Are you making this mistake with your side hustle?
Coaches, Consultants, Experts, Service Providers…listen up. This post will help you make sense out of the online business model. Whatever your passion is, whatever you’re good at, I’m living proof that you can monetize it online, but there’s a catch…you’ve got to follow the formula.
You’ve heard it before…
Take what you know.
Sell it for $2k or more.
Use a Facebook ad, a video, and an email sequence.
That’s the formula.
It’s really simple.
But, actually, it’s not that simple.
Easier said than done…
Because you might be thinking,
“What exactly is my offer?”
“Would anyone actually pay $2k, $5k, or even $10k for it?”
“That’s what I charge.”
“Well, I think that’s what I should charge.”
“But, nobody’s ever heard of me.”
“I don’t have an email list.”
“I have case studies but they’re not written up yet.”
“I don’t have a video for my business.”
“And syncing the software?”
“Exactly what software should I use?”
“What’s the difference between a Sales Page and my regular website?”
“What if I don’t even have a website yet?”
“Plus, what about ads?”
“I’m not sure if I can write the perfect email sequence.”
“And I’d rather not do phone calls, either.”
“Maybe I’ll buy a course.”
“Or try to find a freelancer to help me.”
I’ve got a better idea.
Read this first.
There are some important lessons to learn if you want to create a profitable online business.
How do I know this?
I worked in corporate marketing for a Fortune 500 for 10 years. I traveled around the U.S. to train regional marketing teams. After that, I worked for a digital agency for a few more years. When the sales guy at my agency invoiced a client $10,000 for a report that I wrote myself, I finally decided it was time to stop giving away my expertise for peanuts.
But…with that…I had to start over. I started at the same place where everyone starts when they're starting a new business…at the very beginning. So this is a culmination of advice that I both gave to clients of our agency, as well as garnered myself from starting over.
Lesson 1: What is Your Offer?
The very first step to monetization online is to get crystal clear about what exactly your offer is. Who do you serve? What is the problem that you solve? And most of all, why does it matter? In order to be successful with monetization online, you have to focus on the transformation you can provide for people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s crafting hair bows for gymnasts or writing paleo recipes, your focus has to be clear.
A lot of times people want to start a blog but they aren’t quite sure what they want to blog about because they have several different passions. While Lifestyle Bloggers can definitely monetize and become successful, the real key to monetization is to start with a narrow focus.
Are you making this mistake with your side hustle?
When you cover too many different topics, such as motherhood, kids, fashion, and email marketing, people will be confused about what it is that you are an expert in.
I often see women start off blogging about motherhood, and then all of a sudden they are an “expert” in SEO and they are selling a course on “how to start a blog”.
Listen, I don’t care what anyone else tells you…that isn’t a sustainable way for you to make a full-time income as a blogger. It will never happen. I’ve seen people fail, and fail again. You’ll be wasting your time with affiliate links to other blogger’s products that have nothing to do with your blog.
If you worked in marketing for the last 15 years then start a marketing blog, but if you didn’t, then stay in your lane.
Get out of comparisonville, don’t regurgitate other people’s blog posts, and get back in your lane.
Stick with what you know well.
If you're going to create a video or blog about a topic, make sure you have experience in that topic. Nobody wants to learn about how to grow a YouTube channel by someone who has 3 videos on their channel with 10 subscribers and 20 views.
I once clicked on a Pin on Pinterest which led to a blog article about advice on starting a YouTube channel. As I read through the article, I was becoming skeptical because the advice was counter-intuitive to what is being taught inside the mentorship program I belong to. (In case you didn't know, I'm a mentor inside of the private groups for YouTube Influencer Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube for Bosses and Authority Accelerator Programs).
We teach people how to be successful on YouTube.
But do some due diligence.
Check out my YouTube channel. It's not huge, but it's acceptable. If you like what you see, don't forget to subscribe while you're there.
So the moral of the story is….stick with what you know.
Don't try to be someone you're not.
Because that isn't going to give you a full time income.
Want to learn how to be successful with YouTube so that you can grow your biz like the real GirlBoss that you are? Start here:
Lesson 2: Your Purpose
Creating content is all about focusing on your purpose. Sometimes, bloggers can’t articulate their message, and this ultimately makes it harder to monetize.
Try thinking about this statement:
I help [specific person] to [specific problem you solve] so [specific result they want].
I help driven women entrepreneurs go from feeling stagnant in their business to standing out as leaders so they can fast-track more high-ticket clients and share their unique message with the world.
You definitely want your message to be high level, but also speak to a specific pain point that will get your audiences attention.
Make your purpose clear, specific and results-driven. Ultimately, you want to move people to take the next step in their journey.
Now, if you don’t already know this, your bottom line is highly dependent upon your ability to “do social media” correctly. What does that look like you’re saying to yourself, what exactly does it mean to “do it correctly?”
I think it’s easy to get so focused on building your product that you forget to build your audience. Before you can monetize, you need to have people to sell to. In other words, if you don’t have an email list or a very big social media following, you’ve got to work on that.
Monetization is twofold: it’s about creating your own digital product that will help move your audience closer to their goal, and also suggesting helpful products and services (affiliate links) that will also move your audience closer to their goal.
You can’t monetize your passion if you don’t have someone to sell to. Think about it this way, just because you put your product out there on your website doesn’t mean people are just going to start flocking to it. The social media fairies don’t work that way.
Plus, and this is important, here’s the reality: you’re probably not going to make a huge affiliate income on the day you publish your first affiliate link. People are not going to open up their wallet and buy something they’ve never heard of just because you recommended it in a blog post.
Is it possible to make an affiliate income the moment you hit “publish?” Of course people may read your post, get really into the product you’ve recommended, and buy it. But in my experience it hasn’t been an effective strategy and I wouldn’t rely on it.
And here’s the other thing you should know about affiliate income: it’s inconsistent. I wish affiliate links were a stable way to make an income, but the reality is that there is nothing truly stable about making money by promoting other people’s products. It’s not uncommon for a company to close down their affiliate program, change the terms, or go out of business altogether.
Lesson 3: Your Audience
Herein lies the final key to being successful with monetization. I’ll say it again because it’s so important: You can’t monetize your passion if you don’t have someone to sell to.
So even if you don’t have a product yet, you want to start building your audience from day one.
Regardless of what your background is, believe me, for the last 14 years I’ve been working with people from college educated to physicians to craftsman to students, and when it comes to online marketing and digital advertising, everyone is in the same boat. Your leadership, drive and ambition isn’t about your educational background, it is about your motivation to accelerate your business forward and that is what will make you successful.
Now there are ways to accelerate the process of building your audience. You can use paid ads to get in front of your exact target audience, but there’s a strategy that you need to follow to make it all come together.
Savvy shoppers are now what the Harvard Business review is calling “mobile supershoppers” they know just what they want and they know how to find it.
The question becomes, do you know how to market to them? The success of your online business in the 21st century depends on whether you know how to do it right.
Lets talk about value. Measuring and delivering what your consumer really wants, that is value.
When a customer evaluates a product or a service, they weigh it’s perceived value against it’s asking price, but zeroing in on what they REALLY value can be difficult, because psychologically it’s complicated.
How does that all play in to getting people to buy your product or service online? Well, to make your product valuable, it needs to contain 4 elements:
and provide social impact.
When optimally combined, these 4 elements will increase your customer loyalty and your revenue growth.
But if you’re clueless about the digital business model, tech integrations or how to connect online marketing back to revenue for your business, and nothing else has worked…
And you’re sick and tired of trying to do ALL.THE.THINGS.
Maybe it’s time to outsource the entire scope of the project to an expert with an unparalleled commitment to serving your needs.
Here’s an alternative option for a very limited time…I currently host a Free, private Facebook group where you can ask questions, get solid advice, support, and collaborate with other social media influencers, bloggers, and online entrepreneurs. In early 2020, I will be changing this group from free to paid, so if you would like to get in now, for free, click here to join! Once I officially launch my Masterclass Series, I will only be inviting those who have paid for the course. Why? Because it takes time to answer questions of course and I can’t keep working for free! 🙂 Join now!!
On another note, here’s my best advice for Small Business Owners: Start with a digital audit. I can do a mini-audit of your website and social channels, and then plan a time to talk it over with you, one-on-one in a 1-hour or 2-hour session. I also offer a full-scale digital audit which provides you with a written, step-by-step Action Plan tailored to your business model to help you get you where you’re going. You can implement the plan yourself, hire us to do it for you, or seek out freelance services yourself using Upwork, Fiverr, or Bark.
When you have a written plan, you’ll know exactly what you need to do, and perhaps most importantly, how to communicate it properly in the right ‘industry lingo’ so that you, someone on your team, or a hired freelancer can get it done quickly and efficiently.
The Art of Social Media Marketing (Understanding your Pinterest Analytics!)
Is social media marketing an art? The word analytics kind of screams math to me, and as far as I'm concerned, math and art don't exactly go hand in hand.
Analytics can sometimes seem overwhelming.
Business owners know they should be measuring their data, but how do you know exactly what metrics to look at to get the best ROI? And what if it's not working they way you expected it to?
To gain some perspective, we need to address the state of digital marketing…and the paid traffic correction that we're currently in the midst of.
Let's start with the obvious. Unless you're using a very specific retargeting and custom audience strategy, don't expect Facebook ads to work the way they did in 2014. You can read more about that here, but in this article, I'm specifically talking about why the age of interruption is over and how you can leverage the power of Pinterest to help you implement a sustainable online business model.
You likely already know that Pinterest is a search and discovery platform…just like Google. Search engines are completely different from other social media channels, so you have to understand the nuances of SEO (search engine optimization) in order to leverage all that Pinterest has to offer.
