Ah… The campaign is complete!
The cart has closed, the results are in, you hit your goals, and things in your business are starting to get back to “normal.” It’s tempting to just mentally close the door on sales and get back to doing the creative work you love. (Or jump head first into teaching your online course!)
But before you get too comfortable, I recommend you take a bit of time to reflect on your launch campaign so you can get better launch results the next time you run a campaign.
And before you ask, for our purposes, a launch campaign is any time you work to draw attention to a product or service, new or old, live or evergreen.
a.k.a. YES! This totally applies to you
To create better launch results, ask yourself…
Now if you’re a regular reader, you already know that I’m going to tell you that for better launch results you need to stop and analyze your results and goals before you move forward. I’ve already written about the five numbers you need to watch for a successful sales campaign, but today I also want to encourage you to examine the experience in the following ways:
How did the campaign feel to you?
Not every campaign will feel like the culmination of all your work to this moment, bursting forward in a fully realized expression of your creative energy. That said, it should feel authentic and like your messages were an extension of your personality. In a perfect world, talking to potential customers would feel like chatting with friends, and you slept well each night the cart was open because you were confident that everyone on your team anticipated every hitch before it happened.
Now, we all know this isn’t a perfect world, and your launch hit some hiccups along the way. That’s why I want you to slow down and examine your experience – in terms of your numbers, but also regarding your feelings. Because data is crucial, but how you feel about your business does too! I want you to listen to your gut and take a few notes.
- When did you feel relaxed and at ease? What did you love about the campaign?
- Which pieces of content felt natural, authentic, and right?
- Who on your team impressed or surprised you in a good way and why?
- When were you nervous, scared, or frankly uptight?
- What felt phony, forced, or fake to you?
- Who on your team needs a bit of additional training or some redirection?
Get a mug of tea or a glass of wine and ponder these questions. Maybe grab a journal and write down your thoughts and impressions. Let your creative mind wander a bit as you contemplate this last campaign and see what bubbles up for you.
These insights – the internal, quiet, emotional ones – are compelling signs you can use to get better launch results during your next campaign and elevate your marketing game.
What worked for your team, and why?
People who enjoy their jobs deliver better results. (You included!) People are even more efficient when you give them the right tools, empower them to be creative, encourage them to do their best, and make it safe for them to make mistakes. But you can’t get your team to that level if you don’t take time right now – while this whole experience is fresh on everyone’s mind – to examine what worked and why. Ideally, all together.
Now, you might have noticed that I’m focused on the positive here. There’s a good reason for this. Most of us don’t need encouragement to complain, express our frustrations or see where we fell short of our goals. We humblebrag, instead of just sharing accomplishments. When you ask people about the wins, you’ll usually hear about the struggle to get there too.
The problem is that as the leader of a small team, it’s easy to put too much focus on mistakes that our team members and freelancers make. If you aren’t intentional about how you give feedback, being under financial pressure and concerned about results means you’re at risk of becoming a terrible boss – like I used to be! (Embarrassing story and tips on how to avoid that here.)
So talk about where you fell short, but also challenge yourself and your team to explore what you can learn from what went well. It’s a habit that will soon have your team looking out for ways to get those results again and again.
Added benefit: They won’t dread post-mortem meetings with you. Win-win, everyone!
How were your audience’s energy and engagement levels?
These days, people are selling to your audience members wherever they go. That means your audience instinctively knows when content creators are gearing up for a sales cycle, and they act accordingly.
Your audience is made up of three groups of people, and they all react differently to sales messages:
- Hot audience members (aka Super Fans): If they’re a super fan who loves being part of the tribe, they may get excited. They’ll engage with the message, join the discussion, and mention the conversation to their friends.
Size: This is a small, cream of the crop, section of your audience
Conversion rate: They are very likely to buy from you, and will make up a strong proportion of the typical 2-5% of a purchasing audience. They most readily buy during an early bird offer, or in the first days of a campaign.
- Warm audience members: This is the part of your audience that follows you and is open to receiving help to solve their problem. They will have a range of feelings about your brand, depending on how well they know you, how much you’ve helped them in the past, the cost of your offer and how urgent their need is for help.
Size: This is the majority of your audience
Conversion rate: A small percentage of them are likely to buy from you, and will round out the typical 2-5% of a purchasing audience. They most readily buy after receiving well-timed education, urgency based reminders and to purchase later in the campaign.
- Cold audience members: These audience members are disengaged. They’ve stopped opening your emails or reading your posts because they already found help or a solution for the problem your work solves, or they’ve realized you’re not the best person to help them. These people unsubscribe from your emails, unfollow your account and occasionally email you explaining why they won’t be purchasing.
Size: They’re a small percentage of your overall audience, but it often feels like there’s a lot of them because we notice disengagement.
Conversion rate: None – but we shouldn’t despair! They were never your people, so be happy that they’re finding what’s right for them. (Your people will find you.)
But, if our warm audience members are tired of sales campaigns (because it seems like everyone we follow is selling something right now) or the conversation is boring, predictable, or pushy – some of them will just check out. They open fewer and fewer emails, stop commenting on blog posts, and basically just take a break from the community.
We all do this. Our audiences do it too.
During your last campaign, some pieces of content generated excitement and enthusiasm, but others didn’t. Some people unsubscribed from your list or stopped opening your emails, but others got excited and shared your stuff with friends.
- What was the overall energy level of your audience?
- What kinds of feedback did you get on your posts and after your events?
- Which ideas did your audience respond to most on social media? On your blog? By email?
- Did you have to push the conversation or did people start engaging in social media or within your community on their own?
Use the answers to these questions – and your overall perception of your audience’s enthusiasm – to evaluate the quality of your message and consider the relationships you’ve been building up between campaigns. Consider expanding on the things that worked in the future, and paying more active attention to audience building before your next campaign starts. You may also want to eliminate or minimize, the parts of your story that didn’t get as strong of a response.
How did your traffic paths perform?
During this campaign, you built a variety of bridges for the general public to find your business. These are ways people can discover you, so they have a chance to see your message and your campaign. Online traffic paths are more commonly called referrals, and I use the phrase traffic paths to refer to both online and offline sources.
The traffic paths that will come to mind first are probably places you actively marketed your campaign – maybe Instagram, or by being a guest on podcasts. Some traffic paths will be ones you’ve used before – maybe Facebook ads or guest posts, freebie offers or Pinterest. Others were new to you. In my last post, I encouraged you to plan an experiment and try building a new bridge in some way. Well, it’s time to evaluate your efforts and see how things went.
- Where did the traffic my website received come from during the campaign? (Tutorial on this here!)
- Ask customers who purchased how they found out about you.
- How effective were the ads, the freebies, the guest posts, etc.?
