An Interview with Vrinda Normand: The Three Biggest Online Marketing Blindspots

June2013EventDay2V2Vrinda Normand is probably one of the best known copywriters in the whole conscious business scene.

She’s got the goods. Years ago, she did a 30 minute review of my sales copy for a new program I was launching and just tore it to shreds (and helped make it much better). So, I’ve seen her work first hand. She told me about the four stages that a potential clients needs to go through to want to work with you. And you can see seven mini samples of her work in this post.

And if you’d like to check out a series of free educational videos she’s recently put out on how to grow your business by creating virtual programs and products, you can check them out here.

She’s got a new program coming up that I want to make sure you knew about and so I did a little interview with her so you could get a sense of who she is and where she’s come from.

Vrinda speaks a lot about growing her business to seven figures – that might not be what you want but, believe me, she knows what she’s talking about and, at the very least, she can help you be a lot more effective at achieving whatever your marketing goals might be. As much as I am not drawn to the discussion of six and seven figures at this point in my life, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss it and the people sharing it. 

A big message she has here that is worth heeding is to stop winging it. Stop trying to make up the path to success by cobbling it together from things you see around you (that you might not fully understand). Vrinda is big on proven systems, checklists and making it easy for her clients. I’ve got a lot of respect for her.

Where did this program come from? What was the need you saw in the community that had you create this?

It all started when I was an investigative journalist for a Silicon Valley newspaper. I was getting burned out in my job, working too hard and not seeing the cover stories I wrote making a big difference in the world. Important political issues were brought to light but never significantly improved, and I started feeling unfulfilled and out of alignment with my purpose.

My career crisis collided with a health crisis – I became fatigued and my hair started falling out. I barely had enough energy to drag myself off the couch. I discovered I have a serious liver illness and I realized I could no longer keep living the same way – faced with constant deadlines in an underpaying job that made it very hard for me to take care of myself.

So I took a medical leave for a few months and started looking for a new career path. At the same time, I was getting natural healing treatments from a few holistic practitioners. They knew my career background and my situation and told me, “Vrinda, we need help with our marketing writing and YOU know how to write.”

They both invited me to attend a business seminar to learn more about how I could help them grow their businesses with my writing skills. That’s when I realized there was a whole new way I could help people and make a more positive difference.

When I attended the seminar – which was really the biggest eye-opener for me – I learned I could start my own business offering information products and group training programs to help people. This leveraged business model would allow me to break out of the dollars-for-hours cycle that kept me so overworked and underpaid.

I KNEW this was the right path for me. I was so excited to start my business. I invested in my first mentor that weekend and got the training I needed to create info products and programs.

The first product I sold, “E-Zine Articles Made Easy,” got a great response right away, and I knew I was on the right track for helping my clients get the support they needed. 

So in a way, my niche found me and told me how I could help them!  I now work with 1,000’s of holistic practitioners, coaches, consultants and other heart-based entrepreneurs empowering them to grow their businesses online with irresistible marketing messages and strategies.

I’m curious about your learning curve in doing online sales? Were you a natural at this or were there some hard learning curves for you?

As with anything, learning something takes practice and the results in the beginning are likely to be smaller as you’re still becoming competent at a new system or practice. 

My first program launches selling courses online were smaller, generating $20,000, then $50,000 and now we usually bring in about $200,000 with a successful online program launch. 

To get results and keep them growing, you need to follow a proven system – get one laid out for you by a mentor who’s accomplished what you aspire to. Don’t try to “wing it” by copying various things you see others doing online. This will just cause you a lot of headaches and lost income potential. I’ve seen too many people struggle this way.

The people who really master online sales success are those who invest in mentoring, put it into action and stick with it. You also need to be unstoppable – create your product or program and your online sales system, and get the professional mentoring and coaching to improve it as you grow. It’s a constantly evolving process.

And remember to have fun! No matter what level you’re at, growing your business online means you’re helping more people.

What are the three biggest blunders you see people making in online sales?

Great question!

BLIND SPOT #1 – SKIMPY COPY:  The first biggest blunder – or what I call “blind spot” – to watch out for is making your marketing copy (the words on your website) too skimpy, too short. 

Well, let me clarify. You want to write your promotional messaging in a succinct way, which means you use the fewest words to describe your point clearly, so it’s easy and quick for people to understand.

However too “skimpy” means you left a lot of important information out of your copy and people don’t have enough clarity about the value of your offer to take action and buy from you online. This is very common with online sales pages, especially when entrepreneurs are shy about making their page “too long” because they think people won’t read it.

The reality is, sales page copy can never be too long, it can only be too boring. So if you’re afraid people aren’t reading your stuff, you need to take a closer look at making your writing more irresistible, more compelling to your ideal clients.

And you need to make sure you have a complete formula to follow so you don’t miss any important pieces when enrolling clients online. Don’t be afraid to make your page long. Instead, make it thorough and highly engaging.

BLIND SPOT #2 – TALKING ABOUT PROCESS TOO MUCH:  The second “blind spot” is making your sales page too process driven. You focus too much of your messaging on the delivery of your program or product, so it’s all about your solution and how it works. 

That’s not very attractive to your ideal clients. They don’t care so much about process. What they care about is getting a solution to their problem and getting the end-results of the process. 

So focus on your ideal client and what they WANT, show them what outcomes are possible for them if they say yes to your program or product. 

This is very related to the first blind spot – process-driven copy is boring. So to make it more exciting, focus on the results and pleasures your ideal clients can look forward to.

BLIND SPOT #3 – TALKING TO EVERYONE: A third blind spot to avoid is making your copy too vague, not having a clear focus on a specific ideal client. 

You’d be surprised how many people think they know what a “niche” is but are still making this common mistake. 

When you try to please too many people at the same time, making your copy speak to different types of ideal clients because you don’t want to leave anyone out, the power of your message becomes watered down.

And even though you think you may attract more clients when you broaden your focus, you actually attract far less people because very few will be able to see how your message is relevant for them.

When your sales page has what I call “multiple personality disorder” your potential clients will become confused – they’ll see something that describes their situation but then they’ll see something else that’s very different. They’ll think your program isn’t right for them and go away without buying. 

 So to get the best results and truly serve people with your online sales copy, focus your page on 1 specific ideal client, and write as if you’re crafting a personal letter to 1 person. Imagine them in your head – this will make your page so much more intimate, conversational, and pleasing to read.

You’ve got a program coming up about online sales, can you tell us a bit about it and why you structured it the way you have?

My Irresistible Online Sales System enrollments are open for a few weeks this month (August 2013) – and I LOVE offering this program because it’s my most popular, most effective training to help entrepreneurs discover their irresistible marketing messages, create programs and sell them online. I specialize in working with entrepreneurs who want their marketing voice to be authentic, feel natural, and at the same time, be irresistible so clients respond and take action.

I’ve been evolving this program for the past 6 years and over 1,000 entrepreneurs have graduated from it. I feel it’s the strongest it has ever been in terms of teaching effectively and breaking down the proven step-by-step system to sell online. 

The program is taught with 7 virtual training modules, focused on the 7 key stages to enroll paying client online:

  • Market research to create the right offer for the right people 
  • Package your program for wildly successful sales
  • Craft your Irresistible Sales Page to Inspire a YES
  • Create your Compelling Offer Video that enrolls paying clients on the spot
  • Build Trust and Desire with Your Educational Videos
  • Get the proven launch plan to attract a rush of online sales
  • Get the team and technology to support you

The program also includes several forms of implementation support, coaching and Q&A opportunities that give my clients accountability, clarity and inspiration to fully implement the system.

I find that people need both a clear system to follow and the guidance to get it done right – that includes getting professional feedback on your marketing messages to make them compelling to your ideal clients. We also devote a significant portion of the training to helping people clarify who their ideal clients are and what program or product to offer – this is the most important foundation of any online sales system and that’s where we start with the program.

The Irresistible Online Sales System is right for any entrepreneur who wants to create leveraged income by selling an information product or group program online. If you don’t know what to offer yet but you know you want to grow in this direction, that’s great – I can help you with this program. It’s valuable for entrepreneurs with new or established businesses – both can create leveraged income online with success.

