You have email subscribers. Now what?

Congrats. You have email subscribers. Now what do you do? Do you have a nurture or drip campaign setup? You need Amy.

You can have all the leads come to your MailChimp but if you don’t do anything with those emails, what’s the point?

A lot of businesses have the free opt-in offer, but then they don't follow up with those people. The best way is with a drip email campaign. @GenuineAmyHall Click To Tweet

Get Professional MailChimp Help

Why be frustrated? Amy Hall is a certified MailChimp Expert and Partner. She’s also a WordCamp Speaker and one of my best friends.

Do you need to know more?

How about that she builds WordPress websites?

How about that she teaches WordPress?

She doesn’t toot her own horn — at all.

So I am.

Go to her website. Talk to her.*

You won’t be sorry.

Amy Hall on WPblab Episode 97: WordPress Plugins – Building Your Mailing Lists

*not an affiliate link.

 

Specialize and Refer – Grow Your Network

How do you grow your network? That’s easy: specialize and refer. We all live off of word of mouth, if it’s not your specialty, refer. Right?

I was thinking of writing about this and then saw Rebecca Gill’s tweet. So this post came alive.

Why Specialize?

“Do one thing and do it well.”
“If everyone is your client, no one is.”
“Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

These are the clichés that make up business advice we all know. Okay, the last one was from my mom.

But the point is you can’t do everything – and do it well. Which reminds me of the ‘good-fast-cheap triangle’ tweet my friend Rachelle Wise just sent last week.

Thinking we can do everything is not only delusional, but distracts us from the things that really make us money. We’re in business for a reason, right?

If you’re a roofer, be a roofer. Go horizontal if you want, and do HVAC, but don’t start installing windows.

If you build websites, build sites. Go horizontal and make apps, but don’t start making videos.

Do what you know. Do what you can do well, efficiently, and make a profit.

How do you refer?

Knowing that we should refer and knowing how to refer are two different things. If you refer the right way, you’re still providing a valuable service to the client. It’s not losing business, it’s about being that go-to person, the expert, and the well-connected person.

If someone asks me if I do Facebook Advertising, I say,

“Sorry, John, I don’t do Facebook Ads, but my friend Jason at Thought House does.”

You can either give your client their contact information or write an email to them both. “John meet Jason. Jason meet John. John wants Facebook ads, I told him, you’re the best.”

This way, you’re making an introduction, and keeping your brand top of mind to all parties involved.

How do referrals grow my network?

Referrals work on the human emotions of trust and reciprocity. Firstly, by referring, I am extending my brand to another. I am saying, I trust this person, you can, too. So be careful about referring to people you don’t trust.

Secondly, if you send enough business someone’s way, they will also begin to refer you. That’s reciprocity. Heck, if you are just a nice person, your network will send people your way. I cannot even tell you how many dozens of people have sent others my way in the last four months.

Sometimes, they come in the form of public tweets. I have amazing and generous friends.

Do you refer, Bridget?

I absolutely refer. Firstly, I don’t build websites, I refer people to agencies. And I’ve even agreed to a partnership with Roy Sivan of ARC(CTRL).

I also don’t do Pinterest. I refer them to my very good friend Carol Stephen of Your Social Media Works. I don’t blog. I mean, I can, but I’d be way too expensive. So I refer clients to my friend Jen Miller of Need Someone To Blog. She has a system. She’s efficient. Guess what? She doesn’t do social. She sends me leads.

Do you see how it works?

Be serious about your brand and your focus. Kill the things that consume too much time. Specialize and refer the rest. You’ll never regret it.

rawpixel.com

Twitter is the Best Platform for B2B Marketing: 5 Reasons Why

Twitter is the best platform for B2B marketing. It serves several marketing purposes including brand awareness, public relations, listening, content curation, and relationship building.

Watch the Video Here

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is high-level, less-tangible, and difficult to measure. It’s almost a word-association game. I say “tissue;” you say “Kleenex.” I say “photocopy;” you say “Xerox.” You want your brand to be able to be associated with your purpose. Recognition of the logo on Twitter because of your presence is a great way for a small business to compete with the bigger operations. The big guys rarely invest in social media.

Public Relations

You have news. People want to know it. Share Promotions, sales, new ventures, employees that join in, partnerships, case studies, etc. Write on your WordPress blog everything relevant to your audience and publish it on Twitter. Every brand has the ability to publish and gain influence and audience.

