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The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

I was recently cleaning out some old papers I happened to find at the bottom of my desk, when I came across some teachings from Dan Kennedy.

If you haven’t heard of Dan Kennedy, he’s this old, grizzled marketing and copy guru and author of the No BS series of books. In the beginning of my career, I learned a lot about how to write traditional copy from him. (He was also the “Kennedy” in the Glazer-Kennedy Marketing company.)

I glanced through the papers and this Dan Kennedy quote caught my eye:

“If you’re still in the same business you were in 3-5 years ago, you have no business.”

I then looked at the date of the training and saw it was from 2012.

This really hit me, because, you see, my first thought when I read that quote was “how timely.” When really, Dan Kennedy wrote it six years ago.

For many entrepreneurs in the online information product industry (which includes the transformation industry), 2017 was a really rough year. That was the year we started to see how many of the business “truths” we thought were infallible were, in fact, very fallible.

And, for some entrepreneurs who had built businesses on those “infallible” truths, even big, multi-million-dollar businesses, were seeing massive cracks and their businesses crumble on what they thought was a pretty solid structure.

So, let’s start by acknowledging the truth: Yes, it can be scary. Very scary. If you’re worried or scared about the future of your business and you’re uncertain about what to do or which direction to go, you’re absolutely not alone. I  encourage you to feel whatever it is that wants to come up—just don’t let it stop you from taking action.

And let’s acknowledge another truth: It sucks.

Look, as humans, we are biologically wired to not like change. It’s in our DNA. Change can be dangerous to our very existence. So, as much as possible, our brains try to minimize change in order to keep us safe.

Which is why this idea of constantly looking at our businesses and seeing what we need to do differently is exhausting and overwhelming.

After all, don’t we want to just “set it and forget it”?

Wouldn’t it be nice to discover the “secret of success” and then finally stop looking?

Alas, if only it were that simple.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, I think first of all, acknowledge that it is both scary and daunting, AND decide to take action regardless.

Second, pay attention to your industry. Go to events, talk to friends and colleagues, follow people who follow trends and write about them (this blog can be a good place to start).

Third, know this:

Maybe it means that you tweak an existing product or service to better meet demand.

Maybe you change how you market.

Maybe you add a new product line or retire an old product line.

To be honest, you might even welcome some of changes.

Because, along with the landscape changing, you yourself are changing, and your business (which while not “alive” in the traditional sense, is still a living entity) are also changing.

Listen to what wants to emerge. Be open to what wants to change. (It’s easier to surrender to what wants to happen than it is to fight it.)

Lastly, know some things really DON’T ever change.

For instance, a business is really about finding and connecting with your ideal clients. It’s about building relationships. It’s about giving value. It’s about making offers your ideal clients want to buy. Those things don’t change.

And if you keep those business truths in mind (not to mention actually building your business on those truths and not the slippery, cracked “truths” of whatever is hot in the moment), you’ll be able to weather any storm …

No matter how scary it might initially look.

If you’d like to dig more deeply into building your business on a solid foundation, my Love-Based Business books can help, specifically my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Real World Analysis] How a Business with 12 Million Followers Went Bankrupt

[Real World Analysis] How a Business with 12 Million Followers Went Bankrupt

Before I get to the story about the business with 12 Million followers, I want to start by discussing a Facebook ad about the “truth around building an audience” that drives me bonkers every time I see it, so I decided to share my analysis around why I think it’s extremely misleading (and could even be dangerous to your financial and business health).

In a nutshell, the ad makes the claim that if you have a business, building an audience is a waste of time. You should immediately stop all of that blogging and podcasting and shooting videos nonsense, and instead, just follow this particular guru’s simple formula to immediately fill your business with high-paying clients. No audience required.

Simple as that. No mess, no fuss.

Now, a few disclaimers before I get into my analysis. First off, while yes, I’ve obviously read the ad, I have not actually watched this person’s webinar, so I don’t know what his simple formula actually is. If I were to guess, I would assume he teaches how to use some form of paid ads (most likely Facebook ads) to attract prospects into a funnel that ends in a sales call.

If that’s what he’s teaching, it’s perfectly legitimate, and I’m sure it does work.

I’m also a big believer that businesses should be profitable and make money for their owner. If his system works as advertised, the fact that he’s selling it isn’t the problem.

It drives me bonkers because it’s incomplete. And because the claim the ad makes is incomplete, it has the potential to hurt entrepreneurs.

Here’s the truth:

In order to have a successful, profitable business, you need both long-term and short-term marketing strategies.

Long-term marketing strategies are for audience and platform building. That includes those pesky tactics such as blogging and list building.

Short-term strategies are to generate cash now. So, any type of sale emails or, in the case of this Facebook ad, a paid advertising strategy designed to generate prospects so you can close them on a sales call.

Focusing mostly on long-term strategies (especially before you’ve built up a big platform) could lead to big time cash flow challenges.

Focusing on short-term strategies could lead to a massive feast/famine financial cycle. Plus, if your short-term marketing strategy stops working for some reason, you could lose your entire business.

The Internet is littered with stories about entrepreneurs who built their platform around (or had most of their income coming from) one source, and when that source dried up, their business tanked—sometimes as fast as overnight.

This is especially true if your short-term marketing strategy is linked to something you don’t control. For instance, let’s look at this strategy of using Facebook ads to close high-ticket clients.

* What if Facebook suddenly jacks up the rate of those ads overnight. How will you then get a high enough return on your investment, to make this particular strategy worth it? (Yes, I’ve seen this happen.)

