Email Lists: Why they matter and How to build one

It seems that every effort is about how you can get your consumer’s attention and for how long can you maintain it on your brand. However, while there is importance in building a social presence, at the end of the day, social media is “rented space.” This means that at any moment the algorithm can change or you could lose all your followers, which means that you will lose the ability to talk to the entire audience you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Email is a space that you own. Your email list is a sacred list of people who have grown to love you and have invited you into their inboxes. They cherish what you have to say and if they don’t, they unsubscribe. This means that your unsubscribe rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as your message is aligned with your goals. If your message is aligned with your business and your overall goals, then the unsubscribe rate just means your list of people you are speaking with is also aligning more with your goals.

So, how do you get people to even sign up and give you their precious email?

Create something they can’t say no to! Create a freebie that makes them jump with joy and say “gimme gimme!” Something that aligns with your business like the 27 Free Content Ideas we created just for YOU! This is a kickass lead magnet that will get those emails rolling in!

Well, what should you create?

  • I’m a business with a physical product; proving a freebie won’t work for me!

WRONG! When are you launching your next product? Want to get your consumers pumped about it? Add a pop-up or a page teasing about it and have them enter their email address to be the first to know when it’s released.

  • I’m a service based business but I can’t give away my work for free or else I’ll make no money!

WRONG AGAIN! The thing about offering a freebie is that it shows your potential consumer the kind of work you do, the thought process you take, and makes them want to read the emails you send full of helpful info!

  • My business is a non-profit; I quite literally have nothing to offer for free.

NOPE! Let’s get creative here . . .You’re most likely looking to reach potential volunteers and definitely potential donors. That means you have a number of great options:

  • Offer them a freebie that explains the tax benefits of donating to a non-profit
  • Categorize the different types of volunteering you offer and have them put in their email for updates on when those events are happening
  • Reel them in with a gritty, yet beautiful success story that your non-profit has and then tell them they can enter their email for more inspiring stories just like the one you just shared with them

Building your email list is SO. VERY. IMPORTANT. We send our emails out and share our landing pages through ConvertKit. They offer some really great benefits and really grow with your business.

So, what’s stopping you from starting your email list right now?

The Secret to Cultivating Engagement

Would it shock you if I said that to build more engagement you need more engagement? Yeah, the algorithms get a little more difficult to navigate with each passing day. Basically, social platforms are trying to make sure that they are surfacing posts to their audience that people will enjoy, and their algorithm measures enjoyment through engagement just as you measure the quality of your posts by analyzing engagement and click-through rates.

The first thing you need to do to improve engagement is to engage more through your brand’s account. Engage with brands similar to your own, focusing on people and businesses that align with your passions and most importantly your purpose. By engaging with brands similar to yours, your dream clients are more likely to find you. Don’t worry, you are not poaching other brands’ customers. As a consumer, don’t you feel you have a right to know about competitors, or even complimentary brands, so you can provide the best experience and the most knowledge?

Of course you do!

Well, consider this to be an educational opportunity for consumers who are actively engaged with brands on social media. With more education, they are better equipped to decide which brand they desire to move forward with.

Go on a daydreaming journey with me for a minute. Think back to all the sponsored posts, ads in the side bars, or simply brand profile pages that you’ve been on that you’ve made a purchase from. Did they prompt you with a question? What was the selling point that pushed you to purchase? Did they have a button readily available for you?

Call to Actions (CTAs) are very important in your posts. Tying authenticity around your brand message in with the CTAs is also very important. Some great ideas for building engagement with authentic CTAs:

1. Asking a question that starts a conversation
2. Enticing a click-through with an offer or message your reader can’t scroll past
3. Taking a poll
4. Sharing content – videos, quotes/designs that speakz to your target, or articles that your audience will find helpful, Live videos with purpose that have quality content for watching later on

To harp on number four in the list above a little more, quality content is the key to quality engagement. Engagement that matters isn’t going to come from posting five times a day or purchasing bots to do the work for you.

