marketing strategy

A Q&A on Making 2016 Your Best Year Ever with Natalie MacNeil

blog 11.5

When you think back to the past year, how does it make you feel?

Do you have that moment of pride where you think, “yeah, totally nailed it!” or is it more like “well, that was good enough, but, I could totally do better next time around.”?

No matter how you feel, the honest truth is that there’s always room for improvement. And it’s the small things that make a major difference.

So if you’re already thinking “Next year will be different”, now’s the time to take action and figure out where you can build on the foundation you’ve already got.

Which is exactly why I’m super excited to share some of the Q&A I had with Natalie MacNeil, creator of the Conquer Club and She Takes on the World, a few weeks back.

When I was with Natalie in Mexico for her Conquer Club Retreat, I got to spend a lot of time with her and we talked a lot about the small things that make the difference between a good enough business and one that’s truly great. It’s often things you don’t even think could make that much of a difference.

We covered three key areas – clarity, copy and conversions – which I personally can attest to the power of in my business and for my clients.

Here’s what Natalie had to say:

What’s the Biggest Lesson You’ve Had to Learn When it Comes to Getting Clear on Your Message and Audience?

It took me a while to actually figure this all out. She Takes on the World started off as just a blog for me while I was building a different business.  Honestly, I just wasn’t thinking about audience at that time, and I was using She Takes on the World as an outlet to share my opinions and to rant and those kinds of things.

When I did start taking it seriously, I knew that I had to get clear on who I was going to serve and why.  Honestly, it probably took me two full years to get that clarity.

Many times I wouldn’t say any of the things I really wanted to say because I thought people were going to leave my list for it, which was really, really stupid.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way when it comes to trying to get clarity on that audience, and now I just don’t hold back.  I’m a lot clearer on what my audience needs.

It’s all about testing, experimenting, and seeing what works.  Talk to your audience.  Talk to people.  Ask them what they want. Sometimes you just need to get out there and talk to people.

What’s the fastest way to get clear quickly?

If I could go back and talk to Natalie, say, five years ago, I would shake her and be like, “Be the fullest fucking version of yourself and do it right now!” because I think, at the time, I was so worried about losing subscribers.

Like if somebody unsubscribed, it was the end of the world to me, and there was so much emotion in that that I’ve been able to take out of the equation now.  If people unsubscribe because you are showing your true colors, those just aren’t your people.

You only want your people on your list, so I actually would have, if I could go back now, I would have been a little more controversial from the beginning.  I would have said what’s really on my mind.  I would have ranted just a little bit more, and I just wouldn’t have backed away from sharing myself fully, from saying something like, “Guess what. I’m at an ashram this weekend, and I don’t give a shit what you think about that.”  Those are the things that I wish I would have done a little earlier.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Be the Fullest Version of Yourself – Q&A with @NatalieMacNeil. New blog post from @magspatterson. ” quote=”Be the Fullest Version of Yourself – Q&A with @NatalieMacNeil. New blog post from @magspatterson. “]

Copy is so much more than words.  But, when you’re working on it – copy for your business – where do you start?

There were so many things that made me feel like, “You know what?  I’m just not that great of a writer.”  Then I realized that I just didn’t have my own method for writing.

Now I always start on paper.  I actually outline all of my ideas and my episodes for She Takes on the World TV in a notebook first.  And, I usually start with the end in mind, so I start by asking what is my reader walking away with, and what are they able to put into action because they read this, because they came and watched my video?

Then I step into the shoes of my ideal client, and I actually write questions on her behalf.  I’ll jot down things like, “Natalie, how can I apply this to my product-based business?”  Or, “Natalie, what tool would help me implement this?”

Next, I hit record on my app called Super Note Recorder on my iPhone.  I just answer all the questions.  I talk to that person like they’re sitting right in front of me, and then I get that transcribed.  I edit, and I’ll form a post or a script from that transcription.  That’s usually the stage where I’ll get an editor involved.  I sometimes get a copywriter involved.

For me, it’s so important to be able to have that conversational tone to the content, especially because I do so much video content.  So, when I’m creating massive batches of content, and I always batch my content–that’s one tip that I recommend you implement as well–this is just the process that feels good for me.

Give yourself permission to do things in a way that’s going to feel good for you. You don’t have to copy anybody else’s process.  That has helped me to get my words out there, out into the world.

Let’s talk about conversions.  Why do we need to pay attention to conversions in our business?

I have so much to say on this.  This is purely a matter of what you think about yourself.  Do you in fact go screaming in the other direction? You might be thinking “Well, I’m supposed to be passionate about my business, and I’m not passionate about this, so I’m just going to do something that I’m actually passionate about, and this is not it.  I don’t want to do things that don’t make me feel that passion in my business.”

Guess what.  You’re not ready to be the CEO of your business then.  You can be passionate about your business and still have to do the sucky things too.  You do these crappy things because you’re passionate about your business and because you’re passionate about serving your customers.  That’s really the way that I look at it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The numbers make the big vision feasible. Q&A with @nataliemacneil w/@magspatterson” quote=”The numbers make the big vision feasible. Q&A with @nataliemacneil w/@magspatterson”]

I don’t like math.  The numbers can scare me too sometimes.  But you know what?  You can’t make the best decisions when you don’t know the numbers.  It’s that simple, and that is the reason why I focus on conversion rates.  Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s members of my team that pull these numbers so that I can always be looking at them when I’m making decisions in my business.

That’s what makes me the CEO of my business, this person leading the company into that bigger vision that we want to grow into.  It’s just part of being able to achieve that bigger vision.  It makes it more feasible.  It helps you make the important decisions that are going to drive your business forward.  You need to pay attention to this stuff even if it’s something that you are totally not passionate about.

Takeaways from Natalie

Here’s a quick recap of action items you can take away and apply from this conversation:

  • Be yourself. Yes, something you hear all the time, but it’s the easiest way to get clear. It’s when you’re trying to be something you’re not that you get muddled.
  • Clarity comes from action. Talk to real people.
  • Create a clear writing process that works for you to create all of your content. There’s no right or wrong. Do what works for you.
  • Conversions matter. If you’re not ready to measure, you’re not really in this to be the CEO of your business. Passion is great, but you’re not going to be able to pursue your passion if you ignore the numbers.

Super actionable content, and all little things that can help you make 2016 rock that much harder. Small wins add up to big results by year end.

If you’re ready to ready to rock 2016, you can join Natalie and her team of mentors (including me) in the Conquer Club.  Details below on a sweet deal to get in on the action with a bonus offer from me.

Conquer Club Promo Graphics Email Header

I’ve teamed up with Natalie MacNeil, the creator of the Conquer Club, to offer you an amazing bonus if you sign up for the 2016 Conquer Club. When you sign up through me you’ll get a spot in the Inside Scoop Academy: Marketing School’s Winter class that starts in February. (This is the course formerly known as the No B.S. Marketing School – but that’s a story for another day.)

For the price of the Conquer Club – you’ll get the Inside Scoop Academy: Marketing School for free. (A $749 value).

Registration closes November 10th at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to get all the details on this sweet deal.

The need-to-know. If you purchase, you’ll be purchasing directly through Natalie MacNeil and She Takes on the World and will be sent to her sales page and checkout. For this, I will be receiving a commission for my referrals.

business storytelling marketing strategy

Success and Sanity Lessons from My Small Business

blog 10.29

In the digital world, 2 years is a long, long time. An eon. A straight up eternity when you consider how fast everything moves and how much information we create every single day.

If we hop in the wayback machine, 2 years ago I was in the process of ripping apart my business and putting it back together to focus on small businesses and online entrepreneurs who wanted to use marketing to get results. While I’d been running my own business for more than 8 years before that as a marketing consultant, as well as a very successful side business as a blogger/teacher in the papercrafting world, I truly consider the last two years trial by fire.

