Why Having Great Content Isn’t Enough


April 23rd, 2014

Why aren’t the best products the ones that sell the best? (This goes for books, too!)

I used to struggle with this question when I started my business and, I’ll be honest, I got a little resentful.

When I finally came to the realization I’ll share in the video—and accepted it as reality—my resentment disappeared, and my sales went up, too.

Watch to discover my realization about why good content isn’t enough:

One of the tools I mention in the video is Traffic Geyser 2.0. To discover more about how this tool can help you get great content in front of the people who need to see it, click here:

Click here to check out Traffic Geyser


The One Key to Grabbing—and Holding—Your Audience’s Attention


April 16th, 2014

Content without context is a wasted effort. No matter how well-written your blog post is, how many times you’ve rehearsed your webinar or how great your opening animations are, if your audience doesn’t know why they need to be listening to you, they’ll simply tune you out.

Why?

In other words, telling your audience why you’re delivering this content to them in particular helps them understand why they should care about what you have to say and take time out of their busy day to listen to you.

Most important, without a strong emotional connection and compelling reason to engage, your audience is just one click away from going to the next website or competitor.

This is true for any form of content you put out, whether it’s an eBook, an infographic, a blog post, or a podcast. In order for your audience to engage with you on any level, they need to know why they should pay attention and how it’s going to help them specifically.

To get to the “why” of your content, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What’s the result you want to deliver with your content?

    This is the heart of your “why”—the key takeaway of your piece. What is the one thing your audience going to learn, better understand or be able to solve by engaging with your content?

  2. Why would this matter to your target audience?

    Does the purpose of your piece align with a want, need, problem or concern that’s on the minds of your audience members? If not, you may need to tweak your “why” to cater more specifically to their needs and show how your content is immediately relevant to them.

  3. How do you want your content to affect your audience?

    One of the big keys to effective content marketing is to create an emotional connection to your brand. What’s your unique perspective? Why should your customer care about you instead of just caring about your products and services? Focus on the emotion—and the story behind it—and your audience will be compelled to engage in a relationships with you and your business.

Always get your “why” squared away before putting a piece of content together. You’ll find that your content flows easier when you have its purpose nailed down. Then, be sure to share your big “why” with your audience so they have a context and connection for what you’re giving them.

I’m curious—what are your go-to strategies for finding your “why”?

One more note: one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started creating content was focusing too much on creating the content—and not enough on getting in front of an audience of potential customers.

One of the easiest systems I’ve found for getting your content out to a bunch of different audiences with the click of a button is Traffic Geyser 2.0. You’ll have to opt-in to see the video series on distributing your content, but you’ll also get a free copy of Mike Koenigs’ book, You. Everywhere. Now.

I promise this is a trend you’ll want to be on top of. Click below to discover more.

Click Here to get Traffic Geyser 2.0


No Comments, Likes, Views – or Sales? Here’s Why . . .


April 16th, 2014

Have you ever created an awesome new video, then sat back and waited for the views, likes and comments . . . that never showed up? I’ve been there. It’s a bummer. :(

For a long time, I thought it was my content.
However, when I started analyzing my traffic statistics using tools like Optimizely and Google Analytics, I realized that the problem was my audience. I wasn’t getting enough people to my site.
Getting Interaction
Once I started focusing on increasing my audience, the views, likes and comments started to roll in.

This is also true for your sales pages. So many times, people think they have a conversion problem, but they really have a traffic problem. Conversion rates for sales pages hover between 1-3%, so getting more people to your page is more crucial to hit your revenue goals.

When I built my audience, I did it the hard way, piece by piece, channel by channel. It’s a hard-won list, and it’s responsive to my content and my offers, but I couldn’t help thinking there was a better way.

I recently got a sneak preview of a top-secret piece of new software that’s going to totally change content distribution—and the way you build your audience. (Think: easier, faster, better!)

My friend, Mike Koenigs, has developed ONE way to press a button to promote you, your products and services onto every screen, computer, tablet, television, pocket and even in the cars of every person, prospect or business in the world.

Sound intriguing? I know it’s something I’d want to get my hands on. :)

Check it out for yourself. You’ll have to opt-in to see the video series on distributing your content, but you’ll also get a free copy of Mike Koenigs’ book, You. Everywhere. Now. Plus, I promise this is a trend you’ll want to be on top of. Click below to discover more.