Listening

Listening is the most powerful thing you can do with Twitter. It’s so important to understand who you audience is and what they want, need, and how they think. This allows you to become a better communicator — meaning, you’re communicating in a way that resonates with them.

Using Twitter Lists to Listen allows you to:

  • Pain points.
  • Correcting personas.
  • Responding.
  • Engaging.
  • Focus Group.

Content Curation

Once you’ve built your lists you now have the tool in place to curate content. People often ask me what tools I use to curate content. I tell them that I’m a People Curator — a People Broker, I say.  I curate content by curating people. It really is that simple.

Relationship Building

All business happens because of referrals and word of mouth. Think of the last time you had a new client. How did you acquire them? Think of the last time you found a new service. Did you search for them online? Google? Yelp? Almost no one does business with a total stranger. Use Twitter to build relationships. You won’t regret it.

I went into depth on relationship building in a few of my talks, most recently at WordCamp Ottawa in July of 2016.

Reflections on My Business After a Year

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. Through circumstances I didn’t choose, I started my business in October of 2017. Running your own business, not as a side hustle but as a pay-the-rent hustle, is a burden and a risk. It’s not all just WiFi on the beach and every romanticized photo you’ve seen on Instagram.

It means being serious. It means being self-aware. It’s not a four hour work day, let alone work week. It takes pride and humility. Discipline and creativity. Blood, sweat, and late nights. And tears. Lots of tears. Seriously. Tears.

The short version of this blog post is that I’m glad I did this but it is hard. It has taxed my ego and self worth and I’m learning to separate those triggers. It’s not personal.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in my first year.

Set Boundaries with Friends and Clients

It’s okay to say no. Saying yes too often eats away at your calendar, billable time, and productivity. Plus, if you’re not setting your boundaries, you’ll be resentful. You don’t want that. As a business owner (and sometimes remote worker), you have control over your time. Take it seriously.

And yes, I’ve told friends that Saturdays (by appointment), I’m available for lunch. It’s completely fine with most people who have day jobs. They’ll understand. If they don’t, then it’s their loss. Protect your time with your boundaries. Be clear. You will have people who will test you. They may say you don’t have a “real job” since you work for yourself. This is even more so with remote work. So I have been practiced but firm.

I’ve told clients I will email them between the hours of 8am and 6pm. That is reasonable. Then, I keep myself to those parameters. Setting boundaries, being self aware, and sticking to them helps you respect yourself and others to also respect your time.

Go to brunch. Enjoy your time off. And try not to look at your phone.

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Brunch with my girl Stacey

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Specialize Your Work and Client Base — Refer the Rest

“Everyone” is not a client. You won’t sync with everyone. Your personality may not be compatible with a potential customer. They might not be the right kind of business for you and, frankly, you may not be able to serve them well.

I’ve turned down a lot of work this year. I don’t do press releases or resumes. I refer that. I don’t do Pinterest. I refer that. Find out what you do well and quickly. Refer the rest.

I rock at Twitter. I don’t do SEO. I write bios, but not white papers.

Say Yes by Saying No

If you do turn down a job or client, do so by referring. Meaning, “I don’t write press releases but Jen Miller does. Here’s her email.” Then you are still a resource and helpful. If you just say no, you look like a jerk. That’s bad branding. Saying no allows you to say yes to the right things.

Instead of wasting your time with the wrong work or the wrong client, spend time on the things that make you money. For me, that’s Twitter. I don’t make money on Instagram.

Experiment with Pricing

You can experiment with pricing. When I first started managing Twitter, I did it for $250 a month. Then I started this business and started at $1,000 as introductory pricing. Now, that same scope is $1,200. I know the market value because I worked at an agency.

I also discount my work for some of my friends. During my WCLAX talk this year, Alex Vasquez asked me what I do about friends who want discounts. I answered by saying a real friend should pay full price. That said, I’ve discounted work for friends who are clients because it’s my business and I can make that decision. But understand why you are making that decision.

For example, I offered a friend a three month trial at 25% discount. I said, “If you don’t see the results you want, we just stop. We’re still friends. No hard feelings. But if we continue, we go to 100%.” It was a fair price and helped us keep our friendship when we ended the account (temporarily, I might add).

Know Your Cost

I spent a long time in construction accounting so this wasn’t a big barrier for me this year. But yeah, $250 a month for Twitter ended up being minimum wage. Know how much you cost yourself to run your business.

