I mean really…what exactly is the Blog Business Plan? What numbers should be I tracking to grow my blog?
I don’t know about you, but I have kind of a love-hate relationship with data and metrics for my blog. When I first started blogging, I always seemed to get caught up in looking at how many page views my blogs were getting and how many social media followers I was gaining on a daily basis. Are these numbers that I should track?
Then I found out that email marketing has an ROI of over 3,800% (*Reference)! Um, what?
Anybody that uses the word “business plan” must have an MBA right?! There actually is a blueprint for success with blogging, and the best part is that more and more women are turning their side-hustle into a full time income and changing the game. #GirlBoss
I worked in a corporate job for 10 years before starting my blog, so at the time, I was used to looking at numbers. But this was different…this was MY blog, my business…my future! Where the hell is the blueprint? Stay with me!
When I first started out, I fell into the trap of comparisonville, and I was looking at all the wrong numbers. Although rather embarrassing, we all start somewhere.
I was looking at “vanity metrics.” A vanity metric is simply an outward appearance, and it does not translate to making money. For example, many YouTube channels that have a million subscribers barely scrape by with $2,500 per month in ad revenue. Subscriber count is a vanity metric. As a third-party, you have absolutely no way of knowing (nor should you care) what kind of revenue someone is making based on a number such as how many subscribers or followers they have.
I know what you might be thinking, that $2,500 sounds pretty good if you're currently not making any money at all with your blog or vlog. But let's put that $2,500 into perspective.
I am a mentor inside of a private Facebook group for a video marketing influencer and Girlboss (and she is, of course, one of my personal mentors as well) Sunny Lenarduzzi. She has a YouTube channel with about 200,000 subscribers. Compared to the channel that has over a million subscribers, you wouldn't know that channel makes only $2,500 per month while Sunny's channel makes several hundred thousand dollars a month! (And just to be transparent, most of her revenue is not from ad revenue).
This may or may not come as a surprise to you, depending upon how familiar you are with online marketing. Ad revenue is not the biggest source of money for the most successful online entrepreneurs. Learning this one, incredibly important rule…to not look at vanity metrics, is one foundational principle to start with.
Of course we should all look at numbers to guide our decision making, but I was literally allowing my own self worth to be controlled by how many people visited my Instagram profile in the last 24 hours! I was obsessed with looking at the wrong metrics.
But now I know better.
You see, my ultimate goal was to make money with my blog so I could quit the 9 to 5…except I was exhausted all the time…because I was looking at the wrong numbers!
You know how it is…trying to get yourself ready for work and the kids out the door in the morning; the groceries, the laundry, the cleaning, the pets, planning how the kids would get to their after-school activities. If I could just work from home…throw in some laundry between meetings or chop vegetables for my crock pot on my lunch break. Life would be so much easier.
It’s not that I didn’t want to work, it’s just that I desperately needed some flexibility. Having kids is a business of it's own!
Are you still with me? (If this resonates with you, give me a hell yeah in the comments!)
I had already set up some affiliate accounts, I knew which products and services I wanted to offer in my blog posts, and I knew I needed readers to visit those links if I wanted a shot at creating the coveted passive income stream that seemed so elusive when I first started.
But if it wasn’t followers that were going to help me make money blogging…how was it going to happen? I mean, I wrote the posts. I put in the links. Where are my affiliate commissions?
Most of all, what I've learned during these 10 years of blogging is:
There are two kinds of metrics: the kind that matter and the kind that don’t. Understanding this difference is incredibly important for bloggers.
Why? Because before you can grow and scale your business, you need to be proactive about putting a strategy in place first.
Just because you have a content calendar and you're writing on a regular schedule doesn’t mean you have a money-making strategy in place.
If you put a proper digital strategy into place, you’re more likely to build a sustainable and profitable business in the months and years ahead. If you don’t, you’re left with a host of metrics which don’t connect the dots back to revenue.
So where do I find this Digital Strategy (err, blueprint)?
First things first. Your unique digital strategy depends upon your nîche. Now I know you've probably heard about this before…bloggers are always blogging…to nîche or not to nîche? I’m going to ask you some hard questions; these questions are designed to help you recognize what you need to do next to make progress toward your goal. Ready? Here we go:
Do you have a nîche or are you still blogging all over the place? This is all tied together girl, so lets get crystal clear. If you’re still blogging all over the place, you need to stop and take a deep breath. You can go right ahead and take advice from all those rulebreaking, against-the-grain, bossbabe, girlboss, don't tell me what to write about bloggers who want to pave their own way and go ahead and write about about travel, makeup, fashion, pregnancy, and whatever else strikes your mood. If that's what you fancy, you might as well remove the scowl from your forehead and Pin this post for later when you decide that your blog is not profitable enough and you're wondering what the hell you did wrong. Girl, you didn't nîche down to one topic. Pick whatever topic you love, but pick one.
Need some help narrowing your nîche? Get started with my free checklist!
Tip #1: In order to scale up, you have got to nîche down. Period.
It's been proven. Again and again. And again.
How do I know this? I've done it. Again and again. I've done it for small business owners who now make 6-figures a month, and I've done it for global corporations who make 6-figures a day.
You can exhale that deep breath you just took. Your turn is coming!
Here’s what you need to do to get started: take a good, hard look at your top 3 blog posts that have the most traffic. What is the topic? Then take a look at your social media and evaluate your top 3 social posts…the ones with the most comments, likes, and shares. What is the topic? This should help you zero in on exactly what your audience cares about the most.
When you start to notice a pattern, such as when a certain topic consistently has more comments, shares, and interactions, then that is a really good indication that you should create more content about that particular topic.
