micro case study: author gives sample of his writing.

IMG 7839 768x1024 micro case study: author gives sample of his writing.I was just picking up an order of books from Audrey’s Books (an independent local bookstore in Edmonton) and I saw this little ‘book preview’.

And I thought it was a great example of a pink spoon in their marketing. Giving people a free sample of what you do. A taster. I’d heard of previews online or in magazines but never a mini book excerpt I could take with me. And it was right there on the counter where I was paying, so easy for me to see it.

For more thoughts on book publishing read these.

Seven Lessons that Daily Dance Can Teach You About Making Better Offers

 
Screen Shot 2014 10 13 at 5.04.15 PM Seven Lessons that Daily Dance Can Teach You About Making Better OffersIf you’re thinking of creating online programs (or are super into dance) check this out.
 
My dear friend, colleague and client Erica Ross and her partner in crime Vanya Laporte has just co-created a wonderful new online program that I think nails things from a marketing perspective. I’ve known Erica for many years. We met when she came to one of my first ever weekend workshops in Toronto and she’s done nothing but flourish since. I hope to one day come up with an offering as simple and good as this. 
 
Her new offering is called Daily Dance. You can check it out on her brand new website designed by one of my favourite web designers, Kim Tanasichuk.
 
This is the deal: for 21 days you get an email with a video explaining a new ‘dance of the day’ and a song (approx. 4-6 min.) to use to dance to it.  
 
You also get suggestions to explore the intention behind the dance further, a playlist of additional songs, and a link to a private Daily Dance Facebook group where you can share your experiences.
 
Note: I am not an affiliate of this program. Just a fan of Erica Ross and thought her offer would be a great way to talk about offers in general. 
 
Here’s why this works so well (and the four lessons you can learn from it):
 
 
OFFER-MAKING LESSON #1: The offer is simple and easy to understand. 
 
I can’t overstate the importance of this.
 
If marketing were like baseball, then first base would be clarity. That people get what it is you’re offering to them. It is amazing how seldom businesses even get to first base. There is no clear understanding of the problem they’re solving, the results they’re offering or even… what they’re offering. 
 
And the confused mind says ‘no’. 
 
The name is simple (and alliterative which is helpful for remembering it): Daily Dance. The name tells you what it is.
 
Such a simple idea. 21 days where you get a new dance video every day. Easy. I get that. I can picture that. Is there more to it? Sure. But that’s the core of it.
 
Want more examples?
 
How about FedEx? The idea is simple: overnight delivery. Easy to understand. Or clearasil (not that I am, in any way endorsing clearasil). In seven words, they state what they’re offering, ‘visibly clearer skin in three days. guaranteed.’ Simple. Easy to understand. 
 
In Edmonton, we have Origami Accounting which offers a flat monthly rate for book keeping. Their website is a delight to go to because it makes it so simple. 
 
And, of course, there’s Dollar Shave club known for its edgy online commercials. You pay them one dollar per month and they mail you the razors you need for that month. 
 
And there’s Panty by Post where for about $15 per month you get a pretty panty mailed to you.
 
Calgary’s Bava juice makes cleansing easy because they just mail you the bottles of (extremely delicious) fresh pressed juices. 
 
These ideas are winners because they’re so simple. And that means people can talk about them. And, for word of mouth marketing (which is the basis of all marketing) that is a must. 
 
It’s a good question to ask yourself, ‘How easy to understand is my offer?’
 
If you’re struggling with articulating your offer, here are sixteen questions you can ask yourself to hone in. And if you generally struggle to articulate what you do then I strongly recommend you get and read this
 
 
OFFER-MAKING LESSON #2: It’s offered at a clear and incredibly affordable price.
 
Daily Dance is $21. That’s their launch price so it will go up, but that’s a bargain. If you can set your price at a level that makes you a fair profit but is also a no-brainer for people, your business is likely to do very well. 
 
People don’t like to be confused and it amazes me how many people’s pricing structures are mind numbingly confusing. 
 
And clear pricing is critical. 
 
Why?
 
First, it makes it more likely that those who want to buy will buy. But, far more importantly, it avoids the number one thing that people hate around pricing: surprises. To be quoted one price and then invoiced for a higher price makes people cranky. If you can develop a straightforward and easy to understand pricing structure, people are a lot more likely to buy.
 
Regardless of how much you charge, people must feel as though they are getting a bargain for the money. They need to believe that they are going to get back at least as much if not more than what they’re putting out in terms of money. There must be a clear and solid return on investment.
 
 
OFFER-MAKING LESSON #3: It’s a great example of basing your niche on what you do vs. picking one target market.
 
Some niches are based on a very particular target market (e.g. single dads, divorce lawyers, yoga teachers etc) but other niches aren’t so much based on who as ‘what’ is being offered. In this case, they have a very clear offering – 21 days of dance. In a general sense, their ‘who’ is going to be people who are drawn to bringing more dance into their lives. Their ideal clients are the kinds of people who would see this offer and get excited. That may seem obvious, but it’s a critical distinction between two different paths of niching. 
 
What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book The Niching Spiral.

This is something I’ve come aware of over the years and my colleague George Kao stumbled upon a similar awareness.

One path is that of the Artist. The other is the path of the Entrepreneur. 

The Artist creates from the inside out.

The Entrepreneur creates from the outside in.  

On the Entrepreneur Path You start with identifying an explicit, consciously chosen hungry crowd and you bring them food. 

The explicit niche means you say, “I want to work with this group of people who are struggling with these kinds of problems or craving these kind of results”. A burning problem, demographics, psychographics – you’ve got it all laid out.

You find the target market and then you figure out what to offer them. At its extreme, the Yang style of business is the cynical-business-man, Donald Trump school of thought. It’s very cynical, follows fads, and doesn’t tend to have much heart in it. It’s all about going for the money. And, honestly, is often more successful at creating money quickly. 

The upside of this path is that you can move very quickly. The clarity about who you’re reaching makes designing your offers and figuring our where to find them so easy. The goal is clear and it’s an exciting process.

The challenge is that what’s trending now may change, and if you’re not that excited about it anyway, you’re likely to jump to something else soon. If you need a whole new business and niche every time you do that, that can be a whole lot of work.

At its extreme, as exciting as it can be as a game – it can feel so empty. There’s not much heart to it, and so there’s not a lot of creativity involved, which often leads to a lack of sustainability and satisfaction. Also, when people choose a niche based on what’s popular or trending at a particular time, there’s not much connection from their own life or much experience they have with the problem they’re solving, and so there can be a huge, steep learning curve.

The Artists Spiral of niching is about going inside, asking yourself what it is you want to create and then giving that to the world. This inside-out approach often is a better fit for life coaches, holistic practitioners, permaculture practitioners, etc. It’s where you start with who you are, and what you most want to give to the world, and then you look at who might need that. The extreme version of this style of niching is like Vincent Van Gogh. Amazing art is produced and the world is made more beautiful, but you die broke and unappreciated.  

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” 

Andy Warhol

What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one.” 

- Oscar Wilde

The challenge here is that there’s no explicit who here. And that can make marketing feel impossible. Where do you start?

In the end, it’s not really an either/or. We all end up needing to dance back and forth between these two. There’s a looking at what we want to give, and then a looking at what’s needed. Then we design the thing that we think can meet that need, and trust our taste and aesthetics around it all. 

If you want more meaning – lean towards the Artist’s Spiral.

If you want more money – lean towards the Entrepreneur Spiral.

If you’re really clear about the exact target market you want to serve, the precise problems they’re struggling with and the result they are craving, you’re likely on the Entrepreneur Spiral.

If you’re really clear about what you want to offer (e.g. massage, reiki, life coaching, permaculture) but you haven’t figured out exactly how or to whom, then you’re likely on the Artists Spiral.

 
 Seven Lessons that Daily Dance Can Teach You About Making Better OffersOFFER-MAKING LESSON #4: They offer a three day trial.
 
I love it when people offer free trials. It’s simultaneously a very smart and strategic thing to do but also a very generous thing to do. 
 
I won’t write much about it here, but if you’re interested in why creating free ways to sample your work is so vital click here. If you want to know how to do it click here
 
 
OFFER MAKING LESSON #5:  It’s a very well thought through and well put together offer that people actually want. 
 
There are many aspects to this that are very well thought out. First of all, only 21 days. That’s not too overwhelming.
 
Second, an online offering for people who feel too busy or intimidated to follow their interest in dance. They don’t have to go to a big class and risk embarrassment. They can start small.
 
Each day is scalable. There’s a video. There’s a song and, if they want more? There’s an extended playlist to explore. 
 
 
OFFER-MAKING LESSON #6: It’s visually beautiful, polished and professional. 
 