- What was I most excited about doing that drew attention to my business at this time?
Think in terms of volume – the number of unique visitors drawn to your stuff – and quality – the number of conversions you received from the traffic. Then make some decisions about how you want to invest your time and money to build traffic paths that create better launch results in the future. (Effectively, do more of what works!)
Which resources need to be updated?
So, each campaign requires a variety of resources – things like graphics, content, and freebies – as well as team members and outside support. During the campaign, you likely adjusted and created new graphics or content.
Review these campaign resources and ask yourself:
- Why did we think these were required when we started?
- How useful were they in practice?
- Do they need to be updated?
- How effective they were during the campaign, and how well do they fit future campaigns?
For example, you may want to keep some graphics, or iterate on their style and take note to set aside what wasn’t as effective. Similarly, if you received new questions, you might want to add them to your FAQ and team training or marketing playbook.
You may also have noticed gaps in your team. I don’t mean gaps in how certain team members performed (although that might come up too) but functional roles or services that were necessary but left out of your initial plan. If you had to grab some help at the last minute – or work through the night in order to get things done on your own – you have a gap.
Gaps happen, and we find them and determine how to fill them through experience. They’re part of creating better launch results over time because no one has all the answers until they get a little experience.
- What felt rushed?
- Where did we need to improvise a last-minute solution?
- What do we want to never do again?
- How can you fill the gaps you’ve found for the next time around?
Reflection, like I’ve described here, is a part of growing as a business owner and as a marketer. And without sself-reflection you can’t hope to learn and get better launch results as you progress. These are times for reflection and analysis are when you can evaluate your performance and make changes for the future. Be honest with yourself, and your team. Celebrate your successes and then brainstorm ways to improve the things that honestly need a little tweaking.
Marketing is a learned skill, full of lessons gathered as you go. Join me for a new workshop to turn those lessons into a Simple Sales System as authentic and customized as your business.
Don’t other people’s marketing campaigns always look like one part magic, one part miracle?
We know that behind the scenes, for a business to be a success there’s a lot of hard work, but from the outside, it’s really hard to tell what that actually is. Aside from Facebook ads, that is. (Am I right?)
I’ve had the privilege of going behind the scenes in all different kinds of businesses over the last 8-years. I’ve had clients launch a new service and make $2000 – and be thrilled! I’ve seen clients launch a new product and earn $80k – and be really frustrated!
But something I get asked a lot when I talk with my boss friends and readers is what do the “big guys” do differently to get such great engagement and strong sales?
How do they seem to create one profitable marketing plan and launch after another?
And most importantly: HOW CAN I GET ME SOME OF THAT? :)
I promise, there’s no hocus pocus involved, and while results might feel divine, they are really the result of measured actions that you can accomplish too.And yes, this all applies to service-based businesses just as much as to product creators. The key is acting on this information – taking it and doing something with it, instead of just thinking about it.
Are you game?
Then read on!
There are three crucial pieces your profitable marketing plan should include:
I suggest you start by putting together a plan for the story you’ll tell, define the traffic paths you’ll focus on to reach your audience, and gather the resources you’ll need during your campaign.
1. Story: Start a compelling conversation
From your perspective, a campaign is about the product or service you’re promoting. That’s why you spend time identifying the features of your product and the various aspects of your service that set you apart from your competition.
But this is where new marketers often get stuck and sound like infomercials: for your audience, the product or service is not the focus. For them, your campaign is actually about engaging with your story, getting involved in the conversation, and becoming invested in the dialogue you create with your content.
Your audience wants a compelling story that teaches them something first. Your product or service should be a natural, helpful next step that comes second.
If you’ve focused primarily on your product in the past, you’re not alone. Many beginning marketers do just that, but over time they learn to create conversations that lead to better conversions. They learn and develop their marketing muscles to create one profitable marketing plan after another.
So, this is your opportunity to do things differently – and in a more effective and value driven way. Write a story based email funnel, instead of a promotion based email funnel.
To plan your story based sales funnel, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the primary client need I want to highlight?
- How does it feel (from the client’s perspective) to have this need?
- What words does my client use to describe this situation?
- How can I frame the question or issue?
- How can I challenge assumptions and deepen the conversation?
- How does my offering solve this problem or add value here?
Use your answers to identify themes that matter to your audience and tie them back to the solutions you provide. Then use those themes to genuinely helpful content that illustrates your point, and you’ll start people talking about you and engaging with your brand.
2. Traffic Paths: Build bridges into your business
Now that you’ve planned a compelling story – one that will capture attention and create conversation around your brand – build a bridge to connect you with your audience.
Start by planning how you will connect with the people who already know about your work. You don’t have to do anything new here, you can simply focus on the paths that have worked well for you in the past.
These can include:
- Blog posts and your newsletter
- Email marketing to a segment or more of your list
- Social media engagement include organic reach and paid posts
- Special events such as trainings, webinars, etc. for your existing tribe
(Not sure which traffic path is most effective for you? I wrote a blog post recently about the 5 most important metrics to watch, and one of them is traffic paths. You can read it here.)
Of course, not everyone knows about your amazing work yet, even though they need exactly what you offer. So, let’s include a few traffic paths to help you reach new audiences with your brilliance.
A few options to consider are:
- Joint ventures to reach a compatible audience
- Affiliate marketing relationships
- Guest posts and podcast interviews
- Webinars or live events to attract newbies to your story
- Content such as a video series, free download, or workbook
Clearly, you can’t use every one of these traffic paths in your campaign. You’re building a few bridges here, not creating traffic gridlock. The goal is not to do more, it’s to identify what works for you and make your efforts as effective as possible, so don’t feel pressure to do it all, okay?
Wondering how to select the “correct” traffic paths for your audience? I recommend following your instincts and diving into a little experimentation. Step out and add something new to your next campaign, even if you are satisfied with what you’ve done so far. You never know what you might discover with a little trial and error.
3. Resources: Proper preparation for positive results
A profitable marketing plan requires more resources than you think at first, which is why many people scramble to pull things together and get what they need. Preparing properly will ensure you are ready to respond quickly as your audience engages with your story crosses the bridges you build to your brand.
- Fully Trained Team – The time to build marketing skills in your team is NOW – before your campaign begins. Try to anticipate each person’s role and work with them to create a detailed plan for their actions during the campaign. Consider both your administrative needs and the creative roles you need to fill and plan for any needed training time in advance of your campaign.
- Support – Time to look at your contact list and think about the people who can support you during your campaign. Friends with a similar audience may be willing to promote the content you publish during your campaign. They may also be interested in a joint venture or allowing you to be a guest on their blog or podcast. Start the conversation with them now, and make sure you both feel comfortable working together when the campaign begins.