Using Pinterest for business allows brands to reach consumers at a specific moment…the moment when they're visually attracted to whatever beautiful idea they see on Pinterest.
Banner ads and low quality content just won’t do well on these platforms, and that's what I love. No shitty looking clickbait sales pages, around here yo!
Remember when anyone with a sexy headline and a Clickfunnels account could turn a profit in their online business? Well folks, those days of money-hungry, funnel hacking, sleazy business are over (thank goodness!). I still use Clickfunnels, actually, but lets gain some context around the rest of the story and you'll see how that fit's into the big picture.
Russell Brunson, the founder of Clickfunnels created a truly amazing software tool that has made it very simple for millions of people all over the world to create online businesses using the funnel system. But the key is, to actually be successful, you first need to clearly understand how to make it all come together, and that begins with understanding the strategy first.
In order to really harness the power of Pinterest for business, you have to get deep inside the Pinterest user's mindset first, because the right combination of words and pictures can motivate action.
The Storytelling Approach to Attraction Marketing
Telling a relevant story at the right time to the right person in a way that allows that person to realize they need your product or service is the real art behind social media marketing…And telling that story in a picture is what Pinterest is all about.
It's not about posting a really long rant on Facebook, pushing it to cheap countries to bulk up your “likes” and posting aggressive ad copy.
Lets talk about the psychology of behavior.
People typically make a purchase decision based on whether they think you understand their problem, and whether they think you have the knowledge, resources and commitment to solve their problem.
Social media marketing is simply an extension of the age-old technique of getting to know your customer and then meeting their needs. Measuring brand awareness and harnessing the customer journey using attraction marketing is the real strategy.
Not funnel “hacking”.
Not “smashing” the funnel.
What most of this sub-culture of fake digital marketers neglect to tell you about successful digital marketing is that the online business model is still based on traditional sales, and you can't make it work using the same shitty, high pressure sales techniques that never worked before.
“Hello, Mr. McDigital…1999 is calling…you left your pitch-heavy, automated webinar that's disguised as a masterclass over there, next to your friend who's Facebook Ad looks exactly the same as yours.
If you don’t like sales and you want to start a blog or an online business, you better learn to like sales…you just have to figure out the right way to attract your audience. (Hint: It's not from any mentors who drank from the dirty pond.)
For businesses, marketing has entered a new era, the Age of the Consumer. It takes a focused and forward-thinking company to embrace the ever-changing media landscape without sacrificing strategy and measurable results.
So…you want to know how to make it all come together? Let's do this!
Pinterest is the best kept secret in online marketing.
Contrary to popular belief…it's not Instagram.
Well, lets talk about who your target audience is for a minute. If your business is targeting people outside of the US, you’re in luck because 80% of the people who use Instagram are from outside the US according to the 2019 State of Social Media Report by Buffer.
But here’s something else to consider…if your business targets upper middle class, college educated women from the US, guess where 80% of your audience hangs out?
Yeah, it’s Pinterest.
More specifically, lets think about what those female head of households are looking at and shopping for…
if your business has anything to do with home decor, jewelry and clothing, makeup and hairstyles, children, weddings, books, travel, or food, and you’re not leveraging the power of Pinterest, you might want to start thinking about it.
So how do you measure ROI (return on investment) and really make sense of Pinterest analytics?
Using Pinterest Analytics to Understand Your Target Audience
In terms of using social media to promote selling your product or service: don’t assume someone is ready to have a particular conversation with you just because you’re ready to have the conversation with them.
In other words, just because you put your business out there doesn't mean people will come flocking. The social media fairies don't work that way.
Consumers now have access to more information and have more control over the sales process than ever. With this change, a new way of selling has emerged. This method combines the power of Pinterest's search engine optimization with a business owner's expertise in both design and communication skills in a way that not only brings revenue to the business, but it deepens the value of the overall relationship.
Because social media marketing is an approach to the sales and marketing of your product that is relationship-focused instead of transaction-focused, the immediate goal isn’t necessarily to get a sale as quickly as possible; the immediate goal is to establish a relationship.
So if there is no sale…how do you understand what is working and what isn't working when it comes to your Pinterest analytics?
The key is to know exactly what Pinterest metrics to look at and where to find them.
Here's a quick snapshot.
If you look at Analytics directly from the Pinterest dashboard, be sure you change the drop down to “Link Clicks” as well as change the radio button to only your website to see which of your pins are getting clicked on the most. The default setting is “Impressions” which is a vanity metric that doesn't really give you any concrete information.
Focus on the design of your pins
This may sound obvious, but if you're not a designer by trade, the creative, typography, and color combinations might not come naturally to you. Use quality stock art, and most importantly, do not use free stock. Use Google analytics to review which pins are producing the most traffic, and model your future designs off those pins. Buy a subscription to someplace like PixiStock, GirlBossStock, or IvoryMix.
Here's a example of two different pins that lead to the same blog post. Can you guess which one has more link clicks? It's the one with the prettier design.
The Age of Interruption is Over!
Understand the digital sales process. Instead of interrupting customers with a sales pitch, a product or service is marketed to a consumer when the opportunity presents itself. Aside from the obvious (answering questions and responding to inquiries on your own social channels, and using email nurturing the right way) how exactly can business owners join the social selling conversation?
First and foremost, if you are a small business and you don’t have a Marketing Director at your company, the first step is to spend some time to educate yourself about how to master the Pinterest platform. Trying to use Pinterest for business without a defined strategy will just suck up your time and get you nowhere.
Here is a short video to show you exactly what Pinterest Analytics to look at and where to find them.
A few other examples of ways to incorporate social selling in your online business:
A potential consumer asks a question that your product or service is uniquely able to handle. How do you find those asking questions? Solution: If you don’t have the budget to invest in monitoring apps (such as Cison.com) simply search an industry specific hashtag to see what thought leaders are conversing about. #DigitalMarketing
Example: A consumer expresses a concern or problem with a competitor’s product or service. Solution: Offer your solution in the comments. Be careful not to force your product or service down someone’s throat. Instead point them to an article your company has produced (such as a blog) or another educational piece that shows that you understand the problem they are faced with and how to resolve it.
Example: A consumer asks for your recommendation by email based on previous content you wrote about or expertise they know you have. Provide a direct link to a piece of content or an offer that provides the answer to what they are looking for.
You want to give people only what they will find valuable. If your business is a petstore and a potential consumer is interested in puppies, you don’t want to send them an email trying to sell them a fishtank. If you do, it’s likely they will opt-out of your list and you’ll never have the chance to sell anything puppy related to them again.
How does social media marketing work in the context of Pinterest?
Social selling isn’t a straightforward process; it is rather a collection of strategies designed to establish a relationship with your leads and customers.
Unlike traditional selling, social selling allows you to establish longer-lasting relationships with leads and clients by delivering only what your prospect is interested in. In order to do this, you need to understand the nuances of the Pinterest Platform in order to take full advantage of it for marketing your business.
Need some help with Pinteret? Check out my mini-course to learn how to start using the right tactics!
Here are 4 tips to help you take full advantage of your social channels to help you attract real, targeted leads that are stronger and better qualified:
1. Social Listening
Pay close attention to and respond to potential sales opportunities and clients through comments on your blog and on your social channels. Often this technique is overlooked by companies who don’t have a lot of time or recognize the value of customer service.
It’s important to realize that digital media is a powerful way to connect with your audience and if used properly, your brand’s voice will be amplified tenfold by interactions that can be seen and heard by people all over the digital world.
2. Brand Building
Establishing your brand as a subject matter expert and your business as a credible authority within a particular niche is very important in today’s online landscape.
People perform online research more than ever before, so a combination of search engine ranking and detailed content that is relevant to a particular search or need will help position you ahead of your competition. Post a thought leadership article on LinkedIn or a carefully crafted Tweet, but whatever you do, make sure it's thoughtfully aligned with your core values.
Create blogs, videos, white papers, ebooks, or other educational information about your industry that offers insight and value for current and prospective clients. The key is to provide something valuable. Don't be cheap.
Make sure your content is informative and relevant. More content doesn’t necessarily equate to more visits…remember it's always quality over quantity.
Your Pinterest analytics will tell you exactly which pins are gaining the most traction. The best kind of content marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all; instead it tells a story and appeals to your prospect’s emotions. Consider what problem your product or service solves, and then create content around delivering a compelling story.
Remember when an Excel spreadsheet replaced the old-fashioned rolodex? These days even a smart spreadsheet isn’t going to amplify your prospecting. The gold mine of opportunity that exists with a CRM platform allows you to identify prospects for up-sell or cross-sell, convert existing customers to new products or services, target new marketing, or even track invoices.
Managing your interactions between customers and your business using an automation tool is the best way to monitor, analyze and follow-up upon the metrics delivered by your digital marketing efforts. Different platforms make sense for different size businesses and industries.
For businesses making over $250,000 per year, I highly recommend HubSpot. If your business is making from zero to $250,000, then your best option for marketing automation is ConvertKit.
Last but not least…
Keep in mind that the true art of social media marketing on Pinterest is knowing that it's not about you, your opinions, your point of view or your circumstances.
It’s about helping others by meeting their needs, understanding their concerns, and adding a valuable solution to their path forward. Are you ready to learn more about how to leverage the power of Pinterest? Get Started!
An excerpt of this article was printed in The Reading Eagle Newspaper, Print Edition
Having an effective marketing strategy isn’t only about creating brilliant and compelling visuals with educational and impactful data, it’s about understanding what numbers you should track to grow your business, or if you work for a business, how to effectively communicate those numbers to stakeholders in order to drive high level decision making.
