How Brad Pitt Helped My Newsletter

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It is mind boggling how important celebrities are in our society. I discovered this last week after putting up a funny little New Year’s Resolution list I hand wrote as part of a blog mentioning Brad Pitt.

I had so much response to that small mention that my newsletter readers wrote in to tell me stories of other celebrities that they’d met. Another reader and friend told me about how her husband was mobbed at a concert because he was mistaken for Brad Pitt. (no, my friend isn’t Angelina Jolie…)

The mere mention of the name of a celebrity in a tiny portion of my newsletter got me thinking about newsletters in general. Do businesses really need one? What makes a good one and what’s it really about?

Here are some reasons why you absolutely, positively need a newsletter for your small business.

It Keeps You Top Of Mind

I’ve seen over and over again, how after my newsletter goes out, people who owed me an answer or who I hadn’t heard from in a long time remember me and write me back–replying directly to the newsletter. I’ve gotten jobs, free tickets to events and clients from just the fact that I’m in my target clients’ inbox every week, without fail!

It Engages People On A Human Level

A client swore up and down that he REFUSED to do a newsletter for his business because he felt that if people wanted information, they knew where to go get it. He said that he felt it an insult to intrude on people’s space with his thoughts with a newsletter.

I then sent him the following true email that I got from someone I’d never met but who was on my newsletter database:

Chala, this article about driving over the border CRACKED ME UP, had me in STITCHES.  Having grown up in St. Catharines (where I crossed the border without my parents when I was 17), I found your vulnerability and wild imagination to be completely adorable and relatable.  Thank you for sharing.
I appreciate the wonderful variety of topics in your newsletters – the funny, the educational, the thought-provoking – all of it engaging and entertaining.
FWIW, I have to be honest, I subscribe to VERY FEW newsletters.  Much of the time when I subscribe to one, I wind up unsubscribing in a matter of weeks because the content is just mundane or unappealing or an obnoxious incessant sales pitch.  By contrast, I’ve been on your mailing list for a couple of years now and your emails (even the subject line) always catch my eye!  You truly do a great job.  When I see your name in my inbox I almost feel like I “know” you after all this time – that’s an incredibly powerful social media connection.
Keep up the great work!

I didn’t send this to my client to brag but to demonstrate to him that newsletters can be valuable and do have followers. He conceded to try his hand at one but he’s still struggling with the concept. What do you think?

It Showcases Your Expertise

When you’re blogging, making videos or speaking about the same topic every week of every month of every year, people tend to get the idea that you may know more about this one topic than perhaps they do. This is why it’s so important to pick the right expertise to niche in and pick the right ideal target audience to continue to write about. Illustrating your ideal client’s pain points via real life stories and showcasing your expertise by talking about how you helped them is the best way I know of convincing other potential ideal clients to seek your help.

Exposes Your True Self

What I love best is that newsletters allow you to be yourself and show the world who you are as a person. You can demonstrate your own personality by the titles you pick. For example, I’ve noticed that the more outrageous and personal my article titles, the higher my open rates. But I don’t pick these titles to be sensationalistic. I do it because I’m a little bit crazy, a lot of fun and like to laugh. I don’t want to be bored when I’m sent a million newsletters so I put myself in my readers’ shoes and try to deliver an out of the box title every week.

If you’re still not sending your potential ideal clients compelling, entertaining and informative newsletters, you are missing out on a tremendously valuable marketing tool. Lack of time and ideas is no excuse. You can get articles written for $5 on fiverr.com now so there really is no better time to start. Lack of email marketing software is also not an excuse, it costs $10/ month. Failing that, you should just go ahead and send an email to your fans today. People want to know the genuine you and they want your help. Make sure to give it to them on a regular basis.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Tired Of Holiday Wishes Yet?

tiredxmasI adore vacations and time spent with loved ones as much as the next gal. I love presents and shiny decorations and big celebrations more than you can imagine. Then what’s my beef about getting a gazillion Happy Holidays emails in my inbox? It’s not differentiated. And in marketing speak, in the world of small business, it’s a death sentence to be like EVERYONE else.

