Double Your Freelancing Podcast

By Brennan Dunn

About this podcast   English    United States

Better Clients. More Money. A Happier Life.
May 15, 2018
Jason Resnick is a consultant who also educates other consultants on systemization and building sustainability via his program, Feast at Rezzz.com. His mission is to help other freelancers and agencies create recurring revenue using automation. Jason has developed his skills working in both the independent and corporate worlds, and has learned the ins and outs of what customers want and why they buy. More recently, Jason has leveraged personalization for his clients and himself which is essential for creating trust and building longer term relationships with clients. He sat down with Brennan to discuss what tricks he’s learned about building sustainability into his funnel. What questions you’ll need to answer in order to personalize How to demonstrate potential upside value How to communicate with customers about their needs How to increase lead quality and quantity Jason Resnick has automated his business to be fully sustainable, bringing in recurring revenue for more than 8 years. His business grew out of his programing knowledge and experience working at large scale corporate organizations, but Jason has learned that some commonalities exist among clients no matter what the scale of the business they hire. His study of how consumers think, why they buy, and how companies fulfill or exceed their expectations has enabled Jason to become an expert marketer and to teach his automation strategies to other freelancers and agencies. He shared some of his expertise with us. Developing the Skills Jason started learning web development in the mid-late ‘90s when he was in college. He says at the time web development skills were looked at by employers like having a backyard pool: unnecessary but nice to have. He honed his craft while working at design agencies and Fortune 100 companies. Meanwhile, he leveraged his web design skills as a side hustle. Between side jobs and his full time work, Jason expanded his development knowledge, while he started to learn how to grow and run a business. In the DotCom boom and bust, Jason learned the importance of deliverables the hard way. He was laid off, but knowing he had the development skills and numerous freelancing gigs under his belt, Jason struck out on his own. Within a year, things failed to go as planned and Jason wound up back as an employee at an agency. This time, recognizing where he had fallen short, Jason paid extra attention in his new position to the business management side of things. Eventually, when the time was right, Jason eagerly pursued freelancing full time again. A key factor in Jason’s interest in freelancing was that he wanted to be in charge of his own time. That’s why for Jason, automation was an essential part of his path to independence. As a one-man operation, he needed time-saving systems in place and he knew his clients would too. So Jason started out building websites with WooCommerce integrations. Today his offerings have expanded and now include him setting up entire automated marketing campaigns for businesses of all types that make online transactions. Convincing Clients You’re Worth It Brennan recalls being intimidated when he first started conducting paid consultations with clients. He says it became easier as he saw the positive results but asked Jason if he experienced any self doubt in his sales meetings while expanding his skills. Jason says the hardest part of these meetings for him was simply convincing clients that the automation would be beneficial. Clients didn’t believe the time investment upfront would produce any valuable changes in the long run. To address this common fear, Jason came up with a solution that provides a visible argument that it will. He builds custom KPI dashboards for customers that feature spreadsheets and graphs and show his clients’ transaction sequences. This is where paying attention to the client’s perspective comes in handy. Understanding the buyer’s journey and its nuances is the key to knowing how to measure a campaign’s success and to improving it. Diving deep into the customer’s experience not only allows Jason to better predict and evaluate the value his service will have on the agency he’s working with, he’s also better able to sell long-term services by speaking to their interests and needs. One drawback that Jason acknowledges is that having a shorter term project (as is frequently the case for independent consultants) does make it harder to gauge results, but this makes it all the more important to empathize with the customer whenever possible. Evaluating Long-Term Business Needs Jason believes the business should drive the technology instead of the other way around. As a result, he doesn’t mind telling businesses if his skills are not going to be helpful to them. Although a customer’s buying decision is usually made before they ever contact the business, focusing on the lifecycle of a customer helps Jason know what he needs to do next. He says his first task is to find out what areas of the cycle he can stream-line to accelerate the customer’s time to purchase. One way to demonstrate your ability to address the customer’s need is with personalization. Jason started pursuing personalization when he was preparing to go on a three week honeymoon. He started wondering what his clients’ businesses would look like after he was gone for nearly a month. How would that time away continue to impact the businesses months down the line? This longer-term thinking prompted him to start asking his clients what they needed from him which incited further questions like “what am I doing for them that could be recurring in their business?” Additionally, Jason recognized that different businesses had different peak seasons and events that require prepwork or extra attention leading up to them (e.g. non profits often needed more help in the spring to prep for summer events, and product sites need more help in the fall leading up to Black Friday). In anticipation of these various events, Jason began regularly meeting with organizations to find what they needed and also what they liked about working with him/where he could improve. He learned lot during these chats that he says would not have been brought to his attention had he not stepped into his client’s shoes. Jason was also trying to build a bigger client base on his own (naturally it had been easier to find clients as an employee). Jason started to look at his own leads and considering who they were and what they wanted. He distilled what he learned from the client calls to a set of 5 or so things and set up emails with trigger links that corresponded to them. He then sent those emails to his list. He garnered some valuable information from the experience including solid examples of what services respondents were looking for and also features he could package as products that he hadn’t considered before. For example, Jason says he over-communicates via email when possible but learned through this experience that calls are sometimes better for others. The results prompted him to change his marketing as well as his service offering and the new version included a phone call option. At the time, most of Jason’s work was agency overflow work and ecommerce companies rather than working with coaches or individuals. The data Jason gathered gave him the knowledge to open up this whole new audience and help other freelancers discover their client’s pain points and how to address them. Building Recurring Revenue with Business The more Jason showed leads what they wanted, the more he noticed changes in who was coming to him. He received project briefs from many new people and the quality of his leads increased as well as the numbers. Jason chalks this up to giving leads more of what they wanted through automation. When Jason asked these new customers the first question: “why did you sign up with me?” responses included “You’re responding to me weekly,” or “I want you to create a custom dashboard for me.” While this question remained relatively intact in every version, Jason says the form a given client actually sees changes based on the client’s intent -- that is, someone wanting help with digital marketing will see something different from someone who wanted a custom page. Today, Jason’s form is designed to get to those answers worked out pretty quickly. Brennan likes that the trigger links allow users to self subset. When tracking their funnel, most people stop at calculating whether each lead is resulting in a conversion. For Jason, segmentation helped him provide better service by narrowing the gaps in what customers want. Brennan asks if his numbers are sorted further and how clients are responding. Jason says they’re happy and his sphere of influence has shifted to include a few coaches and other professions. Email marketing has become a huge part of Jason’s life since that is where his best customer is found. These listeners are intelligent and focused. They like that Jason will listen to and care about their own bottom line rather than his own (as an agency would most likely do). Personalization has allowed Jason to expand his offerings and change his business, again putting the customer’s need in front of what technology can do. Where to next? What comes next? Jason wants to take the skills he has learned helping other people and their businesses and apply them to his business. His next goal is to create more of a back and forth dialogue with his audience, allowing them to ask him questions and allowing him to service their exact needs. Jason says he’s a better salesperson now thanks to automation enabling him to give customers what they want, and telling him when they’re ready to buy it. With his current focus on lifecycle-based marketing, Jason is keen to try more and more personalization to create a more human sales process -- a goal that ironically, will likely involve even more automation. Feast Jason's site WooCommerce Jason is a WordPress developer by trade, and has focused solely on WordPress for several years now. He “grew up” learning Java, went down the Ruby on Rails path, all the while doing custom PHP development. Jason and lives in Oceanside, New York with his wife Joanna and their son, TJ. He enjoys nothing more than spending a ridiculous amount of time with them, family and friends.
