Leads Aren’t The Most Important Number In Your Business – What To Focus On Instead

In the days leading up to the New Year this year, how were you feeling about your business?

Were you proud of yourself for the last year and optimistic for this year?

Or did you write off the year completely and just start looking towards this year?

… and if it was the second, was that preceded by a little disappointment in yourself for not doing everything you set out to do?

It happens…

But that doesn’t mean it has to.

Too often, we’re so optimistic at the beginning of the year and little by little, we settle back into our comfortable ways and forget all about the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.

Even though you might’ve grown a little last year, it doesn’t live up to our actual goals.

And as an empire builder, chances are, a HUGE part of the goals you fell short on were your business.

So what if it didn’t have to be like that?

What if your goals became a standard that you knew you’d hit rather than a target that you wish, hope and pray to hit?

I’m curious…

Is your business like a toddler that is erratic and unpredictable or is it like a soldier who is routine and scheduled?

Chances are, if you’re not reaching your goals, it’s because your business is more like the toddler than it is the soldier.

When your business becomes like a soldier that follows systems and routines, that’s when you get to step out of the every day grind of your business and start working on the high-level strategy, growth and the fun stuff.

Here’s the thing though…

No one ever wants to hear that because it’s boring.

You started a business because you wanted freedom and you wanted to work for yourself, not because you wanted to be a slave to your business.

There are two types of freedom.

There’s immediate freedom that allows you to skip work tomorrow if you want to and that lets you design your branding the way you want to.

Delayed freedom is the freedom that you’re actually seeking.

It’s the freedom that allows you to actually make money in your sleep, to go on vacation for a month if you want and to know that your business is still working without you.

Howeverrrr, you have to put in the work up front for that to be your reality in the future.

Like I said, boring, right?

I’m not saying it’s always boring… but it’s definitely more mundane than when you get to work solely on impulse and on what you feel like working on.

Unfortunately, the thing we WANT to work on isn’t always the thing we SHOULD be working on.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know though.

However, once you start systemizing your business, you discover time and mental white space to work on the fun stuff and systemizing your business becomes SUPER addicting once you start seeing the effects of it.

Ready to take this to another level?

If you’re sporadic in your business, your income probably looks a liiiiitle like this…

And your time is the complete opposite of that like the blue line…

And as a result, you only spend time looking for new business when you have time, even though you have no income, like the orange line…

Sound familiar?

Orrrr, even if you do have a business that generates consistent revenue, it’s probably because you’re the main hustler that’s looks for new business AND you’re also servicing that business… So if you took a vacation (or worse, something happened to you), your whole business would come to a screeching halt.

Here’s the perfect example of exactly that…

My dad passed away a few months ago.

I’m not telling you that for your sympathy or anything… It’s actually relevant to where we’re going with this.

He owned one of the largest granite fabrication companies in South Florida and he was super proud of it.

My dad was a marine and was super old-school (he still used hanging envelopes for his customer files, preferred cash over card and built all of his relationships on the honor system).

It worked for him.

He made about $500k a year…

Then he died.

He didn’t plan for succession and even though he had a team of people doing administrative stuff for him, he never built systems into his business that could run without him because he was stubborn and set in his ways so his business died with him.

… and what makes it worse is that I’m pretty confident that the stress of running his business is what caused the heart attack that killed him at 51.

So, if you’re working like an animal, systemizing your business isn’t just something that’ll be nice to do.

Your life could literally depend on it.

Now before you go run out like a crazy person and buying a whole bunch of tools that are supposed to make a certain part of your business easier, I need you to read, eat, memorize and write down this next statement…

Before we can start systemizing your business, we need to know what’s going on in the business currently and where the holes are.

Too often, we’re like “I need more business” so the seemingly logical answer is to get more leads… So we go spend a whole bunch of money on new leads.

But we don’t have systems in place to handle all of those new leads so then we can’t convert those leads and instead of realizing that there’s a hole in our business, we just write them off as “bad leads”.

… Or you hear that someone in your industry is KILLIN it with a specific system, so you go run and dump a whole bunch of money into it, only to find that you didn’t get the same results.

That’s because there’s a hole in your business.

So let’s break that cycle.

Tracking the numbers in your business is one of the most boring parts of running a business and it’s so easy to dismiss because on a daily basis, it doesn’t seem like it’s that important when you have 100 bajillion other things to do.

Soooo when you get busy, tracking your numbers is the first thing to fall by the wayside.

But let me ask you a question…

How many clients do you need this year to reach your income goal?

… and how many leads do you need to get that many clients?

If you don’t know the answer to both of those without batting an eye, that’s the very first problem… and having a general idea of what those numbers are in your business isn’t good enough.

On a different (but related) note, I’m a little extra by nature.

So because I like to be extra, my ideas are always extra and I always design my systems to be extra… and over time, the fluff falls away to leave the gold.

Leaving me with the cold, hard, results-getting stuff… The 20% that gets the most results without any of the fluff.

So lucky for you, I’ve already TRIED to make this complicated so you don’t have to.

We’re going to make this super simple.

Your business comes down to four numbers… and basically everything else just comes down to vanity metrics or numbers that are taken care of by the four that we’re tracking.

(Vanity metrics are those numbers that make us feel good (like hitting 10k followers) but don’t actually mean anything on it’s own.)

The Four Numbers To Track In Your Business

Ok, so now that we know what your business model is, here are the four numbers…

  • Engagements
  • Leads
  • Presentations
  • Commitments

They all go by different names, but that’s basically what it comes down to.

Depending on your business model, engagements can count as contacts, pageviews or subscribers. These are the interactions people with you, your business and your brand.

Next, you have leads. These are people who raise their hand and say, “yes, I have a problem I want to fix or a desire I want to fulfill and I’d like to do it sooner than later.”

They might not be ready to commit to working with you yet, but they’re someone who you know that you can help.

Your funnel is basically the process that someone goes through from the time they come in contact with your brand all the way to the time they decide to hire you, buy from you or work with you.

After someone enters your funnel, at some point they’re going to realize that you can help them with their problem or fulfill their desire.

Those people will raise their hand to learn more about your product or service.

That’s where you book an appointment.

Of the people who book an appointment with you, some of them will commit to hiring, buying from or working with you.

That’s where the commitment comes in.

Their commitment is a genuine decision to buy from you and can come in the form of a signed agreement, hitting the “buy” button and getting to the checkout page.

That’s it.

Those are the four numbers.

The little voice in your brain is probably like, “but what about ___?”

There are SO many numbers in your business that you could track that trying to track them all makes it too complicated.

What you focus on, expands.

For now, let’s break down these numbers for you.

Breaking The Numbers Down

Based on your income goal, you can set goals that you KNOW you’ll reach and systematically scale your business.

Here’s how you should start looking at your business:

Let’s say you have an income goal of $100k for the year and your average revenue per client is $1,000.

In order to reach your goal, you need 100 clients for the year.

(These are totally hypothetical numbers, I’m just using an example).

Let’s say 90% of the people who commit to you (whether that’s by landing on the checkout page or signing an agreement), end up as a closed sale.

That means you’d need 111 commitments for the year.

In our hypothetical business, 75% of people who we present to make a commitment to buy from us

In order to get those 111 commitments, you need to go on 150 appointments for the year.

Working our way backwards again, 10% of the people who enter our sales funnel (more on that in the next post) decide to learn more about our business.

That means we’d need 1500 leads for the year.

In this pretend business, we decide to do Facebook ads that lead to a landing page with a free download and that landing page converts at 60%.

That means 2500 would have to see our landing page for the year for us to get 100 clients for the year.

Breaking that down even further…

On a weekly basis, here’s what this looks like:

  • 48 people see your ad
  • 29 people opt-in to your lead magnet
  • 3 of them click through to the landing page or schedule an appointment
  • 2.5 of them commit (this week you need 2 but next week you need 3)
  • 2 closed sales

So if you were this business owner, you know that your job is to get 2 sales every week and you know exactly what you need to do to make that happen.

All of these numbers are totally made up in this example, but do you see how your business becomes more predictable in this way and how your goals become way more achievable?

Reaching your goals isn’t magic.

It’s strategy.

At the end of the day, it’s not about leads.

It’s about appointments… and that’s what you should be spending your time on.

If you want to learn how to make your business this predictable, we’re hosting a totally free online conference that will help you turn Facebook into an appointment-generating machine.

Check it out right here:

Turn Facebook Ads Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

  • You won't have to go broke on ads that aren't converting - use formulas that work instead.
  • You don't need to know what to put on your ad - we'll help you create your offer.
  • You don't need to know how to create an ad - we'll walk you through it, click-by-click.