- Collateral – Will you run ads? Share your content on social media? You need graphics. Will you run a webinar? Time to check out some software. Freebies for contests or list building or traffic sources? Put that stuff together now before you really, desperately need it. (And before your freelancer’s schedule is booked!)
Put your preparation time in, and watch it bloom into a profitable marketing plan.
Sure, planning and preparation that go into building a profitable marketing plan is a lot of work. If you’re putting together a campaign for the first time, you might be uncertain and feel overwhelmed, too. It’s tempting to skip the planning steps and just see what happens. But trust me, you don’t want to do that.
Something happens when you have a plan – even if the plan isn’t perfect. Most importantly, you give yourself a chance to improve your results over time. And while you’re learning, you feel more confident, more relaxed, and more engaged with your audience. And that, my friends, is pure magic.
Feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to promote your products and services? Marketing is a learned skill – and we get better at it over time. Check out this walk through of planning for marketing success, one step at a time.
Who decides how you market your business? You or your team?
Seems like a silly question on the surface, doesn’t it? Of course you make the marketing decisions and you rely on your team to help you implement them! But there’s a hidden dynamic you may not have considered – your team’s marketing skills may be dictating your strategy.
Many of us select marketing tactics based on the skills, abilities, and interests of our team. Not sure how to make Facebook ads work for you? You’ll likely avoid them unless someone on your team has experience in this area. Working with a gifted graphic artist? No wonder you’re excited about using Pinterest and Instagram as traffic sources, regardless of how your target audience uses these platforms.
How to elevate your team’s marketing skills before you launch
Your marketing toolbox is very likely limited by the skillset of your team. So, if you want to elevate your marketing, you need to elevate the skills available to you.
1. Evaluate your marketing skills objectively
This effort begins with a process of objective evaluation. Each person on your team (including yourself) has strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to evaluate these objectively – without regard for how much you like the person in question or their work ethic. It’s not about personality – it’s about skillset.
Since marketing is a learned skill, we’re simply establishing a starting point for growth – not making a judgment or determining who “belongs” on the team. As the leader, it’s up to you to bring the objectivity and look at results delivered rather than other factors.
2. Create a collaborative plan for growth
Once you’ve established the benchmark, determine areas and opportunities for growth by discussion your needs with each individual on the team. Ask your team member about her interests or his professional goals and aspirations. You may be surprised to discover a designer with an interest in webinars or a writer who’d enjoy learning more about Pinterest.
Look for ways to align the interests and goals you uncover with your marketing needs. This way, you can focus on building the marketing skills your business has access to in a way that empowers your people as it elevates your work
3. Take a growth friendly action
Growth is hard sometimes, especially when the required skillset involves multiple details and a fair bit of trial and error – such as marketing. Your team members will need positive leadership from you in order to achieve their growth goals. It’s easy to say you’re growth friendly, but acting like it takes time, effort and patience – especially when mistakes happen.
Here’s how you can intentionally support them as you all grow together:
1. Lead by example
Hopefully you evaluated your own skills along with those of the team (if not, go back and do this!). Be open about your own growth goals and share your efforts to expand your skills honestly with your team members. Talk about the books you’re reading and the courses you’re working through – and show them (by your example) that you’re all in this together.
2. Set clear expectations
Sustainable growth is quite often incremental, so it’s helpful to set small progress goals for team members. Don’t expect someone to master Facebook advertising in one day, but set a clear expectation of steady progress and offer feedback as small goals are achieved.
Sustainable growth is quite often incremental, so it’s helpful to set small progress goals for team members. Don’t expect someone to master Facebook advertising in one day, but set a clear expectation of steady progress and offer feedback as small goals are achieved.
3. Provide learning opportunities
Keep your eyes open for webinars, courses, and other learning opportunities that would benefit your team and paying them for the time it takes to complete them. Consider tasking them with “experiments” too, so they can learn by doing and try new tactics and skills without fear of trouble if they make a minor mistake.
4. Share support and encouragement
Learning is challenging and difficult work. We need cheerleaders to boost our morale and help us stay motivated. Be a cheerleader for your people, and create moments to celebrate as a group.
Be willing to hire up in order to elevate the team.
As you move through this process, you may realize you need more (in terms of marketing skills) than your team can easily deliver. While it can be tempting to try and “make do”, I encourage you to contract an expert to fill the gaps. It gives your team more bandwidth, reduces the chance of being overloaded and making mistakes. A little time put in by an expert can create excellent results fast and keep your tools or strategies current. That’s so much better for business than spending time and money on mediocre results.
Here are a few examples:
- Work with an experienced web developer to add more marketing functionality to your website or shop website.
- Collaborate with a skilled copywriter to create the foundational story and message you use to talk about your business and your services.
- Consult with a marketing consultant to assess your overall strategy and create a plan your team can easily implement.
These are just a few examples of ways intentionally investing in expert services can elevate your team and improve your results. Be open to using your resources to get strategic advice you can apply over and over again to your business. When you need to contract outside help to step up your game, that’s a sign that you’re doing things right.
Looking to elevate your marketing skills? Let’s work together to create your Simple Sales System so you (and your team) can easily achieve the next level of results for your business. Learn more.
Running a marketing campaign for your business feels chaotic, right?
So much work goes into a campaign in the hopes of a big return. It can be emotional and stressful and sort of crazy feeling. Recently, I shared my view that confidence is the cure for chaos. (You can read that post here if you missed it.)
But, even when you believe strongly in the value of your work and the quality of your message, you can still get frazzled. There’s just so much to do for each campaign or launch. Often it seems that even seasoned pros are “reinventing the wheel” each time – trying new tactics, pulling together content, and assembling a team to help you.
A marketing playbook makes marketing sustainable and less chaotic.
A marketing playbook is simply documentation of the key components of your sales system with a special emphasis on the crucial steps of each campaign. The format isn’t as important as the content – you can create your playbook in a tool like Google Docs, Evernote or Asana. You can even make a manual guide in a binder if you’re old school.
But, regardless of how you put it together, your playbook should include some essential elements.
Your Marketing Playbook:
Rules of Engagement
Marketing involves engagement with your audience. You answer questions, respond to comments, and post new content. You evaluate opportunities to expand your reach – maybe through collaborative opportunities like guest posts and podcasts. Lots of decisions are made quickly, especially during a campaign.
That’s why everyone on your team (including you) needs to know the rules and have a way to easily access them if something seems wonky or unclear.
Think through what you will and won’t do when marketing your products and services, and then document your rules using simple, clear language.
Here are a few examples:
- Respond to inquiries within 12 hours.
- Use positive, upbeat language.
- Invite people to join our free Facebook Group.
- Offer multiple payment options from our approved list.