Once you’ve become crystal clear about your nîche, you’ll need to begin evaluating your data to determine precisely how to move your audience closer to the end goal…the goal of course is selling them your product or service so that you can make money! You may know this already, but if you don't, it's called a “sales and marketing funnel” and while the name may sound seriously old-school, this “funnel” has been modernized through the use of digital marketing techniques that move a consumer on their journey toward purchase through the “digital” funnel.
Although a lot of digital marketers talk about the complexity of the modern funnel, the reality is, as long as you foster meaningful connections with your audience, it still works. Need proof? How about all the people who have have recently sneezed out a six-figure income by blogging? Okay, now forget about those people for the moment. Now it’s your turn to learn the secret sauce that digital agencies use to move their audience through the modern funnel!
Would you like to know more about the Business Plan/Blueprint that successful bloggers use? Join my Free Email Masterclass? I'll send you one email a day for 5 days that teaches you the strategy that digital agencies use to set up successful online businesses for their clients.
But first, another hard question for you:
What metrics are you currently measuring (if any)?
If you're currently looking at the same ones that I was, don't worry, you'll be on your way in just a moment.
What kind of data and metrics should bloggers measure?
2. You Should be Measuring Engagement
The metrics that help turn your blog into a business and help you understand the story that your website data is trying to tell you are the ones that matter. So what are those metrics? They are the engagement metrics. Instead of looking at the number of page views and social media followers you have, pay attention to how people are sharing your social posts and blog posts, and interacting with the content you create. What are people saying and what questions are they asking about your content? How did you get those people to follow you or make a comment? These are the real “engagement metrics”. This leads you to the patterns that will help you produce the kind of content that your audience is looking for.
3. Average Audience Growth
Now don’t get me wrong, I know I said earlier that you should not be concerned about how many followers you have, but it’s still a good idea to pay attention to your overall website traffic and the growth of your email list on a monthly basis. Just don’t obsess over it every 6 hours.
Keep track of these numbers once a month for a broad overview. I do this on the 1st day of each month so that I can compare to my previous month. After a few months, you’ll have a general idea of how much your vanity metrics grow each month. Later, once you know your “subscriber value” then you can begin to make actual predictions about your revenue. Subscriber value isn’t something you will be too concerned with until you have a product or service to sell. If you’re just starting your blog, then it’s likely your income will be from affiliate links as you begin to build your email list.
4. Conversion Rate
While discovering which channels drive revenue isn’t rocket science, putting the right process in place to drive conversions from a sea of prospective leads is worth it’s weight in gold. Instead of focusing on what makes content popular and attention-grabbing, rockstar bloggers focus on what makes content personal and conversation-worthy.
The behaviors of your audience (in other words, where they click, what blog posts they read, what they choose to download) can all be measured and aggregated. When someone signs up for your list, that is one type of conversion. They converted from a reader into part of your tribe. Do you know where exactly they converted? Was it on a particular blog post? Understanding how they found you and what made them go from “reader” to “subscriber” is really important. Figuring that out is the “gold” that I referred to above.
When someone buys something from you, that means they converted from a member of your subscriber list into a paying customer. Something you said or did moved them to take the next action…to open up their wallet and buy. Do you know what it was in particular? Was it a blog post? A call-to-action button in an email? A photo in the sidebar of your blog?
These are the conversion metrics that tell the story of your business. When you know how and why people are converting or not converting, it allows you to make important decisions such as where you may be gaining new customers or losing people’s attention on their “journey” toward the end goal (the end goal being the purchase). Making decisions and adjustments based on hard numbers instead of inferences is a smart way to scale your business.
Marketing Attribution Defined
Marketing attribution is simply the relationship between these online numbers and your sales data. It is the process of determining which of your efforts are succeeding in driving revenue from your blog. With modern digital, it’s not enough to simply look at your Google Analytics account anymore. Smart bloggers use industry leading marketing automation tools to evaluate which touchpoints have direct value in driving sales for their business.
Studies show that while as many as 63% of bloggers say that marketing automation is a growing priority for their business, 67% of them are still using outdated, single-touch forms of measurement. When I worked in agency, I couldn’t believe how many businesses had lists of 30,000 to 50,000 subscribers (who are really prospective buyers of their product or service) but they had an email open rate of less than 25%. That means their list is completely not engaged. In other words, at one time these contacts raised their hand and showed interest in their brand; they never made a purchase, so they are a prime segment of untapped potential.
Speaking of untapped potential, a few years ago a small business owner came to me with a list of 65,000 people who never opened his emails (his list was growing organically every month, and he was sending a monthly newsletter, but he had an email open-rate of less than 10%). Once we fixed up his strategy, his growth exploded. Within 2 months, his revenue soared at a rate of 300%! Within another month, they added 2 more full-time employees to their team, and they have been experiencing month over month revenue growth ever since.
This goes to show you that there is a huge opportunity for bloggers and small business owners to implement the best digital strategy to significantly boost this previously untapped revenue stream. The ROI of email marketing is truly profound, and those who know how to do it right are blowing their competition out of the water.
Interested in learning more about how to use Pinterest for marketing your blog? Click here!
What metrics do you track? Let me know in the comments below!
Nothing can replace transparency in business, and therein lies the power of authenticity.
