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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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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5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

Why do some businesses seem to “tip” over and over again while others never quite seem to break through? I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure that out. 

Often their businesses look identical on the outside. Many times, the difference boils down to a misunderstanding about what’s going on beneath the surface and how they engineer the success they achieve. 

You can’t possibly hope to recreate a business’s success by recreating what you see at the surface level. You’ve got to dig in and figure out what else is happening.

In this post, I’d like to reveal some of the actions that are causing big business breakthroughs for the entrepreneurs you’re admiring and how you can apply them for yourself as New Business Year’s resolutions—now, or anytime throughout the year. 

If you’re trying to engineer a tipping point or breakthrough in your business right now, you’re not alone. It probably goes without saying, but everyone I work with is in that situation: they’re ready for change. They’re tipping from part-time to full-time, one-to-one sales to leveraged sales, paying the bills to creating wealth, going at it alone to growing a team, moving from one business model to another to generate exponentially more revenue.

They each tell me, “I know what got me here won’t get me where I want to go.” And, I wholeheartedly agree.

What tipping point are you at? What breakthrough do you want to engineer for your business in the next year? Maybe you’re ready to break through to a new revenue threshold. You’re ready to hire a new team member. You’re ready to expand operations or roll out new offers. You’ve got growth on your mind and you’re busy putting the pieces into place to make that happen.

Here’s what is going on behind-the-scenes of the businesses that are constantly making it happen. What can you incorporate into your next plan?  

  5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

1.) Put boots on the ground and find new customers.

It might seem like your next revenue breakthrough is just a traffic-building tactic away. You’re probably regularly on the look out for new ways to get more eyeballs on your blog posts, Facebook page, or sales letters. Maybe you’re looking at running Facebook ads, or the finer points of JV webinars, or constantly building new welcome gifts to entice people to your email list.

But the most effective community builders and salespeople know that nothing beats putting boots on the ground to find new customers. Literally. They’re at conferences, hosting events, picking up the phone, and meeting with prospects.

It might be slow going but the results are staggering. These people land bigger gigs, sign better contracts, and create strong relationships with influencers that put them in front of hundreds or thousands of more customers in the end.

2.) Set prices based on goals and hard data.

Sales solves most business problems. Except, when it doesn’t. Sales can’t get you to your next business breakthrough if the prices of your products or services just make things worse every time you sell something.

Breakthrough business owners use hard data to set their prices. And, they set prices based on what they want, instead of what they have.

How do they do it? They figure out how much it costs to run the business they want (not the one they have) and they figure out how much it costs to live the life they want (not the one they have).

Then they break it down. How much can they reasonably sell? What does that knowledge lead to in terms of price points? Where do those price points lead you in terms of positioning? To have a big breakthrough, you need to think of price as a way to reach all of your goals—not just revenue.

Price tells a story that can position your brand, woo the right customers, and lead to big life changes.

3.) Decide to spend more.

I’m all for finding the leanest, meanest way to make your business run. But I’m so tired of hearing business owners always looking for a free solution to their problems.

You see, free solutions have a cost. Every time someone dials your conference line and hears, “Service provided by Free Conference Call,” they make a judgement about your business. Every time you can’t use an important feature of an app because you’re not paying for it, it costs you effectiveness and functionality. 

You’ll never hit a breakthrough that makes you feel comfortable spending more. It’s a decision you make that you are worth it, your customers are worth it, and your business is worth it. This kind of worth doesn’t come from revenue—it comes from intense focus on what the vision of what you’re creating.

4) Don’t try so hard.

Business breakthroughs rarely come from working harder. In fact, working harder can make your breakthrough far more difficult to achieve. Why? Because innovation doesn’t come from working harder, it comes from creative constraints.

Whenever you feel yourself pushing to make something happen, take a step back and reevaluate. What’s really going on?

  • Is there a skill you’ve avoided learning?
  • Do you need help from someone more experienced?
  • Is your current business model holding you back from earning more?
  • Is there a fatal flaw in your plan?
  • Are you avoiding the temporary discomfort of growth by relying on what you know (working harder)?