- Use these social media platforms…
- Ignore complaints or audience expressions of frustration.
- Negotiate deliverables or pricing of our offers.
- Use these social media platforms…
Get the idea here? By clearly defining what you will (and won’t) do as a team, you create internal expectations and external consistency during your launch.
Your audience will hear the same tone, feel supported consistently by everyone on the team, and know exactly what to expect. Team members will have simple boundaries to guide them as they move through the campaign, creating confidence throughout your organization.
Roles and responsibilities
Unless you are truly a solo-preneur who does everything (and I mean everything) on your own, you have a team. From programs and services to contractors and freelancers, you assemble a team of skilled support to work with you during each campaign.
To avoid confusion and encourage collaboration, include information about roles and responsibilities in your marketing playbook. This way everyone understands his or her role, how their work impacts the team – and everyone doesn’t have to go through you.
(And bonus points for not asking freelancers to attend your long, group launch meetings.)
- Who will design the graphics and write the content?
- How far in advance do we need to book freelancers who will be doing this work? (Hint: more than one month’s notice is standard)
- Who will approve it and what is the approval process?
- Where can others go with questions or to access the creative assets needed during the campaign?
- Who is the primary contact for potential customers?
- Who is tasked with responding to social comments and inquiries?
- Are there any live events that require real time support?
- Are there templates to guide responses or answer questions?
- Who is the administrative lead for the team?
- How are administrative duties divided within the team?
- Who handles escalated issues or concerns?
You may also want to include contact information for key team members – including their time zone and working hours – and outline suggestions for how to best communicate inside the team. Will you use a tool such as Asana, Basecamp, or Trello to collaborate? Will you communicate via Slack or share documents using Google Drive? Include this info in your marketing playbook.
Resources and readiness
Your marketing playbook isn’t complete without a plan to prepare for and curate the resources everyone will need to execute. Your goal here is to guide training, encourage continuous improvement, and make it easy to access the tools needed to promote your products successfully.
- Resources: Each campaign includes a mix of ad graphics, planned posts and content, videos and webinar slideshows, and freebies to build engagement, etc. Even small things you might take for granted, like official branding, fonts and color codes shouldn’t be overlooked. Curate these resources so everyone on the team knows what to use – and where to find it – as they work. Make this easier for yourself by making a systematic way to find new information added after you write the playbook. For example, you could decide to give each campaign a new, named folder inside of a google drive folder called “Marketing.”
- Training & Reference: In a perfect world, every member of your team is adequately prepared for each campaign and comfortable in their role. In the real world, we use checklists, training materials, and background information as reference to help us complete our tasks. Compile that information and include it in your playbook.
- Continuous Improvement: Sometimes things go sideways in the middle of a campaign and sometimes we have a great idea or inspiring thought as we’re working the plan. These challenges and bursts of creativity are opportunities to improve for the future. Give your team a way to track these moments and report them to the group, and then set the expectation that ideas will be discussed after each campaign.
Your marketing playbook is a tool to help you build a sustainable, scalable sales system for your business – one that delivers results for you and your team. Of course, there’s a little more to it than a playbook. That’s why I created a new workshop to help you create your own Simple Sales System. Learn more here.
“Launch Mode” a.k.a. a socially acceptable euphemism for chaos.
At least, this is how it feels to many of us. We say things like “well, I’m in the middle of a launch right now, so…” or “That will have to wait until after the launch.” We use “the launch” as an excuse for missing details, avoiding conversations, and scarfing comfort food. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)
Because we’re in crisis … ahem… LAUNCH mode.
Running a launch campaign means we are currently trapped under the emotional weight of watching the numbers, sending the emails, A/B testing the funnel and struggling to find the right words to persuade. We’re stressed out, not sleeping, and asking everyone we’ve ever been in a mastermind group with to proofread our sales page copy.
Why? We’re running a launch campaign, for crying out loud! And that’s a BIG DEAL, right?
At least, it doesn’t have to be such a big deal. Launching doesn’t have to be a life-altering, cosmic event complete with hype and hyperbole and haagen-dazs.
You can make launching normal. It can be a routine, regular part of your business life that doesn’t overtake everything else. In fact, you can make your whole sales system a simple and efficient operational process that feels like “business as usual” to everyone in your organization. No fuss, no muss. (But you can still have a pint of chocolate truffle ice cream if you want, I promise.)
How do you work this miracle? Take the chaos out of your campaigns, chart a course for your year, and create consistency for your organization and your audience.
Make launching normal by taking the chaos out of your campaigns.
While a certain amount of chaos is part of life, there’s no reason for sales campaigns to feel like a hot mess of crazy. The chaotic experience is actually a result of limited planning and delegation that creates the feeling that you’re making things up as you go along.
In other words, you can avoid the chaos if you really want to.
I believe that planning cerates confidence, and confidence is the biggest chaos killer out there. When you’re confident in your product and confident that you’ve nailed your messaging and your story, you can avoid all kinds of chaotic moments of self-doubt and craziness.
So, take a deep breath. Remember why you’re amazing at what you do and why you believe this offer is incredibly important to the world. And – most importantly – decide that you’re going to wait until the END of the campaign to evaluate your results, rather than jumping into reaction mode (chaos alert) in the middle when things appear to be floundering.
Confidence is a mindset, my friends. You’ve got this.
Make launching normal by charting your course.
There’s an old saying out there that goes like this: “Proper prior planning prevents a pitifully poor performance.” It’s a bit annoying, honestly, but it’s true. The more you plan, the better prepared you are to navigate challenges, make course corrections, and achieve your goals.
That’s why I’m a huge advocate for planning. It might feel hypothetical or even like a waste of time, but it’s essential when you want to create sustainable, scalable sales systems in your business.
Start by mapping out the campaigns you’ve planned for the coming year. Perhaps you plan to promote your course or workshop twice in the next 12 months – once in April and once in October. Lovely, you’ve started your plan.
Now, consider what you need to publish before each campaign to prep your audience and create interest in your work. Go ahead and add this content (and the process of creating it) to your plan.
Then, step back for a moment and notice any gaps you have in your calendar. Look for times when you’re not running a campaign, and you’re not building toward a campaign. These are your open moments – time when you can build awareness, grow your audience, or slip in another campaign of some kind. Once you fill those gaps, you’ll have a general plan you can use to guide your marketing activities all year long.
Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Make launching normal by creating consistency.
Sustainability requires a simple, steady pace that fits your available resources and works within the limits and constraints of your business. One of the reasons campaigns feel so chaotic is the frantic pace that feels so foreign to the way we normally do things. You can avoid all of this drama by creating consistency over time.
What do I mean by consistency? I mean doing things the same way both during a campaign and in those non-campaign moments.