Nothing could have prepared me for the lessons I learned every single day about myself, and my business. Just when you think you’ve got it nailed – surprise – you don’t.

Which is why I wanted to share three things that I do think I’ve done right (well, I’m doing them right at this point…more on that in a moment) to help you as you navigate the rocky path of small business ownership and choosing to be an entrepreneur.

Let’s face it, this shit is hard, and can be super lonely, but nailing these things down has made a massive difference in my success and sanity:

#1. Making Brilliant Business BFFs

You know that moment when you’re like “OMFG, what the hell am I doing and what is the point of this?” The temporary lapse of reason where you’re ready to get a 9-5 because it would be so much easier?  Or when you’ve taken so much abuse from a client who’s on a rampage that you’re in tears and so done it’s not even funny?

This is why you need business BFFs. Because when the shit is hitting the fan and you need to vent or to get support, only someone else in your shoes really gets what you’re saying.

Because to a non-business owner, getting a 9-5 or doing the safe thing seems like the most reasonable answer. After all, that’s what normal, sane people do, right?

When you bring these issues and challenges to your business BFFs, they’re going to tell you to get it together, how to fix it, give you a shoulder to cry on and if need be, tell you to get over yourself already. It’s a wondrous mix of support, figuring out the answers and tough love plus ass kicking in one place.

Sure, you’re building a business and this is going to seem like work, especially if you feel like you’ve got enough friends already. But this isn’t about being social, it’s business.  Taking the time to seek out and cultivate business besties isn’t frivolous, it’s a necessity.

If you’re on the lookout for business buds, watch for people you bump into around your online circles. Likely if you’re in the same places, you have things in common, and that’s always a good starting point.

Start by suggesting a get-to-know-you call, share their stuff with your tribe and generally get to know them. It’s no different really than making friends in real life. (And a word of warning just like real life, befriend them because you genuinely dig them, not because you think you can get something from them or are trying to get ahead. That’s so uncool, that I can’t even go there.)

In my case, my closest business friends – some of whom I’ve met in person  and others I’ve not – are people I’ve met in Facebook groups and as part of paid courses/communities. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Business BFFs aren’t frivolous. It’s a necessity. New blog post from @magspatterson.” quote=”Business BFFs aren’t frivolous. It’s a necessity. New blog post from @magspatterson.”]

#2. Establishing Boundaries

In some ways I’m reticent to talk about boundaries, so here goes nothing.

Let’s preface this boundary discussion with this – boundaries change and evolve over time. Different stages in your business demand new boundaries. But when you’re just starting out, you need to earn the right to establish harder boundaries over time.

Should you be a doormat? Absolutely not, but playing the games with clients over the scope of work when it’s really no big deal is a recipe for failure.

So when I talk about boundaries, I mean the ones that are unbreakable for me as a business owner, which are really quite simple: payments, time off and respect.

I don’t screw around with money and nor am I a credit lender, ATM or debtor  for my clients. This for me, is the fastest way to trigger me into a complete tailspin so I make my payment requirements clear. This took a good 9 years to get to this point of being a complete hard ass about it, but I’ll tell you this: I’ve only ever had ONE client not pay me and that was in year two of my business.

Taking time off from my business is a hard boundary that is unbreakable. Once a year I take a digital detox which means no email, no Facebook and no work. Clients or potential clients who raise eyebrows at this aren’t a good fit for me.

The rest of the time, I’m pretty flexible and my clients are cool with my Monday to Thursday work week. It works because I’m clear on delivery deadlines and I manage expectations. When you’re on time consistently, people respect your time boundaries.

And respect, well, that explains itself. I do my absolute best to be kind and thoughtful, and I ask that people I work with do the same. (Apparently that’s some type of crazy request for some people.)

Occasionally, there will be a complete communication meltdown – it happens to everyone at some point. But every single time it does, I go back to the root cause and work to figure out what happened.

Usually this means I have to be clearer about expectations or change contract language to guard against the same issue happening over and over. (Hint: When the same thing happens multiple times, it’s not the clients, it’s you. You need to own it and stop playing the blame game.)

[clickToTweet tweet=”The good/bad of business boundaries. New blog post @magspatterson” quote=”The good/bad of business boundaries. New blog post @magspatterson”]

#3. Invest in Coaching and Communities

In the last two years, I’ve worked with a number of coaches and been active in a number of communities. Some short-term and some for the long haul.

It’s not all been good. Like the coach who literally couldn’t remember what my business was, or the communities where people were epically annoying because they were too lazy to Google things before they asked their questions.

But there’s been some amazing experiences too. And because of all of this…at this point, I know exactly what I’m looking for. If there’s group coaching, the coach better show up and answer questions consistently and have a team backing them up.

If it’s a community, I don’t want to be in a group where I’m just another number and everyone is wrapped up in self-promotion or social BJs.  The second I start rolling my eyes as I scan posts, that’s a sign I’m in the wrong place.

Being part of a community should be enjoyable. You should actually like the people in there instead of worrying about how you’re going to form alliances and get to 7-figures.

For me, less is more with coaching and community.

Take the time to curate your experience so you can get the most out of it and maximize your time (or financial) investment. Because what good is any of it if you can’t use it or it consistently stresses you out? Or if you kind of actually hate the person you’re paying to coach you, or worse yet,  you don’t respect them?

This past year, the Conquer Club has been a big part of offering me the coaching and community I’ve needed. Which is why I’m SUPER excited to invite you to join us for Conquer Club 2016.  It’s coaching, community and sheer amazing-ness for anyone building their small business.

Details are below on how you can join us – and if it’s not your jam, find a community and/or a coach that is.

Conquer Club Promo Graphics Email Header

I’ve teamed up with Natalie MacNeil, the creator of the Conquer Club, to offer you an amazing bonus if you sign up for the 2016 Conquer Club. When you sign up through me you’ll get a spot in the Inside Scoop Academy: Marketing School’s Winter class that starts in February. (This is the course formerly known as the No B.S. Marketing School – but that’s a story for another day.)

For the price of the Conquer Club – you’ll get the Inside Scoop Academy: Marketing School for free. (A $749 value). Plus, if you sign up by November 5th, you’ll get my new mini-course Stories That Sell for FREE when it launches on December 1st.

Click here to get all the details on this sweet deal.

The need-to-know. If you purchase, you’ll be purchasing directly through Natalie MacNeil and She Takes on the World and will be sent to her sales page and checkout. For this, I will be receiving a commission for my referrals.
marketing strategy

Want a Super Successful Small Business? Try This.


I see it everyday, and I’m sure you do too. People struggling so hard to make a business work. Would-be business owners trying to fit all the pieces together and not quite getting there.

On one hand, it’s heartbreaking. Watching people, particularly women, going for “it” but yet, they’re failing. They just can’t make it work and that makes me, even with my hardcore, truth telling ways, kinda sad.

But it’s only kinda sad. Because on the other hand, this makes me all kinds of pissed off. (I’m not really sure how many kinds of pissed off there are, but I think a lot, right?)

A couple of weeks ago when I was having one of those moments and was feeling particularly worked up about it, I thought through all the reasons it was triggering me so much. Why was it making me irritated?  I mean, it’s not my business, why should I care?

But I do.  I actually give a crap because amid all the fluffed up audacious promises of 6-figure success, so few people are speaking the truth. Because it’s so much easier to gloss over all the parts of business that aren’t Instagram friendly and perpetuate this ongoing myth of shiny, happy, successful small businesses.

So, you want to have a super successful small business? Read this and get down and dirty with these truths:

1. Master Your Thing

This may make me super unpopular, but at this point, I don’t even care anymore. The idea of 10,000 hours to master your craft is still valid.

Just because you’re doing it online doesn’t give you a superpower of being able to skim over the important bits and becoming a master at your craft.