If working harder is your usual MO, put new constraints in place by answering these questions. Give yourself a limited number of clients to reach your revenue goal (price accordingly). Learn a new skill (stop spinning your wheels). Connect with a mentor (stop trying to figure it out yourself).

5) Take advantage of a solid support network.

Stop trying to grow your business in isolation. Stop waiting for others to catch up. Stop cultivating relationships that feel safe. There is no more pressing time to break out of your comfort zone than when it comes to building your support network.

You need to connect with people who intimidate you, use different methods, and work in different industries. You need people in your corner who are making things happen at the same—or faster—pace as you are. Sometimes, you need to pay money to establish these relationships quickly. That’s okay.

Other times, you need to make serious investments of time. That’s okay, too. Relationship-building has a cost. But the return on investment is incredible.

Stop waiting for people to come to you and start building a network that catapults your business forward. No matter how you choose to set resolutions (or not) for the new year, integrate these ideas and watch them transform your business.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. What’s your big business goal for the next 12 months? Click here and tell me—and please be specific!

What’s Gotten You Here Won’t Get You There: The Tutor House Case Study

It doesn’t matter how much time, energy, blood, sweat, or tears you put into marketing and selling what you’ve already created if it isn’t designed to get you where you want to go.

The beauty of starting a business today is that it can be rough & tumble, fast as lightening, and fly by the seat of your pants. You don’t need to know what you’re doing and you don’t need to plan ahead. But I often see business owners stay stuck in this cycle of unintentional creation.

They keep creating products or programs. They keep creating marketing campaigns. They keep creating content.

But they don’t create a true system for growth.

They end up frustrated–sometimes at the edge of burnout–and tell me, “I’ve realized that what’s gotten me here won’t get me where I want to go.” Yes, exactly.

You can make money, change lives, and create great stuff without a plan. But if you want to take a break, realize a big goal, create a legacy, and level up your earnings in a big way, you need more.

When Adrianne Meldrum, founder of The Tutor House, came to Quiet Power Strategy, she was ready to make some changes and try things she hadn’t done before in the name of creating an intentional, cohesive strategic plan. Here’s her story:

Adrianne Meldrum, Quiet Power Strategy alumna

Adrianne Meldrum, The Tutor House

324 hours lost.  Hours I couldn’t get back no matter how much I wanted to.  These hours were not lost watching television or browsing social media.  They were not on account of making mistakes and fixing them.  The hours were the victim of worry. Worry was starting to take the joy out of running a small business for me.  At night when my entire home was quiet, I was awake worrying if I had made some serious mistakes in my business.  It had to be something serious because I did a lot of things right in my business.  

I had  opt-ins, products, a podcast, a new app, and a tribe of dedicated followers.  I often would feel hopeful that the launch of my newest idea would be the ticket that would finally set me on the path to profit.  It just had to be some huge mistake that I was overlooking.  It had to be!  The question that always ended this barrage of thoughts was, “Why was I spending so much time working without much in profit?  Is this really worth it?

Just when I was ready to throw in the towel with my business so I could claim my life (and my sleep) back, I got an email from Tara inviting me to her free webinar about doing business your way.  This caught my eye.   I attended the webinar and then devoured her eBook.  So much of what Tara was saying made sense to me.  The way I was doing business is what other people were advising and in fact may not work at all for my own business.  For the first time, I felt the weight of what Tara was saying.  My unique talents were the key to my business success and she could show me how to harness them.

During my time in the Quiet Power Strategy program, I felt empowered after each lesson.  I understood myself better as a person and why my tribe is attracted to what I have to offer.  Tara taught us about personal archetypes, or how the world perceives you.  When I saw my results, I couldn’t believe how well they fit me.  I found a lot of value in understanding how to use this knowledge to make decisions in my business.  It made writing sales copy easier and also allowed me to embrace some of my limitations so that I would look to add other team members that had different strengths than mine in the future.  