The Simple 3-Layer Ad Strategy To Turn Facebook Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

How awesome would it be to literally wake up in the morning to a day full of qualified appointments with people who can’t wait to give you money?

Here’s the thing – when you’re meeting with QUALIFIED people, you don’t need to get in front of everyone, just the people that need your help.

Facebook ads are super sexy for that exact reason – you can get your message in front of the exact people who need your help and get them to click, book or buy.

Whether you’ve dabbled in Facebook ads or have just been thinking about trying them, the ultimate goal is to book your calendar solid with qualified appointments, right?

Sooo, since that’s the goal, here’s what that would probably look like if you’re new to Facebook ads:

  • You’d head on over to the Facebook Business Manager
  • Struggle for a bit to figure it all out (maybe even head over to YouTube to watch tutorials)
  • Look for ANY creative bone in your body to write something compelling that asks them to book an appointment, a discovery call or some other form of meeting
  • Find a picture for the ad
  • Sit there contemplating what the “action” should be and decide on “book an appointment” because that obviously seems logical
  • Nervously hit submit
  • The ad gets approved by Facebook… Yay!
  • Have a little dance party because it’s about to start raining money up in here when these appointments to come flying in.

But instead, you get… crickets.

WHY AREN’T PEOPLE BOOKING!?

Facebook ads are supposed to work!

My friend, what you just did is the equivalent of walking up to a random person in a random place and being like, “wanna have sex?”

If walking up to random people and soliciting sex is your jam, more power to you.

If not, you might get one or two yeses – but we’re not going for one or two.

We’re going for MASSIVE growth.

The Reason “Book An Appointment” Ads Aren’t Working

The reason it didn’t work is because they don’t know who you are.

They don’t trust you yet.

Instead, you’ve got to warm them up and show them that you understand them and are qualified to help them BEFORE you get them to say yes.

With the amount of sales messages we see every day, it’s impossible for them not to be skeptical.

Yes, YOU know that you’re qualified and can help them, but you’re still a stranger to them.

Now let me ask you – when something is wrong with your body, do you call the doctor first or do you go to Google first?

I don’t know about you, but I go to WebMD (even if they tell me I have a brain tumor and have 24 hours to live) because I hate going to doctors and given the fact that sites like WebMD are so popular, no one else likes them either.

We like convenience, low commitment and easy.

“Discovery call”, “consultation” or whatever other fancy word that you want to slap on there is just a renamed version of a sales pitch.

… At least that’s what your leads think.

They don’t want to talk to you, nor do they need YOU to be on demand…

They want information on demand.

They want a solution on demand.

By having a three layer approach to Facebook ads, you position yourself as an expert, someone helpful and trustworthy AND someone that can help them with their problem…

NOT as someone who is trying to sell them something.

The 3-layer Facebook ad strategy works because it’s how we build relationships in real life.

Top-Layer Ads

Here’s a different way to think about it…

Have you ever gone on YouTube looking for a tutorial about something?

When you get to the last 10-20 seconds of the video, they always throw in the “like or subscribe” or “click below to ___”, right?

As soon as they get to that, you probably click over to the next video or close out of the tab because you don’t need to subscribe… You just needed help with your problem.

Your top layer ads are like YouTube videos… You should focus on the problem that they’re experiencing and where they’re getting hung up.

You’re giving away just enough to grab their attention and getting them to go, “man, they get me!”

Let’s say for example, you’re a chiropractor who wants to focus on helping gym rats fix and prevent injuries.

A great top-layer ad would be a video about 3 common squatting mistakes that lifters make that cause knee pain.

Ok, so you with me so far?

I’m about to say something that you might actually lose your mind over…

You should NOT have a call to action on this ad.

That is NOT a typo.

I repeat, that is not a typo.

Before you shoot my head off, hear me out…

Opt-ins have been made so popular that people have started guarding their email addresses and phone numbers tighter than their credit cards and social security numbers (and while I mean that jokingly, that’s actually not that far of a stretch).

This audience is ice cold and they don’t know who you are or what you offer – they just have a problem they need to fix.

They don’t want to be sold.

With that in mind, the goal of this Facebook ad is to get engagement – you want them to watch the video and THAT’S IT.

*I know that your brain is like, “but, but, but what about getting appointments?!”*

The magic happens AFTER they watch the video…

Mid-Layer Ad

Facebook allows you to target people who’ve engaged with your posts or watched your videos.

… And don’t you think that if someone spent a few minutes watching a very specific video about mistakes that people make that cause squatters knee pain, they’re probably someone who is a lifter that HAS knee pain when squatting?

This audience is aware of their problem and they KNOW they have a problem, so now they’re primed to hear to solutions.

You’ve shown them that you “get” them and can help them, so you’re going to show them another ad that offers a solution – your opt-in or low-priced offer.

This should be an easy, low commitment way to say “yes” – it should offer a TON of value and doesn’t have to be super complicated to create.

Going back to the chiropractor example, they’re still not warm enough to book an appointment at this point because in their minds, they don’t need you yet.

So maybe, you offer them a 5-day printable plan to stretch, strengthen and warmup their knees BEFORE they start squatting… And you give it to them in exchange for an email and phone number.

You see how we’re building on this?

One of the biggest mistakes that I made for a longgggg time that costed me wayyyyyy too much money is that I would create content, collect the lead andddd they’d sit there…

I’d either get to busy to follow-up, just didn’t have time or it had been so long, I didn’t even know what to say.

Let’s not make that same mistake, Empire Builder.

That’s where the next layer comes in – and this is where we get to turn Facebook ads into appointments on our calendar.

Bottom-Layer Ads

This is where the moolah is made…

Butttt you can’t get here without doing all of the work beforehand.

Immediately after they opt-in, you want your thank you page to give them the option to book an appointment with you.

Not all of them will book, but some will at this point… and that’s ok.

At this point, we’re actually going to put two different types of ads in front of them with the mission to CONVERT this lead into an actual appointment.

Those two types of ads are going to offer social proof and they’re going to handle objections.

And, we’re also going to have an email sequence that is focused on converting them – so you’re hitting them in three ways.

Everybody smile and say ‘omnipresence‘!

Let’s go back to the chiropractor example again…

At this point, you’re going to get one or two of your past clients to record a case study for you about how they had crazy knee pain and by following your program, they were able to start squatting heavier WITHOUT knee pain.

Then you’re going to sit down and brainstorm the most common reasons why gym rats won’t go to a chiropractor.

Maybe you come up with a list like…

  • Chiropractors only focus on the spine
  • It’s too expensive and I’m not sure if my insurance covers it
  • What if I don’t have insurance?
  • How does it actually help? Is it just in your head?
  • The popping and cracking makes me nervous…
  • I only go when I’m in pain
  • It’s not that bad – I’ll just take Advil and ice it

So then, you come up with videos to address each of those alongside your social proof videos – and in the call to action on your ad, is a link to a page with the ability to book an appointment on your calendar.

THESE videos are shown to the people who have opted in to your 5-day workout plan because they’re now primed to be sold.

Are you seeing the magic and how layering ads together turns someone who was ice cold into someone who can’t wait to meet you?

Putting It All Together

While this is a high-level overview of the 3-layer ad strategy, you might find yourself getting stuck trying to figure out who to target in your ads, what videos to record or how to write the ad copy so that people actually stop scrolling to watch the video and that’s more than I could possibly include in a single blog post.

So, what if instead of just giving you blog posts, I could…

  • Help you identify and target your perfect client
  • Create an offer (both front-end and one that forces them to book because your bonuses are so badass)
  • Create the retargeting video ads that get non-bookers to come back after you’ve built more trust with them
  • Create the actual page where they’ll book the appointment
  • Help you set up the ads, click-by-click, from beginning to end

… and what if I could do all of that FOR FREE?

It just so happens that we’re hosting a free, one-day summit with four different speakers to help you implement this entire strategy from beginning to end in your business so that you can create an appointment generating MACHINE.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

Click here to register:

Turn Facebook Ads Into An Appointment-Generating Machine

  • You won't have to go broke on ads that aren't converting - use formulas that work instead.
  • You don't need to know what to put on your ad - we'll help you create your offer.
  • You don't need to know how to create an ad - we'll walk you through it, click-by-click.

How I Get 20-30 New Instagram Followers Every Day

Let’s just start by saying I hate taking pictures.

I’ve never been the person who is like, “wait, we have to take a picture” during every occasion.

I also don’t think I’m photogenic.

Andddd, I like to keep my private life private.

Even though I’m crazy active on Instagram, you’ll never see me post the intimate parts of my life.

Howeverrrr… I LOVE me some Instagram.

Compared to any other platform, Instagram is simple, focused and created to connect people.