Key Performance Indicators for Bloggers
Marketing strategists often use the acronym KPI, which stands for Key Performance Indicators.
In its most basic form, marketing KPIs are a series of numbers that are tied to a company’s overall goals. When KPIs are properly established, a company can measure its progress toward their goals by associating this number (a marketing metric) to the outcome of an intrinsically defined target.
Here's an example for a small business owner or blogger. Imagine you are selling a digital product such as an ebook or a digital course. You might decide to run an online ad in order to drive traffic to your offer. Perhaps you set your budget at $100 per day. Imagine your ad is seen by 2,000 people and you've got a 60% click rate, but only a 10% conversion rate.
What exactly does that mean?
First off, it means you'll make a profit because you are selling an average of 120 books per day, each for $10. It also means your ad is very good and your audience targeting is on point because it's driving a lot of clicks. But even though you are making $1,200 per day, how do you determine whether whether your Return on Investment (ROI) for this campaign is actually good?
The answer is that you need to assign a KPI that is important to you. Although you are quite profitable and it may seem like you have a high ROI, a 10% conversion rate is actually quite bad, which means something could be better optimized for conversions.
Perhaps it's your sales page, maybe it's the copy, the imagery, or even the advertisement. Understanding what metrics to look at can help you better determine what can be tweaked in order to get a higher Return on Investment.
Now imagine if you tweaked your sales page and it started producing a 40% conversion rate. In this example, you would not likely change the ad because 60% is a really good click rate. So with a good click rate and a good conversion rate, instead of making just $1,200 per day in revenue from this campaign, you're now making $4,800 per day. That is a significant difference. Knowing what to “tweak” is the key to optimizing for conversion, but you can only optimize if you establish the performance metrics that you plan to track.
Many leadership teams (as well as small business owners) monitor the performance of these numbers over time and use them to adjust their plans, their programs, and their products to support and improve their overall strategic goals.
It's always a good idea to start with one performance metric and split-test it. Split test means that you only change one thing, such as a Pin image, to determine which one is producing the best results. Then you can tweak other pieces such as the headline copy, the sales page, or the target audience. Each of these can be considered a KPI.
How to use KPIs to Plan Goals for the New Year
In the past, most people associated financial metrics with the classic example of measurable indicators, however using only past performance to forecast marketing results no longer yields a good prediction about whether to keep, reject, or try out a new marketing strategy.
Buyers have changed; today’s buyer is highly informed, and their journey from first hearing about a product or service until they actually buy it is not linear.
Today’s modern buyer researches products and services online at any time of the day or night, on any device, and consumes information from multiple sources. They compare and contrast reviews, seek out recommendations, and educate themselves more than ever before.
The good news for bloggers and small business owners is that we can measure these actions and behaviors in ways that we couldn’t measure before, and this is a captivating source of information when tied to a KPI.
1. Choose a KPI that is specifically tied to a metric that will ultimately grow your revenue
Bloggers often follow the classic online business model; they start their email list with an opt-in freebie, also called a Lead Magnet. But most people miss the most important part of the methodology: your opt-in needs to have a direct correlation to the product or service that you will ultimately offer…even if you're not offering it for sale yet!
Lets take a quick look at an example. If you're offering a subscription to your weekly newsletter, you need to give people a reason to opt-in, otherwise you won't gain much traction. Instead, if you plan to sell an ebook about gardening but the ebook isn't finished yet, perhaps your freebie is a checklist on how to get started composting. When you use this methodology, you measure you opt-ins and it logically leads to the next step of the journey…the offer of the book.
2. Invest in your audience up front, and pay for ads to your Free offer
I know it sounds crazy, but stay with me here. Most of the time, I actually pay for ads to my freebie instead of my offer, so that I can attract my ideal client on to my email list. This is called “attraction marketing” and it's such an important part of online marketing. The goal is to over-deliver on value.
For me, I first deliver what I promised (typically a free worksheet or checklist) and then I send a short email welcome series to introduce myself and my business. If all goes well and a person is still on my email list, I will then let them know that I typically send a video once a week on a topic that is helpful to anyone starting or growing an online business. They always have the option to unsubscribe if my content doesn't suit them any longer.
Ultimately, my emails will nurture them and provide so much value, that they will (hopefully) buy something from me at some point. The idea is not to do what most online marketers do…which is bombard them with en email a day (or…gasp…more than one email a day) because that is just going to make people unsubscribe instantly.
It just doesn't work.
No matter what anyone tells you, don't ever break the Golden Rule of Email Marketing…NO MORE than one email a day. In fact, you should never send your general list more than one email a week (unless you're doing a launch which is an entirely different topic.)
First an foremost, you need to serve your customer before you make an offer, otherwise you're just employing the sleezy techniques that don't work. The offer needs to logically follow the freebie and the nurturing, and become an extension of the buyer's journey.
3. Use the right social media platform for your business
Back in 2014, I created my first digital course. Although it was a total bust at the time, one of the modules was solely dedicated to how to choose the right social media platform for your business. Today that topic is even more important than it was back then. Nobody can do it all, not even a large company with an enormous marketing department and unlimited budget can dominate every platform.
Using KPIs to your advantage involves choosing the platform that resonates most with your exact target audience, and focusing on that platform first. If you try to grow your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your YouTube channel and your Pinterest account all at one time, it's likely you won't have much success with any of them. (Trust me, I've made that mistake before!)
Focus on one platform at a time.
Choose the one where most of your audience is and start there. Don't be persuaded by people pushing out vanity metrics. Stay in your lane and focus on the numbers that matter to your business.
The remainder of this article focus' specifically on Pinterest marketing. Here are some metrics to help you decide if Pinterest is an ideal platform for you to market your business. If your ideal customer is interested in:
Animals and Pets
Architecture, Home Decor
Children and Childrearing
DIY, Home Improvement and Crafts
Education (various subcategories)
Food and Drink
Hair and Beauty
Health and Fitness
Holidays and Celebrations
The Opportunity to Leverage Pinterest for Business Marketing
Today, marketing metrics offer guidance that is literally black and white. In the past, leadership teams and small business owners could only make assumptions about the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Consider this: how do you accurately measure the ROI (return on investment) of a billboard or a magazine ad?
Online, however, the numbers measure real data which serves as an impressive way to make decisions about process and improvement.
For example, an increase in a measurable statistic, such as downloads of a Free Checklist, a comparison pricing guide or engagement with a cost calculator, is likely to forecast an improvement in a key indicator such as customer education.
This is just one particular phase in the buyer’s journey, yet understanding this KPI and the process that logically follows (retargeting those specific buyers with a carefully planned ad or funneling them into a specific nurturing sequence at an appropriate time) is what leads to high performing digital marketing campaigns, and ultimately, the conversions you're after.
If your business is in an industry with a target customer who uses Pinterest, you have a really big opportunity!
If you would like more information about using Pinterest for Business, you can get started with our Free Checklist!
Planning for marketing KPIs is a strategic process and involves the collaboration of either your top marketing executive or a seasoned Marketing Strategist. If a company’s key objectives are not clear, that can lead to an imbalanced and incomplete view of the overall strategy.
Modern marketing becomes a powerful way to help drive revenue when the right message is delivered to the right audience at the right time. One of the ways my clients leverage contextual marketing is by using HubSpot (Click here for a 30-Day Free Trial). Note that I only recommend this tool for business owners with annual revenue that is over $250,000 per year, otherwise, your best bet for marketing automation is ConvertKit.
We can help you gain a competitive edge on Pinterest and tie in your marketing automation by focusing on the importance of intelligent data and aligning your KPIs to implement strategic, data-driven decisions about your marketing ROI. Woo, that was a bit of a mouthful!
4 Top Email Marketing Strategies to Skyrocket Leads!
Email list subscribers (ie: potential customers) think about your brand as a whole, and they’re not just thinking about how cool your emails look. In fact, even if it's only subconsciously, with every email you send (automated or not) they’re considering your products and how you communicate with them, as well as your style, tone, and mood.
If you want your email automation to be superior, you've got to think about and plan out the entire experience.
So let’s be real, getting someone to hand over their email address is not easy, it doesn’t matter if you’re a corporation or a small business. People are savvy researchers these days, and I too have had my fair share of “email@example.com” email addresses show up on my list, just to get the free content that I’m giving away.
The pure excitement of clicking “Publish” on your newest blog post still doesn’t take away that sinking feeling of seeing someone opt-in to download your freebie only to unsubscribe instantly.
All that work you put in to creating something educational and beautiful.
It sucks, but it happens.
Here’s the honest truth, you can never prevent that from happening all together, but what you can do is give people a reason to want to soak up everything you have to offer. Your overall email marketing strategy, including the bulk email marketing software that you use to send from are a critical piece of getting it right.
Email Newsletters…Not Vogue!
In the past, and still today, many companies send an email newsletter every week (or every month) because they assume people on their list wanted to know about everything that is going on at their company. Newsflash…that isn’t true!
Think about the last time a company you did business with 2 years ago sent you an email. If you’re even still subscribed to that email list, were you interested enough to open it and read everything in there? Probably not.
But what if that same company sent you an email about one specific topic that was relative to the exact product you purchased? For example “your item was recalled, click here to see what we’re doing about it.” You would be much more likely to keep reading or click through to see what they have to say.
Strategies for Growing Your Email Marketing ROI
The strategies for growing an email list are fairly black and white, but if you want to step up your game, there are some tactics that absolutely work and there are some that don’t.
My biggest mistake when I created my first free opt-in was that it was too complex. It's because I had a background in digital marketing and came from an agency job where day in and day out I spoke to people (and customers) who already understood the language.
