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 age of interruption is over for Internet Marketing.
If you happen to be selling anything online, the question that all internet marketing experts fail to answer for you is not: How do you get someone’s attention if you’re marketing an online business?
…because that’s the easy part.
The easy part is clear messaging, compelling creative, and the art of persuasion.
In other words, all those old-school affiliate marketing tactics that some “expert” taught you…where bloggers promote taking surveys for income, or write a 300 word post about someone else's course, or promote some out of date product with a crappy sales page and a clickbait headline…those tactics don't work anymore.
The market finally caught up.
Even though I just dissed affiliate marketing, some of the links included in this article are, in fact, affiliate partner links. However, the difference is that the article is not solely about linking to another product. The article is intended to help you take away some actionable steps to grow your business.
But what if you have all the right components in place…maybe you’re promoting your own products, or at least a trusted, high-ticket affiliate offer that you can personally stand behind, and you’re still not getting results? Keep reading sister, this blog post is all about common mistakes that small businesses make with their ads, and what the digital agencies don’t want you to know!
So the question is not “how do you get people to click on your ad” the question is actually:
How do you best optimize for conversion to get a profitable ROI (return on investment) if you’re running an online ad?
People are immune to online ads. You scroll right by them don’t you?
You know the ads I’m talking about right…those people who post a snazzy photo of themselves on Facebook with a really long monologue about how they’re going to help you lead the laptop lifestyle? First of all, what differentiates one of those ads over another? Some fake likes that you can buy cheaply from other countries? And who actually has time to read that dissertation or sit through a mediocre webinar with a bad sale pitch at the end?
Not this bossbabe.
Don’t get me wrong…webinars are a great middle of the funnel tool.
Wait, selling online…”Middle of the Funnel”…what does that mean?
Middle of the funnel means that you’re hyper-targeting your digital marketing campaign specifically to a group of people who already know, like, and trust you. Selling online is actually not that much different from selling in person when it comes to the methodology. It's just the tactics that are different.
If you’re marketing to a cold audience (which is what most small business owners do the first time they run an online ad) then that webinar isn’t going to produce the results you’re anticipating.
If you’ve never heard of the term “cold audience” it just means that you’re choosing your ad targeting based on people’s interests, location, gender, or age. In other words, you’re targeting “new” people who don’t know you.
So how do you get results (i.e.; a good ROI) if you’re targeting a cold audience? Well first lets address what platform you’re using. You probably already know that you can run paid ads on all the platforms. Before you run any paid ads though, it’s best to rewind and look at the platforms from a different angle.
From the agency angle.
How do I know the agency angle?
I worked in corporate and agency marketing for 14 years before I started my business. (Don’t judge, it was hard to give up a full time income for something risky). But my kiddos needed me. And I needed a way to be more present as a mother.
Back to the point of this article.
What does the internet marketing data suggest?
Start by looking at some stats. I think its important to do this because we now live in the age of information, and online data is black and white. It’s not grey like it used to be in traditional marketing. Here’s that the data says:
In the 2019 state of social media report, Buffer’s research concluded that 93% of businesses now use Facebook for advertising, by the way, in case you’re wondering about the other top networks, 84% use Twitter, 80% Instagram, 70% LinkedIn and 60% YouTube. BUT the kicker is, only 28% use Pinterest.
So this gives you a picture of where the competition is.
But lets take that one step more granular, because most people choose Facebook because they believe “everybody” is on Facebook, or because they’ve been sucked into the aforementioned crappy Facebook ads.
First decide if your exact target audience is likely to click on one of those ads on Facebook.
Depending upon who your exact target customer actually is, Pinterest is the best kept secret in online marketing.
I know what you’re thinking…how is this possible since most people are on Facebook, and if it is possible…well then can Pinterest work for my business too?
Lets talk about who your target audience is first to see if Pinterest can work for you.
But first, we need to dig into that data a little further to see why this makes sense.
If your business is targeting people outside of the US, well you’re in luck because 80% of the people who use Instagram are from outside the US. Oh yeah, and Facebook owns Instagram.
But here’s something…if your business targets upper middle class, educated women from the United States, 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 online…if your business has anything to do with:
Homes; Home Decor; Home Improvement
Books and Education
DIY, Crafts, Sewing
Health and Wellness (especially alternative medicine)
Travel and Adventure
Gardening and Landscaping
If you business has anything to do with the above and you’re not leveraging the power of Pinterest, you might want to start thinking about it.