- Publishing the same number of blog posts in a time period
- Running ads to promote an email freebie (a.k.a. lead magnet) when you’re not promoting a campaign
- Evaluating your metrics on a regular cadence (weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Engaging in social media at the same pace and frequency
A couple of things happen when you force this kind of consistency on your team. First – everyone gets used to the pace. It becomes “business as normal” and doesn’t feel exhausting and mind-numbing.
Second – when you make launching normal instead of a stressful event, everyone’s skills improve because practice makes perfect. The consistent pace eliminates many of the mistakes that happen when things “ramp up” artificially during a campaign. People just know what to do and they get better at actually doing it.
I recommend creating consistency in your message too. The story you tell during your campaign will ideally feel like an extension of your normal work rather than a change of direction for purposes of promoting or selling something. Your audience will respond more naturally this way AND your team will feel comfortable engaging with prospective clients because the message is so completely relevant, consistent, and on brand.
Marketing actually is a normal function of your business.
If marketing doesn’t feel normal to you – if it feels more like something you do “when you remember” or “when you have time” – then you need to do a little work here. You need a Simple Sales System to help you create consistency in your marketing efforts and your results.
When everyone on your team knows what to do (and how to do it) to market your business, you will be amazed at how simple it feels. The chaos will disappear and you’ll be able to focus on scaling your business and your impact. The first stesp is to decide to step past the chaotic status quo and make launching normal, calm and strategic.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I’m offering a workshop designed to help you create the Simple Sales System you need to make your marketing sustainable and scalable. You can learn more about it here.
When you think about selling or launching, do you think about:
- High anxiety launches and focused intensity, or
- Quiet mastery and day-to-day implementation
If it were up to me, you’d think about the second. Why? Because sales is a function of your business, not an event. It should be business as usual, the normal way you do things, an everyday part of your operations. But that’s not how we think about it or even talk about it.
This high stress, high stakes launch strategy leaves money on the table.
It’s why selling and our sales goals don’t feel sustainable or comfortable or predictable. This all or nothing approach to launch strategy is part of why launching is so emotional (though it doesn’t have to be) and leaves us feeling drained when the cycle is finished.
It’s like the difference between making dinner night after night and hosting a huge dinner party for friends. The energy and investment are different, and so are the expectations. Dinner is sustainable. An endless series of dinner parties? Not so much.
So what’s the alternative for business owners who want revenue they can cheer about, plus sanity and down time?
Stop treating each launch or sales cycle as an event.
I’m just going to come out and say it: creating an elaborate launch experience from scratch time after time is truly the most expensive and draining way to sell anything.
Instead, identify the strategies and tactics that work best for your audience and systematize them:
- Map out conversations you will create with your marketing content.
- Decide in advance if you will advertise using social media and set a budget.
- Will you host a free workshop or use a free video series? Prepare it in advance.
- Create the email marketing series you’ll use and plan when you’ll publish it.
Just like your favorite recipes and standard pantry items, this type of preparation makes your sales efforts simple and sustainable. Creating marketing material in advance is like prepping food for several meals all at once… a great way to save time and cultivate peace!
Replace your launch strategy with a daily sales strategy.
I’m not talking about a sleazy, soul-sucking focus on hype. I’m talking about reassessing your launch strategy to see that nearly every conversation you have while operating your business is a sales conversation. Those customer service issues are really opportunities to add value and build a relationship. The people you meet in an online group or networking event or when interacting with a vendor are all potential customers who need what you sell.
Now don’t get me wrong: Creating a sales strategy for yourself and for your team doesn’t – and shouldn’t – mean that you pitch everyone you meet. (Friend, don’t be that person.)
Instead, your new launch strategy is about focusing on providing value, building relationship, and sharing the mission of your organization.
Teach everyone on your team to listen carefully and identify relationship building moments in every client communication and to be on the look out for where you or your team may self-sabotage sales.
Keep building relationships all through the launch.
Something typically happens when a business goes into “launch mode” and the cart opens. Relationship building efforts stop – and the focus shifts to sales, sales, sales. This is a HUGE mistake, and it’s one of the key ways you can leave money on the table.
Sure, sales are important. Don’t get me wrong here- I get that.
Here’s the thing: some people aren’t ready to buy. The timing isn’t right for them. They don’t understand the value. They are at a different place in their journey. Or they are NEW to your list, and they are still trying to figure out if they trust you and if they belong in your tribe. They need you to keep talking and building relationships with them, so they stick around and buy next time.
Be sure to create a path forward for people who aren’t ready to buy just yet. Give them a way to connect with you, engage further with your organization, and get settled in. Add relationship building material to your launch “menu” they way you’d put side dishes on the table to add nutritional value to a meal.
Share your message consistently and intentionally.
Here’s a little secret – you’re always inside a sales cycle.
Sometimes you are:
- Building brand awareness and increasing your audience.
- Sharing new ideas and gathering information.
- Teasing an upcoming promotional cycle to build excitement.
- Gathering feedback after a promotional campaign in order to dive deeper.
- Inviting people to work with you or consume a service you offer.
Each of these steps is part of the big picture of your sales cycle.
Not just the week when the cart is open, and the ads are running, and the emails are going out to your list. Each time you engage your audience you’re selling yourself, your message, and your organization
So share your message consistently. Create a story that combines your mission, values, and perspective and stick to it. The story shouldn’t change dramatically when the cart opens. If it does, you’re going to limit your effectiveness profoundly.
Instead, intentionally share your message in a way that aligns with where you are in the sales cycle, and where you’re going next.
An everyday sales strategy creates sustainable revenue – and successful launches.
There’s something comforting about the normal routine of a family dinner. While we might not know what’s being served when we come to the table, we can trust that we’ll leave happy and satisfied.
Moving from an event based launch strategy into a sales strategy creates that same kind of predictable rhythm for you, your team, and your audience. It builds confidence in your team by eliminating extra stress and emotion so sales can just be a normal part of day-to-day work.
Sustainable revenue comes when your audience knows you, trusts you, and knows what to expect from you. The consistency of an everyday sales strategy creates the ideal environment for your audience to buy – either now or later when the time is right.
Interested in moving beyond crazy to a sustainable, scalable sales system? Learn more about how our Simple Sales System Workshop can change your sales strategy and results in three days.
Measuring growth in our business ventures with a quarterly review can feel like a complex and all-engrossing task of its own. Keeping track of metrics like followers, email subscribers, and site views… all these numbers can feel very cold and unfriendly at times. Especially when we are trying to generate enthusiasm to build new and exciting opportunities for your business.
I think for a lot of us the reason why we struggle so much with our data and numbers in business is that we tend to lean more on right-brained thinking – artsy and visual thinking – than the left brain – logical and linear thinking.
These very different parts of our brains coexist in such a beautiful way that inspired me to write this post about how to start using your data numbers to grow your business, even if you relate to being more of a right-brained thinker.
One of the biggest ways I’ve used my data (Google Analytics, MailChimp, Social Media to be a few) to impact my business decisions is to bake what I learn into a quarterly review. At the end of each quarter, I review the last quarter data, interpret and digest what happened in relation to my goals, and then use that knowledge to shift my plans.
I want to be honest with you. I don’t always enjoy pulling this data and taking a look at the numbers.
I’m sensitive and sometimes I get emotionally triggered as to what some of those numbers are really saying about my business (and it’s not all good). And yet, tracking these numbers has become a very natural and powerful ritual.
I take a good hard look at what is working and not working with what I’m doing online, either where I am spending my time or money, to how I’m focusing my attention on a launch and attracting the right time of visit to our site.
Below are three areas of my business that my data has greatly informed in my last Q2 review (and that has shifted my work now in Q3). I hope this will inspire you to start looking at your data more often!
In Q2 I had one of my most successful course launches and one area I paid particular attention to was where I was getting the most traffic from as I was actively promoting and doing webinars for my launch.
Being able to directly see where traffic was coming from (and which traffic was leading to actual course registrations) shifted where I was focusing my efforts.
Key Metrics I Reviewed:
- Marketing Channel Conversion Rate
- Webinar Conversion Rate
- Site Visits from Affiliate Referral Posts
My Big Takeaway:
In this launch, the biggest learning was that I was getting more traction writing for affiliate sites and building those relationships instead of creating content for my own blog. I also compared this traffic information with how people were opening my emails and attending my launch webinars, to connect the dots on which topics and subject lines were resonating more with my audiences.
Launches can feel like an emotionally intense roller coaster, but bringing in some awareness to my data brought many decisions down to earth for me.
One of the most important learnings for me last Q2 was that doing too many different types of marketing for my ideal client was ineffective, confusing and draining. I knew that I had to start getting smart about where I spent my mental juice looking for client leads and how I presented myself as a brand.
As I could feel myself getting close to feeling completely burnt out, my body knew something needed to shift but the data was also giving me all sorts of signals as well.
When I published something cohesive with my branding and that I energetically fully believed in, I was getting the most meaningful comments and interactions from women following me. I also noticed a positive spike with vanity metrics like page views, email opens, and subscribers.
Spending time with these numbers (even though sometimes looking at email open rates can bring on negative emotions) got me to consider more closely my branding as well as redefining who my ideal client really was in the first place and what kind of problem I was solving for their business.
Key Metrics I Reviewed:
- Site Visits/Leads from Marketing Channels
- Site Visits/Leads from Affiliate Sites
- Podcast Downloads
My Big Takeaway:
Because of all this analysis, I’ve made extensive adjustments in my marketing to simplify and only focus on the efforts that are serving me and my ideal client in the best way with my present situation. At the end of the day, this was my podcast and affiliate marketing. It felt scary but I decided to put Instagram and Emails more in the background, and even though I still do them, I’m not as focused attracting quality traffic from these sources.
Again, my focus was on attracting meaningful leads, with the awareness that my data was bringing me.
Another essential area of my business that I’ve been focusing on for awhile is paying attention to all the qualitative data (not hard numbers or statistics about my business) floating around my ideal client by seeing what kinds of things she’s posting online.
Things like what they suffer with right now in their business, what they are reading, what they are listening to, how they like to be worked with, how they like to be sold to, and what services they do buy, were all questions I became more and more in tune with answering.
At the end of the day, this is really about my client’s data and how what I do in my business can serve them. Suddenly, I was becoming a curious listener, picking up from other podcasts, blogs, interviews, emails, Instagram Stories, anywhere my client was emitting a signal on the internet.
Key Metrics I Reviewed:
- Types of Issues Ideal Client Suffers with
- What services do they buy online
- How do they like to work online
- How much $$ do they spend on digital services per year
My Big Takeaway:
Luckily, all this data is pretty readily available, it was just a matter of becoming more open to finding it and then storing it in a place that I could easily access later. For me, this is a combination of Google docs where I store words and language they use, service ideas, and any other information about their business.
I also have paper documentation (because I’m a total paper freak!) with about 10 different real women I’d consider my ideal client and that I’d love to work with someday. Some of those names are pretty dreamy but I like to think big. I’m constantly paying attention to what these women are talking about on their social media or email newsletters and filling in the gaps with how their needs and my services can collide (in awesome and world changing ways!).
Again, this type of data feels “warmer” and more human, but it’s still important information I can use for building services that really resonate with who I’m looking to sell to.
Looking Forward to Q3
Already this quarter has felt so different than the last in terms of where I’m spending my time and energy and I know the data has played a huge role.
I’ve started putting together notes for my next course launch based on the data I collected from the last launch and I’m feeling much calmer about my goals since I know what numbers I’m starting off with.
I’ve shifted my marketing focus and the content I’m putting out there based on data from Google Analytics to make sure I’m attracting the right type of audience, that eventually I might sell something to.
Finally, my services are feeling more in line with my goals and it’s because of the qualitative data I’ve been uncovering from real women, either through asking directly or listening neutrally to for nuggets of information.
As always, just looking at your data to make decisions isn’t enough.
(Cick to tweet it!)
Just like left and right brain, you need to incorporate both intuition and data to really fully be present in your business decisions. Making decisions where you feel a mix of fear and excitement in your stomach, when you hit send on that email pitch and jump in your seat, shaking off the nerves, can be the best for your business, especially when you know the data is backing you up.
At the end of the day, all this business stuff is a big experiment to play with, to be 100% present to and learn to enjoy at your own rhythm.
Cinthia is the part data-nerd, part creative mastermind behind Digimorph. With over four years of corporate experience in digital marketing and web analytics, she is on a mission to inspire women entrepreneurs to unleash the untapped power of their data without feeling all the overwhelm.
She offers two Google Analytics courses: Google Analytics course for Web Developers and Web Designers and another for Bloggers who want to grow their biz strategically to bring in more opportunities!
If you’re anything like me, when you first thought about selling your work, your worry was: “I have this work that I want to get out into the world… but how will I catch anyone’s attention long enough for them to buy it?!”. After Googling, attending free workshops and completing more worksheets than you care to think about the internet had an answer for you: tell people how your work saves them time or money.
And it works! Kind of. (Just like any other tactic kind of works for all businesses.)
But I think you’re reading this because you want to do better and get better results. You respect your audience, and you don’t want to tell the same “Save time! Save money!” story that makes other business owners sound vaguely like an infomercial.