The most important thing is that the core offer is good. I’d rather have a solid offer with a rough presentation than a bad offer with a beautiful presentation. In terms of sales, if the core idea works, it can still fly in spite of bad design. But a bad idea with beautiful design? It’ll never last. If you have to spend your money on a good copywriter or a good designer, there is no doubt in my mind it should go, in almost all cases, to the copywriter. 
 
However, having said that, I’m a big believer in making things as beautiful as possible. Or, to be more accurate, making sure the design captures the vibe of the business. Knowing Erica as I do, the website as a whole and the sales page for the offer nail it. 
 
I see so many websites that make me wince. They don’t look professional and it hurts the credibility of the site. It has me trust the offers a little less. 
 
 
OFFER-MAKING LESSON #7: It is a heart and soul-based offering at it’s purist.
 
Kim Tanasichuk had this to say, “It’s fun, it had so much depth and beauty, it reflects the care and love they put into all that they do, and it reflects them and their sacred life’s work. And it’s setup in a way where it allows people to unfold themselves – their emotions, their hearts, their being and feel nurtured while doing this. The offer matches the creator. Because of this primarily — it is an “Offer” at it’s finest.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

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. 

tova Guest Post: How to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients ColdTova 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 www.tovapayne.com

Come hang out with Tova on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TovaPayneEmpoweredLiving

And say on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TovaPayne

 

 

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

Hi!

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: (http://website.com)

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

Sincerely,
__________ 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?

Hello,
Would you be interested in networking?
It would be awesome if you could write a blog post about my business www.website.com with a couple anchored keywords.
In exchange I would give your Facebook page a bunch of shares on www.Facebook.com/pagename
or on www.facebook.com/otherpagename
or on www.facebook.com/stillanotherpagename
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.
http://completelyirrelevantblogpost.com/

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?

Hi

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

http://marketingforhippies.com/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.

Thanks,

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,
Name
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.

WHAT IS THIS PARTY?! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME?!

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.

http://websitename.com/jvsurvey

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.

www.websitename.com (specifically for youth)

www.websitename2.com (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.

Sincerely,

name

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 “WebsiteName.com” 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.

http://www.websitename.com/jan-2013-6-figure-marketing-mindset-strategies

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

Mike

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

Nice.

¨ We have run an international company for 20 years

Okay…

¨ 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

Blessings,

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 www.truesourceseminars.com 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 www.unlockthegame.com. 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 www.GreenDrinksYeg.com 

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: http://www.truesourceseminars.com/articles/from-confusion-to-clarity-an-experiential-workshop.html

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.

warmest,
- 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.

warmest,
- 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?

Warmest,
Tad

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: http://www.marketing101forholisticpractitioners.com/weekend.php

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. 

 

The Three Roles of Marketing

three fingers The Three Roles of MarketingThis is one of those things that is actually very important to get about marketing that I talk about really seldomly but should probably talk about more. 

When people are working on their marketing, I think that, often, they don’t really understand the role that their marketing needs to play. Or I should say ‘roles’ because there’s more than one. 

To give credit where it’s due, I learned this first from the incredibly useful marketing book Monopolize Your Marketplace by Richard Harshaw.

Most ads fail to meet these criteria. They talk all about the business. Which no one cares about. People care about their problems and the results they want. That’s it. 

 

The Three Roles of Marketing

 

The First Role of Marketing: Get their attention.

This one is, of course, primary. If we don’t have people’s attention, there’s no conversation to be had. Marketing must, first and foremost, get their attention. 

This is much harder than it looks because of the sheer number of marketing messages people get every day. And the number of stimuli people receive even outside of that (e.g. social media, texts, friends, emails etc.). People are already overwhelmed and in a bit of a haze. To break through that haze is difficult. Certainly you can use the shock factor to do it. But that doesn’t last. You can use pictures of naked people. You can use expletives. But those lose their effect over time. You can write a shocking (but ultimately misleading) headline, but it will result in people feeling tricked and then you become the little boy who cried wolf. You say in your email subject line, “A vulnerable secret I’ve never shared with anyone before . . .” and then the secret you share is clearly not that. People feel duped. It’s why we hate and distrust marketing so much. We are feeling constantly lied to and played with.

But here are some thoughts that are vital.

  • do a good job and get word of mouth: this is the bottom line. If you help a lot of people solve a problem they have or get a result they’re craving, they will tell everyone they know about you. That’s how word of mouth works and, ultimately, how the most sustainable businesses grow. 
  • have a niche: nothing gets attention better than good old fashioned relevance. If your headline speaks directly to their life, they will want to read the rest. If they can see, right away (from your business name, the headline of your ads or the images you use) that you specialize in people just like them . . . you will have their attention. 
  • figure out where their attention is already going: the core of everything I know about marketing is all about identifying and working with hubs effectively. Meaning . . . getting attention is hard when you take the cold approach of cold calling, direct mail etc. They already see you as marketing. But, if you can figure out where their attention is already going, you’ve got a much better chance. If you can figure out where they’re already looking for solutions to the problems you solves, they’re more likely to notice you. If, instead of sending a direct mail piece out to a list you bought, you got someone who your ideal clients deeply respected to send out a letter endorsing you . . . You’ll likely be flooded with business. There are seven general types of hubs. 

 

The Second Role of Marketing: Help them figure out if it’s a fit. 

Once you have their attention, you don’t have it for long. Now they’re noticing you but . . . are you actually relevant to them?

In direct response marketing they talk about the AIDA formula. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Once you’ve got their attention you need to move on to interest. 

But, here’s where I disagree with many of my colleagues. I don’t think that the role of marketing is to get them interested. After all, who is ‘them’? Them could be anyone. Them is everyone. And you don’t want everyone as a client (you really, really don’t). 

Why not?

Not everyone is going to be a fit for you. And, if they’re not a fit, they will be clients from hell. They’ll have bad experiences and tell their friends about it. Too many clients who aren’t a bad fit will kill your business.

You want clients who are a perfect fit for your business.

So, the purpose of marketing should not be about convincing everyone to buy from you. It should be about helping everyone decide if you’re a good fit for them or not. In the book Monopolize Your Marketplace, they word it as ‘facilitating the decision making process’ meaning that your marketing should help make it easier for potential customers to decide whether hiring your is the right thing or not. 

But to do that, we need to understand who would be a perfect fit for us. And to do that we need to really understand what it is we are offering and how we want to offer it because, ultimately, your ideal client (and this is so incredibly obvious that we often miss it) will have to be (absolutely, truly has so to be) someone who needs what you’re offering and loves how you offer it. 

And that level of clarity can take time to come to. 

But, once that clarity is there, then marketing becomes less about seducing and more about filtering. 

I wrote an epic blog post you can use to ask yourself some key questions about who your ideal client might be here

 

The Third Role of Marketing: Lower the risk of taking the next step. 

This is something that used to be the core of what I teach and that I haven’t written about much but intend to in the coming year. 

It’s vital.

I first came across this concept from Jay Abraham. But it shows up everywhere in marketing.

Here’s why this role matters. 

Someone could come across what you offer (you have their attention) and totally fall in love with it (it’s a fit) and still not buy.

Sometimes that has to do with timing. Sometimes it just takes awhile for it to be the right time. I imagine there’s a workshop or two you’d love to attend but the timing hasn’t worked out yet. Normal.

But very often it’s a matter of risk. Meaning: they’re scared that if they buy from you they’re going to either lose out on something they have or they won’t get something they want.

Those risks can be everything from: the fear of looking stupid, having to explain such a big purchase to a spouse, losing money on it, it not working and being a huge waste of time, the fear of getting ones hopes up only to be disappointed (again). So many risks. 

And most entrepreneurs are totally blind to this. They’re never put themselves in the shoes of their clients and asked themselves, ‘what might be scary about making this purchase?’.

It’s why bakeries, grocery stores and perfume shops give out free samples. It’s why you see so many ‘enter your email to get this ebook/video/free gift’ on people’s websites (I wrote a guide on how to build your email list by doing this for your website here). It’s why ice cream shops let you try a pink spoon of ice cream before you buy. ‘Try before you buy’ is not a new idea. It helps people move beyond just an intellectual relevance into action. It’s why you see so many websites with lots of videos. It’s why blogs work. They build the know like and trust factor. It’s why it’s important to not only offer big expensive things, but to also offer less expensive ones – so people can get to know you and take a step towards working with you. 

So, that’s it. Those are the three steps.

Look at every piece of marketing you ever do through the lense of these three roles.

Look at every part of your marketing strategy through the lense of these three roles. Every tactic.

 

 

 

 

 

the four generations of opt in marketing

2182 Four generations 20120811 1 958x538 300x168 the four generations of opt in marketingThis is an email primarily about how to build a solid following and, primarily, how to get people to ‘opt in’ to receive your email newsletter.

