The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How niching your business affects your pricing
  • How niching can expand—not limit—your clients
  • Why expanding your network can be your marketing secret weapon

On this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, my guest is Jessica Mehring, CEO of Horizon Peak Consulting, where she combines sales-focused copywriting with content marketing to help IT, software and tech clients turn content into revenue. She’s also the creator of The Content Lab, where she trains content creators and copywriters how to get better results from their written content—while putting their careers on the fast track.

Like many business owners, Jessica at first resisted defining a niche for her business, but once she did she found it completely transformed her business. During our conversation, she shares how she’s created a profitable niche service for high tech and SaaS companies, how a niche affects your pricing, how her niche actually helped her find more clients and why her referral network is her marketing secret weapon.

Finding Your Niche and Increasing Your Revenue

When you are a generalist it is more limiting than limiting yourself to a niche.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica started out being a generalist copywriter when she left her corporate job to build her business full time. Even though all the experts said to niche, like many business owners, she resisted it because she was worried she wouldn’t get enough work, she didn’t feel like she had enough expertise in a niche to claim one and her favorite excuse: she liked the variety. Once she started working with her mentor Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers, who was also my guest on the podcast, the power of a niche started to sink in. Jessica ultimately combined her specialty for writing marketing copy for high-tech companies that she developed over years of freelancing with her natural affinity for high-tech work and voila! She had herself a niche!

Once she really clarified her marketing message to “I write marketing content for IT, software and tech companies,” there was no doubt what her niche was. Crystallizing this message really helped Jessica in her sales process and to pre-qualify prospects. It also allowed her space to really master what she does. Because she is a master, she gets really good results for her clients which opens the door for higher rates.

Niching Expands your Clients

When I got very clear about what I do and who I work with it completely transformed my business.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica explains in the podcast how niching expanded her client base even though many business owners fear that it will limit them. Because her focus was on serving a particular client and she is able to share with others in her network very clearly what she does and who her ideal clients are, it makes it much more streamlined to find clients. Jessica connects with her ideal clients by writing guest posts on sites that she knows they are reading and going to conferences where her clients or potential members of her network will be.

A Strong Network: Jessica’s Secret Weapon

An effective network is a two-way street.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica’s network understands the work she does and what kind of results she gets and this network includes her clients, other copywriters that are part of her mastermind and those she meets online and at conferences, at Meetups or even at the coffee shop. She also maintains a robust file of copywriters that she knows personally. When a prospect wants work done that’s outside of her niche, she happily refers them on to another professional from her list of vetted copywriters because an effective network is a two-way street.

Tune in to the full podcast to hear more about the power of a profitable niche. Jessica shares her intake process and how she juggles her time and energy between Horizon Peak Consulting and The Content Lab. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss my conversations with thriving business owners who share their secrets to success every week.

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Create a Marketing Plan to Grow Your Standout Business with Lacy Boggs

Create a Marketing Plan to Grow Your Standout Business with Lacy Boggs

On this special bonus episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., we’re sharing an interview I did with content marketing strategist Lacy Boggs during my last CreativeLive course, Create a Marketing Plan to Grow Your Standout Business.

Lacy Boggs is the founder of the Content Direction Agency, which helps small business owners create sales-focused content to grow their brands and their bottom lines.

Lacy and I talk about how to repurpose all the content you’re creating for your business, how to decide what content to create next, and how to use customer awareness to find as many hot leads as possible.

Find out more about Lacy Boggs and the Content Direction Agency at lacyboggs.com

Tara Gentile:

All right. I would love at this point to bring up Lacy Boggs who has been sitting lovely in our audience, but, really, she’s a ringer here for your benefit and mine. Lacy, why don’t we just start off by making sure everyone knows who you are and what you do and where they can find you online.

Lacy Boggs:

Sure. My name is Lacy Boggs. I’m a content marketing strategist and also a copywriter and ghost blogger. I help businesses stop blogging out into the void and praying for results and actually start connecting their content to sales. You can find me at LacyBoggs.com.

Tara Gentile:

Do you see what she did there? To blogging into the void. That’s an unaware thing.

Lacy Boggs:

That’s right.