No matter what the big name experts would like to convince you. No matter how many times people say they’ll teach you the system they use and you can then teach it too.

Let’s not even talk about the “coach” that I found who’s conferring Masters and PhDs. Gotta say my friends who earned Dr. in front of their names aren’t so jazzed about that one, and for the record, that’s actually illegal.

All of it makes a mockery of people doing the work. Of people who are quietly doing their thing and being completely magnificent at it. Or of the real, true experts who have seeing all the variations, mutations and where things can go bad.

Because, where’s your self-proclaimed expert going to be when shit goes wrong? Or when the thing they’re teaching doesn’t deliver as promised?

They’re going to shift it around to be your fault. They’re not going to own it, because they’re still students of their craft and aren’t going to have a clue on how to turn it around or work with you on it.

Can you still be learning and teach? Sure, but don’t oversell it. Don’t overpromise. And sure as shit don’t call yourself an expert in any way, shape or form. (Or give yourself a fake PhD. Not cool.)

2. Stop Bitching, Start Working

Tough love moment coming right up. I’m a huge fan of getting support where you need it and seeking outside counsel. But there’s always going to be a time where you need to actually work.

So the hours you spend kvetching on Facebook about ALL the things going wrong or how the world is unfair is time wasted. Valuable time that you’ve spent bitching when you could have been working.

Maybe it’s not bitching you’re doing but crowdsourcing opinions from people who don’t actually know anything about you or your business. Or posting madly in groups in an effort to get someone, anyone to notice you. Stop it.

Close the Facebook down and get to work. Instead of relying on random people for input and interaction, build a close circle of people who know you, your business and that you can trust implicitly. Having a group of go-to smart ladies on your side will keep you focused. Best of all, they’ll tell you when you’re just bitching and need to cut it out.

3. Get a Grip on Reality

Running a small business – online, offline or somewhere in between – is hard. It’s literally going to be one of the hardest things you ever do. Because while you’re running your business and making decisions like a boss, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself.

Frankly, a lot of that stuff is super uncomfortable. I mean, who wants to break down in tears at your in-person mastermind because you’ve got personal issues that are triggered like crazy by doing 5 year planning? Yeah, not me. But it happened. As a small business boss, the personal and professional end up all in one trippy bundle.

Which is why we all love a good overnight success story. It’s completely irresistible. Because wouldn’t it be SO much easier to just be the overnight success story than to actually have to deal with all of these things?

Totally. But for every meteoric rise, there’s the other 99.99999999999% of us working hard and doing it the old fashioned way. Slow, steady and sustainable.

The sooner you realize that, the easier this entire thing gets. Getting a grip on your “normal” makes planning your path to success way less stressful as you’re not killing yourself trying to be the anomaly.

4. Fame is Besides the Point

When it comes to fame – especially on the internet – there’s three camps I encounter.

Camp #1 are the fame seekers. You know the kind. Typically driven by ego and a need to be seen, they go after it shamelessly. It’s more than wanting to be good at what they do, it’s about being capital F famous and known in a big way.

Camp #2 are the avoiders. They hate the limelight and don’t want to be seen. This often holds their business back as they sabotage themselves and prevent anyone from knowing about them.

The problem with both of these camps is that they’re missing the point. None of this has to do with fame. If you’re seeking it, or avoiding it, you’re hurting your business.

Which is why you need to find the middle ground. (And if you’re a fame seeker, you may want to throat punch me in a moment. But I’m pretty sure fame seekers wouldn’t read this far.) Strive to be in camp #3.

Camp #3 is not driven by a mega ego, narcissism or fear of being seen, but rather understanding that you’re really good at what you do. For the right people to find you and for you to be of the greatest service with your gifts, you need to be seen as a master of your craft.

Fame isn’t the point. Being known is a by-product of doing what you do really well and being recognized for it by the right people.

There you have it. 4 truths on the road to a super successful small business. Which one is your favorite or the one you need to work on? Comment below!

[clickToTweet tweet=”4 truths about creating a successful small biz. New blog post from @magspatterson” quote=”4 truths about creating a successful small biz. New blog post from @magspatterson”]

launching marketing strategy

Launching Lessons: 7 Things I Learned from My Launch

blog 10.8

Time and space is a beautiful thing, which is why I’ve waited a few weeks before writing this post. I could have written it right after my launch, but I really needed time to process all of it and to get really clear on all of the tough launching lessons.

I started planning the No B.S. Marketing School launch in January. I’ve spent most of this year thinking about launching, so now that it’s all over and class is in session, it’s completely surreal. But don’t worry, we’re already busily planning our next launch…and I wish I was joking. But I’m not!

Here’s a rundown on all the lessons I learned from the Fall launch of the No B.S. Marketing School:

#1. Launching Doesn’t Have to be Insane

Yeah, don’t hate me. This launch all went pretty smoothly because we planned everything so far ahead and I didn’t want to spend my entire Summer acting like a launch-crazed maniac. Start WAY earlier than you need to so you have lots of breathing room.

Launching by its very nature is going to be hectic, but you get to choose how this goes down. Are you going to be doing it slow and steady or full on pedal to the medal? This launch taught me that it’s 100% okay to take your foot off the gas, and do things with a little more ease and grace. (Which, please note, is SO NOT my style. I’m more of a brute force and die empty kind of chick by nature.)

#2. OMG, So Glad this is NOT Paying the Mortgage

Launching anything has enough pressure, which is why I am SO relieved that there wasn’t the additional burden or stress of having to make a certain amount of money to pay my family’s mortgage.

Going into the launch, I had a clear budget and a target revenue goal in mind so that I knew what my “good” number was for registrations, but at no point was my profit from the launch designated to pay critical bills. And for that I’m immensely grateful.

For those of you that launch under those conditions, props to you. I’m not cut out for a launch-driven business, and I can guarantee there will always be client work and consulting income as the stable foundation for my business.

#3. Over Investing in Your Launch is an Act of Insanity

As I mentioned above, I spent a considerable chunk of change on this launch as I went totally pro on everything possible. That meant big invoices from my designer, and additional support from my team.

Investing in the launch was a conscious choice and not an act of chasing unicorns and rainbows. It’s far too easy to go into a launch thinking “don’t worry, I’ll totally make this back.” You can never 100% guarantee how a launch will go down, so don’t spend money that you haven’t yet made.

If you’re going to invest, make a point of figuring out how long it may take to recoup your hard costs related to your launch. And for the love of launching, please make sure you have a proven concept before you go all in. There’s faith and then there’s blatant acts of delusion where you kill yourself on an unproven idea and waste a whole pile of cash.

[Tweet “Over investing in your launch is like playing black jack. New blog post from @magspatterson. “]

#4. Launching Causes Some Sort of Time Warp

Biggest take away of my launch: My cart open was WAY too long for my liking and that won’t happen again. With the VIP cart open, it was 18 days total.

Which is great I suppose if you’re patient, but I’m not. It felt like a time warp where the days were going by so fast but the 18 days was sooooooooooo long. Makes zero sense, but that was my experience.

Next time it will be much shorter as I’m confident that we can get more done in less time or at least with the same result.

#5. You’re Unlikely to Beat the Odds

What would a launch recap be without some conversion talk? Listen here my special snowflakes – when it comes to conversion rates, unless you’ve been launching for a while or have some superpower, you’re unlikely to beat the odds of average conversion rates.

From the pre-launch sequence, we had a conversion rate of 2.5%. But if you look at how many people actually joined the Facebook group and were actively engaged, the conversion rate is closer to 5%. Which, given the level of content and value delivered that week, is a great affirmation of the content.

Going into the launch we did a considerable amount of list building, adding an additional 1000 people in the 60 days before the launch. That completely messed with our overall conversion rate on the general list, bumping it below 1%. If we exclude the “newest” people as they needed to be nurtured more, we were pacing above 1%, which is about average in our industry.