I want to submit that there have been four generations of approaches to getting permission to be in touch with potential clients. And that what worked four generations ago, isn’t the best approach today.

But let’s start here: A lot of people focus on ‘getting their name out there’ in marketing.

And they justify a lot of useless activity with it. They go to networking events and not only give their cards to everyone but leave them on every table and they think, ‘Yup! Sure got my name out there tonight!’ They put their brochures in bookshoppes and cafes all over town, they put ads in all sorts of places, and try to drive people to their website (maybe even successfully) and they think, ‘Awesome. I am so getting my name out there.’

This kind of thinking might result in some business but I think it’s the wrong goal. I think that we want to get their name in here.

Let me explain: If you’re at a networking event, it is far more powerful to get 10 business cards from others into your pocket than to get a hundred of your business cards into their pockets. Because, if you have their business cards, you can follow up with them. You can take a next step in building a relationship with them. If not, you are stuck waiting and hoping.

And hope is not a strategy.

Put another way, let’s say you got a million people to visit your website in the next month. Sounds awesome, right?

But what if, instead of a million visitors, I gave you 10,000 new perfect-fit people for your email list?

The 10,000 on your email list is more valuable in the long-term. These are people you can stay in touch with and build a relationship with over time. These are the people who will spend money on you, hire you and tell their friends about you.

If I sent a million people to your website not much would happen.

Unless . . . unless you had a system to get those people to join your email list (and get their names in here). 

I want to suggest that there have been four generations of approaches on how to get people to opt in to be in touch with you and allow you to be in touch with them.

Generation #1: The Contact Me Page

When websites first began, there were no email newsletters. There was just a page with your contact info and, if they wanted to reach you they could email or call you.

The Downside: It’s a viable option but includes a bit of risk for the person reaching out. It also would only have people call you who were very close to being ready to buy. And if people were just shopping around, that’s a lot of your personal time answering questions. 

Generation #2: The Free Email Newsletter.

People have signed up to have newsletters mailed to them for many years. That’s not new, but, with the advent of email marketing, those newsletters could be free. I remember the first ‘free email newsletter‘ I saw was something simple like, ‘get a free inspirational quote every day’. And, at the time, that was really novel and exciting. For the first time, you could, for very little money, stay in touch with a large number of people and regularly add value to their lives. 

The Downside: The challenge with this approach now is that there are literally millions of email newsletters you could be on. Most of us are on so many lists that we don’t read. Some we got on because we participated in a telesummit or teleseminar and now we’re on their list, or because we joined years ago and have ignored it since. And some we follow regularly. 

But the bottom line is this: no one is excited to sign up for another free newsletter. No one. Now, if your website is extremely niched and your newsletter is targeted to helping a particular kind of person with a particular kind of problem people might want to. But, the idea of a free newsletter itself is absolutely no longer compelling. 

Generation #3: The Free ‘Opt In’ Gift

So, if an email newsletter isn’t that compelling, but to grow your business you need to stay in touch with people, what do you do? Should you just stop having the email newsletter? 

I don’t think so. I think your email list is the most valuable piece of property your business has. Social media lets you stay in touch but it won’t get the kinds of response rates an email list will have (unless you have a huge following). And, if your ideal client were to give it a try, they might really love.

So, how to get them to give it an honest try?

What a lot of people, myself included, have done is to offer a free gift to people for signing up. In some ways, free gift is a bit of a misnomer because what you’re really offering is a fair trade, ‘I’ll give you a lot of free advice and information if you sign up for my email list and give it a try’. 

The Free Opt In Gift could be an ebook, audio, a video, a quiz/assessment etc. There are a lot of options. The key is that it costs them no money, asks no risk of them and takes you no time to deliver. It’s a sample of your work that they can try to get a taste of what you do. It’s a pink spoon type offer that I spoke about in my blog ‘do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

And the difference you’ll see between just saying, ‘sign up for my free email newsletter’ and ‘enter your email here to get this free gift and you’ll be added to my email newsletter too’ is huge. You will get very few sign ups with the former approach and many more with the latter. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes if you take this approach.

The Downside: More and more people are doing this too. The idea of the free opt in gift is no longer rare. It’s almost expected. And, here’s the surprising twist, even resented.

That’s right, increasingly, people might even resent your free opt in gift.

And here’s why.

Imagine you come across a website. It seems like it’s targeted to people just like you! Amazing.

This website definitely seems relevant to what you’re going through. Now you want to find out more. So you read a bunch of generic stuff about the business but then there’s nothing else to read. No blog. No articles. No videos. You want to know more about their point of view and approach. You want to know their take on your situation.

But there’s nothing that tells you that. Which means you’re going to have to go through the rigamaroll of emailing them and asking them and who knows when they’ll respond and . . . WAIT there it is! There’s some free info – they’re offering a free video series on how to take some first steps at handling your issue.

Great!

But . . . wait . . . you have to enter your email for it. Shit. You’re already on too many email lists. You resent that, to just check them out, you have to sign up to be on another email list that you aren’t even sure you want to be on.

To make it clearer why this is an issue: imagine you go to an ice cream shop and you ask to try a sample of their ice cream – just a little pink spoon. But, instead of having you the pink spoon they hand you an iPad and ask you to enter your email first. You say, ‘Uhm. Why? I just want to see if I even like this flavour . . .’ And they inform you that you need to be on their email list before you try it. Holy backfiring coercion.

Another downside, a lot of people will just sign up for your free gift and then unsubscribe at the next email. This might be unavoidable but if they see you regularly have new content on your site or at least a tonne of free content, they’ll be a lot more likely to come back of their own accord to check you out.

Generation #4: The Non-Opt In Free Gifts + Opt In

So, what the hell? . . .

What are you supposed to do?

I don’t know for sure but here’s my theory on what’s next: a mix of opt in and non-opt in pink spoons for people to try. 

Give people some things they can check out for free, without having to sign up for a damn thing on your website. Let them try free samples of your bread at your bakery or soup at your restaurant. Let them get a taste of you without having to commit to anything. But also give them the option to get some extra special if they’re willing to take the risk to sign up. 

On this website you can read over 500 posts on my blog for free. There are case studies. There are over three hours of free video. And there’s also a 195 ebook called The Way of the Radical Business you can get if you sign up for my email list. 

I am a big fan of the idea of being a generosity based business. But, being real, I give away a lot more than I need to. You don’t need to offer even a fraction of what I do (out of laziness of turning them into sellable products (actually true)). You just need to offer people a taste. A sample. A way of understanding your point of view. Enough that they can know if it’s a fit to take the next step. 

People will respect this. They love it. They love being able to explore your take on things and get a bit of help without having to pay anything and it will build trust in you.

When people email me to ask for coaching, they’ve likely already been following me for years. They don’t haggle over price. They’ve decided they want to work with me. They’re also often very familiar with my approach to marketing which is wonderful and allows me to help them more. 

Now, if you’ve got a single teleseminar or course, it’s fine to have a squeeze page – just a simple page where the only option is to sign up. But, I think of your website as more your home. It’s a place where people can come to learn about you and if, overall, you are a fit for them. 

And this isn’t even to speak to the benefits of blogging and how that free content can drive traffic to your website or give you little pink spoons you can send to people at networking events and have you feel even more proud of your website.

I want to submit that this fourth generation will build a more solid relationship with your people over time than insisting they sign up for your email newsletter to find out anything about you.

If you want help developing your free opt-in gift, you might want to check out my ‘How To Create Your Free Gift‘ workbook.

 

do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

icecreamfunnel do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

A few questions for you:

  • When people hit your website, do they stick around?
  • Do they sign up to your email list?
  • When you meet someone at a networking party who is curious about your work, do you have a way to give them a taste of what you do that doesn’t involve giving away your time for free?
  • When you host a teleseminar or are interviewed, do you have an incentive to offer people to go and check out your website?
  • Does your business card get you any business? I mean really?
  • Do you have things your clients can pass onto their friends to get them interested in what you do?

If you don’t, then this might be the most important blog post you’ve read in a while.

A lot of people make the mistake of seeing marketing as about trying to change minds rather than seeing who naturally resonates with what they offer.

Or they expect people to jump into the deep end of their incredibly profound work without any shallow end of the pool to explore. They expect people to sign up for their full weekend intensive workshop without knowing anything about them or their work. They have a booth at a craft show with everything flat on the table and wonder why no one approaches them.

Or they just give out a tonne of business cards and brochures and expect people to sign up and buy.

Everything above is all about the same thing – the same blunder committed by countless entrepreneurs.

What we eventually find is that safety is incredibly important in marketing.

The first thing marketing needs to do is get the attention of your ideal client. 