Tara Gentile:

Then you gently guided them to the solution. Lacy is here because, and it’s specifically in this segment because Lacy geeks out on customer awareness as much as I do and all of the fun things that it can do for your business. Let’s first off start by defining content marketing because it’s something that people talk about, but don’t really know what it means, like so many other things in marketing and just business, in general. It’s one of those fun words, fun phrases, that we throw out there. What does content marketing mean to you?

Lacy Boggs:

To me, it is any time you are engaging in a conversation with your potential audience, with the idea of building a relationship that ends in a sale.

Tara Gentile:

Lovely. Make sense? Cool. For content marketing, customer awareness is really key because content marketing is the best way we have for walking people through that section or through that spectrum.  I know one of the things that you do with your clients or with your agency’s clients is actually help people make better use of the content ideas that they have. You can take a single topic or a single idea and actually explore it from all of these different angles. Can you walk us through your thought process when a client says to you, “Okay, this topic really resonates with my audience. I’d like to use it in as many different ways as possible.”

Lacy Boggs:

Sure.

Tara Gentile:

How do you approach that?

Lacy Boggs:

First of all, you can use the same piece of content or the same message across many, many different channels. You were talking about channels earlier today. You can use that same message in different snippets or different forms across all those channels. For example, if I have a podcast, I might have a great message that I want to share on my podcast. Then I definitely want to put that on my blog, maybe with some additional insights or a synthesis of what’s going on in the text underneath the podcast. Then I might put that on Facebook and go do a Facebook Live and say, “Hey, if you have questions about what I talked about on my podcast, I would love to do that on Facebook Live,” and I might put it on my Instagram or whatever. There’s a zillion ways you can keep reusing it over and over again because the people who are following me on Instagram aren’t necessarily watching my Facebook Lives, aren’t necessarily reading my blog.

 

There was a day when you and I started this that people followed blogs obsessively. They had their RSS feeds.

Tara Gentile:

That’s true.

Lacy Boggs:

They would read all those all the time. Nowadays, you’re very lucky if they open your email. If they actually come to your blog, whew, you’ve done something good because the days of people obsessively reading your blogs are over. Tara, you were talking about meeting people where they are. That’s one way of doing it. It’s showing up and sharing that message across multiple channels.

Tara Gentile:

Perfect. If you were to take a topic then for multiple channels, thinking through for podcasts, for the blog, for Facebook Live, for Instagram stories, whatever it might be, would you want to or could you use different levels of customer awareness to try to create some variety there, and how would you do that?

Lacy Boggs:

Absolutely, because different channels are naturally going to be more aware or less aware. Somebody who’s on my email list is naturally more aware of me. They know what I’m doing. They know who I am. They know what problem I solve probably. They probably even know what solutions I offer, whereas somebody who just finds me on Facebook or hears me on somebody else’s podcast, they’re totally unaware. They’re completely different level. When I’m, for example, writing … Let’s say I start with a blog post. I might promote that on Facebook a little differently than I promote it to my newsletter because my newsletter people already know who I am and what I do. They want to know, “What’s in it for me,” whereas, I might step back out promoting it on Facebook, which is a less aware audience for me and talk more about, “Here’s the big picture, and I’m going to solve … I’m going to tell you the solution. Okay, you’re marriage thing is a great example.”

 

On Facebook, I might say, “Your marriage sucks, but I can tell you why,” and in the blog post, I’m telling you why, and in the newsletter, I might be mentioning that they can get on a call with me to explore it some more.

Tara Gentile:

Awesome. To take that even one step further, I think a mistake that people make is assuming that everyone on their email list is very aware that they know what the problem is.

Lacy Boggs:

That’s true.

Tara Gentile:

That they know what you solve, even who you are. Just because someone signs up for a webinar doesn’t mean they made a real genuine connection with you yet. One of the ways I approach this is I’ll send the same email three times, and I’ll send it to unopens. I’m not sending the same email to the same … Technically, I am, but they’re not seeing it. They’re seeing different things. I’ll take a subject line, and I’ll adjust the subject line, one, to make it unaware, one, to make it problem aware, one to make it solution aware so that I’m getting as many opens on that based on different groups of people.

