Farmers Market Marketing Series #3: Five Solid Ideas for Online Marketing

homestead-tomato-bean-coop-booth

There are two main ideas, outside of thoughts on social media (which are coming next in this series) that could make the biggest long term difference for you and your farm.

IDEA #1: Be Googleable.

If you have something you’re offering that people are searching for online, make sure that they can find you. Bottom line, have a website – there are plenty of free tools you can use that are incredibly easy to create your own site for free if money is an issue and you’re just getting started. The main ones are: Yola, Weebly, SquareSpace and Wix.

Also make sure you get yourself listed on google.

Note: If you have a website with a blog built into it (wordpress is the best for this) and you update it regularly this will help your ranking in google. It’s worth booking time with a local online marketing expert to have them assess your online profile and see how it can be tweaked. Best of all, you can likely pay them in a meal at your farm or basket of your finest wares.

Hannah Hamilton shares why this matters, “So often I visit a vendor at a farmers market only to go home, look for them all over the Internet and can’t find them.”

IDEA #2: Make a video of your farm.

Consider getting a 3-7 minute video done that tells the story of your farm in a beautiful, evocative and compelling way. It can speak to the deeper reasons that drove you to start it and that still drive you today. It can lift up the unique perspective and approach you bring to farming. Can you show people how you grow food, where your food is served and have well known locals speak about it?

Here’s a video from Meadow Creek Farm.

Here are five examples from Calgary’s Verge Permaculture:

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

IDEA #3: Have an email list.

You might not send out emails that often. But, in this day and age, why not have it for the people who want to sign up and hear what’s going on for you? MailChimp.com is free up until you have 2000 people on your email list and so that likely means it will be free forever for you. Just a clipboard and pen out on your table where people can sign up. Even if you just got one email per week, that’s 50 emails in a year. That’s 50 people who want to hear more about your farm and business. Your email list, over time, can be a huge asset.

Shelly Juurlink suggests, “Start a “friends of the farm” electronic newsletter where they send out a quarterly blast on what’s happening on the farm.

You could let them know:

  • where you’ll be showing next
  • developments at the farm
  • what’s on sale
  • what’s thriving
  • what crops fails
  • recipes
  • what challenges you’re facing

Again, it goes back to story telling.

IDEA #4: Be an Advocate and Help Your Customers Be Advocates Too.

My guess is that locally and regionally there are issues that affect the land, water and economic viability of your farm (and all of the farms).

Being an active and vocal advocate on those issues will not only win you more attention and respect but also create a deeper bond between yourself and your customers as they feel, more deeply, that you’re both on the same team working for the same goal.

Simon Sinek gave a powerful TED talk about this notion that ‘people don’t but what you do, they buy why you do it’:

If you want some help in honing in on what your bigger why is, here are some questions you can ask yourself.

Let your customers know how they can take a stand on local issues affecting farmers. Give them petitions to sign, pre-written Facebook posts they can share, phone numbers they can call and rallies they can attend. Let them be a part of the solution. I promise you that they want to be.

You could have petitions you invite them to sign at your booth. You could mention it on social media or on your email list.

IDEA #5: Hire a Photographer & Graphic Designer.

Having beautiful photographs of your wares, yourself and your farm can go a long way.

Kelsey Falle suggests a way to save money in this, “Find a local graphic or web designer who will work on trade, and have them do business cards, flyers, website, social marketing, etc. I am a hoping to find a farmer in my area to do just this!

Trade them for produce or a big dinner at the farm.

For more thoughts online marketing for Farmer’s Markets, I recommend reading Adam Helweh’s piece on Online Marketing Tips from the Farmer’s Market which explores how lessons learned from the Farmer’s Market can apply to social media .

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

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

storyThis article was originally published on The99Percent.com and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

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

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

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

1. Share a Point of View.

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

2. Create a Backstory.

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

3. Incorporate External Validators.

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

4. Invite people into relationship.

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

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

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

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

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

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

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

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

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!

 

80 Minute Video: Conversation on Transparent Marketing with Simon on the Sofa

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.13.27 PMI just had an 80 minute google hangout with a dear friend and colleague in the UK who’s known as Simon on the Sofa

We spoke about how marketing often feels ‘off’ even, sometime especially, when it’s called ‘conscious marketing’. 

We spoke about how dating and marketing were intimately connected and about the importance of vulnerability in both.

I really enjoyed our conversation a lot and I hope you will too.

 

Top Ten Blog Posts on Figuring Our Your Platform (77 pages worth!)

TopTenOver the past decade, I’ve written a lot of blog posts. Over 500. 
 
But there are ten of them that most get to the heart of really figuring out what I would call your platform (what you want to be known for). My guess is that you’ve only seen one or two of them. 
 
Figuring out your platform is the most critical thing you can do in your marketing. Without a clear platform, your marketing will feel clunky and awkward. Without a clear platform (or you could say brand, identity or reputation) success in business becomes extremely difficult.
 
I introduced the idea of the platform in my blog post The Three Foundations of a Thriving Business. It spoke to what your platform is and where it fits in your overall marketing strategy. This is one of the core pieces of my marketing workshop. 
 