Talking about a tactic like “Schema Markup” or “Consideration Stage Lead Magnet” didn't resonate with my blog audience because they weren't marketers.
But that was back in 2011, and I’ve honed in on the art of teaching email marketing ever since, and found a way to teach these tactics that are the absolute cornerstone of list-building. One simple but effective tactic has grown my list and the lists of my clients by leaps and bounds. In fact, I now gain about 600 new organic subscribers each week.
Six-Hundred each week.
I'm not kidding. If you're just starting out with list-building, 600 new subscribers a week sounds like a dream come true, right?
Before I jump in though, lets get clear, these are foundational strategies, not tips and tricks.
Tips and tricks are temporary, while strategies last for the long haul. Email marketing automation can be a huge, powerful, big deal with a lot of complex moving parts.
Luckily, getting started is fairly straightforward if you follow the right advice.
In fact, the only thing you actually need to do to get started is click this one button. (But before you do, please finish reading).
Attraction Marketing: The Foundation of Email Marketing Automation
The best digital marketing practice is to create long-term strategies that have been shown to be effective over and over again. This begins with attracting the right audience.
Here are 4 ways to implement genuine “attraction marketing” in other words…to make people crave your content, look forward to when you publish something new, and thus make them want to be on your list, part of your audience, and follow you on every social channel that you’re on.
1. Use an Interactive Quiz as your Email Opt-In (aka: Lead Magnet)
This one small thing has been wildly successful in terms of attracting new members to my audience, and it's the absolute cornerstone of good segmentation so that you can group your subscribers into the proper email nurturing sequence. At first glance it doesn’t seem to be an “opt-in” but as you guide your audience through a series of questions, it’s a fantastic way to group them into meaningful categories that you can actually nurture.
Not to mention, it’s a super fun way to engage. Don’t let the cost scare you, it’s well worth it. Just divide the annual cost by the amount of true, engaged people on your email list and you’ll see there is no comparison!
To use this quiz effectively, I ask questions such as “what phase of business are you currently in” and let them select answers such as:
“I’m just thinking about starting my online business” or “I’m currently blogging but not seeing much success.”
These are very different in terms of how you would help guide this person through to an eventual offer, even though both are interested in the same general niche of blogging to make money.
If you’re thinking about using a quiz, I would recommend checking out the Interact Quiz Builder. You can use their quiz templates to easily get up and running in a matter of minutes, or you can change the questions to anything you like.
The best part is that they integrate with any email marketing automation that you already use, and their metrics provide a really good overview (even better than Google Analytics) at grouping your audience.
I use tags in my email automation to funnel people into different categories, but even if I didn’t, I could go and download my list (already grouped) directly from Interact. If you are thinking about checking it out, click here for a free trial.
2. Grow your Organic Followers using the “Polite” Popup
Stay with me for a moment, I hate popups too. I’m always met with a lot of resistance when talking about popups because I know they are annoying and disruptive. But I challenge you to think about this in a new way.
As someone is reading through your site, a little while later, a sleek and slow window appears on the side and it’s just a follow request. You’re not hitting them smack in the center of the face asking for their email address. I use a this WordPress plugin and it’s a great way to increase your followers organically on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or even YouTube.
If you want to use great email automation and list segmentation, you’ll need to have greater data. Both of these tools listed above help you segment the answers to the questions so you can really nurture your list. You won’t be able to use the powerful email marketing automation features unless your list is grouped into different segments.
When planning and setting a goal for your email campaign, ask yourself these 6 important questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
Consider demographics, make sure what you’re saying is relevant to those receiving the email.
Clicks and Opens are not an appropriate primary goal. Marketers measure clicks and opens, but they are indicators and metrics of success, they should not be the primary goal of the email. Your primary goal should be “Register for our Webinar” or “Download our Toolkit.”
We’re not talking only about the time of day or the day of the week; consider where the recipients of this email is on their journey to purchase. Some people have just started researching ideas, such as “best time of year to buy a grill” while others have already decided to buy and are researching features & benefits of a gas grill compared to features & benefits a charcoal grill. Sending the right information to the right person at the wrong time is not going to translate to conversions. Thinking through exactly what you’re selling and when your buyer needs it is critical.
Where is your audience going to read your email? At their desktop in the office, on their phone during their lunch hour, or on an ipad while watching TV at night?
Why are you sending this message? Use this as a reality check, why does this campaign benefit the recipient?
How do you know if you’ve met your goals? Web traffic, twitter mentions, and a look at other channels can help you see how your campaign impacts behavior. Don’t forget to read between the lines; open and click-thru-rates may be terrible, but people may be logging into their account or calling customer service in response to your email.
3. Use Paid Ads to give away your Free Content
This sounds crazy. Am I right? Most of the time people create ads when they are selling their product or service, but I actually pay for ads to serve up my free stuff! To be fully transparent, I invest several hundred dollars a month using paid ads, but the ads are promoting my free lead magnets.
It’s a way that works well to invest in your followers in the very beginning, to make sure your audience is made up of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Then you serve your audience so well so that when the time comes to sell to them, they have already qualified themselves as the perfect candidate to purchase.
If you’re familiar with the sales and nurturing process, you already know that most people aren’t immediately ready to buy anything, especially in this day and age of internet research.
Most of the time, people need to do their research and get warmed up before they are ready to buy anything, so running ads to your paid content is not going to be very successful. I've done it. Unless it's a gorgeous apparel item with a deeply discounted price, it simply does not work.
Would you click on something from a stranger and purchase without context or more information? Probably not! Instead, the best strategy is to place an ad that leads to free content with the goal of getting them on to your email list.
This technique is much more affordable than running ads that point directly to a purchase. The cost to acquire a new subscriber on your email list is a fraction of the cost of an ad that points directly to a sales page. It’s better to invest in serving up content (without the hint of a pitch) until you know the audience is engaged.
This is how you show trust and ultimately position yourself as the expert in what you’re talking about. Then when you have an offer, your audience is inclined to listen to what you have to say because they’ve had time to benefit from the free content that you’ve given to them.
At the end of the day, I will always spend money to acquire new people to my list over trying to run an ad to sell a product. I’m confident in my ability to serve my audience so well, that when the time comes to sell something, they are excited to become a bigger part of my community through the purchase of additional products, courses and services.
I’m just going to give it to your straight…
If learning about online business and email marketing automation feels like it’s draining you faster than your iPhone battery, then you’re not doing it right.
ConvertKit was designed to support your business so you can get on with doing the things you actually want to do.
Imagine…automated selling consistently without you having to spend hours and hours doing it!
Of course this isn’t just anything you’re selling…this is your dream job! What you’ve been dreaming about since you were stuck in that corporate cubicle trading all your time for a paycheck.
4. Exclusivity (Translation: Special Perks for your Email Subscribers)
It’s important to treat your community like insiders or VIPs. The people on your email list should be the first to know about anything new in your business. Not only that, they should be getting content that you don’t publish anywhere else.
Whether that is exclusive sales or other freebies, they will really feel like they are special if you don’t offer the same on your Facebook Ads or Twitter account.
Treat your email subscribers like gold, show them you truly value them, thank them, and let them know how much they mean to you. Too often, I’ve seen bloggers promote a sale all over their private Facebook group, on their email list, and then tweet about it and even run an ad. This doesn’t make subscribers feel like they are an insider at all.
Instead, offer your email subscribers something different, an additional discount code or access before you announce the sale publicly.
Keeping customers engaged with your business is crucial if you want them to remain loyal to your brand; it is also a critical step in helping you convert those leads into fully qualified customers. Having an automation system that literally makes money while you sleep needs to be well thought out.
Start by answering those 5 aforementioned questions. When you create marketing campaigns that intelligently follow up with the right people at the right time based on their actions and behaviors, it will be a true game changer for your business.
Providing great content is just not optional anymore; in fact, digital communications is just as important to your business as customer service. If you want to create and keep loyal customers, giving them great information and solving their problems is the key to your continued growth with email marketing automation.
Whether you're just getting started, or you're a veteran marketer looking to enhance your lead generation strategies, these 4 email marketing strategies are sure to yield big results for you in the year ahead!
For a preview of my favorite email marketing tools in action, watch this video!
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I think I’ll get up at 5am, go for a run, make breakfast for everyone, get showered and dressed (in a great outfit with heals and makeup), pack lunches, drop my kids off at school, go to work for 10 hours, meet the kids at their practice, handle the parents who are complaining but not volunteering for the team, come home, cook dinner, clean up, monitor homework, get the kids showered, spend some quiet time with each of them while I tuck them in bed, then open up my laptop to do some more work until midnight because I couldn’t get it all done at work, sleep for about 5 hours so that I can do it all again tomorrow.
Laundry. Cleaning. Groceries. Pets. Getting the kids where they need to go. Healthy meals.
We expect women to raise kids like they don’t have jobs, and work like they don’t have kids. Mothers didn’t just enter the career world, they signed on for two full-time jobs and then some.
The allure is strong…yoga pants instead of corporate attire, tending to a load of laundry when you need a quick break from your computer, and chopping some veggies at lunch to throw in your crock pot.
But before we go any further, please allow me to check my privilege at the door so you don’t have to make assumptions: I am a white woman with a college education. I am married. I live in a small Normand Rockwell-ish town and I have a career I genuinely like. #grateful
Here’s the stark reality
Universities train students for the dream of a corner office…but at a certain point, women, especially mothers, begin to recognize that working a 9 to 5 outside the home is a constant source of fatigue and frustration.
“Having it all” can mean different things to different people, and this is especially dependent upon your “stage” in life.
I’d like to think I’ve had some exceptional work “accomplishments”, I worked a 9 to 5 for the first 10 years after college, in fact at the time, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and made more money than my husband did.