To learn more about how The Irresistible Online Sales System can benefit you, come to my complimentary webinar on “How to Enroll Paying Clients Online 24-7.”

It’s happening very soon! Save your spot now by clicking here

 

Interview: Life Coaching is Not a Business with Rebecca and Ellen

Screen-shot-2013-07-04-at-9.14.13-AMMy colleague and dear friend Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life (and her colleague Ellen Ercolini) have come out with a new program for Life Coaches that I wanted to share with you. Rebecca has been featured on my blog a number of times.

They have a really interesting take on helping coaches get more clients that I’ve never heard before (e.g. “We believe that “coaching” in and of itself isn’t a business.” and the idea of picking your expertise before choosing your niche).

If you’re a life coach (or holistic practitioner) I invite you to give this a read. 

Why did you choose Coaches to work with? What types of challenges do Coaches tend to have?

Ellen: We picked coaches because we both come from coaching backgrounds and we’ve watched our peers struggle, which totally sucks.  Coaches have a very strong drive to help the world – they really, really care about it.  They really want to make people’s lives  happier and positively impact the world.  Who doesn’t want to help those folks accomplish their dreams faster? It’s such a gratifying circle of positive impact.

What they don’t have, by and large, is strong marketing and entrepreneurial skills.   SO many coaches graduate coaching school (ourselves included!) thinking “I can change the world! I can do anything!” And, without the biz skills to back that up, it’s not true. Which leads to really talented people getting depressed and sad about their perceived lack of coaching skills, when in reality it’s the marketing and business skills  they are missing.  

We figured it out pretty early on in our business development, so now we’re on a mission to short circuit that learning curve for other coaches.

Becca: Ditto what Ellen said. And I’d add that coaches tend to be really timid with their marketing. They often have this view that doing good shouldn’t make them a lot of money. That they don’t need money. Which is totally ridiculous. There’s nothing noble about being broke. And there’s nothing “bad” about wanting to make not just a good living, but a damn good living. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy some freedom to travel, volunteer, give back, and provide for your family. Those things feel pretty noble to me! 

What’s the system you offer to help coaches solve those problems?

Becca: We believe that “coaching” in and of itself isn’t a business. Coaching is a skill that you use in your business to help bring your clients some kind of result. So in a sense, we’re helping coaches actually figure out what their business is – where their expertise lies.

Once they get clear on their expertise (which includes their niche), we teach them to talk about coaching in a way that gets them clients. Coaches have the habit of using really jargon-y words, so we teach them how to talk about what they so that people perk up and listen (and then ask for their card!). We like to make it EASY for coaches to get referrals, so we teach them how to get known as an expert in their field. Then we  teach them how to use their expertise to create packages that their clients are begging for. No more having to go hunt down your clients. And this all may sound intimidating, but it’s actually really simple, and anyone can do it.

Ellen: YES!  We both use this method in our businesses and have seen huge growth.  When you start speaking clearly about the problems you solve in a way that your clients resonate with, people actually start remembering what you do.  

What’s the number one mistake you see coaches make when they are first starting businesses?

Ellen: They try to help everyone.  Here’s the deal – when people hear ‘I  work with everyone!’ it gets interpreted as ‘no one’.  I see new coaches all the time saying they help people live a ‘more fulfilled life’ – when I ask who specifically they work with they say ‘oh everyone!’ – when I ask how many clients they have it gets really quiet.  

Another huge roadblock for new coaches like Becca mentioned, is talking with too much coaching jargon.  Coaches understand what ‘shifting perspectives to align with values’ means, but it’s because we’ve all gone through classes!  New coaches need to be vigilant about explaining what they do in language that their ideal clients use.  So I guess that’s two mistakes, but they go hand in hand.

Becca: Trying to work with everyone. Gahhh, it drives me nuts! Not only does it not help with their marketing, but I can guarantee that they also don’t WANT to work with everyone. We’re allowed to be selfish in our businesses for the sake of our clients. What I mean is that by only working with clients who totally light you up, you’ll do WAY better coaching, you clients will get more out of it, and work will always feel good for you.

New coaches also tend to have these open ended packages (typically 2-4 sessions a month, for minimum 3 months, on an ongoing, seemingly never-ending basis. No one wants to buy a never-ending service! I don’t know who started with that model, but those don’t sell. New coaches are often reluctant to break away from the way it’s typically done, but we show them a way to structure their packages that makes WAY more sense, and that gets them more clients.

What’s your view on coaches choosing a niche? How should they go about that?

Becca: We believe in expertise first, niche second. Most people go about it backwards – they want to come up with a niche first, before they are even really clear on what they want to do.

So for example, instead of saying “I help single moms”, they might say “I’m an expert organizer and I help people with really busy lives to fit all the millions of things they need to do into their days without getting totally overwhelmed”. That leaves them lots of room to work with different kinds of people (if they don’t want to choose just one niche), but also positions them as the expert in something, so they get known faster for what they do. So YES – choose a niche, but make sure it’s grounded in your expertise.

Ellen: Exactly! Because as we know, businesses evolve.  Developing your business around your expertise makes it simple to apply it to different groups (niches) – and if you want to transition niches, it’s a simple pivot, not an re-brand.  It’s also much more of a natural extension of who the business owner is as a whole person, so it makes the marketing and sales aspect a lot smoother.  

How will this help Coaches in terms of Marketing?

Ellen: Using this system coaches become super clear about where and how to market themselves, and they’ve got the words to make people hear them.   It enables the coaches to speak clearly about the problems they solve, and articulate the results they offer.  Which is totally what people want!  They want you to swoop in and solve their problems!  Which our coaches do now.  Many of the coaches that have gone through Coaching Business Jumpstart have landed new clients the next day because they finally knew how to talk to potential clients.  How’s that for short-cutting the learning curve?

Becca: Most coaches don’t even know what the term “marketing” really means (I certainly didn’t when I got started!). But marketing is really all grounded in being specific about what you do – so in that sense, everything we teach them will help with their marketing! Especially because we help coaches get confident in what they are doing. Too many coaches don’t see their true value, they tend to leave out all their past experiences and just see themselves as new coaches. But we teach them to integrate ALL parts of who they are into their business, so that they feel totally confident in what they do and how they offer it to people, and confidence is KEY in marketing yourself. If you don’t believe in what you do, how can you expect anyone else to?

Where can people find you ladies and learn more about the Coaching Business Jumpstart?

You can get in on the program and find out more about our individual coaching businesses at www.coachingbusinessjumpstart.com. We currently have a self-study version for sale, and will be running the live event again on September 14.


If you’re a coach struggling to make your business work, Becca + Ellen have your answer with Coaching Business Jumpstart. This program is your ticket to making the business side of coaching feel fun and easy. You will learn exactly where you need to start, lay out a plan for moving forward, and leave with the skills and knowledge to make your dream coaching business a reality. You’re great at what you do. You KNOW you can help people. Now if only you knew who those people were, where to find them, and how to get them to hire you! Coaching Business Jumpstart teaches you how.

case study: 10 lessons on making a no hype compelling sales video

My dear friend and colleague Ryan Eliason has put together a video presentation about his upcoming business training for social entrepreneurs. I just finished watching it. And it. is. good.

I want to encourage you to watch this (whether or not you decide to participate in his training). I think this video is a great example of a few key marketing lessons. Ten of them in fact.

I’ve laid out the ten lessons below that I’d love for you to take from this and, as per usual, I’ve loaded this blog with a tonne of links to posts I’ve written on key topics and useful resources to help you get the most out of this as possible.

Context is important here. If Ryan were simply to make this video, put it on his website and hope that people signed up, he’d get very little response. This video is a part of a campaign with a start date and an end date. It is being introduced to people (like you) through people they trust (like me). It’s also being shown to people who have taken part of five very content rich teleseminars that have been leading up to Ryan’s 21 week program. That’s important. People aren’t seeing this video with no context. And they’re only watching it because they’re a socially conscious solopreneur who wants more money and more free time and they are curious about what Ryan has to offer at this point.