Quality engagement will come naturally from sharing quality content that is executed upon a well thought out strategy. Quality is more than just a well written caption and applicable hashtags, but making sure the design of the post is good. For example, if you post a pixelated image with an overused quote over it, your audience will see right through it and keep scrolling. The more your posts get scrolled past, the less they will even appear in potential clients’ social feeds.

Go seek out high quality stock images or better yet, higher a local photographer to come and shoot some photos for you. Yes, it may cost money, but I promise you that this one expense will take your business to the next level AND you will start being able to charge the amount that you know your product or service is worth.

Are you ready to revitalize your social strategy and get more engagement?

My Top 3 Tips to Help You Focus

Focus and productivity are constantly at the forefront of every business owner’s mind, especially those with socially conscious businesses or non-profits. Every dollar matters, and as the old saying goes, “time is money,” so being focused on efficient productivity is key for a young, socially conscious business or non-profit to be able to maintain solid profit margins and make the most impact. Here are some really great tips to help you stay focused and on track for one of your most productive months yet!

1 | Try out a new workflow style.
A new style for organizing your workflow is sweeping the internet. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the Pomodoro style. What this entails is selecting a task, setting a timer (usually 25 minutes), finish the task, and crossing it off your list. If you accomplish less than four tasks in the predetermined time, take a short break (3-5 minutes). If you have more than four tasks completed, take a longer break (20-30 minutes).

The point in this working style is to show that your brain needs a break. You need time to breathe in order to give the next task the complete, undivided attention that it deserves.

There are some really great tools out there for giving this new productivity trend a try:
Tomato Timer – 25 minute work periods and pre-set short/long breaks built in
Marinara Timer – Set custom timers designed for your team’s specific needs
Classic Timer – Having a good ole classic timer can’t be beat. No more internet distractions

2 | Prioritize your to-do list but do quick things first.
Productivity is clearly linked with personal intention. Before you dive into any work for your day, it’s important to think about what must get done that day, versus what should get done that day versus what could get done.

By prioritizing your action items, you are able to effectively tackle them while managing your workload and minimizing your risk of overload. When you do your quick wins like “send Jane Doe an email” or “Input tasks in Asana,” you are able to cross things off right away and feel more accomplished. You can use this feeling of accomplishment to motivate you as you move onto the more difficult or timely tasks.

3 | Set up your schedule for the day ahead of time.
Once you have your to-do list set and you’re comfortable in your workflow style, it’ll be most helpful for you to set up your schedule to reflect the day’s objectives. Allocate your time and schedule breaks to avoid burnout. In doing this ahead of time, you’ll be able focus your attention and increase your productivity.

Within your digital calendar (Gmail, Outlook, etc.), it can help to set up the blocks of time with the task and notes that apply to the task so that as you move throughout the day; you can get reminders for when it’s time to move to the next task.

Just like budgeting and financial planning takes time to train your brain, you have to train your brain for workflows, but even more so for concentration. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at fully allocating your attention to a task and getting it done in an allotted amount of time.

What’s your ideal day? Can you bring that to reality with organization and increased productivity?

How to Choose the Right Colors for Your Brand

Did you know that the colors you choose to represent your brand can affect the way a consumer engages with you? For example, have you noticed over the last couple of years that McDonalds has began moving away from their known yellow and red colors to more of a classy brown both in stores and on their packaging?

If you haven’t noticed, that’s okay. As a company, this is a more subtle change to psychologically impacting their consumer perception and engagement. It’s shown that yellows and reds encourage speed. Those colors aligned with McDonald’s in their founding – to be a high speed restaurant that serves a good burger to get you in and out the door with good food and a happy tummy. As they launched their line of coffees – the McCafe – they noticed that they needed to shift their branding so the colors they chose adequately expressed their new goals.

Browns and greens are shown to slow down the consumer. It makes you want to hang out for a while, which is why you see all Starbuckses are branded with brown and green. Note, the longer you stay, the more you buy.

When designing your brand, it’s most important to first understand who your target market is and what other brands they frequently engage with, what’s important to them, and what problem you are solving for them. Once you can answer those questions, it will help you in choosing which color palette best expresses your brand goals.