So, to help you figure out your platform, here are my Top Ten Blog Posts (which, if you printed them off in size 12, Goudy Old Style (the best font)) would total 77 pages. 
 
 
Blog Post #1: The Three Roles of Marketing: This blog post sets the stage for the importance of having a clear platform as it attacks, head on, the central assumption that ends up making marketing and sales feel bad for all involved. What is that central assumption? It’s the idea that marketing has only one role. What is that role? To get people to say ‘yes’ to buying your products and services. I think that is wrong. I think there are three roles in marketing. And none of them, provocatively, have anything to do with getting anyone to say ‘yes’. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #2: We Might Be a Fit If: What if one of the three roles of marketing was all about establishing if you and the potential client were a fit for each other (rather than assuming that everyone needs what we have to offer)? I want to submit that your clarity around this issue of ‘who is a fit?’ is the most central question you can answer and that 90% of the marketing struggles I see come down to a lack of clarity around this issue. This post is chock full of specific questions you can ask yourself to get clear on who is and isn’t a fit for you. You can read that post here
Blog Post #3: Polarize: This blog post builds on this idea and takes it further by suggesting that the reason most people’s marketing doesn’t succeed is because it’s acting as a seduction rather than a filtering process. What if the role of our marketing wasn’t just to attract the people for him it was a fit but to actively turn off and repel the people for whom it wasn’t a fit? You can read the post here
 
Blog Post #4: Your Platform in a Page: This is likely the post I’ve sent out to the most clients I’ve worked with as a first step. When people want to work with me, this is the post I send to them as homework to get grounded and ready for our session. Their answers to this help me laser in on where they are clear and where they aren’t. It’s divided into six areas of your platform with the best three questions I could come up with for each. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #5: Island A – The Painful Symptom: This is the most important thing you can figure out in your marketing platform. Island A represents that problem people are having to which your product or service would be a solution. 90% of clients I work with do not have this figured out. This is simultaneously the simplest and yet most difficult of issues to figure out. But, once you’ve got this nailed, your marketing becomes ten times easier (without exaggeration). This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever written. It’s crammed with examples, case studies, criteria and specific questions to guide you in figuring this out for your situation. It’s one of the most practical posts I’ve ever written. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #6: Island B – The Results They Crave: This post is the other side of the Island A post. If Island A is about the problems with which they’re struggling, Island B represents that results they are craving the most. Again, this post is deep and extensive. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #7: Island C – The Unimagined Possibility: Sometimes you’re offering something that’s so new that they didn’t even know it existed or was possible for their lives. If that’s the case then you need to market what you’re doing in a different way. If your work is cutting edge and is usually new to most people who hear it or if you’re offering a result that’s so much better than what most people assume is possible this post is a must read. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #8: Island Z – The Unspoken Fears: This is a piece I almost never speak about at my workshops, but, if you want to have a clear platform and understand the people you’re trying to reach, it’s essential. Island Z represents the very real fears people have of what might happen if they don’t handle their problems now. These fears are often secret, unspoken but ever present in their lives. Your ability to really understand and empathize with these issues is huge in your ability to build trust. You can read that post here.
 
Blog Post #9: How to Identify Your Own Message: Years ago, I heard one of my colleagues say, ‘Don’t market yourself. Market your message.’ and I sat with that for a long time considering what it meant. Your message is a core part of your platform and it’s something that most businesses haven’t figured out. You can read that post here
 
Blog Post #10: How to Figure Out Your Why: Simon Sinek wrote the brilliant book called Start With Why which lifted up the message ‘people don’t just buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. I was powerfully struck with the truth of this message and, since then, helping people figure out the deeper purpose behind their business has been a core part of the platform work. You can read that post here
 
I hope you find these useful and I’d love to hear your comments in the comment section of the blogs themselves. 
 
 
 

Guest Post: What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?

What are the 7 Graces of Marketing and Life?

My friend and colleague, Lynn Serafinn, has just published her new book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell.

(You can check it out here – but it on December 13th and get yourself some cool free things)

The ideas she presents in this 400+ page book are a call to action, not only to business owners and marketers, but to everyone one of us as a consumer.

Reading Lynn Serafinn’s list of the marketing graces (below) is a liberating experience.

It reminds us that marketing can be either a thing of beauty or a source of our collective discontent. It reminds us that the choice is not `Do I market or do I keep my integrity?’ but rather, `How can I make my marketing more gracious and graceful every day? How can my own marketing be a part of the healing of the world?’

Lynn paints it out so clearly–for each virtue, there is a toxic mimic (twice the calories and none of the nutrition)…Marketing shouldn’t feel like we’re holding our breath just waiting to be discovered as frauds. It should feel like easy breathing. Lynn’s astounding contrast of virtues and vices is such an excellent guide. I can’t wait to dive deeper into it.

*  *

Lynn’s sneak peek into the 7 Graces paradigm

Grace #1: Connection

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Disconnection”. Connection is at the foundation of everything in life—Connection to Self, Source, others, our businesses, and our audience—determine how effectively and authentically we communicate and conduct our lives.

When business owners are disconnected from Self, their businesses cannot be genuine representations of who they are. And the problem is, as businesses get bigger and bigger, that Connection becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. When business owners are not connected to Source and others, it opens to door to exploitation of both natural resources and people.