In marketing speak, the better / faster / stronger kind of value is called functional value. And we talk about it because it’s a relatively easy place for writers to start, and it’s easy for customers to understand. It’s hard not the feel good about reducing expenses, earning more or finding some extra time, right?
But honestly, most products and services have more to offer than this. I’m pretty sure yours do!
I’m willing to bet that saving money or time isn’t the only reason why your best customers decide to buy.
Meaningful products or services usually do a lot more for us than save time or money:
- They create stress-free weekends full of family time because that nagging issue in our life is finally solved.
- They’re an object that sparks an invitation to have friends over, to share stories and spend time.
- They give customers a simple path to follow so they can meet their financial goals or wake up feeling energized and aligned with their goals every day.
So why don’t more sales campaigns talk about other benefits like providing hope, reducing anxiety or creating sustainability?
I think that limiting our work to most obvious benefits means we’re speaking down to our audience and, in the process, self-sabotaging our results. This post shares the three most common ways that this sales self-sabotage shows up for entrepreneurs, and how to avoid it.
The three most common forms of sales self-sabotage, and how to avoid them:
1. Skipping value that customers care about
Selling can be intimidating, and doing it well means you need to share the results it delivers for people. But results that aren’t so obvious to us as creators are often the ones that resonate most with customers.
When you exclusively focus on skills mastered, money earned, and time saved you can miss the big picture impact of those results on your customer’s emotions or identity.
If the result of your work generates hope, creates peace of mind or helps others feel mastery over their hobbies or business, skipping those is a lost opportunity.
If you aren’t sure you can confidently promise these things it’s tempting to skip them and, and only describe the value that you can easily prove. But you can go deeper with a little confidence boost.
How to stop sabotaging sales by sharing deeper value:
Unless you’re selling a new product or service, your work has generated real results for real people. Your testimonials should reflect back just how they’ve achieved more, reduced anxiety, or improved their life or business as a result of your work. You just need to tap into that when you’re in marketing mode.
- Go back to the testimonials you’ve received and draw from them. You’ll be amazed by the real value you’ve provided. Pay attention to the words your customers used. “I feel” “I am” and “Now I can” statements are what you should be on the lookout for.
- Have an established offer, but you don’t have testimonials? Then start requesting them from customers, and even consider sending over prompts for them to fill out. (Bonus points if those include “I feel”, “I am” and “Now I can” statements!)
- If you’re offering a new product or service, consider offering a beta version for a reduced price or free in exchange for feedback. You get a chance to make your work more useful, and if the feedback is positive you can turn praise into testimonials.
You CAN talk about higher value. Grab that positive feedback and use it to move the conversation past the superficial and into the real, sustainable value you provide.
2. Letting lack of time eat the better story
In my dream world, my life is perfectly planned, and every action I take is intentionally optimized for maximum results. The reality (especially now that I have a new baby!) is often more of a hot mess. There’s simply no time for perfection. Good enough is all any of us have to work with.
When you’re launching, writing a campaign or just living your daily life, there’s never enough time. And being a business owner, side hustler or freelancer means you will always have un-done items on your to do list.
So when you (inevitably) run short on time, it’s tempting to tell a simpler story with your marketing messaging. After all, telling the story of saving time or money is fairly straightforward.
It’s tangible, understandable, and has immediate appeal.
But it also puts you at risk of being forgettable or sounding like an infomercial. You can do better by making the time to go deeper!
How to stop sabotaging sales and take more time for your marketing:
The obvious solution is to calendar more time in for marketing, but for most of us, the problem isn’t scheduling. It’s sticking to our best-laid plans when real life hits. To go deeper with your marketing, we’ll focus on making you more efficient and giving you more chances to recover when real life interferes with your plan.
- Add more whitespace into your calendar. When you have more to do than there are hours in the day, part of the problem is that your expectations don’t jive with reality. You can get around this by limiting the number of tasks on your to-do list in a given day, like letting yourself plan only three work tasks a day. Or you can schedule whitespace – “no activity” time – into your calendar, with recurring calendar events, so you don’t over plan.
- Brainstorm with a partner. If you find yourself lost for words, grab a business buddy to brainstorm with. Many masterminds and podcasts were born this way! Bring a topic to talk through, send over some notes in advance, and get the input of a boss or freelancer you trust on your project. If you want a more formal arrangement, business coaches are perfect for this too.
- Train and automate every month, or after every launch. If you don’t get in the habit of actively taking jobs off your plate, you’re never going to have more space in your workday. Delegating is a muscle, so use it. Start by automating tasks to services using tools like Zapier or IFTTT, and then get yourself a virtual assistant and keep up the momentum. Document the training through screencasts or writing somewhere central – even just a google doc – and you’ll never have to re-train the people around you because you’re slowly building a business asset.
A deeper conversation takes more thought and effort. Your audience will need to think about anxiety, remember the sleepless nights, and moments of confusion they’ve experienced to put the benefits of newfound peace of mind into context. They’ll need to know you understand their frustration at always re-inventing the wheel to catch a vision for the value of sustainability. It’s your job to give them this context.
3. Selling an idea you’re in love with.
Passion is often touted as the holy grail for entrepreneurs. Passion is important, but just like in relationships, it can blind you.
When you assume there will be buyers lining up around the block, it’s easy to skip steps that could help you course-correct and stay profitable. Instead of finding out too late that there isn’t demand for your work, it’s important to double check that your passion lines up with your customer’s concerns.
How to stop sabotaging sales before you’re carried away by passion:
Don’t let misplaced enthusiasm convince you to skip reality testing your work. This step is all about doing your due-diligence and putting trust in data from your customers over your feelings. If you build up a fact based case for your work, you can move forward with enthusiasm – and certainty.
- Get input from your audience. Your audience, even if they’re small, is capable of telling you who they are and what they need help with. You just have to ask! Set up a poll or autoresponder for new subscribers that asks what is the #1 problem they want to solve. With every answer, you’ll know more about what your audience wants you to help them with.
- Thoroughly research demand. Search Amazon, Etsy, Google, Pinterest and anywhere else you can think of for products that solve similar problems. Don’t find a lot? That doesn’t mean you’ve discovered something new, it means proceed with caution! There’s probably a good reason, and it’s likely that demand is too weak to sustain businesses.
- Stop trying to teach everything you know, start solving customer problems. Building offers based on what you want to teach may feel exciting, but it’s a shortsighted way to come up with profitable business ideas. People spend money to solve problems, every time. If you start brainstorming based on problems that your audience wants to have solved, you’re more likely to be helpful and profitable than passionate and frustrated.
Leave self-sabotage in the dust and sell with stories that matter.
How do you demonstrate higher levels of value with confidence? Tell a transformative story. Show how your work helps your clients move from moments of despair to hope in their abilities, potential, and possibilities. Talk in real ways about the reductions in anxiety that come from applying your solution to complex problems. Share how sustainability is a result of taking the steps you teach, working through the material you provide, and finding community as a part of your tribe.