Now before you skip past all of this to the tips, I want you to remember something super important…

Your following doesn’t matter if your audience isn’t engaged.

That means they should look forward to hearing from you, respond to your posts and be excited to see what you’re up to.

You should become their new addiction.

Just remember, this isn’t a magic pill where you’re going to scroll through this blog post and your following is going to magically start skyrocketing.

Consistency is a big part of it so if you hate Instagram, don’t use it…

Pick the platform you actually like and spend your time there.

Edit Your Profile

First things first, no matter what you do, if your profile and feed are a hot mess, people will click away faster than you can say ‘selfie’.

When someone taps on over to your page, they should be able to tell within 3 seconds what you’re about.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what my Instagram looks like:
All of these little hacks make the difference between someone scrolling past my name and someone going, “oh, who’s she?”

Oh, and I feel like this should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyways…

If you’re planning to use your Instagram for business and to grow your account, your account needs to be public.

Let’s break these down:

Photo

Use a photo of yourself, not your logo.

Think about it this way… We get 5,000 sales messages a day so why would someone want to sign up to get more commercials? They don’t.

That’s why people want to connect with people, not businesses.

Ahem, even if your target audience is businesses,

BUSINESSES DON’T SCROLL THROUGH INSTAGRAM… PEOPLE DO!

(I didn’t mean to yell at you but I had to make my point!)

They want to know you, so use your own photo.

Make sure your picture is a headshot instead of a full body shot.

Headshots are easier to recognize while full body shots are hard to see your face so you’re losing the connection right away.

Name

This my friend, is valuable real estate (no pun intended).

If you use Instagram stories and have looked at who’s watched your stories, I’m willing to bet you’re most drawn to the people whose names have context attached to it.

Mine is “Alexa | Real Estate + Goals” so they automatically know what I talk about when they see my name come up.

Just a tip, be specific.

Don’t just say “Empowerment” or “Growth”, say “Business Coach”.

Don’t say “I lift heavy shit”, say “Vegan Fitness”.

Attach it to something concrete so they know what to expect and are compelled to click over to your account.

Plus, you’re more likely to show up in search results.

If you don’t know what to use, use the search feature in Instagram to see what tags are the most popular and start there and then narrow down to your own little niche.

Bio

Here’s where MOST people go wrong.

Your bio should reinforce your name descriptor by telling them why THEY should follow you.

The key to getting social media to work for you is to focus on how you make people feel.

If you control their feelings, you can control their actions.

It sounds manipulative but it’s not… It’s just leveraging psychology by focusing on what THEY want.

What should they expect to see or learn by hitting the follow button on your page?

Focus on being clear over being clever and stay away from distractions.

If your bio talks about EVERYTHING that you’re into, you’ll lose them.

Your bio, name and the captions on your posts should all serve the same purpose with zero distractions.

Instead of “doggy mom, married to @hubbysname and super into fitness. Oh, and I do ___ for a living”, your bio should be focused on the type of people you want to attract.

A quick way to do this is, “I help ____ by ___”.

As an extra bonus, tell them where you’re from because the people who are from near you will automatically feel more connected to you because of the commonality and you’ll give more context to your posts.

Link

You might see linktr.ee links everywhere and there’s a good reason for it…

If you have a few action items you want them to do, use it.

HOWEVER, do not just send them to your home page and social media accounts because that’s a waste of a link.

Every link should give them an action item like downloading a freebie in exchange for their email, searching properties, booking an appointment, etc.

If you only have ONE page that’s an action item, even better… Use that one link.

If you have two or more that are ACTIONABLE, that’s when you use linktr.ee.

Whatever you do, don’t just add a bunch of crap in there because you want them to click or you’ll lose them.

This is the only link you can have on Instagram, so be strategic and make sure that you take away every possible distraction.

Highlights

I loveeeeee me some Instagram highlights.

Story highlights are the best way to showcase your “evergreen” content (the content that never goes out of style).

Let’s say for example, you’re a professional organizer…

You might have a story highlight called “DIY” which is a bunch of little blurbs about how they can organize their own space.

Then, you might have other highlights called “Before and After”, “Kitchens”, “Offices”, “Kids Rooms”, etc.

Taking it a step further, you can do “FAQ” highlights, one about how you got into the business and another about your favorite type of organizing bins and containers.

By showing off content like this, you’re further solidifying your expertise in your new followers mind.

Remember, you want to become their new addiction, so give ’em something to binge on.

When they follow you, they’re looking to get to know you better, so take advantage of it.

Use Beautiful Imagery That Matches A Theme

Play along with me for a second…

When you see the room on the left, what do you think of it?

Feels like something you’d probably see at your grandparents house, right?

What about the room on the right?

It feels different, doesn’t it?

It’s the same room but you get a totally different vibe.

That, my friend, is exactly why your Instagram has to have a theme.

A theme will catch their attention and get them to click follow… The actual content and captions will get them to like and respond.

Here’s what my Instagram looked like before I implemented a theme:

You can probably tell that I sell real estate, but you’ll probably go “meh, she’s just another annoying realtor” and this is just her personal page.

Here’s my Instagram now:

You can still tell that I sell real estate, but there’s a different “mood” to it.

It’s strategic even though it’s not just real estate… There’s some stuff about our local area and you get to know me a little too.

It looks more refined.

It took me a longggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg time to figure out how to pull a theme together (and if you scroll back through my feed, you’ll see the evolution). By no means am I an expert at this but I’ve

gotten wayyyy better.

So, I’m going to give you a couple of quick tips that have made it a million times easier for me:

Choose your colors

The first step to having an Instagram theme is to start off by choosing your colors.

Pick two colors and a base like black or white.

I chose neutrals (browns) with turquoise and I use black as a base color.

You might choose to do the complete opposite and go for something super, crazy bright.

Here’s a perfect example of that:

This is Latasha Peterson whose an entrepreneur and blog coach whose branding is all super bright colors:

The colors and vibe of the pictures should match your branding.

Get in the habit of taking more, better pictures

I told you in the beginning that I’m not naturally a picture-y person.

I don’t like taking pictures but I was committed to having a good looking Instagram because I knew how much income potential there was here.

Every picture doesn’t need to be a selfie or of just you.

Take detail shots up close and take full picture scenery shots.

Whatever you do, take lots of pictures… and for the love of God, please wipe off your camera before you take the picture and tap the screen so it focuses on the thing you’re trying to focus on.

As you’re taking pictures, keep lighting in mind.

Don’t take pictures with your back to the sun (or better lighting than the lighting you’re standing in) or the picture will wash out… Face the lighting and you’ll be amazed how quickly the picture quality changes.

Focus on one thing in the picture.

Your feed will look way less cluttered with the less stuff you have in your pictures, so choose a focus element in the picture and leave space around the image to give your pictures a buffer in Instagram.

If you need “filler” content (stock images that don’t suck), my favorite free sites are Unsplash and Pexels.

As a general rule of thumb, try to limit it to 20% or less of stock photos and 80% original content.

At this point, I don’t really use stock images anymore because I’m so picky about the pictures I post.

Editing and Planning

Lastly, this is the hard part when you first start out but I PROMISE it does get easier.

I used to get SO frustrated while I was trying to put my feed together that I’d literally walk away from my computer and never get back to it.

Just keep in mind that you WILL get better and any effort you put into it now will look better than what you’re probably already doing.

It’s a process.

To edit and plan your images, go download my two favorite Instagram apps…

VSCO

VSCO is what I use to edit my pictures by cropping them the way I want to and then adding a filter to it.

I use the A4 filter to give it that warm, moody, brown vibe.

Don’t just copy mine because that’s too easy.

If you head over to this link on Pinterest, you can get a really good idea of what filter you want to use to match the vibe you’re trying to set.

There are a lot of instagram accounts that are full of white and bright colors.

Part of my personal identity is that I thrive on being the oddball, so I wanted to do the opposite of white and bright.

I went for dark, neutral and moody.

When you focus on specific colors and use the same filter for every picture, you’ll start to see it all come together.

Planoly

Once you’ve edited the picture, add it to Planoly so that you can see what the feed will look like before you actually hit share, prep your hashtags and captions and boom, you’re good to go.

I used to try to do it all at once, but now as I take the pictures, I edit my favorites, add them to Planoly and let them sit.

On Mondays, I sit down for 20-30 minutes to write the captions and arrange them so they look good together for the week.

There’s probably a better way to do it, but that works for me.

Here’s my top secret trick to get your feed to flow together…

Make sure the picture you post looks good with the one below it (and that’s where Planoly comes in handy).

Boom, that simple.

Whatever you do, don’t just post stock images or quotes (or if you’re a realtor and reading this, stop posting a million properties).