May 8, 2018
In this episode of DYF Podcast, Brennan talks to Joel Hooks whose site, Egghead.io, provides “video tutorials for badass web developers.” The site thrives by giving out tons of free content and supporting it with backend automation that brings in viewers. This strategy can work across business types (whether you offer a product or a service) with the big difference being scale. To find out how, and to hear tips for targeting, dealing with challenging customers, and scaling up, listen in to this week’s episode. Finding the right product and the right audience. Correct (and less correct) responses to critics. The difference between Free Content and Community Resources. How to generate more time. Today Joel Hooks runs Egghead.io, a website that provides video tutorials on every tool and aspect of web development. Today, the Netflix-style subscription service has grown to have 20 employees and over 100 instructors, but things weren’t always so promising. Joel talked to Brennan about how Egghead came to be, What he’s learned along the way, and how other consultants --even across different business types-- can apply Egghead methods to their own areas of expertise. Finding the Product Brennan first met Joel Hooks in 2011 when both were students of Amy Hoy’s 30x500 course. Joel says that contrary to Amy’s advice, he held on to some of his early ideas far longer than he should have. At the time, Joel was dead set on selling an app for stay at home moms who are passionate about photography. He knew there was a growing community among this audience, but it took Joel a couple years to realize that they weren’t responding well to him as a male outside of their demographic. Amy coached Joel to sell to a customer who might be more accessible to him and who he may understand better. She told him, “Sell to you.” So he began writing an ebook about Angular.js which was taking off at the time. Simultaneously, he noticed that his friend, John Lindquist, was making useful, high quality videos for programmers and distributing them for free (though donations were encouraged). Joel suggested to John that the videos could be repackaged and offered for sale via a monthly subscription. Though he wasn’t keen on it at first, Lindquist eventually agreed. While John continued to produce videos, Joel took charge of the marketing and the Egghead we know today was born. To start, Joel assembled 50 of John’s videos (which he points out are still available for free on YouTube). He packaged them as a zip and then created a product landing page for them. Next, Joel gathered every email address John had and announced the new product. To everyone’s surprise, that first week they brought in $6000. In another week the duo went from a very simple Gumroad setup to a custom Rails app Joel built that included Stripe subscriptions. At this point, the premium content that was driving subscription sign ups didn’t even exist, but the promise of that content was sufficiently valuable to their audience. Joel points out this only worked because of the trust he and John had built into their reputations. John was well known for being an expert in coding screencasts and had a considerable following going into this experiment. What if People Hate Me? With the sales offering in production, Joel worked more actively on creating a real, consolidated email list, and building better emails. He had many of the same trepidations we all face when building something new, but one thought that nagged him as he faced this part of the automation process: “What if people hate me for sending too many emails?” Since each email he sends is going to about 200,000 people, Joel is now well aware that there will always be some people who don’t like what he’s doing. While most subscribers will continue to enjoy Egghead’s offerings, there will be unsubscribes and some negative comments. Continuing to follow Amy Hoy’s advice, Joel does not engage with confrontational customers. He points out that responding to critics by defending your position, bending over backwards to help, or even returning the fire with fire is usually a huge waste of time. He prefers to look at what comes next instead of dwelling on what didn’t work for one person. Of course he mentions that in a few very rare cases when someone has abused Egghead’s policies or crossed a line with their customer support staff, Joel has indulged in one of the less talked about perks to being one’s own boss. He may have even ensured the user was blocked on all of his social media accounts before then customizing their videos to play exclusively Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Brennan agrees that sending sales emails is intimidating. Who wouldn’t prefer to be approached by a customer who has cash in hand and a solvable need? How did Joel learn to not take negative feedback personally? Joel says his attitude is “buy it or don’t,” and he will even recommend a competitor if he thinks they’re a better fit for the customer’s need. He points out that the bigger the subscriber list, the less of a loss one, or even several account(s) can be. Joel knows his subscribers have to opt-in to his list and he provides actionable, content-based emails to ensure the experience is mutually beneficial. That’s why he says he feels less bad when he encounters subscribers who are uncomfortable with the level of marketing he sends out. Joel brings up the example of a recent hard sales push Egghead did over the course of several days. They received numerous angry comments from readers on the last day of the sale when they sent out 4 or 5 emails in one day. Audience members said things like, “no one is going to buy product when you spam them this much,” but Joel points out, 25% of the business that came out of this promo was from the final sale day featuring the most emails. Joel’s approach is that “the people who complain are not your customers.” He treats refund requests in much the same way. Free Content vs Community Resources Leading up to Egghead’s subscription service, they offer free introductory courses and have free resources stashed throughout their business. Brennan asks what elements drive actual subscription sales for Egghead with so much free material available. Joel says he doesn’t like to think of these materials as “free content” but rather as “community resources.” He feels this distinction allows him to support his employees while also supporting the open source community of which he is a big fan. Despite being free, these community resource materials are valuable on all fronts. Joel believes it is essential that this content be relevant and useful to viewers. Beyond that, instructors are paid for their time whether or not the resource is for sale. Lastly, this content usually serves as a gateway to the Egghead email list or subscription service either via search engine optimization or a direct link --after you’ve watched a couple videos, the materials are still free but viewers are required to opt in for emails if they wish to keep watching. This is Egghead’s primary inbound lead funnel (although they do also use Facebook ads). Liberating Time Through Automation Joel says in his business, the journey from lead to paying customer is fueled by reciprocity and value. Following Nathan Barry’s advice, Joel coasts on giving freebies and soft sells to potential customers over time before delivering a hard sell. One of those freebies is an email course designed to feed into an evergreen sales funnel. Brennan asks what happens to the many people who participate in the email course and then don’t subscribe. Surprisingly, Joel doesn’t really track this part of the business down to decimals. He says he knows there is potential to make more money but ultimately, he feels his work is good enough for now. Joel’s work/life balance is stellar and his sales are high enough to comfortably pay his employees. He doesn’t sweat the lost potential and believes he’s happier for it. Joel