There are lots of kinds of videos you can make. You can make a video for your homepage, a bio video, a blog video of just you sharing to the webcam some new thing you’ve learned. But you can also use a video as a direct ‘here’s what I’ve got and here’s how much it is’ offer.

In marketing baseball terms, most people are already on second or third base by the time they watch this video. There’s already at least curiousity but likely some trust and excitment by the time they hit it.

Here’s the video  . . .

 

LESSON #1: Tone.

Ryan demonstrates how to be respectful, direct, understated, down to earth, grounded and matter of fact in your presentation (vs. over the top, too enthusiastic, pushy, aggressive and hyped up). This is something my colleague Lynn Serafinn wrote about in her book, ‘The Seven Graces of Marketing‘. And I’ve written about it in some blog posts about this idea of resonance and also in a recent blog post ‘Nine Thoughts of Copywriting for Hippies‘. He does this by acknowledging that not everyone will be able to get the same results. He acknowledges the limitations of his own program based on where people are at. To me that is so incredibly credibility building.

 

LESSON #2: Fit.

What if we used marketing as a filtering process of attracting only who’s a perfect fit (vs. trying to sell everyone into your programs). If you’re just in it for money? It’s not a fit. It’s powerful to not only say, ‘Here’s who my program is a fit for,’ but also ‘Here’s who my program is not a fit for.’ People feel immensely respected when you let go of your attachment to making the sale just lay out clearly who your program is a good match for.

 

LESSON #3: Stories.

This video powerfully uses the power of case studies and success stories of your clients (e.g. in his case a naturopath, fair trade tea company CEO and a relationship coach). These establish credibility but also give clarity about who his program might be a fit for. Stories are so powerful in marketing. My colleague Casey Hibbard wrote a brilliant ebook on this at www.storiesthatsellguide.com. And you can also check out the excellent work of Michael Margolis at www.getstoried.com or read my blog posts about using stories effectively in marketing.

 

LESSON #4: Point of View.

Here’s where I think this video really excels. It demonstrates the power of sharing your clear point of view about the best system to get from Island A to Island B.

Ryan does a solid job of laying out his take on why most socially conscious entrepreneurs don’t get the results they are craving. He breaks down the elements (in his case eight of them) and makes the case that if you’re missing even one of these it’s like a leak in your boat (which is a great example of effectively using a metaphor to sum up your business).

And so, if you are missing multiple elements then you have multiple holes in your boat. In my workshops, I will talk about the three foundations of your marketing or the six elements of a successful platform. These types of maps and systems are extremely useful in helping people self diagnose themselves and see if what you’re offering can be a fit. Think also of: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the seven chakras, the five elements of chinese medicine, the four directions etc. Maps.

After all, someone might watch this video and think, ‘You know what? I’m really solid in all eight of these.’ and, wonderfully, realize that Ryan’s program isn’t a fit for them (thus saving dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars that would have been wasted if they’d been hyped or pressured into it.

But, if they are lacking in some of these areas then it’s likely they’ll lean into wanting to work with him. Ryan doesn’t just list the outline of his course and hope that people ‘get it’. He makes his case. He says, ‘Here’s what I think you need to make this journey and here’s why I think you need it.’ Again, he’s very direct. And direct is respectful.

 

LESSON #5: Sharing your Why.

Ryan does a great job hear of repeatedly coming back to his ‘why’ of making the world a better place through seeing socially conscious businesses succeed. His why comes through in a number of ways. Many programs wax on and on about ‘don’t you yearn to make a difference? have a bigger impact?’ and it honestly makes me gag sometimes because it seems soooooo overly, earnestly sincere and like it’s trying so hard not to be marketing.

I’d rather someone just made their case directly. And, frankly, I don’t think trying to sell someone on your services based on altruism and ‘doing the right thing’ ever works. People do things because there’s something in it for them. Find that. Speak to that. But, if people get that you can help them get a result they’re craving and relevance has been established then your ‘why’ (the deeper cause of your business) becomes incredibly compelling. How does Ryan communicate his why?

It comes through in his voice.

His program is targeted towards socially conscious entrepreneurs.

His case studies of socially conscious entrepreneurs.

It’s not enough to just mention your ‘why’ once. If you really want it to land for people then you need to come back to that again and again and again.

 

LESSON #6: Speak to the Impact.

Ryan doesn’t just give his map – he reemphasizes the impact of what happens if people follow his kind of advice (whether from him or someone else) and when they don’t. The basic formula is, “If you don’t implement these these then ______ is likely to happen but if you do implement these things then _______ is likely to happen.”

You need to speak to the impact. You need to speak directly to ‘here’s what’s in it for you.’ If all Ryan did was speak to how cool he thought his program was he’d lose people. And that’s a huge mistake that so many people make. Instead of talking about the journey they take people on from Island A to Island B – they talk about the boat. And, as I wrote about in a recent blog post, no one cares about your boat initially.

Even the title of Ryan’s program, “Double Your Income and Your Time Off” speaks directly to this. People don’t want to sign up for a business coaching program. But people do want more money and more free time. They want to feel more confident. They want to make a bigger different. Speak directly to what people are craving.

 

LESSON #7: Anticipate Concerns.

Ryan anticipates a very likely concern that will come up for most people who’d be drawn to his course, ‘But my business is different.’ And then he addresses it directly. If there are common questions and concerns that come up from people, risks they’re afraid they’ll have to take in if they work with you, address those head on. It will have your sales letters feel like much more of a conversation because you’re acknowledging what’s happening for them on their side.

 

LESSON #8: Know Your Niche.

Okay. This should be #1 really. This program is focused on a particular niche. It’s a bit broad but it seems to work for him. It’s for socially conscious solopreneurs. It’s what I’d call a big circle (and in the video he lists lots of the little circles that fit inside of it). You can read my thoughts on Big & Little Circles in niching here. But Ryan is not niching by industry or age or geography (demographics) he’s niching by type of business (socially conscious solopreneurs), a core problem (not enough clients, time or money) and focuses heavily on psychographics (the internal values, worldview and communities they’re a part of).

 

LESSON #9: Establish the Value. 

Ryan takes the time to go through his program and make sure that people get the impact each piece could have. He makes sure that people know how much each piece is worth on its own so that, when you get to the final price, it’s clear that you’re getting good value for your money. If I had to sum up marketing in a single sentence, I’d borrow Mac Ross’s words, ‘Marketing is about establishing the value beyond the immediately apparent.’ Don’t assume that people ‘get’ how valuable your stuff is. If they don’t appreciate it, that’s your fault, not theirs.

Ryan also does something compelling in the powerful reframing of the cost of his course as an investment. And he doesn’t do this in an offhanded way. He makes the case systematically. Communicate the value of what you do.

 

LESSON #10: Video Sales Letters.

This lesson is sort of implicit in the presentation itself but I want to flag it.

Your programs that you offer likely have a lot of of aspects to them. They’re not so simple. And, sometimes, it just takes a while to really communicate everything you’ve put together to help people. But many people are sick of the long scrolling sales letters. So, Ryan lays out another option in dealing with this – put it into a video. If you were to take the transcript of this video and put it into a long copy sales letter – it would be pretty long. But, for some reason, video is often easier to digest for people. It’s something to consider as an option. You can read my posts about writing sales letters here.

If you’d like to see other posts of mine on the power of video marketing just click here.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

niche case study: the happy MD

I met Dike Drummond (pictured here) in 2011 at a marketing workshop and loved him warm, positive attitude. I liked him instantly. He just started a new project that is so very on point around niching and a beautiful example of how our own wounds can be doorways to our truest niches. 
 
What is the name of your project?
The Happy MD
 
What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?
 
I am a doctor (Family Practice) who burned out at the age of 40 – 14 years ago now – and quit my medical practice.
 
I have been a life and business coach and trainer in several non-healthcare niches since then and my heart has always been looking for a time and place to reach out to the people in the same situation I faced in 1998 — those who love taking care of patients and hate “the system” and its unsustainable expectations. 
 
I did some research to see if the landscape of personal development for physicians had changed and found a perfect storm.