Post content that’s going to get them to ask you questions, engage with you and let them get to know YOU.

The whole “keep business and personal separate” thing doesn’t apply on Instagram.

YOU are your business, so be human too.

Whatever you do, DO NOT POST UGLY PICTURES.

Moving on…

Take Advantage Of Captions

People who don’t use Instagram for business always roll their eyes at overly deep captions but you need to ignore them.

People who don’t use Instagram for business are only connected to their friends on Instagram… They’re not trying to use the platform to grow their business.

Your followers want to feel connected to you and even though pictures can say 1,000 words, they won’t always say the 1,000 words you want them to.

That’s why captions are crazy important.

Don’t be afraid to use emojis, tell stories and be human in your captions.

Believe it or not, people do read them.

The more connected your followers feel to you, the more willing they’ll be to work with and buy from you.

Your captions should have a goal but you don’t just want to be like “hey look, it’s a pretty tree. Book an appointment with me”.

Tell a story about the scenery and what you learned from it or how it related to one of your clients, and then close out with something like “want me to do the same for you? Book a free discovery call with the link in my bio.”

If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, use this quick tip…

Tell the story behind the picture.

Write like you’re talking to your best friend.

Forget all of the college papers you wrote.

Forget the business emails.

Write like you talk.

Then, go back and put the most captivating sentence first.

Add a few emojis.

Close out with an action item for the reader to do.

Proofread (believe it or not, this is my least favorite part of writing captions, blogging and adding my little blurbs in Instagram stories. If you follow me, you probably already know this).

If your captions aren’t authentic, you’ll meet your followers in person and they’ll be like “you’re WAY different than I expected” and now you’ve lost them.

Instead, you want them to be like, “I feel like I know you” and after meeting you, when they go back to read your content, they read it in your voice… That’s how you create brand loyalty.

Branding isn’t about putting up a facade.

Quite the opposite actually, it’s about being authentic so that your people feel connected to you and want to work with you.

Use Hashtags

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, so use ’em!

Hashtags allow you to get discovered by people who are searching for the thing you can help them with.

So here’s the rule I follow…

Pick 10 hashtags that describe you, pick 10 that describe your target audience and pick 10 hashtags that describe what they want.

For example, let’s say you’re a web designer that works with small businesses.

Obviously you’re going to find hashtags like #webdesign #websitedesign #webdesigner #seo #wordpressdesign and so on.

Who’s your target audience?

Small business owners who want to grow their business.

Sooo, how would they describe themselves?

They might use hashtags like…

#entrepreneurlife #bossstatus #grindhard #beaboss

Andddd what do they want?

They want to grow their business.

What about #10xgrowth #businesstips #startuptips #smallbusinesstips

You still with me?

Good because we’re not done yet…

Having any ol’ hashtags isn’t good enough.

You’ve got to make sure they’re the right hashtags.

So, click through each one to make sure the content is relevant to the type of content you plan to share to the hashtag.

For example, I used to use #bossbaby because it was so close to #bossbabe excepttttt #bossbaby is all babies. That’s a waste of a hashtag.

As you’re going through and finding your hashtags, scroll through the related hashtags to discover more.

Thennn, make sure you’re not using saturated hashtags because you’ll NEVER rank if you have a small account.

If you choose a hashtag like #businesstips which has 838k posts or #entrepreneur the has 38M posts, the feed updates so fast that your post will get buried.

I like to stick to hashtags with less than 200k posts… and that means that when your engagement tapers off, you’ll probably need to update your hashtags because they’ve gotten too big or are no longer relevant.

Take Advantage Of Stories and IGTV

I loveeeeeee Instagram stories (and if you already follow me on Instagram, this isn’t new to you).

Since Snapchat days (are we at that point already where Snapchat is a thing of the past?), I’ve fallen in love with the ‘realness’ of it.

Like I said before, I’m not photogenic and I hate the stress of putting my feed together.

Stories allow you to bring a realness and one to one connection into your Instagram strategy.

When Instagram stories came out, I did a two week test where I posted on both Instagram and Snapchat and what I found was that even though I was getting less viewers on Instagram at the time, I saw the potential for

growth (I think I was at like 1,000 followers on IG at the time).

Snapchat is a closed platform so it’s harder to get new followers.

With Instagram, you can grow your following way faster and reach a whole lot more people andddd Instagram users are a little older and more likely to spend money.

Ahem, can you say ‘incomeeee‘?

In my stories, I regularly do mini chats about my life as a realtor, showing properties like HGTV, talk about how I’ve grown my business and tell client stories.

To make it fun and interactive, I regularly do polls and questions to keep people on their toes.

It’s fun and it’s a great way to build a community… Plus, you’re constantly testing your market.

The goal though, isn’t to boost your ego by having a bunch of people watching your stories… It’s to create enough value that they WANT to watch your stories and to talk to you about your products or services.

I’ve just started tapping into IGTV and honestly, I don’t know if I love it yet.

However, what I do know is that Instagram regularly refines and edits the app so once they figure out how to crack the code of engagement on IGTV, I will have enough content in there that it’ll be a vault of my best tips for business and real estate.

The people who regularly watch my stories are the first ones to like and comment on my posts, ask questions about real estate and to click on links when I tell them to.

Stories are your best friend so use them, love them and embrace them.

Most Importantly: Engage

Last and MOST importantly, make sure you’re engaging with Instagram.

No matter how gorgeous your feed is, if no one knows it exists, it won’t matter.

This is the part where some people might take out their pitchforks but they’ll get over it.

If you know anythingggg about me, you know I’m OBSESSED with systems and automation.

With that in mind, you already know that I found a tool to help with all of this.

I use PopSocial which is a service that likes and follows people for you based on the hashtags and other similar accounts you tell it to use.

Their plans start at $50 per month.

Since using it, I’ve gone from 1500 followers to 5200 in about a year.

They’re real, engaged followers.

So technically, since I’m using a service to engage for me, you might call them “bought” followers, but they’re not fake followers.

They’re real people who need the services I can help them with and they are engaging with me and buying from me.

I get that that’s a lot of money for Instagram but here’s what you have to remember…

Price vs. Value.

If I get one real estate client referral as a result of my Instagram strategy, my average commission is $9k.

That means the $600/year actually gave me a 15x return on investment.

Instead of one referral, I’ve closed at least 4 this year that were directly from Instagram.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to stay top of mind with my existing network in a relevant, engaging way.

We also launched our online academy and Instagram was a huge key to our initial membership.

My new followers regularly engage with me in comments and because I’m MOST active in stories, we have full on conversations in my DMs.

In addition to using PopSocial, I regularly comment on posts in the hashtags that I like to up my engagement even more.

They Work Together

Make no mistake…

Having a beautiful feed without engagement is like the pretty girl who never leaves the house.

Having an ugly feed with tons of engagement is like the creepy guy at the bar who forcibly hits on every single woman at the bar and they can’t get away from him fast enough.

The point is, you need to have BOTH a beautiful feed AND engagement.

It’s a lot of fun building a community, you just have to be willing to lead it and engage with the people in it.

Where I Still Need To Improve My Instagram Strategy

The point of sharing this post isn’t to say I’ve mastered Instagram… I definitely haven’t and I still have a lot to learn but I figured this might be useful for some people to share what I’ve learned so far.

The platform changes all of the time and there’s constantly new updates.

There are definitely some things I need to work on still, so I wanted to share those here too:

Updating Hashtags

I haven’t updated my hashtags since I started this whole strategy about a year ago, so I need to go back and redo my hashtag research to uncover new hashtags and get rid of the saturated ones.

There are definitely some hashtags that I’m using that are well over 200k now which weren’t when I first started using them.

Plus, I already know that since you’re reading this here, you’ll probably head over to my page to see what I’m using and don’t want you to be like “wow, she doesn’t even follow her own advice” lmao.

So, I need to fix that.

Balancing Brands + Sales Funnel

I’m in this unique place where I have two businesses.

I lead MEB (where you are now) and aside from our blog, we also have 3 local chapters that host monthly workshops.

Andddd I sell real estate.

My audience for both are the same, but the content is totally different.

I’m constantly trying to find the balance of promoting our blog, events and online academy for MEB and still using it to grow my real estate business.

The approach I’ve been taking is “learn how I grew my real estate business through MEB” but it’s an ongoing process and I’m still learning.

So, I guess you’ll just have to keep an eye on my Instagram to see how it progresses.

If Instagram is frustrating you, there are a few small tweaks that will make a huge difference in your ability to grow an engaged audience that looks forward to buying what you have to sell. Click through to learn how to grow your instagram following authentically.