hopes to someday integrate more personalization into his email sequence and Egghead is just starting out in this following Joel’s participation in the DYF Drip course. Brennan asks Joel his thoughts on transitioning from traditional sales methods (i.e. calls) to automated email marketing. He asks how Joel would convince a consultant that investing time upfront into creating a substantive newsletter is worthwhile. Joel says once the sequence is doing the work that you used to do, the time liberated by the workflows is extremely valuable. For a freelancer, time can be significantly harder to come by and more precious than money. How one uses that time is up to the individual: they could create a new product, give a client extra attention, or perhaps, like Joel, use the opportunity to recharge. Another benefit to automation is being able to sell 24 hours a day. When working with international clients, this can be exceptionally helpful. Automation can help answer most of the questions leads will ask, and even if the client will require a sales call down the line, automation can help set that up also. When to Hold Off on Automating Of course, sometimes the waiting audience can be a motivating factor. For Brennan, he says their influence is huge so he has to create workflows that will help his process without hindering his productivity. Having too small an audience is another example of when automating may not be the appropriate use of time and resources. Joel agrees. He says that “you have to build a thing to use a thing. Joel encourages listeners to think about whether or not their investments are going to pay them back and that includes purchasing automation software. He also suggests that getting started early on can make sense if you’re simultaneously working on building the list, workflows and content. That way when business is booming and your list has grown, you will only have to provide minor tweaks to the sequence. Automation can be “the perfect employee,” according to Brennan. In addition to working around the clock, it can be applied to a variety of tasks including marketing, bookkeeping, and customer care. It also creates an opportunity to delegate responsibility so that the business is not so dependent on its founder alone. Since consulting generally doesn’t come with a “buy now button” option, there is a point along the sales chain that will require high-touch human intervention. However, you can “hire” an email marketing app to help customers develop their ideas based on what they’ve seen you do. When customers see what your sequence does, it builds trust in your capabilities, and lays the groundwork for a successful sales call. Additionally, the shortened sale cycle is invaluable for an agency owner like Brennan whose generalized services are not easily isolated into packageable products. He then gets to focus that time on clients who are paying him, product development, and work/life balance instead of sending the same messages over and over again. For Egghead, automated email marketing sets Joel up for success by informing his audience (who might not be problem-aware) that their development education and this knowledge is a great investment. It is also terrifically scalable as Egghead grows. Brennan adds that getting started on email marketing can be an excellent gateway for automating other parts of your business. He says, just get started on it and the rest will follow. Joel sees it as the change required to allow for growth. Freeing time up in one area of the business opens opportunities on the other aspects. Joel has found his comfort zone in Egghead. The business is successful enough for him to employ his team and not have to worry about constant growth or missed opportunities. He has used automation to free up his own time and avoid doing the same tasks over and over again. By providing rich content, he’s developed a rapport with customers that puts them at ease with automated marketing. With team, customer-base and self happy, Joel is able to use his time more productively and freely which is all thanks to smart automation! Joel's site Amy Hoy's 30x500 course Facebook Ads Nathan Barry's site Social Media:@joelhooks
May 1, 2018
Greg Hickman facilitates automation for all types of clients, but on this episode of DYF Podcast he talks with Brennan about how automation works for consultants. Not only has Greg automated his own consulting business, but he also uses Active Campaign and InfusionSoft to set up campaigns for other consultants including some big influencers. In this episode Greg tells Brennan how his business started --almost accidentally-- and grew to serve an impressive list of heavy hitting clients in just a couple years. Key Takeaways: When you should start automating What you should automate first How to break down the value of a lead How to use paid ads to increase leads Greg Hickman started his agency, System.ly, as an experiment. At the time Greg was co-hosting a podcast called Zero to Scale with his friend Justin McGill. When the Podcast’s success reached a plateau Justin challenged Greg to try monetizing his automation skills by offering funnel-building services. System.ly was born and soon became the force behind numerous influencers’ and course creators’ sites. What started as funnel building evolved into a much fuller service including front end marketing, back of house client how to guides on automation, fulfillment, operations etc. Greg says they fell in love with helping businesses expand the role of automation throughout the entire client journey right up to fulfillment. System.ly spent much of 2017 moving away from coursebuilding clients and into service based business. System.ly’s current focus is helping service-based business go from productization to building sales teams. They then streamline the sales experience with automation at every turn including new lead acquisition, client onboarding, and the sale itself. Can solo agencies and smaller businesses benefit from System.ly’s consulting and if so, is working with them worth it for Greg and his team? Greg says size of the agency doesn’t matter --in fact, he says automation is “the best first hire.” While size of agency doesn’t matter, having an established process does. He says there is a lot of temptation to start using cool new tools before it is necessary. Greg says selling manually at first is key to creating systems that actually work. Early on, agencies won’t have a sales process which is understandable but automating this early, Greg says, “is just wasting precious time,” since the use-cases and workflows that are implemented might not target the right things. Greg says, “for anyone just starting out, the focus should be sales sales sales.” Then once they have validated their offer with proven results, new ventures should evaluate the system for automation opportunities. As Brennan says, automating your process is “the codification of something you’ve done a lot manually already.” Rather than the invention of a new system, automation should be curating and editing a proven process to make it evergreen. Greg points out that System.ly has 3 employees but finds that their automation does a lot of the heavy lifting so he believes in getting started early --just not too early. So how do you automate a consulting business? Greg and his team typically set up very similar foundational systems for each of their clients with small variations. For System.ly, the automation process typically starts with productization. When they first meet, agencies and individuals are usually functioning as generalists: e.g. “I am a web designer but I also do facebook ads and SEO etc.” Greg says when his clients have multiple service offerings, he often sees them attempting to systemize the back of house first which, as he points out, can become very messy. Greg says he fell for this trap also, developing hundreds of SOPs for his business while needing to customize the product (and