Not sure you believe that women head of households make most of the buying decisions? Have you read Why She Buys? It’s a good one for understanding the psychology behind how to market and sell to a modern woman.
As a small business, we know it’s hard to master the nuances of every social platform, you just can’t be everywhere.
I wish I learned this sooner, because I really tried to master every platform early on.
I've been running Facebook ads for my clients since 2014. I did creative design, copywriting, and website maintenance as well…dating all the way back to 2010. For a long time I took on freelance work simply because it paid the bills.
But now things are very different in the world of digital marketing now from it's humble beginnings in 2010. It began before that, but the world started noticing around 2010.
It’s been an exciting time in this age of digital transformation, because we’ve all learned that each social platform works well for very different purposes, it’s really just a matter of applying the right strategy and then leveraging the one(s) that works for your target customer.
My best advice? Start with one network.
Especially if you’re a small business or even a Freelancer.
When you’re a small business, whether selling products or your own services, you need to fill all the roles. You’re the “doer” you’re your own “salesperson” you’re the designer, the developer, the marketer. You’re always marketing your own brand whether you think so or not.
Background on Attraction Marketing
As a small business, as your own brand marketer, your goal is always to attract a loyal tribe of people that subscribe to the same beliefs, attitudes, and values as you do. Attraction marketing can be polarizing, and that’s okay. The goal is to attract the people who want and need what you have to offer and repel the people who don’t.
We’re in the midst of a paid ad market correction at the moment.
What is a paid ad market correction?
It’s actually the same macro-economics that you probably learned about in high school…when too many businesses are “selling” the exact same thing, it drives the price down and the competition up. More specifically, this is applicable to running paid ads on Facebook. Lets look at an example.
If you run Facebook ads the wrong way, you’ll get caught up in paying out the wazoo for your CPC (cost per click). Back in 2014, CPC was about $0.40 cents per click. Now it’s well over $3.00 per click. That’s an absolute waste of money unless you have the proper system in place.
How do you know if you have the proper system in place?
The top 3 questions to ask yourself before you run a paid ad:
1. Who is your target audience?
This may seem obvio, especially since we just discussed it above, but you really have to zero in and be crystal clear. Here are the cold, hard facts: your audience targeting numbers need to be between 100,000 and 500,000 in order to be effective.
Anybody can figure out how to press the button on the ads manager, but if you’re looking at the sidebar and seeing that your audience size is 20 to 50 million, you’re way off base. Prefer to hire us for a strategy consultation? View our Services Here.
That means that you need to zero in on your targeting. Do you need some help to zero in on your targeting? Download my FREE Find Your Nice worksheet and Guide. This will help you really hone in on who you’re targeting. Because if you think you’re targeting women, ages 18-45, who live in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, then you’re not going to get good results with your paid ads. Ahem, let me say that again because it's important: You're going to LOSE YOUR SHIT on Facebook ads if you can't zero in on your audience.
You need to be much more specific.
2. Do you have a product or a service that you’re selling?
This is rather simple, if you don’t have a product or a service, don’t run paid ads. The quickest way to lose money with paid ads is to try to market a product that isn’t yours. In other words, trying to market only affiliate products using paid ads is not a sustainable business model. Unless you have a huge enormous audience already with 100,000 followers or 50,000 email list subscribers, you’re better off waiting until you actually have something that will give you some type of return on investment. Now this strategy is different for small businesses who have a loyal audience and have developed rapport with their audience. Remember, we’re talking about paid ads here in this paragraph, it’s a different strategy.
3. Do you have the right system in place for followup?
By the right system, I mean you need a landing page that is formatted properly, an automated followup sequence, and even a tripwire. These 3 components are the absolute basics when it comes to having a system in place. No system, no dice.
So then what if you have all these things in place but you’re still not getting results?
Here are two options: We offer different packages for all of your needs, whether you’re just starting with your strategy and you want some help getting a plan together right from the beginning, or you’ve been playing around with social media and not having much success so you’re ready to pass off the day to day management.
If you don’t have a big budget, but you want to learn as much as you can to leverage the power of the Pinterest platform for your own business (or, if you're interested in learning Pinterest Marketing Strategy so that you can apply the techniques yourself or offer it as a specialized service to your own social media marketing clients), I encourage you to check out my mini-course: The Pinterest Business Plan
What are you waiting for? Hire me to help you with your Pinterest Marketing today and turn that dream into a reality!
Considering the Pinterest mini-course but you want a little test drive first? Get started for FREE with this checklist!