 

You mentioned the same thing with Facebook. You can do the same thing with Facebook ads. You may have one page that you’re taking people to. We do this with CoCommercial, one page, one place that we’re taking people. For Facebook ads, I might have a long form ad that’s an unaware ad, I might have a medium length ad that’s a problem aware ad, and then I might have a super short ad that’s solution aware or product aware that’s just aimed at people who already are looking for that thing.

Lacy Boggs:

Retargeting.

Tara Gentile:

Retargeting, exactly.

Lacy Boggs:

Also, you can get a lot of data from that. In your email example, if you have three different subject lines that are going to different stages of awareness, you can look at those open rates and say, “Wow. They were all totally unaware. That’s where we got the most opens, so, therefore, I need to do some more education around that or whatever. That message really resonated.”

Tara Gentile:

That is a super great point, too, because even if your people are problem aware, but you find that they’re much more responsive to an unaware message, that means they’re more motivated around the itch than they are around the real problem, and so that means you need to do more to educate them on why they should be motivated to solve that real problem, too.

 

When you’re thinking through a content campaign, walk us through the steps. What are you doing to make sure that by the time you get to that pitch, to the place where you’re trying to close the sale, that everyone’s on the same page as you, that they’re thinking about the solution the same way you’re thinking about the solution, so that they’re most prone to buy.

Lacy Boggs:

I love this because I do it exactly the same way you do it. I work backwards because that’s what you have to do. You have to know what the goal is first in order to get people there. You have to do this walking backwards with the awareness or walking backwards with what’s the goal and how am I going to get there before you can plan a blog post. You can’t know what the blog post should be until you know what you want them to do at the end of the cycle. I look at all the pieces, and I also try to think about just, in general, how those channels are going to play together. If I know that my lead generation strategy is to get somebody to opt in for a content upgrade on my blog post, what do I need to do after that? Then I’d have to have emails that not only deliver that content upgrade, but then probably follow up and continue that message, whereas so that message is a little bit different from the people who haven’t opted in.

 

The next blog post maybe assumes that they haven’t opted in, so the email message is slightly different. I’m considering how do all those channels play together and where do they diverge.

Tara Gentile:

That’s all starting to sound very complicated.

Lacy Boggs:

I realized it as I was saying it.

Tara Gentile:

This is a place where because we like to really geek out on this stuff, it’s very easy to over-complicate it, and it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Give me your simplest approach to a campaign where you’re not necessarily segmenting your audience completely, but you’re taking them step by step through the journey.

Lacy Boggs:

Sure. Very first is, when you step back to unaware, I’m thinking, “Where am I going to get those new eyeballs? How am I going to get in front of new people that are unaware?” A lot of times, that’s not going to be my blog because people are not just discovering my blog. It doesn’t happen that way anymore, unfortunately, but it might be a podcast interview. It might be a guest post somewhere else. It might be Facebook ads. That’s not working as well anymore, but there’s lots of different ways you can get in front of brand new people. Then how am I going to lead them, so I’m probably going to have content of some kind that’s going to lead them from unaware to problem aware. I’m going to tell them what that problem is, and then I might have another piece of content or a webinar or an event, something that’s really juicy to get them from problem aware to solution aware, and that’s where I’ll make my pitch.

Tara Gentile:

That’s the lead generation pitch.

Lacy Boggs:

Exactly.

Tara Gentile:

Into conversion.

Lacy Boggs:

Into conversion. Then that’s where I’ll make my pitch, and then I’ll have follow-up in my email, but it’s like that traditional … Oh, God, that word you don’t like, funnels.

Tara Gentile:

Sales funnel.

Lacy Boggs:

It is. You’re going from the bigger audience, smaller and smaller and smaller and talking to the people that you’ve lead through that.

Tara Gentile:

You don’t have to do lots of fancy segmentation to make this work. The way we’re talking about campaigns and the up and down cycle and leading people through this process, that is segmentation. This is a sneaky way really of talking about segmentation. Don’t want anyone to stress out, that, “Oh, God, this is too complicated. This is … I can’t keep track of all the different things that need to be going on.” You only need to keep track of one campaign at a time. That’s the campaign you’re currently working on, and you need to focus on finding the new eyeballs, getting them to opt in for the problem or the solution that they’re looking for, and then actually closing them on the sale.