But then we need to lower the risk of them taking a first step in working with us. We need to make it so easy for them to check us out to see if it feels like a fit. 

So, the main idea in this blog post is about the importance of creating a free gift you can offer to people to help them figure out if your work is a fit for them.

I first really got this from reading PinkSpoonMarketing.com. It is a colleague of mine, Andrea Lee, who is a lovely, lovely lady.

She is the one who introduced me to the idea of a sales funnel and the ‘pink spoon’ in marketing.

msfunnel 297x300 do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

You will notice the image on top is like an ice cream store. You have the pink spoon (the literal little pink spoon that gives you a sample taste of ice cream), an ice cream cone, a little bucket of ice cream, ice cream cake, and the calendar which is like for some ice cream stores, believe it or not, have a club you can join where every month you get mailed a coupon for a new delicious flavor of ice cream. It costs a bunch of money because it is really rare, but that’s what you get.

There are different levels of the funnel. You will notice that it is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. Wider at the top is of course more people are going to try the free thing; less people will try the cone, less people will get a gallon, and very few people will go for the club.

Think of it as a yoga studio. The pink spoon would be a free class. The ice cream cone might be a drop in class. The bucket of ice cream might be a ten pass or a monthly pass. The cake might be a weekend workshop. The club would be the teacher training. Interesting fact, if you take out the teacher training at the sales funnel of most yoga studios, they will collapse within six months to a year. They will just totally not last. It is that important.

There is the bronze, silver, and gold sort of levels. You have seen this all sorts of places. You will see the image below and it gives you a sense of what the price points might be. The pink spoon is free. The next level is anywhere from $5 to $50, then $50 to $200 for the level after that, and then $200 to $500, and then the bottom level of $500 plus, as an example. It may vary.

The important thing is having levels.

There are a few reasons this matters so much.

First of all, consider the impact of trying to remove levels from the sales funnel. Think of it as just pink spoons. Cover with your hand the whole sales funnel and all you have is the pink spoons. You are kind of popular for awhile, but you are broke at the end and you have no ice cream. 

And it is actually really frustrating for people who then discover a flavour they like and they want more. You tell them they can have another little sample, but that is all they can have. Eventually, that gets very frustrating for people. 

But, on the other side of it, a yoga studio would collapse without the teacher training because that is where most of their money comes from. The yoga studio actually doesn’t make that much money from the regular classes because the teacher needs to be paid, there is overhead etc. Teacher trainings are thousands of dollars so that is where they make most of their money. 

Imagine covering the sales funnel, except the calendar at the bottom of the funnel. That would be like walking into a yoga studio and saying, “Hey, I was wondering if I could do a drop-in class?”

They would say, “We don’t do that, but if you would like to sign up for our $3,000 teacher training you can.” You get what a huge leap that is. You walk in to a studio where you don’t know the teachers, you don’t know their philosophy, you don’t know anything about their platform or who they are, and they are immediately expecting you to make that kind of a leap.

Here is the really compelling piece that will just nail some of you. Take out everything, cover up the pink spoon, cover up everything below the ice cream cone. I would suggest that the situation most holistic practitioners are in, most holistic practitioners are in is a position of just selling ice cream cones.  

That sounds like this:  “Hey, thanks for coming in for the session. Would you like to book another session?” and then when they come back, “Would you like to book another session?” And figuratively, it is just selling ice cream cones. 

I want to submit that that isn’t as safe for people as you would think. You don’t know if they want to try a whole cone. They just want to try a sample first. So it is not safe for them and it is not that sustainable for you.

Now you are stuck just trying to get new people in all the time, trying to rebook people, having that uncomfortable conversation. Having a sales funnel makes it much safer for people to engage at the level that feels comfortable for them. It also makes your work much more sustainable for you. 

I will tell you a bit about my personal experience with this. When I first started off I was just doing workshops. I had no pink spoons. It was kind of hard to get people in my workshops. I had one workshop, this one weekend workshop called the Radical Business Intensive. Then I started developing some pink spoons.

I came up with my Niche Workbook. I came up with The Horrible Hundred, the Radical Business 180, these early diagnostics that are a part of the eBook that you can download on my Web site. I had those and those were great.

Then I had this intro workshop that I was doing. One day, I thought, I just need to record this, get it transcribed, so I can offer it as a pink spoon as a free thing on my Web site. I had that. People immediately loved having that. It didn’t make me any money but it helped me grow my list.

I combined the quizzes plus the transcript of that plus a few other things into this 200-page eBook (which is overkill). You don’t need that much content for a pink spoon. It might be too much, but a lot of people say they love it. 

My blog has become a huge pink spoon. The great thing with the blog is that I am getting to a point where I can take some of those posts from my blog and move them into products. I take them off my blog, turn them into a product that I can charge for, but I got to share it and it got to be useful for people in the meantime, which I feel really wonderful about.

Then I noticed that I was getting a lot of people who were holistic practitioners. I created this workshop, Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners. That was another revenue stream. I had this other sort of more green business thing and the holistic practitioner workshop.

Then I created the “How to Create a Free Gift on Your Website”, basically, how to create the pink spoon on your Web site. That was a little bit additional revenue.

Then I was seeing that I had so many of my favourite clients who were just never going to come back to the same old workshop – so I designed a workshop called The HotBox which was invite only for my favourite clients. Five clients per workshop. 100% based in hotseats. Each person gets an hour of the groups time. I’ve done three of them so far and the results have been really powerful. I charge a sliding scale of $250 – $500 for it.

Then I got this crazy idea to package my weekend workshop, the Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners, into this six-week online course, which I have been enjoying so much, and that you are a part of. That has been really good financially, sustainably, etc. I charged $200 for a basic level and then offered the group course plus an hour of coaching for $300 and six coaching sessions for $700. I made $8400 or so. That’s more profitable than most weekends I’ve ever done (no costs for venue, travel, accommodations etc.). 

Then I led a Niching for Hippies virtual course. The first time I led it, I charged $300 per person and got about 45 people. So, that was about $13,000 when it was all said and done. I did it again six months later and charged $600 for it and got 45 people. In the end, that was about $23,000 of profit.

My situation used to be, “I’m broke. I need to hit the road and do some more workshops.” But now I am actually hitting the road with money in my bank instead of the tank being dry. 

As my sales funnel has become more robust, I can’t tell you the relief it is. It feels like the boat is getting so much more solid. It is not leaking as much. Again, not just being safer for people to check me out, but to uphold me. Also, I created a bunch of these case studies that are on my Web site for free.

But, it all starts with the pink spoons. It all starts with the free gift you can offer people. This is not a new idea. Ice cream stores do it. Bakeries do it. Grocery stores do it. Authors do it with ‘free chapters’ of their books and blogs. You should do it too.

It starts with giving people a way to sample what you have to offer with no risk, at no cost and that take zero time from you.

There’s nothing I know of that will help you build your list, deepen trust, connect with people and develop a following that having a thoughtful, well put together pink spoon.

If you’d like some help in creating one for your website, check out the “How to Create a Free Gift on Your Website”. I think you’ll love it. 

And if you’re a service provider interested in how to create packages (rather than just selling individual sessions) then I highly recommend check out Rebecca Tracey’s program Hey, Nice Package!

And, if you’ve got a pink spoon you use successfully, please share it with us below in the comments. 

niche case study: healing for healers

Tim Emerson is a trooper.

He participated in the Niching for Hippies program I ran in the summer of 2012. And, like many, he struggled with this idea of niching. I can’t even count the number of times he’d come to the group with what he thought was (finally) a workable niche, only to get a ‘meh’ and ‘please try again’ reaction from the group. Lots of encouragement but nothing seemed to be clicking for people. But Tim wouldn’t give up. He kept trying. Kept sitting with it. Came at it from so many angles when a lot of others might have just given up on the whole thing. Tim was committed. And, given that the Latin roots of commitment come from the verb ‘to begin’ that certainly fit because Tim seemed to always be starting from scratch.

And then, finally, something clicked and has been slowly unfolding since that moment.

What follows is an interview with him and my personal thoughts on where he might go next with it all.

 

tim emerson niche case study: healing for healersName: Tim Emerson, Kwan Yin Healing

Website: http://kwanyinhealing.com

What is the niche you’ve come up with? Who is it? What are the problems they struggle with?

You know how healers can sometimes struggle to feel connected with the light they felt when they first learned their practice?   Too much space between clients limits their practical growth, and they wish they had the intuition and results they see other healers demonstrate.   They truly want to make a difference, to share their gifts, but as time passes, doubt creeps in, and they wonder if they’re just kidding themselves, if they can really help after all, whether their gifts are real.  They can feel somewhat empty, disconnected, and disheartened.   They wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations. 

What’s the result you are helping them to achieve?