therefore the procedure) for every sale. As a result, he never really got to use those SOPs. Having learned the hard way, his first questions for clients now are “What are you selling?” and “Who are you working with?” He works to extract his clients’ expertise from the process to find what is uniquely theirs since, much as we may try, no one is an expert in everything. Having a product that clients can see helps a business stand out in the marketplace, accelerate the sales cycle, and sell easier. But how do you make a product out of ideas? Greg looks for the unique processes that his clients use so that he can build the back-end system around it. Fulfillment depends a great deal on product so it is easier to work backwards from there than to build the service anew with every new customer. Once System.ly has helped a client refine the offer, they’ll expect the client to spend some time validating and selling it. The client will need to prove that the product is something they can actually get people interested in and sell. Once the product is deemed viable, System.ly and the client will work on building an acquisition system. It is much easier to direct people towards a sale when you know what a product is (in fact, Greg says without it, pretty much all of your leads will either be via referrals and word of mouth). Brennan thinks of acquisition systems similarly. He says you should front load your targeted marketing into your system and look at it from the client’s perspective, isolating a certain outcome rather than listing services. He points out that if you say “I’m a web designer, and I have a webinar,” all of your sign ups will be from people who have already identified an immediate design need. He gives the example of a friend who specializes in cold outreach to chiropractors. Although he is a web designer, Brennan’s friend sells himself based on the ability to get more leads to chiropractors. This is much more effective than just offering websites or redesigns to chiropractors who probably think their site is fine. This strategy tells customers that they are missing out and that there is a solution within reach. The cost of the product also determines the sales tactics you’ll want to use. Greg says “The lower your price point, the more ninja your funnel needs to be.” For example, using paid advertising like Facebook ads to sell something at a low cost, is going to require much more work than selling a high-ticket item. Lower dollar items are going to require more re-engagement sequences, split testing, and of course, more money up front if you’re paying per click. Higher value sales allow more wiggle room and you can spend more getting one lead to an intake form than you’d have to spend on a smaller one. As a result, Greg has found that selling a service with a higher margin often works out to be more profitable than selling a course at a higher volume with a lower individual cost. If you’re good at the service you provide, Greg suggests just using systems to get more prospects and letting automation do as much lead generation work for you as possible. System.ly typically starts out by setting up two funnels. As discussed, they have their client testing the market to see if a product is validatable. Meanwhile, Greg and his team set up an application process and the necessary screening procedure for ensuring clients get on the phone with the right people instead of wasting time with the wrong ones. They build the automation that powers getting to the sales call, arranging the sales call, and following up on call. The manual version of this is creating a Wufoo form that goes to your email, reviewing it and set up the call or not. Greg’s clients start with a version of this that is slightly more sophisticated. Theirs includes some of the stuff that goes into the process of getting on that first call: reminders, touchpoints like reviewing applications etc. Greg is a big fan of webinars as a tool to introduce a service to a customer. System.ly itself uses a webinar to app to phone call funnel. Greg’s team will typically be building a webinar for the customer during the product validation portion also. To get prospects to their webinar, most of System.ly’s clients will use paid and organic traffic. He says clients often have a tiny list to begin with which the System.ly team will use to get prospects into the client’s app in order to grab any quick, low hanging sales. However, getting clients into paid ads is usually a first step in the System.ly approach if the customer doesn’t already have some kind of audience. The team also gets their clients to examine how they look to their own Facebook groups and to other components of their audience to promote more organic traffic in the long run. Brennan typically promotes lead magnets rather than heftier webinars when he uses paid ads so he asks about the cost aspect of System.ly’s business. Greg says their clients sometimes pay up front, then they hire his team on a retainer. Other times they just go straight into a retainer. Greg says they use an excel spreadsheet to show their clients how much they should spend per webinar registrant, how much they should spend per applicant etc. All of these numbers are based on how many of each group moves forward and the percentage that end as actual paid clients. Greg says in general, he shoots for at least 20% of Facebook clicks to end in webinar registration, and on average, his company gets closer to 40%. Of those who register, Greg says about 50% actually attend. At this stage, the funnel is still evergreen, since the webinar is pre-recorded and on demand every 15 minutes. Greg points out that when they host live webinars, the number of attendees usually drops to 20% because timing is difficult to coordinate. Of the 50% of leads who attend his webinars, 15% apply. Greg makes an offer to nearly every qualified applicant and 20% of those offers will result in a contract. Greg says if he had a dedicated paid ads person on his staff they might go as far as looking at prices per click and price per webinar registration, but he chooses not to look this closely. Greg’s focus is on the price per application since that is the most important value in his funnel. Since most of the lead qualification happens on the front end of his funnel, Greg makes an offer to nearly every applicant he gets on the phone with. He and his team have a system for reviewing and scoring applications. Since many of the application questions are open-ended and some leads are working on mobile devices, applicants sometimes give very brief answers. When this happens, his team does not hesitate to pursue more information and will send follow up questions saying, “we don’t know if we can help you yet.” This follow up is actually part of the screening process because anyone who filled in the application on a whim or half-heartedly won’t respond so the team will move on. There is some opportunity in Greg’s funnel right now. He says he has about 10-15 sales calls per week and is now onboarding a sales team member to help him with that. Business is booming which means they are cancelling more applications (20-30%) than Greg would like. Of course, sometimes the call is not the right fit. Greg mentions one call he recently had that didn’t result in an offer. He believes it was someone trying to funnel hack him and learn about his stages of traffic. Greg politely pointed that lead towards a more relevant resource elsewhere. Brennan, like Greg, chooses to look at the price per qualified lead as a way to gauge the effectiveness of his paid ads. Greg estimates that he spends about $600 per day on lead acquisition. About $500 of that is for cold lookalike audience ads pushing leads into the webinar (See Brennan's interview with Kev Kaye on paid ads, linked below, for more on audiences). The remainder is for retargeting leads who didn’t complete the funnel, pushing them either into the webinar or into the application depending on