Connection is the first of the 7 Graces, because without it the other Graces cannot manifest.

Grace #2: Inspiration

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Persuasion”. The literal meaning of the word “Inspiration” means “to breathe life into”. As business owners, we have a choice to be “life giving” to our audience or “life robbing”.

Persuasion, wherein we will do anything and everything to make a sale/profit, is life robbing. As business owners, it is our responsibility to “feed” society, and thus ensure not only that our products and services are life-giving, but also that our communications (marketing) is life-giving.

For marketing to be filled with the “Grace of Inspiration”, it should never incite fear, anxiety or feelings of inadequacy.

Grace #3: Invitation

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Invasion”. Nearly every form of marketing we see today is invasive. Our attention span is continually interrupted, whether it is through television/radio adverts, pop up messages, uninvited email adverts, cold-calling or billboards. As business owners and marketers, we need to bring back the “Grace of Invitation” into our communications.

This means that when visitors come into our “space” (our website, our office/shop), we treat them like respected guests, offering them hospitality and generosity. Conversely, when we come into our customers’ space (as when we send out emails), we must do so with courtesy and care, ensuring we never become the dreaded “houseguest from hell”.

Grace #4: Directness

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Distraction”. So much modern advertising depends upon Distraction to seize and maintain our attention. Nearly every advert you see will utilise random brand identity triggers and humour to get us to pay attention.

What is wrong with this is that people end up buying products simply because they remember the advert, and not necessarily because they have been given direct, clear information about the product or service. Directness is simple: we marketers need to get back to “telling it like it is” instead of hyping up our businesses.

The public need to be informed and empowered. The Grace of Directness allows that to happen.

Grace #5: Transparency

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Deception”. Deception in marketing is rife, but is sometimes extremely subtle. In the book, I give many examples of how language and imagery are often used in a deceptive way in marketing, where technically (and legally) the message is “true”, but the unconscious message we perceive is untrue.

Transparency literally means “to shine light through”. When we are Transparent in marketing and in life, we are not merely being honest, but we are also allowing the true intention behind our thoughts, words and deeds to be seen and heard clearly. When we walk in Transparency, both in business and in life, we are walking in the Essence of who we really are.

Grace #6: Abundance

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Scarcity”.

The chapter on Scarcity in the book is one of the biggest, because it’s simply such a massive topic. Scarcity marketing is all around us, and it appears in so many forms, from limited-time offers to the various kinds of “obsolescence” used to incite us to buy beyond our needs or means.

Abundance, on the other hand, is the fundamental belief that there is enough for all—when we are living in rhythm with the planet. It is our natural state of being. If we operate our business from the fundamental belief in lack or Scarcity, we will always bring Scarcity strategies into our marketing.

The irony is that Scarcity begets Scarcity.

In other words, if we operate from a Scarcity mentality, we are likely to create the very Scarcity we most fear because the end result will be overconsumption. Overconsumption is destroying both our economy and the ecological balance of our natural world. But if we operate from a fundamental belief in Abundance, we will not bring such fear and anxiety into our marketing, and overconsumption will be a thing of the past.

Grace #7: Collaboration

This is the “antidote” to the “Deadly Sin of Competition”. Many people have the false notion that competition is necessary to create healthy economies and stronger societies.

But this is largely a myth and has no foundation in Nature whatsoever. While I believe in “free enterprise”, this is not the same thing as Competition. In the book, I cite many studies that have proved how Competition diminishes creativity and innovation. When we conduct our businesses or our lives with a competitive mindset, we not only reduce our own performance, but we also reduce the support we receive from others.

On the other hand, Collaboration always results in something greater than the sum of its parts. Every single marketing campaign I have produced is based upon Collaboration. The permaculture of the world is actually one giant, interdependent Collaboration.

We’ve been brought up in a competitive world, but the more connected we become via technologies like social media, the more we see that Collaboration is the way we perform best.

*  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this overview of The 7 Graces of Marketing from author Lynn Serafinn. If you want to dive more deeply into this paradigm … do check out Lynn’s book The 7 Graces of Marketing on December 13th.

When you do, there are dozens of wonderful gifts for you, including the audio download of all 7 sessions from the telesummit, and many other goodies. Check out the gifts, and request a launch reminder so you don’t forget to pick up your copy (in paperback or Kindle) at: http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book 

 

 

resonance in marketing

I want you to think of your favourite cafe or restaurant in town. You know the one. You take all your friends there. They know you by first name. There is so much affection in you for it. It’s a place that resonates for you. You feel like you fit. I bet the first time you ever walked in – you felt like you were at home. ‘These,’ you thought. ‘Are my people.’

And I want to suggest that resonance comes from a few things – none of which are marketing tactics.

Simon Sinek hits this point home hard in his book Start With Why.

Typical manipulations include: dropping the price; running a promotion; using fear, peer pressure or aspirational messages; and promising innovation to influence behaviour – be it a purchase, a vote or support. When companies or organizations do not have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they need. It’s because manipulations work.