But then life changed in an instant. My mom became very sick, I was pregnant, and I knew that working remotely was not going to get me a 6-figure salary. At least not in 2006!
Fast forward a few years after freelancing and starting a blog while my kids were napping, answering emails with puke in my hair, no time to breathe. Trying to at least make enough money to pay our taxes because my husband is a teacher and supporting 4 of us now. I am a strong woman and I have it all. I got this.
Um, Livin' the dream…right?
When my kids were finally ready to go to school, I was ready to leave the unpredictability of freelance work and get back to a regular salary. But something strange happened. A loyal friend had seen some of my work creating websites and online marketing plans, and asked me to come work for him, in an industry that I knew nothing about.
I put in countless hours outside the home, doing a job that was only partly what I signed up for. I worked for 12 hours a day while he was on a tropical vacation with his family. I was lucky if I got to hug my kids while they were awake before bed.
Does this sound like you too? If so, let me know in the comments below.
When I walked in the door after a 12 hour day, my husband pleasantly asked “what's the plan for dinner?”
I scream: “Shit!! I guess we’ll just have eggs and toast tonight.”
Calm down. Take a deep breath. Everything will come together.
I truly believe he helps out more than the average husband.
I’m not working a minimum wage job. I’m not disadvantaged in any way…except that I am a working mother in the United States.
So, about that opportunity to Start a Mom Blog so you can Work from Home?
What I’m saying here is that we need to start changing some social norms…especially the notion that blogging is not a “real” job. It’s like we all said hey, let’s change the narrative for women, #womenempowerment, but lets not change anything else. Like it doesn’t matter if your 22 or 42 or 62…it’s not too late to start a blog and make money from it.
It needs to be truly okay for women to opt-out of working outside the home and realize that starting a blog from the comfort of your home IS A CAREER, WHERE YOU CAN EARN A LIVING. Not just like “oh, you started a blog” but behind your back everyone thinks you don’t have a “real” job or you’re wasting your potential.
This whole “having it all” thing has been grossly misinterpreted by American society. The fact is, you CAN have it all, just not all at the same time.
Here’s what Starting a Blog looks like…
Women need to join together to provide support for ALL women, regardless of color or income level. Because there is enough space online for all of us to thrive. Women who support other women are truly magical.
The CMO at a company is no more entitled to paid maternity leave, job security, and adequate childcare than the waitress who works long hours at the only restaurant in town. Working is not a luxury or a choice for the vast majority of us, so we need to stop acting like it is.
Why are we even calling this a “mom blog”? Just because you're a mom and you're starting a blog, it may or may not be on the topic of your children, the childrearing process. That's ok. Your blog doesn't have to be about your children to be a “mom blog” although it certain can be! I consider myself a mom-blogger, yet I blog about business. Anyway, here are the facts about starting a blog (or a mom blog!) so that you can decide if it’s something that will fulfill your need for choice.
It takes just as much work to make a blog profitable (ie: Make Money with your blog) as it does to be good at any other business. It doesn’t happen instantly and if you think you can write a blog article here or there and then the social media fairies will automatically send people to your website to read it or pay you for your opinion then you’re mistaken.
If you’re contemplating giving up your corporate job to work from home, here are a 3 realities to help you transition smoothly:
1. Master the Mindset
It sure is nice when you don’t have to rush everyone out the door in the morning. You might envision a morning walk, yoga, or even just a quiet cup of coffee before the kids wake up. When I left my corporate job, I was initially thrilled at how the morning changed. I actually planned a morning run after the kids went to school. But until I got back, showered, had something to eat and sat down at my laptop, half my day already seemed like it was gone, and I still had to get to the grocery store. Before you know it, the blessing and curse of working from home becomes a reality. It take work to build a business, so if you treat it like a regular job and stick to some goals and a routine, you’ll be much more productive!
2. Ace Time Management
This one may seem obvious, but when you’re a new mom with a baby who runs the show, and a home-based business owner, it isn’t always a walk in the park. You’re used to being in control of your time, and with a baby, time management looks a little different for everyone. Babies thrive on routine, and so do adults, so don’t be afraid to do what works for you and your family, even if it’s different from what everyone else is doing or suggesting. A consistent mealtime, bath time, play time, going for a walk time, or whatever it is that works for you can also be factored in to the time you spend building your business. Give yourself some grace if it takes a few extra weeks or months to nail down your routine.
3. Plan for Distractions
Sometimes, I feel like I have a hundred things to do before I open my laptop. Other times, I’m in an incredible groove, only to be interrupted by my kids bickering about nonsense. Even if I’m in a room with the door shut. It’s 3:30, they just walked in from school, “Mom, what are we having for dinner, I’m starving” is all too familiar, maybe I should have used my Sunday Prep-Day a little more wisely. I’m better at being a mom when I’m prepared for the week. Often on a Sunday I just want to sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book and relax, but instead I make a list for the grocery store and plan dinners for the week because that is more productive. Then Sunday night rolls around and I think I’ll finally get out that book until my daughter says “can we make s’mores with the neighbors because it’s national s’more day after all”.
GirlBoss Secret: Don't Stop Until You're Proud!
Bloggers who work from home might not experience the glamorous happy hours and spa retreats that some of our corporate counterparts do, but I’ve learned that owning your own business is certainly better than working toward someone else’s vision.
The moral of the story is, if you don’t set some goals for yourself and take risks, you’ll always work for someone who does.
It’s challenging building a business from scratch, but is it worth it to get more flexibility and less stress? Damn straight it is! Take my Free Quiz and I'll send you a Free Blogger Getting Started Guide!
Now the fun part…let's find out what your Blogger Personality is!
No…really…how much does it REALLY cost to start a blog or an online business?
First things first…the most successful online businesses also require a blog, and if anyone tells you differently, they're either not being truthful, or they just don't know. There are various types of online businesses, and the biggest myth on the internet is that you can do affiliate marketing without a blog. Yes, you can, if you want to make fifteen cents a month.
Ok, maybe not fifteen cents, but you can't make enough money to live on. The most successful super affiliates even have a blog or squeeze page builder.
So the short answer is that you can start a blog for free, but quite honestly, free blogs are not only mediocre, you will gain zero credibility with your online business and nobody will take your blog or your business seriously. The better question is:
How do I actually Make Money from my Blog so that I can turn it into an Online Business?
DO: Use the term “blog” and “website” interchangeably. For the purpose of starting an online business, they are one and the same.
This article will address most of your questions. The reality is that you don't really have to spend a lot of money to get started. In fact, if you do spend money, just a little (we're not talking thousands here) you will be able to get an amazing blog (website) theme that will help you gain credibility faster.
You can start a blog (website) that is slightly above mediocre for about $100; however, if you have a little time and desire on your side, my recommendation is to keep reading and you’ll learn that you can DIY your own professional looking blog or website for around $250.
But wait…there's more!
Marketing your blog, website, or even affiliate product on social media and on an email list is a huge part of building a successful online business, but we'll get to that in a minute. First…
This is really the number one question anyone who is even thinking about starting an online business asks:
How much money do I have to fork over up-front to start a blog or website?
Let's focus on the details of how to start a high quality website from scratch. Serious deets. Like the concept is only in your head because you have a career at the moment, but you're frustrated beyond belief because you work your ass off to get your kids where they need to go, your dinner on the table, your work-life balance practically doesn't exist and you've been hearing about these bloggers who rack in thousands each month working from the comfort of their homes.
Did I hit the nerve yet?
You CAN do it too, you just need to know exactly where to begin. This is not just a bunch of pink sparkle here at Vogue Media, but real, actual numbers. Up front numbers. A year down the road numbers. Cold, hard, facts that no one seems to be giving you a straight answer about.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
How much does it really cost to start a blog or a website? Because I hate the answer “it depends” I'm going to give you a straight answer first: you can get started for between $60 and $250, depending upon how Type-A you are. Here’s what you need to know:
The FREE Blog
First things first, sure, you can start a blog for free using WordPress.com, but it’s a waste of time. Nobody will ever take your topic seriously if you do that.
There are basically 2 reasons why people start blogs: 1. to make money online and 2. because they are passionate about a topic. Even if you are passionate about a topic that you want to share with the world, for less than $100 bucks, you might as well set it up right the first time, otherwise, you’ll be kicking yourself in a year from now saying “damn it, I wish I would have set it up right from the start!” Then you’ll experience all kinds of annoying nonsense like trying to figure out how to transfer your blog to the “right” platform while still keeping your readership, making sure your site doesn’t go “down” while you do it, or getting knee deep into an argument with a customer service provider that doesn’t speak your language.
No thanks. No time for that. I’m a mom, I only have a limited amount of time anyway. Moral of the story…free is not always better.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both share a similar name, but there are some very important differences between the two. Lets clear up some of the most common questions about blogging with WordPress.
Is WordPress FREE?
Yes, WordPress is Free. But it’s important to be clear about what exactly is FREE about WordPress. The code itself that makes up the WordPress core files is free. This is called “Source Code”. The WordPress platform is what enables you to make changes to your website without having to be a real web designer or developer who studied computer science. So while the code itself is free, in order to actually use it, you need to know exactly what to do with it.
So, yes, the code found on WordPress.org is free and open source (“open source” means that developers, or people who know how to write the code, can go to WordPress.org and download the files for free, modify those files any way they want…for free). The WordPress core files consist of thousands of pages of code that makes your website work. If you don't know how to read “code” then even if you download the files, you will have no idea what to do with them.
Why might someone without a computer science background use WordPress.org?
