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Finding time to run your business

Finding time to run your business

Finding time to run your business is no joke: the other day, I saw an ad on Facebook. It claimed to teach people how to find thousands of followers on social media. The picture they chose for the ad featured a mom on a computer. Her docile little toddler peacefully sat on her lap while she worked.

Um… “As if.”

How do I run a business with a nine-month-old? Very carefully. It requires some serious time hacking, and in this free audio training I share with you how I update multiple social media accounts at once–saving me tons of time while marketing my business.

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5 Ways for Using Images with Social Media

5 Ways for Using Images with Social Media

guest-linda-johannessen
 
By now, we all know that images help our readers connect with us, engage with our writing, and maintain interest sliiiiightly longer (which is so, so important as all our attention spans shrink to nearly-nothing).

But how, exactly, can you use images with social media?

I’m sure you’re embedding images directly into your Twitter stream (because it makes your tweets 94% more likely to get shared) but what else can you do?

Here are five ways for using images with social media that will lead to more comments, more followers, and (eventually) more clients and sales.

(For the sake of reference, here’s a great breakdown of the dimensions and sizing for images on every social media platform.)

1. Create images with clever, inspirational, re-tweetable quotes from your blog posts
Did you write something heart-shaking and wise? Of course you did! Don’t let that nugget of wisdom languish in the middle of an old blog post! Type out your wisdom atop a photo of a sunset/ocean/skyline, share it with your followers, and watch the ‘likes’ and retweets roll in.
 
2. Share before-and-afters
With the approval of your clients, share before-and-after photos. Did you declutter their closet? Stock their fridge with healthy meals? Help them lose 20 pounds? Boost their blog traffic by 200%? Tangible, recognizable results brings in new clients like nothing else. When readers see what you’ve done for other people, they’ll want some of that magic for themselves!
 
3. Share images of clients using your products
Did you just publish a book that your clients are reading on beaches and patios around the world? Did you create a plant-based menu that people are cooking up in their kitchens right now? Ask your followers to send photos of your work in action, then (with their permission, of course) share those images on social media. If you’re really clever, you’ll include a link to the sales page of said product!
 
4. Give your people a peek at your premium offerings + behind the scenes
Are you running a retreat for 15 very special clients? Make sure to document the goings-on and share them. Are you working on a new offering? Share a few screenshots of your process or a funny still from your new video series. It’ll create buzz and keep your audience interested.
 
5. Show that you walk the walk
So, so many of us know what we need to do to accomplish a given goal – we need to run every day, write our morning pages, pitch investors, meditate, journal – and we can even write helpful, tip-filled posts about how our readers and followers can accomplish their goals.

And then we fall off the wagon ourselves.

It’s important that your followers know (and see!) that you really, actually do the things you say everyone else should do. So show your people the space where you meditate, your feet atop the mountain you just climbed, or all the things crossed off your to-do list. We’re much more likely to know, like, and trust (and buy things from) people who are living their work.

Each of these suggestions takes less than five minutes and will lead to more shares and likes than a little ol’ text-based tweet or Facebook update. What are you waiting for?
 

Linda Laegreid Johannessen is the founder and CEO of YAY Images, a stock image agency that’s the Spotify version of affordable, licensed images. For just $9.90 a month, you have access to 5 million (!!!) images that are perfect for blog posts, newsletters, and social media. She’d love it if you took advantage of a free month of photos or followed along on Twitter.

Finding time to run your business

pretending not to promote…is not promotion

katecourageous

Facebook groups are a powerful tool for promoting your life coaching business.

There’s just one problem: when it comes to private Facebook groups, someone out there is telling everyone how to do it wrong.

Nary a week goes by where I’m not added into a Facebook group that I have no interest in (and in roll the notifications for people and topics that I have no idea about). Or a perfectly good Facebook group with great connections…becomes cluttered up with one person’s e-course promotions.