Lessons by the gallon right here. Starting with: you need to back into your goal for total signups and then build your list and grow your reach to support that. It’s easier to do that going into your launch than to project a conversion rate that may be completely bananas.

#6. You Will Self-Sabotage at Some Point

Let me preface this one with the fact that I typically am pretty good at following through on my plans, and I’d say I stuck to about 90% of the plan.

But I definitely bailed out on some of the list building activities we had planned throughout the year. I knew logically that to get to our “best goal” for the launch, I needed to really push harder and continue to focus on increasing my reach and growing my list.

Somewhere along the way I lost grip on the facts of what needed to be done and then decided it didn’t need to be done. I could make a big list of all of the reasons why, one of which is a need to prioritize existing clients, but the truth is, it was a case of straight up self-sabotage. The sneaky, quiet, rational kind where you justify the shit out of your behavior. It was in no way a catastrophe but definitely a lesson learned so I don’t get in my own way again.

#7. Some People Aren’t Going to Like Your Launch

Launching means you’re putting yourself out there, and that always means some people aren’t going to like your launch.

Reviewing post launch numbers, it was a bit sobering seeing unsubscribes along with a few spam complaints. (Speaking of which PSA – it’s not spam if you sign up for it and I can tell you when and where you subscribed.)

The truth is, not everyone is going to want to buy, and people leaving my list and moving on is ultimately a good thing. Maybe they’ll come back, maybe I’ve utterly offended them – no matter what the reason, it’s way better to have an engaged, active community via email than a big old list of people who are only tolerating you or have you in their

[Tweet “7 launch lessons you don’t want to miss from @magspatterson. A real look at what it takes to launch.”]

There you have it. 7 launch lessons, and the start of many, many more to come. Now, I need to get back to my launch timeline for the Winter 2016 launch and planning a special event later this month that will get you in our next class with a sweet, sweet deal!

If you’re launching anything, you’ll want to grab a copy of the Launch Tools & Tech Cheat Sheet that shares everything I used for my launch and some awesome alternatives: 

launching marketing strategy tools

Launching Lessons: Tools & Tech for a Successful Launch

blog 9.17

Earlier this week we wrapped up the launch of the No B.S. Marketing School, and I’ll be sharing nitty gritty details and everything I’ve learned from going through the process of creating and then launching this program.

When I decided way back in January to develop and design this program, I made a special note to self to pay extra attention to everything we went through along the way. Let’s face it, it’s easy to look at a launch from the outside and think “wow, that was easy” or “look how much money they made”.

Oh, my friend, launching is so NOT what it looks like on the outside. It’s exhilarating and messy and OMG, stressful at times. The good news is that as I was going through the entire thing, I was able to keep my stress seriously in check thanks to good planning, my amazing team and having the right tech and tools in place.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is my first “big” launch, but this is by no means my first rodeo. I’ve been launching things my entire career – from Microsoft Office 2003 and assorted servers that went with it to new startups to solopreneur’s signature programs. Launches are just just part of what I do in marketing. So I totally have an unfair advantage.

Launching anything takes bucket loads of time and a serious helping hand from tools that can make putting all the pieces together so much simpler.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Pro launch tips and a killer list of tools and tech for your next launch” quote=”Pro launch tips and a killer list of tools and tech for your next launch”]

Here’s a rundown on all the tech and tools used for the No B.S. Marketing School launch:

Email Marketing: Infusionsoft

Launching = emails. A metric shit tonne of emails. For the launch alone we had at least 15 emails, and then there were thank you emails and all the emails for our pre-launch event, Orientation Week.

We’ve been running on Infusionsoft for close to two years, and I have to say it was a relief to know that getting the email piece of the launch under control wasn’t going to be a huge thing. Melissa and Brittany took care of setting up the campaigns and we did a lot of testing ahead of time to ensure everything was all set.

Pro Launch Tip: Right before your launch isn’t the time to tackle Infusionsoft as it has a steep learning curve and you don’t want to botch it. If you’re going to upgrade your system pre-launch, do it far enough in advance that you’re not trying to learn as you go.

Also, pay for help. If you’re going the Infusionsoft route, having a team from somewhere like Foundation and Flow is a must.

Sales Page: WordPress

The No B.S. Sales page was designed by Amanda Genther, and then coded for WordPress by Alison over at tiny blue orange. Don’t ask me what they did with pixels and all that, but we started this project well in advance to the point where when I had to write the sales copy in early June I could barely wrap my head around it. But having that done early and the page designed made everything real. And I couldn’t turn back when I started feeling super lazy in July and didn’t want to do any work.

Sales Page

This was my first pro sales page for a launch and it was worth every penny, and the Orientation Week opt-in page/site was also designed for WordPress using OptimizePress. (More on investing in design for the launch in a future post.)

Member’s Site: WordPress + Access Ally

Amanda and Alison also created a custom WordPress-based member’s site for all of the course content, including my very own theme called Cut the Crap. The member access portion was set up using Access Ally which is Nathalie Lussier’s InfusionSoft Membership Site Plug-In.

members site

The plug-in is letting us handle member management, timed releases of weekly lessons and more. Brittany setup this integration, and I have exactly no clue on the tech details. (Which is challenging for me as I like knowing the details – but when you’ve got 8 modules of content to create, something’s gotta give!)

Coming Soon Page/Opt-in Page: LeadPages

With so much custom design and coding, we opted for simplicity and used my LeadPages Pro Account for the “coming soon” page, as well as two opt-in pages used to run Facebook ads for Orientation Week.

Coming Soon Page

I hear a lot of complaints from my clients and community about the lack of customization in LeadPages, but that’s actually a good thing. It makes it super simple and means you’re using a proven layout which is more likely to convert. Unless you’re very familiar with what types of pages convert, you can be your own worst enemy. Also, the pro account lets you set up A/B testing which was super helpful when we were running Facebook ads during the pre-launch. We were able to test different page layouts and copy variations.

Social Media Scheduling: EDGAR + Buffer

Launching means you need to be out there, so we used EDGAR to schedule posts to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Pinterest posts were scheduled using Buffer. My social media strategist Melissa took care of creating a schedule and getting content out there.

edgar screen shot

During the launch, I also was active in my group and other channels in real-time, and we intend to keep that level of activity up especially on LinkedIn, Pinterest and my newly minted Instagram account.

Project Management + Communication: Basecamp

My entire business runs on Basecamp. I could write an entire post on how much I love Basecamp. While this particular project management system may not work for you, the key is that you have one. Whether it’s you or there’s a team you’re working with, all those launch tasks need to go somewhere.

Leading into the launch we had a number of projects including the Conversions Challenge in April, the Surprise and Delight Guide in June, Orientation Week in August and then the launch itself. Every one of these a Basecamp project and task lists associated with it.

Basecamp Screen Shot

The thing that works best for me with Basecamp is the visual nature of everything along with the fact that all communication and files are in one place. (Because hello, I get enough email and this keeps me out of my inbox.)

Grab Your Launch Tools & Tech Cheat Sheet Now

Document Management: Google Drive

At last count, I have at least 50 documents on the go so far for the launch and the course itself including a project planner, content grid, module worksheets, all the launch emails and much more. I love working in Google Drive, so we opted to use that for everything launch-related. There’s so many documents that they needed to be put into a easy-to-use folder system where all content can be easily found for the next launch. Google Drive Folders As an alternative, you could use Dropbox, but for the love of your documents, don’t just save everything on your trusty MacBook and hope you don’t have any issues. Back those babies up!

Presentations: PowerPoint

PowerPoint is getting a workout of epic proportions as course content and other training materials are created. Amanda created a series of templates for PowerPoint that made putting the lessons for the No B.S. Marketing School and Orientation Week together fairly straight forward. Armed with my notes that planned out each lesson, putting them into this format helped ensure lessons are bite-sized and not boring as get out.