I mean, what could be better than the latest Pinterest or Facebook Ads Strategy for growing your online business? Well other than a bouquet of roses from your sweetheart for Valentine's Day…a good dose of authenticity, that's what! Whether you’re a new blogger building an online business or a seasoned entrepreneur, when you’re working hard to offer your best advice and strategies that have helped you gain the knowledge and expertise that you have, it always comes down to how you treat people in everything from online comments to email nurturing sequences. It's so important to be kind, compassionate, and supportive. I think that's what really showcases a person's ability to be transparent. So why do women still fall victim to the trap of jealousy, comparison, negativity, and cattiness? Why hasn't everyone discovered how truly rewarding life can be when we empower one another instead of tear each other down? When I began connecting with like-minded women along my journey toward entrepreneurship, something magical happened. The women who I worked with previously…the ones who were ultra-competitive, caddy and downright miserable stayed that way, while my new friends were thriving and supportive of one another. Wisdom is meant to be shared, and when we genuinely celebrate our wins and help one another through though times when we're vulnerable, we can ultimately reconnect with our true purpose.
The Digital Collective of Women Entrepreneurs
I've found there are a lot of people and tribes out there who aren't always what they seem, and I've been fortunate to find a few select online groups that provide a real opportunity to connect, share, and grow. On Instagram, for example, there actually “follow loops” with people who participate and then a few days later “un-follow” one another! (So much so, that someone actually created an app to track the un-followers!)
I was once part of a Facebook group and I shared a genuinely helpful comment to another woman. The owner of the group issued a “warning” to me because I shared a link inside her group, however, I'm pretty sure she did not even read the context of the conversation that was taking place. Let me just say…it was not an affiliate link, and it was not even a link to my own blog! But for all the sh*tty groups out there that I had to weed through, waste my time, and feel upset about, there are those that I participate in and enjoy being a part of every single day as I build my business, and that's why I decided to take the opportunity to create another real and authentic group to help foster a meaningful way for women to support one another.
Women are powerful when we collaborate!
Building each other up, supporting one another with a legitimate follow, a re-tweet, or even just a “like” now and then can really lift someone up. The Digital Collective supports Share Threads for all social platforms, as well as blog and vlog requests for comment. I invite bloggers of all nîches to join me; feel free to post your own link inside the applicable thread whenever you are moved to do so! Women, especially moms, need a supportive place to grow. We deserve it!! We ALL were assigned a mountain…to show each other that it can be moved! This is a new group as of the spring of 2019…and although we're just starting out and we may be a small group…together, we are powerful. Together, we are vogue! Join us at: The Digital Collective of Women Entrepreneurs
Authenticity in Business
People who are authentic work until the job is done, not to look good, but instead because they want to nail it. They make things more efficient because they're always thinking about what isn't working and how they can improve it. They inspire people around them, and they bring relentless enthusiasm to the table.
When you're surrounded by people who believe what you believe, there is an element of trust that just doesn't exist elsewhere. For example, it's not like you're “friends” with everybody who lives in the state of Pennsylvania just because you live in the state of Pennsylvania, but if you travel to California and you see someone wearing a Philadelphia Phillies tee-shirt, then you're suddenly friends. (This actually happened to me, I was in San Francisco and the Phillies happened to be playing the Dodgers, so even those in San Francisco were my friend that day!).
Now more than ever, people are desensitized to information overload. We don't want to talk to an automated phone system, we relentlessly press “zero, zero, zero” to get to a live human being with whom we can connect and share our troubles. At the end of the day, we are all just looking for someone who “gets” it. How do you surround yourself with people who “get it?” This is your tribe. It's a tribe of people who genuinely want to connect with what you stand for. Think about this in your business and how you can relate the concept to selling your product or service. Think about the underlying psychology of what your target audience believes. What do they want? What do they need from you? How is your product or service ultimately going to help establish trust and allow them to take risks with the confidence that the reward of your product or service will actually move them forward?
Here are 5 Ways You Can be More Authentic in Your Business Today:
Strive to be more positive (in both your business and your personal life) by writing down 5 positive affirmations. It's truly amazing what positive self-talk can do for you on a subconscious level. Get out 5 post-it notes, write 5 positive affirmations, one on each. Then post one on your bathroom mirror, fridge, car dashboard, desk where you work, and one by your bedside. Here's an example:
I have the power to change my story.
Take time to listen. Listen to feedback from those who you might think don't know as much as you. There are lessons we can learn from everyone, including children. I once worked with someone who believed he could never learn something from someone who was his subordinate. What an unfortunate circumstance. Mediocre leadership will never grow a business.
Look in the mirror. What do you look like when no one's looking? Authenticity can hurt sometimes; it's who you are when no one's looking. Do you need to make a change? If so, make a commitment to yourself. Write it down, and re-evaluate in 3 months, 6 months, and a year.
When you open your heart and choose gratitude, you make a huge impact. There is little in the world that makes people more aware than a heartfelt, hand written thank you note. Take a few moments out of your busy day to craft a distinctive and personal thank you to someone that could only come from you, and could only go to them.
Consider an area in your life where perseverance paid off. Let that be a conversation with someone you know personally that needs guidance in their life. Connect with them, and offer a helping hand. You just might find a nugget of wisdom in return. The more senior leaders become, the more feedback they need, but the less they are willing to receive. The more guidance you give, the more you receive.
From Fling to Long-Term Relationship
It's always a good time to reflect on how growing your tribe is a lot like growing your marriage, your business, your best employees, or your personal relationships. I just can't say enough about how important transparency and authenticity is if you want to take your blog audience from fling to long-term relationship.
I recently had the opportunity to read a great ebook by Steph Parrell called “The Year of Simple Living: 12 Months to a Simplified Life” and it was a great read to help slow me down to literally smell the roses. As busy entrepreneurs, we tend to stay so focused on growing our business that so we often forget how connected our life and purpose really is to wellness. Steph provides so many tactical suggestions that you can implement immediately for everything from organizing your closet to mindful eating to meditation.