1) The research shows 1 in 3 physicians are suffering from symptomatic burnout on any given office day – worldwide — regardless of specialty. And there is no reason to think burnout is any less prevalent in nurses or hospital administrators and others in the system.

2) Researchers have also proven a number of techniques effective in preventing and treating burnout – all of which I have either incorporated into my life or coached others on. These include Mindfulness, Work-Life Balance and Appreciative Inquiry … to name a few.

3) Even though these techniques are proven in the research – no one is teaching them on the internet. 

I created TheHappyMD.com and its evolving line of trainings and coaching to put the tools that work into the front line physicians who need them most. 

I realized that the person I have become here in 2012 is the exact person I would have so loved to meet back in 1998 … and if we had met, I am pretty sure I would still be practicing medicine in some fashion today. Once I realized this and saw the amount of burnout – and suffering – out there … the purpose of these last 12 years of my life became crystal clear. 

Your recent post about figuring out your niche poses a great question and for those of us who have some water under our bridge (it’s not the age, it’s the mileage) I believe it is THE question to build your “right livelihood” around. I resisted asking this BIG question for 2 decades and have only now done so. Changed my life drastically at a time when I needed it most.

I can now see that turning point clearly:

– At the time I had no answers to what I was feeling – couldn’t even formulate the questions
– Since then my life trajectory has taught me what I most needed to know back then … in first person experience … just like Anf in the comments below !
– And … lo and behold … there are tens of thousands of other people out there who are where I was back in the day – now 14 years ago – wondering what to do when burnout has taken away the drive to keep practicing medicine. 
– And … now I can help. THIS me has some answers that THAT 14 year ago me was missing.

As I plan my business to serve my people … it is clear that it is about something MUCH bigger than me. I am in service. It is completely different than any other business I have created or worked in. I hear angels singing a LOT. Amazing.

What’s the response been so far? 

Universally positive.
 
I have generated about 3500 hits a month to the site – we launched in January of 2012. I have nearly 500 people on my list … almost all of them doctors … and my coaching practice has 12 physician clients at the moment. I have my first corporate client and just delivered my first all staff speaking engagement to a hospital system in Alabama (I live in Washington state). I have also been picked up by a Healthcare Industry Speaker’s Bureau.
 
Can you share a few examples of how your project works?
 
Visitors to my site can download a couple of free reports. One teaches Appreciative Inquiry – a research proven method of personal growth where instead of working on problems, you focus on doing more of what is going right in your life. This is a way of seeing the world that is totally foreign to most docs and can change your outlook in a heartbeat.

The second is a single breath release technique they can use to recenter and get present during the office day – something we all need and docs have never been taught.

Once on my mailing list they get a weekly newsletter with burnout prevention tips and an invitation to a free, one hour “Discovery Session”.

I am also nearing the final stages of my Work Life Balance and Boundaries Mastery Training for Physicians. This will be a 6 week very practical course on creating more work life balance delivered via the internet.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?
 
Find the biggest sites/blogs and groups on the web and LinkedIn and pitch them good content.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

Guest blogging and posting my articles in Physician Groups on the internet and LinkedIn and SEO for search engine traffic. I guest blog at KevinMD.com and their facebook page. That generates a significant portion of my inbound traffic. I am also a HuffPost blogger. In healthcare this does not generate a lot of inbound traffic, but it does give a number of very high powered backlinks to my site.

There are several large MD groups on LinkedIn and on the web (Sermo.com is one) where I post my articles and generate traffic

And I am compulsive about SEO on every blog post and that pays off. I know my niche search terms by heart and use the wordpress plugin SEOPressor to optimize to 90% or more on each term. 

Now I am adding offline promotion with speaking engagements. And I am in the midst of product development and writing a Kindle book on Burnout Prevention

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Find a big problem and talk about it in a way that no one else does

Go where your people already are … the big blogs and groups in your niche. The bigger the site … the more they need your content.

Offer quick tools that work right away and a free consult to the folks who need more than that.

At its heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

It is about healing the healers.
 
In no other profession is the health and presence of the provider so important as in healthcare. If the doctor or nurse or the person drawing your blood is not getting their needs met – they can’t be there for you … can’t listen, empathize, touch or care. We have all been to doctors or hospitals where we have had this experience. And doctors are trained to ignore their own needs and the system is set up to treat them as disposable tools. It does not have to be this way. 

There are research proven tools to prevent and treat burnout.

There are ways to create organizations where the health and wellbeing of the providers is as important as that of the patient AND these things – when implemented – will result in happier, healthier doctors, nurses and patients and more profitable healthcare organizations.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

Live training – especially in an All Staff setting where we can get nurses, doctors and administrators all together to talk about stress and burnout and be more human with each other.

Internet delivered products to teach mindfulness and work-life balance to anyone anywhere in the world who could use it.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Come to www.thehappymd.com and grab the Satisfaction Mind Flip free report and get on the mailing list. 

Tell all your stressed out friends in healthcare about the site – doctors, nurses, adminstrators …. everyone.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It is easy to have a bad experience with a doctor and blame them … and they can’t give what they haven’t got. That doctor was most likely over stressed and burned out on that day. The first thing I would suggest you do is ask them how their day is going and help them take a deep breath. Doesn’t sound like much AND it would make a huge difference to them. Then give them this website address www.TheHappyMD.com 

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 
 
 

is your partner addicted to this?

I never thought I’d hear the words ‘porn addiction’ on one of my coaching calls.

I just hosted a coaching call all about identifying your hubs called “Seven Places to Find Your Perfect Clients”. We had five folks gathered who I was personally working with to help them sort out where they could find people. It’s often the biggest question folks have: ‘where should I advertise? where do I find people?’

And here’s the first lesson: when it’s a struggle to find clients, don’t try harder – get clearer.

When you can’t find any clients it’s usually a chance to step back and get even more clear about who is it you’re trying to reach. Doesn’t it always come back to the niche thing?

On the call there was a woman from France named Rosine Caplot who shared that she wanted to work with “Men, 20-40, computer type of guys: programmers, computer scientists, physicists, left-brained technical geeks, and more generally guys who are into computers, who work on the computer, socialize online, even spend their free time in front of the computer.”

Their problem: Porn addiction or related sexual issues: excessive mental focus on sex, compulsive unwanted fantasies or fetishes that turn them on but also make them feel bad and that they don’t really want to have, sexual dysfunctions, sex drive and/or erection problems, or just plain never getting laid. They are ashamed of it and want to stop, but can’t.

Her offer: healing sessions to help them heal these issues and create the kind of sex life they really want to have.

I’ll let Rosine (pictured here)  tell you what happened from here with my commentary interspersed.

 

My problem: I didn’t know where to find those people nor how to reach them. I know they hang out on technical blogs, in technical forums, or in MMORPG’s, but I don’t hang out in these places, and doing so just to promote my business is out of question because it’s insincere. Plus, it’s not the appropriate place to talk about sexual issues. “I bought a cool ethernet shield for my bf’s microprocessor. Btw, are you addicted to porn?”  . . . that would be just weird.

My perfect clients are rather introverted. Relationships don’t come to them that easily and they tend to not open up quickly. Plus, there is a lot of shame and guilt attached to these sexual issues. They are not likely to talk about it with strangers nor to join support groups. Science guys also usually aren’t into spiritual healing. So I really had no clue where and how I could meet them. Google is already flooded with stuff about overcoming porn addiction, I thought I’d have no chance of ranking high enough there. Finding enough clients seemed impossible.

You get the idea.

Sometimes the core, underlying problem you see in the people you want to serve is not something they want to look at yet.  There’s too much shame attached to it.

You think that men want to look at their addiction to porn? You think they want to go to a public workshop about it and out themselves? You think they want to ‘share’ it on social media?

Wrong.

So, what do you do if you are passionate about reaching people in this kind of boat?

My experience on the Call:

I signed up for the call partly because I was clueless about where to find clients, and partly simply because my intuition was telling me Tad was the right person for me to engage with at this time.

I liked the call very much. So much great input! I liked the nice atmosphere and friendly sharing with others. It was interesting to listen to Tad working with the other participants. I got a lot out of it even though they were working with completely different niches.