Storytelling is the real difference between functional value and a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Want to share a story of deep value with your audience? Learn more here.
When you look at the online business world, it’s not hard to get the impression the path to success follows one track. Attract thousands of subscribers, sell them a product for $97, then rinse and repeat until you have a six figure business. Sound familiar? Now, does a big audience hurt? Of course not. But it’s completely untrue that a big audience is required to be successful.
Today’s post is going to show you what other, intentionally small versions of success can look like instead.
I’ll start with the business I know best – my own! My business is made up of one service, one-on-one business strategy consulting. Last year it generated just under six-figures. It allowed my husband to quit his day job and us to start a family and during that time my email list had about 2,000 subscribers.
Here’s what you might not expect: None of my revenue came from selling to my list.
My clients were all referrals from other professionals and past clients, or they were blog readers who inquired through my sales page. No sales pitches on my part required.
This is the magic of being a niche business.
Niche businesses focus on creating deep connections with smaller audiences. The idea is to provide maximum value to a small, engaged community of like-minded people. In exchange, you can charge higher prices because you can solve specialized problems.
The approach is quite a bit different than the usual push to create a huge community or to spend thousands of dollars on advertising. (I see you, coaches addicted to Facebook Ads!) Instead, a niche approach to business focuses on building a small, super engaged community around your brand.
Today, I want to share the stories of two successful niche business owners who are past clients of mine. They’ve both built successful small businesses by providing immense value to a particular community.
Each sells a higher investment service to a select group of clients instead of selling low dollar offers to the masses. I think they’ll inspire you as they’ve inspired me.
Building community around emotional connection
Ale Vidal is a filmmaker who specializes in directing and producing video content. Her work connects brands with their audience in an emotional, visceral way. An expert storyteller, Ale’s work takes her all over the world and ignites an emotional connection in viewers. Her community of potential clients is small, and her work is highly sought after. Here’s her story, in her own words:
What makes the community that surrounds your business unique?
My community is made up of visionaries and artists that create with a specific aesthetic, unique to their own vision and story. They celebrate originality and aren’t afraid to take risks if it means creating a better story.
There’s something about the way we grew up, the way we experienced life, which made us curious and impacted our individual approach to our art, our brand. I help my community unveil this and bring it to life through video so that their clients understand the breadth of their work.
Do you intentionally limit the size of your audience?
I would say the nature of my work limits the size of my audience. My approach is in depth and intimate, involving a lot of 1:1 time uncovering the unique traits of their brand. This level of creative energy and time is necessary to create something distinct and engaging for my clients and their audiences.
How do you keep your audience engaged?
I believe my audience and I share the same values – connection, emotion, and beauty. So, when I share content, whether it’s a behind-the-scenes image or a part of my client’s film, I ensure it aligns with those values. My clients love to think differently, so I’m very intentional about sharing content that resonates with their passion for pushing boundaries.
How do you keep your focus dialed in as your community grows and expands?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past year is about consuming energy and remembering that things take time. I’ve honestly had to learn to just sit in the pauses without anxiety and always check in with my values. When I am in line with my values, then I am better able to stay focused despite how my community changes and evolves.
What are the benefits of a small audience, in your opinion?
By giving my undivided attention to a small group of people, I build loyalty with them. I’ve earned their ear. People will listen and buy from those they trust, as well as stay engaged because they feel they are more than a transaction.
By building relationships and intimacy with a small audience, I’ve become an advocate and a guide for them. Nothing excites me more than sitting down with my client, listening, understanding their vision, and giving them a voice through video to bring that vision to life.
See more of Ale Vidal’s work on Instagram
Building community around intentional simplicity
Ashley Brooks of Brooks Editorial makes blogging and content strategy faster, easier, and more effective for entrepreneurs. Her clients want to be intentional with their business rather than stuck in a life of never-ending hustle. She is a content strategist, writer, podcast co-host, and a work-at-home mama with a small, engaged community that follows her work. Here’s my interview with her:
What makes your community unique?
I attract a lot of mama entrepreneurs and side hustlers because they’re the ones who don’t have time to make their business their entire life. Many people in my community are hesitant that they can make their business work alongside other commitments. A big part of my job is encouraging them that they can have a successful business that fits into their existing life.
Do you intentionally limit the size of your audience?
I don’t have a limit in the sense that I have a maximum number of followers, but I do limit my audience by only speaking to certain people. Pretty much every online entrepreneur has a blog, but I’m not the right person to help all of them. I’m only a good fit for working with those who want to blog intentionally so they can focus more time on living life. If someone enjoys living a go-go-go, hustle-all-the-time life, I’m not the right person for them – and that’s okay!
How do you keep your audience engaged?
I make sure every single email newsletter I send (even the ones in automated sequences) includes a personal invitation for people to reach out to me, even if it’s just to say hi! I get emails every week from new followers who want to connect or long-time readers updating me on their journey. Because my audience is smaller than average, it’s easy for me to respond and genuinely get to know my people.
How do you keep your focus dialed in as your community grows and expands?
I keep my messaging trained on intentionality and simplicity rather than jumping on the bandwagon of the newest, trendiest thing in blogging and business. Honestly, it’s tempting to shift my core message at times, but I know it wouldn’t be worth it. I often have to put blinders on, so I can tune in to what will best serve my audience.
What are the benefits of a small audience, in your opinion?
I actually know a good portion of my audience on a personal level! This lets me bring so much more value to them through my content and paid services. I’m an introvert, so this makes me more comfortable putting myself out there and being totally transparent with my people. I share monthly behind-the-scenes workings of my business with my email subscribers, and that’s not something I could do if I felt like I was emailing a crowd full of strangers.
Learn more about Brooks Editorial here
What stands out to me in both of these stories is the deep connections both Ale and Ashley create with their communities. This, in my opinion, is the key to success with any audience – but it’s especially true with small ones.
When you stop trying to be everything to everyone, it’s possible for you, as the business owner and “head of the tribe,” to connect with each person individually. You can take an interest in their situation, listen to their story, and serve them in a deeper and more meaningful way.
A business focused on deep connection makes it easier to thrive with less.
Suddenly less traffic or a smaller audience doesn’t mean less revenue and freedom. Instead, you work with fewer individual clients, make a greater impact and command premium prices.
Is this the right community and promotional model for you? Maybe – especially if you love the idea of diving deeply into topics, connecting personally with your people, and having an impact on the individuals you serve.
Want to create a small, engaged community around your business and brand? You need a Simple Sales System to guide you so that you can connect efficiently and authentically with your ideal clients. Learn more by clicking here.