There are too many people, both in person and online that are not reputable with their business practices. Maybe it's because they simply aren't mindful of how connected their daily life really is to their business. I find when I focus on simplicity, that's when my business begins to thrive. I myself have fallen into the trap of working for a business owner who I thought was a completely different person than he actually turned out to be. Business owners continually look for ways to streamline their processes, and systems such as with email marketing automation, setting smart goals for internal operations, and even planing for a digital transformation. These are all a great way to get things done more efficiently, but should be facilitated from a place of self-discipline and moral responsibility, so that your people don't lose trust in you. I encourage you to pick up your copy of The Year of Simple Living to help bring you back to basics.
You've seen it happen…a business owner becomes greedy or an employee becomes envious of another. It's just not good business, and it will never foster a meaningful connection with your customers, your team, or even your family and friends. It happens not only from brick and mortar businesses, but in social media circles as well. To gain a true connection with your audience, to build a tribe, you have got to be authentic. Period.
How does Authenticity fit in to every day business online?
“You don’t know me, but I’d really like to sell you…”
OMG!!! JUST KIDDING!
I get a ton of terrible pitches to my business every week, and they all start out pretty much the same way. Someone I’ve never heard of sends me an email out of the blue, trying to sell me something and I’m immediately turned off. Cold emails just don't work. It's not good business.
I was working on a project for a client recently when the business owner decided that the 75 marketing qualified leads that I produced for him in a given month didn't work out as planned (because his sales person didn't follow up with them). So he decided to nix his Ad Spend Budget and instead hire a company who would “cold email” to set appointments…the idea was that this company was going to use their proprietary automated intelligence to search LinkedIn for opportunities (in other words, people their software identified as a good lead/match based on certain criteria like size of company and job title) and reach out to them via a series of automated emails. The idea was to set an appointment that the sales team would eventually turn into a revenue generating sale for the business. I tried hard to convince an old-school sales guy that cold calling may have worked out okay in 1990, but it just doesn't work that way anymore. Buyers are educated, savvy, and completely not interested in high-pressure sales techniques. Especially online buyers! Fast forward a year later, the same business owner is still paying this “company” to generate leads. Would you like to know how many deals have transpired? Zero. Zilch. Zippo. NONE.
But what do you do when you’re on the other side of the fence — when you want to reach out to someone you don’t know to ask them for something? You follow a modern, practical process of inbound marketing and thoughtfully planned automation to serve up a solution to their problem in a non-salesy way. And it works. There are literally hundreds of thousands of smart people making 6-figures a month in their online business. I'd say they're doing something right by running a transparent and authentic business, wouldn't you?
Another one of my favorite books is a collection of everyday meditative paragraphs. It's called Take Your Soul to Work. The book describes a host of leadership qualities that everyone should aim for, even if you don't yet consider yourself a leader. Give yourself permission to be authentic!
Power changes people, and it can be easy to confuse power with influence. Twice in the past few years I've been on the receiving end of a gentleman's power struggle. I politely walked away. A person is powerful when he or she display's authority over those who are powerless in their ability to disagree. A person is influential when people want to follow their lead out of admiration, respect, and inspiration. Being on the receiving end teaches us all a lesson in patience, tolerance, and acceptance. Rather than argue, I just walked away. I truly believe that I made the right choice.
I'm in a few different private Facebook groups with bloggers that I really enjoy being a part of. I believe they are truly authentic and the bloggers care so much about supporting each other. Some of them are quite large though, so with groups that number in the tens of thousands, I find that sometime's our voice gets lost. I recently formed a brand new Facebook Group (click here to join) for the sole purpose of connecting with other like-minded bloggers, and sharing each others blogs and socials with the ultimate goal of growing and sharing one another's business. I plan to run this group a lot like Megan's Pinterest Ninja's Group with one thread per day, so if you happen to be interested in some additional opportunities to share, please join! There's no set industry or topic, everyone is welcome. We're all in this together, and the more we can join the conversation and help one another, the better the world becomes.
What do you value most from other bloggers? Let me know in the comments below, or join the conversation inside Facebook. Thanks for reading and I look forward to connecting with you! XOXO
Especially if you're a parent. You CAN have it all. With a little guidance on a fast growing trend, you too can live the life you’ve always dreamed of. No, it's not a “get rich quick” scheme, so if you think you can put in a little effort and then sneeze out a 6-figure income by next week then you're in the wrong place. But if you're looking for the right methodology to build a balanced lifestyle with the flexibility to from home, then it just take some dedication and a few key tips to make it happen. In this article, we'll discuss:
1. The New Media Resume
2. The Home Office
3. The Skill Set
4. The Connections
5. The Attention
6. The Attitude
The New Media Resume
What? How is this different from any other resume? I wonder if this is what Steve Jobs said in 2007 when someone asked him how the iPhone was different from any other phone. Resume’s change with the times too. After working for over a decade in Corporate Marketing, in 2006 I started my search for a “work from home” job; I was pregnant with my first child, my mom was sick, and I needed some flexibility. I simply updated my resume and then applied to every job I found online that I thought I were qualified for.
I spent countless hours of wasted time searching job boards online, only to receive automated replies saying that they’ve decided to pursue another candidate who’s qualifications more closely matched the role they were seeking to fill.
WHAT? What are you taking about? My qualifications are perfect for the job you are trying to fill! I have every single qualification and more, and 10 years of corporate experience to boot!
A lot has happened since those days, but I finally discovered the secrets about the ‘new media' resume; it needs to follow a certain pattern. If you're looking to work for a company in a remote capacity, here are some tips for you:
Make sure you use the job title in the position you are applying to in your resume text…this is how the algorithms of job match automated intelligence pick up your resume out of thousands. Not to mention, use these keywords in your LinkedIn Profile too. You need to include the words that match the type of job you're applying for.