 

Great. What are some of the big mistakes that small business owners make when it comes to content marketing?

Lacy Boggs:

The biggest one is not making the plan because I hear that all the time, is that, “Oh, I have a launch in two days. What can I do with my content?” Nothing. Good luck. I hope that works out for you, but, really, the further out you can plan your marketing messages, the better off you’ll be because the more time you have to lead people through that sequence, the more likely you are to get them to product aware and then the raving fan stage. It’s the planning things out is a big one.

 

Also, like you were saying, they focus on one stage as opposed to many as opposed to leading people down the path. My junk food story that I tell is about rocks in the river. If you imagine your customer on one side of the river and your product on the other side of the river, you have to put the rocks in and that’s your content, and if you don’t have enough, they can’t make it.

Tara Gentile:

They’re going to get wet.

Lacy Boggs:

If they’re all over the place, they can’t make it. If they’re too small or too slippery, they can’t make it. You’ve got to make it super, super clear how they get from one place to the next to get to the other side of the river. Otherwise, they fall in and they’re gone.

Tara Gentile:

Exactly. You need the right amount of rock, space the right amount so that they cannot fall in the river.

Lacy Boggs:

Guys, they fall so easily. It’s very dangerous out there.

Tara Gentile:

Like …

Lacy Boggs:

A bear, who knows?

Tara Gentile:

Think about it.

Lacy Boggs:

Oh, gosh. Bears. Come on, Tara. Think how easily we get distracted, and we’re focused on our own stuff. Our potential customers are not nearly as focused on our stuff as we are, and we still get distracted. You have to make it just so easy for them to get to point A to point B.

Tara Gentile:

Any other big mistakes you’re seeing right now?

Lacy Boggs:

You were talking about listening, social listening. The question I’ve heard recently is how do I know which content goes in which channel, and that’s actually the wrong question to ask because your content should all be playing nicely together and you have to think of it as a big web or group because I think a lot of people silo things. They think, “Here’s my podcast and here’s my blog and here’s my Facebook Live.”

Tara Gentile:

Make it worse, “Here’s my newsletter.”

Lacy Boggs:

They don’t realize that even though you’re reaching people at all these different touch points, you need to have a similar message. The podcast needs to also live on your blog, needs to also be emailed out to your people, needs to also be promoted on your Facebook Live show and so on and so forth. You’re hitting that same message in many different places.

Tara Gentile:

That is super duper key.

Lacy Boggs:

What is also awesome about that is it’s less work because you don’t have to come up with a marketing plan for each channel. It’s all the same plan.

Tara Gentile:

Have a marketing plan and use the channels as assets to your advantage.

Lacy Boggs:

As distributions.

Tara Gentile:

You don’t need a plan for each … Notice how we’re not talking about any kind of specifics, “Here’s what you do in social media. Here’s what you do on your blog.” We’re talking about marketing your business, not any particular channel. Brilliant. Do we have any questions for Lacy from you guys? This is a golden opportunity to get some free advice from someone I find very brilliant on this subject. No questions for Lacy.

Lacy Boggs:

Don’t be shy.

Tara Gentile:

Seriously? You guys all have amazing blogs and content marketing strategies? Yeah? Okay.

Lacy Boggs:

Can I ask how many of you are still blogging?

Tara Gentile:

Eww.

Lacy Boggs:

What’s that, about half maybe, a little more than half?

Tara Gentile:

A little more than half I think.

Lacy Boggs:

I think that people believe blogging is dead. I alluded to this earlier. It is not dead, but how we are using it is changing. If you’re blogging the way we were blogging five years ago, you have problems because it’s not converting, it’s not doing what it used to do. That’s why I’ve started talking about content as opposed to blogging because blogging is really just one piece of it. Even if, like me, you love to blog, and that’s the way you communicate, you still need to be using those other channels, too, to make your message heard as widely as possible.

Tara Gentile:

We talked about stories earlier, and that’s how I’m thinking about things, too, is I may have one story that I want to tell in different ways on different channels. Again, it’s content. It’s marketing. It’s not blogging or podcasting or Facebook Live-ing. It’s a story. It’s a campaign. It’s a pass that I want to take people down, and that’s going to go all over the place. Lisa?