When I started, I reverse engineered my salary, then used that as a basis for my pricing. Create a basic budget so you know what your outgoing costs are. This helps you determine a baseline for your pricing.

It’s okay to take a part-time job.

Yeah. In February, I finally admitted. I can’t keep running out of savings or borrowing from family. It’s time to get a part-time job. It was really hard. I felt like a complete failure. In fact, I had to talk to some of my very good friends about my fears and feelings. I felt like the whole world was watching me fail.

Instead, I met new friends. I love my Serbian family and my work doing office work and marketing at the travel agency. And, it’s helped me travel for work!

I’ve been honest with my boss and she gives me flexibility. We’re both trying to run our own businesses. She’s in year 12 and I’m in year 1. But we need other people.

View this post on Instagram

Just a good hair day — which is rare.

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Cash Flow Can Be a Bitch

Oh man. This one is tough. One of my goals for 2019 is to have a fun bank account and a main bank account for bills and business expenses. I learned this tip from my friend  Robert. My biggest issue with cash flow is overly-optimistic projections. So, I had to borrow money from family and friends a few times. It sucks. It’s depressing. I’ve had my BFF hold my hand while I call to ask for help. But they were all glad to help. People like to help you.

Be Honest and Open with Your Peers

When people ask how you’re doing, tell them. Don’t be a complainer, but be honest. I usually say, “I’m good but can be better.” This gives you an opening. People don’t know you’re taking on work unless you tell them. So, if they ask if I have room for clients, I’ll tell them. Currently, I have two openings. I also tweet about it. Almost all of my work has come from Twitter or WordCamps.

Sometimes You Have to Alter Your Business Model

When I first started, a friend reminded me of my previous skills. So, while I was building my client base, I did collections for my friends for a commission.

Be ready for shifts in perception and need. One of the reasons why I love Twitter so much is you can listen to your audience. So one day I saw someone tweet about how much they hate writing their speaker bio. I spontaneously tweeted that I would write a speaker bio for “$25 fast, fast PayPal Cash.” I’ve written over 30 bios and put  my price up to $50.

Build Rest into Your Days

Seriously. I built in the 2:30 nap so much that my dog is trained. When I stop taking 20 minute naps, I get too exhausted. The world won’t stop because you’re unavailable for 20 minutes. I promise. Even if you don’t sleep, lay down, take off your glasses, and close your eyes. You’ll thank me later.

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Sometimes you have to schedule a nap for #selfcare.

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Give Back

Besides being a Make WordPress team rep for the marketing team, I was also a co-organizer for WordCamp Orange County for the second year in a row. I volunteered again for WordCamp Los Angeles, too.

I became a recurring donor for 4ocean.com as well as Oxfam and FreeCodeCamp.org. Giving back helps keep your perspective in check.

View this post on Instagram

My @4ocean bracelet just came to #GuruHQ. #PullAPound

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Keep Up Your Own Site

A cobbler’s children have no shoes is unacceptable. The best way to get work is to do work. As a marketer, keeping up my website and social media profiles is important. These are the results that I can show to prospective clients. You may be asked to give case studies or analytics to prove your worth. It’s not for me to share my client’s stats. Discretion is important. But I can show my own. So I do.

Numbers to Date

  • Written over 800 client tweets.
  • Written over 30 speaker bios.
  • My own Twitter account has over 16000 tweets and 5 million impressions.
  • Two keynotes and 8 WordCamps (two overseas).
  • An average of 24 Meetups attended (2-3 a month).
  • One laptop-less vacation.

I’m at over 1300 words and I feel it’s important to share these, thoughts, especially after the feedback I got on Twitter.

More Thoughts – Speed Round

  • Trust your gut. It’s intuition analyzing data.
  • You don’t have to take every client.
  • Ask friends. Have a close circle you can mastermind with.
  • Publish base pricing on your site. This helps manage expectations.
  • Mix recurring and one-off revenue streams.
  • Make sure your social bios say what you do.
  • Keep business cards with you even when at a bar. Never pass an opportunity.
  • Keep going to conferences. Stay top of mind.
  • Partner with your friends.
  • Your value comes through education.
  • Put expiration dates on your estimates.
  • Put terms on your invoices.
  • Follow up with clients.
  • Rely on tech to make things easier but don’t over-automate. I use Freshbooks and Calendly.
  • Discount if you more work but with an expiration (25% for 3 months).
  • Failure is a good thing. I promise. Learn to accept it. Learn from it.
  • Take job interviews anyway. Learn from them.
  • Email people from LinkedIn asking if they want to outsource. Ask them if they’d rather have a vendor than an employee.
  • Stay teachable.