Plan and Schedule A Year’s Worth of Marketing In One Week

No matter how good business is right now, if you’re not constantly looking for new opportunities, at some point you’re going to hit the income roller coaster…

No matter how good business is right now, if you're not constantly looking for new opportunities, at some point you're going to hit the income roller coaster. Click To Tweet

If you’ve been in a sales or service based industry before, you know what I’m talking about…

You hustle your ass off looking for new business, then get busy servicing the business so you stop hustling for new business and then once all of that business is taken care of, you’re back to square one and have to start hustling for new business again.

Instead, get off of the income roller coaster by making sure you always stay top of mind… and the best way to do that is to create and schedule all of your marketing up front so that you can set it and forget and don’t have to worry about it again.

That’s exactly what we’re doing today.

Oh, and don’t worry… I know this can seem overwhelming so I created a whole workbook to help you put it into action.

 

1. Choose Your Format and Delivery Platform

Before you start planning your content, you need to figure out how you’re going to send it to your audience.

Before you start planning your content, you need to figure out how you're going to send it to your audience. Click To Tweet

The format that you use is going to determine how detailed you get, how you present the information and how you’ll create the content.

Last week, I wrote a whole blog post with a free workbook that will walk you through each of the methods you can use to stay top of mind so if you haven’t checked that one out yet, start there.

 

2. Choose Your Frequency

You can create your marketing to go out on whatever frequency you want to but as you’re getting started, I encourage you to stick to a monthly schedule.

It’s way easier to create 12 pieces of content than it is to create biweekly (24) pieces of content or weekly (52) pieces.
By deciding your frequency, you can decide how specific and detailed you want to get with each piece of content.

If you decide to market to them more often, your pieces will probably be a little shorter to generate enough content and because if they’re too long, too often, your audience will start getting overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content while if you’ve decided to go monthly, you might want to get a little more detailed since the pieces come less often.

For mailings, video emails, emails or blog posts, I recommend starting with once a month.

That’s totally manageable and easy to create a year’s worth in one week.

If you’re going with social media, you’ll want to start with at least weekly.

As mentioned, in last week’s post, we talked about choosing ONE marketing method… I don’t like to do more than one piece of content per month for each method to get started.

 

3. Outline Your Content

There is NOTHING more obnoxious than when someone’s marketing sounds like this…

“Call me if you need a ___”

“50% off sale, stop by!”

Logic makes us think, emotion makes us act.

The average person receives about 5,000 sales messages per day and we’ve gotten REALLY good at ignoring them.

The average person receives about 5,000 sales messages per day and we've gotten REALLY good at ignoring them. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, using traditional sales messages aren’t going to get you the result that you want.

We have to create VALUE.

In fact, here’s a whole post about becoming your network’s “Google”.

Being a resource is going to be the single fastest way that you can build credibility quickly.

Being a resource is going to be the single fastest way that you can build credibility quickly. Click To Tweet

The easiest way to start outlining your content is to think of the 5-10 most common questions that people ask or objections they have about your product or service and then answer them in long form.

For example, when I’m selling real estate, a lot of buyers think that the best way to decide what to offer is to just to take the listing price, knock a few thousand off and then that’s what they’re going to offer….

Instead, I wrote a whole blog post on my real estate site about the 8 mistakes buyers make when deciding what to offer on a house and it’s actually the most popular post on my real estate blog… If you’re curious to see how

I put this into action, you can check out the post right here.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, start thinking about other areas of interest that your target audience might want to know.

The more that you can answer their questions before they ask them, the more credibility you’ll gain with them and the more they’ll anticipate your connections.

I know this can seem a little overwhelming so I created a totally free workbook that will help you brainstorm ideas and outline your talking points for each idea and you can download it right here:

 

4. Create and Schedule Your Content

When we do our workshop series here in South Florida, we plan the entire series up front, pick the speakers and confirm the venues before the series even starts. Even though it’s a lot of work up front, it makes the implementation of it INSANELY easy throughout the series.

I take the same approach with marketing, blogging and everything else… I like to work based off of my energy so the mood hits to start doing videos, I do enough of them at once to schedule them all out for an extended period of time.

By working this way, it allows you to do it once and not worry about it again, it creates consistency for you and once you set it up, it just works in the background for you.

Because we’re creating and scheduling a year’s worth of content, you’ll want to make sure that all of your content is ‘evergreen’.

In other words, the content should be relevant no matter when it goes out.

For example, if you’re a financial planner, you might not want to talk about today’s stock prices when the email won’t go out for another six months.

Here’s a quick guideline for the length, my recommendation for platforms and pro tips for each of the methods I mentioned in last week’s post:

Email Newsletters: 500-750 words, don’t use a bunch of graphics or you might be flagged as spam and I highly recommend ConvertKit* as a platform over any other. I talk about what to send your audience and how to grow your email list here and here if you want to know more. Don’t use blocky text! Use one or two sentences and then hit enter (like this post) so it’s easier on the eyes.

Blog Posts: 1200+ words. I use both emails and blog posts and they’re both uniquely valuable. You can recycle blog posts so whenever I have a client who’s asking about a topic, I can just send them to the link whereas with email newsletters, you can’t really recycle them in the same way. Making sure that you’re not using blocky text is super important here and be sure to use lots of headers and images throughout your posts. When you’re writing, act like you’re answering the question to your friend because there’s nothing more unengaging then feeling like you have to read a college essay. Have some personality in your writing! I recommend WordPress.com for creating your blog and one of these days I’ll write a whole post about how to start a blog.

Video Emails: 1-3 minutes. You know as well as I do that anytime a video pops up, you go right to see how long the video is. 1-3 minutes is ideal because it’s short enough that they’ll sit and watch the whole video and keeps you from rambling. My favorite platform for video emails is BombBomb.

Snail Mail: I loveeee snail mail. There are a whole bunch of ways to do snail mail and it just depends on which suits you best. I’ve seen people mail a monthly testimonial from their clients, monthly newsletters, market statistics, and worksheets or cheat sheets. It totally depends on the type of value that you want to create for your clients and we’ll break that down in the free workbook for this post.

Social Media: Social media is probably the easiest, so long as you do it the right way. I know there are a bunch of social media scheduling platforms out there but SmarterQueue* is my favorite because you can recycle posts. For example, if you find 25 articles, 25 videos and 25 quotes to schedule, SmarterQueue will go through them all and when it gets to the bottom, recycle them again. Because social media algorithms only show your posts to 2-5% of your audience, there’s no reason that you can’t recycle your posts because most people didn’t see them the first time.
If you need help creating your content, this free workbook will break it down for you and give you a guide for what to do each day of the week to get a year’s worth of content created and scheduled:

5. Have A Follow-Up Plan For When People Respond

I’m addicted to systems… I like to blow people’s mind without having to put a whole lot of effort into it.

I'm addicted to systems... I like to blow people's mind without having to put a whole lot of effort into it. Click To Tweet

Think “set it and forget it”.

Set it and forget it Click To Tweet

That’s sort of what my follow-up systems are like.

When someone tells me they want to buy or sell a house, they’re added to the appropriate follow-up plan and then get 32 touches over 90 days.

Yup, I know that sounds crazy and I didn’t intend for it to end up like that but it did… and because I wanted to blow their mind, stay top of mind and not have to do a whole lot of work, that’s sort of how it worked out.

Those 32 follow-ups include 12 emails (it’s one email a day for 12 days that breaks down one step in the home buying/selling process), 13 texts over 13 weeks, 4 mailings and 3 phone calls. If they’re a seller, they also get added to my system for a monthly email valuation of their home and if they’re a buyer, they get added to an automated property search.

With that in mind, it actually ends up being more than 32 touches, but believe it or not, they don’t complain.

They don’t complain because I’m following up in a bunch of different ways and none of it is spammy… Every single piece of content is something useful that they often go “wow, your emails are amazing” or “I thought I knew real estate and I’ve learned so much.”

To be clear… You do not have to do that much or anywhere close.

I’m a huge advocate of the 8×8 follow-up and I just so happen to have a whole blog post about that.

However you decide to do it, making sure that every single piece of content is useful is the difference between them being like “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and “holy crap, I can’t wait to work with you.”

If you’re ready to put this into action, make sure you get your free workbook right here:


In order to get more business from your network, you'll need to stay top of mind and establish your expertise. In this post, you'll learn how to plan a year's worth of marketing for your network in one week so you can focus on what's really important.
Marketing your brand or business shouldn't feel like a full time job. In this post, you'll plan an entire year's worth of marketing for your network in just one week so that you can get back to the important stuff. Click through to learn how to make it happen and to download the free workbook.
Tired of feeling like marketing your business is taking over your life? Here's a quick guide to planning and scheduling a year's worth of marketing in one week so you can focus on what's really important instead of trying to find and convert new business. Click through to learn more and get the free workbook.