If fear motivates us to move away from something horrible, aspirational messages tempt us toward something desirable. Marketers often talk about the importance of being aspirational, offering someone something they desire to achieve and the ability to get their more easily with a particular product or service.

Six steps to a happier life!

Work those abs to your dream dress size!

In six short weeks you can be rich!

All these messages manipulate.

They tempt us with the things we want to have or to be the person we wish we were.

I cannot dispute that manipulations work.

Every one of them can indeed help influence behaviour and every one of them can help a company become quite succesful. But there are trade offs.

Not a single one of them breeds loyalty.

Over the course of time, they cost more and more. The gains are only short term. And they increase the level of stress for both the buyer and the seller. If you have exceptionally deep pockets or are looking to achieve only a short term gain with no consideration for the long term, then these strategies and tactics are perfect.

Beyond the business world, manipulations are the norm in politics today as well. Just as manipulations can drive a sale but not create loyalty, so too can they help a candidate get elected, but they don’t create a foundation for leadership. Leadership requires people to stick with you through thick and thin. Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event, but for years. [Manipulative] tactics win elections, but they do not seed loyalties among the voters.

In business, leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even when you slip up. If manipulation is the only strategy, what happens the next time a purchase decision is required. What happens after the election is won?

There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you. Loyal customers don’t often bother to research to the competition or entertain other options. Loyalty is not easily won. Repeat business, however, is. All it takes is more manipulations.

Manipulations lead to transactions, not loyalty.

So, if manipulations don’t work, what does?

Resonance.

Marketing tactics are like the searchlight form of marketing – that people run away from.

Resonance is the lighthouse that draws the ships into safe harbour.

Resonance is when we express ourselves so beautifully and honestly that people can’t help but feel it. Resonance is when we focus more on the quality of the light our lighthouse is putting out and the brightness of it than who might be seeing it. Resonance is preparing your home so beautifully for guests. Resonance is when we follow up with someone, not because they’re an ‘excellent contact to add to our network’ but because they give our heart a pretty little hum when we’ve around them. Resonance is when we trust the universe is a friendly place.

Resonance comes when we can relax and be comfortable in our own skin.

 

“Stress is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

– Chinese Proverb

 

And resonance comes from a number of things – here are the ones that come to mind most quickly . . .

  • a genuine, human vibe: people are, increasingly, running away from people who are posturing, pretending to be more together than they are, fake, phony, pretentious etc. They are drawn to people who are genuine, real, authentic and just plain honest. This doesn’t mean ‘granola’. It means that whatever you are – you embrace it fully. You open to the world as that. It’s like the line in Breakfast at Tiffany’s about Audrey Hepburn’s character, ‘she’s a phony. but she’s a real phony.’ It means we’re not doing what we’re doing to impress people, win approval or become something else. We’re just enjoying being us. We’re even embracing our own weaknesses. We’re okay with having needs – including the need to eat and live in this world – so we’re okay with needing to have some money. We’re okay with our clients supporting us – and we feel so grateful and amazed whenever it happens.
  • an unattached mindset: we give equal weight to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ from potential clients because we only want to work with people for whom it’s a fit and who want to work with us. If it’s not a fit, we bless and release. We don’t chase, we replace. We love people as they are – we’re not trying to change them. We’re not trying to get them to be anything they aren’t or to do anything they don’t want to do. We’re not pitching anything – we’re just sharing what we have with the world. We’re not trying to convince anyone of anything – we’re just sharing our truth and letting the world change if it wants to. We know that people will either love what we have or they won’t. We’re okay with either.
  • a crystal clear, unapologetic point of view:  we have know where we stand, we have an opinion, a take, a worldview, a diagnosis, a perspective on the way things oughta be. It’s clear to us and it’s clear to the market place. It’s not an ideology – but it’s a clear set of guiding principles and ideas and beliefs that guide our work and that people can count on. We have a clear map that people can understand of how we’ll be guiding them on their journey.
  • an inspiring ‘why’: people know why we’re doing what we’re doing. They get the deeper cause behind it for us. They know that we’re not in it for the money. They know the kind of world we dream of and are working towards. They see how everything in our little business is all wrapped around and expressing this core, beating heart of our business. We don’t see the market place as full of competitors – we see it as full of potential collaborators who are all working together (or could work together) towards something bigger. We’ve got no interest in being a leader of a movement – but we’re so deeply passionate about movement happening in the world.
  • a solid structure and container: we prepare our home to receive the guests. We make sure we’re ready for when they show up. We are craftsmen of our arts. Attention to details. Small things matter. We lay strong foundations for our business. This gives us a sense of pride. We’re excited to send people to our website. We can’t wait to show off our cafe. We know that the details are handled so we don’t fuss about them. We can relax. The container, we find. not only holds the potential client – it holds us too.
  • a good strategy: we are ready to have clients and now, instead of chasing them down, we make it easy and safe for them to find us. We make it risk free and easy for people to say yes to working with us. We pick marketing tactics and strategies that feel authentic and real to us and then we make sure we implement them in the most genuine ways possible. When we create a strategy that we know will work – we can relax. We know that we’ll get enough clients because we have a plan. And our plan is not only something that gets us clients – our marketing is actually an expression of our deeper cause and our point of view. Our marketing feels really genuine and easy. Our clients feel that and relax too.