Click here to check out Traffic Geyser


The Power of Story: A Man, His Dog and a Quadrupled Customer List


April 10th, 2014

I want to share a real-life example with you about the power of story and the very real, very tangible outcomes of developing yours for your business.

When Andy Falco Jimenez came to Mike Koenigs’ Instant Customer Reinvention event two years ago, he was $70,000 in debt and his house was in foreclosure. The dog training business he had run for 25 years, Falco K9 Academy, was not bringing in enough income to support his family, and he had no idea how he was going to get through the next month. In fact, he’d only been able to attend the event because a friend had given him a free ticket.

Andy and Me

I’d been invited to speak at the event and Mike and I sat down with Andy for a one-on-one “Hot Seat” coaching session. Andy told us his story and his situation. He was frustrated because he was an intelligent person, yet he just couldn’t seem to turn things around. He also wanted to write a book, and had been working on it for about five years.

The first thing that struck me and Mike about Andy was his story—and the fact that he wasn’t incorporating it into his business’s USP and messaging. Andy had started his business after a life-changing experience he had had as a police officer. In a chase to capture a suspect who was on the loose, Andy had followed him to a garage, where the suspect was hiding. As he approached the door to the garage, Andy’s police dog ran around to a back entrance. Just before Andy stepped through the door, the dog bit the suspect, who was hiding just behind the door—with a gun. The dog had saved Andy’s life.

We urged Andy to embrace this experience, make it a core part of his USP, and use it to connect with his target audience. We also assured him that he was an expert in his field—a title that he struggled with himself because he doubted his own skills and authority.

Dog Sniff Evidence

Andy took our advice and ran with it. Two months after the event, he had finished his book, Falco: Walking with God and a Dog. Understanding the importance of a list, he built up his own using crowd grabber campaigns with Instant Customer, and marketed to his ideal customers with videos, podcasts and a blog.

Since that Hot Seat session in 2012, Andy’s clientele has quadrupled. He receives invitations to speak all over the country in front of large audiences, giving presentations at venues such as Planet Hollywood. He has appeared in two documentaries and has been featured on the National Geographic Channel, the Disney Channel, and Animal Planet. A few months ago he published his second book, Dog Sniff Evidence, which is now a number-one bestseller on Amazon. Andy had found his story—the driving, core purpose behind his business.

So now I ask you: Are you leveraging your story within your business? Let me know in the comments.

Sometimes all it takes is an outside point of view to help us pinpoint the changes we need to make in our own businesses. Mike and I are looking forward to the Hot Seat sessions at our Make Market Launch IT event on May 2–4! Find out more about our event here. Seats are limited!


It’s Science: Your Customers’ Brains Are Wired for Storytelling


April 2nd, 2014

Ever wonder why people tear up at the end of a Hallmark commercial? Why you smile when you hear a baby laugh? Why people are so devoted to their iPhones?

The Power of Storytelling

There’s a neurological connection between all three, but two of these are connected to a strategy at the forefront of content marketing: storytelling.

First, the behind-the-scenes psychology. (I was a psych major, after all!) Whenever we’re listening to a story told with emotion, we feel that same emotion because of what neurologists call "mirror neurons"—brain cells that fire whenever we find ourselves doing or experiencing the same thing as someone else, and vice versa. So when you—or someone more emotional than you—cries at a Hallmark commercial or smiles at the sound of a baby’s laugh, their mirror neutrons are firing away. They are "mirroring" that emotion.

Content marketers have leveraged this research and crafted an effective strategy out of it. Going above and beyond the more utilitarian elements of traditional content marketing—blogs, tweets, webinars, Facebook posts, etc. (which, don’t get me wrong, are essential to any good content marketing strategy)—storytelling is about connecting with your audience on an emotional level. It’s about creating a certain feeling around your brand, products, and services that will establish an emotional bond between your customers and your business, ultimately leading to the coveted holy ground of marketing strategy: brand loyalty.

Two examples of this in action:

  1. Coca-Cola has also jumped on the bandwagon with their Content 2020 project, which is a content marketing strategy focused producing content that engages their audience by spreading happiness.
  2. Cisco’s documentary series, The Network Effect, connects technology with the emotional connection within networks of people. Although this is subtly related to the Cisco product, it has nothing to do with selling computers and routers. Instead, it focuses on stirring emotion within the audience.