7 Powerful Ways To Grow Your Email List On Autopilot Like A Freakin’ Boss

Last week, I wrote an entire post about why you need an email list, regardless of your industry and what to send them.

Whether you’re a nonprofit, entrepreneur, independent contractor, freelancer, in a service-based industry, product-based industry, or in B2B, you need to have an email list.

It’s the quickest and most scalable way to establish yourself as an expert, build a relationship with your community and the ROI on email marketing is about $38 for every $1 spent… So yea, it’s worth it.

In this post, we’re talking about how to grow your email list quickly so that you can start seeing some really awesome results.

Personally, I’m not a fan of adding anyone I meet to my email list because it kills my engagement rates, puts a strain on our relationship and may or may not be of value to them.

For example, I interviewed someone about their business and he added me to his email list…

While that wouldn’t normally bother me, his emails are all about things to do in Long Island, NY.

… and I’m sure that’s awesome for people who live in Long Island, I’m in South Florida.

In the last article, I talk a whole lot more about permission-based marketing and how your definition of spam is likely very different from your community’s definition.

So, now that you know what to send them, you’re probably wondering…

How the heck do I grow my email list?

Great question.

 

Method 1. Lead Magnet

Who It Works For: Anyone who wants to grow their email list and is willing to spend time promoting the lead magnet. This is one of the best ways to build your list because it doesn’t require you to create other content (blogs or podcasts) like many of the other methods.

When I write these posts, I usually try to avoid as much jargon and “blog speak” as I can, so let me break down a lead magnet…

Lead = someone who may want to do business with you

Magnet = a force that attracts an object or person to you

So a lead magnet is something that makes someone raise their hand and say “I’m in your target client audience and I’m interested in this topic so I’m letting you know that I’m interested and if you can give me value, I may become your customer.”

The simplest process for doing this is to create a piece of insanely valuable content that people are willing to give their email address for, create a landing page for it and start promoting the crap out of it to get people to sign up for it.

Note: the MOST important part of this is to promote the crap out of it… After all, if you have a great piece of content that no one knows about, it’s not going to help you grow your business.

You don’t need to create a blog or any other content to do this, you just need to have something that’s so irresistable to your audience that they JUST. HAVE. TO. HAVE. IT.

Your lead magnet should be something related to the product or service that you’re selling or planning to sell.

Also, ConvertKit* makes it really, ridiculously simple to deliver all of these so you don’t have to go and personally email each of these people with the lead magnet. You set it up once and completely forget about it… It works like a well-oiled machine.

Here are a bunch of different types of lead magnets that you can use with examples from all different types of niches so that you can see how this works for you.

Start with one and make it successful before you go crazy adding the rest:

 

Video Series and Webinars

Who It Works For: Video is insanely versatile and it works ESPECIALLY well if you have something ridiculously actionable that you can walk your audience through. People tend to fast forward through the intros, chit chat and theory stuff.

I LOVE doing video series because they’re such easy ways to establish credibility, share massive content and video has a higher percieved value than text.

You can offer a 3-5 part video series that teaches your community about a specific topic or a masterclass that gives them actionable content during the video or a webinar.

Our ability to connect with people is directly tied to our senses and text only allows us to see the words. Video allows you to make your audience see the message (AND YOU) and hear you.

When someone is skimming through an email or blog post, it’s a whole lot harder to get them excited, make them feel struggle or snap them back to reality…

Your voice inflections, passion and emotion can get them to feel you… and when you can make them feel, you can make them act.

Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act. Click To Tweet

Webinars are great because of their scarcity…

The fact that it’s live will get people there because they know they can’t watch it any other time and you’ll generally have a much higher conversion rate if you do offer them something to purchase than you would with just emails, newsletters or other forms of advertising.

Alex Tooby has grown her Instagram following to over 390k+ (@menandcoffee) and now she teaches other people how to grow their Instagram accounts, too.

To get people interested in her course, she offers a free course that’s full of AWESOME, USEFUL content that’s a quick teaser of what her actual course is about.

Oh, and if you’re looking for AWESOME content about how to put a webinar together, make sure you check out Mariah Coz over at Femtrepreneur (she even has a post about how to create webinars for free).

She’s the queen of webinars and will get you up and running in no time!

 

Free Course or Challenge

Who It Works For: Pretty much anyone (I know that’s a cheap answer, but it’s so true). Courses and challenges are great because they give your audience a little teaser of whatever product or service you have to offer.

My search engine of choice is Pinterest.

… Not Google.

… Not YouTube.

Pinterest.

Mostly because I’ve discovered a ton of INCREDIBLE bloggers in all different niches who blog about their own personal experiences, challenges and what they’ve learned rather than finding the same listcle articles regurgitated all over the internet like you find on Google.

I’ve talked about how when I need to learn something new, I become obsessed with learning about a new topic… and most of that time is spent on Pinterest.

What I’ve discovered more than anything else is how incredibly valuable free courses are.

Rather than finding one-off articles that only talk about a specific area, I like to immerse myself into that new topic with a free course or challenge… That way I get a deeper experience and learn about the entire topic, not just a specific part of it.

From an entrepreneur’s perspective, it’s super useful because it’s the quickest way to establish yourself as an expert, give them a taste of what you know and build a relationship with them so that when you do present an offer for a product or service, you’ve already warmed them up.

Free courses and challenges can have a conversion rate as high as 30-40%… So heck yea, they’re crazy useful.

Recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of going to a plant-based diet…

… But I’m also into working out.

Last night, I spent a few hours on Instagram and Pinterest researching about vegan diets for body builders, vegan diets for fitness, vegan diets for fitness because I was concerned about getting enough protein to sustain my workouts and still gain muscle without consuming too many carbs that I won’t be able to burn off.

I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but doing this alone is going to be CRAZY difficult, so I went looking for a free course or challenge to help me get started.

I discovered this (on Pinterest might I add)…
JUST what I was looking for.

No one likes to give out their email addresses, but for this?

Heck yea… Take my email address.

It’s exactly what I’m looking for.

… Are they going to give me an offer to buy something at the end of the free course?

Probably.

Will I buy it?

Maybe… But I’ll be a heck of a lot more likely to buy it than if I just read one of their posts and went off to another blog.

The key here is to make sure that your free course or challenge offers information that’s like a teaser for your paid services or products.

CoSchedule has a free course that helps marketers plan out their content, set goals for their content marketing and execute on their plan.

I also have a free growth plan course that helps young professionals build a plan to identify the areas of their lives that they need to focus on, build new habits to improve those areas and find balance in their lives again.


One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “if you tell them before, it’s an explanation. If you tell them after, it’s an excuse.”

Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold…

So when you educate and then make an offer, rather than giving them a hard sell, you warm up those cold leads.

A free course or challenge, my friend, takes care of exactly that.

 

eBook

Who It Works For: Similarly to the video series/webinars and free course, ebooks are highly flexible. If you prefer to write instead of be on video, an ebook will likely work best for you.

Most of my articles are between 2500-3500 words… but I could easily write way more. In fact, I wrote a post that was 6,000 words about how to plan + host a networking event…. and while most people won’t sit there and read the whole post, if I were to convert that into an ebook, people would definitely download it.

The average page in a book has about 250-300 words on it, so turning that blog post into a 20-page ebook would be immensely helpful for some people and they’d be willing to give their email address for that.

These lead magnets are all about providing crazy value and an ebook will do JUST that.

If you’re worried about giving away too much information for free, stick to this model…

Teach them the why and the what in your free content with only about 10% of the how and then save the other 90% of the how for your paid services, courses, or whatever else you’re selling.

 

Cheat Sheet or Checklist

Quite honestly, this is the easiest lead magnet to create because it’s just a one or two page document and is often a complement to another piece of content like a video or blog post.

While cheat sheets are actually some of my highest converting opt-ins, I like to offer more value than that.

In fact, my most popular opt-in is the one page cheat sheet that walks you through the process of creating a capsule wardrobe from this post, so cheat sheets and check lists absolutely work.

These are great if you just need to get started with growing your list but I challenge you to offer them way more.

Cheat sheets and checklists are going to be most successful if you’re super clear on what your audience needs and is something they can’t find on google.

For example, let’s say you’re a financial planner whose target audience is young professionals…

Sending them a cheat sheet that gives them two or three tasks to do each year to make sure they stay on track for financial success will be immensely helpful… But sending them a cheat sheet with a bunch of finance definitions probably won’t be as successful.

Cheat sheets also work well for waiting lists… If you’re waiting to launch a product or service, having a quick cheat sheet that people can opt-into while waiting for the release will get way more people primed and ready for your launch.