Resonance is different than relevance. Relevance says, ‘yes – that can help me on the journey I’m on. That can help solve my problem. That could get me what I’m craving.’ But there are likely many, many options out there that are relevant to them. Why should they pick you? They will, at the end of the day, pick the one who most deeply resonates with them. 

Don’t you resonate with that idea?

See?

It works.

 

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

 

guest blog: directness vs distraction – towards better relationships in marketing and in life

Adapted from the book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell by Lynn Serafinn.

As a coach, I have learned how to listen carefully to what people are really saying.

Frequently this is not so much a matter of the content of what they are saying, but the context in which they are saying it. It is within that context that you can hear the whole truth of the story, including how clients are really feeling about both the situation and themselves.

As a lot of my coaching is done over the phone or Skype (and not always with the webcam turned on), there are no ‘body language’ cues to inform me, and I’ve learned to use my ears and my intuition to hear the subtlest inflections in both the tone of voice and in the way a client uses language. One of the most consistently accurate measurements of what clients are actually feeling can be found in their grammar, especially in their choices of when to use first, second or third person in their verbal rendering of a story or situation.

For instance, when someone gone through a very painful or even shameful trauma (which could be anything from childhood abuse to getting fired from a job), it is extremely common for that person to deflect their feelings of shame and pain by saying things like, ‘When that happens you feel like you’re not worth anything,’ rather than saying, ‘When that happened, I felt like I wasn’t worth anything.’ Usually, when someone relates a personal experience in the second person ‘you’ rather than the first person ‘I’, they are distancing themselves from the experience and the emotion.

I’ve found there can be many reasons for this.

One is that the emotion is still very painful and they’re distancing themselves from the pain by putting it ‘over there’ instead of inside them. Another is that they might be judging themselves for having the emotion (or for having done something for which they are ashamed), and by saying ‘you’ it gives them a feeling of social proof, i.e., that other people also feel the same as they do. And lastly, and especially if the client rarely if ever uses the first person, it can also reflect a chronic dissociation to their feelings, usually stemming from a deep lack of self-worth that goes far beyond a specific incident or memory.

For such clients, saying ‘I’ can be one of the most uncomfortable things they’ve ever done, because they have lived for so long not being able to acknowledge their own opinions, feelings and ideas that they have lost the skill of standing in their own presence. For them, the biggest shift they often experience is simply by my pointing out every time they aren’t ‘owning’ their emotions, until they develop their own awareness and begin to step into their experiences without shame or fear.

It’s amazing how a simple change from ‘you’ to ‘I’ can do so much to heal a wounded soul.

But what is even more interesting about this shift is that when we begin to ‘own’ our experiences through our language, we also become more ‘direct’ in how we express ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we suddenly become rude or show fits of anger with our family or in public. In fact, it usually means we are much less prone to do so. What it does mean, rather, is that we cease putting up protective barriers around our feelings, making us more able to walk fearlessly in life, even around conflict, without feeling the need either to fight or flee. Directness makes our relationships with people ‘clean’ and straight-forward, enabling us to have a deeper and more intimate connection with others.

Directness plays a big part in marketing as well, and it can make or break the relationship between a business and the consumer. In my upcoming book The 7 Graces of Marketing, I dedicate an entire chapter to ‘Distraction’, which I have named as one of the ’7 Deadly Sins of Marketing’. In that chapter I describe all the subtle ways in which many marketers use Distraction to take our attention away from the truth, in order to make a sale.

Later in the book, there is another chapter on ‘Directness’, one of the ’7 Graces of Marketing’, which is the ‘antidote’ for Deception. What is interesting about Directness in marketing (or lack thereof) is that it can stem from the very same reasons we might lack Directness in our personal relations—an underlying disconnection. We might be lack connection to self or to the values being expressed by the business or product being marketed.

Here’s a little story that gives an idea of how lack of Directness can impact our relationships, both in life and in marketing. Let’s imagine a marketing message as a suitor, and the consumer as a young girl being wooed. At first, the girl is charmed by the suitor’s sense of humour, his charismatic ways and his suave and sexy words. She feels when she’s around him and finds herself desiring to spend time with him.

Other boys look at the suitor and shake their heads.

‘How come all the ladies are attracted to him?‘ they mutter amongst themselves. They don’t understand why he seems to get all the girls. But after a while, the girl tires of how much he dances around the truth, and she realises she doesn’t really know him at all. His humour, charm or sensuality only makes her irritable, because she knows there is no real connection between them.

She gets frustrated because he’s all fluff and little substance.

Eventually, the proverbial honeymoon is over and she ends the relationship. He cannot understand how it could happen, as he’s been ever so sweet, charming and entertaining. She herself cannot quite put her finger on what went wrong either, but the whole experience has left her feeling disappointed, and perhaps cynical and mistrusting of future suitors.

When a large company uses Distraction in marketing just to get the attention of the consumer, it’s very much the same scenario. It might very well work at first, but in the long term, most people are going to tire of it unless they find some substance within their relationship with the company. What’s worse, once consumers have been seduced by contests, quirky or provocative ad campaigns and other gimmicks that have little or nothing to do with the product or service involved, they are far less apt to trust a company later on when they want to get serious.