* What if Facebook bans you from advertising? (Yes, I’ve seen this happen.)

* What if something happens to Facebook? (As I write this, Mark Zuckenburg is testifying in front of Congress about Facebook’s privacy policy. What if Congress decides to regulate? What if Facebook becomes less popular?)

Now, maybe none of these “what ifs” actually happen, but the point here is that you don’t know.

Things change at lightning speed in the age of the Internet, which means if you aren’t spending time building your presence on a platform you control (such as a blog or website) in addition to building your audience and growing your subscriber list, the more vulnerable you are.

It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers on your Facebook page or YouTube channel. You have no way of contacting them if Facebook or YouTube changes the rules.

Which means, if the rules DO get changed, you’ve just lost your audience.

For example, there was once a little publishing company that built up a Facebook following of 12 MILLION followers. They posted daily videos that were liked and shared and followed.

Then one day, Facebook changed their algorithms to show more posts from personal contacts than businesses, and they lost over 75% of their organic traffic.

Just. Like. That.

That little publishing company didn’t recover. It went out of business.

The worst part of this story is it didn’t have to happen. This company had a ton of content. Why wasn’t it posted on YouTube? (At least then there would have been a second platform to turn to.) Why wasn’t it posted on a company blog?

In this case, the work was already done. It wouldn’t have taken much effort at all to put a little love into building up a couple of other platforms. It wouldn’t have taken much to invite their Facebook fans to opt in to an email list.

But, it wasn’t a priority for them to build a platform outside of Facebook. Likely, the owners never even considered that Facebook would change the rules overnight. Maybe they even thought it was a waste of time and energy to do anything else, when they were getting so much traction and momentum from Facebook.

Anyway, let’s get back to you.

As a busy entrepreneur (who maybe doesn’t even like marketing all that much), you may be reading this right now while experiencing sinking feeling in your stomach.

Where will you find the time and energy to create both long-term AND short-term marketing strategies?

Well, here’s my answer—you get help.

I’m a big believer in focusing your time, energy, and love on what you most enjoy. Find the marketing tactic you love and do that. (My “Love-Based Online Marketing” book includes a “Love Your Marketing Assessment” that can help.)

You also may need to put some time into the cash flow part of your business as well, to make sure it’s running smoothly.

Then, hire a team member (or members) to help with the long-term marketing strategies.

You don’t have to do it fast, or dedicate a lot of time to it. If all you can handle right now is a weekly article, then do a weekly article (or a weekly podcast or video).

Commit to what you can. And budget what you can to get help.

And, take a deep breath. You’re in this for the long haul, right? So, know the long-term marketing strategy may take a little longer to see results, but at the end of the day, you WILL have a stronger, more stable and more profitable business because of it.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

When creating a content marketing plan, a lot of entrepreneurs I know do it backwards.

They sit down and start brainstorming a bunch of topics. Which can work. But, it can also be a big time waster (especially if the entrepreneurs get stuck and have no idea what they want to create). There’s also a high likelihood they don’t end up creating content their ideal client wants to consume. (Which is the whole point of putting a content marketing plan together in the first place.)

Or, in some cases, they skip the plan altogether and simply jump in and create whatever tickles their fancy that day.

Again, this can sometimes be successful strategy. (It wasn’t for me.) But, I think in most cases what you typically end up is a content marketing plan that’s hit or miss. (Truthfully, more miss than hit.)

So, is there a better way to create a content marketing plan? Why yes! And, where it starts is by making sure you have a solid foundation in place.

Not only are you more likely to create a successful blog or podcast or video channel or whatever you’re creating because you’ve focused on building a solid foundation, but it’s also going to be soooo much easier for you to create content on a regular and consistent basis (which really is the key to creating momentum and results around your marketing).

Plus, just sitting down and creating a content marketing plan for a year (or even for the next quarter) can feel overwhelming. That’s why I think taking a few steps back and getting your foundation in place BEFORE you create a content marketing plan is so essential.

And, the best part? Having this foundation in place will help focus ALL of your marketing efforts, not just creating a content marketing plan.

Without further ado, let’s dive into these three crucial steps.

1. Be clear on precisely what your expertise is (and isn’t).

If you’re a new entrepreneur or new to whatever it is you’re doing, this can feel daunting. It can also feel daunting if you are like me and have a bad case of “fraud” syndrome, or “I have to read one more book or get one more certification before I’m an expert” syndrome.

I’m not going to give you the same advice you may have heard from other gurus, which is if you know 80% more than your ideal client, you’re an expert.

While technically that may be true, in practice that’s a horrid platform to build your content marketing plan on.

Your ideal prospects are NOT (let me repeat NOT) looking for the same, watered- down content everyone else and their brother who are also “80% experts” are putting out. They are NOT looking for content that is basically regurgitated from a book or a program.

They are looking for solid, high-quality content that either educates them or entertains them, or both.

So, what DO you do then, if you’re new to your business and you don’t have the level of expertise as other experts who have been out there for a decade or more?

First off, there’s no law that says your content marketing plan can only include content YOU create. What about using other people’s expertise? You could start a podcast and interview other experts. You could write blog posts that quote posts and books from other experts (giving full credit of course).

Over time, as you grow your business, you’ll start to find your voice and your style of teaching., and as you do, you can start creating content from your voice.

And, quite honestly, THAT’S what your ideal prospects are looking for. They’re looking for you because they want to hear how YOU perceive the content and YOUR angles and how you interpret it from YOUR unique life experiences and stories.