Here’s the catch, well, there really isn’t a catch, you just need a little guidance. Quick backstory…I started creating WordPress websites for clients in 2006. Back then, I was pregnant with my first baby and I needed a job with some flexibility, however, most companies were not hiring for “Remote” positions at that time. (Omg, am I really THAT old?)
In fact, digital marketing as we know it today didn’t exist yet in 2006, so I created my own business and my mission was simple…to create beautiful websites for my clients.
Back then, I thought all websites were ugly and that people deserved to have a gorgeous website without having to pay a developer a shit-load of money to get a beautiful website. At the time, the web developers all used the same “ugly blue” hyper-links and the term “web designer” meant “computer science major” not actually a professional designer.
Fast forward 14 years and the moral of this story is that bloggers don’t have to do it the hard way anymore.
In simple terms…It’s not necessary for you to download source files from WordPress.org in order to use the “Free” version of WordPress. Instead, the easiest and most intuitive way to get your online business started is to create an account with BlueHost.
BlueHost is the most beginner-friendly hosting provider that exists today, yet it's a complete platform that offers everything you need to run your business. But more on hosting in a moment. Let me explain what hosting is and why you need the right host.
The difference between the “Free Source Files” from WordPress.org and the “Free Blog” from WordPress.com:
WordPress.com is that platform that enables you to set up your blog completely free of charge, however, there are some VERY BIG disadvantages to using this version:
1. You cannot pick a custom domain name (i.e. your URL will be yoursite.wordpress.com)
2. Very limited monetization options (in other words, you can’t sell anything on your website and ads are very limited, so there is little opportunity to make money with your blog if you opt for the “free” version
3. Limited use of plugins for such things as an email list
4. You have to pay anyway if you want to have the WordPress branding removed
5. There is very limited theme support and very basic design themes
6. Limited analytics and SEO capabilities
WordPress.org contains the source files, however, you don’t need to be a developer to use them if you create your blog through a hosting company such as BlueHost. Here are the advantages to buying a hosting plan from BlueHost for about $60:
1. Fully customizable design
2. Unlimited plugin options
3. Your own branding
4. Full monetization
5. Powerful SEO features (so people can find your site easier on Google)
6. Capability for a membership site, or affiliate site
Here’s the stark reality: you can’t make money using a free blog from WordPress.com. Period. End of Story.
You might think that you don’t care about making money, you care about your cause. You’re super passionate about this topic that you plan to blog about. It’s a small niche topic and you’ve got some serious intel about it…and that is a great start!
But you see your blog, it’s kind of a like this virtual, inanimate love. You’ll nurture it, take good care of it, share it with others, and you’ll want it to be top notch. You’re not just any blogger, you’re about to pour your heart and soul into this and you want to run with the big dogs, because your topic has the potential to inspire others around the world.
This is not just.any.blog.
GirlBoss Secret: Raise your standards, and the universe will meet you there.
The $100 Blog
The first step to starting a real, respectable blog will cost you less than $100. What you are paying for is called hosting. Your hosting account stores all your “virtual” website files. It’s kind of like a virtual file cabinet. But if you are still wavering between the Free Blog and the $100 blog, take it from someone who has been doing this for a VERY long time, I would never, ever, ever, ever, in a million years recommend using WordPress.com to create a Free blog.
But what if you’re not a developer? What if your fear is that you have no idea how computer code works? What if you get stuck?
You dream about having a blog that makes money while you sleep. One that looks professional…like a designer created it. That’s the kind of blog you want. But you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on it. At least not yet.
Lets get back to being transparent about how this all works. You don’t have to be a designer or a developer to DIY your own stunning WordPress website. You just have to be willing to spend a little bit of time to educate yourself about how it works, and then spend a little time and money to get it set up the right way.
In order for your blog or website to be up and running on the world wide web 24 hours a day 7 days a week, those files you are getting for ‘free’ from WordPress.org need to be stored somewhere…and that is called hosting…remember your virtual file cabinet that I mentioned above?
Storing your website’s files, is not free, and neither is owning your domain name. However, hosting is very inexpensive, especially if you choose a reputable host such as BlueHost, so the benefit of setting up your website or blog through a solid registrar is of the utmost importance. Not only does BlueHost offer hosting for $3.95 per month, it’s basically a “point and click” method whereby your WordPress website is set up in just a few clicks. You don’t even need to go get the source code from WordPress.org because BlueHost does everything for you! It’s quite literally a newbie blogger’s best friend.
This is the very first step to getting your website set up right. You can even check to see if your preferred URL is available right now!
If hosting costs around $60, then what about that other $200?
The great part about DIY is this is that all of these tools are a-la-carte. That means you don’t have to buy all of them at one time or pay a digital agency upwards of $10,000 to get a gorgeous website. Lets break down a few more costs so that you understand how to take your website from ordinary to extraordinary.
The more you buy at a time, the less expensive it is. Typically you can purchase your domain (ie: Your URL) and hosting for up to 5 years at a time. If you choose to purchase only one year, the typical annual renewal fee for hosting is around $80. Note that this annual cost increases significantly if you choose to use a lesser known hosting company such as SiteGround. Often, SiteGround is recommended by amateur bloggers because it has an affiliate program. I have set up websites for hundreds of clients using a variety of web-hosts including: GoDaddy, BlueHost, 1and1, SiteGround, HostGator, and WildWildWest. I think Bluehost is the most intuitive and easy to use for those new to the industry.
Once you set up your account and your blog with BlueHost, you’ll notice that your website looks very ordinary. WordPress comes standard with their “year” themes such as 2017, 2018, and 2019. These are fine, they will get the job done, but they are all rather ordinary.
This is where the “Type-A Personality” comes in.
If you’ve been reading up, you’ll notice that the most beautiful blogs do not look “ordinary” and you probably want yours to look nicer. More Professional. You may already have a logo and preferred color scheme, and a plain-Jane or free WordPress theme isn’t going to launch your blog into the final cut where you can run with the big dogs.
In order to get a beautiful website design, the most efficient method is to purchase a theme which will cost anywhere from $35 to $100 depending upon which design you select. The great part about using a theme, is that it easily integrates with your WordPress files, so you can essentially upload the theme and install demo content with one click. Then all you have to do is swap out the text and photos, and you’re all set. The theme fee is a one-time fee. Depending upon which theme you select, some themes may offer an annual “renewal” fee which is anywhere between $50 and $100.
Please know, however, that some themes require you to buy additional plugins to make them work. The Genesis Framework, for example, is one of those.
What's Next in Getting Your Online Business Started?
Now that you’ve got your website up and running, and you’ve shared your blogs on your social media channels, the next most common question is “how do I get more traffic to my website?”
This is where the additional tools and potential expenses come in. A lot of people think that if they set up their website, people will just find it online. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work. There are no “social media fairies” that magically make people visit your website; it takes a lot of effort…probably more than you originally thought.
From SEO to online advertising and social media marketing, there are a variety of strategies and tools that you can put into place to get more traffic to your blog. The tools that you’ll use depend on the topic that you blog about as well as the type of online business that you are starting, but there are some tools that I highly recommend for ALL online entrepreneurs, regardless of what topic you blog about. These tools are:
No matter what Niche you are in, you will need email automation. A lot of people mistakenly get started with MailChimp or MailerLite because they offer free options. BIG MISTAKE. I could go on and on about how much of a headache you will have later if you do this, but that is for a completely different blog article.
The best choice for businesses just starting out is ConvertKit. For businesses making over $250,000 per year, then I recommend HubSpot. Why? Well because HubSpot costs a lot.
Watch this video for more information about online businesses
Want to gain some clarity about your Niche and the direction of your online business? Download my FREE Worksheet!
Still need some help? If you would like to schedule a “blog audit” or connect to discuss your unique situation, click here. I will personally review your website or consult with you about your business idea and provide you with a written report that focus’ on what you can do to improve your chances of success!
Learn how to make a transparent text background, also called a “Clipping Mask”
If you want to know how to cut the text out of your background (but you have no idea where to start) you’re in the right place! This article will provide two ways to achieve transparent text against any background that you like.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
One way I will show you is to do so by using the free version of Canva. For this method, there are a few steps to follow to get it accomplished. The alternative is very quick and easy, but uses Adobe Photoshop, which can be pricy if you are new to blogging. If you don’t have a subscription to Photoshop, you can always accomplish your goal by signing up for a free trial. While it’s much easier to do using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, the drawback is that after the free trial is over you’ll need a subscription.
Here is a video demonstration if you prefer to watch instead of read.
Canva: Steps to Create a Transparent Background (or Clipping Mask) for FREE
1. Go to Canva.com and create a free account.
2. Once you're inside the Canva dashboard, you can either search for a design in a specific size, or you can type what you're looking for in the search bar (i.e.: Pinterst Pin, Instagram/Square, Facebook Cover, etc.
3. Type in some text, choose the font you desire, and then change the font size to make it as big as you can but still fit into the size of the template you’re designing for. You can always make it smaller later.
4. Make sure your text does not have a background, and download the .png file (you do not want to use a .jpg because you will see a white box around it.
5. Double click your downloaded file to open it up in Preview. Use the magic wand selection tool to highlight one letter at a time, and delete.
6. Once you’re finished with each letter, save this file as a new .png and upload it to Canva.
7. Select the background that you want to use, either from one of the Canva background templates, or you can upload your own background.
8. Place the new file on top of the background and you’ll see through the text. Adjust this to how you like it, and then download the .png file again.
9. Open up this new file in Preview, and this time, you’ll use the magic wand selection tool to select the “inverse” and delete. This will delete the background and leave you with the letters against the background that you like.
10. Save the new .png file and the background of the letters will be transparent so you can place the “cut out letters” against any background you choose.
