For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!
1. How to prevent a broken heart with GPS.
I write to you today with a heart that’s broken into 100 pieces. 7 days ago, our dear, extremely friendly, super cuddly 12-year-old cat disappeared. Finn has been a constant companion and office assistant for my wife, Bari, and I over the days of the last 12 years.
The last week has been incredibly trying. We searched high and low in a half-mile radius of our home. I flew my drone with a go pro hanging from it over a square half-mile. We checked every window well, every garage, every shed, every nook and cranny, every tree, miles of the foothills near our home, and the humane society…daily. I rented a thermal imaging camera and looked for his heat signature at night. We hired multiple animal communicators, a map dowser, a remote viewer, and had two dogs sniffing around for him. After 7 days (which was yesterday), we called off the search with heavy hearts.
The search would have taken 10, or maybe 15 minutes at most, if he had been wearing a gps collar, like this one from Pawtrack.
If you have cats (or dogs) who keep you company while you run your company, please, save your furry friends a lot of suffering, and save yourself a broken heart…get them a GPS collar so you can locate them quickly if they disappear.
+ Here’s a great GPS collar for dogs, from Wuf.
+ My wife just asked me across the dinner table, “Why are you writing the newsletter this week, honey? People will understand. Take a break.” “Because it’s helping me, in an odd kind of beneficial distraction kind of way,” I replied. “Plus, it feels important to be consistent, to regularly show up and do the work. Life happens, and we still have businesses to run. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll need to take a break to be with difficult emotions, but today…today I think I’ll try working while sitting with all the emotions. So, here goes…”
2. Social love.
“Social media is one of those marketing channels that can be very powerful … or very boring. You’ll either have a lot of success interacting with your customers, or you’ll see little results.” That’s Ryan Scott, at the Hubspot blog. There’s a lot more to winning at social media marketing than just posting links to your latest blogpost on Facebook.
It can take a lot of time and effort to get the right blend and tone for your social media posts. You can do it haphazardly and hope for the best (which is what most people do), or, you can treat it like one part science and one part art…and learn the best practices that are working for top social media marketers.
There’s a lot of great resources on that list, but the one thing missing for me is a guide called “Social Media Marketing for Introverts. How to succeed at social when you’re not particularly interested in being social.” Will somebody write that guide puleeez?
+ Why People Unfollow Brands on Social Media [Infographic] If you’re good at getting followers on social media sites, but then you lose them, you’ll find out why in that infographic.
3. Making money from your gift of gab.
It seems that we’re in the second podcast bubble. The first one in the early 2000’s didn’t really take off, but the technology has come a long way since then. And now, podcasting is becoming every content marketer’s favorite new medium. To say that podcasting is exploding is an understatement.
But is it worth it? Will recording and creating your own radio show support you and your family? Will it give you the life you’re looking for? Just ask John Lee Dumas, from Entrepreneur On Fire. He’s making around $200,000 each MONTH from his podcast.
Want to know how he’s doing it? Listen to him describe his favorite top 5 ways to monetize your podcast. Here’s a quick overview of them: one-on-one coaching, running a mastermind group, revenue from selling other people’s products via affiliate links, sponsored ads in your podcast, and using your podcast to build an audience who may buy your own products and online programs.
4. And the crowd goes wild
Sometimes your big business idea is too big for you to get off the runway with your own stores of jet fuel (a.k.a., money.) Everyone here is probably very aware of Kickstarter, but there’s a whole slew of other crowdfunding sites that will allow you to woo a crowd of raving fans and let them fund your new business venture. Perhaps the wisdom of the crowd is a wiser path than venture capital for your business.
+ Or, maybe good ‘ol fashioned bootstrapping is all you need to get your plane off the runway. (That’s aimed at startup founders, but most of the wisdom is still valuable for any kind of business.)
+ How to Crowd-Publish Your Content Without Asking for Money. So, the crowd can help fund your business and market it as well. Where’s the app for crowd-weeding to help me with my front yard?
5. When monkeys visit your webpage.
“The law of the web says people blaze through the web like it were an autobahn. And they blaze on the autobahn to do one thing…Look at billboards. When they’re driving at 170 miles per hour. People don’t have time to think. Landmarks zip by. Trees melt away. Billboards are a blur. And the moment they can’t understand your billboard is the moment you lost them.” From Demian Farnworth, on the newly minted Rough Draft podcast. He’ll tell you (in 4 minutes flat), the unbreakable law of the web. It can be summarized thusly (yes, I just said “thusly”): Don’t make the monkey think. One banana per page on your site.