Tailor your resume to each position. Changing it that many times may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It will be worth the extra time it takes for you to showcase the skills you have which are DIRECTLY related to the position for which you are applying.
Change your “objective” statement to center around what you will do for the employer…in other words, the value that you will offer. Job openings are a way for businesses to say they have a “problem” and your resume should showcase how you will solve that problem.
Formatting is a representation of you, so make sure you complete spell check for punctuation and grammatical errors, then take a step back and make sure your formatting is visually appealing. Is your resume too cluttered? If so, you’ll come across as unorganized. Did you use a resume template, but left some fields blank because they didn’t apply to you? You’ll seem lazy. How about your font styles and sizes; are they consistent throughout? If not, a hiring manager could view this as a sign you don’t take pride in your work. While you shouldn’t use fonts that are overly fancy, your formatting should still feel fresh and modern. If you feel as though your resume is mediocre or boring, I can help!
The “Home” Office
The right type of “Home Office” can be an instant deal breaker when it comes to landing a Remote job, as well as showcasing your credibility when you take online or video conference calls. When you’re a career professional searching for a high-paying professional position (one in which you can work from home) you’ve got to be able to showcase that you are ready to take on that challenge. Remember the old saying “walk the walk?” This is the time to show the interviewer that you know you’ll be a good candidate for a work-from-home position. If you’re interviewing via Zoom, Skype, or Uberconference, pay very close attention to what your background looks like. Is it well lit? Do you have a messy desk, computer wires, or a bulky printer in the background? What about your volume? Are there children or pets who can be heard while you’re on the phone? All of these factors make a big difference on how you’re perceived on the other end of the interview. Make sure your home office reflects the impression you want to give. Turn on the video prompt on your computer to see what your background looks like. You can easily do this on a mac by opening up your FaceTime App (press command and space at the same time, then start typing FaceTime). Open up the app and take a look at your background. What do you see? Is it tidy? This is what the interviewer will see and your potential clients, so make sure it looks fabulous.
The Skill Set
Focusing on your top two (2) work history entries that are most important in terms of your qualifications for the position for which you are applying is the most critical. Remember, the hiring manger is only glancing at your resume, so to land the job, you’ve first got to land the interview. Be as clear as possible in spelling out how the duties in these two jobs will be relevant to the job for which you are applying. Nobody wants to page through a resume, and despite what you think…there is no hiring manager who is going on to page two. If you have more than 10 years of work experience, condense it to just one page. No really, one page. If you’re trying to land a job where you can work from home and get paid a big salary…the hiring manager doesn’t care that you were a waitress in 1995.
Landing a new media job that allows you the flexibility to work from home means that you’ve got to know how to leverage your connections online. That definitely doesn’t mean you should start connecting with people cold, in fact, this may seem counter-intuitive to a sales person’s mentality, but I personally believe you should never connect with someone that you don’t know. Following someone on an open platform is one thing, but sending a “cold” message to someone you don't know on LinkedIn is just plain creepy. In modern society, trying to email or contact someone who does not specifically want to be contacted is just spam. I once worked with an old-fashioned sales guy who was very interested in growing his business with modern digital marketing. The problem was…he didn’t understand modern marketing. He was only familiar with how sales was done for over 40 years.
While the fundamentals of sales and marketing alignment haven’t changed, this particular client wasn’t familiar with how to use modern techniques to connect with people online. Each day he would post on LinkedIn with 10 hashtags and a long-winded paragraph that nobody actually read. Instead of following best practices and the proven digital techniques that would grow and scale his business online, he ended up looking for what he thought would be a quick solution, and hired a company to “cold-email” thousands of people to try to set appointments for him. He paid this company $7,000 per month. He was mistakenly convinced that this was going to bring in actual “leads” for his business. This type of spammy prospecting is what causes real business owners frustration. The reality is, there was a lot of time and effort wasted trying to convert leads that were not qualified into revenue.
The bottom line…it’s important to foster connections with people who you’ve done business with, or whom you know personally. You simply cannot cheat the system anymore. Automated Intelligence has become so advanced that if you don’t already know how to pick out the spammers, then it won’t be long before you do. Trust me, there is no shortcut to success. Spend time fostering real and meaningful connections and that will build credibility for your brand and ultimately success for your business.
With all the distractions from emails to social media and advertisements, what are you paying attention to? The French call it “deformation professionnelle” or the tendency to observe reality through the distorting lens of one’s job or training. It’s a bias we all carry to some extent, we judge and perceive based on what we’ve been trained for. In order to overcome that bias, it’s important to question what perspective actually drives your attention, and what you might be missing out on as a result. If you think the only way to make a good income is by showing up before everyone else at the office and staying until everyone leaves then you’re just going to work yourself silly and always be under valued and under appreciated. I know, I’ve been there. I’m a classic Type-A perfectionist.
For 14 years, I arrived at least a half hour before everyone else at the office and stayed until almost everyone had left for the day. On the one hand, it made me productive because I got a lot done before other people came in, and it made me feel committed because people knew I was a hard worker. But at the end of the day, my family suffered. When I would walk in the door and everyone was hungry but I didn’t have a plan for dinner, it was my kids who were silently suffering. When their grandparents took them to sports practice and I showed up after my meeting, and we all didn’t get home and eat dinner until 8:30pm, I knew it was time. Something had to give. I needed to pay attention to what was most important in my life. I stopped giving my full and complete attention to the people at work who never seemed to appreciate all the time, effort, loyalty and attention to detail that I put in to my work for the sake of growing their company, and I started to pay more attention to how I could put my own expertise and attention to detail into growing a company of my own. That’s when the magic started to happen.