This approach, while it may offer some initial response from others in the group hoping to be supportive, ends up leaving people with the exact impression that you don’t want: that you’re pushy, but you’re just being sneaky about it.

Pretending Not to Promote

Some people are uncomfortable with outright promotion. I totally understand that space–but the answer to being uncomfortable with promoting yourself is not pretending that you aren’t really promoting yourself. The answer to this discomfort is to become comfortable with marketing and promoting yourself in ways that feel authentic.

When you’re in a peer-to-peer group*, or if someone else is the group’s intended leader, these examples are no bueno. In general, they make poor marketing practices for private Facebook groups.

Adding people to groups when you don’t know them.

Sometimes, the “pretending not to promote” starts with how one gets into the private Facebook group, itself. Adding people into your group without their permission is, in essence, spam. Some have taken this to another level by messaging privately first to introduce themselves and then add someone into a group, thinking that this is more polite.

But really? What’s the most polite is this: not creating more notifications or messages for a busy person to deal with when they’re just doing a quick social media check. Just because the message is short and coming through via Facebook doesn’t mean that it’s any different than getting promo spam via email. To open up a social media account in the morning, only to find fifty notifications from people who were all dumped into a group overnight, just creates more crud to sort through on the internet.

Instead? If you want to populate your Facebook group, post to your own personal wall or business page: “Here’s my group, and here’s what it’s about, so message me if you want in or follow this link.” Boom. The people who are interested in that topic will be all over it.

Side note: people also do this with event invitations and Facebook message strings (“conversations”) that have a bunch of people included.

Sharing most (or all) of your blog posts.

It looks like this: within a private Facebook group, someone posts a blog post. It’s supportively well-received by the group. But then the person posts another one. And another one. And another one. Basically, they start treating a private Facebook group like their Facebook business page. It’s alienating.

It’s also pretending not to promote yourself (we all know that that’s what you’re doing; you’re just serving up blog posts instead of sales pages with BUY NOW buttons). If you’re sharing more than one or two blog posts in a month, or if you’re the only one sharing your blog posts, then the group is getting a disproportionate balance. Groups are about sharing, not seeing a lot of content from just one person.

Note: this also applies to any image graphics that have a person’s website URL on them. Doing this once? Okay, you’re sharing. Doing it more than that? That’s promotion. Save this for your own public Facebook business page.

Becoming the group coach (without being asked).

It looks like this: within private Facebook groups where it’s not intended that one person is the leader or teacher, one participant in particular is always the “fixer,” creating an “I’m the group’s coach” dynamic that isn’t called-for when everyone wants to connect as peers. The “Group Coach” is always offering advice and suggestions, including going so far as telling people that she’d be “happy to set up a session with them” or messaging people privately to offer herself for hire.

There are, yes, courses or set-ups where someone is the intended leader of a group–and that’s who should be doing the coaching. There’s a big difference between comments that relate to someone else’s experience, and comments that are trying to impress and drum up business.

This dynamic likely emerges because some marketing consultant has told life coaches to “demonstrate expertise.” Remember, however, that in a peer-to-peer setting, you need to demonstrate expertise that is asked for. If someone posts, “I’m looking for suggestions…” then they’re crowd-sourcing from the group, so go ahead–show off your skillz.

Otherwise, however, they’re probably just relating an experience, and hoping you’ll relate, too.

“Looking for feedback”

Speaking of crowd-sourcing: pretending to be “looking for feedback” is perhaps the most common way that people pretend not to promote. It looks like this: within a Facebook group, someone is debuting their new e-course, coaching services, e-book, retreat, workshop, etc. But because they know that they’ve been asked to keep this a “promotion-free space,” they say things like, “I’m looking for feedback on my sales page! What do you think?” or “It took a TON of courage for me to do this, but here it is–I’m going to [start my business, run my course, write my book] and here’s the page for it. I’d love your opinion!”

This is one of two things: either a poor way to user-test a new sales page or outright manipulation.