There are very few things that are “brand new” right now. But, what IS new is your unique spin on similar ideas. Right now, you may not be feeling brave enough or comfortable enough to truly step into your unique voice. That’s okay. While you’re developing that, see what you can do to leverage other people’s expertise.

2. Be clear on precisely who you’re serving.

Your ideal client is going to influence how you present your content.

For instance, let’s say you’re a money expert. You’re going to present content around money very differently depending on whether you’d rather work with entrepreneurs or employees.

What if you’re a relationship expert? You’re going to see things through completely different angles depending on whether you’re working with men or women, and whether your ideal clients are 20-year-old women or 50-year-old divorcees.

That’s why getting clear on who your ideal clients are and what is keeping them up at night—and making sure the content you’re creating is relevant to them (not to mention something they want to consume)—is super important.

3. Be clear on precisely what you offer them that no one else is, and why they should come to you.

Again, if you’re new, you may find this one a little scary.

But, here’s the thing: If you can’t communicate what makes you unique, you WILL struggle in your business.

Your ideal clients are going to want to know why they should plunk down their hard-earned money to work with you versus someone else. And, if you can’t tell them, they may wonder if they can get what you offer cheaper somewhere else.

Because, you see, if you aren’t able to explain to them your value, they’re going to make their buying decision based on whether or not they feel like they can afford what you’re charging.

If you make it clear what your value is and how what you do is different from everyone else, then price becomes less of an issue. You can’t be price-shopped, because no one else offers the same value you are providing.

If you struggle with this, this article walks you through my formula on how to craft your message so it resonates with your ideal client.

Once you know this, you’ll have a much better idea of the sort of content that will resonate most with your ideal client. (This doesn’t mean you won’t want to do some testing on the best content for your ideal clients, but you’ll definitely have a solid place to start with your content marketing plan.)

So, you may have noticed that all three of these steps have one thing in common, which is … (drum roll)

Clarity!

To me, clarity is one of those things that just doesn’t sound all that sexy, but yet, the more clear your are, the easier everything is.

I know for myself I prefer the “just jump in and figure it out later” approach. However, I’ve definitely had mixed results with that. Some things have worked out great and others … not so much.

While I think you can also go the other way and spend TOO much time in research and preparation and “getting ready to get ready,” I also think there’s a happy medium between getting clear and just getting started.

If you want to see my specific strategy on how I got clear before creating my second blog, I walk you through it here.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

Not Happy with Your Marketing Results? Maybe You Haven’t Picked the RIGHT Marketing Tactic for You

Not Happy with Your Marketing Results? Maybe You Haven’t Picked the RIGHT Marketing Tactic for You

Recently, I was at an event half-listening to a speaker give his speak-to-sell talk about his favorite marketing tactic, when I heard him say something that jolted me out of my daze (I’m paraphrasing, here):

“I’m going to show you why speaking is the only marketing tactic you need to build your business.”

Why did this jump out at me? Well, not because it isn’t true (or at least, not necessarily untrue), but because it’s incomplete.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I have no issue with him doing a talk designed around selling his program. I’m a big believer that entrepreneurs should be well-paid for facing their fears and putting themselves out there to build a business and make a difference.

Also, he’s not wrong.

Speaking absolutely IS a great way to market your business.

But, is it the best way? Depends on how you define “best.”

Is it the only way? Absolutely not.

Are there negatives associated with speaking? Oh my goodness, yes. (In fact, I’ll list a few here, in regard to speaking on local stages, as the speaker recommended: stage fright, getting dressed up/doing your make up and hair, travel time, ending up in front of a crowd of folks who aren’t your ideal clients (which means you waste all that time and energy), speaking in front of your ideal clients and bombing your talk, which is also a waste of time and energy, etc.)

And, that’s the issue I really have with what the speaker said at the event.

If you listen to the marketing “gurus,” they all have their one “perfect,” “can’t-miss” tactic for growing your business. And, as I said earlier, they’re all trying to make money, so they’re not necessarily going to share the drawbacks (or if they do, they’re going to downplay them), and they’re going to hype the positives.

For some entrepreneurs, the tactic they’re selling will absolutely be right for them.

But, for others, not so much.

It can be very confusing to try and take in marketing advice and sort out which is the best marketing strategy for you.

So, I want to help! Here are two questions to ask yourself every time you’re considering implementing a new marketing tactic:

  1. Does it light you up?
  2. Does it light you up enough to outweigh the drawbacks?

Now, let’s dig into both of these questions more deeply.

Does it light you up?

I’m a big believer that there is a marketing tactic for everyone. There are SO many ways to market yourself that you can most definitely find SOMETHING you’re both good at and enjoy.

It’s not about forcing yourself to market in a way you hate.

Now, are there times it makes sense to adopt a marketing tactic you’re not crazy about because it’s perfect for your ideal clients? Of course. In this case, consider hiring some help to make it more palatable for you (for example, maybe you hire a writer to write blog posts for you, if you hate writing).

But it’s also entirely possible to build your marketing around a marketing tactic you love, and that will work for you.

The key here is being consistent—if you’re consistent with your marketing, virtually any tactic can work for you over the long haul.

(My “Love-Based Online Marketing” book includes an assessment designed to help you figure out which marketing tactic is right for you.)

Now, let’s look at the second question.

Does it light you up enough to outweigh the drawbacks?

My friend Lisa Sasevich often shares this story on her stage about how she decided to have a second child:

After her son was born (who was a very easy baby), she and her husband were contemplating having a second.

And, she couldn’t decide.