how far they got. These methods are currently resulting in 50-60 applications per month. Brennan breaks down the equation conservatively as follows: $600/Day paid ads x 30 days/month = $18,000 for 50 applications 20% of those 50 applications = 10 new customers per month $7500/ customer x 10 = $75,000 new income per month Even during the Winter holiday season when ads are most expensive, Greg’s margin is comfortable. Additionally, he recognizes numerous opportunities to close the leaks and is making small tweaks all the time. He says the most important advice he’s ever received came when he was adhering to a maximum $200/day budget. A friend told him “I know it’s crazy but you have to spend more.” Despite the similarities in their businesses, his friend was finding significantly more success. Compared side by side, the only major difference in their businesses was opportunity volume as a direct result of their ad budgets. Greg decided to give it a try and to his surprise, his applications steadily increased. Brennan asks about the level of maintenance required in Greg’s ad cycle. Although Greg acknowledges the opportunities that come with increased attention to updating ads, he doesn’t want to spend too much time on this side of things. Instead he goes for quality, working with an ad coach and uses careful records of what ads are running and what results are achieved to determine the effectiveness of each one. His analysis has shown that testing new audiences vs new ads is better for him. One successful ad ran from August to January (which is a long time in the world of internet ads). It only ended up coming down because some viewers had started marking it as “spam.” In response, System.ly created a similar ad with new copy and video. Finding an ad that works and refining the lookalike audience is Greg’s favorite part of the process. He says he was nervous when he first saw that one of his ads had gotten negative feedback, but his coach assured him that as long as his conversions are running well, a new ad would bring back the audience. When someone registers for a webinar but doesn’t get to the application step, Greg’s automation sequences will send daily emails for a week to that person. This campaign is then followed by less frequent emails and they will have opted into his newsletter email list. Generally, Greg sends about 3 newsletter updates per week. Just by sharing his week’s wins and useful content, Greg is able to use his newsletter as follow up rather than targeted re-engagement follow up messages. Since Greg will be talking about the same stuff anyway, he doesn’t spend the energy twice which simplifies what he has to create. Greg mentions Clay Collins’s “Five Ones,” which urges business leaders to achieve success by focusing on one target client, providing one solution, through one offer, via one conversion method (funnel) for one year. This kind of focus has been helpful to Greg since it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the possibilities and opportunities he sees. Brennan asks if leads know the service pricing by the time they get on the call with Greg. Greg says they generally don’t. System.ly’s pre-call education includes the webinar, thank you page, and a handful of videos that demonstrate how to apply, how to prepare for the sales call, etc. They send call details via email, and of course, if more information is needed, Greg’s assistant will reach out to the applicant. When the team spots potential pricing conflicts, they’ll reach out to the client and let them know, “We think we can help, but this is the investment required and these are the payment options.” If they’re able to meet those requirements, the call will stand. If not, the System.ly team will try to provide alternative resources to hopefully get them to where they can afford to revisit the investment later. Even if the call doesn’t result in an immediate close, the account is not necessarily written off. Sometimes, Greg will set up a second or third call with the lead if it seems like a promising fit and this is managed by Pipedrive. However, not every lead is a great fit. Greg tries to avoid being a pushy salesperson and only encourages the client to continue talks if he thinks they’ll truly benefit from System.ly’s help. When the fit is wrong, the client will usually be encouraged to check out other resources and they will be moved into the newsletter and Facebook group in case things change down the line. If the hang up is simply bad timing (an upcoming vacation or another project taking center stage at the moment), System.ly will take a deposit and set a start date for once the way is clear. This holds the client’s space in the queue and keeps them interested in the service. Lastly, if the call goes well but the client does not respond immediately, Greg will set a reminder to check in with the lead later. For December, System.ly acquired 9 new clients and took 6 additional deposits from future clients. This system helps Greg plan the revenues for his upcoming workmonths. Most of Greg’s acquisition funnel now runs on autopilot he says. He is able to visually manage his funnel via Pipedrive and only involves human influence once his assistant starts reviewing applications. Automation does the heavy lifting and keeps his calendar full. Greg says through automation, he’s been able to cut his personal fulfillment duties to three hours per week. Since his leads are great and his fulfillment capacity is so streamlined, Greg recognizes his current challenge is delegating some sales call work to his new employee so that they won’t have to turn away potential clients. Greg’s plans for scaling the business beyond adding another sales representative, include increasing the amount of adspace he buys (assuming the new salesperson brings in new closes). He’s also recently expanded on the 10 week program he hosts and created a 12 month program. This creates monthly recurring revenue which allows System.ly to continue paying their advertising bill before it is due. One thing Greg is tracking is how many conversions he gets from the 10 week program to the 12 month program. Since these leads are highly qualified and readily available, Greg is hoping this will be a viable avenue. However, he cautions that this is a great example of why knowing his numbers is so valuable. With careful records, he can ensure that he’s not just pursuing the thing that he hopes is the answer, he pursuing the most logical course and won’t go over his budget. Greg concludes that although $600 per day on ads can seem like a lot of money, the payoff can be well worth it. With only 3 people on staff, System.ly has still managed to have two 6-figure months in a row, and the payoffs run deeper than cashflow. Greg says he has more free time and confidence than ever before and it is all thanks to one funnel. He argues that automation is key for service providers since the thing that is going to result in the most significant increase in business is simply getting on more sales calls. By charging what you’re worth, he believes you can afford to create the infrastructure needed to increase your business, allowing you to scale appropriately. If your skills and service are good, then spending time creating downsell courses and other such strategies can be a distraction from what you’re good at and is within your reach. Later, when that is running smoothly, you can look at what expertise you’ve built and create new products based on that. Greg emphasizes that sequence is the key to having an effective business. ActiveCampaign Greg's email marketing software Infusionsoft Greg's CRM Greg's and Justin's Podcast ConvertedCon Greg's site WuFoo Form Builder DYF Podcast episode with Kev Kaye on Paid Ads Pipedrive Greg's CRM Clay Collins on Twitter
April 24, 2018
Whenever Jennifer Nelson sees a new innovation for online business, she immediately learns it and apply it to her own work. This passion for finding the best way of doing things is how she became a certified Drip automation expert and a successful independent consultant and coach. Listen to this episode of DYF Podcast to see what strategies and innovations you can borrow from Jennifer and how to implement them into your daily practices. She’ll also discuss communication with different types of clients, managing multiple funnels, and how she gets her conference audiences to pay attention even after her presentation is over. Key Takeaways: How to talk automation to business owners How to become an automation expert How to win customers with a softer sell How to maximize your funnel with a variety of lead magnets As a Drip certified automation expert, Jennifer Nelson has fully automated her own business and now works with others to introduce automation to their routines. Her goal is to enable her clients to focus on the creative work and projects at the core of their businesses rather than spending all their time on marketing or upkeep tasks. Jennifer takes a piecemeal approach when she works with freelancers and agencies to find ways they can delegate day to day tasks in their businesses to machines. Jennifer wasn’t always an independent automation superstar. She says about two years ago, she reached a point of reckoning. She had been working comfortably at an ad/tech start up, but she needed to see what she could do on her own. Jennifer started a consulting business and began the quest for clients. She started a newsletter which she distributed using the email platform, MailChimp. This helped, Jennifer, but she really got into automation after seeing it in action. Jennifer recalls, “I was following this blogger who I just remember I liked. I read one of her blogs and then I downloaded something. It came immediately to my email as a PDF. I was like, ‘Oh my God. That's cool,’ and how'd she do that? Then I learned that she was using ConvertKit. I was like, ‘Okay, let me sign up for ConvertKit.’" By then, Jennifer was also following Brennan who sent an automated message that ended with “By the way, I used Drip to send out this email." Jennifer was intrigued. When she attended the Leadpages conference 2 yrs ago, they offered the first ever Drip Certification Course. Energized by the conference and having already spent a lot of money to attend, she decided to shell out another $1000 to get certified. She feels more knowledge is never a bad thing. The course was hard at first because it was so new. She had her doubts but once it came time to test, she discovered she had learned the methods. Excited about automating her own business, Jennifer realized other people would need that service too so she niched herself as an automation specialist. For her personal business, Jennifer has created three main funnels. She has a site that encourages people to book a call with her, she has a 5 day email course, and Drip promotes her as a certified consultant which also drives leads. When clients come to Jennifer via Drip, she talks about the software, but when speaking with other clients, she generally asks them more open-ended questions like “How do you need to make your life easier?” and then offers ideas. Jennifer’s approach with these clients is to stay focused on the problem and the solution, keeping the talk about marketing in general rather than specific tools. Jennifer’s background in advertising sales helps her talk the marketing game while demonstrating to her clients that she knows what she’s doing. Brennan agrees that aligning the language you use to the type of business you’re working with is key. He says that for more traditional businesses, the framework will sound more like “Look, we're going to basically package the stuff that your sales team is already doing into something that doesn't require your sales team to constantly show up and do it (though of course, they’ll still be there to close the deal etc).” While you don’t want to talk down to your clients, you also want them to be able to connect with what you’re proposing. Jennifer created her five-day course, Email Automation 101, about a year ago and it has since become her most popular email series. The course came about because Jennifer had noticed she was mostly meeting clients in person and introducing them to the idea of automation for the first time. As a result, she was spending a lot of time on potential clients, explaining the principles to them before signing a contract or getting any assurance that she would be hired. Rather than continuing to try explaining automation to everyone she met, Jennifer handed new contacts her business card and asked them to check out her course through LeadDigits. Of course the downsides to this tactic are that people tend not to revisit the stack of business cards they’ve acquired after an event is over, and some are put off by LeadDigits thanks to fear of spam texts. Jenny has more success when giving presentations and workshops. She’ll invite the audience to text the LeadDigits number to get her slide deck and she informs them that they’ll also be enrolling in her 5 day email course. Jenny attributes her success here to the fact that she is striking while the iron is hot: she has just met the people reading these emails and because they’re daily rather than weekly or monthly, she believes the enthusiasm is maintained through to the end. She now spends far less time explaining what automation is, and her Email Automation 101 course emails have a 75% open rate and 11% click through rate. Jennifer also borrowed a tip she learned from Brennan in that she labels her emails according to their order (“email 1 out of 5” etc.). Her next objective with the Email Automation 101 course is to target this funnel towards one specific product but she is still testing which product that will be. One thing Brennan recommends for boosting opt-ins is to maximize event contacts by saying “Hey, I have this 5 day email course, mind if I add you to it?” Though long-term this may not represent a ton of conversions, it is a good way to get close to a hundred percent opt-ins for a conference. Although this doesn’t scale as well as a landing page, it is one of a handful of opportunities Brennan notices for growing numbers in the wake of conferences. Another is creating a funnel based on automating messages to the people you’ve met. This would start with a message that reads something like: “"Hey, [Jenny], it's been really cool talking. I actually have something that I think you might interested in. It's a free course I've built on [XYZ]. Would it be cool if I send it to you when I go back to my office?" This tactic, which usually results in a strong uptick in opt-ins, may also present high-quality leads since they have also already had a quick conversation with you and feel a connection to you as an individual. As Jenny looks to the future in considering what course to feature at the end of her sales funnel, she knows that it is important to revisit a product months and even years after it was made. Jennifer says this is “so you don’t forget what you’ve done.” In reviewing her course, she noticed that in the end, the course dumped customers onto her services page. She believes is far too quick for a sales pitch so she’s refining her process now. The new version will include more specific questions for her customers. She’ll then give the prompt, “Do you find that booking meetings is annoying? I have a solution for that,” which will then link to a softer sales page. Coming from sales, it is hard for Jenny to scale back the hard sell. She says now she is first seeking a tripwire sale: inexpensive, low commitment, great service and value. Of course, this little sale, is intended to lead to a much bigger sale. As Brennan points out, selling consulting which requires a large commitment from customers in both time and money, is a tall order for the end of this sales funnel. He recalls a youtube consultant he once used who sold introductory sessions in which he’d