I actually recently went through a rebrand myself. When I started out in the virtual working world last year , I had a light blue and white color scheme. What that said to my clients was that my brand encompasses purity and goodness, while I, as the brand head, am a loyal and trustworthy partner. Since rebranding with blue and pink, I’ve achieved communicating to my clientele that I am still a loyal and trustworthy partner, but also that my brand is centered around femininity and compassion. As a Social Greatness Strategist, this aligned much better with my brand goals. I was only able to effectively make this change by understanding who I really want to reach.

If you aren’t sure who you want to reach here are some steps to take to narrow down your target audience:

1. Focus your effort and services.
Figure out which service or product you offer that is your NUMBER ONE, the one product that
set your soul on fire and truly meets your mission. This will be your light post in reaching
your market.

2. Use data.
There is so much information and data at your fingertips these days. Don’t let that information slip buy. Utilize survey information generated by you, data already available, or even your network to figure out who would most benefit from your product or service.

3. Combine steps one and two to create your dream audience.
– Here is some information on a way to build your product persona: https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/find-your-target-market/

Once you have developed a focused product or service, it will be much easier to communicate to and reach your target audience. Once you have your target audience, it will be much easier to develop a brand message utilizing colors to communicate your benefits effectively.

How do you want your consumer to feel when they look at your brand?

How to Discover Your Target Audience

Hello there. You’re here because you have a dream. Whether that dream is freelancing full time and leaving your 9-to-5, or creating the business that has been designed in your mind for years, you deserve what your heart is craving. With a little hard work and some patience and belief, you’ll get there.

A few months ago, well maybe a little more than just a few, I was working as a virtual assistant for clients I didn’t like working for. I was creating processes and setting up their dream ventures, when what I really wanted was to be doing that for myself. My biggest struggle? I had no idea who I wanted to work with or even how I was going to reach them or talk to them. Knowing who your target market is and what they are searching for is vital to building your dream business.

After spinning my wheels for quite some time, I grabbed Carrie Green’s book She Means Business from the bookstore and decided to let the universe lead the way. Do you know what happened next? The things I learned from Carrie’s immense knowledge lead me straight to MY DREAM CLIENT!

Weird, right?

Wrong.

I focused on what I wanted to achieve, fixated on the type of client I wanted, found where they wwere and went to them instead of trying to get them to come to me. I saw a Facebook post of someone who has become my absolute greatest client. This client helped to fully form who my ideal client is and the sort of people I need to search for so that I can do work I love. She is an incredible mom who launched a soap brand, that helps fight the palm oil industry, with her daughter. They even donate a portion of the profits to regenerating the rainforest. How cool is that? Check them out here: TellSomeoneWhoCares.org

After finding my first wonderful client, I realigned my business to focus on helping socially responsible entrepreneurs, which has brought in so many more ideal clients, all of which I cannot wait to fully begin working with. As a social greatness strategist, I help them achieve their visibility goals for their business in order to bring in more money for them and to help them make a bigger impact on the world.

Since this realignment, I have reached many milestones.
Instagram followers up to 5.5K
– Email subscribers reached 1.1K and continues to grow (Sign Up for 27 FREE CONTENT IDEAS)
– Created and published my first SIX podcast episodes on iTunes
– Grew a Facebook group for socially responsible entrepreneurs to connect up to 250 with daily
new members!
– Helped 25 female entrepreneurs develop their 2018 strategies
– Fully booked my first 90 days of 2018

I promise everything will work out in the right way, at the right time for you. The biggest key to getting there is knowing who you want to work with, finding where it is they are on the internet and reaching them. Stop making them search for you. Once you get your mindset ready to accept what the universe has in store for you, big things will happen!

In the words of Carrie Green, “I can and I will. Watch me.” I’m ready to watch you blossom in 2018!

Building Engagement and Followers with InstaStories

Creating Instagram stories for business is a challenging and ongoing learning process. Just like all the other social platforms, Instagram constantly changes its algorithm. It can be difficult to keep up with the most current best practices. Below are some tips you can use to make sure you are creating great Instagram stories for your business that move your audience through the purchase funnel with clear engagement goals.