Here are a few tips to pull up your proverbial marketing socks for next year if you’ve already gone ahead and hit send this year.

Say or do something different than every other business

For the love of God, if you’re going to send Holiday wishes at Christmas or Valentine’s messages in February or Save Now messages on boxing day, say it differently than everyone else. I was almost nauseated by the amount of the same old same old messages that I got in my inbox this year. Maybe I even sent the same myself last year. But this year, I have a bigger understanding of what it means in business to stand out, deliver different things and to be noticed. Look at how a company called Cards Against Humanity stood out from the rest on Cyber Monday and actually increased their prices, getting a record increase in their sales.

Use your brand voice

A client asked me, “what will I say that’s different than all those gurus who have more knowledge, more training and more experience about this subject?” I told her, you have something nobody else has and that’s your personality. Nobody sees the world from your eyes or can explain things in exactly the way that you do. This point was brought home to me when I heard the exact same message from a 70 year old American hippy called Dr.Wayne Dyer and then a decade later, heard a 40 year old leopard tights-clad woman named Danielle LaPorte spouting the same teachings. Was the message different? No, it’s universal. But the way that each delivered it was so unique that I was made astoundingly aware of this phenomenon-that it’s not what you say but HOW you say it that resounds with people.  What can you do to add your brand voice to the equation and say what you truly want to say to your followers to wish them well in the new year?

Give something

Even if you can’t afford to give gifts to all your clients and networks over the holidays, give the gift of advice or understanding. Call someone you know who is spending the holidays away from loved ones. . This is a time for giving so instead of the middle finger, why not give some love to a former client who you parted ways with acrimoniously?

This article is my own way of wishing you your dreams-come-true in the new year. I hope you think it was different than everyone else’s.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

I’m Giving Birth

The Prototype for my new invention that I gave birth to called a Clientometer

For those of you who know me, I’ve already given birth to a too cute baby named Logan and I’m too old to do it again. However, I am giving birth to new ideas in my business that will help more entrepreneurs figure out their marketing so they can go out there and get more clients. Lately, my imagination has been so fertile that I’m coming up with new things virtually everyday!

If you’re also interested in giving birth to new ideas and products in your business, here are a few quick tips to help you make more money and serve more people.

Where Are Your Clients Stuck?

My clients, who are successful business people in their own right, hire me to grow their business faster because their current marketing isn’t yielding enough clients. So each time that we start working together, I notice that one issue they constantly run into is the lack of time they spend in front of potential ideal clients. That’s when an idea struck my blond head. Why not piggyback on the success of Weight Watchers and Pedometers and invent something to track weekly interactions with potential clients? And Voila! The Clientometer was born! This is a people counter that is used at bars and other places where something is being counted. The Clientometer comes with a tracking sheet that allows my clients to chart how many of their ideal clients they’re interacting with per week and shows them the direct correlation of their lead conversions. If you’d like to try it out, drop me a line and I’ll get you one.

By focusing on where my clients were getting stuck, I was able to create something specifically to help them. Where are your clients getting stuck that you can do the same for?

What Can You Repackage?

Another new thing I created for loads of potential new clients who couldn’t afford to work with me one on one was a Take Home Self-Study that covered the basics of How To Pick Your Ideal Client, Where To Find Them and What To Say To Them, along with a whole slew of other tools to help a startup get their marketing off the ground. As material, I took all the previous presentations, blogs and group programs I’d delivered in the past and recorded them into audio CD’s and a workbook. Voila! What can you repackage from the wealth of information you already put out there to serve another segment of your target audience?

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

A very clever client of mine told me about this amazing service called Fiverr where you can get virtually any marketing service for $5. This is not a joke. I have used Fiverr like a mayor uses crack cocaine for the past few months and I’ve found so many new things to inspire me for my own business. I’ve converted my book to an e-book overnight, I’ve gotten a Santa cartoon of myself, I’ve had logos and whiteboard videos done. Finally, I even created a jingle for my new take home study program. I think it’s really kicked up the start of the intro of this really long program! Have a listen and tell me what you think. I am always looking for ways to serve my clients better. Where can you get your inspiration from to do the same?