Even though there are more steps (i.e.: uploading and downloading) to achieving your goal with this method, it’s not too difficult once you’ve got the hang of it…and that’s the trade off for being free. On to the Photoshop method.
Steps to create a Clipping Mask using Photoshop or Illustrator
1. Place your desired background layer on the bottom and add a new layer to position your text.
2. Click >Object >ClippingMask >Make (or Command 7 on a Mac)
3. Voila! You can save this as a .png or add a new background directly to the same file and drag the background layer to the bottom.
Want exclusive access to even more awesome tips that Digital Agencies use to grow their client's business by using Pinterest? Get started with my FREE Pinterest for Business Checklist and start growing your revenue today!
The process of introducing a prospective customer to your product or service by leading them through a natural progression toward purchase is called a sales funnel. Digital marketing has changed how the traditional sales funnel works because prospective customers can learn about products and services by performing their own research online. Furthermore, the game has changed because not only do savvy buyers do more research than ever before in history, they are also interrupted by various forms of digital media such as ads, emails, popups, push notifications and even live streams.
Who knew writing for conversions would be any different from any other form of writing?
No matter how beautiful a website design looks, your site is just not complete without great copy. From headlines and captions to the text in the meta-data fields, your words are what convert a website visitor into a paying customer.
Is your strategy working?
Do you even have a strategy yet?
When you're considering starting a blog for the purpose of making money with your blog, or even if you're just looking for ways to optimize your website, copywriting is one of the most important but overlooked components to a brand’s overall marketing efforts from building a website to their digital marketing plan to their customer service.
Consider the first thing you do when you find out about something that is “new to you.” Most of us perform a Google search. Yet the way people search for information online is very different today from what it was even one year ago.
Think about your own online behavior today in comparison to what it was 3, 5, or even 10 years ago. The expectation is that Google will deliver search results that are relevant to the words you just typed.
Here are four laser focused suggestions for how to write for conversions:
1. Identify Your Goal:
If you are selling something, stay focused on selling that one item. Consider this: Every time a person clicks somewhere, it is a persuasion for them to move to exactly what you want them to do next. Perhaps your goal is to get your visitor to read another blog, or, perhaps you want them to buy the vegetables that you sell, the end result is the same — to “sell” the user on a specific action. By giving careful thought to exactly how each sentence is written you can lead the website visitor to your “goal.” Think of words on your website as they fit into a specific location in the sales funnel. Words that work: Click Here, Buy Now, Learn More. In order to lead your prospect down a natural “funnel” you need to be very specific by instructing them on exactly what you want them to do next.
Top of the Sales Funnel vs Middle vs Bottom
The way you speak to someone who is in the “Top of the Funnel” (TOFU) stage (also called the Awareness stage) is very different from how you'll speak to someone who is further down the funnel. When someone is first becoming “aware” of a new product or service, they are typically seeking information and doing research. They are not ready to buy anything yet.
If you can pinpoint what types of questions your audience has at the “top” of the funnel compared to the “middle” of the funnel compared to the “bottom” of the funnel (all very different stages of the sales funnel) you can offer information to them and be helpful in a way that is not “salesy”.
Here is an example: this particular article that you're reading right now is for a Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) audience. In other words, you likely already have a blog and you're looking for ways to optimize it. The language I'm using in this article is not likely to attract a reader who doesn't have their blog set up yet, because they are not thinking about “conversion” or “optimization” yet.
Although this is just a guess, it's much more likely that you are seeking ways to get more traffic to your website or better ways to convert your visitors into paying customers…so I'm going to address those kinds of questions which lend themselves to the middle of the funnel.
Right now, you are likely in the consideration stage, the MOFU (middle of the funnel). In this stage, you already recognize that you have a problem (you need to convert your website visitors into customers).
The goal with a middle of the funnel article is to give you a deeper understanding of exactly how to structure your writing so that you can start to guide your website's visitors toward a conversion.
Whether that is to join your email list, to download a free lead magnet, to take a quiz, or to book an appointment with you, your words are what turn a website visitor into a loyal fan and eventually, a paying customer. This process of matching up your intended target customer to the exact phase of the sales funnel that a particular article caters to is a marketing concept called: “Journey Mapping.”
Every Sentence and Call-to-Action Should Have a Purpose
Every word on your website should have a purpose. By using clear language, you can effectively direct people to exactly what you want them to do next. A website is not a research paper, if you use overly technical language, it becomes confusing to the majority of the visitors.
To get the most value from each of your visitors, focus on using simple, descriptive words, proper grammar, and clear instructions. Avoid phrases that contain jargon or industry-specific terms unless they are totally necessary. Would you rather buy “locally grown, organic vegetables” or “vegetables grown under biodynamic farming principles which have a greater focus on astrological cycles and the idea of the farm as a single organism”?
2. Establish your Tone.
Should you take a formal tone? Comical? Sarcastic? Whether your site covers a serious topic or more playful subject matter, the most effective choice is to write in a conversational but slightly formal tone. If your tone is too formal, it can sound too academic, yet if it’s too playful, you can sound inexperienced. In fact, recent studies have shown that when browsing the internet, people pay extra attention to website content written in a conversational tone. It is important to note, however, that writing in a conversational tone does not mean using profanity or using poor vocabulary.
Some websites speak conversationally with a light tone, while others cater to a very formal tone. The voice you establish through your words should match your brand image and remain consistent across all channels. If you are fun and eccentric on Facebook and Twitter, then that same tone should carry across your website. Catering to academia? That website structure would likely be a bit more formal.
Choosing the right words to showcase your brand in the best light is something that many website owners struggle with. The great part about writing, though, it that you have time to look back over your work to make sure your words engage and connect your audience exactly the way you intend to. You don’t necessarily need a professional copy-editor as long as you follow these guidelines.
The most important factor is to engage your audience. Should you use rhetoric? Using rhetoric (asking questions) is a great way to encourage people to participate. In other words, get your readers thinking about what they would do instead of passively absorbing (or not absorbing) the information you are presenting. Remember, you are speaking to and creating a connection with users; personal pronouns are good option. Have you gone back to re-read a blog post or a sales page to make sure it speaks to the correct stage of the sales funnel? Let me know in the comments below.
4. Edit, edit, edit!
Nothing can make or break your website like good editing. Every word needs to be read and reread until it makes sense, is grammatically correct, and without error. Painting a picture with words and images works wonders, but if you have errors in sentence structure or spelling, your visuals will be overlooked instead of completing the package.
Make sure to keep things simple. It is much more effective to be succinct and leave out technical or industry language. Think about it, we rarely use complex vocabulary in everyday conversation, so keep the main copy easy to read and extrapolate only for the most technical information.
While people don't always give much thought to writing emails when they're starting a blog, if you want to make real money from your blog, it's important to approach email automation and writing emails in much the same way as you would write copy for your website's sales or conversion pages. Talking to your audience in the same tone that you convey on your website will establish consistency in your brand. To learn more about email nurturing, download my free checklist!
Want more advice and expert tips for growing your blog?
If you enjoyed this article and would like an opportunity to ask questions about your blogging journey and get expert answers, I invite you to join my newly revamped (FREE) private Facebook community which is comprised of bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs. Networking with other's in this online space is an important way to stay connected with the latest trends as well as grow personally as a blogger and participate in collaborations with others. We would love to have you!
Want to know the most efficient Pinning Strategy inside Tailwind to get all your pins scheduled for the week in 20 minutes or less?
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
Here's the thing…if you're not using Tailwind in the right way, you can waste hours of time trying to make your way through tribe content to get your pins scheduled for the week.
If you landed on this blog post, you probably already know that using Tailwind can up your Pinterest marketing game and send heaps of targeted traffic to your website. But what most professional bloggers leave out is exactly how to accomplish this.
How to Up Your Pinterest Marketing Game
First things first, there are a few pre-requisites before you will completely understand some of the language used in this article because it’s hyper-relevant to Pinterest Marketing, but I’m not going to shame you with yet another affiliate link to someone else’s Pinterest Marketing Course that you have to pay for.
Instead, I’m going to do my best to give you some real, actionable tips that you can start using immediately.
I believe in transparency and authenticity in business, and my goal is to provide real value…always! Cracking the code to Pinterest marketing is like any new tactic, when you’re learning for the first time, you just want to become a sponge and soak up as much information as you can so that you can start making it work for you…as quick as possible!
Although I’m a veteran of digital marketing (I worked in agency and corporate for 14 years) in the grand scheme of things, Pinterest Marketing in particular was fairly new on my radar and to be honest, at the time most corporations who were hiring digital agencies to handle their online marketing campaigns were not looking to use Pinterest.
As I did research and read more about Tailwind, I kept coming across people who would have a killer headline on their pin and blog post (about pinning), and then I’d get to the article and they weren’t actually share any real tips.
Instead of offering value in the blog post, they would ramble on and on about a Pinterest Course they took, then they would share their affiliate link to the course. #ANNOYING
Using Pinterest for Business
If you are still rather new to Pinterest, then I would recommend checking out my Getting Started Checklist before you try to implement the suggestions inside this article.
The Checklist covers the basics of Pinterest for Business, such as making sure your business profile has a good description, creating beautiful and engaging pins, board covers and hyper-relevant descriptions that are loaded with long tail keyword phrases. In addition, joining Group Boards helps with the amplification tactics. If any of the above language sounds confusing, I do offer a comprehensive “mini-course” which will take you from newbie to Pinterest Marketing Expert in a matter of 2 hours or less.
When I first converted my Pinterest account over to a business account, I didn’t think I needed to use Tailwind to see the results. I wasn’t about to pay for yet another tool just because everyone was talking about it.