I especially like his structured, strategic, precise and clear way of thinking. I hate the guts of marketing but he made it look really simple and easy and explained everything exactly. I so appreciate that. :-)

We clarified my niche and refined it a bit, which was helpful. I also decided for myself that the long list of symptoms including erection problems, lack of sex drive or never getting laid was too broad. Although my sessions definitely can help with that, I silently decided to focus just on porn addiction, excessive mental focus on sex and unwanted, compulsive fantasies or fetishes.

It’s easy to think of narrowing one’s focus as limiting – but the truth is that it’s liberating. Once you make a decision of a target market to focus on (even if you have more than one) all sorts of ideas for hubs and offers and events etc. start to appear.

Toward the end of the call, I started to feel anxious. I now knew how to manage and approach hubs and how to build relationships with them, but I still had no idea which hubs to approach and how to reach my perfect clients.

Fortunately I said it, and that’s when another participant on the call suggested I find them through their wives or girlfriends.

Porn addiction and shameful fantasies usually put a strain on the relationship, so I could find unhappy partners through support groups for partners of porn addicts.

Lightbulb!

This realization is kind of the key point in this blog.

Sometimes you can’t sell to the person directly. Sometimes to reach them you need to reach out the people most affected.

You think a heroine addict is going to sponsor their own intervention? Think again. But – his friends and family would.

You think a stressed out bride is going to buy a relaxation CD for ‘bridezillas’? Unlikely. But her bridesmaids and mom might love having something to give to her to help her relax.

And, in fact, then the affected party might just become a new target market.

In this case, the headline: “are you addicted to porn?” might or might not be more successful than, “is your boyfriend addicted to porn?”.

It’s worth testing. My gut says there would be a strong response from women on this.

Also, consider the word of mouth marketing implications. Do you think men talk to other men about their porn addictions?

Hell no.

Perhaps women share this with their friends a bit more readily? Worth exploring and I’d guess that, while there’s still shame, it’s more likely.

What if Rosine developed materials for the partners like videos or ebooks on . . .

– 5 ways to know if your man is addicted to porn and what to do about it.
– three phrases to never say when talking to you partner about their addiction
– how to get your partner to seek help and face his porn addiction
– when to end the relationship and walk away

Etc.

If she did this she might just become a hub for women around the world who are passionate about having their men back and seeing men living more fulfilling lives. This also speaks to the whole theme I’ve been exploring lately about exploring the deeper cause of your business.

There are a lot of possibilities here.

There was a short brainstorming session and within just a couple minutes Tad and the ladies on the call came up with more ideas. Relationship coaches! Couple therapy counselors! And for the single guys, online dating websites or pick up and dating coaches, sexual health counsellors, women’s groups.

It was so awesome! So many ideas suddenly coming in! Genius. I would never have thought of these myself. I was so thankful.

The Impact it Had on Me:

Before the call, I thought it would be impossible to find clients in that niche.

This is just one project out of six, so I thought it didn’t matter that much whether it was successful or not. I thought it would simply be the smallest and least successful of my endeavours. I love computer type of guys very much and I really want to help them, so I was planning on going for it anyway regardless of the money, but I was counting on, like, one session a month in that project. I thought even if I help just one person in that area, it would already be worth it.

Now after the call, I think it could actually work! Even pretty well! Which also means I could actually help lots of people to heal their sex life! How wonderful is that?! I’m soooo excited about it now. :-)

It’s like a whole bunch of doors suddenly burst wide open.

Feeling very happy.

If you know of anybody I could talk to, like relationship coaches, couple therapists, support groups for partners of porn addicts, ‘pick up’ teachers, David Deida style manliness coaches for men or online dating website owners, would you please let me know? That would be so cool. <3 You can email me at rosine (at) rosinecaplot (dot) com or check out my website here: www.rosinecaplot.com

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 

 

guest post: 3 must-have’s for online marketing success in your holistic business

by Suzanne Monroe

Something that gets me so excited in life is being able to run my business virtually. Oh, who am I kidding…it’s actually up there with one of the most over-the-top amazing things in my life! Running my business online is pure euphoria for me.

Euphoria?! Yes, euphoria. The Definition of euphoria made me smile today.

Wikipedia defines euphoria as this: Euphoria is medically recognized as a mental and emotional state defined as a profound sense of well-being…an intense state of transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of contentment.

Yep, that’s sounding like me when I’m running my business. But wait, there’s more….

Euphoria is sometimes induced by the use of psychoactive drugs. However, some natural behaviors, such as activities resulting in orgasm, love and the triumph of an athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria. Euphoria has also been cited during certain religious or spiritual rituals and meditation

Want some of that, don’t you?

So if love, sex, meditation, running a marathon and even drugs can cause euphoria, your business can too! I’m calling for an addition to the definition of Euphoria = Following Your Passion in Business, because what I know today is that holistic entrepreneurs are so tapping into their passion and making big impacts that they are definitely euphoric.

How to Experience More Euphoria in Your Biz

Achieving euphoria in your business happens when you are totally tapped into your passion and purpose and serving the world from your heart. You’re giving and receiving and are excited to wake up everyday to all of the possibilities that await you, and you go after them while experiencing ease and joy.

Running my biz actually gives me tingles when I think of how amazing it is. There’s so much AWESOMENESS being able to set my own hours, connecting with people all around the world, and creating an in’come that isn’t limited by a company’s rules or a hidden “glass ceiling”. (Yuck, corporate old school stuff!) Not that many years ago, when I was lugging around in a day job I despised, having a virtual business wasn’t even something in my awareness. Now I can’t imagine my life without it and the way things are going, it’s an opportunity that anyone have…if that’s what your heart desires.

One reason I love being online and running my business virtually is that I get to reach so many people in so many different places. Just last week I connected with a client in South Africa. We have people from across the world joining the IAWP and our training programs.

As a holistic biz owner, I know you, too, value freedom, flexibility and being able to help people with your work just about anywhere. So that’s why I wanted to share with you the 3 main things that you need to have in place to have online success in your holistic business…and experience more euphoria along the way.

The 3 Secrets to Online Business Success

These 3 things are essential to online success and as a result, biz euhporia, no matter if you’ve already taken yourself online or if you’re just getting started. No exceptions, you just gotta have these:

1. A Problem Solving Program
This one’s a biggy. Whether you’re a coach or a service provider, you can design whatever it is that you currently offer into a “program” that solves your potential client’s problem. If you have a website with tons of offerings and you’re finding it isn’t working for you, make sure that your programs are truly SOLUTIONS that will solve a problem for your clients. If you aren’t solving a problem for a specific group of people who need support, your work won’t stand out to anyone in particular. Which means less traffic, less clients and less biz for you. Take an inventory of your programs right now and make sure they’re Solutions to the Big Problems your clients are facing.

2. Lead Seeds –
The second most important thing you need for online success in your holistic business are what I call “Lead Seeds”. Lead Seeds are essentially all of the places your ideal client hangs out online. In internet lingo, it’s essentially “traffic”. Where are your clients coming from? If you don’t know, you need to get very clear on this so you can spend your marketing efforts and time wisely. There’s many ways to connect with your ideal client online, from speaking to joint ventures to social media, but the important thing is knowing where your clients are and where you can connect with them.

3. Signature Support System
You have to have a way to stay connected and offer your support. Don’t sit around waiting for people to contact you. The way to get your phone ringing and your contact button on your site pressed is for you to step up and lead your client communications. You can do that when you have A Signature Support System. It’s simply the specific steps that clients take with you through your business. Every Signature Support System needs to have starter steps and bigger leaps that clients can take. And the support system only works if you are providing value to your clients and continuing to solve their problem at every step along the way. If you don’t have a Signature Support System in place, you’ll want to start by creating a “signature freebie”, something valuable you can giveaway and share with your community. (To see an example, check out ours here at http://www.iawp-connect.com )From there, staying in contact and finding out how you can serve and support are the ways to building a sustainable, thriving business doing what you love.