Well, what I do is help them to brighten that light and to keep that light burning, to reconnect them to the feeling they had when they started so that they can continue to grow, to keep believing in themselves, and to fulfill the dream of helping others that set them on their paths initially.  I show them how to feel this connection, to experience its reality directly and demonstrably, and to facilitate their own multi-level healing from it.  I act as a catalyst for their own very real change and accelerated growth.  With these changes come a lightness of being, a clarity and direction about their life paths and spiritual directions, with insights and confidence they can then demonstrate and share with their own clients.   They can then practice authentically and confidently as healers, as just who they truly are now, getting the support and encouragement they need to learn to be genuine and to allow themselves to grow again on their life path.

How was the process of coming to this niche for you? Was it hard? Easy? A struggle? Something you’d already been working on?

I found I could generate website traffic easily, but it wasn’t qualified traffic.  I needed to find specific people–but who were these people?  Naturally, I could work with anyone, but that wasn’t going to help me with search criteria.  Whom could I best serve?  I started by asking “Who is already coming?”:

Generally people see me (or are referred) for one or more of three reasons:

1) They are suffering from chronic pain or illness, and a friend referred them (often not someone I know either).   Back pain, cancer, asthma, something medicine isn’t handling well, things like these.  There’s often an emotional heaviness as well.

2) They are in a period of uncertainty, and are looking for clarity, focus, insight, new directions.   Shifting careers, changing relationships, periods of spiritual transformation or seeking, feeling things aren’t as they should be, often accompanied by some angst, weariness, or anxiousness about the situation(s). 

3) They came across Reconnective Healing somewhere, and article or the Internet, or read Eric Pearl’s book, and then found my name on the practitioners’ directory, and want to book a healing session or The Reconnection.   This may be for reasons 1 or 2, or they may be interested in learning about healing itself, with an eye to later training and practice.  They are curious, but ready to pay.

They are 30-60 years old, more often female (not always), middle class (low to high middle), U.S. or Canadian.  They are already open to the idea of energy and distance healing.  They lean toward green practices, liberal politics and healthy lifestyles, if often moderately so.  They are often artistic, or healers themselves, energy or traditional (nurses, counselors).  They resonate with my website imagery—forest waterfalls, Kwan Yin—and appreciate the quiet space in the middle of their busy lives.  They like me.

Particularly interesting to me was that people I didn’t know were referring clients.  But because I didn’t know them, I really didn’t know why.   I appreciated the trust, and after investigating, found these people were other healers who “figured they needed to call in bigger guns for this case.”  While honored, what could I do about this?  How could I help people who were a good fit find me?  Particularly since almost all clients are referrals–even though I frequently don’t know the source. 

At the same time, I had begun drafting my book, “Getting Unstuck:  Healing your Life,” pulling together what I had learned and preached about getting practical results even in seemingly difficult circumstances. As I recorded my thoughts and experience systematically, I also found the process clarifying those thoughts, then sparking new thoughts, and then pushing me into completely new areas of growth and experience, building the book into something much more than it was when I sat down to write it.  This process was no exception.  How would I find these strangers whom I love and who love me and what I offer?  That’s how I saw the job of niching.  What would resonate authentically with both me and my clients?

“Your deepest wounds are your truest niche.”  What had I been through? A few things came up that I had long pushed aside. Some old hurts from my early days as a musician. Some struggles emotionally. A lot of things I’d already laid out in “Getting Unstuck,” the things that brought me to the life I enjoy today. But not yet that passion, that drive, that “Yes! That’s who I serve! I love this!” And from my own book—I wasn’t going to do less than find that passion. But how?   I looked to my own interests and passions, particularly healing (of course), music, hiking, my passive solar house, but I just wasn’t seeing it.  I didn’t want to just arbitrarily pluck out a group.  How was what I did for these people any different than if they were spiritually conscious lumberjacks?  I struggled.  I reworded.  I started over.  Healing for Musicians.  Healing for Hikers.  Healing for ?????  Green Home Owners?   Local produce producers?  Every attempt to nail it down seemed to slip back out to serving the people in my large circle, all the people I was already seeing.  It was healing work.  So how to niche it authentically? 

Why this niche? What’s the story here? What can you say about your personal connection to this niche? Were you once in a similar boat? What made you think you had something to offer here?

For a while, people from Alex Baisley to my own Master Mind group had been telling me I should focus on healing for healers. My clients, many of them healers, were telling me this. Other clients came referred from still other healers. And I certainly could relate to many of the struggles they faced. The other people in Tad’s course were telling me the same thing now.

But. I just wasn’t seeing it.

Until one of the people in the course, watching me go through my open and vulnerable process, spoke up, sharing her own vulnerability. A healer herself, she shared what she sometimes felt inside, how she struggled, and how she looked at other healers and wished she felt more intuitive, more connected, more confident. How could she do this? I realized I knew how, and could help—this was already part of my healing work. Then other healers in the group added their thoughts. I was seeing it finally. This was something I couldn’t offer spiritually conscious lumberjacks. This was something specifically energy healers needed. And I could help. I wanted to help. I was excited about helping.

Healing for healers.

I got it.

I saw.

For quite a while, I hesitated to start a formal healing practice, because for years and years I’ve watched healers, massage therapists, and a host of other holistic practitioners struggle and wait and hope in vain.  Meanwhile, I had run successful businesses, from a consortium of musicians acting as a label to my own business consulting practice, and managed half a dozen others from non-profits to private sector enterprises.   I knew I needed a better business model, so waited quite a while before Tad’s “Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners” drew me a map to move beyond working with friends of friends when asked.   Kwan Yin Healing was born to serve, though, not only my own clients, but to help show, over time, others how they might construct their own dreams and reconnect their lives in practical, sustainable ways.  That absolutely applies to healers.  And now I could see a two way street.

The practice of Reconnection started when Eric Pearl was told that as a healer, it was something he needed.  When I mentioned this and explained the process of connecting meridian lines to the larger universal grid, a few people in Tad’s course said that this really landed for them.  They could see the need.  Also, I had months ago considered adding a discussion forum to my website, but hesitated because I didn’t want it to sit there idle.  

Now I could see that, while doing The Reconnection was the important service I offered healers, I could offer much more, a more targeted package of support and tools to help them on their personal journeys as well as their path as healers. 

A “Healing for Healers” forum opened the conversation for us all. 

I can now talk to people I haven’t met, learn about their struggles and needs, offer help and support, as well as offer that safe space for healers to help healers, to affirm their experiences, to guide and listen and encourage.  I wouldn’t have to work in the dark anymore, guessing what people would want and need.

What’s the response been to this so far from the people you’ve shared it with?

They.  love.  it.   The forum is still new, and in the first few months, with no advertising, attracted a few dozen users and over 700 views:  http://www.kwanyinhealing.com/healing-forum.php and check the growing use as well.   Others share that they like the idea, but haven’t gotten around to visiting.  As it grows, it will be nice to watch conversations grow among the users’ interests.  But it’s also instructive to listen to what’s merely bubbling.  People have time for what really resonates, so I know I have interest and potential here, and now will continue to explore to find what hits for healers. 

My blog is a few months old as well, and that too is an important resource for healers.  But in a blog, even with readers’ comments, it’s the author speaking to the crowd.  Healing for Healers is the individuals in the crowd speaking for themselves–their needs, their concerns, their interests, as they see it.  That participation and involved community is what I’m building for Healing for Healers

I’ve looked at several healing “discussions” on various sites, and they are generally “Look at me and contact me for a session.”  Not helpful at all, just a posting of essentially ads.  This is the opposite.  It’s a online coffee shop for healers.  If someone wants a session, they know where I am.   That’s not the point–the idea here is to provide a useful service, and for free.   It costs me a little (to prevent adding ads), but the value of the conversation far outweighs the cost for me.  And it fulfills my objectives of being truly of service, of serving as a useful hub, and of letting people get to know me.  

When I managed a New Age book store years ago, we were continually promoting other people.  Why?  The more people interested in what we did, the better.  That other people did it too wasn’t the point.  They knew us and what we offered.  And we got to know them very well.  That’s the goal here—I want to know these people and what’s going on for them.  And I want them to know other people care and can help.

How are you planning to reach this crowd? Any sense of the best hubs right now?

The main hubs used to be new age bookstores–including one I managed back in the 80s, Seven Rays Book Store, but now they’ve gone out of business, and the closest one to me is in Woodstock, over three hours away.  Perhaps there’s some way I can start to build relationships with such places virtually.  Or do a workshop once in a while on site.  But I’m thinking times have changed, and it’s time to do something different.

I’ve learned generating web traffic is pretty easy;  qualified traffic is another matter.  I’ve dabbled in Google Ads, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all of which weren’t all that helpful the first times I used them, particularly because I was targeting everyone. 