Looking forward to the next 12 months.

I didn’t want to NOT start my business. If I end up failing, it won’t be because of the fear to start. So, looking forward in the next 12 months, I want to start another bank account and put my “fun money” allowance elsewhere. I also want to seriously consider starting a C-corp and putting myself on a salary through a payroll service. I’d also like to add teaching in my business model. I love that moment when someone gets it and they’re now empowered.

Women in Business — It’s about respect.

When it comes to being a woman in business, all I’ve really wanted from my peers (male or otherwise) is respect. I am a highly-motivated person who achieves. As a professional, I have experience. That experience translates into intuition.

I’ve been working in offices for over 30 years from a publisher to a trucking company, churches to schools, construction to tech. All of the businesses I’ve worked in were lead by men.

For the most part I feel that I get along with men. I don’t have the mindset that all men are sexist and I feel that I am fair in how I approach work.

I was inspired chat about this today, so here goes.

How do you get respect as a woman in business?

So how does a woman in business get respect? I’ve found out that I have to demand respect. Sometimes this comes at a cost. It could be personal or financial. Getting respect means setting boundaries and defending them. I struggle with being dismissed. It’s sad but true.

Things I’ve actually been told:

  • You’re not a writer.
  • You’re just a marketer.
  • You can’t write about [topic]; it’s too technical.
  • You’re an alarmist.
  • You should learn to code and build a website before a developer will respect you.
  • That’s just your opinion.
  • You just work from home.
  • That’s not a real job.

Yeah. It’s not awesome. It sucks. It makes me feel marginalized.

How can you support a woman in business?

Supporting a woman in business means supporting your peers. I am fond of definitions by contrast so let’s go with what not to do.

  • Don’t mischaracterize the concerns of your coworkers or teammates. “She’s mad, upset, etc.”
  • Don’t offer your advice if she didn’t ask for it.
  • Don’t presume she isn’t educated or informed on the topic at hand.
  • Don’t marginalize analysis as opinion.
  • Don’t ask her about her personal life or plans for children in the interview.
  • Don’t interrupt her while she’s speaking. Don’t presume you know what she wants to say. Rian Rietveld

How can you support a woman-owned business?

There are plenty of ways to support businesses, regardless of who owns them. But let’s stick with the gender.

  • Send clients her way via an email introduction — as you would with any of your friends.
  • Send a personalized tweet about them or link to their website.
  • Share about her services and expertise on LinkedIn is awesome.
  • Write a review on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Yelp.
  • Pay her for her advice.

I’m wondering why this isn’t obvious.

The problem with diversity can be tokenization. I find most people want to be treated with respect because of their merit, skills, and talent. Not because they belong to [insert group here].

Thoughts from My Mom

After reading this, my mom gave me a call this morning. She was part of the generation who wasn’t allowed to wear jeans to school, couldn’t purchase birth control, and at the tail end of not having property rights. It’s worth adding her perspective.

She says respect is like inspiration — it’s intangible. It’s invisible. You know it when you have it but you can’t demand it.

It’s completely true and a wise point of view.

How do I want to be supported as a women in business?

As a woman in business, with my own almost a year old, what I’d like to see is emotional support and peer mentoring. And I’ve had this. I know I’m fortunate as this is not always the case.

Alex Vasquez, Jason Tucker, Roy Sivan, Jen Miller, Yvette Sonneveld, Carin Arrigo Hauser, Yvonne C. Williams, Sarah Pressler, John Locke… the list goes on and on.

I believe that if we support one another, regardless of our demographic, things will come our way.

When, however, you have an opportunity to have influence for good, be aware of how you approach it.  The only way to make “things better” is to change your own behavior. That has a ripple effect.

Social Media Success: Adjust and Adapt to Change

When it comes to technology, you can always expect one thing: change. When it comes to social media, changes happens at a faster pace. Keep up for success.

Why does social media change so often?

Why does social media change so often? My answer: welcome to tech.

In my talks, I always say the tech changes in 20 minutes so you better keep up. Once you post that tutorial on how to add people to a list, Twitter will change the gear icon into the three stacked dots. It happens. It happens frequently. It happens to us all.