Lisa:

You opened up a can of worms for me.

Tara Gentile:

I love cans of worms.

Lisa:

Maybe I’ll just tell you a little bit what I do, which I think is probably old school, and you can maybe give me some tips around it. I write a couple articles a month, and I have for years, and I enjoy it, but I don’t really think a lot of people are reading it, nor am I driving a lot of traffic there intentionally, other than keeping my site active and it ranks higher because of it. I wouldn’t mind some tips on how can I get my content out there. Should I be doing shorter articles, longer articles? Should I be posting, boosting posts? Maybe just a quick and dirty. If I’m doing two decent size, length sized blog posts a month, how can I optimize them or how can I do them to take less time even? Either optimize or maybe spend less time because I’m not sure that trade-off is really working right now.

Lacy Boggs:

Sure.

Lisa:

I think maybe because that’s just old school blogging because it’s just like, “I’m writing two articles.”

Lacy Boggs:

That’s super common.

Lisa:

I don’t think I’ve actually thought about much more than keeping the site active with a couple posts a month.

Lacy Boggs:

I understand. I hear that a lot, so you’re not alone. Don’t feel badly about that. Just to answer a couple of your tactical questions right off the bat, length is more important these days, especially if you’re optimizing for SEO. Google is giving preference to longer form articles, and when I say longer form, I mean 2,000 words, 1,500 words. The days where we could publish 300 words a day, every day of the week are over.

Tara Gentile:

I used to do that.

Lacy Boggs:

It was a thing. It worked back in the day. It doesn’t work anymore. Emphasis on longer form, more informative, more useful-

Lisa:

Is 1,000 considered ok, because 2,000 is pushing…

Lacy Boggs:

It’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Lisa:

1,000 is long without being…

Lacy Boggs:

For those of you who just freaked out when I said that, the flip side of that is that you don’t need to be publishing as often. If you can be consistent, if you can be useful and you can be really delivering a lot of value, you can publish less often. I like to say that consistency is more important than quantity. People are getting away with once every two weeks, even once a month. I wouldn’t go less than that because people will forget about you, but if you’re delivering a really valuable piece once a month, you’re doing okay.

 

Then the next part of that is, how do we optimize it? If you’re really going to delve in and write a 2,000-word article, even once a month, you want to get the most out of that. That’s a lot of work. Really, it’s about promoting. You said at the beginning that everybody knows they should be marketing, but we’re not spending very much time on it. I think it’s the same with promoting blog posts. It’s not enough to just write the post and hope that somebody will find it anymore. Nowadays, we have to be deliberately promoting and almost marketing our blog posts. It’s about figuring out where am i going to put this that more people will see it, and you mentioned boosting it on Facebook. That can work if you have the budget for it. It’s also maybe not the most budget friendly anymore. The way Facebook ads are working is changing again. Everything’s changing right now. We’re in this shifting time period. I would say figure out how can I do this that’s free that’s also going to engage more people.

 

Something I’m trying and I know you’re trying is Facebook Live. Even just hopping on once a week to say, “Hey, I’m going to expand a little bit on this part of my blog post,” is a great way to get people to then come to the blog post to get the rest of it. There’s lots of other little techniques and tactics you could use, but really putting some effort and energy into promoting that amazing article will help get the most out of it.

 

Then the third thing is to repurpose it, what we were just talking about. If you can make an audio and turn it into a podcast, if you can turn it into slides or an infographic that you can post somewhere else, if you can post it on Medium or LinkedIn, if you can share bits and pieces of it on Facebook, put it in graphics on Pinterest. Think about all the different ways you can share that same content so that you’re using that content as much as possible and reaching people where they are.

Lisa:

That makes me think. Those are great suggestions because I know sometimes I put my whole post in my email and, other times, I don’t.

Lacy Boggs:

Sure.

Lisa:

I can’t figure out what is the best, but if it was really long, I couldn’t do it (put it all in my email). I suppose you could every six months almost repurpose with a different lead-in on my email…

Lacy Boggs:

Absolutely.