If you’re marketing your holistic business online (which I sure hope you are!), then get make sure you’re getting these steps in place so you can experience euphoria…and help others get some of that energy, too.

Thriving Together,

Suzanne Monroe

Founder & CEO

The International Association of Wellness Professionals

Are you a wellness professional, holistic health practitioner, or other health-minded, heart-centered entrepreneur who wants to learn the business and marketing tools to create lasting success? Get your FREE Wellness Professional’s Success Starter Kit at http://www.iawp-connect.com and jumpstart your wellness practice today. Suzanne Monroe is a Holistic Business Coach and the Founder & CEO of the International Association of Wellness Professionals, where passionate practices become thriving businesses.

 

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

success story: calgary’s mortgage navigator

A little while ago, Charlotte Lammerhirt (pictured here) attended my daylong workshop for holistic practitioners in Calgary.

Except she’s a mortgage broker.

And yet, somehow she’s take the strategies and resources and done and amazing job at applying them. I thought I’d share her story as it not only gives a good idea of what I teach in that workshop but also just some plain old inspiration of what you can do to quickly and affordably improve your marketing as a service provider.

Check out the links to her work. I think you might just be inspired at how warm and human marketing can be.

Hi Tad,

I know that you are very busy but I just wanted to send you a thank you email….

My website is finally complete (yay!) but I just really wanted to send you this email of thanks….

Taking your day long workshop in the spring in Calgary really made a difference in my marketing. 

 

From that workshop I . . .

1) changed website designers and found someone who built and trained me on wordpress…so great!

2) bought Carrie Klassens “how to write a loveable home page” e book and rewrote my home page

3) took the “new about me” class and wrote a totally new bio

4) found a photographer who took some really really great (at least I think so) headshots of me

5) I started to do my own videos (just some really boring lender ones on there right now) but did one on ‘xtranormal.com’ about mortgages that people love and think are hilarious

6) I am on twitter!

So right now I have a great website that I am sooooo proud of….I love it!

Your workshop really made a difference in my business… Just so you know I do read all of your emails or at least I catch up on your site directly at least twice a week.  It is so amazing what you share….all for free.

I am still working on….

1) crafting my free offer for my website (your ebook is in my bag…)
2) working on my niche…..ugh…..still just have ‘first time home buyers’  not focused enough
3) welcome video…..saving a bit more coin
4) Facebook…coming in the next couple of weeks
5) monthly e newsletter

The feed back I have been getting in regards to the esthetics of the site have been good….They (i.e my friends and husband) think it looks good and is very professional.

However, in terms of the content, they think that . . .

1) I am too narrow in my focus…(i.e (just renters??  but I can do mortgages for everyone!!)…..but I know that I am probably not narrow enough as I have not yet found who my niche is

2) Some pages like my bio, may be too wordy and long winded i.e Char, no one is going to read all of that!

3) xtranormal.com!  Funny but a little weird!

So I think what I have decided to do is to listen to their input but go with my instincts.  

My friends and family are great but I am reading and studying all I can about marketing and the majority of what I am reading is to FIND YOUR NICHE.  It’s hard as most of my friends are well meaning but none of them have taken any marketing courses!!

So I need to stop asking them (a disguise for asking for their approval) and just do what I think is the best for my business.

My site is www.themortgagenavigator.ca

Thank you again so much, you really made a difference in my business

Charlotte Lammerhirt
The mortgage navigator

Share your thoughts and reflections below. I’m sure Charlotte would love to hear them.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

how to write a lovable homepage

You might have alreadry met my friend Carrie Klassen (pictured here). She’s released her very first product I want to tell you about.

A while ago, I released my first product. It’s all about a simple thing you can do to your homepage which can have way more people opting in to be on your email list.

But quite frankly, it’s of little use if a certain part of your website itself isn’t working. So, I want to talk to you about your website.

More specifically, it’s about a particular part of your website.

It’s a part of your website that is absolutely, no questions, no debating it – the most vital part of your website. It’s the first thing people see and it makes or breaks you website. Full stop. Period. End of discussion.

Any marketing consultant would agree with me on this.

What is it? Well, as the blog post title suggests, it’s . . .

Your homepage.

And I want to be lovingly blunt here: I would give a failing grade to most homepages I see.  And I’ve looked at a lot of them trying to find examples of homepages that kicked ass. I can count on two hands the number of kick ass homepages I’ve seen.

But I think most people think that their homepage is ‘good enough’.

This could be true, but the vast majority of homepages I’ve seen are either: boring as hell, all about the business and how great it is, full of jargon, confusing or arrogant.

And, of course, you don’t want any of those.

Because you’ve got about three seconds to win them over. Three seconds before they decide ‘this isn’t relevant to me’ or before they break out in a huge smile because they finally found something just perfect for them.

You want a homepage that is clear, loveable, honest, warm and compelling.

You want a homepage that you love and are so excited to share with the people you meet.

You want a homepage that your ideal clients land on and it’s as if they walked up to your home and you opened the door and said, ‘It’s you! Welcome!’ and gave them a hot cup of their favourite drink as they smell the wafts of their favourite meal coming from your beautifully crafted, oak wood front door.

 

You want a homepage that your ideal clients will love.

And, I mean this with so much love and understanding of how overwhelming business can be . . . your homepage probably isn’t there right now.

Tough love (but I love you!)

So, what can you do?

There’s a simple, 15 question diagnostic quiz you can take to find out for sure (and workbook you can use to make it just perfect). If your website is the happy exception then you’ll only need to spend five minutes at the most and have something to brag about all week.

I always speak about the importance of having a great homepage at my workshops, but I’ve never considered myself an expert. And, for years, I’ve been craving a resource that I could whole-heartedly recommend on this topic.


lovable homepage Finally, it’s here.

It’s called the ‘ How to Write a Lovable Homepage ‘ workbook.

I can’t rave about it enough.

And, once you get it, you’ll be raving too.

It is charming, easy, fun, affordable and will help you create a homepage that has zero grossness, hype, arrogance or dullness.

Carrie has an incredible gift of helping her clients creative marketing that is so clear, irresistible and lovely all at once. It’s candle lit marketing – not neon lights. It’s piping hot, organic tea – not coca cola. It’s warm sweaters on cold days. She’s got a gift for helping people find their own unique voice.

When I heard she was writing this ebook I couldn’t have been more excited.

I promise it will be worth every penny you spend.

To give you a bit of a teaser and some good direction – I did a little interview with Carrie I’d like to share here.

*

why are you writing an ebook about website homepages?

Every day I hear from amazing entrepreneurs doing such important, good work. And they’re struggling to attract enough clients, to pay their bills, to really enjoy their businesses. And they’re not helping as many people as they could. (Lots of “my people” are holistic practitioners so their reach is really important for more reasons than money.) When I’d look at their websites, it would be clear to me that a huge part of why they’re not reaching enough clients or the right clients was an ineffective homepage, or, worse, one that was harmful.

I ached to re-write these homepages for them. (Running your own business is hard enough, but if your website is working against you, well that just makes my stomach hurt.) But many entrepreneurs don’t feel confident or able to invest in their businesses when their income is unpredictable (which I totally get). For those in that situation, I didn’t want them to feel on their own, rudderless. If they’re in a position where do-it-yourself marketing makes most sense, then I wanted them to have really good support.

why do you feel credible to write an ebook on this topic?

I’m an award-winning copywriter whose been writing for the web for 11 years, so there’s that.

I’m also an award-winning marketing strategist, so while I love beautiful words, I want them to be smart too. I poured my own professional experience into this workbook, but I also researched best practices for website content and engagement from other perspectives. I learned from other writing instructors (like my own cherished writing coach, Chris Kay Fraser at Firefly Creative Writing). I ran live workshops with the same exercises as in the workbook so I could see which were easy to follow and which weren’t. I conducted focus groups for the workbook and then revised it based on the feedback.

I knew that I knew my stuff but a couple weeks ago, when I attended a talk by online strategist and researcher Brian Cugelman, PhD, a fellow who happened to write his dissertation on persuasive websites (among other things), I left feeling giddy. He quoted study after study, outlining the essential components of an effective landing page and while he used bigger words, he was essentially describing my little-workbook-that-could.

why do homepages matter? what are the stats and reality that you can give us?