walk customers through spreadsheets he uses and would input their information. At the end of the session, the data could show if spending money on youtube ads was worth it. For Brennan, the $200 cost of the service was well worth it compared to the thousands he’d be spending in video production, and at the end of the session, the consultant sold a monthly retainer for helping businesses optimize their youtube ads. The high-value, personalized service of the initial call, made the retainer something Brennan could consider where a downloadable pdf or a course would not invite that commitment. Brennan suggests some type of paid roadmapping session for Jenny’s tripwire product. Jenny says she’s considering offering an audit to show customers their potential with email automation. She would offer an hour of her time to ask them what their funnel looks like now, spell out their current funnel and work with them to figure out the values of the different parts of the funnel. She’d ask: “What's the value of a visitor? What's the value if they're on the client’s list? What changes would amplify each different point of the funnel?” This establishes the relationship between Jenny and the customer, making them feel comfortable with her, and showing that she understands her business and can help them. She’s also considering roadmapping or a low-cost worksheet to help them see ROI potential. Jenny also uses a Drift widget to ask customers who visit her site to tell her about their pain points. She says she gets some very in-depth responses since naturally, customers and visitors are already thinking about their businesses. She says this has lead to sales but the other purpose of the tool is to get the potential lead into Jenny’s Drip via a Zapier zap. From there, an automated message is sent saying “Hey, it looks like you were trying to book an appointment,” and it includes 4 days of follow up emails containing information similar to the automation question they asked. Since the customer is not yet on her list at that point, Jenny’s automated emails invite them to join one of three courses she offers. She’s interested in re-targeting down the line to those who don’t. With Drip, she can push them into a custom audience and promote the email course to on Facebook to that audience. Once they opt-in to that email course, Drip can push them out of that custom audience. Jennifer says that because she’s looking for big ticket sales, every added sale could be worth the effort and automated follow up. Jennifer has developed multiple entry points to her funnel. She has also perfected the art of strategically discuss marketing with clients based on who they are and their experience while also demonstrating her authority in that field. When she sees something working well for someone else, Jennifer sets her mind to learning how to make it work for her and her clients. She is constantly looking towards the next innovation or time saving tool and will gladly help you find yours! For DYF podcast listeners, Jenny has a special code to receive her 5 Day Email course, Automation 101. To receive those emails, text DYFJenny to 44-222 where you’ll be prompted to enter your email address. From there, everything will be email-based. You can see her liquid tags for personalization in action and imagine what in your business you can personalize without having to re-invent or re-write each message. Jenny's website Drip Marketing Software MailChimp ConvertKit LeadDigits Jenny's Business Card Hack Drift Zapier Jennifer Miranda Nelson is a professional business marketing consultant and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Automate This!, a marketing consulting firm and JennyMiranda.com. She is driven to help others succeed in their lives and their businesses. When not consulting, teaching, or creating course material, you can usually find Jennifer taking a hike through the mountains of Los Angeles. She loves outdoor activities, and gets on her road bike whenever she can find the opportunity to.
April 20, 2018
What parts of your funnel should be automated? How can you create urgency without building extensive “limited time offer” workflows into your automation? Is it possible to give even better service with less person to person contact? In this first episode of DYF Podcast Season 2 on Automation, Franz Sauerstein addresses all of the various steps in his sales funnel and how he helps others automate thiers. He shares tricks of the trade like getting clients to self-qualify before he even becomes involved. He and Brennan also discuss the next step in optimizing automation: Personalization. Go in depth with Franz as he walks us through his process from beginning to end. Key Takeaways: How to create urgency with self-assessments How to follow up with cooled leads How to provide a better user experience through automation The best way to segment leads following sales calls Franz Sauerstein is a two-time DYFConf EU participant and was a Student Success Coach for the now retired, Double Your Freelancing Academy. His consultancy, Xciting Webdesign, specializes in optimizing European e-commerce stores through automation. By employing tools like Drip (marketing) and Pipedrive (customer relationship manager), Franz’s company primarily takes businesses generating 5 figure revenues and turns them into businesses consistently generating 6 figure revenues. In his own practice, Franz uses automation to find, qualify, transact, and follow up with clients. So how do Franz’s daily workflows break down? Let’s walk through his practices. In the past, Franz has had a very involved process for drawing in leads. Although the steps of this process have not changed too much, the execution of each component has. Franz’s funnel starts with well-centered blog posts which he pays to have appear on social media venues like Facebook. These posts feature opt-ins with content upgrades including pdfs and ebooks that Franz says teach readers “how they can make their stores more successful and live the lives they want.” Content upgrades Franz has used include things like a guide covering “23 Ways To Increase Conversion Rates.” Because the topics speak to his target clients’ needs and provide relevant, accurate information, Franz is able to draw his leads’ attention and foster their trust in his expertise. Previously, when a lead would opt in, Franz would nurture them and after a few weeks or a few months they would fill out a qualifying form and jump on a call. In addition to automating several steps along the way, Franz has flipped the script on the qualification process. Franz now offers a self assessment to the client that will show them how much revenue they’re losing by not acting fast to employ his services. Although there are great tried and true methods for creating urgency on the sales side of the equation (offer a limited sale, create limited availability, offer a bundle discount etc), Franz wanted to create a sense of urgency on the customer’s side. He created an online form with Brevity, Zapier and Drip software. When a customer downloads the PDF, Drip logs the event and triggers a follow up for the following day. Although the assessment is standard, the response is tailored to what the reader’s shop needs. The wording in the follow up message changes based on what else the customer has read and what info they’re pursuing, making this one area Franz has optimized for personalization. The next step in this funnel is that Franz sends a suggestion of a 30 minute free consultation for qualified leads. If the lead accepts, then the workflow is complete and the info is then shuffled over to his CRM. If they don’t take the phone call then he will continue sending automated messages to the lead for 9 weeks with content along the lines of what they’ve shown interest in. These messages build trust with information-rich content and build urgency by asking if the customer has taken action yet. Franz says leads usually respond