I personally love to insert my own personal stories about interacting with customers, being with my family, whatever connects the reader to the content in way to make them feel. The power is in those personal details, which makes facts, figures, information come alive. Now, this takes a certain level of vulnerability and openness, which I think is crucial to truly connecting with your core customers.

I’m looking forward to learning more about storytelling from one of today’s leading content marketing experts—Robert Rose. At this year’s Make Market Launch IT LIVE! event on May 2-4, Robert will teach us how people filter with their brains, but ultimately buy based on emotion. You can discover more about his presentation here.


4 Tips That Will Change How You Handle Speed Bumps in Your Business


March 20th, 2014

For Sir Richard Branson, business is just another adventure. What an amazing mindset.

I read a recent BBC article in which Richard Branson compared the life of an entrepreneur to that of an explorer. If anyone is qualified to make this comparison, it’s Branson, a man as famous for his kitesurfing foray across the English Channel and record-breaking trip from Japan to Canada via air balloon as he is for his entrepreneurship.

Dealing with Challenges

Branson went on to make the point that even though we entrepreneurs often find ourselves backed up against a wall, the important thing is to do whatever we need to do to overcome each problem as it comes, and keep moving forward.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about dealing with business speed bumps. When I make a mistake, it often feels like a disaster in the moment. However, with time, I can (usually) look back and learn from the experience (and maybe even laugh about it)! Perspective is a beautiful thing. :)

I wanted to share with you four tips I’ve learned to get better perspective and overcome business challenges as they present themselves (as they inevitably will):

1. Make Room for Mistakes

Planning ahead for mistakes may feel pessimistic to some people, but I think it’s just good sense. In fact, studies show that when people are allowed to make mistakes, they are significantly less likely to make those mistakes. Anticipating speed bumps also means that you will be able to respond better to anything that might happen. Whenever I start a big project, I always ask myself, "What could go wrong? And what will we do to fix it?" Then, when a problem presents itself, I’m often prepared to act quickly with a backup plan.

2. Reconnect to Your Why

I can sometimes find calmness in a storm when I remind myself why I do what I do: to give back to my husband and two boys by being around more often and being more present during our time together. If you’re struggling, ask yourself what your purpose was for starting your business in the first place. Was it financial freedom? More time to spend with your family? A career you felt passionate about? Reassociate with the emotion and drive that inspired you to start your business, and you’ll often move yourself into a calmer state of mind. It might even help to keep a reminder near your workspace, so you’re reminded every day of why you decided to do this in the first place. I’ve got our family pictures above my desk and they encourage me to persevere through my challenges.

3. Remember Who You’re Doing This For

I believe we each have a contribution to make to this world, and that there are people out there who need to hear your message. If you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, bring yur current and future customers to mind. How are your products or services making their lives better? And, if you don’t help them, who will? Every day, I get to help people turn their passions into real businesses. When I get frustrated, I anchor myself back to that mission and I find a way to take the next step forward, and the next, until I’ve created a solution.

4. Reach Out for Support

A trusted network of select friends and colleagues who can give you advice and support will help you get through the challenges you face—and also help you create a sense of community, even when you’re flying solo. I have a couple of very close friends who I bounce ideas around with, and those discussions give me a much greater sense of certainty. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

The bottom line is this: as an entrepreneur, you’re going to run into challenges. I hope these four tips help you keep the perspective you need to continue to move forward. :)

By the way, if you want to read that article about Richard Branson, you’ll find it here on the BBC website.

I’m curious: How do you deal with business roadblocks as an adventurer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


My 5 Epic (and Embarrassing) Webinar Fails—and How to Avoid Them


March 4th, 2014

Yes, every one of these actually happened to me. Some days, it feels like I’ve made every webinar mistake in the book!

I’m sharing my epic fails to help you skip these mistakes and head right toward becoming a webinar expert, one who presents with the confidence and authority you need to use webinars to sell more of your products and services. Enjoy!

After you watch the video, makes sure to scroll down and see my solutions below!

You’ll notice the culprit in a number of these is GoToWebinar. Finally, there’s an alternative: WebinarJam. Check out this great webinar software, which turns Google Hangout into a marketer’s dream here:

Click here to get WebinarJam

How to Prevent My Epic Fails in Your Business

Epic Fail #5: The time I hooked my Yeti microphone into my computer thinking I’d get better sound—only to discover that it wasn’t compatible with the webinar system I was using. I was talking to myself for the first 12 minutes of my webinar.