Quiet Power Strategy taught me to start with the end in mind when creating a product first.  This was a game changer for me!  My flagship product resonates with my audience because I was able to make the benefits clear.  Before I would slave away at the new product and then write my sales page when I was exhausted and just ready to be done.  By swapping those actions, I was able to use some of those key phrases that connect my audience and I, directly into my product bringing it full circle.  

Quiet Power Strategy has also completely changed my mindset.  Tara taught us about valuing ourselves and our unique craft whatever it may be.  During one of our group phone calls, she was able to help me bust through some assumptions I had about my audience and make a plan to succeed.  I’ll be honest, there were tears when I realized that the pricing I chose was one of those big mistakes that I didn’t see and lost sleep over.  Pricing based on value affects so many pieces of your business.  Now I have the confidence to take my business and navigate it back onto the right path.

Tara and her team taught me how to re-work what was already working in my business for maximum impact right away.  After completing Quiet Power Strategy, I have earned ⅔ of what I originally invested within three weeks of finishing and I am on track to earn the rest back within a month.  This was some of the best money I’ve ever invested in myself.  

I sleep really, really well these days because I know how to confidently move my business forward with tools like the Business Model Review, the Quiet Power Inventory, the Customer Perspective Process, and the Chief Initiative.  With the help of QPS, I’ve had my first ever successful launch!

To echo other QPS-ers, “This process is freaking changing my life!”  I am excited to work through the lessons again and uncover new insights.  Thanks Tara and Team!

***

One of the biggest realizations Adrianne made was that she was actually underselling her products. By not connecting them to outcomes that her customers already knew they wanted, she was convinced they wouldn’t pay more than $10 or $20. We tied real, urgent results to what she was already selling, put it into a complete package, and raised the price by a factor of 10.

Now she’s selling more than she’s ever sold before.

If you’d like to learn more about Adrianne and her Tutor Business Framework program, click here.

This session of Quiet Power Strategy is half sold out. Join us for the Fall Session (we start September 28) and create your personalized strategic plan with our hands-on support. Click here to learn more.

Price is About So Much More Than Cost

Think about the last thing you “splurged” on: Why did you buy it? How did it make you feel? What story did it tell you? What story did it tell about you? What part of your values or personality did it confirm?

When it comes to the things we care about, we rarely make decisions based on price. Price might be a factor but it isn’t the make or break detail we worry it is as designers, idea people, and business owners.

If you create things that you want people to care about, you have to use price as an opportunity to tell a story not just pay your costs or your salary.

Price is about so much more than cost.

Price isn’t just what ends up on the tag. Price isn’t the only thing that determines whether something is affordable or too expensive. Price isn’t even the determining factor in whether someone decides to buy something or not. 

Getting the price right for your products and services is important. But if you’re basing your prices solely on how much it costs you to create, how big or small it is, how complex or simple it is, how much you’d like it to be affordable, or what assumptions you’ve made about how much people are willing to spend, you’re missing the pricing boat. I’m often asked for rules of thumb when it comes to pricing. 

Beyond a few calculations, an imperative to price for profit, and gentle urging to analyze the market, I don’t have any. There is no magic formula for getting to the right price for your new product or service. There is, however, an awful lot of strategic work you can do to determine whether your pricing strategy is going to succeed or fail. 

You need to know who you want to have buying your product and what they expect to pay for something like it. You need to know what problem you’re solving and how the resolution of that problem can be quantified. You need to know who your customers aspire to be and what community they want to fit in with. You need to know how you want your business to be positioned and how it is already perceived. 

And beyond knowing all of that, you need to choose. Most pricing struggles come down to trying to be too many things to too many different kinds of people (kind of a universal life problem, isn’t it?).

Of course, if your whole business is a little wishy-washy, you’re going to have problems pricing. Use price as a way to make a statement about the strategic direction of your business and then follow-through with every other aspect of your business. You’ll feel more confident about what you charge—and so will your customers.

[ FREE COURSE ] Break out of your money rut and create the life and business you crave!Look, I know pricing feels like…

Posted by Tara Gentile on Sunday, April 3, 2016