6. It’s all about the package…
From Ash Ambirge: “People spend so much time painstakingly slaving over their business models, their offerings, their processes, their projections—but they’re all too quick to brush off the packaging as a superfluous extra—something that they’ll ‘figure out later’ because in the meantime they just want to ‘get it out there’…[But] it’s not about the product. It’s about the package. Because the package is the product.”
What you say about your business, your products, and yourself matters way more than you can imagine. How you say what you say matters even more. People buy with their emotions first, then justify their purchase decision with their logical mind second.
How can you touch their emotions in just the right way (without resorting to icky marketing gimmicks)? By paying great attention to the words you use to package your products and services. Successful words will lead to a successful business.
7. Here lies the trail to the heart of your prospects.
And the best way to reach in and resonate with the emotions in your potential customers? Will always be through vivid stories. We’re hard-wired to learn and view the world and act on things we absorb through stories.
“These days, we hear a lot about the fact that content marketers need to be storytellers. That sounds great in theory, but what does it really mean in practice?” That’s Manya Chylinski, from the Content Marketing Institute. Indeed, as you continue on the path of building your own business, you will eventually start hearing a lot about using stories to grow your business.
It’s easy in theory, but not so much in practice. Here are the basics and some great examples of how to use stories to build your business.
8. If you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours (unless they can remain anonymous, in which case, they probably won’t.)
If you spend any time researching the best ways to do online marketing, you’ll eventually come across the teachings of Robert Cialdini. His 6 principles of influence guide many a content marketer as they form the foundation of their marketing strategies.
One of those 6 principles, the principle of reciprocity, states that if you give someone something, they feel obligated to give something back to you. Joanna Wiebe, from Copyhackers: “Reciprocity is the persuasion principle at play in most of our content marketing efforts and when we give out free trials. We’re banking on the idea that, if we do something generous for someone – such as giving them a free whitepaper, letting them try our software without entering their CC or writing super-helpful posts (ahem) – they will give back to us in kind.”
But it doesn’t always work out this way in the online space. Why? Because when you add in ever-present potential for anonymity on the web, the principle of reciprocity becomes less a principle and more of something that will be avoided, if possible. Thankfully, there are some workarounds though.
9. My favorite email marketing app is…
Aweber. I’ve used Infusionsoft for years (read my full review of it here) and continue to use it in my other business [ http://baritessler.com ]. I’ve also used Mailchimp, Constant Contact, iContact, and Mad Mimi. Many online marketers love Ontraport as well. My favorite though, is Aweber. It’s what I currently use to send you these newsletters.
I won’t go into a full review of it right here, but here’s some of the things I love about it:
- Very flexible, easy to use email template builder, with full access to the HTML and CSS of the email templates.
- Beautiful integration with Rainmaker and many email templates that match Rainmaker website themes. (My site is powered by Rainmaker. Catch my full review of it here.)
- Kick ass email analytics and graphs (don’t get me started on how crappy Infusionsoft’s email marketing analytics are. Thankfully, Aweber show’s ‘em how it should be done.)
- Easy formatting via drag and drop of the HTML code of a WordPress page into an email template in Aweber. That means you can format your newsletter once as a blog post in WordPress, then drop the HTML of your post into Aweber, and it looks beautiful with just a few tweaks needed.
If you’re building an online business, you’ll need an email marketing app. It’s vital. You can’t do online business without one. Aweber sits in the top spot for me, with Mailchimp in a solid second place.
10. Watch artificial intelligence design beautiful websites.
I’ve written about The Grid in a previous issue of this newsletter, but recently, they gave the world a sneak peek at how it works. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s essentially the world’s most intelligent web design/website creation software. You give it text, images, and videos, and it uses artificial intelligence to design you a one-of-a-kind, beautiful website.
I’m more than a little blown away by this software. And now, you can get a peek at what it is and how it works in this video.
This is definitely worth signing up for and seeing what it can do once it’s launched at the end of Spring 2015.
Thank you for spending some time with me today on this page. Hope you found some helpful nuggets that will help you build the kind of business, and life, that you’re aiming for.
If you enjoyed this issue of Signals in the Noise, I’d love it if you’d share it with your friends, which you can do with a couple clicks here:
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Until next week, here’s to you creating an incredible business.
p.s. You can find the archive of past issues right here.