 

Method 2. Content Upgrades

Who It Works For: People who are already creating content or plan to start creating content in the form of videos, podcasts or blogs.

A lead magnet is it’s own thing on it’s own landing page while a content upgrade is a piece of content that adds onto (or upgades) whatever content you’ve already created.

There are content upgrades on almost every blog post on this blog so you can get an idea of what those are like.

Content upgrades can be anything from a video tutorial, cheat sheet, checklist, workbook or any other piece of content that will help them put what you’ve shared into action.

Workbooks are by far my favorite because they are the most actionable and I’m all about learning for the sake of doing, not for the sake of learning.

Speaking of content upgrades, here’s a free cheat sheet to help you build your list building strategy for you to download. It’ll give you some of my best practices for each of the strategies in this post:

 

Method 3. Free Resource Library

Who It Works For: If you have a bunch of free resources (like videos, worksheets, cheat sheets, etc.) that have a high perceived value.

When someone falls in love with your content, they’re likely to go through a bunch of your posts and giving their email fifty times gets annoying…

Instead, give them access to ALL of your downloads in one place and you’ll be their hero.

If you’re on wordpress, the really simple way to do this is to create a page that has all of your downloads and then change the page from public to password protected. When you send out you’re emals and newsletters, include a quick ‘ps’ that reminds them how to get into your resource library.

Want access to mine? Go ahead and check it out right here.
 

Method 4. Starting A Meetup Group

Who It Works For: If you’re looking to build your email list with local people, have high organizational skills and can lead a group.

I started accidentally building my list with Meetup.

I would have people register and before I approved their request to join, I made sure that they also filled out a form that got their email address and phone number, too.

I started doing it because Meetup’s email communication system is absolutely terrible and I needed a way to reach our Meetup members directly.

I’m not in love with Meetup because their interface isn’t as pretty as I’d like and their organizer-member communication method isn’t all that great, so you need to make sure that you are collecting emails on an outside form.

This is ESPECIALLY true because when people get on Meetup, they join a bunch of groups at once and then they start getting dozens of emails every day about different Meetup groups so they end up unsubscribing and never come out to your events, so take it from me (I learned the hard way)…

Make. Sure. You. Get. Their. Email. Addresses.

Running a Meetup group is NOT for the faint of heart and takes a whole bunch of extra work, but if you are building a business that’s local to your area and you can put together regular events, a Meetup group is an awesome way to build your list and to help you get discovered.

Setting It All Up

In this video, I’m walking you through how to set up a content upgrade and a sequence so that you can create your video series.

I LOVE ConvertKit* because of how easy they make it to set up a content upgrade. Even though it’s designed for bloggers, I find it INCREDIBLY useful for my real estate business as well. With this link*, you’ll get a 30-day trial, so it doesn’t hurt to check it out.

Ready to start putting this all into action?

I created a quick cheat sheet for you that will walk you through all of the best practices for each of the 7 ways to get people to opt-into your email list…

After all, we don’t learn for the sake of learning around here… We learn for the sake of doing. Get instant access to the cheat sheet right here:

 

Let me know which method you’re going to start using in the comments below!

Regardless of your industry, growing your email list is one of the most important things you can do for your business... but constantly finding new leads who are willing to raise their hand and say they're interested in doing business with you isn't always easy (unless you have the right strategies of course). In this article, you'll learn how to get people to BEG to opt-in to your email list. Click through to learn more and to get the best practices cheat sheet.

How To Use Email Marketing To Stay Top Of Mind With Your Network

I know, I know, email is dead…

… Or is it?

  • You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
  • A message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook.
  • For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.

Email marketing works, just not like it used to.

Email marketing works, just not like it used to. Click To Tweet

Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue.

English translation: You can’t just send a “buy now, 50% off” email and expect people to jump on it. You need to segment your list based on their interests. You can do this with ConvertKit* (which I talk more about below).

B2C marketers who leverage automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.

English transation: if you market to people, use automated email campaigns that are customized to the actions they take. It’ll increase your conversions to as high as 50%. Again, you can do this with ConvertKit* VERY easily.

You have to segment, personalize and offer value.

For email marketing to work, you have to segment, personalize and offer MASSIVE value. Click To Tweet

Your email marketing needs to feel like a friend, not a billboard.

Your email marketing needs to feel like a friend, not a billboard. Click To Tweet

So before we get into setting up your email list and figuring out what to send them, I want to make sure you’re convinced why it’s so important to grow and maintain an email list.

 

You Have Two Jobs, Regardless of Your Industry

In the book the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, Gary Keller talks about how every person has two jobs… Lead generation and whatever their product or service is.

Most businesses don’t fail because of a lack of market fit, because the market isn’t ready for it, because they’re too innovative or for any other reason… Those are all excuses.

Most businesses, products and services fail because of a lack of lead generation.

Most businesses, products and services fail because of a lack of lead generation... Until you have enough leads, there are no other problems. Click To Tweet

If you’re starting a nonprofit, you need to lead generate for volunteers, sponsors and people to help.

If you’re starting an online business, you need to lead generate for prospective clients to buy your product or service.

If you’re a virtual assistant, you need to lead generate for clients.

If you’re an etsypreneur, you need to lead generate for potential customers.

If you’re a doctor, you need to lead generate for patients.

Think of all of those products that you see on late night infomercials, these new age rappers with crappy music and even this new fidget spinner trend… Some of them don’t even deserve to be successful, but they are because they know how to lead generate.

… and if you’re not the one lead generating for yourself, your success will always be at the mercy of an employer to supply you with leads to work with.

It’s INFINITELY easier to sell to a warm lead than a cold lead, so when someone comes into your world and raises their hand to say “I’m interested in the topic that you so happen to have a product or service in”, make sure you wrap your arms around them and keep them nice and warm.

Please note: That doesn’t mean that you are constantly selling them, you are keeping them warm by providing them with constant value so that when they ARE ready, you’re right there for them.

Guess what the easiest way to do this is?

Yup, you guessed it…

Email marketing.

 

Email Marketing Helps You Stay Top Of Mind

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when they’re networking is treating their business cards, social media and email marketing like frisbees and then saying something like, “when you need a ___, give me a call.”

The problem with that is that is a SUPER passive way to gain and maintain mindshare.

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me use the following example before, but it’s SO damn effective, why fix what isn’t broken?

Entertain me for a second…

Say the name of a brand of potato chips (yes, outloud… and don’t read past here before you do).
Good.

Now give me another.

(Same thing, out loud).

… and one more.

Thanks for playing along… I just wanted to make you look like a fool in case you’re around people right now.

I’m totally kidding.

Every time that I’ve done this in my workshops, almost everyone can come up with the first one in like 0.0001 seconds…

Then, when I ask for a second, they have to think about it for a second…

By the time we get to the third, they almost always start with, “uhhhh…”

Did you do the same?

If not, maybe you’re a potato chip connoisseur, so do the same thing with cars, professional athletes, shoe brands or whatever else and you’ll find that the first brand is easy, the second one makes you think and you’re usually at a loss for the third.

That’s not because you’re not smart or because you have bad memory…

It’s because our brains don’t have enough space to associate a bunch of brands, products or people to one thing at a time.

So when you treat your network like a billboard with a “call me when you need a ___”, they’ve already forgotten you.
You need to steal mindshare by building a relationship so that when they need a [insert your career, product or service here], you’re the first person they think of… and then you have to maintain it so no one else can ever steal that mindshare it from you.

This is what we refer to as staying top of mind.

While email isn’t the only way to do it, it will help give you a solid strategy for following up with people and it’s INCREDIBLY scalable.

Make no mistake… Even if your business is solely online and relies completely on email marketing, following-up is ABSOLUTELY necessary (unless you like throwing away free business of course).

 

Email Marketing Helps You Establish Credibility

I know you’ve heard it before… People do business with people they know, like and trust.

People do business with people they know, like and trust. Click To Tweet

Having a great personality means that it’s easy for people to get to know you and like you, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll trust you to get the job done. The trust has to be earned… and even if someone trusts you on a personal level, it doesn’t mean they’ll trust you enough to give you their money.

No, they shouldn’t just “trust you” because you’ve known them for __ amount of time.

You have to earn it.

A great personality means that people to get to know you and like you quickly, but trust is still earned. Click To Tweet

… and this is exactly why most people with great personalities fail at sales and service-based businesses. They rely wayyyy too much on their winning personalities and forget to establish their authority.

Having an email list that you’re constantly providing crazy value to will quickly help you establish credibility with your community so that they recognize you as the expert.

 

Email Marketing Helps You Build Relationships

If you’ve tried email marketing before and failed, I can almost guarantee that it’s because you were too busy selling them instead of building a relationship.