The best way to user-test a new sales page is with people who might actually purchase those services, not randoms or people who aren’t your ideal client. Thus, if you’re showing your sales page to a private Facebook group “for feedback” without intending to promote it to them, you’re showing it to randoms or people who aren’t your ideal client–which doesn’t actually help you to get good feedback.

If you do believe that your private Facebook group is full of people who would be your ideal client? Then…you’re promoting yourself within a small private Facebook group.

See how that works? If you ask for feedback on your offerings while saying to yourself, “I’m not promoting, because they aren’t my ideal people,” then the exercise is fruitless and their feedback on your offerings is meaningless, so why ask for it?

If you ask for feedback on your offerings while saying to yourself, “These guys are my ideal people,” then you’re promoting to them. You’re just calling it “asking for feedback,” instead of “promotion.”

Which is, unfortunately, outright manipulation. Manipulation is NOT a good way to promote yourself.

Getting Cozy With Promotion

If you believe in what you are offering.
If you believe that it helps people and is value-driven.
If you believe that it’s affordably priced.
If you believe that it’s needed.
If you believe that it doesn’t create bigger landfills.
If you believe that it’s not manufactured on the backs of someone else’s suffering.
If you believe that it’s created with beautiful intention.

If you believe all of those things? Welcome to the land of getting cozy with promotion.

When you believe all of those things about what you offer, 100%, then there’s no need to push blog posts, pretend to be crowd-sourcing for opinions while really hoping to garner sign-ups, or coach everyone.

When you believe it, you radiate it.

When you believe it, other people see it in everything that you do in the communities that ARE appropriate for self-promotion: your Facebook business page, your website, in the by-line of every guest post or interview, on podcasts…there are so many outlets where self-promotion of your ideas that could help others are more than welcome. Stick to those, and develop a reputation for providing quality, not for pretending not to promote.

 
* In this piece, I’m always referring to peer-to-peer Facebook group environments, not courses with a designated leader or any Facebook group where the entire point is to join together around someone’s product or offering. For example, Danielle LaPorte has a private Facebook group for Desire Map licensees–the entire point of which is to connect over the Desire Map licensing offering. If she offers suggestions, or provides promotional graphics or blog posts related to her brand, she’s doing that within an environment where the consensus is that this is why people are gathering within this group. If someone who is not Danielle LaPorte starts doing any of the things above in that private group? They’re promoting themselves, while pretending not to promote. Please stop.

 


 

 

kate swoboda

Kate Swoboda (aka Kate Courageous) is a life coach who teaches people how to work with fear and practice courage. She’s the founder of www.CoachingBlueprint.com and creator of the Coaching Blueprint digital program.

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3 Worthy Alternatives to the Dreaded Long-Form Sales Page

3 Worthy Alternatives to the Dreaded Long-Form Sales Page

guest-kate-erlenbusch
 

To be honest, I feel a little sorry for the long-form sales page. Think about it. It’s that one piece of copy that people love to hate, yet works hard regardless of popular opinion. When I imagine the long-form sales page as a person, I can’t help but see that tough, hard-working teacher who is under-appreciated. You know her — she’s the teacher you whined about because she was “too hard” on you or “boring” — until you realized years later that she was the one that got you great results.

Well, the long-form sales page is used to people complaining about how long it takes to read her and how hard it is to write her. She takes the hatred and indifference in her stride. But unlike that taken-for-granted teacher, if done correctly, you won’t have to wait years for your long-form sales page to pay off.

You’ll make sales. Which means you’ll stay in business. Because even though people profess to hate long-form sales pages, when it comes to selling your next offering, it’s worth remembering that results are more important than opinion.

Now, I’m not sticking up for the long-form sales page because I believe it is your only option. Rather, I urge you to make an informed decision around how you will persuade your potential clients to buy your coaching services or programs.

Whether you loathe reading long-form sales page or avoid writing them for your own offerings, my intention is not to convince you of the many benefits of long-form sales pages but to present you with some worthy alternatives.
 