In November, I did an informational Q&A teleseminar — the replay link is on my website – http://kwanyinhealing.com — even though my first two attempts at teleseminars fell flat.  This time, though, I specifically marketed to healers.  Since the LinkedIn market was small, and since I haven’t figured out yet how to zoom in on healers using Google Ads, I went with a few Facebook ads specifically for healers.  I also sent a press release. 

What happened? 

  • The press release was picked up coast to coast in over 100 news outlets from the Boston Globe to the San Francisco chronicle. 
  • My new email list tripled. 
  • My page jumped from obscure to page six on Google searches (I’m working on page one). 
  • 47 people opted-in to the teleseminar, a dozen listened live (where they also got a group healing), and a dozen more followed up with the replay later.  
  • And I worked with ten new clients over the next two weeks, and got great new testimonials and even video footage of a woman who had a year-long neck injury from an auto accident healed…to the subsequent amazement of her chiropractor, who reported that her neck (C1) had somehow shifted back into alignment. Were all these people healers?  No.  But marketing to healers gave *everyone* a clearer idea of who I was and what I did.  It was far more compelling.  Niching rocks.
  • I’m also finding that some of the marketing groups I’m in are excellent hubs for healers.  They see what I’m doing, and because it’s different, I stand out.  Then they see continual new and interesting activity—and they’re curious, want to know more.  Then they ask about working with me on a project.  As one healer put it, “I love what you’re doing—it’s so paradigm shifty, and I’d love to be part of it.” 

And that’s the goal.  Paradigm shifty.  And not just healers—I’m regularly getting questions about my marketing from a range of entrepreneurs, holistic and conventional, intrigued by the difference and with the success of my slow marketing technique.  Being gently but fearlessly authentic is bringing in new relationships, and with them, new potential hubs.   And maybe a new niche—Paradigm Shifters!  Wherever Paradigm Shifters congregate, I’ve got potential hubs.  After all, part of my Why is changing the world.  Getting to know other Change Makers is a joy—and a hub.

What did you learn about niching along the way?

Niching is a process of coming face to face with yourself, and as we’ve lived our lives so far to arrive at our current perceived limitations, that’s not easy to do.  Notice that my friends identified my niche long before I finally got it.  They can see from the outside. 

So much of building a business, even a holistic one, is about old fear-based approaches.   Stopping to consider new paradigms, from as simple as “You aren’t going to help everyone, and if you get honest, you wouldn’t even want that,” considering who are the ideal clients, and who are the no-thank-you clients, to moving away from “what I have to do to be successful” to asking what you really want to do, and with whom, and why, and making those consideration the basis of business, of truly focusing on whom you can best serve, is going to create a far more sustainable, enjoyable, and helpful practice that can then be the focus of practical business models worth pursuing.    And it will be authentic. 

And it’s so amazing—when I focus on my niche, instead of trying to reach everybody, EVERYBODY is suddenly interested, not just my niche.

Focusing on a niche is simply (1) more compelling, and (2) compels me to get more specific and clear about what I do, what I offer, why I offer it, how it works, and rings so true, so authentically, that people don’t *need* to “get” me to become clients.   The average client hasn’t read the bulk of my web site (according to Google Analytics).  But they continually tell me they LOVE my site.   Why?  They love how it feels, and they like the feeling they get from me, and decide to take the jump and work with me.  It’s real, and they can tell, from the inside out.

What are your next steps in exploring this niche? Any project ideas?

Yes!  “Healers’ Voices” begins in January 2013, and already got nine very interesting and diverse people have signed on

  • Erik Carlson of “A Time to Heal” (massage and holistic healing),
  • Myriam Haar of “Powerful You” (NLP/Life Coaching),
  • Marina Ormes of “Astrology Heals” (Evolutionary Astrologer and Holistic Nurse—who’s niche is “visionary healers”),
  • Carol Ann Barrows (Qigong Instructor),
  • James Burkhart of “SomaHealing” (Amazon herbs),
  • Delia Yeager (Clairvoyant, healing circles),
  • Carla Forsyth (Transference Healing/Heartself Healing),
  • Lauren Worsh of “The Art of Spiritual Embodiment” (on the Law of Attraction), and
  • Lure Wishes…from the Tasmanian wilderness! 

More to come, I’m sure—I’ve only been promoting this a week so far.  I’ll be sending an announcement with the series details in early January.  Each participant will be hanging out to ask questions on the Healing for Healers forum during a specific time, and/or offering a guest blog, and/or doing a recorded interview.   The project is open-ended, so sign on, healers!

I’ll continue adding to my blog, which also serves my niche—I’ve explored Gregg Braden and Shin-ichiro Terayama so far, as well as self-healing and perhaps the start of a Hiking for Healers niche. 

Much more to come. 

I’ll also set up an online book store and music store connected to Amazon.  One of the best parts of Seven Rays Book Store for me and our customers was recommending books and music, and I can readily offer that online here, with descriptions of the individual recommendations.   I’m sure others will offer their recommendations too.  I’d like it to be a comfortable, rewarding place so that when healers (or anyone else) looking for a new read or new music, they’ll think to stop by and see what’s new at Kwan Yin Healing.  Blog posts can delve into some of this as well, of course, and perhaps book discussions will get going on the forum–that’s one of the suggestions that came from one of the healers.  I like it.  I’d like to see Kwan Yin Healing become a hub.

What would you say were the top three lessons you learned about niching from going through the six week Niching for Hippies program?

First, look at who is already coming to you.  Notice now those interactions play out.  For whatever reason, my clients trust me before they get here, and they’ve already decided to enroll in something.  I’ve never had a conversation about cost, with anyone–they just pay.  That’s unusual, so I can look to uncovering both why that is so I can do it better, and to turning my efforts to the areas that aren’t yet up to speed–better clarity, better programs, better visibility in my case–but first recognizing that none of that would matter if I didn’t first decide who I was attempting to reach.  More traffic to my site isn’t needed, as I’m largely a one on one provider.  What I needed was better qualified traffic, and for that, I needed to get clear about niche. 

Second, start with hubs.  I watched two excellent workshops pass by with insignificant enrollment, because I left that step for last.  No.  Where will you find these people?  And if your niche starts with the word “people,” it’s too broad, no matter how you qualify it next.  Pick a group that has a name they call themselves.  Period.  It can change, but if you can’t name them, you can’t find them.   Take a subset of who you’d like to reach if need be–you can’t see everyone at once anyway, so knock them off one by one.  See what works.  Stick with the ones that do and that you love.

And finally, there is NO substitute for talking to your niche.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nadda.   At first that can be difficult, but in my case, my niche themselves stepped forward finally and talked to me about becoming my niche.  Now I was having that conversation.  Now they were telling me what they needed.  I knew where to find them.  And they loved being able to talk about these needs. Presto. So simple. My niche project was born—a discussion forum for healers. A safe, honest, open, compelling discussion with like-minded practitioners sharing a common set of needs. Healing for Healers.  From that discussion, oh the possibilities!  There’s still my main work, reconnecting their energy to source, a reconnection every healer needs and should experience.  But first, we can build a relationship.  That’s worth all of it right there.  People who love each other, hanging out together and helping each other.  That’s the heart of Healing for Healers.  And that’s the heart of a Niche.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I’m looking forward to developing two other potential niches.

  • Healing for Hikers might evolve into retreats or pilgrimages into the wilderness, checking into the primal peace that most people rarely experience, let alone know is part of our earth and existence.   I also developed my new self-healing thoughts and techniques practically on long hikes in the mountains, releasing aches and pains without bringing them home.   I blogged about this daily in October in “A Wilderness Hike” series — http://kwanyinhealing.net/2012/10/01/a-wilderness-hike/ —  with awesome pictures from my Adirondack adventures in the High Peaks.  I’d love to hear hikers’ thoughts, ideas, suggestions.   How can I help?  What do you need?  What would you like to see?
  • Healing for Musicians could go in so many directions.  I’m an accomplished professional musician (classical, jazz, rock, folk, new age) and have recorded many times, including my own albums (which I’ll eventually digitize and put on my site).   I’ve also a strong background in esoteric music and healing, from ancient times and cultures to world practices.  I’m not sure where this will go, but there’s certainly potential.  Again, I’d love to hear from musicians–how may I best serve?

Something fantastic will evolve, I’m sure.   I’m also sure those best incredible ideas will come from hikers, musicians, and healers themselves.    And I’m sure I will fall in love with those authentic areas in which we can share.  

Mostly, I find that, instead of complicating “what I do,” niching has simplified and clarified my work. 