1 | ADD TEXT TO YOUR VIDEOS

While Instagram is a platform for photos and videos, text is a vital part of your stories for building engagement. Without text, your audience will be lost as to the purpose of why you’ve added something to your story.

It’s important that your story is a curation of helpful content intended specifically for your audience. If the story is only self-serving for your brand, viewers are sure to swipe away. Adding test to your images and videos will surely add clarity, helping your audience members know exactly why you’ve shared specific visual content with them.

Madewell does this exceptionally well. Every image they share has some sort of text on it, whether it’s something that is typed in the actual story or part of the image itself. Either way, they’ve curated and explained helpful content to make sure that their viewers swipe up.

2 | ASK QUESTIONS AND THEN FOLLOW UP

With Insta’s new poll feature, it’s easy to ask questions and see what your users think. However, it’s very important that you avoid controversial questions and make sure that there’s a follow up to these questions.

Canna-Pet has done this in an engaging way via a contest. They’ve encouraged users to tag their pet pictures with @cannapet and then utilized those pictures in a poll of which dog was cutest. Users then vote for the dog of their choice, and the owner of the most popular dog gets a $25 gift card. This encouraged engagement through tags, shares, and votes, all of which helped grow their follower base and got their stories incredible engagement.

There are many ways in which to use the poll feature. However, the two answer option can feel very limiting. Sometimes it can be beneficial to ask an open-ended question. This gives your brand the opportunity to open up the conversation with your clientele. Make sure, however, that you reply to a majority of the responses! If you don’t, your audience will surely feel as though their response went into the abyss and will let others know. Never underestimate the power of digital word-of-mouth.

3 | BREAK UP THE CONTENT

E! News does this best to garner clicks, which is what we all want as brands, right? They’ve taken pieces of intriguing headlines and put them together with a photo of the celebrity that the article is about in order to peak interest. This set up breaks up their stories and allows for users to click through to find the celeb they’re interested in or a headline piece that they want to know more about.

How does this work for products instead of content?

Well, your brand can use it in one of two ways. First, you can show new products and then break up the story around how that product came to be. As a socially responsible organization, this is something that would really intrigue your followers. They want a clear view into either how it’s made or how you came up with it. The Behind-the-Scenes look is very popular with all influencers and brands right now.

Also, you can link to your own content. Content is king in the digital world and as a growing brand, you already have or will need to build a blog around the industry you are breaking into. By building up this flow of content, you will be able to build up more traffic and shares by breaking up the information throughout your stories.

4 | HAVE A CALL TO ACTION

The most common Call To Action (CTA) is to encourage your viewer to go to your profile and click on a link you’ve strategically placed in your bio (i.e. “link in bio”). This will get more eyes on your profile and you will garner more traction to the most necessary pages on your site this way.

Make sure that your CTA and the action taken are clearly linked to the photo in the story. RedBull has done this really well. They show short clips of extreme sports videos while encouraging viewers to go to their site to see the full video.

This is your best way to get your viewers to your website or other action that you may want them to take. Just as you have CTAs in your other marketing efforts (i.e. emails, display ads, etc), you’ll want to make sure that the action you request of your audience is clear and beneficial for them.

 

5 | TEASE ’EM A BIT…

Get your audience pumped up about your story by saying something that makes them want to keep clicking through instead of swiping away. Travel + Leisure is one brand that has done that really well. They encouraged viewers to guess where they were based on hints in their pictures AND words with a big reveal at the end. This got their viewers excited about where they may be adventuring as well as getting them engaged in the game and finally, a new place to venture to!

This is something really great for your brand when launching a new product, project, or freebie that you want to build excitement around within your audience. When posting teasers, it’s best to use your words (as mentioned in rule 1) to explain to your viewers what they’re seeing and why it’s exciting for them. Break up the content and take them through the story as you build this excitement. You can also break up the content over days and not just one story so that your viewers are eager to check back to your story for updates.

Which of these strategies are you most excited to try out in your next story?