She kept making lists about the pros and cons of having a second baby, and the list of cons far outweighed the list of pros. Did she really want to get back into diapers and sleepless nights? What about the expense of a second child? And so on.

But, she kept feeling a little soul around her, wanting to be born, and she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

So, finally a friend of hers said, “Choose your regrets.” She advised that either way, whether Lisa had a second baby or not, she would have regrets. So why not choose them?

When Lisa looked at it that way, the choice was easy, and she ended up having her second child, a daughter.

While I wouldn’t go as far as to say any marketing tactic has “regrets” attached to it, it certainly has “drawbacks” or “cons.”

So, in this case, choose your drawbacks.

Every single marketing tactic out there has drawbacks.

Every. Single. One.

Which drawbacks can you live with? Which ones can you work around?

And, is there enough about the marketing tactic you enjoy that outweighs the drawbacks?

OR, are the results of the marketing tactic awesome enough that you’re willing to push through everything you don’t like?

Bottom line …

That doesn’t mean you can’t try some out and see if you like them or not. That also doesn’t mean you can’t simply stop doing a marketing tactic you absolutely can’t stand, or that isn’t getting you the results you’re looking for.

But, here’s the thing about marketing tactics—they only work if you use them.

Consistently.

If you only use a marketing tactic for a month or two, get bored or frustrated for lack of results and move on, you’re never going to get the traction or the momentum you need to bust through and start seeing big results.

So, whatever marketing tactic you choose, you need to commit to it.

Then, you need to use it consistently (which of course looks different depending on what it is, but likely, it’s putting something out there in relation to the tactic at least once a week).

For at least a year.

Yes, you read that right. A year.

If you commit to that, after one year, you’ll have solid data to help you decide if it’s something you want to keep using, or if it’s time to try something else.

I know for many entrepreneurs, we move fast and make decisions fast, and we love nothing more than to jump right in when an idea strikes us (or, as one of my friends would say “We wake up with our hair on fire”).

On the flip side, we also abandon ideas we once thought were the “next best thing” just as quickly.

If we want our marketing to be successful, we can’t do that. We need to stick with it. Again, for at least one year.

So, choose wisely.

And, if you want more help selecting a love-based online marketing plan that’s right for you, make sure you check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Video] Flip It! Is Who You Are Getting In the Way of Your Big Dream?

[Video] Flip It! Is Who You Are Getting In the Way of Your Big Dream?

It may not be your fault you haven’t accomplished your big dream.

The problem may be who you believe you are.

Let me explain. You may have heard the famous saying, often attributed to Henry Ford, Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right.

I would take that a step further and say who you BELIEVE you are, determines what you can do or can’t do.

For instance, do you say make these sorts of statements to yourself?

“I’m no good at math.” “I’m a great cook.” “I’ll never be successful.” “I’ve never been lucky.”

Take a good look at those statements. What’s one thing they all have common?

They all start with a to be verb — a version of I am.

Take a moment to let that sink in. How many times a day do you say you ARE something, whether it’s a good thing like I’m a great cook or a negative thing like I’m horrible at math?

Either way, you’re defining your accomplishments by who you believe you are.

If you believe you’ll be successful at what you set out to do, then you’ll be successful.

If you believe your parents were right and you’ll never amount to anything, you’ll never amount to anything.

But, there’s even a deeper level.

Let’s say you’ve always had a dream of owning your own business, but you’ve never taken any action toward that dream. It may be because you see yourself as a wanna be business owner rather than an actual business owner.

Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a published author, but you’ve never been able to find the time to write. You may see yourself as a wanna be author.

Mark Manson in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life talks about if you somehow never seem to make any strives toward your goals, you may see yourself as someone who is forever wanting to accomplish the goal but never actually does it.

For myself, what I call love-based goals are goals that are actually whispers from your soul. These are goals that for them to come true, YOU need to transform yourself into the person your soul is calling you to be.

Simple, right? But, how do you do it? How do you change who you believe you are so you can accomplish your goals and dreams?

Start by simply observing what your inner voice or inner critic, is saying to you. You may even want to write down what that inner voice is blathering on and on about so you can really analyze it.

Chances are, you’ll find your inner voice saying some sort of version of I am, such as: I’ll never be successful or someday I’ll write my book.

So, the first thing to do is to change what you’re saying to yourself, so say I am successful or I am writing my book.

Now, if you’re not successful or you’re not writing your book, your brain is going to call BS. That’s okay. What I’m aiming for here is to see what emotions start to come up for you. Is it fear? Grief? Resentment? Anger? A combination of emotions? Something else?

I don’t want you to do anything except pause and breathe and feel those emotions.

Those emotions are what’s standing in your way of changing who you are so you can accomplish your big dream.

And, once those emotions aren’t clouding up your judgement, it will be much easier for you to see a path toward making your goals come true.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

The Future of Copywriting: 5 Copywriting Trends to Watch For

The Future of Copywriting: 5 Copywriting Trends to Watch For

I’m back with my crystal ball (aka angel snow globe) with a few predictions on copywriting trends to watch for in the wacky world of copywriting over the coming year.

But, before I dig into those copywriting trends, let’s define what copywriting is.

Copywriting is writing promotional materials for businesses, nothing to do with protecting intellectual property or putting a copyright on something (notice the difference in spelling).

My specialty is a subset called “direct response copywriting,” which entails crafting copy that your ideal prospects directly respond to. For example, when you write an email asking your community to click on a link, you’re writing direct response copy. Those long sales letters you’re scrolling down forever, all-the-while asking yourself, “How much does this actually cost?” and wondering if anyone actually ever reads those things anyway … yep. That’s direct response.