Video Invitation / Video Series

It’s official. Our dwindling attention spans combined with sheer laziness means watching a video is preferable to reading text. Perhaps because it’s easier to engage with, a video invitation makes a viable alternative to your traditional sales page.

PRO:

  • Your prospective client gets to see and hear you, which increases trust and likeability.
  • You capture attention more easily and can break down content into digestible chunks suited to a video series.
  • You can add your video to YouTube and optimise it for SEO, thereby increasing visibility.

CON:

  • With a video sales page, your prospects won’t be able to re-read parts of your offering as they can with a long-form sales page. Not being able to go back over the information can be a drawback because while people will first skim and then re-read the same written information, they are unlikely to watch a video more than once.
  • You still need to write your video script (can’t get out of writing, my friend!).
  • You will need to invest time in editing your video, which may require more technical support or training investment.

VERDICT: If you have a straightforward one-to-one coaching service, one without a whole heap of features, using a video invitation rather than a long-form sales page makes sense. You’ll still need to write your video script (or hire a copywriter to do it for you), but if you can share a compelling story, clearly articulate the problems you help people overcome, and know how to edit it, go for it!

I highly recommend combining video with copy on your sales page. That way you get the best of both worlds. Not only will you improve your sales conversion by 5% to 24%, you’ll likely limit the usual objections to the long-form sales page.

Same information conveyed via different mediums means you’re appealing to different types of learners. Win/Win.
 

Short Sales Page

A shorter sales page sounds appealing, until you start to wonder…

a) What can I afford to leave out?

b) What kind of relationship do I have with my audience?

Keep those questions in mind when making your decision.

PRO:

  • A short sales page is a great alternative to a long one when you have an established, invested community of adoring fans through your blogging efforts. Think about the bloggers you follow who come out with the coaching offer you’ve been waiting for. You already love them so it’s a no-brainer.
  • If you have a straightforward coaching offering, or if your prospective clients are already quite familiar with how coaching works, keeping your sales page short can position you favourably.
  • A short sales page can be ideal if you are testing out a new service or offering. You can always add more copy as required.

CON:

  • You may discover that potential clients want more information than you have provided in the short sales page, which means you end up responding to email enquiries that could have been dealt with via a long-form sales page. Doh!
  • You may not know what to keep or leave out of your short sales page, which means key benefits of working with you might be missed.

VERDICT: A short sales page is a wonderful alternative if you have already built an impressive platform. For example if you grew a huge, engaged list of followers before you even decided to offer paid coaching services then you can probably get away with a shorter sales page. Go you!
 

Services List

This is an effective, elegant option for multi-talented coaches who offer a range of services.

PRO:

  • When you offer a range of services (3 or more), your prospects can view a snapshot of everything you do.
  • You can even use a services list to “test” newer offerings. By this I mean, rather than write a new long-form sales page for a brand-new offering, you can provide the basics and follow up with a call to action to get in touch for more information. This may allow you to test several offerings for interest before committing to using a longer sales page for your signature offering.

CON:

  • According to SEO expert Shae Baxter it’s more effective to have a separate web page for each service. That way you can optimize each page for the right key words.
  • If your offering is a considerable investment or is an information product, the services list may not supply sufficient information.

VERDICT: When you offer a range of services at industry-average rates then a services page is a great alternative to several long-form sales pages.
 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Unless you have a great deal of social proof, I suggest you err on the side of longer rather than shorter copy. If you only want to pitch your offering to people who already know, like and trust you, you can possibly get away with a shorter sales email. On the other hand, if you’re offering something that has a high price tag and takes quite a bit of explaining, seriously consider the long-form sales page.

And remember, even if you personally have an aversion to long-form sales pages, it’s wise to reflect on what your prospective client actually needs from your communication. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes, that’s exactly what I need – sign me up!