Solution: Always, always test new technology with a team member before going in front of a live audience. No exceptions.

Epic Fail #4: The time I put the wrong time on the webinar registration page because it’s so small and dang hard to see in the system I was using. No one on my team caught it, either, so I showed up an hour late to my own webinar.

Solution: We double, triple and quadruple check the times of our webinars. We also *never* send out an invitation before at least two people have proofread the date and time.

Epic Fail #3: The 57 times I thought I was recording using GoToWwebinar’s record feature, only to discover that apparently there are also 50+ ways GTW can screw up the recording. (You’ve lost your Internet connection, anyone?) Not to mention the fact you can’t upload recordings from an Apple computer. I mean, who doesn’t support apple devices these days?!

Solution: Run a backup recording at all times. Often, I have a team member record remotely and sometimes, I’ll even run a backup-backup, where I set up a different computer, put it on mute (<— don’t forget to do this!) and do a Screenflow capture. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but there are literally 50 ways to lose a GTW recording. (That’s what makes WebinarJam so great. It generates a recording without you having to worry about a thing!)

Epic Fail #2: The time I attended a webinar with my business partner—Mike Koenigs. When I went to leave, I hit "End Webinar," thinking it was just me leaving the webinar . . . only to find out I had ended the entire thing and shut all the participants out, right as Mike was heading into his close. I’m STILL trying to make it up to him. (Sorry, Mike!)

Solution: Restrict high-level roles only to the necessary people. Your whole team doesn’t need to have administrative or presenter privileges. And if you’re one of those lucky people who is given high-level privileges—and you’re stuck using GoToWebinar (aka, "the devil")—always, always hit "Leave Webinar." If you’re not 100% certain, stay on mute and just wait for the webinar to end.

Epic Fail #1: The crown jewel of webinars gone bad has to be the first time I set up a webinar for Tony Robbins—his first one—and my colleage Amy Porterfield and I accidentally deleted the entire webinar and all attendees one hour before it was supposed to start!

Solution: Sometimes, even teamwork won’t save you. :) Try to make as few changes to a webinar before it happens. Create it, double-check it, ask your team to look it over, then DON’T TOUCH IT. And if you have to make a change, go very, very slowly and read every option you check before you press any buttons.

What are your epic fails (and solutions)? Share them with me in the comments, if only to reassure me that I’m not the only one who makes mistakes like this. :)

If you’re looking for an alternative to GoToWebinar (and who isn’t?!), check out WebinarJam, which will help save you from your own epic fails:

Click here to get WebinarJam


[Graphic] My Favorite Ways to Brainstorm Outstanding Content


February 28th, 2014

One of the challenges we face as business owners is coming up with valuable content for our target audience on a regular basis.

While knowing your ideal customer backwards and forwards—as well as the main problems and issues they face in their lives—is key to creating content that is relevant and useful to their particular needs, there are some additional things you can do to help you step outside the box and offer content that is not only valuable but also creative and unique to your business.

Here are some of my favorite ways to brainstorm outstanding content. Click the image to view it full size.

brainstorm_graphic_small

I’d love to hear how you come up with great content as well. Share your thoughts in the comments below!


The Exhilaration of Blazing Your Own Trail


February 20th, 2014

Most of us have heard this familiar Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "With freedom comes responsibility." But many people haven’t heard the context of the quote—what Eleanor wrote just before that famous line in her book, You Learn By Living:

Blazing Your Own Trail

"There was a spiritual safety in what was old and established and familiar; in what was, or seemed to be, permanent. People knew what was expected of them. They understood the conditions had to deal with. They accepted the dogmas of their period.

"But today where are these familiar things? Where are these known conditions? Where is the old safety? Instead, we find ourselves in an unfamiliar world, attempting to deal with unknown factors, having to blaze new trails for ourselves.

“‘Anxiety,’ Kierkegaard said, ‘is the dizziness of freedom.’ This freedom of which men speak, for which they fight, seems to some people a perilous thing. It has to be earned at a bitter cost and then—it has to be lived with. For freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect."

