Thursday, December 6, 2018

Use Instagram & Pinterest to Kickstart Your List

Social networks are a great way to drive traffic back to your website and start building your mailing list. Two of the best sources of apps for doing this are Instagram and Pinterest. Both sites focus on images and videos to send people to your website. Here’s what you need to know to harness these social media tools…

Create a Landing Page

When you have a freebie or gift that you give subscribers, make a separate page on your website for it. This page should be a landing page template. Many WordPress themes come with this template.

If you aren’t using WordPress or you want another landing page option, you can try using a service like
LeadPages or Optimize Press. Or use a tool like SoloBuildIt to build your website, since these have landing page templates. Both websites will allow you to create landing pages and will guide you through the process so it’s simple and easy.

Link to Your Landing Page

Both Instagram and Pinterest allow you to place a link in your bio area. Some online business owners link to their home page. While this may drive traffic back to their website, doing this make it harder to grow your mailing list.

When you send your followers to a landing page, they’re more likely to sign up for your free offer. That’s because they don’t have as many choices that could potentially distract your visitors.

Make an Opt-In Board

Once you have your landing page up, it’s time to add it to your Pinterest profile. Start by making a custom board for your opt-in gift. Then create 10-15 images that show off your freebie so other users will clickthrough and sign up.

Creating these additional images doesn’t have to be hard. Just think about how you can display some of the content from your gift. For example, Keri wanted to send traffic back to her opt-in, which was a 7-day keto-friendly eating plan.

She created 10 meal images. Then she pinned each image to her board named “Keto Start: 7 Day Meal Plan”. Every image was linked to her landing page. This brought her a flood of visitors that were interested in joining her list so they could access the menu.

Link Your Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are videos that are under 60 seconds. Not only are they wildly popular, they’re great for sending traffic to a website. However, there are a couple of hurdles you may run into.

While any user can create an Instagram story, you can’t make it link to a website of your choosing unless you meet two requirements. First, you need a business account (they’re free and it’s easy to upgrade to one) and second, you need 10,000+ followers.

If you’re just starting out, getting 10K followers isn’t that easy. So, when you create a story in Instagram, tag yourself. Then when users click on your Instagram story, they’ll be taken to your profile. From there, they can click the link in your bio. It’s not the most elegant solution but it gets the job done.

Using Pinterest and Instagram can be a fun way to drive traffic. Make sure you study what techniques are getting you the most engagement so you can duplicate your success again later.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Guest Blog on Popular Websites

When you first start out online, it can be hard to get any traction. You know you have a great message and you know who your ideal audience is, so why is it so hard to get their attention?

In order to begin growing your list and attracting customers, you need a large platform to send traffic to your website. You can borrow someone else’s platform (and their traffic) by guest posting on a popular website. Here’s how to do just that….

Find Popular Blogs

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a list of popular blogs. You can find these sites by using a search engine. Look for your niche and the word ‘guest post’ or ‘guest contributor’. For example, your search might look like this: “natural skin care + guest post” or “skin care + guest contributor” (without quotations).

Once you find a few websites, look at the blogger’s platform. How many subscribers do they have? How many followers on Instagram and Twitter? What about their Facebook page or group?

Ideally, you’re looking for bloggers that have 10K-100K in followers and fans. You can reach out to bloggers with millions of followers but it can be much harder to get their attention since they typically receive hundreds of guest posts.

Read the Posts

After you’ve found a few bloggers that look like they might be a good fit for you, start reading their posts. You want to read the past 2-3 months of content. This ensures that you don’t pitch an idea that they’ve recently covered.

As you read, look for gaps that the blogger may have forgotten to cover. For example, Keri found a keto blog that would be a great fit for her audience. As she read posts on the site, she quickly discovered that the blogger hadn’t talked about how to handle the holidays without abandoning the keto diet.

Engage in the Community

The next step you want to take is to interact with the blog’s readers. You can do this by commenting on posts, participating in Twitter discussions, and joining in Facebook groups or commenting on Facebook Live videos.