 
Kate Erlenbusch is a writer, teacher and the force behind Word Love, a digital copywriting service and virtual playspace for creatives, coaches and big-hearted business owners who want to sell and serve with soul. When Kate’s not searching for the right words she’s searching for her car keys, or the meaning of last night’s dream. Download Kate’s free eBook 7 Cheeky Secrets of Writing that Sells & Serves at wordlovebykate.com.

9 Ways to Use Social Media For A Launch

9 Ways to Use Social Media For A Launch

guest-holly-worton
 
Do you have a new product or service that you’ll be launching soon? Social media can be a very important part of helping you get the sign-ups you want. The most important thing is to have a plan, and to organize everything well in advance of the actual launch. Here’s how to use social media for a launch.
 

FIRST OF ALL, THE GROUNDWORK

Start with the end in mind by creating a social media strategy that works toward a set of clear goals. Once you’ve set clear objectives as to the number of sign-ups you want for your program, or purchases of your product, you can work back from that. Keep this goal in mind as you’re preparing your social media launch plan.

You’ll need to plan in advance, and create your social media strategy at least four weeks in advance of your actual launch date. Why? Because you’ve got a lot to put together: all marketing materials, including images, sample tweets, and posts will need to be ready to go well before your launch date.
 

9 WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR LAUNCH

  1. Create a hashtag. Come up with something brief and unique, and make sure that no one else is using this hashtag already by checking online. Run a search on Twitter to see if it’s being used, and check on Hashtags.org as well. This will make it easier for people to see the discussion around your launch, and may help spread the word by giving you extended reach.
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  3. Start a teaser campaign. As soon as you know exactly what you’ll be creating, start spreading the word online. Tweet about how excited you are about this new thing you’re planning. Post on other social networks about it. Share behind the scenes progress updates. Get people excited for what’s to come.
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  5. Set up an email list. Create a special email list and a squeeze page on your website to encourage people to sign up to be the first to hear when your new product finally launches. Share this link on all of your social profiles, and ask friends to help spread the word. This is a great way to gauge interest, and to personally reach out to people once your new product goes live.
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  7. Plan your content. All of your blog posts, podcasts, videos, and whatever other content you create in advance of and during your launch should be related to the product or service that you’ll be launching. Brainstorm as many ideas for topics as you can, and make note of them so you can create an editorial calendar around your launch.
  8.  

  9. Leverage your community. Create an affiliate program, make arrangements with joint venture partners, or simply ask for help in spreading the word. Be sure to reach out to your community and other friends in business and ask for their assistance. Hopefully you’ve been generous in helping to promote other people’s products and services before now; if not, now is the time to start.
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  11. Run contests. You can organize contests to encourage your affiliates to promote your launch, and you can run contests for people to win something that’s related to your launch. People love free stuff, and contests can be a very effective way of spreading the word about your launch, especially when the prizes are relevant to your business or your product/service.
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  13. Promote offline efforts. Use social media to amplify your offline promotion of your launch: speaking at events and networking groups, interviews, and media coverage including print, TV, and radio should all be promoted on your social media profiles.
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  15. Invest in advertising. The right kind of advertising can be very effective for driving traffic to your sales page and ultimately in getting you more sales. If you’ll be running webinars or other events to promote your launch, be sure to invest in Facebook advertising (ads created in the Ad Manager or Power Editor, not boosted posts) to encourage signups.
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  17. Celebrate signups. Share feedback online once your product/service has launched: welcome new people when they sign up, create urgency by announcing the number of available spots left in your program, and share positive messages others post about your launch.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE

Once you’ve got your social media plan for your launch, you’ll need to create a number of shareable tweets (with your launch hashtag), email and blog copy for people to paste and use, and Facebook/Google+ posts. Put together any images to promote your launch, and package this all up so that you can share it with your affiliates or joint venture partners.

You’ll also need a number of great testimonials about you and the results you’ve helped clients get. If this is a brand new product/service, you won’t have testimonials specific to this offering (unless you get beta testers), but you can definitely use general testimonials from clients.