Here are some examples of change:

  • Facebook lists are going away. I know. Many people didn’t even know they existed. I used them. They’re gone. Whatever. Move on. Right?
  • Instagram is no longer in reverse chronological order. Surprise? Not really since Facebook bought them.
  • There used to be “best times to post.” Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram default to a customized feed based upon the user’s behavior. Throw away those best times now.
  • Auto posting from Instagram to Twitter used to be chic. Then Twitter stopped supporting live previews of Instagram links (not surprisingly, after Facebook bought them).
  • Follow Friday (#FF #FollowFriday) was a huge deal on Twitter. Now if you do it, you’re out of touch or have some robot turned on.
  • Twitter changed retweeting — three times — since I signed up in 2007. This is why I prefer the old “RT” way. (Did you know your retweets can be turned off?)
  • It used to be that Instagram’s culture supported 12-20 hashtags per post. This is changing.
  • Instagram used to perform well with short captions. People now accept longer descriptions, stories.
  • SnapChat was copied by Instagram and Facebook with 24 hour “stories.”
  • Avatars used to be 500×500 squares. They’re are now circles within those squares.

I could go on and on but those are just some of the changes I’ve experienced since doing content marketing and social media management since 2009.

Tech changes. Adapt.

This is why it is so important to be a practitioner.

How do you start a social media campaign from scratch?

Starting a social media campaign from scratch is easier than you think. When you start from scratch, you don’t have to relearn changes. You just have to learn the right way (until they change it again).

My advice is to always start small. Use one platform. Use it often and use it well. For example, if you have a new product coming out, decide where your audience is. Pick that social media platform.

If it’s a WordPress plugin, choose Twitter. Start an account. Write your bio clearly. Use a square logo ensuring the logo is clearly visible in a square. Tweet about your product linking to your website. Pin that tweet to your timeline. Tweet once a day in the morning and once after lunch.

With Twitter, a campaign’s success is a ratio of volume. Resist the urge to retweet people who talk about you. Instead reply. Say “thank you.” Respond to questions. Build relationships. This is how to be successful.

How do I create a social media strategy plan?

The first step to creating a successful social media strategy is to plan with a professional. You should have SMART goals with an overarching strategy and agile tactics.

Let’s start by differentiating strategy from tactics.

“Strategy and tactics are both how you will achieve your goals and objectives. Strategy is our path or bridge for going from where we are today to our goal. It’s our general resource allocation plan. It might be to engage industry thought-leaders to become advocates for our product. The tactics then are how specifically or tangibly we will do that. They might include items such direct marketing letters, face-to-face meetings, key talking point scripts and an iPad app.” Rich Horwath

  • What are your goals? Write them down.
  • What do you want out of social media? Write it down.
  • Who is your customer? The answer is not “everyone.” This question takes some introspection and maybe an audit. Who were your last 5 big customers? What do they have in common?
  • Where are your customers? If the answer is Twitter, then start there.

There is no real way to be super specific in a blog post about tactics, which is why you hire a consultant. This is where I mention that you can also hire me as a consultant to put together a plan of action. 

 

How do you create a social media marketing strategy factoring in change?

Any strategy should have flexibility in the tactics to allow for change. It’s the same in social media. Factoring in change in social media means factoring in failure. Social media tactics need room for error and experimentation. Watch the results — but don’t obsess. Look for long-term trends. Ask “what if” often.

In order to allow for tactical changes, you must experiment. I did it with this blog post, even. For the first time, I used “people also ask” as my outline. I never outline my posts. I just write.

That means, as a business owner or corporate officer, whether hiring or outsourcing, you must trust your team. Delegate. Let go. Check in monthly or quarterly. Ask questions. Listen to their answers. Assess. Adjust. Continue.

When it comes to employees, hire someone you trust and then — trust them. Give constructive feedback frequently. It takes time to learn a brand’s voice — or to shape it. Comedians take about four years to find this. It won’t be overnight.

How can social media strategies be improved?

Remember that a social media strategy is a strategy. These are overarching goals, to be contrasted with tactics. You can and should always improve your tactics. Strategies can be reassessed quarterly.

Social media strategies can always be improved but you won’t know how to make the changes unless you monitor trends, assess, and adapt.

A good social media manager won’t be stuck in 2009. As a practitioner, your vendor or in-house employee will know what is best for your industry and your niche.

This is why it’s important to outsource to a professional, who could easily qualify as an in-house Marketing Manager. Anything less is risking the reputation of your brand — something not so easily recovered for a growing small business.

If your social media marketing is stuck in 2009, let’s talk.