(And by the way, the short answer is yes—people read them.)

The Internet is littered with direct response copy, mainly because it’s a fabulous way to leverage yourself and your marketing efforts, especially when you’re using the Internet to market yourself. Direct response copy does the selling for you, so you can market and sell yourself one to many.

But, as much good as it does, people still hate it. That’s partially because traditional direct response copy uses a lot of fear-based triggers (which doesn’t feel very good). It’s also because a lot of people just hate writing, and would rather not do it at all. (It’s okay if this is you, we’re all friends here.)

Needless to say, there’s a lot of misinformation around the future of copy, so I thought I’d take a moment to sort out the facts from the fiction—and what better way to do that than by talking about five copywriting trends I see happening now?

Without further ado, let’s dig into those copywriting trends.

Trend 1. Copywriting isn’t going away (and yes, that includes writing email copy). Yep, I hear those proclamations too: “Email is dead. Facebook is the place to be. No, maybe it’s videos. Or podcasts. Or …”

So, first off, nothing beats building your own sandbox versus playing in other people’s sandboxes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using Facebook and Youtube—you absolutely should have a presence on any platform your ideal prospects are on.

You just shouldn’t build your entire business on them.

An excellent way to market and build your business is to spend time in the places your ideal clients are hanging out, with the intent to inspire them to join you in your sandbox.

Ideally you’d love for them to join your email list, so you have permission to reach out when the timing is right for you. But, even if they regularly visit your blog or have subscribed to your podcast, that’s a step in the right direction, too.

And, for any of that to happen, it’s important to have harnessed the power of copy in your marketing. No, that doesn’t mean YOU need to do all the writing yourself—hiring it out is perfectly acceptable. But, you need to come to terms with the fact that as long as you own a business, you’re going to be generating copy (and likely a lot of it).

And that leads us to the second of the five copywriting trends.

Trend 2. Connecting with your ideal clients is key to future success. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when you could generate an awful lot of money simply by harnessing the power of “new” in your marketing.

That time has come and gone (and frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as I would argue very few entrepreneurs who had mastered the power of “new” actually had a solid, sustainable business.)

So, if you can’t use “new” to attract customers, clients and buyers, what can you do?

Easy. Focus on connecting and building relationships with your prospects. (And, if you are looking to attract more ideal clients to your business, connecting and building relationships is hands down the best strategy to use).

Copy is one of the best ways to connect and build relationships, especially when you use it in an email. (Emails are one-to-one medium: people are getting emails in their inbox, so by it’s very nature, it’s a personal connection. It’s just a matter of you remembering that, when you craft emails to your subscribers.)

But, this is just the first step to building more rapport with your ideal prospects.

Trend 3. Focus on giving your prospects exactly what they want. And I guarantee what they want is plenty of content, and maybe even to be entertained.

What they DON’T want? To be sold to constantly.

That’s why so many entrepreneurs have email lists that are, for all practical purposes, dead. They’ve sold to them so much that their prospects have stopped interacting with them.

(Note: Constantly sending your subscribers to other people’s “free” launch content, such as free books or videos or webinars, constitutes selling. Yes, yes, I know the content is usually pretty solid. But, it’s still designed to sell a program, likely a high-ticket item, and anyone who says “yes” to that free content WILL get inundated with emails for a few weeks. Your subscribers know this, and are tuning it out. I’m not saying not to promote other people’s launches or to stop doing your own; I absolutely still believe product launches are an important tool in your marketing toolbox. However, what I AM saying is to count those emails toward your “total sales emails” quota. You only have so many sales emails you can send to your list before they stop paying attention, so choose wisely.)

Your subscribers don’t mind some sales emails, but it’s important to balance those sales emails with what they’re really looking for, which is most likely content and entertainment.

But, there’s an even bigger prediction on the horizon (a.k.a. the fourth of five copywriting trends)…

Trend 4. Segmenting is the future. While this is a more advanced tactic, having a way to segment your subscribers and allow THEM to decide what sort of content and communication they want from you is going to become more and more important.

I’ve seen stats showing far better results when emails are tailored to your subscribers based on their answers to a few questions you ask them.

So, how do you do this? Some email programs, such as Infusion Soft (although there are cheaper email software programs that are coming out now that are offering these options) allow you to “tag” your subscribers depending on if they click a link, or how they answer a question. You can then send an email to just the people who were tagged.

For instance, maybe you send out an email asking, “If you’re brand new to business, click here,” you can then “tag” everyone who clicks on that link. Now you have a segmented list of new entrepreneurs, and you can send them content and offers that are tailored specifically to them.

See how powerful that can be?

It’s always been the case that the more you can speak directly to your ideal prospects concerns and what’s keeping them up at night, the more they’ll buy from you. Until the Internet, it was far more complicated to give them tailored offers.

Of course, this is a bit of a catch-22. Now that it is easier, it’s likely your ideal prospects will be expecting it more. Which means if you’re NOT segmenting, you could be losing potential clients, customers and buyers.

But, there’s still one last of the 5 copywriting trends that will also be important when it comes to writing copy.

Trend 5. Use passion, vulnerability, and stories in your copy. Remember, people want to do business with people. And, you connecting and building relationships with your ideal prospects is going to be even more important now, as it truly is one of the top trends in marketing and business.

One key way to connect with them using copy is to do things like tap into your passion, and show your personality. Reveal your vulnerabilities and share stories in your copy.

As humans, we’re wired to respond to stories. So, the more we can use stories in our marketing, the more our ideal prospects will pay attention to us. And, if they’re paying attention, they’re far more likely to become buyers, customers, and clients.