If I’m talking to healers, I can tell them I do healing for healers, starting with challenges healers face and how I help.   If I’m talking to people interested already in Reconnective Healing or The Reconnection, my approach immediately distinguishes me from the sea of generic practitioners.  One client drove four hours and stayed overnight to have The Reconnection done, even though she has a qualified practitioner in her own town. 

Her web site is all about her,” she told me, “while yours is all about the work and how it started and how it works.”  She felt I was a better fit.  Or if I’m talking about wilderness and healing, I already have resources ready to offer.

With this comes even more confidence.  I used to dread those awkward “So what do you do” questions from people unlikely to “get” it or want it.  Now I calmly tell them, “I’m a New Age hippie, and I do New Age hippie things.”  That they get, right away.  If uninterested they nod and change the subject;  if intrigued, they open the door to the conversation and show me which aspects intrigue them. 

Honestly, a niche is in no way a constraint.  It’s you, authentic and freed.  And it shows others the way in to you, what you do, why you do it, and how it fits their own lives.

It is itself healing.

 

My Thoughts on This Case Study:

Clarify in on the journey (i.e. the problem that’s being solved and the result that’s being offered). When I read over Tim’s answers to the first two questions about the problem he solves and the results he offers . . . there were a lot of words. It felt a bit overwhelming. Developing a marketing message and clear platform is often a lot like cleaning your bedroom. It often gets worse before it gets better. It gets messy because you’re pulling everything out to reconsider and piling it on your bed to decide what to do with it. And, if you stop there, you’re far worse off than you were, but it you push through that ‘groan zone’ and ‘messy middle’ your room ends up so much cleaner and more uplifting to be in. Tim is well on his way.

The next level is can you sum up the problem in seven words or less. And the result too. When you get to the heart of it, it’s usually really simple. People are craving better sleep, better dating, better sex, more money, to feel healthier etc.

In Tim’s case what jumped out were these phrases:

  • The Problem: Self Doubt. “They wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations.”
  • The Result: Confidence. “They can then practice authentically and confidently as healers”

It seems like the main journey he helps healers on is that journey. I could be wrong, but that’s what felt clearest and jumped out to me.

Whatever it ends up being, he should be able to sum it up in a single sentence or two, “You know healers often struggle with ______? Well, I help them get _________.”

If I were to take a crack at this for him it would be this: “You know how a lot of healers wonder sometimes how they can heal others when they’re struggling with healing their own doubts, fears, and limitations? Well, I help get to a place where they can practice authentically and confidently (even when their own life isn’t ‘perfect’).

You want to make sure you’re naming a struggle and a craving that, when someone in your target market hears it, they identify with it instantly.

The clearer the journey, the easier everything else is.

Blogging regularly. My colleague Marisa Murgatroyd has some brilliant things to say about blogging. But there’s no doubt that regular blogging has done me well in building up the ‘know, like & trust’ factor with my following. Blogging can help people learn about you from a safe distance. It’s a pink spoon. A free sample of what you have to offer. It helps you to articulate (and your following to understand) you point of view. That’s vital for building trust.

Clarify the rest of his platform. Right now, Tim’s got a fairly clear niche. It’s a fairly clear journey from the Island A of Self Doubt to the Island B of Confidence.

What’s not clear is what his point of view is about that journey. I want to know his sense of the steps, the process, the elements needed to make the journey. I want a clear sense of his ‘take’ on the journey and the blunders he sees healers making when they try it on their own. What are the myths surrounding the journey and what’s the truth?

I’d love to have him give me a metaphor for what the journey is like that could sum it up simply.

Clarity is power.

As Tim expands out, there’s a need to keep rooting deeper in clarity. Right now his platform is getting clearer but his container is a bit weak. A common error is to get the inklings of a platform and then want to promote it high and wide, but I would tend to encourage a bit more slowness and developing the business a little bit to be ready for it. It would be like getting the idea for a theme party and then inviting everyone over to your house that night before you’ve had a chance to tidy (let alone decorate) when it would be just as easy to do it the next week.

Redo his website for this niche of healers. Right now, I’d give his website about 30%. It feels a bit cluttered. My sense is that he’s well outgrown his website and needs to upgrade so that the external perception of his work matches the internal reality. I was in a similar place for years where I came to hate my old website but, until I met Jaime Almond, felt trapped. If you’re in that boat, get help. But, in addition to a general upgrade and makeover, I would love to see the homepage and his bio (and website in general hone in this niche of healing for healers because, right now, that doesn’t jump out to me.

He started with a niche project which is brilliant.  Instead of jumping into a website redo, he started with creating a forum as a part of his existing website to experiment. Brilliant. Start small. Start with a niche project that can allow you to see if the niche really feels right. He’ll know when he’s ready to take the next step. But it’s far better to go a bit more slowly than you need than too fast where you over commit to something you aren’t really ready for that doesn’t feel like a fit.

I’m a New Age hippie, and I do New Age hippie things.” – I love this. This might just be one of my favourite ways of introducing oneself I’ve ever heard. It’s so honest, self effacing yet composed and such a clear filter. It’s funny and will evoke either a leaning in response or a leaning out response. It’s a good reminder to see if you can find a ‘hook’ when you introduce yourself. Sometimes that will come from an oxymoron, sometimes from something like this. I think what I love about it is that it makes it clear that he doesn’t take himself too seriously – there’s a humility there. Arrogance is not attractive.

More Content:  In addition to blogging, there are more forms of content. The Healers’ Voices is a great idea. It reminds me of the Soul Filled Cafe idea that my colleague Heather Gray has used to successfully grow her practice. Doing interviews (audio, video or transcripts) and then offering those as downloads (free or paid) would be a great way to build things.

Develop a Signature Talk: While his work may not end up being a fit for TED talks, I would love to see Tim hone his message down to a twenty minute talk he could put up on his site. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for clients of mine – developing a ‘signature talk’ that communicates the heart of what you have to others.

Free Offer: I would love to see Tim’s site offer a ‘free gift‘ to anyone who signs up on his email list. Something targeted directly towards healers. It can make a dramatic, positive difference in who opts in to your email list.

 

your signature talk

I was chatting with my colleague Jonathan Bender about his upcoming coaching program about helping people deliver a ‘signature talk’. It’s a term I suggest you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming months. But it’s a bit of jargon so I asked Jonathan to explain what it is and why it matters.
 
JonathanBender1 your signature talkWhat is a signature talk? Why do it? And who’s it for?
 
First, a signature talk is simply a speech / presentation / keynote / talk that is uniquely you. It’s a forum for bringing your message to the world. Even if someone else has a similar topic, it doesn’t matter – a signature talk will always be authentically you. Also, it could be done at a live, in-person event, or it could be on a webinar or teleseminar. Finally, a signature talk could labeled as a motivational or inspirational speech. Often, it’s used to inspire new clients to work with you.
 
Why do it? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, speaking is one of the best ways to get clients, and to get established as an expert in your field. It helps you reach far more people very quickly – which makes getting clients much easier. Also, you get to change more people’s lives with your message. That’s pretty cool.
 
Who’s it for? If you are a heart-based entrepreneur – a coach, holistic practitioner, or with your own unique business that really helps people – it’s for you. If your reaction is, “I’m not a speaker,” then you’re the perfect fit. Yes, some people with signature talks make their living as paid speakers, but many others have their own coaching, therapy or healing business – and just use speaking to reach their perfect clients.
 
Anyone can learn to do it. It’s important to learn all the key elements, which I’ll be discussing with Tad on our call on Wednesday. Join us to learn a lot more, and how you can put a professional signature talk together – and start using it to attract great clients – faster than you may think.
Let me drill this down a bit further.
 
Your signature talk with where you express your point of view. Meaning, your talk is fundamentally going to be on the topic of the journey they’re on from Island A to Island B (and maybe to inspire them that Island C is possible). But just getting up there and describing that journey would, ultimately, be unsatisfying for an audience. You need to not only talk about the destination but to draw your unique map of how you think people should best make that journey.
 
You need to share your honest point of view.
 
I wrote a post called “50 real life examples of point of view in action“. And each of the examples could be the basis of your signature talk. But finding your voice and really honing your point of view into something clear can take work. Your signature talk is a chance to express your platform – to have them leave with a very clear sense of what you want to be known for.
 
Think about the success of TED Talks.

You’ve likely seen at least one (and if you haven’t I apologize in advance for the week of your life you’re going to lose watching them).

These talks are obviously inspiring, thought provoking and often very powerful.

But also consider this – can you imagine the number of books those videos have sold for the speakers? The number of speaking engagements and clients they gotten as a direct result of those talks? What those talks have done for their reputation? The projects they’ve been invited to be involved in?

Think about it.

I’ve gotten to asking my clients at workshops – ‘What would your TED Talk be?’ If you were given 20 minutes on stage in front of thousands of your ideal clients would you be able to distill your core philosophy and ‘take’ on things into that time in a way that they totally ‘got it’?

