal client has to appeal to everyone from your BFF to your mom to your plumber to your great-aunt Nelda to your priest to your kid’s teacher… etc. You get the point.
When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one, and by making a super generic opt in, you will be doing just that.
If you’re a photographer and it’s like, “What to wear to your shoot” and the answer is “you can wear jeans to any shoot at all!” Well, if I’m a bride, that doesn’t apply to me. If I want trendy family photos, that doesn’t apply to me, if I want corporate headshots, that doesn’t apply to me – again, you get the point.
What WOULD work is – let’s take that corporate headshot idea – what would work is something like, “17 outfit ideas to wear for your corporate headshot session so you can stand out from the crowd but still look totally profesh.”
Which would you opt in for when you needed fresh headshots? Obviously, the second one.
Now, let’s say that you’ve decided you’ve conquered the corporate headshot world, but you ALSO want to take on family portraits. You can take the same structure, change up the content a little bit, and in almost no time at all, you can add a new opt in called “11 outfit ideas to have the easiest, cutest family photo session ever”. Drive new traffic to it, put a little tag on subscribers or segment it however you like, and voila – you have a whole additional list of folks to sell to.
Do not fear specificity; specificity is your BFF.
This brings me, to mistake number THREE –
3. Fearing the tech.
A lot of people don’t put together an opt in because they don’t know HOW, or they don’t know how to get it automated, or… I don’t know. Some fear of the tech holds them back.
This is something people get tripped up with a LOT, but it is a super simple one to get past.
No matter who your email provider is, if they’re worth their salt at ALL, there’s a resource library. There’s a team of customer service professionals who are paid money to answer your questions and not laugh at you no matter how dumb the question is. And trust me – I know, I’ve called my providers with some super basic issues.
Barring that, there’s YouTube and Google, and if you’ve ever felt alone in the world, you will STOP feeling alone when you google whatever your issue is and realize that 63 people have dealt with it before, and PS, here’s the way to solve it.
If you can’t even GET that far, find your smartest entrepreneur friends and get them on the phone. When I don’t even have the vocabulary to look up a solution in ConvertKit, I call my friend Alycia, describe the problem to her, and she either tells me how to solve it or she tells me the words I need to Google. I am lucky to have such a friend, and the price I pay is when she can’t quite word something, she’ll call me and I’ll help her out. You know you’ve got a friend like that, so lean on them when you must. Your income literally depends on it.
Yes, I MEAN THAT.
When you ignore your list and let fear or uncertainty get in the way, it’s like you’re turning off the money tap that could be flowing into your business. So stop fearing email, tackle this once, tweak and improve from there and watch the money come in.
All right - enough about email sins and deadly mistakes. If you want to play along and build a killer email opt in offer of your own, subscribe here and we'll work through the steps together.
Sound good? Yes, you, too, can build an incredible opt in offer and an Uncommonly Good Biz!
So you want to know how to write a blog post even faster, right?
Hey, business blogger friend! Woohoo, you're so excited to write your next blog post, aren't you?
I mean, blogging is GREAT - it can boost your SEO, it helps build authority with the potential clients who come to your site, and it's a fun way to get your opinions and insights out into the world.
It can also be a total pain in the butt.
If you're not careful, between the research, the writing, the editing, and - if you're a DIY-er like me - creating the graphics, making a single blog post can take a whole day!
Here's what I do (and the method I teach my students in The Academy) to write entertaining, informative, and effective blog posts FAST.
I think about the Food Network.
OK, OK, I don't sit there and think about the Food Network every time I go to create a piece of content, but I DO use some tips I learned from all of their shows.
Check it out -
ONE - Mise En Place like a boss.
On just about every cooking show, you'll see bowls full of prepped ingredients - that's mise en place. This means everything in its place. Chefs use it to make sure all their stuff is ready to go so they don't waste time stopping to chop an onion when they're in the middle of making their dish.
You can use the same idea. If you've got a few pieces of research, pull up all the articles at the same time and LEAVE them up. Read them quickly and leave them open so you can jump back to them if you need a quote or an idea.
If you've got items you want to link to, collect them all in a secret Pinterest board so you don't have to go hunting for them later.
TWO - Get a recipe.
When you're improvising in the kitchen, things can either turn out GREAT or they can be a disgusting mess. Chopped is a perfect example of this - "Here's a plantain, grape Nerds, a fifth of vodka, some corn meal, and edible confetti - make them into a dessert." Wait, what?