Lisa:

With the same article, which would then make it worth it because you’re driving more traffic to less effort in a way.

Tara Gentile:

Even not over six months. In the course of a week, I’ve written different lead-ins, different tie-ins, different followups to the same podcast episode that’s leading people back to the show notes on my blog, that’s different emails going out in the same week, so I might write three emails about one podcast episode, but it’s all from a different angle. It hits a different pain point. It hits a different point of the customer awareness spectrum, different people are going to see it. The fact of the matter is, people aren’t opening up email the way they used to either, so sending three emails isn’t overwhelming. It’s getting more opportunity for the right people to see your content. You can do that, as well, to optimize things. If you’re writing one post a month, you might write your weekly email. It’s just a different take on that same post, and they can go there for more information, for something more in depth.

 

Do we have any more questions for Lacy?

Tara Gentile:

Melissa?

Melissa:

As you know, I’m making this transition in my business, and I have a podcast. I alternate between monologues and guest conversations. The monologues, I do a written version and an audio version, podcast and blog, and now that I’m making this transition in my business, that’s going to be a completely different audience, so I’m trying to figure out, how do I do the content marketing for this completely different audience or do I even do content marketing-

Lacy Boggs:

Sure.

Melissa:

For this completely different audience? How do I even approach that?

Lacy Boggs:

The first question is, where are those people hanging out? The corporate people that you want to talk to are probably not listening to a creativity … Maybe they are, but…

Melissa:

Probably not.

Lacy Boggs:

Probably not, because they don’t know that’s their problem, so they’re way unaware. They’re super unaware. We have to figure out where are they hanging out and how can we communicate and move them down this spectrum. I think we were talking about LinkedIn at lunch. That’s probably a really great prospecting channel for you. I might consider putting up an article on LinkedIn once a month that’s aimed directly at those people, and then make sure you have a strong call to action, how to get in touch with you, but focusing on where those people are hanging out and how you’re actually going to reach them. Don’t try to split your podcast and do half the episodes to your individuals and half the episodes to corporate. That’s not going to really work because I don’t think they’re listening to that podcast, but on the other hand, if you interview somebody awesome, you could run Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads, targeting people that would hire you for your corporate services, and you could use that awesome, corporate interview you did on your podcast as the piece of content to draw them in.

 

You can double dip, but not as much as you might think.

Tara Gentile:

I completely agree with what you said, and I think often people try to keep them so separate that they forget that they’re might actually be someone who’s super tuned in listening to that podcast, and it just takes one mention. It doesn’t have to be a whole big thing. It’s just one mention could get you a guest.

Lacy Boggs:

The common denominator is you. You’re the product in this scenario, and the common denominator is you. If you can mention it on your podcast that, “I also do corporate speaking,” or interview somebody that makes it clear, you’re marketing yourself there, too.

Melissa:

Cool. Thank you.

Tara Gentile:

Lacy, thank you so much. You dropped so much wisdom for us. Let’s all give her a round of applause.

Lacy Boggs:

Thank you. Thank you.

Tara Gentile:

Again, you can find Lacy at LacyBoggs.com. Her agency really helps people do exactly these things that we’ve been talking about, taking topic ideas and helping them hit as many new people as possible and create this content marketing strategy that puts the little rocks across the stream so you don’t fall in and get washed away in the white water. All right. Awesome. Hopefully, you’ve seen over the course of this lesson how you can really start to bring more people not only into your audience, but into that inner circle where they’re actually going to be willing to buy. This is key. If you’re not using customer awareness yet, implementing what we’ve just talked about is really going to take your marketing to a whole new level. You’re going to see doors open for you that have never been opened for you.

 

Again, I don’t want to oversell it, but, really, guys, this is game changing stuff!

 

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Why Marketing Campaigns Fail with CoCommercial Founder Tara Gentile and Media Strategist Brigitte Lyons

Why Marketing Campaigns Fail with CoCommercial Founder Tara Gentile and Media Strategist Brigitte Lyons

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What four big-picture reasons cause marketing campaigns to fail
  • Why it’s important to have a willingness to explore the reasons for failure
  • What are some of the common tactical points of failure

On this week’s episode on the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast I tackle the question, “Why Marketing Campaigns Fail” with Brigitte Lyons, founder of B, a marketing and PR agency that works primarily with small organizations to hone their marketing message and market positioning. We discuss some of the main challenges business owners in this new economy face every time they go out and market a new product or service. There are so many predictable reasons why marketing campaigns fail and we examine these roadblocks in this discussion so you can avoid them in the future.

Four Big-Picture Reasons that Cause Marketing Campaigns to Fail

The marketing should be baked into the product that you’ve developed and that requires you starting with your audience.

– Tara Gentile

So often, businesses only want to focus on their successes and never want to look at the reasons something fails. In our opinion, this is a missed opportunity. All the answers you need about your marketing tactics should be answered in your marketing strategy. Too often business owners question if they are posting on social media enough (or too much) or if they should amp up their content marketing. This focus on tactical efforts is always a clear signal that a business hasn’t thought through the strategy of a marketing campaign or really put a road map into place.

The most common reasons that Brigitte and I see for marketing campaigns to fail include:

  1. You put your needs ahead of the needs of your audience.
  2. You don’t set crystal-clear expectations around what success is and don’t run the numbers around what that will take.
  3. You save marketing for last (but it should be first).
  4. You don’t use your failures as an amazing learning opportunity.

Be Willing to Explore the Reasons for Failure

Sometimes it requires a little creative thinking to match your needs with theirs.

– Brigitte Lyons

When you start feeling like you need to convince your customers or they are very excited about your message yet have a very big BUT that holds them back from purchasing, these are red flags that you have a problem. It might be a marketing, communication or messaging problem; perhaps you have a position, product or format problem. Whatever it is, you need to reach out to your customers, preferably in person or on the phone to uncover what they don’t like. It is important to get curious to explore what the underlying problem really is.

Common Tactical Points of Failure

Listen to the full podcast to learn the six common tactical points of failure for a marketing campaign that include relying on social media to sell your products or services and your follow-up (or not following up) and to hear all of our takeaways for why marketing campaigns fail and how you can avoid those issues.

Our discussion is a great intro to a class I will be doing on CreativeLive, “Create a Marketing Plan to Grow Your Standout Business.” If you tune in on August 1 and 2 you can watch and learn for free. RSVP today!

You can also find me {most} Mondays (and sometimes Brigitte joins in, too) on my CoCommercial Crowdcast channel where I talk about the ins and outs of growing a small company you love.

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Finding a Niche That Leads to Success with Photographer Galicia Virgen

Finding a Niche That Leads to Success with Photographer Galicia Virgen

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why determining a niche and focusing on it helps business thrive
  • How staying in alignment with core values produces success and new opportunities
  • How to capitalize on marketing that also creates revenue

When Galicia Virgen, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast sticks to her core values within her business, she finds she ends up with a revenue mindset and her business thrives. Galicia is the owner and creative mind behind Photography by Galicia, a high school senior portrait studio and The Twelfth Year, a training resource for other senior portrait photographers.

Finding Her Niche

When Galicia started her photography business, she used to shoot everything—babies, food, families. After being inspired with a creative collaboration with one of her daughters and the resulting confidence boost that a high-quality, personalized senior portrait session had on her, Galicia knew she wanted to give that feeling to other girls.

Becoming niche specific has been a blessing. I have more work than I can handle.

– Galicia Virgen

So, about a year into her business, she decided she wanted to be known as the best senior portrait photographer in her town. To gain experience and knowledge to help her achieve her goal, she turned down work taking pictures of other genres. She studied all she could about how teens think, how they look at themselves and what they look for. She became an expert in senior portrait photography, and now has more work than she can handle.  

Alignment with Core Values Produces New Opportunities

I found such great success when I switched my business model to reflect what my passion was.

– Galicia Virgen

With a go-giver mindset, Galicia has developed new products and services for both businesses based on her desire to serve. She wants the high school seniors and other photographers she works with to become the best they can be. When ideas brew in her heart and her gut, she knows she’s onto something that can make a difference. This was the case for her latest product that develops social media content for teens, by teens that can be used by her fellow photographers to reach their target market.

Street Team—New Twist on Senior Rep Program

Most senior portrait photographers have a senior rep program where teens are used to market the photography business, but Galicia’s focuses on what she can give the girls who participate in it. Called the Street Team, this program is her pride and joy. By delivering above and beyond and making it all about the girls and the incredible experiences they get by participating, it has done more for her business than requiring them to hand out her business cards and other tactics used by other rep programs. She focuses her program on the participants and to help them become better versions of themselves. She treats them like other clients, but they get a lot more perks and bonuses.

To listen in to our conversation, tune into the full episode where we talk about her process, her team and plans for the future.

Why not become a regular listener to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast? Just subscribe on iTunes to get the nitty-gritty details directly from today’s most innovative and successful entrepreneurs who are living the lives of their dreams.

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Self-Publishing, Distribution, and Writing for Wealth with Author Joanna Penn

Self-Publishing, Distribution, and Writing for Wealth with Author Joanna Penn

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How the Amazon Kindle and ebook pricing made it possible for independent authors and entrepreneurs to self-publish and write for wealth
  • Why marketing, packaging, and pricing correctly can expand your sales
  • How mobile, audio, and the growth of the international market are the next opportunities for authors

Ever the entrepreneur, Joanna Penn, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and author of 26 books and counting, realized the potential to write for wealth in October 2009. That was when the Amazon Kindle launched internationally and lower ebook pricing allowed independent authors access to a much larger marketplace.

Ebook pricing was a revelation. When the Kindle came out, independent authors could price their books lower and still make good margins.

– Joanna Penn

Joanna’s entrepreneurial mindset quickly realized the potential to sell books digitally to people all over the world.

Online marketing, packaging and pricing

If you are going to publish online, you need to market online.

– Joanna Penn

In 2009, Joanna was miserable at her 9-5 job, so she decided to write her first non-fiction book. After self-publishing and self-marketing the book through traditional channels (PR, TV, and newspapers), Joanna had sold about “three copies.” At the time, she really wanted to tap into the American marketplace that was much larger than Australia’s, so her focus shifted to online marketing to reach those American readers. She ditched traditional media for anything with a clickable link; started a blog in 2008, a podcast and Twitter account in 2009.

Since “you can’t have a career with just one book,” don’t trap yourself into launching a website or social media channel for just one title. Chances are you will write another book, so make sure your branding can encompass this growth.

99 cents made the first Kindle millionaires.

– Joanna Penn

By 2011, Joanna had a number of books and realized that she could leave her miserable job because her income would grow based on the size of her audience and the number of books she had.

In the podcast, Joanna shares her insights about figuring out the right price point to get the highest number of people to purchase your book and why offering something for free to your audience is still very important to build your email list and give them a chance to sample your work to see if they like it.

Under her pen name for action/adventure thrillers, J.F. Penn, Joanna’s first book in a nine-book series, Stone of Fire is permanently free on Kindle. That freebie is like the cheese samples in the supermarket. You go in and try it. If you like it, you’ll buy the whole packet—or in this case, the reader will purchase the entire series or more books if they liked what they sampled for free.

Think of Amazon as a completely different ecosystem. Amazon’s algorithms will recommend your other books that are at a higher price point to shoppers when they show interest in your free book. This is why Joanna uses J.F. Penn for her action/adventure thrillers and Joanna Penn for her non-fiction writing—to fully leverage Amazon’s role as a search engine to get in front of the right audience without confusing the algorithms.

In addition, Joanna is adept at re-packaging her work to be more easily found on Amazon whether by adjusting titles, creating box sets or altering the categories she shows up in. If your book has gone stagnant on Amazon, look at changing the cover, the category, and keywords and putting some ads on it and you may restart the whole thing.

Growth of mobile and international marketplaces

Kindle apps on mobile. Audio through Alexa. Best-seller lists on Amazon. The digital transformation of publishing continues. Joanna predicts the next opportunity for independent authors will be international marketplaces, and a little foreshadowing, it might not be on Amazon.

You don’t want to miss a thing from my conversation with Joanna about self-publishing. Tune in to the full episode to learn more about how she repackages her work and what’s on the horizon for self-publishing.

Join us each week by subscribing to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes.

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