But when marketers practice Directness from the onset, they are laying the foundation for long-term relationships with the consumer. Directness is one of the most life-giving attributes of any interpersonal relationship, including marketing.

To pull it altogether into a single sentence:

‘Directness is the practice of using elements in your marketing that that provide plain, unambiguous and relevant information about the product or service being marketed AND express the genuine thoughts, opinions and values of the company or business owner.’

In other words, Directness tells it like it is.

The above article is a short adaptation from the chapter entitled ‘Directness’ from my upcoming book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, which is launching on Tuesday December 13th, 2011. Please be sure to subscribe to this blog for more excerpts and articles, as well as news about the big launch celebration, including a 7-part online telesummit (free to attend, of course!) with a line up of outstanding guest speakers.

AND… if you’d like to be a partner on this book launch, and benefit from the great exposure our collaborative efforts can bring, or if you’d like to invite me to appear on your radio broadcast during the month of November or December, please drop me a line at http://spiritauthors.com/contact by Monday October 10th, 2011.

Copyright Lynn Serafinn, 2011

About Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is bestselling author, marketer, coach, speaker, radio host and promotional manager for a long list of #1 selling mind-body-spirit authors. In her work, she has witnessed both the conscious and unconscious mechanics of marketing that threaten our society and our very planet. In her book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell (Humanity 1 Press, Dec 2011), she reveals how modern marketing has played a hand in the the rise of consumer culture, negatively impacting our health, happiness, economy and natural world in an unparalleled way, and offers us hope via a new paradigm she calls “The 7 Graces of Marketing.” Subscribe to this blog to keep on top of how you can help change the world through 7 Graces thinking. Author, marketing and radio show enquiries, please send via http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

 

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

case study: panty by post

Natalie Grunberg (pictured below) had an idea for a business.

Mail women pretty panties. Once a month.

This business is a brilliant example of some many things: niche marketing (panties are for women), having a point of view (it’s about confidence), having a simple, well crafted offer (a pretty panty. mailed monthly), doing something provocative that gets people talking (panties!).

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What is the name of your project?

PantyByPost.com!

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

PantyByPost.com is an online business that sends a pretty panty every month in the mail to your loved one, or maybe to you (you deserve it)!

I thought of the idea on a trip to Paris some years ago and the plan was to spread the confidence of those enchanting and stylish French women. That’s exactly what we’ve done, one panty at a time (wink).

I saw a need, to spread French style all over the world. Even if your daily uniform is a Lululemon pant, you can wear a panty by post panty and feel better. Self confidence may just start with the panty you choose to wear. My company helps to make women’s panty drawers sexier, more colourful and playful.

 

 

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

We always support local charities and we are collecting panties right now to donate to the Vancouver Downtown Eastside Women’s Center. Some of our customers have even donated a month of their subscription to the Center, which is very cool. We are currently supporting a local theater group in Victoria BC by outfitting their set with panties (it’s called NANA’S NAUGHTY KNICKERS).

To order a subscription you click on the shop button and select the line, Signature or Bridal and then proceed through to check out. It’s very easy! We ship worldwide now, so there…your whole Christmas list is done!

Who do you find it’s working best for?

Women made up our biggest supporters when we launched. Now the men are starting to hear the good news! Men like to gossip too, so our customers are a pretty even split of men and women.

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

Online marketing for an online business is the best approach. Magazine and newspaper advertising doesn’t work. PR is the most important fuel for customer acquisition but after you have enough customers and you prove you have an incredible service and product, they will talk. My customer to customer referrals and referral perks (one free panty for every customer you refer) are how I gain more traction.

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

  1. Don’t risk more then you have.
  2. Trust your gut, listen to others and then make the choice that is right for you. Always do the honest and right thing. Never let money ruin relationships.
  3. Nurture relationships authentically. Be real.

What does that mean for you? “Nurture relationships authentically”

Many business people share that relationships are what matter. I added the nurture and the authentically component mostly as a response to some of my early experiences. Be real and be yourself. I really don’t like it when people are just trying to get something from me. I’m not a big fan of business mixers or networking. I find it to be a huge effort, it’s unnatural to be so self serving.

It’s icky.

By all means, get out there and make connections but for me I like to keep it small and keep it humble.

What’s been most effective for you in the online marketing arena?

CPC, cost per click advertising has been effective. We use Adroll to help remind customers who have visited our site, which is a good marketing tool. Bloggers from all over the world help spread the word about PBP and they do it very authentically because they get a panty by post to try.

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

We are going international BIG TIME! We have our first international office in Moscow and our next operation opens in Paris this November. How exciting! We will continue to create relationships in other languages and in other countries. This is the jet setting (and carbon offsetting) that I dream of doing!

At its heart – what is this project really about for you?

At the heart of PBP there are two old fashioned ideas: customer service is key and self confidence comes from within.

We have been told we go above and beyond the call of duty for customers, but we don’t see it that way. Doing a job well and promptly makes us feel good. As the owner of the company, I set the tone. I’m an absolute perfectionist because having a top notch consumer experience is rare these days. When PBP staff delivers incredible service, every day, we make customers happy and they return.