As an entrepreneur, I immediately related to this message, because that is what we are doing as entrepreneurs—blazing new trails. We are designing our own professional lives and building our legacies. The territory is unfamiliar, unconventional, unboring—and totally exhilarating!

I hope this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt inspires you as much as it inspired me.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you to do what you do every day? Share it with me in the comments.


Taking Care of You—Yes, You!—On Your Journey as an Entrepreneur


February 13th, 2014

As entrepreneurs, we have the amazing opportunity to design our own professional lives. You run the show and make the decisions that will create and maintain the lifestyle you want.

One of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial lifestyle—one we often overlook—is how you support yourself. As you succeed in your professional life, you also want to make sure you are maintaining you—the person behind the scenes who has wants, needs and responsibilities outside of your business.

Here are four tips—things I’ve learned from my own experience that I’d like to pass on to you. My hope is that these tips will help you maintain balance and harmony as you run your business, just as they’ve helped me.

  1. Give Yourself Room to Breathe

    Believe me, I know a little something about being overly ambitious! It’s great to be enthusiastic about your business, but be careful not to take on too many projects at once. Before committing to anything, take a step back and a deep breath. Ask yourself if a) it’s something that will further your business in the precise direction you want to be heading in and b) it’s something you need to do right now, or if it can wait and will still benefit you if you take it on at a later date.

    Remember, you’re in control—you don’t need to spread yourself too thin! Be sure to give yourself some time between projects to handle any problems that may come up and keep your cool in the process.

    “People tend to overestimate what they can do in a year,
    but underestimate what they can do in 3-5 years.” —Tony Robbins

  2. Track Your Progress

    Sometimes we don’t realize how much work we’ve gotten done and how far we’ve actually come toward achieving our goals. It’s important to keep track of this by recording the milestones you hit along your journey.

    I would recommend putting together a simple system to track your progress. This could be a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet on your computer (or that you share with your team on Google Drive), an online planning tool like WeekPlan.net, project management software (i.e. Wrike.com), or a giant poster that you fill in by hand—whatever works best for you. Whichever method you choose, it should a) be easy for you to use and b) make you excited to track your progress. The best system is the one you’ll actually use, so the more simple, the better.

    Once a month, sit down and review the progress you’ve made and the successes you’ve had thus far. I guarantee that you’ll feel pumped up and inspired to keep going!

  3. Celebrate!

    When you work for yourself—and sometimes by yourself—it can be hard to remember to pat yourself on the back when you do something right. What many of us don’t realize is that this is an essential step to maintaining a positive attitude about your business.

    Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote that next to physical survival, “the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” Since you are working for yourself, it’s your responsibility to validate your own progress and celebrate every success you have.

    Every time you set a goal for yourself, also determine the reward you’ll get once you achieve that goal. This can be anything—a fun trip, a massage, a dinner out—whatever will make you feel a sense of completion and acknowledgment for your hard work.

  4. Find Support in Your Peers

    Don’t let yourself become an island—population: you. Connecting with other entrepreneurs not only expands your professional network, it also helps you form a support system for yourself. There are so many others out there who are experiencing the same successes and challenges that you are—why not be there for each other? A peer network can help you stay inspired, refresh your mindset, and push you harder toward your professional goals.
    Join us at MML LIVE!

    You can also take this a step further and find a peer mentor—a fellow entrepreneur who makes sure you stay motivated and on track. A peer mentor is like a personal trainer for the workplace, cheering you on and providing support as you work toward your goals. Doing this for someone else is also a fantastic boost for your own morale. Giving support to someone else in this way and focusing on their business instead of yours will help pull you out of your world for a moment and put things in perspective.

    To connect with a growing community of entrepreneurs like you (myself included!), consider going to a live event. Along with internet marketing mastermind Mike Koenigs, I’ll be hosting a live, 3-day business training event, Make Market Launch IT LIVE, on May 2-4, 2014 in San Diego. Not only will you learn the proven models and formulas we’ve perfected to build, launch, and run your own business successfully, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded business people and product creators. I hope to see you there! You can reserve your seats here.

When you make a decision to maintain your own well-being, you’ll feel more fulfilled, balanced, and happier overall. It will also help you maintain your enthusiasm and amp up your energy to pursue the goals you’ve set for your business with even more verve.

What other methods do you use to maintain balance in your professional life? Let me know in the comments below!