Spend a couple of weeks on this task. Take your time to really get to know the community. Keep in mind that many of these people may very well become your subscribers in the future.

Follow the Guidelines

Many bloggers have submission guidelines on their sites. They explain what the blogger expects and gives you inside information that can be useful. For example, some bloggers prefer to only receive a “pitch” or short idea from you rather than a long blog post you’ve already written. Knowing this saves you time and effort.

Reach Out to the Blogger

Once you’ve read the guidelines, it’s time to contact the blogger behind the scenes. The best way to do this is usually by email. However, some bloggers may prefer you fill out their contact form. When in doubt, use the method that the blogger asked for.

In your message, let the blogger know that you are a regular reader. If the blogger prefers a pitch, let her know what your idea is and give a brief outline of your post. If the blogger prefers to receive the full post, send it in the body of your email. This makes it less likely to be flagged as spam since you haven’t added an attachment.

Guest blogging is a simple way to grow your mailing list. But it’s not an instant process. It takes time to find good blogs and build a rapport with the communities behind them.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Using Video to Grow Your List

My friend Keri has started her very first list. But she wants to grow it quickly so she asked me for suggestions on what to do. And I recommended she post videos to social networks.

But each network is different in the types of content that your viewers expect as well as how long your videos can be. So I'm sharing some tips with you…

Facebook Live for Discussions

Facebook Live is one of the best social networks for getting engagement in the form of likes, comments, and messages. It’s also the social network where viewers stay the longest. That means followers are more likely to watch your videos all the way to the end, rather than abandoning them halfway through.

When you start a broadcast (live video) on Facebook, the social network begins letting your friends and followers know that you’re on video. This notification system boosts the number of viewers you get. 

But Facebook doesn’t start telling your followers about your video until you’ve been recording for around 10 minutes. Many of your viewers will expect a longer video as well. So you’ll want to plan to be on Facebook Live for at least 15-20 minutes.

Instagram Stories for Behind-the-Scenes

While Facebook Live is great for discussions, Instagram Stories are designed to feel a bit more personal. That means they’re perfect for behind-the-scenes moments and quick check-ins.

Keep in mind that Instagram Stories are limited to sixty seconds or less. That makes it easy for you to create a lot of content but it also means you need to keep things brief. If you have a large amount of information to share, try to break it up over the course of several stories.

YouTube Videos for Search Results

When it comes to videos, don’t overlook YouTube videos. YouTube is considered the second most popular search engine in the world. That means you can send a lot of traffic back to your website or blog by simply posting videos to YouTube.

But YouTube video content is different from Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. The content on YouTube tends to be educational in nature. 

It’s also expected to be more polished and less “off the cuff” than other video sites. For this reason, you’ll want to use YouTube for tutorials, product demos, DIY content, and tips or “hacks” that your audience would find helpful.

Have a Link Ready

In your video, you’ll want to invite your viewers to check out your website. But take it a step further and provide a link. This link should be a landing page with an offer for a free gift with a sign up option. When visitors fill out the form, they should be automatically added to your email list so you can contact them in the future.

Video can be a wonderful way to reach your community and grow your list. But before you press record, make sure you have a few content ideas and a landing page prepared. This will make your videos flow much smoother and be a more enjoyable experience for both you and your viewers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Participate in Giveaway Events

One simple way to grow your mailing list is to participate in giveaway events. If you’ve never been part of a giveaway, you might be wondering what happens during one. Here’s how they typically work: one business owner decides to create a giveaway. She asks other online business owners to contribute a product of their own.

After the giveaway goes live, people can sign up for it. They typically give their email address and name. In exchange, they receive instructions on how to claim their goodies from each of the business owners. Then they use a coupon code or special link to access the product you’re giving away.

The advantage of contributing a product is that it grows your list. Depending on the giveaway you’re joining, you may get hundreds or even thousands of sign ups. Plus, you get to form valuable relationships with other online business owners.

So, if you’re interested in participating in a giveaway, how do you get started? Begin by following some of these tips…

Look for Giveaways

Before you can participate, you need to find the giveaways. Go to your business groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Make a post and ask for giveaway recommendations. You’ll probably have a few comments that can get you going in the right direction.