Homepages are so so so so important.

I just read a Razorfish study that said 64% of consumers have made a first purchase with a business because of a website experience.

That’s crazy!

No other marketing medium has ever had that kind of effect. But it’s what we do now – we consume information online. Your homepage is the top entrance point for your site. It’s the place where critical decisions are being made by your visitors – Do they trust you? Do they like you? Do you have what they’re looking for? If your homepage content is properly structured, you’ll engage the right clients and they’ll continue through other parts of your site right on to whatever your call to action is (buy a product, book an appointment, call for a consultation, etc).

If you mess up with that first page, they’re gone.

Word of mouth is the absolute most important contributor to business growth. We know from research that over 70% of buying decisions are made because someone we know made a recommendation. 70% of those recommendations happen online. These are important numbers when it comes to homepages for two reasons:

  1. If your homepage is well-structured, I will understand it and be able to articulate what you do to my friends. (Women, in particular, are continually considering “who can this help?” while they take in information. So even if your service or product isn’t right for me, I am thinking about whether my sister could use it.)
  2. If I like your business and your site is decent, I will share it with my friends and colleagues directly and on social media sites. The power of that is magnificent! By changing your homepage alone, you can supercharge word of mouth marketing – the most effective influence – in your favour.

what are the three biggest blunders you see people making on their homepages?

The top one has to be starting off with “At [Business Name], we offer…” It’s like marching over to a stranger at a quiet cocktail party and announcing “I’m going to tell you about myself right now”.

Websites need social graces too.

Start with what I call “The Inviting Proclamation” – that’s a headline that tells your reader what becomes possible for them when they work with you. It’s about them, not you. It’s nice. Same with the first section, which I call “The Current Troubling Situation (and How it Feels)”. Empathize with your reader. Acknowledge the challenge they’re having that led them to you.

Another mistake is having too little content. If you have fewer than 250 words on your homepage, you have some writing to do. There are lots of different opinions on the subject but many search engine optimization (SEO) experts suggest 500 words is a good number. Having Google find you would be a bonus. I just want you to be genuinely compelling, and you need more than a few sentences to do that.

The third most common mistake I see would be a lack of any clear “call to action”. I read the page and then it’s fuzzy what I should do next. Should I call you? Or read your testimonials? If there’s no discernible flow, that, however subtly, stresses people out. Be kind and be helpful… add that one-line instruction at the bottom of your text.

What’s are the three/four/five? things that a homepage must do to be a successful homepage? what are the goals of a homepage in your mind?

A homepage must sincerely engage the right reader (you don’t want to appeal to everyone, just the folks who are most likely to love you and want what you’ve got). It must reflect the tone of your business. (Professional? Playful?)  It must simply and memorably articulate what you do. It must inspire readers to connect with you (either through an immediate purchase or a newsletter sign-up… some form of relationship must begin).

What are the key elements behind a great homepage?

For content: an inviting headline, an assessment of your reader’s “problem” and “hopes”, a short introduction to the real people behind the business, a clear list of services (that hyperlink to other pages within the site) and a direct call to action.

For design: simple navigation, proper treatment of headings and subheadings (this is important for SEO too), real photography of you and your business (not stock photography).

Can you give three examples of homepages you love and maybe tell us why you love them so much?

Three entrepreneurs I’ve seen who have made great homepages for themselves are Danette Relic, Tami Smith and you, Mr. Hargrave.

Danette’s Radical Creative Sanctuary: http://www.danetterelic.com/

So, Danette had me right at her business name (so awesome!) but I also love her headline so much: Your life is meant to be beautiful and meaningful. Don’t you just feel that right in your stomach? She goes on to write a homepage that feels like we’re having a conversation in a cafe. I already feel safe with her. That is profound for a coach. I like how she’s structured all her content, and I also like the richness and earthiness of the colours she’s chosen. They’re kind of lusty, and that’s very “Danette”.

Tami’s Targeted Traffic Strategies: http://www.targetedtrafficstrategies.com/

Tami’s homepage feels like a fresh, spring day to me. All the windows are open and the curtains are billowing. It is so clean. That’s gracious design, because it allows the reader’s eye some peace and it gives the reader psychological space to insert herself. I also love what Tami’s written. Her voice is so welcoming. “I’m Tami Smith and I’m a searchologist. That means I make it my business to know how search works, what makes Google love you and how to show up when someone is looking for your solution. I guess you could say I’m a match-maker; I match you to your perfect people when they are searching.” SEO is complicated and Tami could impress you with lots of buzz words and jargon and the fact that she used to work at Google (Tami’s a pretty big deal), but instead, she keeps it friendly, setting a positive tone. You can do this.

Tad’s Marketing for Hippies: http://marketingforhippies.com/

Tad, I like your headline so much, I use it as an example in How to Write a Lovable Homepage: “Conscious Business Folk: Are you struggling to attract enough clients?” It isn’t doom and gloom. You don’t use fear as a motivator (that goes against everything I believe, despite what many “marketing experts will say”) but you do, gently, hit that nerve. And if I am a conscious entrepreneur struggling to attract enough clients, right from the very first line you’ve made me feel like I’m in the right place and you’re going to help me. That is so kind. You’ve offered me a post-marathon glass of water and foot rub.

Beautiful!

Our homepages aren’t just marketing tools or faces for our business – they’re our arms and mouths in the world too. They can be used for good. We can write things that inspire, that reassure, that inform, that help, that heal. That doesn’t mean you don’t ask, too. But make buying your book or signing up for your newsletter – your ask – make it an invitation to continue a relationship. We’re all hungry for connection and what you do, Tad, is give that so generously.

Can you tell us a bit about your workbook?

It’s a labour of love and a gazillion hours worth of Carrie. :)  I’m so excited about it. It really feels important. It isn’t just an e-book that you sit back and read and then have to figure out how to apply what you’ve learned to your own situation – it’s a workbook. You’ll roll up your sleeves and I’ll take you through a series of very short (a few minutes each) writing exercises. At the end, I tell you how to put them together and – voila! – you have a new homepage, in about two hours’ time. I don’t know of anything else like it.

And the thing I really love about it is that even if you only get one new client because of the workbook, you’ve made back your investment. Just like that. That makes me feel amazing.

*

To take the Lovable Homepage Quiz go here (you’ll have to sign up for Carrie’s newsletter – but it’s one of those you will thank me for. They come out rarely and each one is a gem – plus you can unsubscribe whenever you like. Also – you get a lovely little ebook that I adore).

To get Carrie’s ebook ‘How to Write a Lovable Homepage go here .

If you'd like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you'll also get a free copy of my 
fancy new ebook "Marketing for Hippies" when it's done.

51 examples of content for blogs, social media and newsletters

When I do my workshops, I often get people to brainstorm the types of content they might use to stay in touch with the people on their lists. And people come up with great ones.

So, here’s the harvest from my past few workshops. I hope it inspires you with ideas. Notice how many of them express a really clear point of view and how the ones that focus on a particular niche are particularly cool and useful.

If you’re feeling stuck on what kinds of content you could create read the below and then go and answer these questions. I promise content ideas galore.

Enjoy!

*

Mortgage Broker:

– monthly interviews with realtors, home inspectors, lawyers, title insurance brokers about the marketplace and their expertise in buying a new home.
– niehgbourhood spotlight: putting together a package of coupons for that area, doing a walking tour of the area for folks interested, introduce them to local businesses

Massage for Cancer Patients:
– interviews with cancer survivors who’ve had massage and valued it
– interviews with doctors and nurses who are open to massage
– directly addressing myths: cancer can’t be spread through massage

Childbirth:
– movie screenings of birth related movies
– youtube videos of people interviewed
– website reviews
– articles you’ve already written
– top ten things you DON’T need that people tell you you need when having a baby

Blaire Finney:
– top ten tips for supporting a family member who’s been hospitalized in a psych ward
– nutrient dense foods for addicts (that are easy to absorb)
– top five complimentary modalities for addicts

Midwife:
– How to set up a birth pool.