Giving birth to new ideas is the perfect was to keep your offering fresh. I don’t mean that you should take your focus off your core focus but by offering new and innovative new ways to serve your clients’ needs, you become more integral to their success.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

What I learned from 100 Millionaire Women This Week

rbcI’m not a millionaire (yet) nor had I ever been exposed to so many of them in a concentrated period of time before this week. Two back to back events packed with an audience of millionaire women that I invested a significant amount of money to attend, turned out to be a real eye opener.

Everywhere-a-millionaires

At first blush, the event consisted of a well dressed, chatty group of women just like at any other networking I go to. But when I started to talk to some of the women I ran into at the coffee table or the bathroom lineup, I started to discover that lo and behold–most of the ladies were nominees of one award or another and based on what I know about the criteria for nomination–were millionaires!

Here are a few things that I learned from them:

They Have The Same Headaches

Yes, these women don’t see their children and husbands often. Yes, they spend more time in airport lounges than at hockey practice but the big difference between them and the rest of the women entrepreneurs I know, is that these millionaires have mostly gotten over the guilt of it. I found that millionaire women biz owners looked at being away from their family for work as teaching their children what it’s like to sacrifice things in order to get what you really want in life.

Lean On My Husband

When I came home from the gala last night, I told my husband that I was most definitely going to become a millionaire entrepreneur because the one thing all these ladies had in common with me was a supportive husband who took care of the home front and supported the woman’s dream of building her vision. It was so wonderful and inspiring to hear that.

They’re Terribly Humble

I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing or if it’s just the nature of millionaire business women but there was such a feeling of humbleness and lack of pretension with these women. Some of the award winners even wept in surprise or said they often felt like an imposter. They talked fearlessly about their ‘dark nights’ where they were scared and depended on loved ones to get them through.

They’re Persistent

Perhaps the single biggest differentiator that I saw between this group of millionaires and the usual entrepreneurs that I meet is that no matter what the circumstance, these millionaires didn’t throw in the towel. They kept putting a second mortgage on the house, they borrowed more money, took more risks in the face of failure but never ever gave up. This characteristic isn’t really found in most women or even most entrepreneurs that I’ve met. They just go back and get a j-o-b.

They Look Good

Was I ever glad that I rented myself a $1000 designer gown that stood out like a beacon in a black tie event that might as well have been called a black dress one. My dress MADE friends for me. Perfect strangers would say ‘I love your dress’ and I’d tell them that I’d rented it. My frankness about the situation as well as the interesting story behind the dress started conversations that turned into genuine connections. From my brush with these millionaire shoulders, I learned that whether day or night-millionaire entrepreneur women dress well. They have expensive boots, purses and dresses. They have giant chunky bling. They are elegant and prepared to look their best when out in public.

They Are Helpful

The last point about these millionaire business women came out when part of the conference was a round table coaching of each other. These women were generous with their experiences and offered a lot of help. They were caring and attuned to the needs of those around them. Excellent connectors, these ladies had hundreds of employees and had formed phenomenal cultures around their workplace.

My whirlwind 2 days with millionaire women left me wonderfully inspired to be more like them. I hope I’ve been able to impart some of the magic of my time with them so that you too can join me at the next awards gala as a millionaire yourself next year!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

How Jann Arden Was Bleeding To Death

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Singer Jann Arden giving a talk a few hours after her bleeding episode

Jann Arden was bleeding to death in Toronto yesterday at 5:30am where she was staying at a hotel to speak at a Woman’s Conference I was attending yesterday. At least, that’s what she thought. In fact, after 4 hours of waiting at the ER she found out that it was simply a pre-menopausal hiccup.

How is that relevant to you, the small business owner whose business itself may be bleeding to death? Jann’s re-telling of an embarrassing and potentially a life threatening event gave me a glimpse of a best in class case of authenticity in the public eye that I want to share with other small business owners.