It started with a vision. Despite my sheer exhaustion from the regular activities of the day, managing kids, pets, a household and a full-time job outside of the home, I would lay awake at night searching for answers about how I was going to keep my shit together. But then as I visualized how I wished my life would be, my attitude changed. I started seeking out more positive affirmations, connecting with other like-minded women, and began recognizing my own accomplishments. I was educated, I was logical, I was managing a household and working full time, volunteering, and putting in a lot of effort…for everyone else. Why? Why am I using my talents to benefit everyone except myself and my own family? I’m smart, I’m a do-er, and if this man that I work for can make $3 million dollars a year and get away with treating people the way he does, then I sure as hell can build a business that will serve my family, my community, and anyone else I wished to serve. By setting aside your preconceptions, you are able to observe what people say and do with more precision. I became laser focused on building a business so that I could enjoy a vacation with my family and freedom from paying bills…and you can too!
Having the right attitude seems like something so small, but it’s really one of the most important components of building the life of your dreams. You’ve got to believe in yourself. You can do this!
If you're sick and tired of reading about 22 year old internet millionaires who are giving advice on how to “scale your business to 7 and 8 figures” while showing photos of their Ferraris, then it's time to get real.
Most people just want to be able to pay their bills, have the flexibility to pay for their children's extra-curricular activities, go on vacation, and have a little left over to donate to their favorite cause. This life is not something reserved for others, it’s something you can achieve, you just need to make the decision to get started!
What if you don't want to work for anyone else…but instead start blogging to make money or start your own online business selling your knowledge expertise, coaching, or a product that you make? Maybe you have an idea or maybe you want to start a business but you don't know what you could do.
Starting a blog has allowed people to build multi-million dollar businesses starting from scratch with just a small investment. Want to find out what your Blogger Personality is? Take this quiz!
So You Want to Land your Dream Job and Work from Home?
Everyone's talking about getting a job that allows them the freedom to be a better mother and a better wife, right? We all know that finding a good paying, flexible, work-from-home job is difficult. But what almost no one understands about getting a job that allows them the freedom to be a career woman, a mother and a loving wife is the concept of new media jobs. I'm not talking about selling facial cream or jewelry for a large MLM. Maybe you are and you're wondering why you're spending so much time and energy for so little reward.
We’re educated, we’re driven, and we’re managing our household by chopping healthy vegetables for our crock pot in between meetings. We work from our home on a flexible schedule, we start work when our kids get to school and have the flexibility to visit their school on Field Day.
Learning the right way to leverage new media so you can make a living working on your own terms is simple once you’ve got the tools you need at your fingertips. And that can happen even if you are still working full time and just searching for a side hustle or you’re commuting to a high paying job in your local community that currently offers you little flexibility outside of the regular 9 to 5.
A strong team is the foundation of any successful business, whether it’s a global corporation or a small start-up; what you need to know is that businesses of all sizes share the same need for assembling a team of high quality employees that are driven to succeed. But are you driven to grow someone else's company or your own?
When I started my career in the late ‘90s, hiring remote workers was rare. Today, it’s a smart move being made by multi-national corporations that reduces overhead costs and allows them to improve their reach and maximizing efficiency. Advancements in technology have made working remotely easier and more efficient than any time in history.
According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, as many as 90% of workers in the US alone would prefer to hold a job that allows them to work from home.
What do you need to know to get a high paying, remote job like this?
…And what is the difference between working from home and getting paid by a company versus starting your own online business? Hint: Starting your own business is a lot of work, but the reward is far greater in the long run. But what business will you start?
I’m sharing this story with you because I know there are sooo many amazing women out there who give up every day because they feel like they aren’t getting the results that everyone else is, or in certain situations, no results at all.
I know how defeating that is.
Women, moms, all the hardworking people who desire flexibility to be their own boss. We all have so much potential in this online space, with unbelievable talents and a unique gift to share with one another.
This is for you, because I don’t want you to give up.
If by sharing this story, of being vulnerable in a space that we're all still new to, sharing the truth behind what it’s really like having worked for a digital agency will provide you the tiniest bit of hope, to keep you going, and not give up on your dreams, then this was worth it.
And for that, I’ll take one for the team.
Who Am I?
I am Kate Murray.
I have been in this business for over 2 decades. TWO DECADES. Sometimes when I'm invited to speak at Career Day for my local high school, I realize that it really has been over 20 years since I graduated from college!
Straight from undergraduate, I worked in corporate marketing for 10 years. And then I worked in agency marketing, for 8 more years. I earned an MBA along the way, and then got married and freelanced when my kids were babies…because at the time, I needed the flexibility to work from home and most large companies were not doing that yet. I had clients of my own, and I did something called “white label” work, which means I built websites and digital marketing plans for clients of Digital Agencies as a 1099 of the Agency. In other words, I did the work, but the client wasn't really my client. It was the agency's client. I still do both freelance and client work because I spent so much time building the brands of large corporations (ie: the clients of the agencies that I worked for) that I neglected myself and my own ‘brand’.
Business is my life. Business is my passion. But in 2018, I came to an important crossroads. My kids were being neglected so that I could grow other people's businesses. I was feeling undervalued and under-appreciated at work. I was working long hours in the office, a half hour commute to and from the office, and my babies who are now 11 and 12 years old, were going to bed feeling sad because I was too tired to give them the attention they needed.
They ate cereal for dinner.
This was absolutely not what I wanted for them, for my husband, or for me. I needed balance. Yoga. Meditation. Healthy food. Children with manners. All of these are important, and yet I was so loyal to my job…but going to work was completely uninspiring.
Motivation is intrinsic. It doesn't come from a leader, rather it comes from appreciation…I was feeling no appreciation from my work. Can you relate?
And now this.
All these people in the online world showing up and sneezing out a 6-figure income. They started last month and already made $5k. Is that possible? Yes. With stipulations.