You may also want to try using a search engine. Go to Google and type in the names of marketers you know and the word giveaway. For example: Kelly McCausey + giveaway event. Another word that may be useful is “free summit”. For example: Angela Wills + free summit. (I have experience with both of these ladies - which is why I use them as examples. Check them out!).

Make a Product

Once you have a few giveaways that you’d like to participate in, you need to create a product. Don’t panic if you’ve never made a product. You can create one easily by using PLR content from
Coach Glue or Piggy Makes Bank.

Simply buy a PLR product, add your own branding and upload it to your website. Just make sure your product is relevant to your business.

If you sell weight loss products, then creating a product on Google Analytics isn’t likely to attract your target customers. But if your product was about natural cleaning solutions, then your ideal audience would enjoy your product and happily download it.

Write 2-3 Emails

A requirement for many participants in a giveaway event is that they email their list. Even if you only have one subscriber, create a series of emails about the event.

Your first message could be about the giveaway and how excited you are to be part of it. In the second message, talk about the giveaway and highlight a few products that might appeal to your subscribers. 

Your third message should be sent to your subscribers on the final day of the event. Mention how much you’ve enjoyed the event then remind your list that it’s the last day to claim their freebies. Encourage them to sign up so they don’t miss out.

Don’t Be Bummed…

Some (but not all) giveaways have certain requirements. For example, one host only wants contributions from business owners who have a list of 5,000+ subscribers. Others may want you to have a product on a specific topic in order to participate.

If you see these giveaways, don’t get discouraged. Keep a list of them and when you’ve grown your list or have a product on that topic, you can join next time.

Participating in giveaways is fun and rewarding. But there is some initial set up work to make sure everything flows smoothly for your new subscribers.

Monday, November 19, 2018

List Building Basics

My friend Keri just started a website for her new keto lifestyle. She enjoys sharing her fitness journey. Although she’d originally meant for the site to be a hobby, she has decided to turn it into a business thanks to some encouragement from me!

When Keri reached out to me to say she was going to start her business, she wanted to know the first step she should take in her new venture.

And of course, the first thing I told her was to start growing her email list.

How do you build a list if you don't have one?  You can do this by offering a free gift. When visitors to your website sign up for the gift, it’s delivered to them automatically. Their email address is kept in a database so you can email these subscribers again and again.

Start by Choosing a Service

Before you can begin building a list, you’ll need to subscribe to a mailing list service. The mailing list provider will keep a copy of your subscribers’ personal information so you can email them again in the future.

I use AWeber. I have used them for several years and have found them to be very dependable and affordable. Another budget-friendly option for new entrepreneurs is MailChimp. If you have a larger budget or need custom help from a mailing list provider, then you’ll want to give ConvertKit or Drip a try.

Create a List

Once you have an account with a mailing list service, you’ll need to create your very first list. You can call this list whatever you like but in some cases, subscribers can see the title of the list. So, it’s usually best to go with something generic like “Newsletter Subscribers” or in my case  “Ninja Marketers”.

Make Your Welcome Email

When someone subscribes to your new list, they’ll be sent an email automatically. This is the welcome email and it’s one of the first emails that your subscribers will see from you.

In your welcome email, you’ll want to greet your subscriber. Thank them for signing up then provide a link to your free gift so they can download it. Remember, the opt-in freebie should be something that your visitors will find valuable.

Keri’s opt-in is a seven-day keto friendly menu. She did this so she could introduce newbies to the keto way of eating. In her welcome email, she includes a link to the PDF that contains the menu.

Email Often

Some online business owners make the mistake of building an email list that they never message. They rarely email their subscribers and on the rare occasion that they do, they see a high number of unsubscribes. That’s because they were quiet so long that subscribers forgot about their brand.

You don’t want that to happen to your list, so make it a priority to email yours regularly. When you’re first starting out, you want to send out a message 2-3 times a week.

Share Valuable Content

Of course, you shouldn’t email your subscribers just to say you did it. You need to send emails with valuable information inside. If your list doesn’t feel they’re getting anything helpful from you, they’ll stop reading your emails.