Screencap Videos: Quicktime for Mac + ATR 2100

All those PowerPoints need to be turned into something, so I just use QuickTime for Mac which came with my laptop to record. I’ve experimented with different programs over the year, but QuickTime is insanely simple and I’ve yet to have issues exporting the video. For good quality audio, I used my ATR 2100 Microphone so my voice is crisp and clear. This is a small addition, but having  a mic makes a big difference. People will tolerate video that’s not super pro, but audio is a no go, so add a mic into the mix. All my videos were edited by Emmy Wu and she created the No B.S. Marketing School animated intro too. For me, outsourcing editing was a sanity saver, as while I can edit them easily, it doesn’t mean I should. Pro Launch Tip: Figure out the thing that’s likely to send you over the edge and outsource that. The time to upload videos to Vimeo alone made investing in editing worth it.

On Camera Videos: Canon HF G20 + Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit

For the sales page video and other promo videos, I shot them DIY-style in my basement studio. I’ve got some great equipment from my papercrafting days including a super sweet Canon HF G20 video camera. I will be the first to confess this camera is likely overkill for what I need. What’s more important than the camera is your lighting. I use the Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit and a hair lamp which hangs over head. My basement is dark so that hair light makes a big difference. The background is a pop up one, but mine is WAY too big. Get a smaller one like this one.

Order Forms: Infusionsoft

All of the order forms were created using Infusionsoft, with Amanda creating graphics and Melissa setting them all up. Being able to customize them helped us keep things consistent as people went from the sales page to the order form. Order Form

Payment Gateway: PayPal

All payments, including credit cards, were processed using PayPal Flow with reference transactions set up. This required me to upgrade my account, but I opted to go with PayPal as I’ve used them without issue for more than 5 years. I did assess a number of companies for Merchant Accounts but they really didn’t make sense for me at this point in time. PayPal has worked fairly seamlessly with a few minor issues. Pro Launch Tip: Be ready for payment issues and have someone around to fix them when you’re closing your cart. There you have it, my big old list of all the tech and tools used to launch the No B.S. Marketing School out into the world. If you’re launching anything – from an ebook to a service to a signature program, you’ll want to check out this Launch Tech & Tools Cheat Sheet I’ve put together for you with all of my picks plus some trusted alternatives.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Grab your pro list of tech and tools for a successful launch now” quote=”Grab your pro list of tech and tools for a successful launch now”]

Note: I’m an affiliate for several of these tools and I will receive a commission should you purchase them. That said, it’s important to me that you pick what’s right for you and I’m just disclosing this so we’re on the up and up.

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Your Marketing Mix: Stop Focusing Only on Traffic


There’s a million and one things you could do to “market” your business, but what’s the right thing? Which one will get you the results you’re after?

Damn good question.

It’s a question without a clear cut answer. And anyone who claims to be able to tell you exactly what to do may very well be a liar, especially if it’s along the lines of “now, just follow these three easy steps.”

Figuring out your marketing isn’t about replicating someone else’s results but nailing down the approach that works for you. And that’s exactly why I’m not a fan of any marketing strategy or advice being taught by someone who’s done it exactly for one person – themselves.

Unfortunately, that’s all too common online. Yes, lessons learned and first hand experience are great, but they’re not the bedrock marketing you need to build your marketing on.

Which is why you need to have a handle on what’s called the marketing cycle. It’s an easy way to understand how each piece of the marketing puzzle feeds into the next one and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

The Marketing Cycle Explained

Your-Marketing-Mix-Explained-FBTWThere’s no shortage of marketing advice out there, but when it comes to online marketing the concept of the marketing cycle is well played out.

Originated by Perry Marshall in the book 80/20 Sales and Marketing, it’s a succinct way to make sure you’re addressing the key touch points of your marketing.

Essentially, there are three parts to the marketing cycle – Traffic, Conversions and Economics.

I don’t know about you, but you likely spend most of your time on traffic. And with good reason, this is where you’re engaging new people as they discover your business. This may be on social media, at events or publicity activities. The goal is to get people to connect with you and to want to learn more.

But here’s where shit falls apart. When it’s time to convert people from a casual connection into action such as subscribing or purchasing from you, you need your landing page, website or wherever else you’re sending them to deliver the goods.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Traffic doesn’t matter if your website totally sucks. #truthbomb New blog post” quote=”Traffic doesn’t matter if your website totally sucks. #truthbomb New blog post”]

Conversions for the (Small) Win

Enter conversions. Or as I like to think of it, as the land of small wins. When you have a website, you know exactly how many moving pieces there are involved. Copy, design, tech integrations and much more.

If you’re taking the time to send traffic to the site, you owe it to yourself to continuously be improving on what you have so you convert that traffic into action.

Think of this in the context of one of your sales pages. Every element of your page from the photo of you to the text on your purchase button to the social proof you’re using, impacts the end result. So tweaking that page, testing it and then optimizing it over time can give you a series of small wins. Those small wins bring better results in your business.

Closing the Loop: Economics

Finally, what happens once someone is your customer or client? These are the economics of running your biz. It’s not enough to convert someone, you then need to execute on what you’ve promised.

While you may not think of this part of things as marketing, it sure as hell is. Because if you do this part right, you’re going to need WAY less marketing in the long run. It’s how people build thriving businesses without an online presence.

It all comes down to the experience you deliver your customer or client from the time they first engage with you to when you’re done working with them. Never underestimate how incredibly powerful this is, or drop the ball here in favor of working harder on the front end of the cycle to get new people in the door. Happy customers are repeat customers and they will refer you to everyone they know.

If you want to dive more into this, check out the Surprise and Delight Guide with advice from 35+ smart business owners:
Get your free copy of the Surprise & Delight guide now.

Your Marketing Not-So Secret Weapon

With a firm grasp on the marketing cycle, how do you actually apply it? It’s all about finding the balance between all three pieces so that you’re essentially creating a flow where people discover you, engage and then continue to do business with you.

It’s easier said than done. So here’s a few ways to approach it:

  • Traffic: Choose a handful of tactics and focus on doing it really well so that they’re actually effective, instead of trying to be everywhere and running around following expert advice. You need to see what works for you, where your audience is and go from there.
  • Conversions: You know that moment when you launch your website and you’re so excited because you’re done. You’re never going to be done, which is why I’m a huge proponent of not over-investing in design when you’re starting out. You don’t know what you don’t know yet, so start where you are with your site and evolve over time.
  • Economics: Set aside marketing time to work on your “surprise and delight”. Keep your customers happy and close the loop so they’re dying to give you a testimonial.

The goal of your marketing is to support your business goals and get results. Not to fluff up follower counts or make you look like you’re awesome when you’ve just got an expensive hobby. Results come from getting clear, and action is what breeds clarity. Work all parts of your marketing cycle and over time you’ll watch your results grow.

No BS Mktng Social Media Images2

Results. Clarity. A plan that actually works for you and doesn’t mean you’re focusing on marketing 24/7.

This is exactly what the No B.S. Marketing School is all about. And this isn’t like anything else out there, it’s based on 15+ years of planning and executing marketing programs from huge brands to startups to solopreneurs. We’ll keep the cookie cutters in your kitchen and break the marketing mold to get you where you want to go.

The No B.S. Marketing School is only open for registration through September 15th, and class starts Monday September 21st. Will you join us for the founding class?

Get the Scoop on the No B.S. Marketing School

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7 Email Marketing Secrets for Your Small Business

blog 8.27

Email is one of those things on our marketing to-do list that can make you wonder if you really should be doing it.

When we’re so focused on streamlining our email, getting to inbox zero, and moving our collaboration to tools like Basecamp or Slack, is there still a place for email?


Email isn’t going anywhere. Email is currently used by over half the world’s population, and according to McKinsey & Company, email conversion rates are three times higher than social media.

While you may personally be SO over email, not everyone else is. And if you’re going to spend time marketing at all, your email marketing absolutely needs to be in the mix. Sure, you can focus on social networks, but you’re building on someone else’s network, you don’t own the data and most of all, social networks come and go. (Remember MySpace?)

But if you’re going to “do” email marketing, you need to do it in a way that’s actually going to help you get results. The inbox is a competitive place, so if you’re going to show up there, you need to bring your A game.

Here are 7 pro email marketing secrets to help you create the kind of email marketing that sets you apart in the inbox:

#1. Your Opt-In Gift Solves a Real Problem

Quizzes, guides and checklists, oh my! There’s no shortage of freebies for people to sign up for on the Internet as they go about their day. But if you want your offer to be the one that seduces someone into handing over their precious email address, you need to offer something that solves a real problem they’re having.

When you go to create your opt-in gift, take the time to dive into what your audience really and truly needs, not just what’s easy for you to create. Spending time upfront to create something of value will help you connect with the right audience and help you build your list that much faster.

#2. You Don’t Love Em’ and Leave Em’

Truthfully, my biggest pet peeve is when I sign up for someone’s email list and then don’t hear from them until they have something to sell me. At the point that someone has raised their hand and signed up for your email list, you want to ensure that you’re going to continue to give them some time and attention.

This is where creating an email autoresponder – or as I like to call it, an orientation sequence – comes in. After you deliver your opt-in gift, you need a series of emails to help your new subscribers turn into part of your community by building the know, like and trust factor.

#3. You Show Up On Time Every Single Week

Email marketing thrives on consistency. Even if the idea of a schedule feels completely stifling to you, when it comes to your email it’s a must. Start by picking a set date and time each week that you’ll send out your emails.

We are all creatures of habit, and with email over time your readers will come to expect you in their inbox on a certain day. And that consistent delivery of quality content helps to breed brand recognition, familiarity with your content and, most of all, trust in what your business has to offer.  You may need to miss a week here or there, but setting a schedule and sticking to it is a must.

#4. Have a Good Opening Line

When your inbox is jammed full of messages, what do you do? You skim it, reading the senders and the subject lines. So to get your email opened, spend some time crafting your subject line.

Think of your subject line as the headline for your email: you need something that’s going to elicit interest and make someone pause as they skim their inbox.

Not sure where to start? First of all, keep is short. 50 characters or less is ideal. From there, play with personalization, urgency, asking questions, sharing benefits and more.

#5. Email is a Conversation

Hey you, boring email marketer. Cut it out or I’m going to delete you. And here we go, time to unsubscribe!

That’s exactly how things roll in my inbox. If I invite you into my inbox (aka my digital house), you owe it to me to not bore the crap out of me.

Email is a conversation. Show personality, speak to your reader on a one-to-one basis, and avoid the kiss of death – corporate speak!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Do this so your emails don’t get deleted. #emailmarketing” quote=”Do this so your emails don’t get deleted. #emailmarketing”]

#6. Exercise the 80/20 Rule

You may have heard the saying “the money is in the list,” but as I’ve explained in this post, it’s only in the list if you’re a good list host. And part of that deal is not abusing your list with an endless stream of promotional emails.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on delivering value-added, no strings attached content 80% of the time, and then only promoting 20% of the time. Let’s say you send an email every week of the year. That’s a total of 52 emails. With that in mind, you’d only be promoting to that same group in 10 of those emails. (I’m not counting launch specific emails here – that’s a whole different beast!)

#7. Learn What Your Readers Want

Unlike some other parts of our marketing that we can’t easily measure (podcast subscriber numbers, I’m looking at you), email marketing gives us a gold mine of data to work with. By keeping an eye on and analyzing this data, we can learn what our readers want more of from us.

Start by looking at your open rates. Is your open rate in line with what’s typical in your industry? (Check out this handy chart from MailChimp here.) Then look at your last 5 or 10 emails. What’s your open rate on each one? Which ones did better than others?

Then, if you want to take it up a notch, look at your click-through rate (CTR). What links are people clicking on in your emails? Are they going on to read your blog post, or check out your new service? Watch for trends over time with your CTR so you can continuously tweak your email content.

[clickToTweet tweet=”7 email marketing secrets to take the suck out of your emails – new blog post” quote=”7 email marketing secrets to take the suck out of your emails – new blog post”]

Use these 7 secrets to help make the most of your email marketing so you can deliver content that connects and converts into results for your business.

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A Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide to Conversion Rates

blog 8.20

Do you identify yourself as a creative?

Yeah, me too. I’ve always been a creative. I was raised by a hippie photographer father, who valued creativity above all else. I grew up in a time of possibility and around people who didn’t have traditional careers, so I was fully encouraged to let my creative (freak) flag fly.

From a young age, I was a writer – that was how I expressed myself. Later, this gave way to my trying all kinds of other creative pursuits. So as you can imagine, something like math wasn’t my sweet spot. In fact, it has always been ewwwww….ugh….yuck for me.

I’m sure so many of you can relate. But as a creative business owner, I want to let you in on a secret: we can’t ignore math.

No matter how much we really want to.

Truth is…our fate rests on the numbers.

80% of businesses fail in the first year. That’s a staggering number.

We’ve all heard that tried and true stat time and time again, to the point we likely don’t even think about what that really means.

Desensitized as we may be, we need to pay attention.

With those numbers, the odds of you failing are greater than of you succeeding.

How do you do better and ensure your success? How do you not become a statistic?

You measure your results.

You have limited time to work “on” your business, so why not make it more efficient? Focusing on your creativity and uniqueness alongside your conversion rates can give you an incredible way to be truly different than everyone else out there AND get results.

You know, results. The things that mean you’re succeeding. The tangible proof that all your heart and hustle is paying off and getting you where you want to go.

As business owners and especially as women, we tend to want to focus on feelings and emotions, not the actual outcomes. So we talk about wanting to feel a certain way, instead of a hard metric like people served or money made.

We’re doing ourselves a major disservice if we don’t measure results.

We’re never ever going to feel the ease or flow we crave if we’re not paying attention. Our feelings aren’t going to be the ones we deeply desire but ones of fear and frustration but most of all, we’ll be so flippin’ tired that we’ll want to quit.

What Happens When We Ignore the Numbers

Sure, we can ignore the numbers. But, when we aren’t paying attention, here’s what happens.

We turn into the chick at the party that’s in the powder room all night long because she can’t handle herself. And we’ve all had this moment – whether you want to admit it or not. It’s my job to make sure you aren’t that girl anymore.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Are you THAT girl? Get yourself handled – conversion rates for creatives.” quote=”Are you THAT girl? Get yourself handled – conversion rates for creatives.”]

Results. Numbers. These are things we can control. It just comes down to truly understanding the art + science of our marketing.

For example, last Fall when I relaunched this website, my business changed.

As soon as I launched a new site with a clear, totally me story, my business grew quickly. The difference: more me, more story and a better focus on converting my visitors into action. I grew my list by 1000 people, I was booking out months ahead. These relatively minor changes had a big pay off rather quickly. My website paid for itself many, many times over.

That’s not to brag, but it’s to show you’ve got a choice.

You can keep working harder and doing more, or you can focus on what you can control. Your story. Your conversions. Not just more busywork to make you feel like you’re getting somewhere.

Ultimately, this is about being smarter and letting the other stuff go so you can focus on the stuff you want to do. Not hustling hard and dropping from exhaustion.

Stop Giving Conversion Rates a Bad Rap

Let’s take some time to actually talk about “conversions.” That’s the magical act where people sign up for your list or purchase from you.

In short, they take action on your site.

The idea of conversion doesn’t have to be scary, sleazy or all about the math.

Conversions is sort of like the weird creepy guy that a friend of a friend invited along to your party. You’re giving him the side eye all night, worrying he’s going to go through your underwear drawer when he heads to the bathroom, but once you get to know him, he’s actually kind of cool.

Conversion talk gets a bad rap with us creative types, which is why we’re going to get the bottom of conversion rates for creatives once and for all.

Why? For most of us, numbers and money are huge triggers. (Raising my hand – don’t worry, I’ve got this kind of baggage, too!)

Or maybe you see ranty dude bro marketers with flashing red buy now buttons that look like Web 1.0 threw up all over their sales page.

Or the fear that if you focus on conversion rates you’re going to have to turn into someone who uses hard core pressure tactics to close the sale.

No, No, and NO! Not for a second. That’s not at all what this is about.

Just because you’re working on these numbers doesn’t mean your business has to be soulless. It doesn’t mean you have to have a HUGE impersonal business. It’s just the opposite.

By focusing on this stuff you can be more efficient and spend MORE time focusing on your clients by serving them in the best way possible. Plus, you’ll actually be profitable so that you can grow exactly the way you want to. It can help you take the pressure off so you’re acting from a place of abundance and not fear.

It’s simple.

Conversions = people taking action on your site.

Action = you’ve got a viable, sustainable business and are making money.

And really, who doesn’t like that?

By understanding and tracking your conversion rates, you can figure out what’s working and what’s not so you can succeed.

For example, conversion rates typically run around 2-3% for most websites. But with the right changes and focus, you can increase those to 5% or even higher.

Imagine you have 1000 people coming to your landing page where you’re selling a product or service.

A 2% conversion would mean that 20 people purchased.

But with a 5%, that could be 50 people, or with 10% ,100 people.

That’s more people impacted, more people served and you’re being paid fairly for your work. Win-win for everyone.

This is what’s at the heart of conversion optimization. You can haul ass to have more and more traffic, or you can tweak and tuck your site so that the people who show up get what they need.

Remember the creepy conversions dude? When you really break it down, this conversion guy isn’t so bad after all. At your party, he’s the one who stays until 3 a.m. helping you clean up the aftermath. And in your marketing arsenal, conversion rate optimization is reliable and trustworthy – the perfect balance to your creative whims and innovative ideas.

The Right Numbers Ensure Your Freedom

Start measuring so you are in control of your business outcomes and, most of all, your future. No more ignoring the “math stuff” and what’s really happening on your website.

Because if you do that, your business is going to be fine. In fact, it will be better than fine because you’ll know what’s what.

As creatives, we love our freedom. But the numbers are what are going to give us creative control. (And they don’t have to be scary!)

For me, they give me control over the growth of my business and now they’re my BFF. When those not-so-great days happen and I totally melt down, the numbers are my safety blanket that help snap me back to reality.

You, my friend, are in control of your business. Your business doesn’t happen to you or around you. You’re the host or hostess of this party, so it’s time for you to step up. Make friends with conversions and you may just be surprised where your business goes.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Making friends with conversion rates – the inside scoop. New blog post.” quote=”Making friends with conversion rates – the inside scoop. New blog post.”]

OW Social Media Images MM Cover (2)

Orientation Weeks starts Monday, August 24th and we’ll be talking about conversion rates among other must-know things in your business.

This August, instead of deciding you’ve got 2015 handled, what if you tapped into that feeling and took your marketing back to school? And not to just any school, but the No B.S. School of Marketing, a place where you get to reinvent your marketing (and how you think about it).

Orientation Week is a week-long, 100% free event with a daily lesson. No fluff. You’ll get in and you’ll get out. Best of all, each day you’ll get something done in your business that sets you on the path to marketing success.

Get the details and join us by hitting the button below.


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5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked

blog 8.13

Whether you’ve been hanging out in the online business world for weeks, months or years, you’ve probably heard a lot of “rules” about how things need to be done.

Rules, formulas, success strategies, blueprints – there’s an endless list of these things you should be doing according to the 24/7 parade of experts.

A lot of these things fall into the category of best practices and are proven ways to help you accomplish your goals. And hey, why kill yourself to create a revolutionary way of doing things when this shit is proven? That’s a great way to drive yourself into the ground, no need for that!

On the other hand, a lot of these things fall into the realm of what I like to think of as B.S. online marketing myths, especially when they’re taken out of context by would-be experts or business owners who simply don’t know any better. Or they actually do know better and don’t give a rat’s ass because racking up cashola in their PayPal account is priority numero uno.

Here’s my handy list of B.S. online marketing myths that need to be put to rest or at least taken with a grain of salt:

#1. The Money is in Your List

Yes, email marketing can be extremely effective, and when you sell to your list you can make some significant sales. But only when it’s done right. Which is precisely where the “money is in your list” mantra falls apart.

Email lists aren’t all created equal. Business owners who “sell to their list” successfully use a sophisticated system of nurturing, managing and connecting with their list, from opt-in sequences to ongoing content and more. They don’t just show up and say, “Hey email subscriber, welcome to my list. Now gimme all your money.”

The problem is that somewhere along the way, the concept of the money being “in your list” turned into your email list is just like a ATM. Your email list will only respond to your sales emails and promotions if you show up the rest of the time and deliver immense value, but most of all treat them with respect. No funnel, no email copy and no offer will ever replace respect. So before you decide your email is a magic money making machine, decide how you’re going to add value before you sell.

#2. Make Money While You Sleep

I don’t know about you, but I definitely love waking up to new sales in my inbox. But I don’t fall asleep every night and rub my hands together and think, “How much sweet, sweet money will I make while I sleep?”

Yes, you can make money while you sleep. But that shiz doesn’t just magically happen. And it’s likely going to take WAY more than writing an ebook and throwing it up on a LeadPage to make that baby actually work.

Here’s what’s not being said about the magic bullet called passive income. There’s nothing at ALL passive about it when you’re creating it, and it may take months or even years for it to get to the point where it’s truly passive.

[clickToTweet tweet=”New blog post – What’s not being said about passive income. (Hint: it’s not so passive)” quote=”New blog post – What’s not being said about passive income. (Hint: it’s not so passive)”]

For every passive income success story, there’s 100s of more people grinding out meager passive income sales on the side while they coach, consult and do more. Sure, you can go all in on passive income and decide you’re not working 1:1 anymore, but you’d be the exception, not the rule. (Hear that? It’s the sound of bubbles being burst, sorry friends!)

#3. Everyone is an Expert!

I’m going to spare you the string of expletives that I often spew out when I see so-called experts claiming their expertise.

Anyone CANNOT be an expert on anything. Period. Even on the Internet. No matter what that book you read says or what some blow hard Internet marketer tries to convince you. Stop.

Of course, expertise is subjective, and we all do need to start somewhere. But there’s a way to share your knowledge and let your work speak for itself without trying to trump yourself up into being an expert.

If this makes you uncomfortable, it may be time for you to think hard about if what you’re offering or focusing on is in line with what you can truly deliver results on. Doing something once for yourself doesn’t make you an expert.

Thanks to the expert economy where everyone is a would-be expert, the bigger distinction is just doing the work and delivering real results. That’s where we should all be focusing our energies.

#4. If You Build It, They Will Come

After spending months getting your new website ready – writing copy, working with a designer – your launch day is finally here. The hard work is over, as you’ll be live on the internet and sales will be rolling in.

Launching a website is the easy part. Actually getting traffic to your site will be a work in progress, as you focus on social media, SEO, referral traffic and so much more. And it’s harder than it seems, especially in 2015.

I started my first blog nearly 8 years ago, one that I built up to having more than 12,000 unique visitors per month at one point. How? For starters, I blogged five days a week – that’s literally hours spent every single week on writing and photography for each post. Then there’s marketing time spent on social networks, email marketing and more.

That same scenario has played out time and time again on blog projects I’ve been involved in. If you want consistent and significant traffic, you need to be creating great content, working on your SEO and promoting that content well.

Traffic doesn’t just magically arrive on your site. You earn it. Which brings me to my next point…

#5. What You Really Need is More Traffic

Let’s say you’ve got a steady stream of visitors to your site each month, but you’re not making that many sales. And the number of subscribers you acquire each month is nothing to get excited about.

Conventional wisdom is that to get more sales, you need more traffic. You need more people coming to your site to fix your problem, right?

All the traffic in the world doesn’t matter if you’ve not got the fundamentals on your website in place. If that traffic arrives on your site and it’s a janky hot mess, it simply won’t convert. You can keep sending more and more and more traffic, but it’s not going to make a difference on your bottom line.

It’s like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom, you’re never going to be able to fill it up.

Conversion rate optimization can be incredibly complex, but I can guarantee there are improvements you can make to your site starting now to help get your visitors to stick around and take action. (I’ll be addressing one of the biggest ones with online business owners during Orientation Week – details below on how you can join us.)

It’s your business and you’re the boss…so you get to make the rules and can decide if you’re going to believe these myths or not. Many of these myths we’ll be putting to rest for good during the fun and free event I have coming up, Orientation Week. Consider this your invite to join us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”New blog post – 5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked #truth” quote=”New blog post – 5 B.S. Online Marketing Myths Debunked #truth”]

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This August, instead of deciding you’ve got 2015 handled, what if you tapped into that feeling and took your marketing back to school? And not to just any school, but the No B.S. School of Marketing, a place where you get to reinvent your marketing (and how you think about it).

Orientation Week is a week-long, 100% free event with a daily lesson. No fluff. You’ll get in and you’ll get out. Best of all, each day you’ll get something done in your business that sets you on the path to marketing success.

Get the details and join us by hitting the button below.


business storytelling marketing strategy sales

The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling


When was the last time you read a good book? You know, the kind that keeps you up half the night, even though you have a zillion things to do in the morning, because you MUST know how it’s going to end.

There’s nothing like a gripping page turner that you can’t put down. It leaves a lasting impression and sticks with you for weeks and months to come – but most of all, you can’t wait to share with your friends.

That’s the power of a great story at work.

So when it comes to sharing stories in your business, it can feel like a lot of pressure. The word insurmountable comes to mind, especially if you’re like me and you had a relatively “normal” upbringing and there’s no big dramatic turn of events. Or if you’re the kind of person who knows their mama wouldn’t appreciate you airing your family’s dirty laundry in public.

Not every story needs to have melodramatic twists and turns. Especially when it comes to the stories you share in your business.

The goal of sharing your stories is to create a link with your audience, no drama needed. As the saying goes, facts tell, stories sell.

At the heart of storytelling is making an emotional connection, and many times sharing something your audience can see themselves in is just as powerful as a rags to riches or overcoming the odds type of story.

Which is why I’ve put together the ultimate guide to storytelling to help you tell your personal story.

Understand What Your Audience Needs From You

If you’re going to share stories, you must be thoughtful about them. Otherwise you’re going to end up sharing a lot of things that don’t support your business or risk portraying yourself in a way that doesn’t jive with your community.

It’s not about taking on airs or being a big old fake, but you need to have a filter to run things through to make sure there’s a point to the story. Otherwise it’s just one big autobiographical storytelling jam session, which gets tired quickly.

The filter? Get to know what your audience is thinking, feeling and sensing. What do they need to hear? What are they looking for? Spending time on carefully defining this lets you frame how you communicate and what stories are worth telling.

A Little Personal Color Goes a Long Way

When you share personal stories, the audience filter comes in handy. You need to think about what’s a good fit for your audience and what may be completely over the top.

Personal stories are an ideal way for your tribe to learn more about you as a human and not just as an entrepreneur, coach or whatever it is you do. But do yourself a favor and be choosy about the stories you put out there.

In this iteration of my business, I’m willing to put myself way more out there than I EVER have and I make a point of sharing my own personal brand of my real-life anecdotes and straight talk. But that doesn’t mean it’s all about me and I let it all hang out.

The thing is I’m still a mom, and one day my kid will be able to read these words. I have a husband who works in a pretty conservative environment and I can guarantee there’s certain things he doesn’t want to see on the Internet. My friends likely wouldn’t appreciate me spilling the beans on some of our escapades or things that I’ve experienced alongside them (because while these things have shaped me in a profound way, they aren’t mine to share).

I know where my line is and I’m respectful of it. Because no one needs to know about that one time in Vegas. (Or maybe you do…but that’s a story for another day!)

[clickToTweet tweet=”Where’s your line when it comes to personal storytelling? New blog post.” quote=”Where’s your line when it comes to personal storytelling? New blog post.”]

Be Credible, But Don’t Oversell It

Part of storytelling in a business context is about stories that help you position your experience and how you’ve gotten to where you are today.

When I work with Story Distillery clients, we spend a lot of time working on packaging their experience in a way that’s credible but still accessible. The last thing you want to do is list ALL of the things you’ve ever done and how incredibly awesome you are.

For starters, that gets old quickly. Do you want to read an About page that requires you to scroll and scroll and scroll as someone recounts all the things? And then there’s the fact that if you didn’t lose your reader along the way, you may actually be intimidating them and they’re going to be scared to engage with you. (Sounds crazy, right? But people like to see themselves in people they work with or buy from.)

Think of your experience as needing a highlight reel. And on your About page or anywhere you talk about credibility, you share only the highlights, leaving the rest to be revealed over time.

You’re Not A Superstar

When you think of sharing stories in your business, it’s easy to think you’re the star. Because these stories are about you, right?

Not so fast! As you’re telling stories, you want to leave room to turn your clients and customers into the hero. What people really want to know from you is “how can they help me?” so showcasing your customers as the superstar lets you prove that you can deliver.

When you’re shaping these stories, focus on results. The personal relationship is important, but if you don’t deliver the goods, it’s not going to matter.

As a kid, I used to watch this TV makeover show called The New You with my mom, and I became pretty obsessed with the idea of the before and after. And I’m not alone. Transformation stories are incredibly powerful. That’s exactly why magazines and media are chalked full of them, and I’ve probably spent more hours of my life than I care to admit watching What Not to Wear and Style by Jury.

Think about what the before and after is for your clients. Start there and find ways to weave those stories into your marketing.

Stand for Something

Author, speaker and creator of the Fascination Advantage System, Sally Hogshead, has a quote that I love:

Different is better than better.

The point being you can work harder and do more, but if you’re not different, it’s hella hard to get a leg up. Which is why when you’re telling stories, you need to stand for something.

For some people, that idea can be scary, especially if you’re a people pleaser and the idea of someone not liking you is unthinkable.

If you want to truly be remarkable, it’s time to get over it.

To succeed, you’re going to need to embrace that you can’t work with everyone, you can’t serve everyone, and you’re actually doing yourself a disservice if everyone likes you.

The sooner you embrace that fact, the whole lot easier being in business and telling stories is going to be.

What does it mean to take a stand?

I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. You don’t need to stand on a table and rally a frenetic crowd of supporters to follow you into a battle you’re likely to lose.

For your business, it means you take ownership of key issues and have an opinion. This is what successful leaders do, and if you want to cut through the same old, same old, then it’s compulsory.

Find a way to state what you believe in a way that works for you. Take careful note of the “for you” part, as we’re all going to do this differently, and for it to work it must be aligned with how you actually are as a person.

If you need a hint, look at your Fascination Advantage report. My primary advantage is innovation and I lean on it a lot as I speak the language of ideas.

Otherwise you’re going to stay in obscurity and it’s hard to run a business when no one knows who you are.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Stop being a people pleaser and take a stand on something already.” quote=”Stop being a people pleaser and take a stand on something already.”]