Can You Make Money Blogging?
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme. You can “get rich” but let me manage your expectations by saying that it might not be as quick as you think.
Here you are, giving it YOUR ALL and you haven’t achieved that $5k a month milestone yet.
Hang in there.
You cannot start a blog for free and make money. If you need some further explanation on that one, watch this video:
So as you can see, blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme and you do need to invest in your business. Not much, but something. You need to invest some time and some effort, and a little bit of money. This is relative, but you can start a real blog for less than $100 if you have the time and drive. If you watched the video above and you're motivated to start a money making blog asap, then take that first step and reserve your domain name and hosting at Bluehost.
So you invest in your new online blogging business because you know it’s the responsible thing to do. Whether you could afford it or not. Whether it was a Facebook ad, a website, branding, all the online courses you might need to take to gain some education on how this whole system works. You did the responsible thing because you know you wanted the results, and you were willing to do whatever it takes. And still, nothing. Crickets. How can this be?
Hang in there.
You’re showing up, daily. More than daily. You are doing all the things you’re supposed to be. You’re building relationships, you’re communicating, you’re sharing your offer. You have all the social media accounts, the hashtags, the keywords, you’ve even tried to tone it back and focus on 1 or 2 platforms.
Hang in there.
It must be your money mindset you say, so there you go again. Learning, investing, listening, watching, reading, obsessing, trying. Trying. But that’s not working…
I have brushed myself off and opened up my laptop, day after day, not knowing if I will ever be able to build my brand from scratch.
Day in and day out.
I finally stopped all the noise from getting inside my brain, my inbox, my life.
I started to believe in myself.
It’s not a miracle.
It’s not Forbes worthy.
But it’s the truth.
So I keep going.
Tears. No’s. Crickets.
And if you’ve stayed with me this long, I want you to keep going, too. Because it will be worth it. I can assure you that the methodology for generating evergreen leads, setting up your website and automation the right way and delivering digital content in a way that resonates with your nîche is not yet taught in any MBA programs. I know this because I taught courses at a local college. Our colleges and universities train students for the dream of a corner office, but we’re ALL living proof that the dream of a corner office has been replaced with a need for flexibility.
Brush yourself off, and get back out there. You can do it. I believe in you!
Whether you're starting an online business, thinking of starting one, or looking for a company to work for in a remote capacity, there are certain characteristics that make a candidate more suited for remote work.
Here are 5 Tips for being a Successful Remote Worker (whether you're working for a corporation or for yourself!)
Your previous work experience
If you have already had successful work experience, this can be a huge relief for other professionals. When you have experience working out of your home and you know how to conduct yourself online, in writing, and verbally in front of a video conferencing platform, other professionals can assume it’s likely you’ll hit the ground running. The ability to start producing meaningful deliverables is huge, so if you can show that, you’ll already be a front-runner. Do you Email Marketing Automation effectively for your business? Businesses large and small need to know that you are capable of using more than the free version of Mailchimp. Try something like ConvertKit, it integrates well with a variety of platforms.
Excellent communication skills
You’ve got to be able to show that you can communicate professionally, both orally and in writing. Articulate your point clearly and professionally, and show that you’re approachable and coachable. Job prospects who stand out from the crowd will be able to use email correspondence, phone calls, and video chat on a regular basis as part of their communication repertoire and will be able to effectively express themselves clearly no matter what form of communication they are using.
Today’s successful remote professionals are comfortable using a variety of collaborative software whether it’s for project management, online messaging, a group project organization board like Trello, or a CMS such as HubSpot. If you can quickly learn and navigate various cloud-based applications, it will make you more suited to a remote role than your competition. Do you use Webinars in your business? If not, get accustomed to WebinarJam.
You must be driven
You must be able to function with little supervision. A strong candidate can deliver on a project and thrive in an independent role without requiring constant attention. People who make a lot of mistakes, require a lot of direction, or need excessive feedback can take time away from their supervisor’s other responsibilities. HR managers and other professionals who you might collaborate with see this as a red flag. Whether you're seeking a job or seeking to collaborate with an influencer, you've got to show that you're motivated.
Always be professional
Remote workers must be brand ambassadors. Be mindful that just because you are at home doesn’t mean you should have kids, pets, or TV sounds in the background of your conversations. Showing up to a meeting in yoga clothes or performing chores while on a conference call are all easy traps that remote workers take for granted. Don’t let this undermine your professionalism. Even though you are working from home in a more relaxed setting, always behave as if you were working in a corporate environment.
A great remote worker will have all the necessary traits listed above, along with confidence and the ability to perform the highest quality work. Do you have what it takes? Share your comments below!
For any business to be successful with using data and metrics to guide decision making, the key is to think about and plan for all the challenges you might face as you scale your business and your operations. While marketing attribution is a leading force in data-driven decision making, digital marketing managers need to be proactive about putting a strategy in place first; if you do, you’re more likely to build a sustainable, profitable business in the months and years ahead. If you don’t, you’re left with a host of metrics which don’t connect the dots back to revenue.
Understanding how to read marketing metrics and formulate a strategy around the story the data tells requires a big picture approach to multiple channels, and is an invaluable skill.
While discovering which channels drive revenue isn’t rocket science, putting the right process in place to drive conversions from a sea of prospective leads is worth it’s weight in gold.
Instead of focusing on what makes content popular and attention-grabbing, rockstar marketers focus on what makes content personal and conversation-worthy. In other words, businesses need to start at the very beginning, by fully understanding their customer's journey, and further that the journey is not linear. This can be done through proper attribution; in other words, by properly evaluating all the digital touchpoint metrics. As the behaviors of consumers are measured and aggregated, marketers can better allocate budget resources and adjust efforts based on hard numbers instead of making inferences.