Here’s what I learned:

When You Are Honest, People Connect Deeper With You

Jann was sincere from the get go telling us funny stories of growing up and the heartbreaking recounting of her brother’s 20 year incarceration. She already had me at ‘hello Toronto’. However, she didn’t truly connect with me until she said ‘I wasn’t going to tell this story today’ and went onto recount her horror story of the bleeding, telling us how she was wearing pants that weren’t buttoned up and were being held up by the girth of her hips. This is a highly personal and potentially embarrassing story. Why would a world renowned singer, author and speaker share such private things you might ask yourself. It’s because she was the most human and vulnerable person in that whole lineup of speakers yesterday. And that made me want to believe her, trust her and listen to anything she had to tell me. What opportunities do you have to do the same in front of your customers?

Authenticity Means You Care Less About Failure Than Others

I wonder how many professional speakers who get paid tens and thousands of dollars to speak would risk looking unprofessional or offending people or grossing them out would have shied away from the topic of their very painful and personal health challenges they had a few hours before going on stage? The fact that Jann was willing to do so only made me certain that she felt secure in her right to be earning that money as a top notch, in demand pro. What are you afraid to reveal that is keeping you from being your true authentic self in front of your customers and colleagues? What would it look like if you finally let go of those fears of failure?

Like Attracts Like

When people are scared to be authentic, they feel REALLY uncomfortable with others who are willing to share and share and share. In fact, a term coined TMI has come out meaning Too Much Information has been shared. It’s been my experience that you attract the kind of people who are at exactly the same level of comfort in their own authenticity as you. So if you want more clients who are ideal for you, you need to reveal the true you more often. Make sense?

Your Lack Of Courage Can Kill Your Business

When you are inauthentic, you refuse to tell people who you really like and who you really dislike to work with. You’re afraid that it will drive business away and let you starve. This inability to define who you truly are in the eyes of your target market and amongst your competitive set is killing your business. It’s making you generic, it’s letting you blend in with all other nameless and faceless businesses.

So stand up for your true authentic self like Jann did and tell stories of who you really are and how you really live. You will not only feel better as a person but will attract the kind of attention and business that you will thrive to.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Get the Most Bang for Your Marketing Buck: 3 Ways

save moneyThe biggest misconception I run into about marketing amongst small business owners is that it’s expensive. If you’re interested in making sure that what you do spend is not wasted, read this article by  of Inc. Magazine where he talks about 3 golden ways to do just that:

1. Be Compelling

To be truly compelling you need these three components:

  • Empathy– Identify their pain that most needs to be resolved if you want them to notice you.
  • Objectivity– Suggest a perfect resolution to their pain so they’ll agree and yearn for more of what you have to say.
  • Differentiation– Promote true differentiation by offering something your competitors can’t do or won’t do without great effort or expense.

2. Be Intentional

  • Forethought–Analyze patterns, behaviors and objections in advance to open a successful sales path with your prospects.
  • Efficiency– Look for ways each tool can save time and money on a per sale basis and then measure, measure, measure to insure efficacy.
  • Integration–Spend time figuring out how to gain exponential benefit by making your programs consistent and relatable.

3. Be Memorable

  • Creativity–Combine creative mediums like video and art for resonant emotional outcomes.
  • Intensity–Your communication needs to be extremely powerful to break through the noise of the millions of messages bombarding your customers every day.
  • Revelation  – To truly be memorable you have to deliver an AHA! moment.

http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/get-the-most-bang-for-your-marketing-buck-3-ways.html

If you’re using the spaghetti method of marketing (throwing one noodle against the wall to see if it’ll stick as a determinant of the whole pot of noodles being cooked) then you are in deep marketing pain. The “spray and pray” method is exhausting and expensive and it certainly doesn’t maximize your marketing bucks.

I hope you can see that by being strategic and using the above advice as guidelines, you can start to get qualified leads who will love you and beg to work with you.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk