Five decisions I’ve made about the tricky business of affiliate marketing.

money-changing-hands-crop-1200x675Over the years, I have promoted a number of my colleagues.

Sometimes I have done that as an affiliate (I was paid something for anyone who signed up) and sometimes I’ve done it without receiving any money. It’s been a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B.

For the most part, it’s felt good. And from time to time it’s felt other than good to be promoting.

I thought I’d share with you what I’ve come up with in case it’s of some use to you in the future when you find something worthy of promoting and have the opportunity to be an affiliate for it.

The parts that have felt good:

  • I can’t do everything. There are so many aspects of business in which I have no expertise (and have no interest in becoming an expert). So I get to share content that is relevant and trustworthy to my people, thus saving them a lot of time in trying to sift through the mountain of information that’s out there on the internet. I’d be a fool to think i know everything and selfish not to point people to the best resources I know about.
  • It’s helped to financially sustain me. Up until this point, I haven’t had many of my own online programs or products. I don’t work with people one on one very much and touring is exhausting. Having the extra income from affiliate deals has meant the world to me – especially give the fact that the vast majority of my efforts over the past decade have gone not into creating products but free content for people. I have over 600 blog posts up right now and my guess is that there are likely about 5000 pages of content there. For free.

The parts that didn’t feel good:

  • Financial fuzziness. When I first started sending out affiliate emails about colleagues it always felt a little off, like I was being sneaky or something. The link in the email was an affiliate link but I wasn’t saying it. Some people would understand that it was. Others would have no idea. Would it change how they felt if they knew? Was it worth explaining it to them or was that my own neuroses about it? It didn’t feel right not to say something but I also wasn’t sure how to talk about it without it feeling weird.
  • It’s all ‘Six Figure’ this and ‘Seven Figure’ that. I’ve had to say ‘no’ to some colleagues I otherwise adore because the levels of glitz, glam and ‘get rich quick’ was too much.
  • Hype. I’ve looked at some of the sales letters for programs I’ve been asked to promote and cringed at the level of hype I’ve seen.
  • Low value free content. I’ve promoted so many colleagues whose promo calls, webinars and content were hyped up as so useful only to find they had almost no content in them at all but were mostly a pitch to buy the rest of their stuff. This has been heartbreaking. I just trusted it would be good and then I read it and my heart sank, ‘This is utter shit…’ I thought. ‘I can’t believe I promoted this…’
  • The Launch Formula. Almost every affiliate promo I have done is for a ‘launch’. A launch means that the product or program is only available for a limited time. Sometimes this scarcity is legit (e.g. you’re running a group program and it only has 100 spots and you only do it once per year) and sometimes it’s bullshit (e.g. ‘Only 200 copies of this ebook!’). Regardless of the veracity of the scarcity, it means that it’s a time sensitive situation. I need to share it in a certain window of time. The other model is the ‘evergreen’ model in which a product or program is available forever and whenever. I personally prefer it when colleagues have evergreen, home study versions of their materials as well because sometimes I want to refer people to them and… there’s no way to do so. I have to wait until the next launch. Launches make everything so urgent (which is why they work) but, because of this, they feel like more pressure.
  • Unsubscribes. The reality is that people unsubscribe from my email list with every email I send out. Every time. If the email if free, useful content then less people. If it’s a pitch for my own stuff then more people. If it’s an affiliate pitch, then more people still. That’s just the reality.
  • It’s not useful. This is a whole other level of heartbreak. Sometimes I have found out that what I am promoting is actually no good at all. Sometimes it’s good content but bad context. What they’re teaching is sound, practical and useful but the way they’re doing it is schmarmy or salesy or hyped up. Sometimes the content is good but the course is structured poorly and tries to cover too much and so it’s way too much too fast and students are made to feel like failures.
  • Sending so many emails. Many of my colleagues, when launching a product or a program, asked me, as an affiliate, to send out a lot of emails. I’d tell them I couldn’t send out all of the ones they wanted and would usually send out half the amount others did but it still felt like a lot. But, this was the inner conflict for me: in the course of their promo they were often providing a lot of very real, tangible value. Perhaps they were offering a book, a white paper, a series of educational videos or webinars. I wanted to make sure people knew about them because, hey, free value! But… so many emails from me and about things that aren’t my own. People joined my email list to hear my thoughts, not to be promoted to multiple times about someone they’ve never heard of.
  • So many emails from other affiliates. Over the years, I began to realize that many of the people on my list were also on lists of other colleagues promoting the same things. This meant that some people on my list might get three or four people all sending out multiple emails promoting the same thing. Oh man. So many emails.
  • So many emails from the person I’m promoting. This was a straw that broke this camel’s back. I finally realized that not only were the people on my list getting multiple emails from me. Not only were they getting multiple emails from colleagues about it but they were also getting multiple emails (often quite a lot) from the person I was promoting. So. Many. Emails. The people on my list were getting it from every side.

And then there was the negative feedback…

This has been one of the hardest pills to swallow.

Sometimes I would promote colleagues whose work I believed in but whose selling tactics were… not the ones I’d choose to use. I once asked me list for feedback on the people I’d promoted as affiliates. Here are some of the negative responses I got…

  • “Checked them out – not so helpful, and at times offensive. As a group they seem to be one step removed from your hippy marketing as communication, non-gross vibe – and some of them were so close to the usual vomit marketing stuff I came very close to opting off your list. The worst was the guy – already blanked out his name – talking about how to convince your clients they deserve to pay – they owe it to themselves to pay the high prices for things and how they could afford them. His example was a story about someone who decided she could give up her 2 starbucks a day and walk or ride a bike to work. That’s all well and good for people who are spending excess that way, but for people who are struggling just to pay for groceries, it’s offensive. It’s cruel. I don’t want to study from someone who is teaching people to treat prospective clients this way. People who are doing great work deserve to be paid well, and when prospects are in a position to be able to afford the products and services, that’s awesome. What bothers me is when they try to get that money from people who don’t have – encourage people to use their credit cards and go into debt to purchase the product or service, and then when the client doesn’t get the promised results and struggles to pay off that charge the marketer is either no where to be found or has the audacity to try to sell them something else.”
  • “The next lead of yours that I followed was _______. I wish I hadn’t. Her sales page and videos were so compelling, and I was in so vulnerable a state at the time, that I spent $1000 on her 3-day “virtual retreat” on marketing. She was very knowledgeable and very successful at what she does, which is sucking vulnerable people like me into committing impulsively to spend large amounts of money on her product – which is a too-fast-paced course in wording and structuring sales pages (better known as “squeeze pages” as I have subsequently learned) and videos that result in maximum income for the seller of “leveraged” online “info products”. Her written course materials are very brief (3 documents of about 20-30 pages each). Most of her material is delivered online as live and recorded audio. About half of that is “group coaching” where she has a series of 10 minute chats with other students about their sales page wording and content. I got on once, and she helped me a small bit. Her teachings on niche are much weaker than yours, and her section on technology amounts to recommending the friends she has outsourced her technology to.”
  • “I checked out ______. I got on his mailing list, and came to the conclusion that his program might be a fit for me at some time in the future, but not now. So I clicked a link at the bottom of one of his emails that said “if you want to get a lot less email from me, click here”. When I still kept getting an email every day from him, I complained, but they kept coming. On the last day before the program closed, I got two emails, and I sent another bitter complaint. Obnoxious marketing practices.”
  • “Thanks Tad for asking about the promotions…the first time I signed up with you I checked out Jane Doe. That was useful. I did not sign up as I was going away for an extened period of time. From then on her stuff was self promoting and going down hill and affliate marketing news. I checked out your other “colleagues” and even more self promoting, salesy…a person can use the words, socially conscious entreprenuers , soul centered this or that like Kraft can use All Natural or gasoline companies can talk about mother earth and green wash. It is all upselling. I wondered what has happened to my sweet lad Tad…has he completlely Jane Doe’d himself…Is my friend hungry? Does he need money? Does pay what you want not work? For a bit I was getting so many collegue things from you I was opening them up and checking them out and getting sick to my stomach. But because I respect you, I would keep opening them and find nothing but increase your revenues to 6 figures promises(with huge disclaimers at the end of course). The cynic in me thought, Hey why stop at six- figures, why not promise seven figures and low and behold, the next day, there it was, increase my revnues to 7 figure and now 7 is the new number. Lately I have been getting so many “collegue” letters from you that I have considered hitting the unsuscribe button because I thought you were out of business and into affliate marketing. I like your stuff. One day after having opened an affliate thing from you I got so sad…I went looking for an early Tad Hargrave youtube…I sighed…happy to see the earnest young man…eager, compassionate and so trusting in himself and the world. Don’t let the John Doe’s or anyone like him rob you of your light.”

Five affiliate marketing decisions I’ve made:

A few months ago, while promoting someone I really admire, I began to sat with all of this, the upsides and downsides more seriously in an attempt to find some reconciliation of it all.

I hope the following learnings might be of some use to you in the future.

Affiliate Decision #1 – Giving the non-affiliate link:

This has been my policy for years now.

The nub of it is this: when you send out an email promoting someone using an affiliate link, then include, usually in the p.s. an explanation that the link above is an affiliate link and that, if that feels off in any way, there is a non-affiliate link they can click below.

Like so many good things I do, I do them because someone else did it to me and I noticed how good it felt. I can’t remember when or who but there it was. I was reading an email from them in which they were promoting someone and, at the end, they told me, “Hey! This is an affiliate thing, click the link below if you don’t like it and I won’t get any money.”

It was so refreshing. I felt respected. And I noticed, compellingly, that I was actually more happy to click on the affiliate link to make sure they got the money. Ever since using this approach, I have felt a world better and gotten emails like the below one telling me that they felt just as I did when I got my first email like this.

One good fellow said, “Congratulations on your transparency about the affiliation, and your providing of the alternate link. Although I am not doing anything with your stuff right now because I am drowning in developing a new website (plus teaching college). However, the likelihood that I will not delete your emails and will actually read them when I get through the next 2-3 weeks has increased exponentially.”

Another lady said, “I really appreciate your transparency at the bottom (in your P.S.), nice! Thanks for the openness. P.S. I forwarded your email to someone who may be interested. He appreciated that P.S. too. :)

But one time I got some feedback from someone on my list of a way I did it that didn’t totally land for him. I was grateful for his honesty.

“Hey…I really like your stuff, the content, and your ethos. Refreshing mix of marketing and community values.

Just one thing, feedback. I have NO problem with you doing the affiliate thing. Why not, its all part of the mutual benefit. I really appreciate your disclosure of it.

But theres just a bit of cringe factor in the way you do it…like you can’t quite own it. Hey dude:

p.p.s. Full Disclosure: This is an affiliate arrangement with George meaning I’ll make some amount of money (I actually haven’t checked how much) for everyone who signs up from the call. And it’s not why I’m promoting it. I hope you’ll dig it.

Ok, heres the critique. Firstly, you bend over backwards to make it clear you don’t really care about the money, and you are just doing it cause you want to support him and us.

Drop it, please. Your casual (don’t know how much I will make) sounds weak, and defensive.

Secondly, its a muddy mix of self interest and generosity. You are trying to separate out the two by the disclosure, but the way you put it actually is confusing. Again, its kind of defensive around your self interest. There IS,somewhere, your own profit (if not money, then your own career) motive in your promoting him. Maybe only .1%, but so what. It IS partly why you are promoting him. By somehow trying to make it less, you sound like you are trying to make it go away, rather than what you are ostensibly doing, which is owning it.

Hey, I do the same thing in my representations about my generosity. My wife, who knows me so well, always pulls a face and asks, yeah, but whats the cost?

So, small point, but hey, don’t like to see you marr your marvellous work.

So, my suggestion:

• Transparency statement: when George profits, so do I. I love it – I get to promote people I think are excellent, like George. If you like him as well, hee gets more business, you get a benefit. And I get a kickback :-) Everyone wins.

Well, thats a playful version. A straighter version:

• Transparency statement: if you like George’s products its win-win-win. You benefit, George’s work grows, and I get a percentage as an affiliate.

All the best.”

So what exact wording might you use?

Here’s an example of the kind of thing I’ve come to over the years,

p.s. I have been incredibly impressed with the nuts and bolts, practical nature of Marisa’s work and have learned something from every conversation with her I’ve had. And clients I’ve sent her way have thanked me. The above link is an affiliate link, meaning you signing up with her also supports me financially. If that doesn’t feel right for you for any reason, you can click on the following link and it will take you to the same page but I won’t be tracked as an affiliate.

Whichever link you click, I urge you to check out her brilliant work.

Note: In many countries you are legally obligated to let people know if it is an affiliate link or not in any of your promotions.

Affiliate Decision #2 – Personalize.

When you agree to become an affiliate for someone you’ll get some swipe copy from them. Meaning, if they’re smart, they will send you some prewritten sales copy to promote their stuff.

In my experience, as a result of it being difficult to write about one’s self objectively and a lack of understanding of how to write sales copy without hype, it’s not usually that good or useful to me beyond giving me the raw material I need to work with to write something of my own.

One of my colleagues wrote me his thoughts on this whole tangled mess of affiliate marketing,

“I think the subject of endorsing is one that is on a lot of people’s minds as we see more and more affiliate marketing between people. It’s funny – sometimes I find I don’t like the feel of it, and sometimes I do. When you do it, I like it. When John Doe does it, I don’t seem to. And I have no idea why. No idea. Like anything, my guess is that it is not this ‘activity’ that’s the problem ever, but how it is handled and communicated. For some reason, just off the top of my head – I notice that I love how you write about other people.

It always comes from your perspective, and why you feel it’s important. Though it’s more work for you, this feels great! It’s different entirely than the emails that are clearly written by someone else, or just come across super hypey – which I do find is more the norm. If I’m on someone’s list, I prefer to have the feeling that the endorsement (commission or not does not matter to me) is coming with a clear feeling as to why it’s important for ‘me’, and how it fits into my being on the person’s list. Relevance.

Maybe I like it when it’s communicated with the feeling that the endorsee is really doing this for ‘me’ and can clearly explain why. In that case, I am fine with there being a commission involved – I like it even – and I think that most people are. If I join Mailchimp or a John Doe program b/c of someone’s recommendation, I love using their affiliate link to do it. Makes me feel good that they are getting a commission for it. It’s like ‘thank you for telling me!’

Maybe my underlying feeling is that I love it when people earn great money from their own work and JV commissions, but my expectation is always the feeling like they have my best interests in mind when they speak, lead, endorse. And it’s ok with me if unsure as to the value for me, to change the wording to reflect that – like you have done in the past. ‘This *could* be very interesting for you’. That works just fine for me – again it’s all in the communication.

But many lists I’m on I can sense another way of endorsing – where there just isn’t the same level of care for ‘me’ communicated in the message. And this feels emotionally not as nice. I find I get a low level annoyance happening with this. You’re one of the very few that I’ve never had that feeling about, ever. Not that I’m so difficult to please, I don’t get tied up in knots about it, I just choose to ignore many other ‘teachers’ when they do these more flippant feeling JV endorsements. I put up with it, and then resume my interest when they get back to ‘leading me’.”

So, it will feel better to people if you personalize it.

As my own understanding of marketing has evolved, I’ve found the swipe copy to be less and less useful because it’s written to get people to say ‘yes’ rather than to help them understand if it’s a fit for them or not.

To deal with this, I have, as of today, created a form I will be asking all future colleagues to fill out if they want me to be an affiliate for them. Feel free to copy this.

Affiliate Decision #3 – One email policy:

This is my most recent learning.

From now on, if a colleague asks me to promote them and it feels like a fit to me, I will only send one email out about it (with a good possibility of sending a reminder to those who clicked on the link in the email a day or two before the end of the promotion if I don’t get any negative feedback from their promo).

After wrestling with this for years, I was reminded about how Jay Abraham promoted the first major marketing workshop I ever attended.

His initial email said, in essence,

“I’ve got this amazing seminar coming up. I’d love for you to come. But of course I think it’s amazing. It’s my program. So here’s my proposition. I’d like to get your permission to market this program to you and make my case for why it will be in your best interests to attend it. And, during the course of that promotion, I will give away more free content than most people give away during their actual seminars.”

He was, in essence, asking for people’s permission to market to them.

It was a brilliant approach during which he genuinely gave away an incredible amount of value.

What I loved about it was how respectful it was (if you didn’t opt in to be marketed to that was the last you ever heard of it) and, if you did, you got a bushel full of useful marketing tips. And it was so direct. No beating around the bush.

And so, just a few weeks ago, it dawned on me that this was how I was going to approach affiliate promotions for the foreseeable future.

Instead of sending out four emails during the course of a promotion, I will send one.

Instead of telling my list about every free piece of launch content they’re offering, I will tell them about all of them in advance and encourage them to give their permission to be marketed to by the person in question. I will make my best case for the program and be as clear as I can about who it’s a fit for and who it’s not a fit for.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief this feels like to me.

What it means is that I will earn less money from affiliate deals and likely be less attractive to colleagues. It will mean I likely don’t grace the promotional leaderboards (where they keep track of whose made the most sales) with the nimble agility I used to but… it will also mean less clutter in your email inbox. It will also mean me feeling more peace in my heart about this whole thing.

Affiliate Decision #4 – Disclaimers:

Finding someone to promote who you are 100% behind is rare.

Sometimes you’ll love them personally.

Sometimes you’ll love their style.

Sometimes you’ll love their content.

Sometimes you’ll love how they market themselves.

Rarely will you find someone where all of those are true. Very seldom will you find an utterly perfect fit.That’s just how it is.

But, when it’s not perfect, it can be good to speak to that directly in your sales copy.

This can mean…

  • letting people know you’ve never met them in person.
  • using the word ‘colleague’ instead of ‘friend’ in your sales copy.
  • bluntly stating where and how you disagree with them. I recall reading a book review that said, “I think most of this book is garbage but it’s worth 1000 times the price of the book for the content in chapter three.”

A client once wrote me and said of this very topic,

“I do think, also, that those of us who consider you a mentor understand full well that we will be dealing with different businesses and personalities. Maybe a simple stock sentence to that effect might help. You’re much better at that sort of wording than me, but something like: ‘you’re used to me, and I’m ‘this way’… I will promote people I feel have a really important piece to share on ‘something’, it’s something that I can’t do very well for you, even though I’d love to… and know that these works come in various personality packages… This brings an unexpected gift. It helps us navigate how we want to show up in the business world. Of course my way isn’t the only way. As a matter of fact, while you are learning from their particular genius, thank them for this, and also notice how they are doing business, notice how they are doing their intros, their content, etc. and as well as taking in the genius of what they’re great at, notice what you will do differently to find the way of doing *your* business. We are all trying to figure out just how to package and deliver the gifts that we have, and these people will help you see how they’ve done it. Notice what works for you…”

Affiliate Decision #5 – The Optional Follow Up Email:

I credit Danny Iny with this idea and it’s likely one I will use a lot.

I’ve often sent reminder emails about a deadline on a colleagues program the day or so before it’s over. And I’ve often been grateful, as forgetful and busy as I can be, to receive such emails.

But, Danny pointed out that, instead of emailing your whole list with the reminder, you can, using most online email programs, identify who clicked on the link inside it and email only those people since they were the ones who expressed some clear interest. So, instead of 10,000 people getting the reminder, only maybe 300 people do.

Less clutter for everyone and a friendly reminder to everyone else.

I hope these learnings have been useful to you. I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning yourself.

Bonus Thoughts:

Blog Posts: A few times, I’ve wanted to share my colleagues work for their evergreen products and so I interviewed them for my blog about their thoughts on the topic. This felt better than just emailing a straight up promo for their product because the people on my list were getting some immediate value and the affiliate code was embedded in the blog post. In these cases, I’ve not bothered to give the non-affiliate link since the trust of the email wasn’t about getting them to sign up for anything. It should be noted that, in the short term, this approach will not get as many sales but the blog post can be recycled over and over via social media and, if you structure your website right, you can guide people to it from other blog posts and link to it in future emails.

I did this with Rebecca Tracey about her brilliant work on helping people create packages for their work and with Carrie Klassen about her genius ebook on how to write a lovable homepage.

Resources Page: For evergreen products, you can also create a Resources Page on your website where you give links to useful resources, affiliate and otherwise, that your clients might find of interest.

Feedback I’ve Gotten from this Post:

In addition to the comments below, here’s what people have been telling me about their thoughts from this blog post.

  • “I think you’ve nailed the affiliate link thing. You disclose, you offer an alternative, non affiliate link, and most importantly for me, you only send the one email about it. I trust you, and you’ve stayed in my inbox, when I’ve been culling others like mad.:)”


Other great posts on this topic:

Steve Mattus of Heart of Business has written a wonderful piece on this called Getting Tangled Using Affiliate Links.

George Kao shares his thoughts on why he’s stopped doing affiliate marketing here.

Farmers Market Marketing Series #11: Six Marketing Ideas for Farmers Outside of Markets

So far in this Farmer’s Market Marketing Series we’ve covered a lot of ways to make the best of the markets themselves but I wanted to share at least a few ideas on how to grow your business outside of the markets and hopefully ones you’d not considered yet.

BEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #1: Partner with a non profit.

Is there an issue you are passionate about and would love to raise money for or raise the profile of? Consider this possibility, if you will. Your farm might be able to help it while, at the same time, attracting a whole new set of customers who are not the usual suspects you’ll find at Farmer’s Markets. You might be the bridge between the local food people and the people who care about these issues.

Imagine you are passionate about helping inner city youth. Could you host a dinner that raised funds for your favourite charity on this issue? Could you create an host a silent auction? Or, best of all, could you simply host an event where you ask people to give money to this cause using a model like Benevon has created?

Regardless of how you do it, done right, it will introduce you, your farm and the whole local food scene to people who might otherwise have never really considered it.

A great book that explores this is Marketing That Matters by Chip Conley. He points out that it’s possible to create partnerships where your business gets a return on investment and the non-profit gets their mission advanced.

BEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #2: Do public speaking engagements and your story and local food.

Do you love public speaking? Do you love sharing your story? Be on the look out for opportunities to speak locally. Not sure where? Post that question on Facebook. Ask around. Perhaps local entrepreneur groups, Rotary clubs or more.

BEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #3: Attend as many community events as possible.

Being a farmer means your busy and late nights can be hard.

But networking can be an important way to grow any business.

You never know where connections might go. If there are mixers hosted where progressive people get together like Green Drinks, it can be worth going. But also, don’t lose your connections to scenes that you love. Again, you might become the preferred farmer for the punk scene because that’s where you come from. It’s very natural to be mingling with people and then to hand them a business card with a photo of you on one side and where you’ll be next on the back – or you can write it up and say, “You should come to the booth on Saturday! Or any Saturday. It would be great to see you there!” Those personal invitations and personal relationships go a very long way in building a customer base. And then, if you remember their name when they come? You’ve got a customer. They’ll want to buy something just to support you. I don’t think farmers often understand the power they have to have people feel welcomed and included into the local food scene. I don’t think they appreciate how much people want to do more but feel like they can’t.

Plus, you could also invite them to your annual barn party (see the next idea).

170433167117785905p9ztJuMUcBEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #4: Throw a Farm Party

I’ve honestly been waiting this entire series so I could lift up this open as one of my favourite ways to deepen relationships with customers.

I want to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to throw a party for your customers at least once per year. If possible, host it at your farm. You can make it an all day event with a barn party, ho down, moon shine drinking party at the end of the night. Maybe you sell tickets, maybe you just foot the bill.

Start small your first year. Just invite your favourite customers and tell them to keep it hush hush but that they can bring some folks along and that they need to give a firm RSVP. Make sure you get their contact info so you can confirm they’re coming. I commend using Eventbrite.

There benefits of doing this kind of party are vast.

It gives them a story to tell and reason to talk about your farm. And they will. And their friends will be jealous and want to come to the next one. “You got to use an actual cattle brand? And drink home made moonshine? Skinny dipping?” You get the idea. This one event will do more for your word of mouth than just about anything I can think of.

If you have a professional photographer there documenting the whole thing and then upload those photos, tag those you can and email the album (which you conveniently host on your Facebook Page) to everyone who attended and they will tag themselves and share the photos and tag you and talk you up. Especially if you ask them to and maybe even if you give them some pre-written text they can use letting people know where they can find you and when at which markets.

This kind of party will deepen your relationships with you and your existing customers more than anything else I can think of.

And why not invite the other vendors as a way for you to all get to know each other?

Could you host the party in partnership with a non-profit and have them invite their people out too and a portion of the ticket price goes to them?

Could you bring our a well known local chef to make an amazing meal with stuff from your farm?

And what an easy way to get the contact info of your customers. I can promise you that it’s the most natural thing in the world, and very few people will say ‘no’ when you get their email to be on the list for the party and you say, “Oh! And, if you like, we could add you to our monthly email newsletter too? No pressure.” Most will say yes.

Also, consider getting their mailing address and mailing out a physical invitation – just a simple postcard on which you can hand write personal notes to people telling them you hope they will come. You could actually write those notes moments after you get their address at the Farmer’s Market – just have a stack of the invitation postcards there. So, they mention their daughter Sue and you write, “I hope you and Sue can come to our party! I’ll give you a slice of that apple pie I was telling you about.” You just recap the conversation. They’ll be incredibly touched when, many weeks later, they get the invitation from you. And, how convenient, you’ve put the map and directions on the back on the postcard!

Shelly Juurlink shares some other ideas for this, “Invite ‘eaters’ out to the farm and host special events (ex. Carrot thinning picnic: invite people and their kids out to help thin carrots in the spring, have someone on hand to have a sunflower house planting activity to engage and teach the kids, eat sandwiches under a tree on the farm with the farmer and their family and send all volunteers home with a bag of fresh spinach), anything to engage people and make them feel part of the food they are buying and the family they are supporting.”

BEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #5: Hook up with a restaurant.

Why not become the preferred supplier of something to a local, independent restaurant you admire?

In Edmonton, Sangudo meats provides all of the pork and Bacon to sibling eateries Farrow and Three Boars in Edmonton. This locks in some solid orders for Jeff Senger, who runs it, but also means that, for me as a customer I can feel really good that I’m not spending money on factory farm raised pigs when I eat there.

I think there is a lot of opportunity here.

And remember, if you are selling in more outlets than the farmers market, never do more than 10% business with one customer. Spread the risk so they don’t end up in a “Walmart” scenario where one customer calls all the shots.

BEYOND THE MARKET IDEA #6: Sell to a local grocery store directly.

This may not be a new idea to you but, if you haven’t explored it, it’s worth taking a look at.

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.

Guest Post: The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

storyThis article was originally published on and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative — you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you — and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles.

Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Gone are the days of “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Instead we’re all trying to suss each other out in the relationship economy. Do I share something in common with you? How do we relate to each other? Are you relevant to my work?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise.

People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
  4. Why can you trust me?
  5. What do we share in common?

Your bio is the linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.

Here’s the challenge: who taught you how to write your bio?

Admittedly, most of us never got a lesson in this essential task. You’re not alone. Even the most skilled communicators get tongue-tied and twisted when trying to represent themselves in writing. We fear the two extremes: obnoxious self-importance or boring earnestness.

It gets further complicated when you’re in the midst of a career or business reinvention. You have to reconcile the different twists and turns of your past into a coherent professional storyline.

The personal branding industry has only muddied the waters. It’s easy to feel turned off by the heavy-handed acts of self-promotion that the various gurus out there say you’re supposed to do. We’ve been told to carefully construct a persona that will differentiate and trademark our skills into a unique value proposition.

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

And then write your bio in service to your reader, not just ego validation.

Imagine that: A compelling reason to tell your story beyond bragging to the world that you’re “kind of a big deal.” Embrace the holy-grail of storytelling: tell a story that people can identify with as their own – and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears.

With all this in mind, here’s a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative — you have to anchor it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find the invisible lines of connection.

To revamp your bio, start with these simple storytelling principles and questions above.

In the process, you’ll discover a greater potential to shift how you see yourself and how the world sees you. Your story sets the boundaries for everything else that follows.

If you’re having trouble being heard, recognized, or understood, it’s probably an issue related to your story and identity.

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

The good news? I want to help you tell your story.

Join my friend Michael for his new FREE webinar called, RE-STORY YOURSELF: How to Attract Your Future with a Better Bio.

This webinar will teach you simple storytelling shortcuts to creating a standout yet authentic bio that attracts more of what you want. Discover the right tone, structure, and how to craft an interesting point of view. You’ll learn how to use story to position your work, attract opportunities, and get paid for being the real you.

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!


The Rant Experiment: Let Off Some Steam, Catalyze Social Change and Grow Your Business

rantI want to offer up the opportunity to participate in a bold experiment.

It’s going to ask you to be vulnerable and honest.

It’s going to ask you to use a tool that not many people even think of as a tool (indeed, I didn’t until a few days ago when a number of things came together).

Here’s the gist: I want you to write a rant that’s been brewing inside you for a while and share it with your list and social media. After about a week, go post your rant and the results in the comments below.

Then, in July, I will collect the best rants and make a blog post featuring them all. This is all very informal but it should be fun.

The Rules: videos rants = 3 minutes or less. Written pieces 1000 words or less.

I think it will not only feel really good for you to do but that it could also help you grow your business.


Why do I say this and where is this experiment coming from? 

I think that the world needs more people ranting.

I think that you have a rant inside you that, if you let it out, would not only free you but a lot of other people too.

I think that letting yourself rant could do wonders to get to you more clients too.

Let me back up and explain why I think this…

I’ve written 551 blogs on this site.

Most of them have gotten a few comments. Many none at all. A few of them have gotten a lot of comments and been shared widely.

You might think that the ones that were the most shared were the most tactical ones. The ones with ‘how to do something’. The ones with an immediately practical application. But when I do a search of the blog posts in the Marketing Tactics category the following are the ones I find with the most comments on them.

Note: Some of these may have a lower number of comments because they were written years ago when my list was smaller and they may never have been mailed directly to my list. But the most recent ones, in the past couple of years were.

Also: comments are not the only or most meaningful arbiter of success. I would say how much a piece is shared or how much traffic it gets is more important (and I can attest to the rant blog posts I’ll be posting below being the ones that have been shared the most on social media and drawn some of the most new people to my site). But, comment numbers are still a useful lense to look at as it demonstrates that people not only went to that page, but read the material and got enough out of it to leave some complimentary words in the course of their busy lives.


How many comments do I get on my Marketing Tactic blog posts?:

25 CommentsHow to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients Cold – This one has the most comments of any of them. But, given how packed it is with content, real life examples, I am surprised there weren’t more comments.

16 CommentsHow Do I Fill Up My Weekend Workshop or Retreat Last Minute? 21 Practical Ideas – This one is interesting. I emailed my list of 10,000 with it and then my colleagues Justin and Callan emailed their list of 30,000+ with it. And yet only 16 comments. And, holy hell is this ever one of the most practical blog posts I’ve ever written. This blog post, with some other additions, will be turned into a product I sell within the next year. And I bet it will do well. And yet… only 16 comments.

6 CommentsThe Two Secrets of an Effective Business Card – Only six comments? A blog post on the most ubiquitous of all marketing tools?

6 CommentsThe Top Ten Ways to Become a Hub – If people really applied what was in here, they’d double their business this year. But a paltry number of comments.

6 CommentsHow to Make a Welcome Video for Your Website – What the hell. Most folks should have some sort of welcome video on their website. I’m telling people exactly how to do it. Half a dozen comments. Boo.

3 CommentsFive Simple Ways to Get New Clients – This one blows my mind. Again, I would feel very good about turning this blog post into a paid product. It’s so good. It’s so clear and step by step. But only three comments.

3 Comments14 Ways to Make it Easy for People to Spread the Word About You – A distillation of a year’s worth of me reading every book on word of mouth marketing I could get my hands on and… three comments.

1 CommentMarketing for Psychotherapists – Did this explode in the psychotherapy community? No. Not sure if this one hit my email list but still. I’ve personally sent it to dozens of psychotherapists and had it met with deep gratitude. But only one comment.

0 CommentsCreating Your Hubs Database – Quite possibly the most important marketing tactic I know that very few others teach. And the crowd goes mild.

0 Comments21 Powerful Word of Mouth Intensifiers – Again, a years worth of research boiled down into 21 actionable items and met with zero comments.

To be clear, if I were to email my list with some of the ones with fewer comments, we’d see those comments go up. But what follows is very illustrative.


Those rants though…

When I look in the Tad’s Rants category I find these six blogs. All six of these were emailed to my list within the past couple of years. So there’s that. But the difference in the number of comments is orders of magnitudes higher.

And they’re all rants. None of them contain a single practical idea. None of them are tactical at all. And yet, this is a consistent pattern. When I share a rant, I get the most response. To prove it…

174 CommentsI’m Broke (And I Don’t Care)

122 CommentsWhy ‘Charging What You’re Worth’ Is Bullshit

104 CommentsIs ‘Conscious Marketing’ Bullshit? Discuss

92 CommentsSlow Marketing

86 CommentsWhy ‘Stop Playing Small’ Is Bullshit

74 Comments – Don’t Mess With Their Rice Bowl: Seven Business Lessons from Ten Recent Workshop No-Shows

So, that’s 652 comments in total for six blog posts vs. 120 comments for what I would consider to be my top ten, most useful tactical blog posts.

To break that down further, that means that, on average, my tactical blog posts have gotten 12 comments each, whereas my average rant blog post above got, 108 comments. So, even if we factor in a smaller email list and not each of those posts having been emailed out and tripled that number to 36, we’re still looking at rant posts performing at least four times better at worst and ten times better at best.

You might be excused for thinking that the secret is to add the world ‘bullshit’ to any blog post. And… you wouldn’t be right but you wouldn’t be entirely wrong either. However, more on that in a moment because it’s not just in comments on my blog.

I also shared my Why ‘Stop Playing Small’ Is Bullshit blog on my Facebook Page. I generally get next to no response on posts to my Facebook Page because of this.

But when I shared this one, it went crazy. Shared by 34 people. And, on a Facebook Page a share means much more than a comment. Note: I did not boost that post. I paid nothing. And yet, boom.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 4.19.41 PM


What is a rant?

Before we dive much deeper, we should really define our terms.

verb (used without object) 1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours. verb (used with object) 2. to utter or declaim in a ranting manner. noun 3. ranting, extravagant, or violent declamation. 4. a ranting utterance. via

rant (n.) Look up rant at “boisterous, empty declamation; fierce or high-sounding language without much meaning or dignity of thought; bombast; a ranting speech,” 1640s, from rant (v.). rant (v.) Look up rant at c.1600, “to be jovial and boisterous,” also “to talk bombastically,” from Dutch randten (earlier ranten) “talk foolishly, rave,” of unknown origin (compare German rantzen “to frolic, spring about”). A 1700 slang dictionary has rantipole “a rude wild Boy or Girl” (also as a verb and adjective) [Grose] via

In the definitions above you can see that ranting is a style of sharing views that doesn’t fit into the conventions of polite conversation.


Eleven reasons why rants get such a strong response

So, what’s up with the difference in response?

I think there are nine reasons that rants get such a strong reaction and are shared so much.

Reason #1 – They Send The Right Messages:

I wrote a blog post called Five Simple Messages That Can Have Potential Clients Melt and Fall in Love With You (41 Comments). In it, I laid out five key messages that clients need to get from you in order to feel safe.

Message #1: That you ‘get it’ (or at least will try to).

Message #2: That they’re not crazy.

Message #3: That they’re not alone.

Message #4: That there is hope.

Message #5: That there’s a bigger context.

I believe that a good rant can send all five of those messages.

Reason #2 – A Rant Comes From a Point of View:

Years ago, I wrote a blog post called Nine Reasons Point of View is the Future of Marketing. In it, I explain why having a clear, well articulated point of view, perspective, philosophy or ‘take’ on things was so vital. And a good rants comes from this. A rant comes from a way of seeing things that is being ignored and is an attempt to call attention to it, or tear down a point of view we see as doing damage.

Reason #3 – A Rant is Raw and Real:

So much of what we see in business and marketing is posturing. People pretending to be more together than they are. And a rant shatters that pretense. A rant is honest. A rant cuts through the bullshit and calls a spade a spade. A rant isn’t trying to be nice and polite. It’s not concerned about offending people. And people respond to this. People are craving honesty. This kind of genuine boiling over of emotion and frustration when things make us wanna holler is a tonic for people. A rant is done to express, not impress. They’re done primarily to get something out of you not to make an impact on others. You rant because you need to or because you see it’s needed, even if you don’t know if it will make a difference at all.

The realness you express with engender respect (even if they disagree), trust, credibility and a letting down of the guard. People will be more open to you because they see you’re not hiding anything. There’s no pretense. They know where you stand now.

I learned from Stephen Jenkinson that there were two type of marble that were used for stone carving. The first type, which is the most expensive, has a very tight crystalline structure which will take any blow and which can be carved with incredible levels of precision. The second type was harder to carve and the final results would often be covered with holes and imperfections that would need to be filled and covered with wax. So, in that way, a cheaper marble could be used but made to look more expensive than it was.

Now follow this: the Latin word for wax is ‘cera’. The Latin word for without is ‘sine’. And so marble that wasn’t covered up, where the holes could still show, were sine cera. Or sincere. And so, in this way, this common word is brought down through the ages, holding close to its chest this story about letting our holes show.

And so a rant is a tremendously sincere event. We’re not trying to posture or say it exactly right. We’re not trying to pretend we have it all together or have all of the answers. And, because it’s so sincere, people trust it.

Why don’t people rant? Because it’s vulnerable. It risks, even courts, rejection.

If you try to fake it and use a rant as a technique when it’s not something you genuinely feel, it’s going to suck hard and everyone will notice it.

If you try to control and constrain it too much, it will lose its oomph. You’ll notice that in almost all of the rants below, there is swearing. There’s a reason. When people are really ranting, their filters fall by the wayside. Things come out of their mouth that normally never would.

And, because of their rawness, a rant is big medicine. This isn’t something we want to do all of the time. They have real impact precisely because they are so rare and so raw. If all you do is rant, you will lose credibility. The less often you use this tool and the more emotion that is let loose when you do, the more impact it will have.

My colleague and friend Morgana Rae said, “I call those the ‘Dark Goddess of Morgana’s Wrath’ blasts. They’ve been surprisingly enrolling.”

And it’s important to understand that rants are only one kind of medicine. They are needed but they’re not the only thing that’s needed. We also need listening, patience, organizing, well articulated and thoughtful requests etc.

Reason #4 – A Rant is Polarizing:

Not everyone will agree with your rant – it will likely be controversial. It’s going to get a polarized response from people. And that’s good. Clients who aren’t a fit will be repelled, and the ones who are a fit will be magnetically drawn towards you hard. It gets people off the fence of how they feel about you.

Reason #5 – A Rant is Releases Pressure:

One of the highest performing headlines of all time was written by Jay Abraham:

“I’ve got to get this off my chest before I explode.”

He wrote it once as the first statement in a long, rant like sales letter. It got an incredible response. And, whenever he or others have used it after, it got a huge response too.

When people hear a good rant, if they agree with it, they often experience an immediate sensation of relief and release. A good rant gives people permission to stop pretending they see the Emperor’s new clothes when the man before them is clearly naked.

By the time a rant happens, pressure has been built up to an untenable point. When you rant, you not only release the pressure for you, but for everyone listening. The people listening have been, whether or not they’ll admit it, feeling a sense of ‘I don’t know how much longer I can take this…’. If you try to hold a rant in, it will hurt you. If you release it, it will free not only you but everyone listening who agrees with you. Rants are like a thunderstorm that come in loud and strong and, after which, the air smells fresher than it has in months, the stagnancy gone and replaced with someone more life giving.

A rant can create an incredible sense of connection between yourself and the person listening as they whisper, ‘Thank you for being willing to say it.’

Because rants are the release of pressure, they require some pressure to build up first. They have to arise from something real vs. an attempt at saying the ‘right thing’ to get a ‘particular response’ (e.g. a crafted statement from a politician that is clearly false indignation, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing).  This means we can’t manufacture them without their ringing exceeding hollow. In that way, they’re spontaneous. It’s not about making them happen perhaps, but not stopping them when they arise.

Reason #6 – A Rant is Emotional:

A rant is not an essay. It’s not an analysis or breakdown. It’s not a manifesto (though a manifesto may arise from it). A rant isn’t that well thought out yet. It’s from the heart. It’s an expression of pain, heartbreak, anger or hurt. It’s an expression of a deep love for something. It’s not abstract. It comes from a real place of real impact. It comes from a not being able to hold it in anymore more than an excitement to share some new idea or concept.

That might be why people swear so much when they rant. The gasket has blown and the filter is off and the only thing coming out of that spigot faster than you can manage it, is hot, liquid truth that is going to burn away anything that isn’t real.

A rant wants to tear apart bullshit. It wants to grab people’s masks right off their face, throw them down on the ground and step all over them. It wants to grab people by the shoulders and shake them and tell them to wake the f*ck up for god’s sake. It wants to go to a polite dinner party and turn over tables if that’s what it takes to get people’s attention.

And there’s a good chance that you won’t know it’s a rant by what you say but by how they respond.

Reason #7 – A Rant is a Call to Action:

A rant is a message. It’s a call to action to change things for the better. And that energizes (and, hopefully) enobles people. A rant is a call for people to wake up, stop being so f*cking apathetic and to do something. A rant isn’t just done to vent feelings and then move on – that’s what therapy is for. No, a rant is there to start something.

Think of the rant at the end of Trainspotting:

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Reason #8 – A Rant is Unauthorized:

Rarely does anyone ask for permission to go on a big rant because rants are often deliver in the face of some oppressive authority, reality or set of assumptions. So a rant can actually be a step in reclaiming your own personal authority. Rants often happen when boundaries (real or imagined) have been crossed too many times or in egregious ways and so rants are a way of saying ‘no more’. A rant often breaks social conventions. It’s not polite. It often interrupts whatever is going on.

And in a world full of posturing, lies, injustice, pretense and deep confusion about how we’re supposed to relate to each other as humans, rants are deeply, deeply needed.

Because they are not authorized or a part of the common public discourse, when rants appear, they are like lightning. They get attention.

Reason #9 – Rants Can Be Tonic or Toxic Destructive Force:

Make no mistake. A rant is destructive.

But this destructive energy can be tonic or toxic, depending on how it’s used.

When coming from a deeply wounded place, it may seek to scapegoat groups of people. Think Hitler ranting against the Jews or Jim Crow ranting against black people or religious leaders ranting about homoosexuals. Toxic rants are the life damaging use of anger to protect unearned privileges and the punitive use of force to crush those who would question those privileges and control.

But there’s a tonic version where the rant is coming from the impulse to tear down anything that isn’t real, to expose hypocrisy, to flood light into the darkness and to call attention to injustice. They want to blow up the damns that are killing our salmon, break the shackles that are enslaving us. Tonic rants are the life affirming use of anger and the protective use of force when something precious is under threat.

A toxic rant will result is real casualties or real people being hurt.

A tonic rant will only result in lies being hurt.

The key thing to understand is the destructive power of them. But, hidden in the middle of that destructive power is something precious. It is not a new thing, but rather the yearning for something better. A good rant is a pleading with the world for something finer and fairer, a plea for beauty in the face of ugliness, kindness in the face of cruelty, fairness in the face of injustice, integrity in the face of hypocrisy, honesty in the face of deceit and duplicity.

Reason #10 – Rants Resonate:

If it’s a good rant, it will resonate with people.

As Carl Rogers said, “That which is most personal is most general.” He meant that the things you most deeply feel that you think you’re the only one who feels them? Everybody feels that. And so the more honest and vulnerable you’re willing to make yourself, the more others will resonate with you.

James Baldwin put it so well, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

This is what rants do. People hear them and say, “Me too! I thought I was the only one!” and then they want to share them. If no one comments on your rant, likes it or shares it, it might not have struck a chord in people.

Reason #11 – A Rants is a Response:

This is vital to understand about rants.

It’s why you can’t just ‘manufacture’ a rant.

A rant has to come from somewhere. It’s got to be a response to something real that you have experienced in the world that genuinely upsets and frustrates you. It’s got to be something you have been unable to find a solution to despite trying.

A rant is about something bigger than you. A rant places you somewhere. A rant is not a political speech about you and how amazing you are and why everyone should vote for you. A rant is not a speech about some neat new idea or technology or philosophy. It’s a response to something that isn’t working.


The Three Places A Rant Can Come From:

Maybe even more important than the content of the rant is where it’s coming from.

I want to suggest there are three places. You can read more about this in my blog post Collapse, Posturing & Composure.

Collapse: If you rant from a place of collapse, victimhood and ‘poor me’ your rants will sound whiny and complaining. This is not attractive. And it’s not vulnerable (even though it seems like it is). Instead of sharing the pain they feel, they use the pain as justification for their story about themselves. The former melts people’s hearts, the latter disgusts people.

Posturing: If you rant from a place of puffing up and pretending to be more together than you are, or pretending to care so much, you’ll come across as immensely disingenuous and only succeed in appealing to other people’s posturing.

Composure: This place, of comfort in your own skin, of finally coming to trust yourself over external authority, is where all good rants come from. Rants that come from a desire to get love (collapsing) or get respect (posturing) never resonate. But rants that come from a place of self love and self respect always do. You can’t be vulnerable unless you are composed. If you’re posturing or collapsing you are, inherently, basing your identity in how others see you. That means that to feel okay, you need to manage how they see you. That means you need to be in control of it. And you can’t be in control and vulnerable at the same time. Only when you feel safe in your ability to handle yourself and meet life as it is, will you every be able to be vulnerable.

But, it might be good to look at some real examples of rants so you can get a flavour for them.

So, here are…


Eight blog post rants worth checking out:

Is It Possible to Financially Harm a Client? by Mark Silver

Addicted to Breakthroughs by Mark Silver

My Prediction of the HUGE ‘Launch Bubble’ That’s Coming Fast… and How to Surpass It… – by Ali Brown

Life Coaches, Don’t Quit Your Day Job (What They Don’t Tell You in Life Coaching School) – Rebecca Tracey

Before You Quit Your Job – Morgana Rae

It’s not your abundance mentality, it’s your crappy copy (and 8 other reasons why your business is stuck) – by Makenna Johnston

Can We Quit the B-S Marketing? An Easier Way to Honest Marketing – by Tova Payne

Statement to the Court Upon My Unjust Arrest – by Leah Henderson

Is it wrong to get paid to care? – by Corrina Gordon Barnes

Authentic Networking – by Lisa Barber

Thirty-two video rants worth checking out:

Watch these all. You will feel uplifted and emboldened by them. They all have different styles which is part of what I’m wanting you to see so you can understand all of the different ways your rants could look.

Rants in Politics:

Elizabeth Warren goes off about the debt crisis and fair taxation.

Australian Prime Minister Gillard lets loose on the leader of the opposition for his blatant and long practiced mysoginy. What I love about this rant is that it’s clearly not scripted. She had some points set out to make and then just let loose.

Hillary Clinton gives an incredibly well measured response to a question on birth control where you can feel her entire life of real world experience coming to bear and all rushing to form themselves into words. You can feel the long line up of examples forming inside of her as she builds momentum in this and yet, somehow, keeps it together.

Rants in Comedy:

Bill Hicks famous rant (NSFW) about marketing and marketers. This is one of my favourite rants of all time. Eloquent. Well thought out and full of emotion.

George Carlin, much of whose career was based in rants, delivers this incredible three minute of lucid, angry brilliance.

Louis CK goes off about why he hates cell phones. But the beauty of what he’s offering here is a deeply personal and intimate look at what it means to be human and how we distract ourselves from this constantly. It’s funny, but it’s also a plea for humanity.

Louis CK’s stand up style, much like George Carlin’s, has a rant like quality. In this one, he imagines how God might rant at us if he were to come back to Earth and see what we’d done to it. This particular rant resonated so much that someone decided to animate it.

I couldn’t do this without throwing in this third Louis CK clip (which was how many people heard of him first) where he ranted about how incredibly spoiled and entitled this culture has becomes.

Lewis Black is one of my favourite ranters who channels his anger at the bullshit in the world into something well worth watching as he articulates many of our deepest held frustrations for us.

Jim Jeffries goes on a rant about gun control in his comedy show. A brilliant use of comedy to get a point across and to address a real problem of gun control by pointing out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the arguments against it.

Rants in The News:

Rachel Maddow crushes it in her post election rant. I love the rhythm and momentum that this rant builds as it goes. Like a steady drum she keeps beating as she builds her case point by point.

Nobody in Canada rants better than Rick Mercer as they make up a regular feature of his show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. What I love about Rick’s rants are the momentum they have as he’s always walking when he does them and he’ll physically stop to make a point.

Kanye West’s propensity to go off script can sometimes be seen as self serving but, in this moment, he just lets loose and starts telling the truth as he sees it. This video, as many good rants are, was shared incredibly widely. Out of all the rants I’m sharing, this one might be the most spontaneous and unscripted.

Dylan Ratigan goes off and will not be stopped. He breaks decorum of his show, interrupts everyone and can’t seem to stop himself. Agree or disagree with him there was nothing contrived about this rant. It was not a carefully calculated Ezra Levant style meltdown. It was a very real frustration boiling over.

Rants on Fake News and Talkshows:

Bill Maher has built a career on rants. The ‘New Rule’ portion of his show is a well constructed, well thought out rant on a particular topic where he punches up and skewers the wealthy for their hypocrisy on drug policy.

Jon Stewart often goes on rants on his show. This one moved me because it was so incredibly honest. The footage of the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD had just come out and Stewart was beside himself with dismay at the appalling and unbelievable injustice.

Spoken Word Rants:

The following spoken word poem is scripted. Every word. And yet, it’s a rant. It drips with real emotion, swells and builds. It is a plea for something as must good rants are. You can feel the poem bursting out of her as she opens herself with incredible vulnerability.

Another example of the power of spoken word, poetry and excellent video editing to express a rant eloquently. This is a personal expression of feelings on a topic which many would share. This video was shared widely.

Through spoken word, Prince Ea expresses his despair and hope in the world but then brings something beautiful towards the end. This rants is the shroud of sadness that protects something beautiful inside it. This rant is a passionate plea.

Prince Ea goes on a poetic rant about cell phones.

Evalyn Parry, one of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, delivers this beautiful spoken word piece as an ode to lift up all of those she sees making the world better in the face of all the opposition she knows they experience.

Climbing Poetree is an incredible poetic duo whose spoken word pieces are some of the finest and most eloquent rants I’ve ever experienced.

This poetic, moving, surging and heartfelt rant for the hope of something better by Andrea Gibson brings tears to my eyes every time.

A powerful piece by Katie Makkai in response to a life telling her she wasn’t. beautiful. enough.

Rants on TV or in The Movies:

This is a little micro rant on bankers a game show by David Mitchell who’s a brilliant British comedian. What I love about it is that he can’t seem to stop himself. He interrupts the proceedings with it.

In the movie, A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s character is goaded into going on a rant that ends up with him (spoiler alert) admitting his guilt. But how much better is it with this young man in a tub doing it? Nailed it kid.

I disagree with where the following one comes from politically and the amount of history it leaves out (e.g. slavery and genocide in the United States), but it’s a great example of a rant…

Rants By My Colleagues:

My colleague Jay Fiset of Calgary went on a rant about his frustrations with the personal growth industry .

Rants by Celebrities:

Actor Tyrese Gibson goes on a rant about responsibility to the people following him about them. He expresses how tired he is of their whining and complaining. It’s a beautiful, tough love rant.

In this famous interview on BBC, Russell Brand gives some incredible well tempered, rant-like answers. What I love about Russell’s style is the incredible lucidity but also the pacing, tempo and rhythm of it.

 Jenna Marbles, who is amazing, goes on a rant about the whole ‘nice guys finish last’ idea. Extremely NSFW.

Vandana Shiva is one of the most remarkable and wonderful people I know. In this interview she goes off about Monsanto. This kind of rant is driven by a passion for exposing the lies and false causes of real troubles.

So, How Do You Participate in the Rant Experiment?

Step One: Identify Your Industry Frustration

Complete these sentences. Try coming up with ten answers per sentence stem. This is a great exercise to do with a friend. Have them interview you and record it or have them take notes and just let yourself vent. Critically, don’t try to be nice. Let yourself be petty and opinionated to start. You can clean that up later (if you want to). For the moment, just let it out.

Note: Replace the word industry with scene or community as it makes sense.

  1. I’m so sick of _______ in my industry.
  2. The elephant in the room that no one is willing to talk about in my industry is….
  3. The biggest piece of bullshit going around my community is…
  4. The emperor’s new clothes in my industry is…
  5. The thing I’m most frustrated about in my industry is…
  6. The things I’ve thought about for years but have never said out loud about my industry is…
  7. The dirty secret of my industry is…
  8. The thing I’m most sick and tired of hearing, seeing, or dealing with in my industry is…
  9. The thing I feel like I have to bite my tongue about (while I roll my eyes) the most when at industry events is…
  10. The thing they never teach you when you’re in school for our industry is…
  11. The biggest lie I see my colleagues peddling is…
  12. How the hell is ______ still a thing in my industry?
  13. I don’t give a shit about _______ anymore. What I care about is _________.

Step Two: Express it Out Eloquently

I’m not talking about word smithing something to death so it’s stripped of all inspiration. But I am talking about holding yourself to a higher standard so that even your consternation is expressed in a way that adds more beauty to the world in its realness. I’m talking about stripping the ‘uhms’ and ‘uhhhs’ and ‘like, ya know?’s from it. I’m talking about speaking right from your heart in the most beautiful, honest and real way you know how to do.

Oriah Mountain Dreamers urgent and deeply honest poem The Invitation is a gorgeously articulated rant.

I don’t think that this kind of eloquence is something you can just summon up in the moment. I think it’s the result of a lifetime of practicing eloquence in speech being brought to bear in a moment like this. The only way to practice for an eloquent and moving rant is to practice more beautiful speech right now in your day to day life.

AGAIN: For the sake of this experiment: let’s not having videos go more than 3 minutes long at the most and let’s have written things be no more than 1000 words.

Step Three: Sleep On It & Share It

It’s always a good idea to sleep on things. Even rants. Let it out and then look at it the next day with fresh eyes. Can it be improved? Polished? Made even more powerful? Almost certainly.

Step Four: Share the Results in a Comment Below

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.  But more than that, so does everyone else. Maybe the world has been waiting for you to blow off a little steam.

Also – if you can think of other rants that should be featured, please share them below as well.

Top Twelve Blog Posts on Hub Marketing

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 5.20.35 PMA few weeks ago, I wrote you with a collection of over 77 pages of carefully curated blog posts around the topic of how to identify your platform (what you’re known for). If you missed that, you can read it here

I’m really excited to write today’s post because it’s about one of my favourite topics in marketing: hubs.
What are hubs?
A hub is a place you’d find your ideal clients. 
This image of the old wagon wheel has a lot to teach us about marketing because the ‘hub’ in the center of it is where all of the spokes connect. This is a good model for how we can set up our marketing. 
I’ve written a lot about this topic on my blog and plan on creating a product on just this topic later this winter. When I do, I’ll be taking down some of these posts but, for now, these Top Twelve Blog Posts on Hub Marketing are free and available for you to check out. 
Blog Post #1: The Most Important Shift in Marketing in the Last 100 Years: Over the past 15 years, marketing has gone through a huge change. Not in its essence but in the way it’s done and the tools that are used. Understanding this shift is vital to your success. You can read about that here.
Blog Post #2: The Three Levels of Your Marketing Strategy: The basic idea here is that most people work too hard in their marketing because everything they do ends up being ‘cold marketing’. They’re approaching every potential client as a stranger. That’s hard. However, there is also a warm (where you identify hubs who could help you grow your business) and a hot level of marketing (where you become a hub) which are much easier and more effective. You can read about that here
Blog Post #3: The Seven Kinds of Hubs: When people first hear the idea of hubs, they usually get very excited. Until they try to think about what those hubs would be for them. I’ve found it’s helpful to know what the seven main categories of hubs might be so that you can tackle them one at a time. You can read about that here.
Blog Post #5: Nine Qualities of a Good Hub: Once people get this idea that identifying hubs is important, they can quickly become overwhelmed when they realize how many hubs there are. Here are nine pieces of criteria I encourage you to have in the back of your mind as you go about connecting with them. You can read more about that here
Blog Post #6: Finding Hubs: So, you get that finding hubs is important. You get a sense of who they could be and how to sort the good fits from the bad. But where do you find them? This brilliant post from Callan Rush shares one of the simplest approaches to this of which I know. You can read that here
Blog Post #8: How to Approach Hubs: At this point you know who your hubs are. You’ve got a list. But how specifically do you approach them? This epic and sprawling blog post is packed with real life examples of how to approach a hub and how not to (in a way that feels totally organic, comfortable and natural). You can read more about that here
Blog Post #9: How to Get Hubs to Promote You: So, you have now approached them and started a conversation, but how can you make it most appealing to them to promote you? My colleagues Jesse and Sharla share three brilliant ideas. You can read more about that here
Blog Post #10: How to Not Engage Hubs: In this post, my colleague Jaime Almond spells out a common tactic that people use which completely turn off their potential hubs: hijacking. You can read more about that here
Blog Post #11: Eight Key Benefits of Becoming a Hub: The hot level of marketing is all about you becoming a hub. Most people hear this idea and it makes good sense to them but I don’t think they really get the full implications of what this could mean to their business. I lay out my logic in this post. You can read more about that here
Blog Post #12: The Five Biggest Mistakes That Will Stop You From Being Seen As a Hub: Once people get how important this orientation is, they want to act. But, before you do, I urge you to read this post about the common blunders to which too many entrepreneurs fall prey on their way to becoming a trusted advisor in their community. You can read more about that here
Still wanting more help? Well you can watch some free videos on my site about how to identify your hubs and one on how to use parties and events to become a hub

Guest Post: How to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients Cold

 A few months ago, Tova Payne reached out to me to see if she could write a guest post.

I say ‘no’ to most of these. I get a lot of requests.

But, the way she reached out and the subject piqued my interest. Only today, did I dig into what she sent and I am incredibly impressed. As someone who is a hub in a number of arena’s I can attest strongly to the importance of what Tova is articulating here. It’s very aligned with a post Ari Galper wrote years ago. I wish everyone reached out to me in the way she is suggesting.

I don’t recommend the cold approach as a core tactic in your marketing, but, sometimes, it’s what you have to do. And there are ways to do the cold approach that feel classy and other ways that feel slimy, awkward, confusing and uncomfortable.

If you are thinking of reaching out to potential hubs or clients via email, please read this first.

This approach, tailored for your own voice, is pressure free and will help to build trust and position you as a generosity based business. This is a beautiful slow marketing approach.

This type of approach highlights the importance of creating a ‘free gift’ that you can offer people. Mostly, you’ll use it as thanks for people signing up to your email list but you could also use it as a gift in an approach like this. And, once you’ve made contact in this way, you’re ready to open up a conversation about working together.

And her post inspired me to share a bunch more examples that are aligned with her approach. 


Guest Post: Slimy vs. Classy Marketing & Sales

by Tova Payne

Have you ever experienced slimy marketing? 

I have. It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it. Someone I had interacted with in an online networking group took a jab at me with a sleazy sales tactic. I thought: this is pretty lame and showcases a clear example of what NOT to do when it comes to marketing and sales. 

I’m turning my experience into today’s lesson:

We’ll take a look at the difference between slimy vs. classy marketing, and showcase how class and integrity go a long way in building a successful business.

Here’s what happened:

I got an e-mail out of the blue (which is what cold-calling is internet-style), that basically said: “Looks like your programs are fantastic. But until you fix you’re website I can’t refer anybody to you eventhough I want to. Luckily my course will help fix you right up. Join my course, you need it.”

Let’s break down why this kind of marketing is so bad (if you aren’t already laughing in disbelief). 

First of all, she never opened up a dialogue with me. 

Since business is about relationships—you first need to meet the person. 

If you are going to write somebody out of the blue—somebody who has never been a past client, or somebody who has never reached out to you for help, you need to start off saying hi. Introduce yourself first. And then, ask them if they want to hear more about your topic. 

Basically—say hi and find out if they even want to know what you have to offer. Don’t force-feed your opinions on others. 

Don’t be manipulative. Telling someone their work is great, but that you can’t refer people because of image is bullshit (or extremely shallow). When you believe someone’s work is great, and if you really want to refer others—you will. So please—don’t ever buy into this line. It is total B.S

Don’t put someone down just to show off how you can be the saviour. That stinks. Seriously, this is where the negative connotations and images of marketing come from. 

Basically, don’t try to bully someone into thinking they need you. Don’t ever put somebody down to sell your product. That is what Slimy Marketing 101 is about. It doesn’t work. And if you get someone who falls for it, it won’t last for long-term business building (and p.s—please don’t fall for this). 

Look—if you’re in business you need to participate in marketing and sales, especially if you’re a start-up. However there is a classy and kind way to do it.

Here’s the thing: marketing is another way of saying: sharing and sales is another word for saying caring.

Seriously—if you have something you think is fantastic—you will tell everyone about it (marketing) and if you really care about helping someone you will do your best to make sure they recieve what they need (sales).

This is why it’s important to create a positive mindset around marketing and sales. If you see it from the eyes of sharing and caring—of course you’d wake up everyday excited to get your message, product, and service out there.

But it’s important that you market and sell from a place of humanity and kindness. 

Mean marketing stinks of desperation. Don’t do it. You’re better than that. Instead be kind. You can share what you have with the world in a kind and classy way.

So it’s all about how you do it.

Let me spell it out

Marketing + Sales = Sharing + Caring

This means: 

Yes, tell people about what you have to offer. This is what newsletters, blogs, webinars, videos, and sales pages are for.

Yes, contact people who you think may be a good fit for what you have to offer and people who have reached out to you asking for help.

Yes, you can “cold call” or “cold write” someobody. But do it from a place of caring and focus on building a relationship first. Remember, if you met someone in real-life—how would you start the conversation? Treat people like humans. They are real and they have feelings. Be kind.

If you cold-call/cold-write—come from a place of curiosity. Ask the prospect if they are interested in hearing more about your subject matter. This is a good lead into building the relationship and seeing if they are even interested in the product or service you have.

Yes, share some free advice to show people that you know what you’re talking about.

Yes, be kind and loving when you tell people what you have to offer.

Here is what NOT to do:

Do not put someone down to try to make them feel bad and vulnerable so that their confidence takes a hit and they feel they need your product or service to get better.

Do not tell someone that they are doing something wrong if they haven’t asked.

Do not give unsolicited advice in a private e-mail if the prospect never reached out to you.

If you sincerely feel you can help somebody introduce yourself. You can let someone know about what you do and what you’re passionate about. There is no need to put a prospect down in order to share what you have to offer. 

If you truly believe somebody is doing something that can hurt them, share with them some free information that can truly help them.

So let’s put this all into perspective. Had that e-mail I recieved gone something like this, it would have been classy:

E-mail 1:

Hi. I think your work is fantastic. Let me know if you’re interested in some free tips that I think you may find helpful.

Aha! That would have piqued my curiosity and probably would have recieved a reply.

Email 2:(remember this is what relationship building is)

Oh awesome, Im so excited to share this with you. Ok here are 3 things that I think you might find helpful: {list 3 helpful things} … Please let me know what you think. I hope that helps!

That’s what it means to be helpful and show off your expertise. Dont tell someone you’re amazing, SHOW them.

Then, I’d definitely reply to such a helpful e-mail. When somebody is helpful, they are memorable and seen in a positive light. In my mind, I would have seen this person as generous, smart, and may have even gone on to hire them or refer them!

And finally, Email 3:

Oh Great. I’m so happy that helped. If you want more tips or strategies I have a course you may be interested in—here is the link. Let me know if you want to talk about it and we can set up a time to chat. Otherwise, I wish you the best.

Aha. You know what? Whether I purchased or not, in my mind I’d see this person as kind, helpful, be a possible future customer or defintley help support and refer her. 

Do you see the difference now between slimy marketing versus classy marketing?

What I received was a sample of slimy marketing—there’s no need to put someone down in order to go for the sale.

What would have worked? The example I just gave you—build rapport, be helpful, and then move towards discovery: find out if the person is interested in what you have.

Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it takes more effort. Yes, it takes generosity, and seeing the other person as a human and not just a pocket-book.

Remember—slimy marketing oozes of desperation. It may work on some people, but it won’t take you far. And it could earn you a bad reputation.

Be kind first. Open the dialogue. Give first. If you are truly helpful—people will remember you, buy from you or atleast support and tell others about you (which is worth way more than a quick sale).

Now go on—get out there. Market and sell with kindness and class. There are people who need you. 

tovaTova Payne Bio:

Tova’s an Author and Business Coach to Soulful Entrepreneurs. She helps her clients turn business dreams to reality by giving the practical strategies and soulful practices that help you go from idea to finished product. For your free guide on 5 Keys to Starting and Finishing your Dream Project and weekly tips to grow your business sign up with Tova at

Come hang out with Tova on Facebook:

And say on Twitter:



Personally, I would reword Email #1 in this way:

Hi. I think you’re work is fantastic. I came across it (tell them how you did and how long ago). I really love (tell them specifically what you love). I was wondering if you were wanting to/struggling with (name the problem you think you might be able to help them solve or the result you think you could help them achieve)? I was looking at your website/ebook etc. and had some thoughts I thought might be useful. Regardless, thank you so much for all of your good work.

The key thing here is that we don’t make the assumption that we can absolutely help them. We don’t assume they are even having the problem we can solve or want the result we offer. We’re genuinely asking just to see if it’s a fit. When we come from this place and, instead of trying to force everything into a single email, it becomes a conversation not a pitch.

This is the identical approach that I have used myself for years and years when approaching hubs. 

Start with a very brief, non-assumptive email to see if there’s a baseline fit and let it flow from there. Hubs are busy. Potential clients (even if not as busy as hubs) have no idea who the hell you are.

Like Tova, I’ve been approached in ways that instantly turned me off. And, I’ve saved a number of them because I knew that, one day, I would write a post like this. I’ve changed or removed the names.

Some people think I email them too many things from colleagues. But they have no idea how much I filter out. 

Let the horrors begin…


Eleven Examples of How Not to Approach a Hub:

Example #1: MLM Company


Don’t worry this is not a spam message, I am the Webmaster of _________, just inquiring on selected high quality blogs like yours if you are open for guest posting opportunities. I have read your blog and thought that it is related to my site and therefore I am asking if I can share some insights or an article on your blog.

With this venture, we can help you in sharing your blog through our social networks and get some links for your site plus I can also get some exposure for my company.

I’ve actually prepared a proposed topic for your blog:

*Online Marketing: Money in Every Click
*Earn Money the Fast Way with Internet
*Market Online, Earn Big Time
*Building A Career Through Multi-level Networking
*MLM is The Ladder to Success
*MLM: The Secret of Rising Companies

Just choose a topic that you like but if you want me to write a different topic, I will be glad doing that also. For reference of my writing style, kindly visit my personal blog: (

Thank you for your time and consideration. Just e-mail me back for your response.

__________ Webmaster

My take: This reads like a form email. But only, to be fair, because it is a form email. I’m a selected ‘high quality blog’? How wonderful. I’m so flattered by the generic compliment. So meaningful. He asks if I’m open to guest posting opportunities. He could have just sent that as an email and he would have gotten a response. ‘Hey there, are you open to guest posts?’. Short and sweet. It’s not the best option but it likely would have gotten a reply like, ‘Sometimes. Can you tell me more?’ And then we’re in a conversation.

He tells me he’d share my blog through his social networks but I have no idea if they’re a fit or how large his networks are. And then, he shares to topics. They’re all MLM focused. None of them resonate with me in particular. 

This isn’t the worst email but it would have worked better with a shorter first email.

Example #2: Promote My Book, Please?

Greetings Tad, I am Jane Doe I am a book author and writer aged 20. My Book is called __________. the book is an inspirational book aimed at anyone who has a dream to achieve. The reason I am contacting you is that I need a hand with marketing, can you email your fans and bloggers and inform them about my book?God Bless!

This email is very sweet and sincere. But I’m not going to email my entire list about a book I’ve never read from a stranger. I love that she had the gumption to ask and a slower, relationship building approach might have yielded more fruit. 

Example #3:  Share My Page, Please?

Hey, i’m just getting my page going and was wondering if you could please help me out with a share? Thanks a ton

Is it too much to ask for some foreplay?

I’ve never met this person. I have no idea who they are. Why would I share their page? What’s in it for me? The spirit of this kind of email misses, so deeply, the nature of being a hub. When you’re a hub, you are very careful about what you endorse or send out. 

Example #4: Share My Blog, Please?

Would you be interested in networking?
It would be awesome if you could write a blog post about my business with a couple anchored keywords.
In exchange I would give your Facebook page a bunch of shares on
or on
or on
or a combination of them, whatever helps you the most.
Let me know if you’re interested? Thanks!

“It would be awesome if you could write a blog post about my business”… something about that didn’t feel great. Very assumptive. Like, “You know what would be awesome. You dating me. It would be awesome if you could do that.”

If, instead, they’d said something like the following, they’d have gotten a response.

“Hey there, I am a big fan of your blog and I have a few businesses that I thought might be a fit to be featured on it but I wasn’t sure and wasn’t even sure if you do that sort of thing. So, I thought I’d touch base. Thanks for all that you do.”

Example  #4: Share My Completely Irrelevant Blog, Please?

Hi there,

How are you? This is NAME from USA. I have a keen interest in studying metal treatment and I love to share my knowledge with people. I have my personalized Blog specially dealing with Metal Rust.
Basically, I wanted to touch base with you to check if you accept posts from other writers to publish on your blog? I would too like to contribute my uniquely written creative posts about Metal Treatment on your site. We all know that metals have become a part of our daily life, especially Stainless Steel. I would like to share a few points about how they can be maintained. That will offer a real value to your readers as well.

The following link will lead you to a recent Guest Post that I have written.

Please let me know your thoughts. Looking forward to hear from you soon!

No response was given.

Example #5: Want to Share a Totally Off Topic Blog, Please?


I have noticed you’ve had a number of guest blogs on before, including this post on eco-friendly advertising:

I just wondered if you would be interested in publishing a blog on “Seven appliances you didn’t know were costing you money”?

I’ve attached the blog for your consideration.

If you have any questions or feedback then please get in touch. Alternatively, if you’re interested in any other type of guest blog, please let me know also.


Ahhh! He started so strong! He mentioned my website name! He even named a particular blog he liked! And then …. what? How did he think that topic would fit a blog about marketing. It makes no sense. And why would I contact him for another type of blog post? Who are you appliance man? Who arrrre youuuuu?

Example #6: May I Totally Confuse You, Please?

Hi Tad,

Hope all is well.

I recently attended an event with Kenny and his wife who are wonderful heart-centered people. I made them aware of a Consciousness Party that I Am hosting in Calgary that I would love to drop into a deeper conversation with you around.

If this is something that feels right for you can reach me at  .

Take good care.

in Heartfelt Appreciation,
P.S. You can also text me at __________

What? I have no idea what she’s asked about. At all. What is the Consciousness Party? Why should I care? What kind of conversation does she want to have with me and why? Whaaaa?

So, in confusion, I replied.

hey there,

sorry for the delay. can you give me a nutshell of what it is you’d like to talk with me about around this?

– t

To which she replied.

Hello Tad,

Hope all is well in your world.

I appreciate You taking the time to get back to my request.

I Am at an Amazing part in my life and fully embracing that the challenges I’ve experienced are now my gift. I Am honouring my true authentic power and my desire to align myself with those that embody the same essence.

Kenny had mentioned that You would be a powerful connection for the Consciousness Party that I Am creating in Calgary the evening of DATE. I Am flying up a woman who has been doing training for Google to share some of her expertise with those that attend.

I would love the opportunity to share more about this experience with You and if it feels right intention for You then You may choose to share it with your community.

Take good care.


Pro Tip: Never ever, ever confuse a hub. They will write you off so fast. For a hub, the most valuable commodity is their time. Do not waste it. 

Her follow up email confused me even more. Why is there a woman doing a training for Google at a party? Why do I care? And what’s up with all of the strange capitalization?

Example #7: Can We Book a Time to Talk, Please?

This one isn’t bad! I’d make it shorter first see if I’m even open to exploring join ventures but this email is okay.

Hello Tad,

My name is ______ and I’m the Joint Venture Manager for _________, founder of Coaching Business Name. We found your website and your work seems to be aligned with us and what we love to promote! I’d like to connect with you to see how we can best support each other in 2013! I’d like to learn what you’re planning for this year and share a few things from our promotional calendar.

To schedule an appointment, could you fill out some brief information by clicking on the link below. This will help us see what may be a best match and how to best serve your organization.

Our goal is to build synergistic relationships that are profitable and fun on all levels using the spiritual principles we teach and practice. We have an experienced JV Team in place capable of handling every aspect of any type of campaign or promotion.

Hope to speak to you or someone in your organization soon!

So, this one isn’t terrible but it’s a bit assumptive. I don’t know why it feels like a fit for them. There’s an assumption in the email that there is a fit here and we just need to figure it out. And, for me, whenever a stranger emails me saying ‘How can I help you?’ I read that as ‘I actually want you to help me but I figure that I’ve got a better chance of getting that if it seems like I want to help you.’ 

Example #8: Can You Promote My Unrelated Program, Please?

Okay. This one is longer so I’ll pull it apart piece by piece.

Aug. 30, 2012

Hello Ted Hargrave,

You misspelled my name. And used my full name (this makes you seem like spam or my angry mother and neither of associations those help you).

My name is ______; I’m a high school principal with an area of expertise that I believe many on your list of contacts would welcome hearing about: Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

What? How do you see the connection between Emotional Intelligence and marketing? I don’t get it. What problem does this solve for my clients?

I’ve created a School for Emotional Intelligence with a 6 week program entitled _____________. It’s a telecourse so people living anywhere can access it. I deliver it live weekly, repeat it regularly, and I provide e-mail support and enrichment after every lesson.

Why do I care about the details when I don’t see the relevance of the offer? I don’t.

My program sells for $197 and the affiliate commission for each referral is $100. Would you like to partner with me as an affiliate in a joint venture by informing your contacts my course exists?

This fellow is making the false assumption that the only reason I would spread the word about something is to make some money. I’m not against making money but, talking commission comes in Email #2 at the earliest. Likely not til Email #3. The most important thing is, ‘Is there even a fit?’. 

If so, I’d be honored to work with you.

Naturally, before you’ll consider promoting my program, you’ll want to know these 3 things:

You’re already telling me what I want? Old Man Ted Hargrave is cranky.

1 – That having high Emotional Intelligence is a great asset which will interest a significant percentage of those whom you contact. (Many people already realize that Emotional Intelligence is strongly correlated with performance and productivity – at work, at home, and at school – so they will understand its value either for themselves, or their children, or both.)

How is this relevant to my people???? I don’t care how abstractly valuable this is. I care if this is useful to my clientele.

2 – That I have the knowledge and skill to teach my program at a high level. (My websites include my qualifications and testimonials.)

I don’t care unless this is relevant. But I’m sure that will be your next point.

3 – That you’ll be assured of receiving your commissions. You can collect the tuitions yourself if you prefer, and send me my share when the course is over. Or I can do that using a company with affiliate tracking software to identify all your referrals and credit them to you (they’d register via your affiliate link).

I don’t care. Strike three.

If you wish, I’d be happy to help you promote my program to your contacts. How?

I’m sure you would. 

1 – I could conduct a free preview teleseminar so they could easily judge for themselves if my program is a good fit for them or their children. If they then want to register for it, they would, of course use your unique affiliate link to ensure you are properly credited.

2 – I can provide a sales e-mail for you to copy, and then forward to your contacts. (Modify it any way you wish.)

I don’t care. 

You can view the details of my program – and its benefits – on either of my websites. One is for adults who desire to enhance their own Emotional Intelligence; the other is for their teenage children.

Ah. I see. To see how this might be relevant I need to go to your website. So, you’re making me work for something in which I currently see no value at all. Right. (specifically for youth) (for adults)

Thank you for whatever consideration you grant this proposal. If you are interested, please contact me. And if you have no interest, I’d really appreciate an e-mail just to say, “No thanks,” so I’ll know not to bother you with any follow-up to this.

Say what? You’re now pushing me to respond? You’re putting that subtle obligation on me after totally wasting my time in reading this? No sir.

I can’t offer a cross promotion of what you offer (I’m on your list) since I lack any list of my own. That’s why I’m reaching out to you as a potential affiliate. I believe we can both benefit.



contact info

P.S. If you promote my program, it will prove to be a win-win-win:

1 – Those completing the course – teens or adults – will enhance their EQ (and EQ correlates with happiness more than IQ).
2 – You’ll be providing value to your contacts, and you’ll also receive $100 for all who take the course.
3 – I’ll earn a portion of each tuition, plus the opportunity to share my expertise with a new audience.

You have not shown me how this will be a win to my list. I do not see the fit at all.

Thanks again for considering this. I look forward to your response – either way. And should you choose not to become involved, I wish you every success in what you are already doing.

I like this last line. That’s very kind of him.

I have no doubt he is a very good man who is offering something very good to the world. But, the email he sent is a pitch, not an opening of a conversation. It’s so long. And he doesn’t clarify why he thinks it’s relevant to my people. When a hub gets the feeling that, ‘this email could be going to anyone… this is a template…’ the chances are extremely high that you will lose their attention.

Example #9: Can You Promote My TeleSummit, Please?

Hi Tad,

I hope you are doing well. I would like to invite you to collaborate with us at “” and speak in one of our upcoming virtual events, possibly in January.

My name is John Doe, I have developed BusinessName to provide valuable and relevant marketing and personal development information and resources to coaches, consultants, and other service professionals and connect them with the best experts in the industry.

I was on one of your calls and would love to collaborate and share your thoughts with others. Also, I would like to invite you to our January Virtual Event that is about developing a 6 figure business.

I would like to discuss these opportunities with you as soon as possible, when would be a good time to connect with you?


This one isn’t too bad. But, when someone says, ‘We’d like to invite you to speak at an event’ how I hear that (as someone who is approached all the time) is ‘We’d like you to promote our event with at least one solo email to your list and we figure getting you, who has a sizable following, to do that is to have you as a guest speaker.’  This actually seems like it could be relevant to my people. But, again, if it had started with some brief and specific appreciation and an opening question like, ‘Do you speak in telesummits these days?’ or ‘I’ve been working on something that I think could be of some use to the life coach and service provider types on your list in helping them with _______ problem’ or something, it might have grabbed me more. This seems relevant but generic. And, the whole six figure thing feels a bit burned out these days for me.

Example #10: I’m Famous So Promote Me, Please?

Again, I’m going to insert comments throughout this one because it’s a bit longer.

Hi Tad:

You spelled my name right! You’re doing much better than that last fellow…

You were recommended! Some points:

Wait… recommended by whom? For what?

¨ We live in Brentwood Bay, BC – just a few seconds away from Butchart Gardens


¨ We have run an international company for 20 years


¨ We are known for our Life and Business Coach Training

Are you?…

¨ I am famous in India as NAME but not well known outside of India

Okay… That sounds feasible but also kind of bragging. And… I think India is full of a lot of famous people.

¨ I am a Canadian best-selling author of many books including my latest release Book Name

Hrmm. It’s not hard to become a best seller by getting #1 on Amazon for two minutes. But that’s different than being a best seller for a few weeks. 

¨ I am the developer of multi-award winning coaching and leadership methodologies

You seem to be working very hard to impress me and I still have no idea why you’re writing me. 

¨ I am the developer of human potential products that would blow your mind. They are very powerful. For example, Product Name.

Aaaand you’re really starting to lose me. Arrogance is incredibly unattractive.

¨ We would like to work with an ethical company who is willing to make several million dollars from our human potential products.

This sounds like someone on the edge of delusion and who takes themselves very seriously. Danger Will Robinson. Danger.

¨ I have many of these human potential products wishing to come out of my head as soon as we launch the current ones! (My husband and Co-President John tells me to stop creating and start marketing!)

Your husband is a wise man. And I know the feeling about having so many products in your head. Totally. I’m feeling connected to you here.

¨ We would like this ethical marketing company to work on the basis of “you develop the strategies and implement them to make the millions and you then share in the financial glory”.

Ahhh. Translation, ‘You work for free for a long time and maybe make some money. If it fails it will be 100% because of your terrible marketing. Definitely not because of us. Because we’re amazing. As I think we might have mentioned (amazing!)’

¨ Please don’t look at our main website and think “Oh my God, these people need work.” We know we need work and are working on it.

Thank you for being human! I feel connected to you again.

¨ Your job would not be to help us fix our main website which is mainly about our services. Your job is to help us market our incredible products – not our services.

Ah! I am finally getting clear about what you want! And I totally don’t offer that service. If she had just emailed me saying, “I was wondering if you help other people market their products for them. Is that something you do?” she would have gotten her answer so much faster.  

If you are interested in this fab opportunity to work with some very cool, spiritual and values-based folks, let’s set up an interview .

I think I’d think you were cooler and more spiritual if you didn’t keep telling me you were. 

We require that you be honest, loving and compassionate. Only marketing tactics with integrity are tolerated.

Oh! Requirements on me already? I’m already being asked to jump through hoops to prove myself so you can bring me on to work for free?

PS Are you raw vegan? Just noticed a mention on your site. I have been vegan for years and love the raw vegan movement. Very cool.

Not anymore. 

With God’s Love from another Hippie!

I like that ending.

So I replied to make sure I was clear.

hey there,

thanks for reaching out. just home from a big trip to the uk. just to clarify, you’re wanting to get some marketing support and guidance and are considering me and your thought is for the payment to be in commissions in some way?

– t

She wrote back…

Hi Tad: 

Happy Friday to you!

When we work with apps builders, we give them 50% of the revenue because of the enormous amount of work they put into the creation of the end product.

It’s a sound partnership because everyone has the same amount of influence in the success of the product.

For the rest of our products, where possible, we see a similar relationship. It’s a partnership. We have developed these extraordinary products. You, if the shoe fits, would develop the strategy to take them to the world in multiple languages and implement the strategy.

For the shoe to fit, you must be honest, ethical, passionate about our products and be noble in your marketing efforts. Nothing less would be accepted.

The company who wears the shoe would have the opportunity to put these products into the hands of all ages, in every country. From that opportunity they would see huge transformation happening in hearts and minds of corporate and government folks as well as Moms, Dads and children.

This, more than the revenue which would be substantial, is the real reason for joining hands with us. J


Again. The demands on me don’t feel great. I feel like I’m already being scolded. And her level of belief in the power of her products to change the world… is a bit disconcerting. I don’t feel a lot of humility and humanity here. I didn’t pursue this further.

Example #11: Promote My Women’s Group, Please?

The following email came from a woman who I didn’t know very well. Just out of the blue.


“Namaste Tad, I’m starting a free women’s group in CityName, including one hour meditation, sharing info, workshop, and just listening and receiving, we would love it if you could send me the first five female leaders that come to your mind, via Facebook, thanks, have a super fabulous day in the sunshine.”

What this has going for it is that it’s short and to the point. I’m very clear what she’s doing and what she’s asking of me. But this felt a little bit too assumptive and she posted it on my new profile picture rather than in a message. That felt strange. If you want to ask a favour, ask me personally and in private Why would I connect her with my key women’s leaders in her city (and I know many) if I don’t know her? This is an example of asking for too much too soon.


Four Examples of How to Reach Out To Hubs Well

Example #1: Can I Speak at Your Venue?

My dear colleague and client Russell Scott of is looking to book a lot of talks for his wonderful work. Below are the emails we came up with together that he would use when reaching out to new age bookstores, yoga studios etc. This approach is deeply inspired by the work of Ari Galper on Cold Calling which you can learn more about at His end of the whole conversation is basically mapped out. He can tweak these to suit their response, but their responses are going to be fairly predictable. 

Having this all mapped out makes the process of reaching out to hubs better for them and so much easier for you. We do a similar things when reaching out to guest experts for 

E-mail 1

I was wondering if you can help me out?

I was wondering if you ever bring in guest speakers or facilitators to present talks or workshops and who would I ask about this? (I am an author and an international seminar/retreat leader.)

I wasn’t sure if you book speakers or who to talk about this?

E-mail 1 (a) if they don’t get back 

I was just following up on my e-mail a few days ago.

No pressure but I was wondering if you ever bring in guest speakers or facilitators to present talks or workshops and who would I ask about this? (I am an author and an international seminar/retreat leader.)

I wasn’t sure if you book speakers or who to talk about this?

E-mail 2

Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me.  I am sure you are very busy.

Here’s the nutshell: I am the author of the book “Awakening the Guru in You” and I have a new talk (related to my book) that is getting a great response and that I thought might be of interest to your community. There’s more info at this link:

I am not sure if it is a fit for your community but I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

I also give talks on other topics:

The Fulfillment Factor – the one thing that affects everything else in life

Beyond Belief – how to get unstuck and get moving in your life

Deep Calling – finding meaning and purpose in life

And, if these aren’t a fit, I’d be grateful for your guidance on good places to explore. Any support is warmly appreciated. 

Email 3

Here’s what has worked in the past for people like yourself in a similar business:

Let me know how long you want the talk. I can craft the talk to fit an hour or 2 hour time slot.

We set a date and time for the workshop preferably 6 to 8 weeks from now. 

You charge what you want for the talk and keep the proceeds or give a percentage to me according to what you usually do.  It would be good to have a discount for people that sign-up before the event. I can set-up a notice on Eventbrite for you if you like.

I’ll promote the talk to my network and provide you with a link to my website and promotional material: a poster, timed e-mails you can send to your list, pre-written facebook and twitter notices and even a blog-post if you want.

You promote the talk to your network of contacts and any other way you choose to let your community of people know about the event. This way the more people you get, the better it is for you.

At the beginning of the talk you can take a few minutes to tell the attendees about your business and then introduce me. I’ll provide you with a short bio.

At the end of the talk I’ll pass out a feedback form and let people know that they can sign-up for a complimentary mentorship session with me or request more information about what I do. I will not be doing any enrolling of people into any of my offerings at the workshop.

I’ll make my book available for purchase at the end of the talk.

How does this all sound to you? Do you have any questions?


Example #2: Can You Help Promote My Workshop Tour, Please?

When I was doing a tour of the Kootenays with my workshops I was faced with the reality that I knew almost no one. So, one thing I did was find a local New Age Magazine and start emailing people who had ads in it. A 100% cold approach. I normally wouldn’t recommend this but my options were slim.

hey jennifer,

i was wondering if you could help me.

i saw your profile in the holistic section of In The Koots and i thought you might have some ideas.

there’s a day long, pay what you can, marketing workshop i’m leading for holistic practitioners in Nelson this Friday (last minute – tied into a roadtrip and thought ‘why not?’) and it’s my first time doing anything in nelson. and i thought you might have some ideas on good places to spread the word about it. any guidance is so warmly appreciated. and nooo pressure. im sure you’re busy.

i hope your summer is going well :-)

Notice the lack of assumption in that email. And notice that I’m not even asking her for her help directly. I’m just asking for advice. My friend Julian Faid once shared some advice his father had given him, ‘If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice.’ This is so true. If you ask someone for money, they’ll often say, “You know how you get money…” and give you ideas. If you ask for their advice on how to get it, it takes all the pressure off and, if they see that it’s a fit for the kind of thing they might want to fund, they’ll say, “I could fund this…”.

I’ve found that starting with asking humbly for advice opens up conversations in a much warmer way (and results in you getting some amazing leads and ideas you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise). 

When someone gave me a name of someone to reach out to for the tour, I’d send some version of the following:

hey there ali,

aga suggested i drop you a line.

there’s a day long, pay what you can, marketing workshop i’m leading for holistic practitioners in Nelson this Friday (last minute – tied into a roadtrip and thought ‘why not?’) and it’s my first time doing anything in nelson. and aga thought you might have some ideas on good places to spread the word about it. any guidance is so warmly appreciated. and nooo pressure. im sure you’re busy.

i hope your summer is going well :-)

– tad

And, of course, The Kootenays are full of holistic healing schools which are a huge hub for me. So I’d send them some version of this email.

hey there,

i was wondering if you could help me.

there’s a workshop in Nelson this Friday that i thought might be of interest to some of your students and alumni – but i wasn’t sure who to talk to at your academy.

i hope your summer is going well.

– tad

And then there were the holistic centers, spas and massage studios. They got this kind of email:

hey there,

i was wondering if you could help me.

there’s a workshop in Nelson this Friday that i thought might be of interest to some of your staff and associates – but i wasn’t sure who to talk to at your center about it all.

i hope your summer is going well.

– tad

I got a very positive and helpful response to all of these emails and responses from most of the people. 


Example #3: Would You Help Me Promote My Workshop, Please?

When I was leading a workshop in Toronto that wasn’t filling as fast as I would have liked, I sent out some emails like this to local hubs. Please note: these are all friends and colleagues with whom there’s already some existing trust. And these were sent as individual emails, not a big group email. Though, in a pinch, you can get away with a group email to hubs who know and love you. 

hey there,

I’m going to be running another weekend workshop for holistic practitioners (and also invited eco-permaculture practitioner types too). It’s happening Nov 25-27th.

I think it’s going to be swell.

I could totally use a hand spreading the word about it. I was wondering if you would have five minutes to help? I’ve got something prewritten you can send out. I find it works best when people just email like 3-5 folks personally who they think might benefit and enjoy. and i figured you might know some folks in the scene.

Would you be down?


The typical response?

Dear Tad:
Of course. Just send it on!
Hope you’re doing well.

My response to that (already pre-written) was…

thank you!

so, this is the generic thing – feel free to tweak it as needed. putting it on facebook helps but i still find that the very most useful thing is when people take a minute or two to really consider particular folks who might be a fit for this and then send a personal email (edited template) to them telling them about it. it only takes five minutes but seems to have so much more impact. i’m super grateful.

‘Hey there,

A colleague of mine, Tad Hargrave, is holding a marketing workshop designed just for holistic practitioners and permaculture practitioner types and I thought you might be interested in attending yourself. It’s happening next weekend.

for more info or to register you can go to:

let me know if you decide to go?

Again, instead of putting it all into one big pitch-based email, break it up into a few emails. Let is breathe a bit. 


Example #4: How Tova Approached Me to Write this Guest Blog Post

This blog post would certainly not be complete without showing how gracefully and graciously Tova landed this guest blog post (which I have, appallingly, hijacked).

Here was the first email she sent me on April 20th.

Hi Tad
My name is Tova, a fellow-Canadian out here in Vancouver :)
I love what you’re about, and especially love that you focus on marketing without sacrificing our integrity.
I wrote a post about this, which has not yet been published anywhere. I thought of you & your audience first, and wanted to see if you were interested in giving it a view. 
The subject is: Slimy VS Classy Marketing & Sales.
Please let me know if you would like me to send it over for your review.
And I wish you a wonderful weekend. Thanks for your consideration!
This whole email is perfect. She introduces herself warmly and makes the fellow Canadian connection. She moves to a specific appreciation that lets me know this is not a form email. And then she tells me about a post she’s already written. Honestly, when I saw that this was about a guest post, my heart sank a bit. I get so many of these requests. But then I saw the title. ‘That’s perfect for my audience!’ I thought. She then asked if I’d like to see it and ended with warm wishes and a humbled ‘thanks for your consideration!’. What’s not to love?
I replied.

tova,i’d love to explore that. can you send it to me in early june? i’m about to go into a busy season and don’t want to lose it.- t

She agreed and on June 3rd sent me the blog post. Which it then took me two weeks to read. And was brilliant. I’m so glad she didn’t offer it to anyone else and that I get to share it with you here.


Eight Key Points to Take from All of This:

  • A Short First Email: Make the goal of the first email to cut straight to the chase to see if there’s any possibility of a fit. If they’re even open to what you’re offering at all.
  • A Non Assumptive Approach: Don’t assume it’s a fit. Don’t assume they want what you’re offering.
  • Make it a Conversation: Instead of sending them a pitch, send them an invitation to open a conversation. And then let the conversation flow naturally. Take your time with hubs. They may need to get to know you first. It’s worth the investment. Take your time. Don’t propose marriage in the first email.
  • Be Okay With No: I might not want to say yes to this but there might be something i could say yes to down the road. If you’re gracious about my refusal, I am way more likely to be open to you in the future.  
  • Be Humble: Do not position it as an honour to work with you. That makes you seem arrogant. What impresses people isn’t over-confidence, it’s meeting someone who is composed and comfortable in their own skin.
  • Be Clear: Don’t confuse your hubs. 
  • Be Patient: Hubs are busy. It will take a long time to get a reply. Let it wait. Don’t push it. It’s okay to check in but don’t guilt trip them.
  • Ask for Advice: Consider asking for advice before asking for support from them. It gives them time to get to know you. If you ask for my advice and show me how well you used it, this will win me over big time. 


Two Minute Video Case Study on Identifying Your Hubs

hubsIf you’ve followed my work at all you’ll know that the core of what I teach is about ‘warm marketing’ where, instead of trying to reach people through a cold approach as a stranger, you, instead, triangulate and work to identify hubs who your ideal clients already trust, and have them introduce you. And, beyond that, instead of having a scattershot approach about where you market, really getting clear about the best places. There are three levels of marketing in my mind – cold, warm and hot. You can read about those here. And there are seven generic types of hubs which you can read about here.

The following quick video is from a piece of flip chart paper from a weekend workshop I ran in the Bow Valley of Alberta  a while ago that I thought might give you some ideas and inspiration around finding your hubs.


Guest Post: How I Got 11,000 Likes on My Facebook Page in Six Months

One World Likes

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”   ~ E. B. White

tim emersonWhat do Trinidad and Tobago, Namibia, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Uganda, Singapore, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sudan, Vanuatu, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have in common?  

I’ll give you a few moments to ponder. 

A month ago I wrote a guest blog post for Tad, “How I added 8,000 Facebook fans in 5 months,” outlining how I went from a static 623 fans at the beginning of February to 8,921 in July.  

In that piece, I explained how I got clear about my page’s purpose and message, paid attention to what got positive response and adjusted, worked out a simple system for keeping the page active while spending very little time on it, and resisted selling, except for limited free offers.  To this last part, as it seems counterintuitive, I added how Facebook generates 1/3 of my email list subscribers and fills my free teleseminars, from which I enroll new clients, particularly in my higher end offerings. 

By the way, I could add to that list Zimbabwe, Tuvalu, Tanzania, Swaziland, South Sudan, Somaliland, South Africa, Samoa, Rwanda, Palau, Nauru, Malta, Kiribati, Kenya, India, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.  Found the connection yet?   Be patient – it took me a while too. 

I also added to that piece that while I’m not a fan of Facebook advertising overall, I have found that a small, quirky ad, with an eye-catching image, in keeping with your point of view and strategic purpose and with a severely limited budget, just a few bucks a day, would generate around 40-60 new fans daily, combining click-throughs with new organic likes from shares.  

One nice thing about Facebook advertising is the ability to carefully target ad audiences.  So when my 50 new fans each day started to trickle down to barely 20 a day, I took a look at these targets, to see if maybe I could freshen things up a bit.  

At first, nothing much.  I had hit every related interest I could think of, and I didn’t want to expand my age demographics, as that would probably be counter-productive.  But then I looked at countries. 

Originally, I listed all the English speaking countries I could think of quickly.   You know—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand…that’s it, right?  Well, Belize I guess, but it’s so small, what’s the point. 

But I’ve been working a lot with intuition for the past few months, and something flashed into my head about Belize.   Maybe not so fast.  So I Googled “English speaking countries” on a hunch, and found…88 of them.  88!  That’s 82 new audiences, all ready to experience for the very first time!  

So I added Mauritius, the Marshall Islands, Malawi, Liberia, Lesotho, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Ghana, Gambia, Eritrea, Dominica, Cameroon, Botswana, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda – Facebook limits you to 25 countries at a time.  But my likes spiked THAT DAY from 20 to 200.   And just like that, I’m at 11,250 fans.   Sure, it’s starting to slow…down to 150 a day now, though, still three times what I was seeing before, and with the same budget.

What does that mean, the same budget?  Two things:  (1) I’m getting a LOT of new organic likes from the sharing from the new traffic, and (2) my cost-per-click has dropped by more than 50%.  Seems a lot of people don’t market to countries like Fiji—so my competition is apparently quite small.   I haven’t been doing Google Ads for a while, but now I’m curious what affect targeting these markets would have on click rates there.  Next time, I’ll try it. 

What happens when my 150 daily likes finally slows again to 20?  I’ll remove the markets already exposed and substitute new ones, and I’ll be able to do that at least three more times.   This will give me a much larger market when promoting my next teleseminar—I already have clients in six countries (the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, and Saint Martens).   

Don’t overlook non-sovereign places either, like Anguilla, American Samoa, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Puerto Rico, Saint Helena–Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Sint Maarten, San Andrés y Providencia–Colombia, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Kwan Yin Healing helps the spiritually-conscious who are struggling with life path or health and are ready to move forward and find peace.  The Four Pillars of healing and transformation are Clarity (life is supposed to be abundant, and now, when we get out of our own way), Connection (we are part of a continuum from earth to the divine), Coherence (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and awareness energies need to vibrate harmoniously), and Change (if you want something you don’t have, you’ll need to do things you’ve never done).   I love the beautiful illustration this example gives – the instant results from connecting to what already exists in a coherent way with one simple change.  We live on one globe, one people, one human energy—and we can easily forget that imaginary borders are only in our nationalist mindsets. 

I’m already delighted to be helping people jump start their paths and thus accelerate how they help still more people through their work throughout the US and Canada, as well as a bit in the Caribbean, the UK, and Australia.   If you’re ready to find what’s holding you back from living your dreams fully, visit, look around, and sign-on for the free starting package.   I’m happy to start you along your path.  

And if you happen to be from Spain, Malayasia, Germany, Israel, the US Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, British Indian Ocean Territory, Ethiopia, Russia, East Timor, or any of the many other places where first-language English speakers live, or if you are one of the many people who speak English as a second or third or fourth or fifth language, I’ll be happy to make your acquaintance.   It’s all one world, one people, on one road to peace, harmony, unity, health and happiness. 

Love and Joy,

Tim Emerson
Kwan Yin Healing

Guest Post: How I added 8,000 Facebook fans in 5 months


Tim Emerson is a graduate of my Niching for Hippies course and someone I did a case study on a while ago. He’s also a big believer in the power of slow marketing.

When Tim told me that he had over 8,000 fans on his facebook page whereas I only have a half of that, I was extremely curious as to how he did it and asked if he’d be kind enough to write up a guest blog post about it. I think you’ll really appreciate his ideas here. 

You can read it below . . .

Full disclosure—I am not a fan of social media.  It’s scattered, busy, a distraction, a time sink.  Further, I’ve spent a fair amount of time pissed off at Facebook.  So I’m an unlikely author for this blog post.

Nonetheless, I went from being “stuck” to adding 8,000 fans to my page,, in just five months—and more are still coming.   This page has also become one of my key promotional strategies.  Here’s how that happened.

I actually didn’t mean to open a Facebook fan page.  I had constructed a simple website with, and one of the options was to publish to Facebook.  So, on April 6, 2012, I figured “Why not,” and clicked it.   Voila.  Kwan Yin Healing had a Facebook page. 

It slowly added a few fans.  Then a few more.  And a few more.  This would take patience.   I saw the various “How to get 10,000 fans” promos, but while I’m sure these guys know their business, it’s the anti-thesis of the calm, peaceful image I wanted for my business.  Nobody’s going to come rushing to Kwan Yin Healing because my opt-in box is bigger, brighter, redder, and in your face before we get past “hello” – and if they did, the fit would probably not be good.  I’d just have to be patient. 

Facebook, however, is not patient, and likes to change the rules frequently.  One of these changes was deciding that just because fans like your page doesn’t mean they should be seeing your posts in their feed.  Unless, of course, they’re teenagers, and compelled to like or comment on virtually everything.  My fans…aren’t, and don’t.  So my fan count, at 623, sat their at 623, and the “talking about this” number dropped to around 20 a day.  Facebook offered a solution—pay to have your fans see your posts!  As you might imagine, this didn’t make me the happiest of campers. 

But then something happened, and that day, my page started climbing again.  It continued to climb, daily, and still continues to climb—it’s at 8,921 as I write this. 

What changed?   There are four key elements to my strategy, and I also have a few points about ads, as well as how I use Facebook to attract clients.   So let’s dive in.

1)  I got clear about my page’s purpose and message.  

Without this, nothing else matters. 

Understand that no one comes to Facebook to buy stuff.  They come to relax, to see funny or inspiration quotes and pictures and videos, to interact with their friends.  So not only are they not there to buy, but they resent attempts to sell them.  Imagine you’re at the park, on a walk, enjoying a show, and people interrupt you to sell their products and programs.  “Leave me alone,” right?  And they will leave you very alone instead.  

For Kwan Yin Healing, the cover photo, a forest waterfall, the same as on my home page, sets the tone for the peaceful, flowing feeling I wish to create, and one very compatible with my point of view about healing, about my work, and about me.  The posts on the page are all inspirational quotes and related material that fit with this theme.   Things I like but that don’t fit this energy, I post on my personal page instead.  It’s encouraging, reflective, helpful, inspiring, peaceful, and fits nicely within my Taoist/Buddhist perspective, without being spiritually dogmatic.  There’s no agenda here.  It’s a place to relax.  That’s why people follow the page. And that’s why they trust me.  

Nor is any of this mere theory.  This is what my own clients tell me.  “I like your page—it’s consistent.”  Yeah.  It’s hard to trust someone you can never quite rely upon.   You know what  you’re getting when you like my page. 

2) I paid attention to what got positive response and adjusted.

What’s nice about Facebook is that you can see how many likes and shares each post gets, and a report about the “virality” of each post.  The big losers here are text posts.   People already see a sea of text, and skim it at best.  Plus, at a glance, all text looks the same.  

Pictures are the rule on Facebook.  An inspiring quote with a corresponding image gets—literally—ten times the virality. According to Edgerank Checker, the median Facebook virality is under 2%.  My page’s posts typically hover around 20%.   Facebook is a visual medium.  

And just having a photo isn’t enough—the text must be part of the photo.  Typically, content creators post this over the face of the photo.  When I create content (which I do rarely), I use InDesign to create a matching box above or below (or both) the photo with the text.   But either way—this way the photo and message get shared—many times more than otherwise.  Including your site link on the graphic is a good idea as well.  While shared photos are credited by Facebook automatically, links can get buried. 

Every so often, I’ll share something I think readers would like—free Eckhart Tolle talks, or Louise Hays, or Wayne Dyer.   And they always fall flat, with virality around 2%.   This surprises me.   It’s why we look at numbers.

3) I worked out a simple system for keeping the page active while spending very little time on it. 

There’s a joke that floats around periodically:  How to be more productive on Facebook?  Delete your Facebook account and get to work. 

While I sometimes create content, most of my page is repurposed from other pages.   When I see something I like, I check out their page, and if it fits well, I’ll like it, and add it to my Interests list.   Every day or two, I’ll quickly scan down the Pages feed for appropriate things to post.   If it’s great, but too small to read, I’ll pass it by.  The other pages appreciate the shares, and I’ll just add a short comment and my webpage.  That’s it.

I’ll also check out the comments, and like most of them, so people know they were seen and heard.  Every week or so, I’ll check the Insights report (though just the likes and shares on the page are a good indication).  Once in a while, a post will get multiple comments (like 30-60 comments), and I’ll know I’ve accidentally stumbled across something to consider later strategically. 

And that’s it.  Five to ten minutes.  Done.

4) Resist selling, except for limited free offers. 

And even then, you’re pushing it.  So here’s what works for me – curiosity.  “Hey!  Sign up for my free offer!”  No.   But after seeing several cool posts with above them, after a while, some people click on it…and sign up for my free offer.  It’s not big numbers…but it is steady.  My list (which last year was at 35) is at 620 – and just over a third of those came from Facebook.   But that doesn’t make them clients.  It’s a poorly qualified group. 

But Facebook DOES serve me in one major way—a source of free teleseminar attendees.  A nice graphic with the copy embedded and a sign-up link will bring 60-80 new people to my list.  20-30 will show up for the call, and 4-10 of them will become new clients. When those new clients are signing on to the Kwan Yin Journey, my signature program, a single teleseminar can make a month’s income.  So Facebook does bring clients after all, through the free teleseminar and enrollment route. 

Which brings me to advertising.

At first, “promoted posts” were great—I could reach friends of friends for $10.   Then Facebook realized their generosity, and jacked the price up more than one hundred times, dolling out only a limited number of people reached for each new level of investment—$1,000 still won’t buy what $10 did only a few months ago.  

It’s ridiculously steep for three reasons.   First, the response isn’t great. Second, people HATE promoted posts.  The posts say, right on them, “promoted post,” and virality drops to near nothing.  Some people even send nasty grams, letting page owners know how much they resent someone else footing the bill for their free Facebook.  It’s too “in their face.”   Literally, the SAME post NOT promoted will get a better response.  And third, Facebook won’t allow more than 20% of a graphic to be text, severely limiting advertising options.  

So if I have something to promote, I use a few tricks.

I’ll let a post run organically at first.  Once that slows down, THEN I’ll promote it, but only within a limited budget, which depends on what I’m promoting.   And if I don’t need to reach a lot of people, I’ll sometimes design what I want and run it anyway—it will run for a few hours until a Facebook person has a chance to get to it and stop the promotion for violating the rules.  The posts that have run already remain visible.  But that’s not a great strategy for anything I’m seriously promoting.  A web link to a press release with a graphic works reasonably well.  Message sent.

Then there are the ads with links on the side. 

Advantage—people don’t mind these the way they resent promoted posts.   They see these as not so “in your face” and not an interruption, but rather something they can check out if they please, unlike content “forced” into their feed.  And Advantage Two, these ads can be amazingly well targeted to specific audiences defined by a wide array of parameters. 

Disadvantage—they are expensive and not particularly effective.   You can’t say much, and you can’t really send them where you’d like.  Dead end.

With one exception I’ve used to good effect. 

Create a quirky ad, with an eye-catching image, that still is truly in keeping with your point of view and strategic purpose.   I ran, for example, one saying “Healing isn’t Magic,” with an image from a video of me in my car with an appearance by my curious husky.   The video includes a core piece of my point of view, and the ad links to a post featuring the video, where I can say much more.   This lands on my Facebook page.   I pin the original post to the top of the page, so that the landing is relevant (which must be redone every couple of weeks, as pins expire), and presto—the curious eyes are now on my page.  

I severely limit the daily size of this budget, just a few bucks, with a carefully targeted audience.   But it will bring in better than 20 new people (i.e., other than friends of friends) who become engaged in the page.   The ad doesn’t get stale, because it’s being seen by people who haven’t yet seen it. 

Slow and steady.  But altogether, worth 8000 new fans in five months, like opening a valve at the end of January, and it’s been flowing ever since. 

My plans from here are to maintain the status quo, at least until Facebook changes the rules again, and to concentrate on the teleseminar strategy.  I would also like to build a network of affiliate partners to help promote the Kwan Yin Journey.   If that might be you, check out and then drop me an email if this looks like a good fit for your clients – tim at kwanyinhealing dot com.

I’m also completely redesigning my web page to focus on synching my strategy and free offer in a clear, authentic, step by step path more friendly to curious visitors, and to then build relationship more strategically with my email newsletter and blog than I have been. 

And I’ll next turn my attention to my YouTube page,, which has, like my Facebook page, worked surprisingly well, largely by accident—but in this case, I actually get clients calling who found me on YouTube.  Time to focus on a strategy there—but that will have to be another blog post another time. 

Wish me luck!

Tim Emerson

Kwan Yin Healing

“How Do I Grow My List?” An Interview with PJ Van Hulle

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 8.04.37 PMCould you add 10,000 to your email list in the next 90 days?

PJ Van Hulle thinks that, while it might be lofty – with the right pieces in place, it’s not an unachievable goal.

I really love PJ. She’s one of the most genuine people but also so much smarter about online marketing than I will ever be.

She launching her List-a-Palooza telesummit at the end of May so I thought I’d interview her about the nuts and bolts of this strange beast of building one’s list. The telesummit is totally free to attend but I thought you might like to get the boiled down version of her point of view to see if it’s a fit for you worth exploring further.

Building your email list is a central piece of becoming a hub in the online world and moving from cold marketing (where you’re chasing strangers) to hot marketing (where your ideal clients are coming to you).

Why grow your list? Why is this something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur? 

As an entrepreneur, your e-mail list is one of the greatest financial assets in your business.  I’ve even heard experts say “your list IS your business.”  

With a profitable e-mail list you can:

  • Fill your seminars and programs
  • Attract more clients and sales
  • Turn current clients into repeat clients
  • Promote other peoples’ programs that you believe in and earn $1,000?s in affiliate commissions

Having a big, profitable e-mail list provides entrepreneurs with an uncommon level of financial security because you can even out your cashflow and generate more income any time you need to, simply by sending out messages to your list.

Without a profitable e-mail list, being an entrepreneur can be so much of an uphill struggle that many lose steam and eventually throw in the towel.

So, YES!  This is something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur.  If you’re not focusing on growing your list, you’re setting yourself up to continue to work much harder than you need to.

Also, most of my clients care about making a bigger difference in the world, and having an e-mail list that you regularly provide value for allows you to expand your energy and your message to many more people and make a bigger impact, even if not all of them become your clients.

What’s the story of how you came up with this program? What was the need that you saw in our community around this? You’ve done if for a few years now it seems.

This is my second year hosting List-a-Palooza, even though I was planning on doing it only once.

In my Big List Big Profits program, I walk people step-by-step through how to automate their marketing and sales online, but there just wasn’t enough time to cover the plethora of traffic generation tactics out there.

My intention was to turn the recordings from List-a-Palooza into a product that I could bundle with the Big List Big Profits program so that once people had their marketing and sales infrastructure set up, they would have lots of great training on how to drive traffic into their automated system.

Well, List-a-Palooza ended up being even more of a hit than I imagined it would be, and I received a flood of requests to do it again.

I had a ton of fun doing List-a-Palooza last year, and this is a topic that I’m super passionate about, so I decided to go ahead and do it again.

I’ve seen how people get dramatically better results with specific training, accountability and the support of a community of like-minded people, so I’ve done my best to provide those key elements through List-a-Palooza.

Can you share the story of how you went about growing your own list? When did you start your business and what were the phases you went through in building your own list, where are you now?

When I first launched my business, I didn’t have an e-mail list or an Opt-In page or anything.  I manually sent e-mails to people I knew, asking them to spread the word about a live event I was doing.

I knew that growing an e-mail list was important so I invested in a program called Constant Contact, which had done-for-you newsletter templates.  

I hired someone to help me get my newsletter out, and I just couldn’t crank out content fast enough so it was hard to get the newsletter going out consistently, and eventually, I gave up on it.

My big breakthrough came when I created the Client Attraction Blueprint system that I now teach in my Big List Big Profits program.  I created it for my Platinum Mastermind clients to help them organize all of their marketing and sales ideas together in one simple document.

I immediately applied this system to my own business, and the results were life-changing!  I got more done in the next 4 months than I had in the past 4-5 years because that blueprint gave me a level of focus and clarity that I had never experienced before.

When an architect looks at a blueprint, they know what needs to be built in what order and how everything fits together.

Suddenly, I could see my business that way.  Once I saw how my e-mail newsletter fit in to my overall blueprint, I became more inspired and motivated than ever to build my e-mail list and consistently provide value.

I finally got really serious about list-building about 6 years after starting my business.  

I committed to consistently publishing my bi-weekly e-mail newsletter, Prosperity Express.  

Now that I knew that the people joining my list would be consistently receiving value from me, I felt confident in growing my list.

I grew my list from 300 people to over 15,000 using a lot of the tactics we cover in the List-a-Palooza training calls.

What are the biggest blunders people make in growing their list? What are the things you see that make you cringe in people’s list building efforts?

I think the #1 biggest mistake is waiting to get started.

Growing your list is like taking advantage of compound interest.  The earlier you start, the more consistently you make “deposits,” and the longer you nurture your list, the more profitable it will be.

NOT building your list is costing you every day, whether you realize it or not.

It took me 6 years to get serious about building my list… don’t make the same mistake I did.

The #2 biggest mistake is driving traffic only to a “Brochure” type website with a bunch of tabs (Home, About, Blog, Contact, etc.) instead of to an Opt-In Page.

The #3 biggest mistake is only sending out sales and promotions and never providing value for the people on their list.

Here are the things that most make me cringe:

  • Seeing entrepreneurs invest $1,000’s on a “Brochure” type website that doesn’t even have an obvious Opt-In Box on it “above the fold” (where people can see it without having to scroll down).
  • Receiving e-mails that address me in the second person plural.  For example:  “Hi everyone!  Hi All!  Hi Friends!”  This is obviously a mass e-mailing, and I’m unlikely to read the message. Instead, I recommend addressing people in the second person singular.  If you’re e-mail program can’t mail merge my first name in to the e-mail so that it says “Hi PJ!” at least write something that feels a bit more personal like “Hi there!” or just “Hello!”
  • E-mails that are formatted as huge blocks of text all the way across the screen because they are very difficult to read.  I recommend formatting your e-mails in short columns for easy reading.

Your 90 day challenge has the claim of ‘add ten thousand people to your list in 90 days’. That seems very bold! I’m curious, what would already need to be in place for someone for that to be a doable goal?

I offer that specific challenge to inspire the participants and get them into action right away.

I was actually shocked how many people joined List-a-Palooza last year that were just getting started with their e-mail lists.

In that case, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll add 10,000 people in 90 days.  

However, many of the participants last year were still absolutely thrilled to have doubled, tripled or quadrupled their smaller lists.

In order to hit the goal of 10,000 new subscribers in 90 days, I believe that you need one or more of the following:

#1 – Time AND “Know How”: One of our List-a-Palooza speakers last year shared her exact strategy for adding 10,000 people to her list in only 45 days using Pinterest.  She knew what she was doing and invested a significant amount of time and energy in pulling this off. Another speaker last year talked about how to drive tons of traffic to your website for free with Deal Sites (like Groupon or Living Social).

#2 – Money to Invest in Paid Advertising: Over 1100 people joined List-a-Palooza last year from Facebook ads, and I’m challenging myself to add 15,000 people from paid advertising this year.

The key to paid advertising is TRACKING the results from each ad.  It’s amazing how wildly the results can vary from ad to ad.  I create a separate tracking link for each ad I run so that I can quickly increase the ad budget if it’s performing well or stop the ad if it’s not performing well.

It also helps to have something under $100 to sell right after people opt in so that you can calculate the ROI on your ads right away.

When people opt in for List-a-Palooza, I offer them the chance to get the List-Building Success Kit with all the recordings for an astounding 90% off.

Not only does this provide exceptional value for the investment and build tremendous good will, it also lets me know right away which ads are working and which aren’t.

When you do it this way, paid advertising doesn’t have to cost a lot.  You can start out with $5-$10 and go from there.

#3 – Powerful Relationships & Connections

If you are launching a new teleseminar or webinar or hosting a tele-summit (a series of interviews) and you have strong relationships with strategic alliances and or affiliates, you can add 10,000 people to your list in under 90 days by having them promote your launch.

For example, I just spoke on Vrinda Normand’s tele-summit, and over 11,000 people opted in for that event.

The point is…

Whether someone is just starting out or whether they already have a large list, I believe that “What you focus on expands,” and by focusing on building their lists for 90 days, especially with all of the resources they receive through List-a-Palooza, they’ll move forward MUCH FASTER!

And, then how do you do it? How does one go from adding a few people every week to thousands? What do you see as the most effective strategies for building ones list? 

Here are the 3 phases of list-building as I see them…

PHASE 1:  Getting Started

When you’re just starting out, I recommend reaching out to your sphere of influence and inviting them to receive your special newsletter or tips (whatever valuable free goody you offer on an ongoing basis). 

Here are some places to start:

  • Stacks of business cards you’ve collected
  • Contacts in Gmail (or whatever e-mail provider you have)
  • People in your cell phone
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn connections

Send them an e-mail message to reconnect, inviting them to opt in to your list.  I share some specific templates for this in my free report, “How to Jumpstart Your E-mail List.”

By the way, you need PERMISSION to add someone to your e-mail list.  Otherwise, it’s considered spam.  When someone gives you their business card, it does NOT mean they’ve opted in to your list (unless they specifically say, “Here’s my card… please add me to your list.”)

PHASE 2:  Launching

Just like a rocket uses most of its fuel to get off the ground, adding the first 1,000 people to your list is the hardest, in my opinion.

You can accelerate your results in this stage by asking for referrals, regularly posting on social media, public speaking, attending networking events, and investing in paid advertising, like Facebook ads. 

If you’re really ambitious, you can add hundreds or thousands of people to your list in a relatively short period of time by hosting a tele-summit where the speakers that you’re interviewing help promote the event. 

PHASE 3:  Leverage

As your list gets bigger and bigger, it’s easier to find strategic alliances and affiliates with bigger lists to promote you and vice versa.

Once you have an online sales funnel that converts well, it’s less scary to invest more money in paid advertising as well.

Who are the top three email lists (excluding our own) that you think really embody the principles you teach?

Tracey Lawton

I stumbled upon her website online and opted in to her list because she was offering a free goody that I thought was valuable.  Her e-mail newsletter captured my attention with good subject lines and useful articles, and I eventually purchased one of her programs.

She did a great job of building relationship with me through her e-mail newsletter, even though we had no previous connection. 

Since then, we’ve promoted each other to our respective lists with great results.

I was so impressed that I invited her to speak on List-a-Palooza.  

Kendall SummerHawk

She also does a great job of consistently providing a lot of value through her e-mail newsletter.

She spoke on List-a-Palooza last year and the training she offered was fabulous.

RC Peck

It took me 10 years to find a financial planner that I could whole-heartedly recommend to my clients, and RC is it.  He has also built a large e-mail list and a very loyal following (he’s sharing about how he did it on List-a-Palooza this year).

I really appreciate his regular Market Situation Reports and that he provides them in both video and transcription form.

What would you consider to be a good open rate and click thru rate these days for emails?

I think a decent open rate to shoot for is 20%.  As for click thru rate, it really depends on the offer so I don’t have a specific rule for that.

Do you think that building an email list is where it’s at these days? It seems like there are so many email lists to be on and I know it’s overwhelming for me (and I’m in the business!). Where do you see email fitting into the larger picture of ‘staying in touch’ with clients? There are so many options for social media now too.

Yes, I do.  Many people change their physical address more often than their e-mail address these days.  They’re still opening and responding to e-mail.

And just because they’re on your e-mail list doesn’t mean that e-mail is the only way you can communicate with them.  I also use text messaging (for people who request it), voice broadcasts, and regular snail mail. 

Also, you can use your e-mail list to create a “Custom Audience” for Facebook ads so that only people on your e-mail list see that particular ad.

During List-a-Palooza, we do weekly “Power Hours” to help build each other’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest followings, too.

Ultimately, it’s not about e-mail specifically.  It’s about taking amazing care of and providing exceptional value for your “tribe” in a way that’s also scalable for you so that you can make a big difference without burning out in the process.

You’ve also built a pretty incredible following on Facebook, could you share anything about how you’ve gone about that?

It started with a shift in consciousness…  

Most people use their Fan Pages to talk about themselves and promote their stuff.  Until the middle of last year, my Facebook page was all about me… what I was up to, what events I had going on, and so on.

Then one of my mentors advised me to stop making my page about me, and start making it about THEM (the people who like my page).

People go on Facebook to feel connected and be entertained (not to find out about your latest teleclass).

Give them what they want with funny, cute, beautiful and interesting posts, and they’ll give you what you want (likes, comments, shares, opt-ins, and sales).

So a lot of my posts have nothing to do with my business.  I post pictures that make me laugh (like kittens in tea cups).  

I know that some social media experts out there teach exactly the opposite and would sneer at me for suggesting such a thing…

But this has made my Fan Page go viral, and these cute and funny posts keep my engagement high so that when I do post about my business, people actually see those posts.

What most people don’t know is that Facebook tracks the “Virality” of every single post and expresses it as a percentage of how many people liked, commented, or shared out of the total number of people that saw that post.

If even one post has under 2% virality, Facebook stops showing your posts to as many people, even though they’ve liked your page!

That’s why most Fan Pages in our industry have NOTHING going on… it’s like a graveyard, which is heartbreaking because the owners of these pages have put all this time, effort, and possibly even money into growing these pages, and it’s they’re not going anywhere.

If this has happened to your page, you can build the engagement and “Virality” back up by posting some viral images (feel free to recycle some of the images on my Fan Page) and investing a few dollars in promoting those posts (click “Promote Now” in the bottom right of the post). 

To check out PJ’s upcoming List-a-Palooza click here.