Marketing Attribution Defined
Marketing attribution is simply the relationship between marketing data and sales data. It is the process of determining which marketing efforts are succeeding in driving revenue. With modern digital, it’s not enough to simply look at your Google Analytics account. Rockstar marketers use industry leading marketing automation tools to evaluate which marketing touchpoints have direct value in driving sales for your business. With its ability to produce hard numbers from a variety of channels, attribution is an important and useful tool when it comes to digital marketing. Studies show, however, that while as many as 63% of marketers state marketing automation is a growing priority for their business, 67% of them are still using outdated, single-touch forms of measurement. It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses have lists of 30,000 to 50,000 subscribers, who are really prospective buyers of their product or service, but they're not engaged. In other words, at one time these contacts raised their hand and showed interest in your brand; they never made a purchase, so they are a prime segment of untapped potential, yet the company’s email open rate is less than 20%. There is a huge opportunity for business owners in terms of implementing the best digital strategy to significantly boost this previously untapped revenue stream. The ROI is profound, and those who know how to do it are blowing their competition out of the water.
The true value of marketing attribution comes in learning more about your customer's path to purchase. Consumers are interacting with your brand across multiple channels. As new channels continue to develop and old ones overlap, marketing attribution provides valuable insight into which channels are serving as key touchpoints for your brand. Understand the correlation between those key touchpoints, and success is sure to follow. Proper strategy and implementation is the big picture way of looking at all channels, measuring the engagement, and tying the information together to produce more revenue streams.
63% of marketers acknowledge that marketing attribution is a growing priority for their marketing goals. So why are so many marketers still using old-school methods of measurement with a narrow focus on single-touchpoints? Most marketers cite leadership, or lack there of, as a major barrier when it comes to moving forward with a strategy. When moving to a multi-touch approach, a successful leader is one who sees the big picture and who can break down silos. Marketing attribution requires a holistic approach to evaluating how well your marketing channels are working together. A defined leader is someone with authority to lead the effort and with the authority to make decisions. An analytics director, digital marketing manager, CMO, CFO, or even CEO are types of positions where you would need buy in. No matter the size and scope of your business, successful marketing demands strong knowledge. If you are a marketing director and you need some guidance with the implementation, (in other words, tying all the pieces together) talk to me! I am affiliated with a creative team of designers, developers, and marketers that can help put you on the path to success for growing and scaling your business.
The Right Strategy
As with any strategy, measurement and analytics have the potential to become overwhelming. In today's fast-paced marketing world, channels, tools, and software change rapidly. Not only does strategic planning and evaluating marketing attribution metrics require a time commitment, it also requires staying on top of the latest technologies. One of the worst things a marketer can do is let the overwhelming feeling win. Chances are most businesses are already doing some type of marketing, here are some suggestions for taking your strategy to the next level:
Engage with a professional creative agency who can help you refine your goals and suggest the best course of implementation to attain those goals.
Begin with a small campaign to test efforts and results before tackling a larger marketing initiative.
Research tools and software recommended by your agency to ensure they are top notch, and that they fit the scope of your business goals.
The most important part of the process in selecting which tactics you’ll use to carry out your strategy is discovering what will work best to align your sales and marketing teams within your company.
Knowing Your Customer
This sounds like an easy one but if the entire point is to drive revenue using digital marketing, learning more about your customer's journey might be in order. Understanding to how best target your customer's demographics, geographies, and psychographics becomes even better defined with marketing attribution in place. Call it whatever you like, segmentation, bucketing….what we are talking about here is strategically developing personalized messages and ads to your specific audience. This becomes even easier with more specific data.
Marketing attribution is all about gathering data and connecting that data to revenue. Mining the data for the most useful information is crucial for success. For example, examining your customers in relation to their type of interaction with your brand or comparing specifics of campaign elements in different markets are ways of taking a hard look at the data. Concentrate your data mining efforts by focusing only on data that provides valuable insight into customers and conversion rates.
The Bottom Line
No matter the tactic used in marketing your brand, the bottom line is a financial one. Even nonprofit corporations want to see a rise in monetary donations. For-profit corporations and small businesses expect a return on investment. Marketing attribution is a powerful tool in producing tangible, hard numbers. Measurement, when it comes to marketing, is sometimes a slippery slope with ever-changing channels and shifts in customer preferences. Using a well defined system for marketing attribution offers a concrete grip on this slippery slope, providing marketers with a foundation for connecting the dots between marketing efforts and sales revenues.
One of the best investments in establishing a marketing strategy first and foremost is your time. The marketing director, CMO, or whomever holds the primary role in your company has to be able to dedicate time to working collaboratively with the agency you hire to evaluate existing methodologies and use them as a foundation. Assemble the best people for the job. Don’t make the mistake of defining a “sales and marketing director”. That may have worked well in 1980, but today Sales Teams and Marketing Teams need both guidance and alignment. Sales and Marketing inform one another, but they are not one and the same. Delegate responsibilities, establish a meeting/reporting schedule, and most importantly, define the leader. Streamlining your process in the beginning saves time and reduces stress as duties and expectations are set.
No matter the tactic used in marketing your brand, the bottom line is a financial one. Even non-profit corporations want to see a rise in monetary donations. For-profit corporations and small businesses expect a return on investment. The best marketing strategy thinks outside the box. Aim to look beyond each digital channel to really understand marketing attribution in your particular niche, then focus on the bigger picture as you create multiple touchpoints for your brand across multiple channels. The bottom line is that rockstar marketers know that modern metrics guide decision making. If you would like some help connecting the dots of your digital strategy and how to make the most of your data-driven analytics, contact me today!