Think of quick tips that you could easily share with your audience. Keri often emails her list with sugar-free dessert recipes, ideas on how to make popular dishes keto-friendly, and thoughts about her own food log. Sending this information helps her subscribers connect with Keri and open her emails. 

I share marketing tips and frequently host challenges for subscribers to my list. My information is designed to help my readers build a thriving business through online marketing.

Starting your own list can be fun and exciting. But remember, that your goal is to help your people. By sharing useful information, you’re serving your community and they’ll appreciate that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Work?

I'm pretty sure I'm about to piss off a whole lot of people...

But if you've been around me any length of time, then you know I call it like I see it.

So here goes...

How come so many people who say you want to make money don't want to do the work to actually make money?

And then when you fail, you get all angry or defensive?

And then when I challenge you on what action you actually took, you act offended?

Did I miss something? Or are you still looking for that magic, non-existent get-rich-quick-in-your-sleep-with-no-effort-kinda-business?

Personally, I think that's exactly what you are looking for.  Because it seems that we have become somewhat "entitled."  And that is not a good thing.

In this era of instant gratification, have we forgotten how to work for what we want?  Work first.  Then reward.  That's how it is...or at least how it used to be.  If I wanted good grades in school, I studied and did my homework and took my tests.  There was no "extra credit" to help me pass if I was failing due to lack of work.  (On the other hand, there was always help available for those who were putting in their best effort and still having problems).

If I wanted my allowance, I was expected to do my chores.  At the end of the week, I was rewarded with some money.  When I was 14, I got my first "real" job.  And I noticed it was the same way there.  I was expected to complete my work.  At the end of the work week I was rewarded with a paycheck.

When I decided I wanted to try out for sports, or choir, or orchestra, I had to perfect my skills (practice!  More work!). If I did, I was rewarded with a place on the team.  And if I wasn't good enough, I was told "Sorry, you didn't make it."  And I survived.  If it was something I really wanted like music or academics, I went back and practiced more and harder so I could try again.  And sometimes I just had to admit that athletics is just not my thing.

It's still the same today.  When I decided to launch my own business, I studied with other successful entrepreneurs.  I did what they told me I should do.  Occasionally, I found something they suggested didn't work for me.  But I discovered that if I just kept putting in the effort and learning all I could, eventually everything clicked!  And I was making money!

I know this probably sounds very old-fashioned.  I am officially classified as a "senior citizen" now.  But if just seems to me that there are more and more people expecting someone to just hand them success without them ever having to put in the work. 

I see more and more of the ads like these:

"Make 6-figures in 90 days with no selling, no product, no website, no list."  Seriously?  What business is this?

"Join today and we'll build your team for your!"  Really?  Do you really want a team filled with people who are expecting someone else to do the work?

And it's not just business...

"Eat all you want, eat what you want, and still lose weight!"  What kind of drug do you have to take for that to happen?  And what are the side effects?  

"Does something bother you?  We have a pill (or a lawyer) for that!"  Don't get me wrong.  Sometimes pills and lawyers can be good things.  I can definitely vouch for that!  But it seems to have gotten a bit excessive.

I have a suggestion for all of you "would-be entrepreneurs" who are busily blaming it on the industry, their coach, the government, their lack of family or friends support, their age, their gender, their education, or all the other excuses for your failure.  Why don't you just try doing the work!

Now that I've ruffled more than a few feathers, I'm sure...I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I'm Hobnobbing With Hollywood! Meet Joie Gharrity!

Image may contain: Joie Gharrity, smiling
Facebook know I love them,  I'm not talking about those spammy everybody-vomit-your-links-endlessly type of groups.  I mean real Facebook groups designed to create a community.  Done properly, they are a great place to build relationships.  That's where I met this month's Success Story.  She runs an awesome group called Branding for Professional Business Women!  Everyone meet Joie Gharrity.  And when you're finished reading this, go join her group!  See you there!

1. Joie, tell us about yourself.

I am the Founder of 113 Branding Digital Media Studio. I'm a Brand Director, Creative Producer, Author, and International Speaker. I have worked in the Hollywood entertainment industry for 15+ years at top companies, in film, television, original web content, and branded entertainment. I was hand-picked by the ABC Studio President to launch the first multi-media startup business for The Walt Disney Company.

I was inspired to launch 113 Branding because she realized that most entrepreneurs were not focused on standing in their own Spotlight and selling themselves, which impacts their long-term success. I integrate my strategic branding and content development vision with both the creative and business sides of the entertainment industry. 


2. Tell us about your book

In my book The Red Carpet Guide to Visibility and Influence, I share branding strategies, techniques, tools, and tips that can be implemented easily. I am passionate about being of service and working with entrepreneurs to help them gain Superstar Visibility and Influence in the marketplace. 


3. Why did you write this book?

I truly believe that it is your birthright as an entrepreneur to stand in your Visibility and Influence Spotlight and shine bright. It has nothing to do with the last name you are born into or your vocation. It does have to do with living your true purpose turning up your Visibility and Influence Spotlight and allowing your Influence to shine.

4. How has being a Hollywood insider helped with your current career?

I have taken my Hollywood insider background along with the strategies, tools and tips and repurposed them specifically for entrepreneurs to stand in their Spotlight. I consider entrepreneurs stars in the business world. And I treat them accordingly.

5. What can Hollywood teach us about branding and marketing?

To step fully out of the shadows and embrace your gifts and talents by getting Visible and increasing your Influence. Running a business is much like filling theater seats. It takes a minimum of two years before a feature film goes into the theaters. The minute a movie gets a green light the studio along with the producing team immediately start working on getting the buzz up in the marketplace. They do not wait until the project is complete or perfect. As an entrepreneur, you want to hit the ground running to grow the Visibility and Influence about your projects and services before you launch so that there are buyers waiting when you go live. 

6. It appears that in Hollywood, it’s still “not what you know but who you know”.  Would you say this is correct?  How can knowing the right people help you build your brand and expand your business?

A well know quote of mine is “Only together can we soar higher and higher.” It is impossible to build a thriving brand without a huge tribe and network. Getting out of your own backyard is also an important piece to growing your brand. Knowing lots of the “right people” should be a priority for every entrepreneur who is serious about building a sustainable business.

7. What has been the most difficult part of getting your message out?

Visibility takes courage. Many people have grown up not necessarily being seen and heard in a big way. Nor have they been encouraged to stand in their Spotlight and own their gifts and talents. I encourage people daily to make it a habit. It takes a minute to really get comfortable with the Visibility Spotlight. However, it is so worth it!

8. Do you have any resources that you would recommend for entrepreneurs – or anyone – struggling to make themselves stand out? 

I have a Huffington Post article called Doubleand Triple Dip Your Way to Massive Brand Visibility. It is a network driven 113 Branding Strategy that is based on the experience of working in Hollywood. We have a very unique way that we network that leverages each other’s influence.

9. I love your book and think the topic is SOOO important.  You’ve been hard at work promoting your book and your brand.  And quite well, I might add.  Do you have any tips to share on promoting yourself?

BRAG, BRAG, BRAG. I have gotten push back on my encouraging specifically women to brag. However, I do not consider this to be a negative three letter word. In Hollywood I was taught and encouraged to embrace my wins and to share them with others. How is someone going to know to work with you or buy your products and services if they don't know about them. Standing in our expertise, gifts and talents is your birthright. Shine a bright light on everything you are doing in pre-production, production and post production is my advice and allow the marketplace to see your greatness.

10. What other advice would like to share with new entrepreneurs? 

Being an entrepreneur is one of the best titles and jobs in the world. Embrace it and shout from the rooftops that you are an entrepreneur. I see entrepreneurs sometimes skirt around their title and what they do at times because there can be a stigma in the marketplace. Kick that to the curb and stand loud and proud.

11. Where can we purchase your book? 

12. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Stand in your Spotlight, get Visible and grow your Influence. Your future self will thank you!