Of course, TED has a massive reach and reputation. But, even if you take that away, having a ‘signature talk’ like that (whether online or in person) is one of the most vital things I can imagine an entrepreneur having. The power of TED is partly the huge following they have (1,224,829 Followers) but it’s also about the clarity of the ideas being communicated and the powerful stories being told.

You may not have the reach but you can create a talk with the same power and impact.

You likely already know that public speaking is one of the best ways to get clients.

Yet, so many incredible conscious entrepreneurs aren’t doing it.

Or, they’re not being effective, and missing out on getting to bring their important message and purpose to the world.

I’ve seen talks where the presenter never even mentioned their services they offered (and so got no clients). I’ve seen talks where the speakers used high pressure and manipulative tactics to try and get people to buy (and then got no clients).

Jonathan Bender, a warm and wonderful fellow who’s been a speaking coach for over 15 years (also a professional theater director, actor and writer!), will be leading an incredible free training:

“How to Craft a Powerful, Inspiring Speech… that Transforms Your Audience, Changes Their Lives, and Moves Them to Work with You!”

DATE: Wednesday, October 10th @ 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET
COST: Free
REGISTRATION: http://bit.ly/QxW7M7

REPLAY / RECORDING AVAILABLE? Yes!

obama’s ad makes his case

220px Barack Obama Hope poster obamas ad makes his casePresident Obama recently released an ad (you can watch it at the bottom) I thought was worth commenting on – all politics aside. First of all, it reminds me how far the world has come that now video marketing and social media has become so ubiquitous in both politics and business.

Here’s where I think it’s strong.

During the last weeks of this campaign there will be debates, speeches and more ads. But if I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table here’s what I’d say:

First off he acknowledges the oncoming onslaught of debates, speeches and ‘more ads’. He let’s you know, without collapsing, ‘I get it. It’s ridiculous. I’m with you, I don’t want these either.‘ He’s positioning himself, subtly, as being on ‘our side.’

Then he expresses the desire to connect more personally with people. Where President Obama excels (and Romney struggles) is connecting with people. When Obama says, ‘but if I could sit down with you in your living room or around your kitchen table – here’s what I’d say.’ it immediately evokes warm feelings.

Clearly, sitting down with every American isn’t something he can do, but sometimes just expressing our desire can build a connection itself because it tells the other, ‘I value you.’ You don’t have to be perfect to be in business.

Seventh Generation (the eco cleaning company) has won a lot of credibility points over the years by not pretending to be 100% sustainable. And they’re honest about that. But they let you know they’re still trying.

If you were at a seminar and they said, ‘We would honestly love to give this away for free but we have so many staff with families to support and we charge this much because we need to. If we charge less it’s not sustainable for us’ it can still feel good to have them acknowledge the desire to do more rather than to hear them brag about how much money they’re making on you.

Romney has struggled, especially early in his campaign, to not come across as wooden and stuff. It’s the same challenge that Al Gore had in the 2004 elections. We want to feel some warmth and connection with our politicians, to believe they care. This is where President Clinton excelled. He demonstrated a profound amount of presence and empathy that was palpable.

And specifically, sharing the desire to connect in their home evokes very warm feelings. It conjures up images that are comforting.

When I took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and were mired in Iraq. Today I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again.

He then acknowledges the struggles the country was in and that there’s more hard work to do. Where politicians can lose all credibility is when people get that they have no firm grasp on the reality of the situation. If President Obama were to say, ‘Hey, when I got in office things were hard but thanks to me we’re 100% back on track.’ and then didn’t acknowledge that there was more to do – he would lose all credibility.

Billy Blanks of Tae Bo fame gained so much credibility in his infomercials for leveling with people, ‘it’s going to be hard. it’s going to take a lot of work. this won’t be easy.’

shackleton ad 400 obamas ad makes his caseThe famous Shackleton voyage posted an ad (read it to the right) which said a similar thing. It’s okay to admit it’s going to be hard as long as you make sure they understand it’s doable and that there’s a plan. Which President Obama now begins to do . . .

Now, Governor Romney believes that with that even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street all of us will prosper. In other words he’d double down on the same trickle down policies that led to the crisis in the first place. So what’s my plan?

Then contrasts his point of view with Governor Romney’s. Remember people vote for you (with votes or with dollars) because of your point of view. What does any American want from any President? Largely the same things – security, health & prosperity. So, if both candidates are promising the same result, how do you choose? What if you have 100 people in your city saying they can help you get rid of your migraines? Who do you choose? And how?

We choose – in large part – based on whose point of view we resonate with most and trust the most to get us where we want to go. But for most businesses their point of view is unclear. More to the point, it’s unclear how it’s different from their competitors. And since your point of view is so central to your platform (which is ‘what you’re known for’) it leaves people confused – and a confused mind says ‘no’.

First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs and help businesses double their exports. Give tax breaks to companies that invest in America, not that ship jobs overseas.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy, oil, clean-coal, natural gas, and new resources like wind, solar and bio-fuels—all while doubling the fuel efficiencies of cars and trucks.

Third, we insure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing 100,000 additional math and science teachers. Training 2 million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges. Cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade on top of the trillion in spending we’ve already cut, I’d ask the wealthy to pay a little more. And as we end the war in Afghanistan let’s apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation building right here at home.

I think his ‘four point plan’ bit is brilliant.

He’s drawing his map for people.

He’s saying, ‘look. here’s how we’re going to get from Island A to Island B‘. Your customers want this too. They’re desperate for it. They’re tired of people claiming they can get them the result and not backing that up with a plan that makes sense.

And most people like numbered lists: four point plans, the seven habits of highly effective people, the five stages of grieving, the three stages of the heroes journey. It helps give people context for where they are in their journey. It gives a reality check and hope that the journey is possible. And a goal with a plan to back it up is so much more believable than one without it – this is true if you’re trying to win votes, customers, volunteers, donors, financing etc.

In my mind, this is where Romney is failing. He’s saying, ‘which tax loopholes will I close down? See me after the election.’ But the whole, ‘trust me’ argument is what people hate about politicians. We don’t want to just trust an offer we want to see the plan that backs it up.

It’s time for a new economic patriotism. Rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney’s and decide for yourself. Thanks for listening. Read the President’s plan: http://OFA.BO/SAzDgd

And lastly, he makes a call for action. He invites you to do something. Most ads don’t do this! Most ads might feel good but then there’s nothing for you to do. If you have a welcome video on your homepage I think it should invite visitors to do something (e.g. sign up for my email list). If you send an email out about a workshop, it’s ‘click on this link to read more’. That seems so basic but I can’t tell you how many ads I see that have no call to action. Or have too big a call to action – they ask for too much.

Like, if you saw a poster for a meditation workshop at the organic grocery store and it was a $5000 retreat and the poster was asking you to sign up. No way that will ever work. But, if it offered something ‘free’ you could check out – some kind of ‘pink spoon‘ sample of the ice cream they’re selling, you might just try. No yoga studio will ever sell you on signing up for their teacher training without you first coming to the studio first – so offering free passes is smart marketing. It’s helps people to feel safe in trying you out.

President Obama isn’t asking for you to vote for him – he’s asking for you to just click on the link to read his plan. Smart.

mini case study – slow marketing really works

How would you like it if clients loved you so much they drove three or four hours to see you?

They will if it feels like it’s a fit.

I just got this note from a client of mine, Tim Emerson. And it reminded me of the importance of the slow marketing approach and how effective it can be in building trust with people over time. And how, even when Tim is clear that his website needs work, it is still helping him get clients. Sometimes, marketing can feel overwhelming and like if you don’t do it all then it won’t help. To me the best part of building your website is that, once it’s up, it’s basically good for the next year or so (and is working for you while you sleep).

“As much as my web site needs (and will get) a redesign (as I have time…in progress), I got a lesson from a client this morning. She drove here yesterday from her home town (got a room for the night) for a $333.00 Reconnection (she has been a distance healing client for a while), even though there’s someone in her town who could do this for her. “Her web site is all about her, and then just ‘here’s the session information.’ Your web site isn’t about you really–it’s about the experience. You give credit to Eric Pearl for developing it, and post his and Lynn McTaggart’s books; I watched all the videos–and I like to travel, so it was worth the extra money to come and do this with you.”

Bam. Yay for the journey, and yay for pink spoons, even when I can’t see that people are using them. Clients who pass local practitioners by to work with me, via distance or four-hour drive. Yay for starting to make my web site a hub for people, even with all of its current faults (“sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good”). Guess where I learned all that, Tad Hargrave???? :) In other terms — ONE CLIENT alone (not to mention all the others) more than covered the cost of “Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners.” I’m a happy client.”