The Phone Is Ringing Off The Book. Signals In The Noise – Issue 66
I hope you’ve recovered from the world’s longest election night in history. If you’re not in America, sorry for all the noise over the past weeks, but thank you, again, for ringing the church bells in celebration.
We’re heading into that time of year when most of us power down the work throttle a bit to spend time with family, and hopefully, get some broader perspective on where we want to take our business and life over the coming year.
This year, most of us will likely have a little more space than usual to introspect because the pandemic is forcing us to cancel larger family gatherings. (I don’t know about you, but I say we should reschedule Christmas for late May after we’ve all had a chance to get the covid vaccine.)
Here, then, are some of the best things I discovered out in the wilderness of the internet over the past couple of weeks that can help you move things forward in your business. Things to ponder in your quiet moments over the coming weeks…
Many Arms And A Kind Heart.
Okay, so, this first piece actually has nothing to do directly with business, but everything to do with life. If you’re an online entrepreneur it means that you likely spend a large amount of time staring at a backlit screen reading, writing, watching videos, and creating things like podcasts or your own videos. Any way you slice it, you and I interact with screens for much of our days when we run an online business.
One way I personally balance all the screen time out is by getting out into the deep mountain wilderness for half a day at least once a week. No screens. No phone. No laptop. No internet. And very few people. If you don’t have mountains, maybe you have a desert or prairie nearby. And if you don’t have those, then perhaps the ocean isn’t far away.
In one of the most moving pieces of documentary filmmaking I’ve ever seen, Craig Foster takes us on a journey into one small ocean kelp forest on the shores of South Africa, where he filmed his experience of visiting an octopus every day for almost a full year. The bond they created is indescribable and the story of their time together is riveting. If you haven’t seen it yet, close your work tabs, or your entire laptop, and watch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. (Yes, I realize this requires watching a screen, but trust me…this movie will make you want to get out into nature more.) At the very least, you’ll see the magic of what can happen when you show up every day and do the work.
If The News Fits, Wear It.
Think your newsletter (or your curated newsletter) is just a tool you can use to bring traffic and leads to your site so you can sell your services or products? Think again. Curated newsletters can build up such a large audience of fans that the newsletters themselves can be extremely attractive to larger companies.
To be fair, it’s not the newsletters themselves that are valuable…it’s the attention of the newsletter’s readers that’s sometimes worth millions. This week, news broke of Business Insider wanting to acquire the wildly popular business-focused newsletter Morning Brew for $75 million. Revue, which is an app for newsletter creators, has the scoop on the trend of newsletters large and small getting acquired. Maybe your newsletter could become the thing, as in, the main source of revenue, rather than just a tool to bring in revenue from selling your products and services. Something to ponder while you’re eating festivus cookies.
A Seat At The Table
I see a lot of websites every week as I read, curate, and find the best things to bring you in these newsletters. Want to know something that’s missing from a lot of websites I see in the knowledge commerce space? People of color. Whether it’s on lists of guest teachers in courses, guests interviewed in podcasts, or on the sales pages of virtual summits, people of color are most often greatly underrepresented in this industry.
If you’re running an online business selling services or courses, I’m just going to be blunt about this: not including people of color and not giving their valuable knowledge and experiences a seat at your table isn’t going to help your business. Why? Because if you’re reading this newsletter it means that you care about making the world a better place. You care about helping people in some way. You care about reducing the amount of suffering in this world with what you can teach people. And you can’t stand for all those things and not include people of color in your work and conversations, particularly with what’s happening in our world today around racial issues.
But here’s the rub: if you don’t have many, or any, connections with people of color, how are you supposed to find folks you can work with or interview? Well, you’re in luck. I stumbled across a website of Lee Schneider, an Intelligence Brief reader, a couple of weeks ago. It’s called the Futurex Network and I found an amazing post on his site: it’s a list of resources and places to help you find women and people of color to include in your interviews and events. We need more of this in the world…
Game of Clone.
A few days ago was Worldwide Backup Day. Bet you didn’t know that. (Neither did I, but if you missed this big holiday, don’t worry, I made a backup of it for you.)
This is a good time to be aware that Google can lock you out of anything at any time, for any reason. It’s not likely to happen, but this issue is…it can happen. If you use Gmail, Google Calendar, or Google Drive for docs and spreadsheets, you should make periodic backups of everything you keep in there and store it on your computer, preferably in something like a Dropbox account. (Pro tip: if you use Dropbox to back up everything on your computer, which I highly recommend, use the “online only” option to store your Google backup files only on the Dropbox servers, rather than letting them take up all kinds of space on your computer hard drive as well.)
Here’s a handy tool, called Goolge Takeout, to make a quick backup of all your files that live on Google.
By default, everything will be selected on that page. Choose the “deselect all” option at the top of the page and just select the things you want to export and backup.
Happy belated Backup Day!
The Phone Is Ringing Off The Book.
“What do you call a blog with 70,000 monthly visitors that accounts for 50 product trials a month? A lot of wasted potential.” That’s Klaus M. Schremser, head of growth at Usersnap, with the story of how Usersnap turned all that traffic into a lot more new customers every month. They sell software that gathers customer feedback, but the lesson they learned is useful for anyone selling anything on a website.
Their solution? Focus on offering old school, high-quality ebooks that address the major problems their prospects are searching for in Google.
To get the ebooks, prospects opt-in for them by filling out a short form. Then they enter into a 45-day email nurture sequence with more free ebook offers and gentle introductions to Usersnap’s software solutions. Lastly, of the people who go through their ebooks and nurture sequence and don’t sign up for a free trial, Usersnap gently follows those folks around the web with a Google Ad campaign that retargets people who have been to their site and signed up for an ebook with an option to sign up for a free trial of Usersnap.
As a result of building this content marketing engine, their traffic went up by 57% and their free trial sign-ups increased by 400%. The only thing that’s about to increase by 400% for me is my intake of carbs during the holidays.
That’s all for today, my friend.
I hope you make some good progress with your to-do list while you also get some good downtime.