Without Tailwind, and with some vigorous manual pinning on a daily basis, I was able to get my Pinterest daily views to about 100,000 per month. To break that down, that translated to only about 50 blog page views per day from Pinterest, which isn’t much.
Nobody can make a passive income on 50 website page views a day. Just as a basic frame of reference, to actually start seeing some passive income (i.e.: affiliate commissions) coming in, your website views need to be at least 1,000 per day.
After about 2 months of killing myself, spending time in different Facebook Group threads and manually pinning for 2-3 hours per day (I’m including time to reciprocate in that as well) I was already getting burned out and frustrated with Pinterest. The strategy I keep hearing about wasn’t working, and I was starting to believe that all the digital agencies were right.
I was barely approaching those 50 website visitors per day, and when I wasn’t participating in a group thread, the views were down to 20. Not to mention, those visitors were likely just visiting to reciprocate with support and share my content, not actually because they were interested.
I was desperate to make it work. But two months into using Tailwind, I still wasn’t seeing the results I thought I would. What could I possibly be doing wrong?
I was sharing the Tribe content like crazy. I was spending time in the tribes reciprocating to make sure that I shared pins from everyone who shared mine.
It was taking hours.
What’s up with this 20-minute per week that everyone was talking about?
Finally…the revelation. After some experimenting, and digging deeper, I finally realized what I was missing. Although I was using Tribes, I was not pinning my own content in the right way, and I wasn’t using my Group Boards the right way either!
The Tailwind Secret
There are actually a few secrets:
1. Know exactly how to pin efficiently (view the video below)
2. Ensure that your beautiful pins are not using stock photos (because the algorithm reads the photo)
3. Pin your own content to group boards and other people's content to your own boards
Here’s a short video to illustrate the most efficient way to pin and leverage your Group boards using Tailwind.
So in a nutshell, the Tailwind process looks like this:
Join Relevant Group Boards
Create Board Lists inside Tailwind
Batch Scheduling: In other words, Pin with the Chrome Browser Extension to one hyper-relevant topic at a time (see above video for illustration of how to do this)
In the Draft section, schedule all pins to your Board Lists
Shuffle your queue
PRO-TIP: INTERVAL PINNING
If you don’t currently use a scheduling tool, it’s likely that when your blog post goes live, you pin it to every group board you are a part of. In theory, it seems like a good idea, but for your followers, it comes across as spammy and reduces the number of people who will actually see your pin.
Not only that, Pinterest will ban you for “spamming” even though you're not doing it intentionally.
Instead, click the interval button (it appears when you add more than one board inside the scheduler).
Learn more in my mini-course (because I hate reading blog articles with Clickbait headlines that catch your attention because they posted a vanity metric and then not write about the actual strategy…they just waste your time and direct you to someone elses course through their affiliate link.
Dear Bloggers: That is NOT how you give value to your audience. Unfortunately what the “big time blogger” forgot to tell those people is that promoting their affiliate link without any substance behind the blog post will not only provide mere nickels for your efforts…it will not help you build your audience because people are turned off by the fact that they didn't get any real value.
In any event, I'm not promoting any affiliates here (except Tailwind) which is just a necessary tool if you want to grow your blog.
There's enough room for all of us to thrive online without being stingy about it! My philosophy: GirlBosses Helping GirlBosses = #Vogue
Join my FREE Private Facebook Community where I post about the tactics and techniques that I've learned from working in Corporate and Agency Marketing for over 14 years. I also post share threads for the opportunity to grow your blog and connect with other Social Media Influencers and Online Entrepreneurs! What I don't do is follow the crowd. Join Now!!
Growth Hack Marketing refers to the use of digital tactics to drive leads and revenue to a business. This is done by implementing a series of online strategies to achieve a specific and measurable goal. In other words, a “growth hacker” is actually just a digital marketer who gets results.
So…if that's the case, then what is the difference between Growth Hack Marketing vs Online Marketing vs Digital Marketing?
Nothing. The difference is in the results…and this is what makes a blog a business.
Growth hacking isn’t something specific, rather it’s a methodology or process by which a business achieves it’s online marketing goals. If you're a blogger and you want to make money from your blog, there really isn’t a difference between other forms of online marketing and applying a “growth hacking” strategy, other than the fact that most often, businesses (especially small businesses) implement digital marketing tactics that don’t get results. Then they wonder why they paid for an Ad that didn’t drive any sales. The reason they are not getting results, is because they either don’t know the correct process to follow, or they choose not to act upon the information that the data is telling them.
There are many examples of digital marketing gone wrong. So, how can you get it right?
First, a little perspective here…I’m not just any blogger blogging about how to blog!
I spent the first decade of my career in corporate marketing and practically grew up through the digital transformation of the early 2000s. The year was now 2006, and I found myself at a significant crossroads. I was pregnant with my first baby, and my mother was quite ill. I needed some flexibility, yet working remotely was still not considered acceptable by many corporations, so at the time, I started my own business, Vogue Media, and I spent the next few years doing freelance work…coding websites from scratch.
When social media first entered our lives (right around that same time) I was fortunate to be able to connect the dots between what I did for the first decade of my career with the need many of my clients had…which was the “new” way to market online. At first, large corporations hesitated, because they didn’t know if social media would be a passing trend or if it was here to stay. Over the next few years the world watched those who were willing to take risks enjoy massive success with online advertising, soaring far past their competitors.
I’m a creative designer at heart, so over the next 10 years of my career, I perfected the art of merging beautiful advertising campaigns with good UI/UX design and ultimately revenue by designing websites and sales pages in a way that leads customers through the digital sales funnel and toward the ultimate goal of purchase…all the way from the digital advertisement to the post-sale nurturing. This includes social media marketing and email nurturing. As an independent contractor, I did this kind of work for corporations large and small, grew email lists from zero to 70,000, generated 6-figures per month, and even managed online communities along with it.
So if you want to call that growth hacking, then call it growth hacking. I think the reality is, these days what differentiates a “growth hacker” from a regular digital marketer, is that the “growth hacker” is empowered to make quick decisions based on the metrics of the campaign. Now that we live in a world with real-time metrics, decisions can be made fairly quickly. Often, I make decisions about a campaign within the first 24 hours. So growth hacking is really just digital marking that is done right. When it’s done right, you get results. Massive results!
How do you get these massive results from Digital Marketing?
The formula for success is widely known, but what most marketers miss is the ability to follow the process exactly. You can't skip any part of the process. You also need to think critically about each step of the process, which is something that isn't easy to do…especially when you are filling the role of marketer for your own small business. Marketing, especially digital marketing, is not just about advertising the product or service for sale.
In order to be successful, you need to clearly understands how to journey map, and then communicate in a voice that speaks specifically to the different stages of the sales funnel.
Um, say what? Here's a video I made recently to explain the journey mapping concept a little better:
What is Journey Mapping?
Making sure that you speak to a prospect in the correct “stage” of the their journey from the time they first became aware of a new product or service all the way to the time they actually pull out their wallet and make a purchase. A lot of people talk about how the sales funnel is no longer relevant because people can enter the funnel at different stages. While this is partially correct, if you follow the proper methodology, you, as the digital business owner, can control much of the process.
For a small business, blogger, or solo-entrepreneur, you can be ultra successful with digital marketing when you follow this methodology precisely. Your next move consists of making sure all of the pieces of the digital marketing puzzle are in place. Need some help? Sign up for my FREE 5-Day Email Master Class. I’ll send you a series of exclusive emails that are specifically designed to move you forward in your digital marketing journey.
For a corporation or in a startup situation, your next step is hiring a digital marketer that knows the ropes and has a proven track record. You see, digital marketing works differently for a corporation because they have a separate sales team and a separate marketing team. For this set up, when the sales team and the marketing team are truly aligned, sales understands that it’s not the job of the marketer to sell the product, it’s the job of the marketer to educate in a way that prepares the customer for the sale.
Marketing is about creating a hypothesis around a tactic and a goal, testing, measuring, and then analyzing the results. What separates a growth hacker from a regular digital marketer, in my opinion, is their knowledge of business operations from a broad scope. The growth hacker has experience…and the ability to make decisions about how a particular tactic affects the business overall, (i.e.: they know within 24 hours whether a specific strategy is working or not working) and since the term is used mostly in start-up companies and small business, the growth hack marketer is typically empowered to change their tactic based on the results they get instead of losing time implementing systems and waiting for 20 different approvals. Not only that, they know how to change the tactic quickly and efficiently to grow the business.
So what exactly is the methodology? In simple terms, it is:
Design the offer
Nurture the leads
Make the offer
Create raving fans and repeat customers
While not necessarily as easy as it sounds, here are two pre-requisites that you absolutely need before you can even begin to implement the methodology mentioned above:
1. Optimize your content
Content marketing will never work for the long term unless your website is optimized first. Keyword research, meta-data, internal links, external links, and referral traffic all help put your website on the map. Read more about search engine optimization and SEO best practices here.
2. Social sharing
Sharing on your social channels brings consistent traffic that complements the organic traffic. This works best when you have click-worthy headlines and eye-catching creative. If your post looks like clip-art people will scroll right by. So instead of delegating social media management to your intern, splurge and hire someone who actually knows that they are doing.
What resonates is emotion, story, and practicality, so your social media manager needs to understand how to pull those traits out of your brand and into your lead magnet. Your social media manager is a marketer, and you’ll find that the standouts typically have a background in communication, graphic design, copywriting, and even website design.
Creating lead-magnets is no joke, and once you have one created, the exact methodology must be followed to drive traffic to the lead magnet first…remember, this is still the “design the offer” phase, so you’ve got to start at the very beginning if you want to nail it.