For: office workers
– top five strategies to deal with that person in your office who drains your energy
– ten yoga poses you can do at your desk
– top ten meditative songs to have in your ipod at work

For: parents
– tips for parenting kids at different stages

Energy Workers:
– showing the science behind the woo woo. sharing the studies and results.

For: divorced parents
– how to do homework in two homes
– 5 things your kids are saying about you at school

For: LGBT women in Toronto suffering from anxiety or depression caused by issues around discovering their sexuality and coming out.
– how to get through the holidays
– coming out stories
– the top ten ways to come out to your family and friends
– top ten WORST ways to come out to family and friend (funny)
– top ten ways to come out at work or school
– top ten ways to pick up a chick

For: women with breast cancer looking for alternatives
– how to handle your doctor and get the experience you want and need out of your appointments

For: menopausal women.
– video of older women doing cool stuff (e.g. grannies skydiving or mountain climbing)

For: women suffering from headaches
– top five foods to lighten your toxin load

For: professionals
– top ten questions to help you decide whether you need a career change
– top ten career books

For: those who’ve been traumatized by sexual abuse
– how to protect your child from abuse

For: pet owners whose pets have behavioural issues
– info on upcoming expos and shows focused on behavioural issues

For: smokers who are trying to quit
– 10 minutes of yoga to combat nicotine craving
– list of physiological changes that occur after quitting smoking (broken down chronologically over a year)

For: cancer patients who are choosing alternative treatment options
– book reviews on anti-cancer and The China Study
– list of how homeopathy can help with specific side effects of chemo

For: people with digestive issues
– how to organize your kitchen and recipes for simplicity in cooking

For: parents with children with Autism and ADHD
– answers to top question faced by faced by families with autistic children and strategies on how to deal with them
– current research and study
– videos for common treatments that seem daunting until you see them in action or try them yourself

For: socially awkward young adults.
– tips on how to use improv lessons to improve your life

For: people who are overwhelmed and stressed and craving silence in their lives
– articles on the benefits of silence
– artwork and poetry that evolved out of silence

For: sensitive and powerful men
– “The Man Box” – lies and myths about men
– VIDEO: “Real Moments of Power” – real men sharing a moment where they were powerful that weren’t hurting anyone. 2 minutes each.
– VIDEO SERIES: “Instant Warrior Practice” – practical exercises for vitality, focus and confidence.

For: People with life threatening cancer
– top five ways to look after yourself when you’re struggling with feelings around your cancer

For: Health conscious pet owners with animals that have chronic problems
– biggest feeding mistakes
– why pets need detox too

 

Do you have any cool examples of content that you’ve seen or created that you want to share? Just write them below.

six marketing lessons from a recent facebook note

I just wrote a facebook note that got a school two new perfect (and much needed) teachers in less than two weeks.

And it reminded me about some important marketing principles.

A couple of months ago, I got to reconnect over drinks with two old school mates Rachael and Netta (pictured right).

We went to a Waldorf  School together.

Waldorf is an alternative school that based on the idea of educating the whole child. It was a beautiful thing for me.

And then a few weeks later Netta emailed me asking if I knew anyone who might be a good candidate to be a Waldorf teacher. No one immediately came to mind but I thought I might if I really sat down and thought about it. I looked through my calendar a began to feel that stress you feel when you really want to help someone but can’t find the time. She needed a teacher in two weeks.

“Could you come by the school while we do work on the new building and we could talk about it then?” Netta asked.

That worked. Anything that combines things is usually a win for me. I get to hang out with an old friend, see the school I’ve meant to visit for the past three years and felt immensely guilty for not checking out and help her out.

The next week she came and picked me up and as she painted walls I busted out my laptop and started plowing through my facebook friends list looking for potential candidates. In the end, I came across 15 potentials and one I was ridiculously excited about.

So I created a facebook note (see below), posted it and tagged the people in question.

Within two weeks they had their teachers (including the one I was most excited about).

Here are the six marketing lessons I want you to get from this:

1) Social Media: Word of mouth works best when things are easy to share. That can mean everything from a simple URL, to tickets people can pass on, to a simple story that can be easily repeated. Or it can be a facebook note that’s easy to share. Social media has made sharing things so easy. One of the teachers who got the job was my friend who I tagged. The other was someone with whom this note was shared. Someone I’ve never met.

2) Hubs: If you want the word spread about something important, it’s worth it to do whatever it takes to get hubs to help you. They are already well connected to and well respected by people in the communities you’re trying to reach. Netta might never have reached these two teachers by herself. And they might have been more suspicious and unsure if the endorsement hadn’t come from me. If you’re struggling to reach people, stop struggling – take a hub out for coffee. You might know know how to reach the people you need to reach, but there are people who are. And it’s worth treating them to dinner, paying for their time for their contacts. It will save you so much time and money.

3) Headline: Notice this headline is not “can you help out my friend?” or even, “teaching job”. I am speaking right to the person reading it. The headline’s ONLY purpose is to get their attention and establish relevance. Period. So, first, I name WHERE it’s relevant to since it’s on facebook. Then I name that it’s a teaching job at an alternative school and that the money is good (important!).

4) Is it a fit?: I think any kind of sales letter or notice or homepage should have a piece about ‘this could be a good fit if . . .’ where you list the criteria. I did this recently on my new workbook on how you can get more people on your email list. Carrie Klassen talks about doing this on your homepage in her new workbook about creating a homepage your ideal clients would love.

5) Tell a story: I told a story to give people the feeling of the school. Most people don’t use stories enough in their marketing.

6) Ask for the action: At the end, I explicitly ask them to take an action. I ask them to spread the word. I give them the email of the person to reach. Als0 – here’s a subtle bonus distinction: don’t always write your promo pieces asking the reader to sign up. Sometimes I think it’s even more effective to say, ‘do you know anyone who wants _______?’. I think there’s less pressure in that approach and less assumption – but anyone reading it for whom it is a fit will still resonate with it.

 

Here’s the note:

EDMONTON: Want to teach at an amazing alternative school for good money?

by Tad Hargrave on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 7:46pm

Do you know someone who’d like to teach at a progressive, alternative, whole child focused kind of school?

Maybe you?

I grew up going to a Waldorf school from Kindergarten (which I took for two years because I was special) until grade 6. It was amazing. It’s the school I’d want to send my children to.

If you’re reading this – you’re the kind of person I would have loved to have as a teacher.

The Edmonton Waldorf school is figuring out who will be their teachers for next year, right now. They’ve moved into a new building and it’s all very exciting.

This could be a wonderful opportunity for you if:

– you have a bachelors of education

– $60,000/year for the full time positions sounds great

– you have a pioneering spirit and are excited to be a part of a wonderful, growing community

– you’re excited to familiarize yourself with what Waldorf is all about (I think you’ll kind of love it). That might mean traveling to go to various workshops and intensives where you’ll meet amazing people and learn a lot about yourself, teaching and childhood

The teaching positions available:

– Kindergarten (half time, four mornings per week)

– Grade 1-2 (full time)

What was Waldorf life for me?

In kindergarten we would sit carting wool, then spinning it and then knitting our own recorder cases. I was, possibly, the only child at my school who never really learned how to play.

We learned Greek, Roman and Norse myths in elementary school, having Homer’s Osyssey told to us by the teacher from the front of the room. We would bake our own bread in class, play capture the flag in Mill Creek ravine and somehow consistently persuade our french teacher to let us play soccer during french class (“Okay! But you guys need to speak in french while we play!”).

My best memories are the Summer Solstice bonfires at Hawrelack Park where are the families and children would get together for a big end of the year picnic and celebrate. Then, when it was dark, we would gather around the fire for stories. So many happy memories from those times. The school, to my immense heartbreak, collapsed when I was in grade 6 due to politics I have never fully understood.

In short, a part of my life I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Do you know anyone?

If you know someone like this – can you let them know today? They’re making final decisions in the next ten days. I just found out.

And share this with anyone you can think of. Post it on your wall. Hire skywriters. That kind of thing.

For more info email Netta: netta (at) wese (dot) ca

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.