This seems so basic but I can’t tell you the last time I had a quality “old fashioned” consumer experience. It’s our edge in a competitive online shopping environment.

The other pillar of the company is about confidence. I was inspired by the women in France and they continue to remind me (lucky me I go to France each summer) that looking beautiful is about self respect. French women put effort into their appearance and so do the men for that matter.

It’s a different ethic and for me, I think it represents their commitment to finding beauty and style everywhere, spreading that style and also enjoying the pleasures of life. Everywhere you look in France people have put effort into beautifying their environment. The least I can do is run a company that makes getting a French style panty easier.

Now those of us non-Frenchies have no excuse.

What has the response been this this project?

Each year PBP builds and grows. I put very little money into advertising because our product and excellent service does the work of spreading the word of PBP. Men especially seem to appreciate the gift giving service. We basically are the answer to all their gift giving issues.

Why do you think your customers love you so much?

Our customers love us because of our high quality of service but really our product is very unique and totally fabulous The panties are very special, colourful and sexy. Once you start wearing our panties, it’s shocking that you once settled for plain Jockeys or Victoria Secret. Our panties are accessibly priced (about $16 per panty), durable but mostly they are adorable

You’ve got such a unique idea that I imagine a lot of PR came from that – but what are the three biggest tips you could give people to be ready for it, get it and take advantage of it?

  1. Get a communication coach. We had Maria LeRose coach us at the very beginning and throughout our launch. Having a profession coach like Maria will help you get clear on your company goals and will make your media interviews really stand out. She videotaped us and we reviewed the way we looked and the way we delivered our story. This kind of practice is key.
  2. Hire a professional PR person to work with you on your media pitches. We had a coach for 3 months to support us to improve our media writing and understand what the media is looking for.
  3. Start local and aim national. There is no such thing as a small enough media outlet.

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

Email us,

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you think panties don’t matter, try a panty by post and I beg to differ. We have something special here! Oh yah, right now I’m wearing a Raven Beauty hipster in noir. It has buttons all down the derriere and when I wear them I feel like a Paris runway model (note: I’m 5’2″, so clearly the panties give me super powers).

 

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

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

how to write a lovable homepage

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

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

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

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

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

Any marketing consultant would agree with me on this.

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

Your homepage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You want a homepage that your ideal clients will love.

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

Tough love (but I love you!)

So, what can you do?

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

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


lovable homepage Finally, it’s here.

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

I can’t rave about it enough.

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

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

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

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

I promise it will be worth every penny you spend.

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

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why are you writing an ebook about website homepages?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homepages are so so so so important.

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

That’s crazy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Websites need social graces too.

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

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

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

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

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

What are the key elements behind a great homepage?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful!

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

Can you tell us a bit about your workbook?

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

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

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

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

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

part time entrepreneurs rejoice!

I just came across a very cool business network called IAMPTE that’s coming from a very different point of view in business – ‘it’s okay to be a part time entrepreneur!

As I learned about it from Calgary based founder Kim Page Gluckie (pictured right), it struck me the immense pressure most entrepreneurs feel to make it big, build their empire and go full time. As if to not do that would be to fail.

The main things I want you to focus on here is the text book example she’s giving you about niche marketing, becoming a hub.

We did a little interview and I think what she has to share has a lot of important things to say about quality of life for entrepreneurs.

 

What is IAMPTE?

IAMPTE is the world’s first (well, actually only) organization that champions, advocates and supports motivated part-time entrepreneurs. It is a hub that connects the right people and information suited specifically to those with limited time and limited funds because of their part-time status, but recognizing they are limited in their enthusiasm or opportunity.

How did it start? What was the need you saw in the world that spurned this?

It started as I recognized that work from home dads, soon-to-retire employees and students creating their own businesses had all the same challenges as mom entrepreneurs, but without a support system that really resonated.

It also came from many conversations with clients over how much time they wasted or money they wasted making really poor business decisions because they just didn’t know who to trust and they didn’t know who to ask – the need I saw was evident in the tears shed in these conversations and more times than I can count hearing the words “I didn’t know what to do until I met you, I was going to quit trying”.

They do trust me to give sensible, affordable advice. I attract other trustworthy experts and felt I needed to take a leap to bring the right information together with the right people into a hub of knowledge and information sharing that makes sense for people who are really motivated to succeed, even if they are growing their business “on the side” of the rest of their life.

The real clincher for me though was when I went to pay $700 to renew my annual membership in the recognized international association for my marketing communications discipline and just couldn’t do it. It was far too expensive for how little it resonated with my actual business life. At that moment I realized there is no structured, information based organization available to me at all. So I created one. At a price I could afford.

What’s your vision for your members? What is it you’re working to help them achieve?

My vision for members to help them create a realistic view of what success looks like for them individually based on a blend of what they want to achieve in their business and the reason they are choosing to be part-time – which is usually a values decision (other commitments they won’t give up). And then, my vision is to give them access to a very specific set of tools, information and practical steps to act on that make sense to the part-time entrepreneur who really has little time or money to make mistakes. I want them to stop wasting their money on programs and strategies suited to entrepreneurs who have committed full time to their pursuit, and to understand that profitability comes from not what they spend, but rather what they do that fits them and nobody else.