Once you’ve got your plan together and all of your tweets and posts ready, program them all to go out in advance of your launch. You’ll have so many other things to do with your launch that you don’t want to be stressed about your social media marketing. Plan to have a VA schedule all of these posts for you, so that once you’re in the midst of your launch, all you have to do is engage with people who have commented on and shared your launch news online.
 

AFTER YOUR LAUNCH

Make notes throughout your launch of what seems to be working and what isn’t, so you can sit down and evaluate your strategy post-launch. Get clear on what you need to do more of in future launches, and what you can let go of.
 

TAKE ACTION TODAY

If you have an upcoming launch, go through these steps today and make sure to allot time in your calendar to get each of these steps done before your launch date. Good luck!
 
Holly Worton helps coaches and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. As a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and Holly wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at SociallyHolistic to start building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, or Instagram.

How to Keep Visitors on Your Website Long Enough to Fall in Love With You

How to Keep Visitors on Your Website Long Enough to Fall in Love With You

guest-leah-kalamakis
 

You’ve been working really hard to get more traffic to your website. You’ve been posting on social media, blogging regularly, sharing in Facebook groups, and the numbers do seem to be going up! But maybe that blog traffic isn’t turning into subscribers or paying clients.

Growing your business with your website isn’t just about getting people to come visit, it’s also having them stick around long enough to fall in love with you.

The reality is, not everyone will fall in love with you after reading just one blog post. So how do you get them reading more? Here are some tips:
 

Interlinking Your Content

Make sure you are constantly linking related topics within your blog posts or pages. This is great for search engine optimization, but also helps people find the topics that interest them that you have previously written about.

In each blog post you write, try to link to one or two other posts within your post where relevant. So if you’re writing a post about discovering your talents, and in one paragraph you talk about passion, if you’ve previously written about finding your passion, make sure to link to that post!
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Resource Pages

A great way to help your website visitors find the content that best relates to them is to create resources pages. These pages are simply a list of links to blog posts that fall within the same category or topic. You don’t need to put these pages in your menu bar as these are not primary pages, but they are great in your blog sidebar, on your about page or on your subscriber Thank You page.

I recommend thinking about the top 3 broad topics you write about often that interest your ideal clients. Then find your most popular blog posts (or just the work you’re most proud of) that fit into those categories and include them on these pages.

Often, new (and old) visitors will not take the time to scroll through your old blog posts waiting for something that grabs their attention. Resources pages that direct them to your best stuff on a specific topic, will make it easier on them to explore your content further instead of clicking away.
 

Related Posts

If a reader has made it all the way to the bottom of your blog post, it most likely means they enjoyed it (if they didn’t, they would have clicked away before finishing!). If they enjoyed it, they will likely want to read other posts you have written on the same topic.

This is the perfect moment to show them related blog posts and helps them explore further content. You can use a WordPress plugin like this one or you can add them manually by simply writing the blog post titles and linking to those posts.
 

Blog Post Option Form

If someone just doesn’t have to time to stick around, you still want to make sure they’ll come back again. As you probably know, the best way to do that is to get them to sign up for your email list. Just like Related Posts, putting an optin form at the bottom of your blog posts is great because they’ve just read a post that they enjoyed and are likely ready to sign up for more!

You can do this manually, but using a plugin to make it happen automatically is even better. I love Magic Action Box for WordPress.
 

TAKE ACTION:

Go spend a few minutes checking out your blog and see which (or all) of these tips you could be implementing to keep visitors on your website hangin’ out longer. Then implement!
 
Leah Kalamakis wants to live in a world where website shame doesn’t exist and anyone can find freedom in freelancing. As a web designer and freedom-seeker, she helps entrepreneurs have beautiful online homes and freelancers find freedom from soul-sucking corporate jobs.

When she’s not hanging out online, you can find her eating popcorn, riding her scooter along the French coast, or drinking wine in the sunshine.

Download her free Website Planning Toolkit or say hello on Twitter!