If you've tried email marketing before and failed, I can almost guarantee that it's because you were too busy selling them instead of building a relationship. Click To Tweet

Your emails should feel like you are one friend sending an email to another.

Your emails should feel like you are one friend sending an email to another. Click To Tweet

That means you need to humanize your brand and your emails should make them feel like you’re talking directly to them, not sending a super polished email out to a million other people.

By focusing on building a relationship with each person individually, you’ll increase your engagement, replies and clickthroughs.

Think about email marketing like a party.

If you walk in the room and start selling everyone there, they’re going to ignore you (never open your emails), leave (aka unsubscribe) or get annoyed (report your emails).

Instead, if you walk into the room with the intention of making friends and making their lives better, they’ll fall in love with you.

 

Email Marketing Is Scalable

I don’t know of a better way to keep in touch with a massive amount of people than by email.

You might be thinking, “what about social media?”

Nope.

Based on social media algorithms, only about 2% of your audience is actually seeing your posts so that Facebook page with 10k likes isn’t going to do a whole lot for you…

With email, it’s sort of like having their personal internet cell phone number instead of mailing them brochures.

Scalability is crazy important when you’re building a business and you’re looking to start implementing systems.

Scalability is crazy important when you're building a business and you're looking to start implementing systems. Click To Tweet

I used to use Mailchimp for my email list, but I switched over to ConvertKit*.

ConvertKit* is a platform that was designed for professional bloggers, but I’ve found that it’s actually just as effective for my real estate business as well. That’s because it’s simple to use but incredibly flexible and powerful.

So now you’re probably like “ok ok, Alexa. Shut up, I get it… But what the heck do I send them?”

I’m so glad you asked…

*Insert my Vanna White strut while showcasing the next heading*

 

What To Send Them

Value, Value, Value, Offer

First things first, your emails shouldn’t be all about selling.

You could literally give away your products or services for free, but if you don’t have a relationship with your audience, they’re probably not opening your emails and they’d assume that your product or service is crap if it’s free, rather than being inspired to take action.

Your goal should be to give value three or four times to every one (sales) offer.

Your goal should be to give value three or four times to every one offer. Click To Tweet

That means giving them quality content where you teach, inspire or help them before you offer them anything.

That also means that you need to be super, ridiculously, extra sure that you’re not spamming them.

WAIT.

I know what you’re thinking…

“Everything I send is valuable”

… and you’re probably right… But is it valuable to THEM?

As a realtor, let’s say my audience is mostly renters…. If I were sending them information about selling a house, that’s not relevant to them… so it’s spam TO THEM.

It would absolutely be valuable to someone who was a homeowner, but sending valuable content to the wrong person (or audience) is still spam… and THIS my friends is why being able to segment your email list is so important.

Sure, one of those renters MIGHT, POSSIBLY know someone who knows someone who wants to sell a home… but they’re wayyyy more likely to unsubscribe instead and I’ll lose them completely becuase I’m not “for them”.

Your emails should speak DIRECTLY to your target audience (discovering your target audience is a whole different conversation for a whole other day).

So once you’ve discovered who your target audience is, it’s time to start delivering the massive value to them.

 

Newsletters

The most common form of emails to send your audience are email newsletters.

There are a million different types of info you can send to your audience, so you’ll need to do some recon to figure out what your audience needs.

The single, most effective thing I’ve done for my businesses has been sharing personal stories with teachable lessons.

My most popular blog posts are also the ones that talk about a struggle I was going through, how I overcame it and what I learned from it.

ConvertKit* makes it super easy to set and schedule email newsletters.

Before I started my newsletter, I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what to send them and it dawned on me…

I always sign my email newsletters with “Xo, Alexa” and then include a PS. with all of the new content that I’ve published that week to keep them coming back to my site.

Your emails should be somewhere between 500-750 words (which actually gets used up REALLLYYYYY quickly) and pretty please make sure you proofread.

 

Personal Stories + Experiences

Our world has wayyyy too many people who are trying to turn off their emotions, so if you can cut through that facade and make them feel, you can make them take action.

Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act.

Rather than sending emails like “5 tips to…”, I started sending emails like “Why I decided to start waking up at 4am” that has a ridiculously conversational tone and talks about my own personal life and then gives tips for how they can use that in their own lives.

It changed my engagement completely.

They don’t want you to email them stuff they can google… They want to hear from you, your stories and what they can teach them.

Our society is STARVING for authenticity and if you can give it to them, they'll fall in love with you. Click To Tweet

Stories make them feel like they know you and they can connect with you on a deeper, more personal level.

Remember, logic makes you think, emotion makes you act…

Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act. Click To Tweet

So make them feel.

Whether that feeling is excited, anticipatory, nervous, inspired or hurt, make them feel and then teach them something.

You’ll gain their loyalty and get them to take action when you do decide to offer them something.

 

Case Studies, Testimonials and Exciting News

If you tell them how great you are, they won’t believe you, so don’t tell them how great you are…

Let other people tell them for you.

If you tell them how great you are, they won't believe you, so don't tell them how great you are... Let other people tell them for you. Click To Tweet

Let your clients brag about you and share a success story about something you helped them do. Celebrate successes with them and include them in your future plans.
Did you just get funded for your start up? Tell them about it and what that means for them.

Did you just get awarded for something? Tell them about it and recommit to doing whatever got you there.

 

BTS: Behind the Scenes

Speaking of including them in your successes, include them in your culture.

Include your audience in both your successes and your culture. Click To Tweet

Show them what your company does behind the scenes…. Show them how your company works and how much fun you have.

This is ESPECIALLY helpful if you plan on recruiting in the future…

People want to enjoy their workplace, so if you show them what that workplace is like, you’ll win them over every time.

 

Surveys

When you’re creating content, products and services for your audience, knowing them is INCREDIBLY important…

I’m not just talking about knowing their interests, but understand where they are in their lives, what’s important to them and what they struggle with…

Know your target audience like you know your best friend.

Know your target audience like you know your best friend. Click To Tweet

… and unfortunately, you’re probably not a mindreader.

(But how cool would it be to be able to read minds… Or would that be a burden? I guess I’ll never know).

Since you’re not a mind reader, go and do something super crazy… ASK them what they want.

*Gasp*

Seriously, though.

Ask them what their struggles are, what you can do for them and what they need.

You’d be surprised how much they’re willing to help you help them… So long as you present it to them that way.

 

Special Offers, Giveaways + Promotions

If you notice, I gave you this one last..

… That’s because it SHOULD be the most infrequent and done with extreme care.
The goal of email marketing is to make sure that your audience takes action without them feeling like you’re alienating them.

No one likes commission-breath (that’s what we call someone who is desperate for a sale in real estate), so don’t do it that way.

Share a story, personal anecdote or something valuable and then plug your offer.

You should also do this by segmenting your list based on their tags and ConvertKit* makes it super simple to do that with their link triggers (I mention it in the video below)

Everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold…

… and most purchases are done on inspiration, so inspire them. Make them feel.

(Noticing a trend?)

Thennnn offer them.

 

How To Set It All Up

Now you know that I like to create EPIC content and this wouldn’t be EPIC if I didn’t walk you through how to set all of this up.

So firstly, my absolute favorite email service provider is ConvertKit*.

I started with Mailchimp but their open rates are lower than ConvertKit*, they make it way harder to grow your list (I’m going to write a post about how to grow your email list next week and will talk more about this) and if you add someone onto two lists, that counts as two people instead of one (which means that you pay for more people than you actually have on your list).

There are a million reasons why I love ConvertKit* and to put it simply, it gives you the power to do things like tag people based on their interests, integrates with pretty much everything, works flawlessly andddd gives you the ability to send out email sequences, lead magnets and content upgrades (again, more on that in next week’s post).

Here’s a super quick walkthrough of how to set up a newsletter that goes out to your email list:

Next week’s post will walk you through more advanced stuff including how to set up an email sequence, how to tag people based on their interests and how to grow your list.

When you register with ConvertKit*, you’ll get 30-days free so you can test it out and make sure that you like it before committing to it.

To help give you a kick in the butt to get started, I put together a free 15-page workbook to help you put this into action. With the workbook, you’ll plan out 13 emails and build a strategy to build a relationship with your community.


*This post contains affiliate links.
Every professional needs to have an email list to build credibility and stay top of mind. In this article, you're going to learn different things to send your email list and then the workbook will help you plan out 13 emails to get started. Click through to read the article and download the free workbook.
Email marketing has the highest ROI of almost any form of marketing. Learn how to tap into that by leveraging powerful email marketing and figure out what to say in your email newsletters with the free workbook. Click through to learn more.