I know it can feel strange to use stories and share your vulnerabilities (business IS supposed to be professional after all, and if you came from corporate, it can feel even more alien), but sharing something you’re vulnerable about can go a long way in making you far more relatable.

And, now, for a last, bonus prediction (because 6 copywriting trends didn’t sound nearly as sexy as five).

Bonus Trend 6. Fear-based copy that focuses on shaming and scarcity is on its way out, and love-based copy is the new black. So, as the founder of the love-based copy philosophy and the love-based business movement, I get that this might seem more than a little self-serving.

It’s also not completely true.

Yet.

While fear-based copy and marketing DOES still work, it’s definitely not working as well as it used to. I do believe it’s on its way out, and selling and marketing yourself with love is on its way in, but we’re not quite there yet.

As a species, we still psychologically respond to fear-based triggers. The more we do the inner work and shift to building our businesses and living our lives on a foundation of love, the less fear-based triggers will work.

And, if you want to dig into love-based copy at an even deeper level, you may want to check out my books: Love-Based Copywriting Method: The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites and Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites.

 

[Video] Flip It! Why Aren’t My Goals Coming True?

[Video] Flip It! Why Aren’t My Goals Coming True?

Has this ever happened to you?

You have a big goal. Maybe you want to start a business or grow a business. Maybe you want to hit a certain income goal. Or maybe you’re finally ready to start writing your book.

So, you start taking action toward that goals.

But … something funny happens.

All these fears start coming up. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I spend all of my time working? What if my partner leaves me? What if my kids start to hate me?

Maybe you stop being able to sleep because of all of these worries.

Or, maybe you’re angry all of the time.

Or, maybe you waste hours and hours stewing about how everyone else seems to be further on their journey than you.

So, you find yourself procrastinating or losing focus. Or, maybe you simply can never find the time to work on them.

You’re busy, right? There’s always something more important or urgent to work on.

Right?

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many, many people are unable to take even the smallest action towards their goals and dreams.

They have lots of reasons why. Some of those reasons are even pretty good. They don’t have the time or the money or they’re too old or it’s just not the right time. They can pursue their dreams when the kids go back to school or once their mom isn’t sick anymore or after they retire.

But, here’s the thing. Whatever you telling yourself right now, ISN’T what’s actually stopping you.

I’m not saying that reason isn’t true. I’m saying it’s NOT what’s stopping you.

I don’t care how busy you are, if you’re serious about your dreams, you can find 15 minutes a day to work on them. (And, trust me, you can do a lot in 15 minutes. I wrote 3 books in only 15 minutes day.)

So, if it’s not your excuses, then what’s stopping you?

Simple. Your fear-based emotions.

You see, all emotions fall under either love or fear. Fear-based emotions include fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, grief.

For most of us, we don’t want to feel our fear-based emotions (for obvious reasons). But, just because we don’t want to feel them doesn’t mean they don’t want to be felt.

It also doesn’t mean they won’t keep chasing you until you actually take the time you feel them.

But, there’s good news. Once you feel them, they move on.

(Yes, it really can be that simple. No, it’s not easy to feel your fear-based emotions, but it IS simple. All it requires is you pause, breathe and feel. Not react. Not DO anything about those emotions. Just be with them.)

So, if you see yourself here, I’d love to encourage you to try something different. The next time you’re taking action on your goals and some fear-based emotion starts to raise its ugly head (whether it be worry or resentment or anger or grief or shame or guilt or something else) rather than DO something about that emotion (including make up a story around why its happening) just STOP.

Stop, breathe and feel.

Then, once it’s moved through you, go back to working on your goals.

You may be amazed at the magic you create in your life or business.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book — you can check it out here.

The Future of Internet Marketing—5 Trends to Watch

The Future of Internet Marketing—5 Trends to Watch

Internet marketing has taken a beating these past couple of years. Strategies that used to work aren’t working so well anymore.

In my opinion, I think what we’re seeing is the end of the using “new” as the primary marketing strategy.

BUT just because we aren’t relying solely on “new” doesn’t mean Internet marketing is dead. Not by a long shot.

What it DOES mean, however, is that we need to get smarter about our Internet marketing strategies.

Gone are the days where we could just throw something up and expect to get results. The internet is way too crowded for that to work anymore. So, we need to be more strategic about how we spend our marketing time and budget. (And, quite honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.)

With that, let’s jump into the five big Internet marketing trends to watch:

Trend 1. Content is still king. Everything I see still shows that consistently creating solid, high-quality content is one of the best ways to market yourself and your business.

The key here is the content needs to be high quality AND consistent.

Yes, years ago you could post a few times a year to a blog and get some traction. That’s no longer the case.

Taking the time to create solid content your ideal prospects are excited to consume AND doing it consistently is how you build momentum in your business.

Now, that said, when I say “creating content,” I’m not just talking about writing blog posts. Podcasts are still hot (and, in fact, are growing—you may seriously want to consider a podcast if you aren’t doing one) and videos are also still hot (although there’s been some shifts and softening in YouTube, a subject for another day, but using videos in your marketing is still a winning strategy).

If you’re a designer, infographics are also still hot, as are photos and other graphics.

People are still interested, and are still seeking, content. But, they’re definitely more particular about the content they’re consuming, so it’s smart to take a little extra time to make sure what you’re putting out there is as strong as you can make it.

(And, if you can be entertaining while providing content, that’s even better. Along with looking for content, people are also looking to be entertained. Combing the two is always a win-win.)