What makes this different from other business networks?

This is different from other networks because its core premise is teaching over networking – and I’ve spent time finding exactly the right experts with the exact right knowledge that PTEs need who are donating customized articles and information because they believe in this mission as much as I do. Networking and supporting each other is an organic side effect of IAMPTE that is already truly amazing… it is literally changing people’s business lives. But it stems from access to trusted advice that can be acted on immediately in any realm of online or traditional marketing.

How are you marketing this right now? What have you been finding works best?

While I am the founder and owner of IAMPTE, there are 16 other experts in the community donating their expertise with exclusive content and their time to promote the organization through their networks. Most of the sharing about our organization has been through social media, with equal response on Facebook (www.facebook.com/iampte) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/iampte).

We just launched in February so there are many marketing plans not yet rolled out, and evaluation that hasn’t happened yet. Part of our ongoing strategy will be traditional and grassroots. We will be launching chapters and holding live workshop-style meetings yet this Spring in three cities. I anticipate that our core membership will grow from the live communities, and those relationships will be nurtured in the online communities.

How do you make money at this? Or what’s the plan?

IAMPTE is a paid membership organization at an affordable $199, with an affiliate program of 5% for anyone who signs up and posts an attractive badge claiming to BE or SUPPORT PTEs on their website.

While this organization is part of my business, and it is intended to generate revenue for me personally, it is also an opportunity for me to align with charitable causes that have similar values such as Kiva.org, to which we’ve already topped up two loans, and Calgary’s Making Changes to which we are donating a special gift at YYCTwestival.

The plan is also to invite community leaders with business knowledge to become chapter leaders – those leaders have opportunity to earn 80% profits from events they run in their own cities. It’s a very sharing model. IAMPTE complements my core business at MPowered Marketing. As an expert, like the other experts, it is a platform to showcase my small business marketing talents to support my marketing training, speaking and consulting business.

What’s your take on why so many part-time entrepreneurs fail?

I’m not convinced more part-time entrepreneurs fail than full time.

In fact, when factoring the direct selling industries (I consider home party consultants who are earning a living to be entrepreneurial in their own success-driven ways), part-time entrepreneurs may be more successful as a category.

But I do have some ideas on where any entrepreneurial “failure” stems from.

First, they have a clever idea but didn’t realize they had to become sensible business people and smart marketers themselves in order to actually succeed.

Second, they compare themselves endlessly to the success of others or how successful they think they should be – without pausing to define what success actually looks like and the steps to get there.

Third, they waste so much money making poor decisions based on the wrong advice or by “winging it” that they end up heartbroken – and often scared to keep going because they used the grocery money as startup cash and can’t afford more mistakes. And finally, not unique to part-time entrepreneurs, they aren’t passionate enough about what they are doing to see it through.

It seems like a lot of people feel like they either need to be a FULL time entrepreneur or nothing. Like being part time = failure – what’s your take on that?

Nobody can define what failure is or success is but the person in their own shoes.

There are “business experts” who would say if you don’t go all in, you can’t win.

I started my first company the day after a female, childless media mogul who I’d previously admired told me in answer to a question “women running businesses while raising families cannot succeed”. It made me so angry I was shaking. I have been proving her wrong personally every day since then, and have found myself surrounded by men and women who are succeeding part-time like me. But again… define fail?

IAMPTE has a wholistic view of what success is. Making profit while also being a good employee, parent, volunteer or student is success. Part-time success simply takes longer for most… which actually has business advantages… if someone can envision their success on a 3 year or 5 year roadmap, it helps overlook the small ‘f’ failures or mistakes and build on them. Part-time in business = whole life success in my opinion. Also in my experience.

9) What are top three keys to success for part-time entrepreneurs?

First: Spending money with a trusted expert to create a professional presence. Even $500 on a great logo plus a Facebook page creates a professional presence over a DIY Blogger page. Ideally, spending $2500-$5000 on a brand development process + logo + web design is enough to look like the professional they intend to be. Often, that is all they need to spend for an entire year if they are savvy about building their business beyond that.

Second: Defining what success actually means in order to avoid becoming defeated by comparisons to full time entrepreneurs doing the same thing, and to be able to recognize success from a whole life point of view. Success for most part-time entrepreneurs has to have a monetary goal with it, but more so, it’s aligned with values – making a difference, role modeling, educating, having personal freedom, feeling joy in their work. Really taking time to review this frequently helps stay passionate and committed when business gets hard – and it does often when you are a PTE in the first 3 to 5 years.

Third: Becoming a business/marketing expert for their own business is essential. They must become confident in their ability to make good decisions for their business so they can be responsive to the right opportunities, create/seek out the right opportunities, and save money for when expert help is actually required. This is why I teach marketing, even while consulting. PTEs cannot and should not take every course available nor should they hire every recommended expert. Even if they have the cash flow to afford it, they don’t have the time. There is a time and a place for hiring expert help, and they need to be pragmatic about when and who that is (like professional visual brand)… but even when hiring help, they must approach it as if they are learning it to do the work themselves.

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For more information on IAMPTE – check out their website at: http://iampte.com/

 

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