If you want to write your blog posts FAST, you need a framework (aka a recipe) to take all of your random thoughts and turn them into a cohesive, convincing piece of writing. Tell yourself you're going to share the five most important things about your topic, then write those five things down. Boom. Those are your body paragraphs. Add an intro paragraph and a closing paragraph with call to action and you're halfway done. There are just a few more steps...
THREE - Use tools to speed up the process.
OK, if you've ever watched Iron Chef, you know about the blast chiller. You want to make lobster bisque into ice cream in thirty minutes? Then you're going to need to cool things down ASAP. That's where the blast chiller comes in. And guess what? None of the chefs are embarrassed to use this particular tool - it's just a thing that helps them get their work done quickly.
This is where Canva.com comes in - if you need a great graphic (and you DO need a great graphic, trust me) and you aren't super quick with InDesign or you don't want to wait for a graphic designer, Canva's got your back. Once you've got the key points of your post lined out, jump over to Canva, get a cute template, change out the photo, pop the information in, and Ta-freakin'-Da, you've got a beautiful, Pin-worthy graphic like the one above done in 10 minutes flat. And it's either FREE or very cheap (the Canva for Work upgrade is totally worth it).
Some people talk smack about Canva, but not me. You know why? Even if it's not totally custom, DONE BEATS PERFECT every single time.
FOUR - Fill in the details.
Before the chefs give their dishes to their guests (if we're talking Ina Garten) or their judges (if we're talking Beat Bobby Flay), they make sure all the food is plated properly and add the finishing touches. They add sprig of herbs there or a spoonful of remoulade there to take the dish to the next level - they DON'T, however, go and throw a turkey leg on top.
You're going to do the same. Now that your graphic is done, return to your post. You've got your intro and outro done, so now it's time to fill in that body. Remember the five important things on your topic? Go to each one and write 2 to 3 sentences supporting each idea. That's it. Make sure they're entertaining or informative sentences, but that's ALL. We're not trying to write War and Peace here, we're blogging. If you want to go back and throw in a witty anecdote or two, even better, but then STOP - you're almost done and you don't need to keep adding.
FIVE - Edit ruthlessly but quickly.
Food Network chefs - heck, chefs the world over, really - never let food go out without one crucial step. They whip out their tasting spoon and test the dish. You can't send your stuff into the world without checking it, either.
A lot of people get tempted to just hit Publish because they want to be done with the whole thing, but you're better than that - when you're writing for your business, you need it to be polished and presentable, so you MUST edit.
Read it out loud once, then go get a drink. Walk around. Come back five minutes later and read it out loud again. Bits that don't make sense? Cut 'em. Stories that seem kind of rough and off topic? Delete. While writing this post, I started to add a story about Cutthroat Kitchen, but it kind of wandered and didn't support the idea, so I got rid of it. Don't be emotional about this part - editing makes your post stronger.
SIX - Share shamelessly.
When the TV chefs are finally setting their dishes in front of the world, do they ever say, "Here's the soup I made." HELL NO - they say, "Today, I've prepared for you a locally sourced vegan Peanut and Pumpkin Goulash topped with Chilled Mushroom Gastrique and Bell Pepper Confit. Enjoy"
(That's not a real dish - I just made it up.)
They are proud to put their work out there, and you should be, too. That means you've got to SHARE, baby - share shamelessly. Share it on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, in your emails (HELLO), mention it on your Facebook Live, read it on YouTube - whatever it takes. You've got great ideas to put out into the world, but no one can appreciate them if you don't share them.
That's The End!
Now that you've learned the secrets to writing your next blog post FAST, you're ready to get consistent. Blogging regularly helps boost that SEO sky high - and who doesn't like that?
Thanks for checking out this post - if you enjoyed it, would you please do me a favor and share it on Pinterest? I appreciate it!
Here's to building an Uncommonly Good Biz!
PS - If you're a service based creative entrepreneur, and you're into this new way of writing entertaining, informative, and effective (as in, they help you SELL MORE) FAST, come check out The Academy. We meet once a week to focus on this very thing - helping you write blog posts that get your business the attention and love you deserve. Oh, and if you like the idea of writing but don't love editing, you can get professional editing included, too.
You also get free training on other forms of business communications - everything from tips on better emails to best practices for Facebook Live - in our monthly trainings, AND we have a good time while working together, too.
Interested? Join the fun here - THE ACADEMY
Well, are you? I hope your answer is, "Um, YES, OBVIOUSLY I am better than a gas station hot dog."
But I gotta tell you, sunshine, sometimes what you're putting out there doesn't sound like you actually believe it!
Let me back up for a second. It's STORY TIME.
I was out and about this morning, grabbing a coffee, dropping off some mail at the post office, putting gas in the car... and the whole time I'm thinking about growing business, and the POWER OF A GREAT MESSAGE and why can't more people STEP UP and SAY WHAT THEY NEED TO SAY? Why is it when they get in front of their keyboard or video camera they freeze up and talk like mewling kitties instead of SPEAKING OUT and SELLING LIKE TIGERS?
And then I saw this sign.
Ladies and gents, that's not a gas station hot dog, no no no.
It's a CHERRYWOOD SMOKED BACON SAUSAGE. And apparently it's SMOKIN'.
Now, let's talk this through.
You and I both know three things - this is a gas station. That's just a hot dog. And it's probably STILL NOT DELICIOUS.
HOWEVER I also know ONE MORE THING.
There are tons of people out there who will see this, be intrigued, and BUY THE FREAKIN' THING.
So good for you, gas station marketing team. Good job describing this item in a new and interesting way, and good job grabbing my attention.
OK, so how about YOU? What product or service are you offering that you're still just describing as a plain ol' hot dog?
And HOW CAN YOU CHANGE things up to turn it into a fabulous offering that makes your ideal clients salivate?
It's dead easy. Instead of talking about your products and services in the easiest, most common way, you OFFER PEOPLE THE BEST POSSIBLE RESULT.
You're a massage therapist? Then you're offering an hour of spectacular bliss and relaxation unparalleled.
You're a business coach? Then your program will help people get results faster than they even thought possible - results SO incredible their fathers will finally cry tears of pride.
You're a social media specialist? Then your services will produce a list of fans who are positively giddy to like, share, and comment on your clients' offerings, and every post will be more clever than Taco Bell.
Get what I'm saying?
If you're not communicating your message in a way that's consistent, interesting and BOLD, you are missing opportunities left, right and center.
So I'll ask again - are you better than a gas station hot dog? ANNNNND are you presenting yourself that way on your site and in your media?
If your answer is YES, then you go, you cherrywood smoked bacon sausage, you!
If your answer is NO, then you should probably take the time to figure out why the heck not.
Need support on this? I am putting the finishing touches on my Uncommonly Good Communications course, but in the meantime I can help you one-on-one.
Go here and get a Strategic Copy Consultation. In sixty lightning-fast minutes, we'll go over the copy on the top five pages of your site and your main forms of social media. We'll find all the holes, dead areas and boring spots where people fall out of love with you.
You'll walk away with pages and pages of notes on what you can fix IMMEDIATELY to clear up confusion, appeal to the people that matter and get you back on track to dollars dollars dollars.
Let's get together and make your biz Uncommonly Good in no time. No need to roll around on the gross hot dog warmer of a boring business any longer - people will want more more MORE of you and you won't even have to wear a bun.
HOWDY, YA'ALL. ARE YA FIXIN' TO HAVE A HOOTENANNY OF A TIME THIS WEEKEND?
Holy GEEZ, that was uncomfortable. And yes, I'm aware the sentence didn't even really make sense, but it was super hard to write because THAT'S NOT MY REAL VOICE.
When I write a blog post, or a status update for social media, when I make a video for you, when I send out an email or create a blog post or even write a birthday card?
I write JUST like I speak. And you should, too.
Why? Because when you show up as yourself - no matter the medium - you attract people who like you for you, people who dig your vibe, people who are going to be DREAM-TASTIC to work with.
And when you DON'T show up and write/speak/sell as yourself, you attract... crickets. Well, either the crickets or the clients who are only here for the commodity and the price tag. Just so you know, BTW, those are the kind of clients that will put you through the ringer, demand way more than previously agreed upon, and then STILL ask for a refund. Why? Because to them you're just some THING, just THE MAN, just some faceless COMPANY, and let's face it - we all know that doing business with a company (I'm looking at YOU, my internet provider!!!) is terrible, so we almost go into the transaction looking for a fight.
Look at all the folks in your field who you really admire - you know, the cool kids you follow on Facebook. Chances are good that the ones you connect with the most are really, really comfortable in their voice whenever they post.
From the sales leader who tells horrible jokes (but he know his stuff so well you kinda don't care about the puns!) to the design business coach who has a tendency to swear and tell off-color jokes but advice so priceless you don't even care, to the lifecoach who is super sparkly and not afraid to speak directly from his heart so you just want to listen to every single thing he has to say - all the people I simply can't get enough of have very distinct, interesting voices and people can't seem to get enough of them.
Go check out your favorite peeps and see for yourself, and then give it a shot.
Are you sarcastic? Do you love to make jokes? Are you an incredible storyteller? Whatever YOUR special sauce is, please do me AND YOURSELF AND YOUR BIZ a favor.
The VERY NEXT PIECE OF CONTENT you create? Create it in your voice, and then see how great the response is - you're going to be pleasantly surprised.
Do me a favor, will you? If you've got a friend whose posts are... less than fun to read, shall we say, go ahead and share this with them. They'll appreciate the help, and you'll appreciate their newfound awesome writing!
Chat soon -
YOU DON'T NEED ANOTHER NEW TOOL.
You don't need new software, a new program, a new book - none of that. Not right at this moment. (Unless it's one of mine, in which case you should TOTALLY buy it. *wink*)
But... You're ready to move up. You want to improve. You NEED to get better, and it needs to happen STAT, right?
How can you move forward without dropping a couple thousand dollars on all the newest, shiniest tools available right the freak now? I mean, you NEEEEEED that stuff, right?
Nope. Not yet. Right now?
YOU NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS.
It's back to school time here in the USA, and you're either running around trying to find your kid a 14 pack of purple, brand-name-ONLY glue sticks and a sweatshirt that's the right shade of blue (because the last one was too babyish, MOM. Are you trying to make the other kids tease me??!?)
Meanwhile, the tape playing in the back of your mind is saying, "Once my little hellions - I mean, darlings are back in class, I'll FINALLY have time to concentrate and grow my biz again."
OR - if you don't have kids to buy a crapton of clothes and supplies for, you're probably STILL thinking of back to school time as a time for evaluation and growth because for at least thirteen years of your life, Back to School time meant new beginnings, new education, and the start of major growth.
What are you going to do to grow your biz?
Will you... jump on a new social media platform that "everyone" says you have to try?
Will you... sign up for a new program to learn a whole new way of doing business?
Or maybe you'll... read all those business books you started on your kindle (but didn't finish because they're actually quite boring)?
If you're considering any of these generally somewhat worthwhile activities in the next week or so-
ALLOW ME TO CALL A TIME OUT.
You may be used to dumping a ton of money into education and business tools, and that can be GREAT.
But sometimes? (Here comes the painful truth bomb - watch out because it will HURT.)
YOU'RE JUST BUYING THAT STUFF TO AVOID DOING THE REAL WORK.
Yeah, when you buy a new book it FEELS like you're doing the work. When you grab a free PDF download and tell yourself you'll get back to it later when you have the time, it FEELS like you're accomplishing something. And when you scroll through your Facebook feed for the eleventy-billionth time, it FEELS like you're doing it to connect with potential clients, but deep down?
YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT'S NOT THE TRUTH.
When you engage in the stuff that FEELS like work (but you KNOW it isn't if you're honest with yourself), you not only waste time - you waste energy, and you burn yourself out to a point where you get really really really close to failure.
THIS IS THE REAL, HONEST, TO-THE-BONE TRUTH.
Every hour you spend wasting time, money and energy on nonessentials you KNOW you don't need brings you one hour closer to a full and complete failure.
Oh man. Not the F word! We hate the F word! We bought all that stuff and spent all those fluffy hours so we could avoid the F word, right?
NOT ANYMORE, LADY. NOT ANYMORE.
The Back to Basics Challenge is here to change all that.
Instead of forcing you to learn 5% of something new (so you'll fall into the trap of wanting to know more and, duh, buy a new product!), the Back to Basics Challenge will focus on what you, personally, have had success with in the past but just can't get into gear with again.
If that's blogging, you'll focus on writing killer, SEO boosting blog posts.
If that's creating red-hot social media messaging, you'll make more of those messages that make people DROOL to know more.
If that's crafting an email campaign that leads you from "Who's this chick?" to "YEAH, DUDE, I NEED TO HIRE HER!", then - you've got this by now - THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL BE WORKING ON.
And if NOTHING has ever worked for you, then you'll get a topic and method prescribed for you.
All you need is the desire to ACTUALLY DO THE WORK and some time Every. Single. Day. the week of August 29th through September 2nd, 2016.
This particular challenge - designed to get you back to FOCUS, ACTION, and PROFITABILITY is - you're going to like this - is FREE.
Want to know MORE, grow MORE and make MORE? GO HERE and GET ON THE LIST. Like NOW.
You have NOTHING to lose and ALL THE THINGS to gain. Get it, girl.