Trend 2. Content alone isn’t enough—you have to market it. As anyone who has a blog already knows, just because you have one, doesn’t mean people will come.

You still need to have a consistent strategy to market that content.

Posting on social networking platforms is a must. You may also want to consider paying for exposure via Facebook ads or other forms of pay-per-click (more on this later). Setting up your blog for SEO or organic traffic is also not a bad idea (although keep in mind this is most definitely a long-term strategy. SEO used to be a lot easier than it is today, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, only that you should be aware it’s a long game).

You can also look into using other platforms such as Medium to help increase your reach. (But, I would caution you to still have your own blog and website and web presence rather than build everything on an outside platform you don’t control. Playing in other people’s sandboxes is well and good until they take their toys and go home, leaving you stuck and vulnerable.)

Trend 3. Relationships are still queen. People want to do business with people. They want to connect with people.

In other words, they want to connect with YOU.

So, why not give them what they want?

Be accessible. Give your ideal clients a way to connect with you on Facebook or other social networking platforms. Respond to their comments. Answer their questions.

And, show your personality in your marketing. Share your stories, your passion, your vulnerabilities. Let your ideal clients see you as a person … a person they like and want to hang out with.

They’re far more likely to buy your products and services if they feel connected to you.

Trend 4. Pay to play is here to stay. Having a small advertising budget, whether it’s Facebook ads or some other type of online ads, is a smart idea.

Yes, I know on one hand, it sucks. Years ago, you didn’t need an advertising budget to break through the online clutter. On the other hand, the fact that it is more difficult to market yourself without an advertising budget means only more serious and professional business owners and entrepreneurs are rising to the top. The scammers and people who are less ethical about their marketing are less likely to invest in advertising, which means they won’t be grabbing all the oxygen, which leaves more space for the more ethical and love-based marketer.

Trend 5. Simple trumps complex. I don’t believe that successfully marketing yourself needs to be all that complex. In fact, focusing on only one main marketing strategy, such as a podcast or videos, can go a long way.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when it seemed complex was the way to go. Complex funnels, complex product launches. The more complicated the better.

But, quite honestly, I feel like all the complexity was doing was hiding what prospects really wanted—good, solid content. A connection with the business owner. And, as a bonus, maybe even some entertainment.

If you simplify and just focus on those key foundational pieces, you may be shocked at how far it can take your business.

In addition to keeping it simple, I do believe the more you love your marketing, the more successful you’ll be at it. You can never go wrong the more you surround yourself with regular activities you love to do.

And, if you want to learn more about how you can fall in love with your Internet marketing strategies, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book available at most online retailers.

[Video] Flip It! Are New Year Rituals a Waste of Time?

[Video] Flip It! Are New Year Rituals a Waste of Time?

The first time I heard about New Year rituals (actually it was more of a year-end ritual because it took place over Winter Solstice) I was intrigued.

But I also felt like it would be a waste of time.

Could rituals, any ritual, but especially New Year rituals, help me make my goals come true?

Well, as I had been spinning my wheels for years and never getting any traction or momentum around my goals, I thought I’d give it a shot.

And, I’ve been hooked ever since.

Part of the reason why I’m hooked is because what I did before was so … unsatisfying. Maybe you can relate?

I would spend that quiet time between Christmas and New Years feeling like a loser for everything I didn’t accomplish the year before. I would then take a break from beating myself up to create a long laundry list of new goals for the upcoming year. I would then move to feeling overwhelmed over everything I wanted to accomplish over the next twelve months.

Clearly, this wasn’t an ideal way to begin the new year. And, needless to say, all my good intentions would have disappeared by the end of January and my days yet again would be determined by everyone else’s priorities.

This all started to shift when I began using New Year Rituals.

My friend and spiritual mentor Christine Arylo taught me this ritual, which would take place during Winter Solstice.  It’s a natural time to pause, reflect and close the circle on the previous year as it’s when nature shifts and instead of our days growing darker, they grow lighter.

In a nutshell, we would take a moment to celebrate all that went right, process everything that went wrong and choose the lessons you want to take into the New Year.

So, why do you want to do all of that?

For precisely that reason — because we so often DON’T.

How many times do we rush right past a big win because we’ve got so many other things on our to-do lists? How many time do we bury our failures, maybe even refusing to call it a failure but give it some other name to try and keep ourselves from feeling bad about it?

If we don’t take the time to celebrate our successes, it’s like they didn’t even happen. Just like if we don’t take the time to feel the emotions of the failures, we’re dooming ourselves to keep repeating those failures until we feel the feelings and learn the lessons.

If you’ve ever wondered why one year seems to be exactly like the next, despite all your best intentions otherwise, this could be one of the reasons. You never took the time to pause, reflect and properly close the energy of the past year.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book — you can check it out here.

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Yes, the product launch is dead.

No, it isn’t.

It depends.

(Way to be decisive Michele!)

Before I dig in, I want to start by defining “product launch.”

Product launches aren’t new. Businesses have been crafting campaigns to launch a new product or program or service for as long as they’ve been creating new offerings. Turning the unveiling of a new product into an event is a pretty standard business and marketing strategy.

However, with the arrival of the Internet, and thanks to a man by the name of Jeff Walker, the product launch now has a completely different meaning.

Walker has crafted a specific formula called PLF, or Product Launch Formula, that has made thousands of entrepreneurs thousands (if not millions) of dollars.

The formula typically consists of dripping content out (three 20-30 minute videos is pretty common) which leads to opening the cart (or offering the product for sale) for a short period of time. Typically, during the time the cart is open, more content is dripped via webinars or livestreams or coach-a-thons.

Now, just because you decide to launch a product doesn’t mean you have to have all those bells and whistles. There are plenty of simplified launches that consist of a webinar or a livestream that leads to an offer.

Or maybe there’s an “in between” that would work for you. Really, the variations of how you structure a product launch are endless.

However, when we’re talking about launches that generate multiple six or seven figures, you typically need to create more launch content than a single webinar, which is why the Product Launch Formula has been so successful.

Until recently, that is.

Over the past couple of years, the big, elaborate project launch has lost a bit of its luster. Many entrepreneurs who had relied on them for years as a major part of their business income began experiencing dwindling returns.

So IS this the end of the product launch? Or is something else afoot?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Scenario 1: Yes, product launches are dead.

Once upon a time, it wasn’t uncommon for entrepreneurs to build their entire businesses around the product launch.

They would have one (maybe two) launches a year, and earn enough income during that frenzied period of time to sustain them the rest of the year.

For those entrepreneurs, life was fabulous. Sure, they had to work hard during the launch, but launch windows are deliberately short (a few weeks at most) and the rest of the year they could spend posting selfies of themselves hanging out at the beach on Facebook.

Alas, that golden time of product launches appears to have come to a crashing halt.

Now, before you start posting comments or writing me emails letting me know about all the entrepreneurs who are still doing this successfully, let me just say that yes, I’m sure that’s true.

BUT, I will contend they are more the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

The overall trend is that one or two product launches can’t sustain a business for a year anymore.

This is partly because product launches became a victim of their own success. They were so successful, everyone started doing them, and the more people did them, the less effective they became (see this post for more about this cycle).

However, the reality is that this was never a good business model anyway. Relying on ONE thing for your yearly income is actually a really crappy way to run a business. It doesn’t matter what the one thing is, it’s never a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

So, in this case, I would say yes, product launches are dead, IF you’re relying on them as the entire financial model for your business.

Scenario 2: No, product launches aren’t dead.

It’s been my position for years that the product launch is an excellent tool to have in your marketing toolbox (note: it’s a tool, not the entire box) IF viewed in its proper context.

For many entrepreneurs, the product launch is about:

  1. Making money (sometimes a lot of it … sometimes not so much).
  2. Building your email list (which you’ll need for all the promoting you’re going to have to reciprocate for all the folks who are jumping into your launch).

There’s no question product launches are great in both of these respects. But, there are more benefits of product launches:

  1. They can grow your exposure and visibility. Product launches give you an excuse to email your prospect list more than normal, to advertise on social media sites (or just do more organic posting), and to have other people promote you. All of the above will help you get more exposure and visibility. Even if your ideal prospects don’t opt in to your list (which is, of course, the most desirable action), the sheer fact they’re getting an introduction to who you are and what your business is about is huge, and can reap big rewards down the road.
  2. They can grow your credibility. When other people recommend or promote your work, they’re sharing their credibility with you. This is an excellent way to build your reputation and your influence.
  3. They can jumpstart your marketing momentum. It happens to all of us; we get stuck in a rut, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is launch something. The sheer act of launching generates energy and momentum that can carry over into other areas of our business, even if the launch itself isn’t as financially successful as we would like it to be.
  4. They can push you out of your comfort zone and cause you to face your fears. I’m a big believer that everything you want is on the other side of your greatest fear. But, for that to happen, you need to actually, you know, FACE your fears. So, you’re likely going to have to take some action to make your fears surface. And launches are an excellent way to trigger those fears, so you can move through them. (Plus, it doesn’t matter if your launch is a big failure OR a big success–both of those outcomes will likely trigger more blocks and fears.)

My belief is that, if you view a launch as a more holistic tool that will (hopefully) also generate some additional revenue for you, you’re far more likely to be happy with the results. If you’re just focused on how much money you’re making, you’re far more likely to not only spend the entire launch completely stressed out, but to also be disappointed by the results (and who wants to put herself through that?).

Scenario #3: It depends.

At the end of the day, it’s really up to how you view the product launch if you consider it dead or alive and kicking.

In my view, product launches can be an excellent tool in your toolbox, so if that’s how you’re using it, a product launch can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you don’t want to create three videos and a webinar and a livestream and line up a bunch of affiliate partners, you don’t have to. You can choose the precise love-based marketing tactics and approach that makes your heart sing.

And it still can be successful.

But, if you’re relying on a product launch to financially fund your business for six months or a year, it may not be the wisest choice.

I’m a strong believer in creating a business you love AND that loves you back, and making peace with the product launch is key to that. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs freak out, melt down, abandon their normal self care practices, even abandon their integrity and compass, all because they’ve turned the product launch into something bigger than it was ever intended to be.

For instance, I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are typically rock solid around carving out time for meditation or exercises stop all of that during a launch. And, if their businesses are all about mindset practices, along with being out of balance when they need it most, they’re also out of integrity with what their business stands for. Or, normally love-based entrepreneurs switch to fear-based marketing tactics in the middle of the launch because they’re panicking over the numbers.

When the smoke clears and the launch is over, along with dealing with whatever the results of the launch were, they now also have to deal with the remorse of losing their way during the process.

Needless to say, that’s definitely not the way to build a love-based business.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s completely possible to enjoy all the benefits of the product launch without it descending into a launch hell, and it starts with you being clear on how it fits into your business.

If this resonates with you, you may like to take the teachings deeper with my book, “Love-Based Online Marketing: Campaigns to Grow a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s available here.