by the fourth or fifth email but if there is no response after 9 weeks, he will close the file. He says about 50% of the leads who are left by the time he sends the last email do actually respond at that point. Brennan asks Franz how selling has changed for him now that he’s introduced so much automation into his business. Franz says that for starters, sales calls were awful before he automated. Without the trust and the qualification that he has since built into his automation, Franz found it hard to sell clients on strategy. He was also getting the wrong kinds of leads. Like most of us selling services, he doesn’t want clients who want to DIY. Instead, Franz needs clients who want to focus on other aspects of their businesses while he implements the strategy they’ve agreed to. The self-qualifying questionnaire helps ensure Franz is getting the leads he wants and clients know want to expect from his services before getting on the first sales call. One of the best changes Franz made was replacing the phone number on his website with an email form. It may seem counterintuitive, but with the emails, Franz was able to offer better, more personalized customer service. How can service be more personalized when it doesn’t even involve direct interaction with a person? First, Franz’s email form asks for a quick description of the client’s project. He has then set up an auto-reply for these incoming messages which reads, “That sounds interesting, I have a few more qualifying questions…” The tone of the auto-reply, coupled with the fact that it is sent within 5 minutes of the initial message means Franz is now able to engage with customers even if they are in another time zone, or just checking out his site at 3 am, or even if Franz is away from the computer. Early engagement increases conversions so this can be a big help later down the road. Clients also have time to get the wording on their requests precise instead of struggling to articulate on a call, and Franz has a reference he can look to if there’s ever a risk of misunderstanding. Lastly, anyone who doesn’t want to fill in the second form, probably isn’t that committed to using Franz’s service. This tactic quickly weeds out those dead end leads, saving time. Less wasted time means more time to spend on paying customer’s projects which naturally improves the client experience. Once all of the sorting and qualifying has happened and the lead requests a call with Franz, a Drip follow up is sent with instructions for working out the logistics. Brennan advises tracking call statuses and clients via a CRM like Close.io. Unlike Pipedrive which has a mostly linear funnel, Close allows Brennan to have a “Booked Calls” section in which he can rate the call and Drip will respond accordingly. After a call, Brennan will go into Close and select “good fit,” “bad fit,” or “no show.” That status prompts Drip to move the leads to next step which might be a roadmapping session promo for good fit, the newsletter for bad fit, or calendly for re-booking if the person is a no show. Some parts of the sales funnel should not be automated --often, namely, the sale. While some products like online courses can run on sales automation, most consulting and service products like Roadmapping sessions, development, and even full audits must be done manually There are some things that can make these processes easier though like ready-made templates. Brennan mentions an SEO audit he recently hired an expert to conduct on DoubleYourFreelancing.com. The auditors clearly had a template they use for every gig that includes best practices and suggestions for each area they grade. The gig-specific information is then added so that the nuances of each recommendation are most apparent without having to re-write the guiding principles for every deliverable. Nusii proposal software has a reporting system with a similar guiding process that allows users to load in a report which they will use to build a template. That document will include standard next steps and best practices but allows room for users to fill in the blanks with project-specific suggestions. All of that can then be used as a template for a roadmapping deliverable. Franz uses Pipedrive and Drip to remind him to follow up with people after roadmapping to send them an invoice or reach out. The first two projects (roadmapping and whatever comes out of that) are usually low margin or low revenue so Franz knows the value of automating these processes. Return customers are more profitable so getting hands-on at this later stage is more financially worth his time. Brennan asks Franz what is left that he’d like to do in his business that he hasn’t yet. Franz is certain that more can be done with the amount of data he has on his leads and visitors. In the future he plans to optimize conversion rates and plug the few leaky spots in his funnel. Franz is looking towards more personalization alla Right Message and is planning to test Right Message with a client first (since their need is more urgent than his own). Franz notes that personalization is built on account-based marketing strategies that have existed for decades and are now being merged with and facilitated by technology. He intends to start adding information about leads he meets in person to the data set he’s gathered about leads who have found him online. Franz believes that short of Amazon, personalization is still a pretty under-used practice in Europe and he’d love to break this new ground in his market. Franz’s funnel follows a classic and effective trajectory. It starts with paid ads featuring content upgrades and opt-ins. Next, leads complete a self qualifying form. Leads who are on Franz’s page can email him and receive a near-instant response asking for more info. Leads then book a sales call or receive follow up emails until they do at which point roadmapping can begin and follow up is again handled by automation. Although Franz needs to be present for certain parts of his sales process, automation has allowed him to take more time focusing on existing, paid clients rather than chasing down new leads. He is able to connect with leads quicker, build trust more organically, qualify clients more accurately, and deliver a stronger product, all thanks to the introduction of automation into his business. As his business grows, Franz will seek to build on the traditional idea of account-based marketing through automated personalization. For now, he is enjoying the streamlined experience of having an optimized sales funnel and sharing his knowledge with others. Franz Sauerstein's site (in German) If you don’t speak German, email Franz at [email protected] The CRM Franz uses The CRM Brennan uses RightMessage (Brennan's Personalization Tool) Brevity Development Software Zapier Automation Software Nusii Proposal Software Drip Marketing Software Franz Sauerstein is the founder of Germany-based Xciting Webdesign which specializes in turning businesses that generate 5 figure revenues into businesses that generate 6 figure revenues through automation and webdesign. He is a two-time DYFConf EU participant and Student Success Coach for the, now retired, Double Your Freelancing Academy.
March 27, 2018
In this wrap up of Season 1, Brennan synthesizes the many insights from the first five episodes into a single step by step strategy for getting more clients. As a way to bring cohesion to the guests’ different approaches, Brennan follows the outline of DYF’s newest course, The Blueprint: Getting Clients Online. To get clients online, you’ll need to create a proper sales funnel. You’ll need to develop a service offering, validate it, set up proper marketing for it, and attract your clients. Since sales funnels can be leaky you’ll also need to look at the greater process and track where you’re losing your potential clients. You can start by thinking about what your end-goal is: a technical service offering, a consultation, a physical product sale, etc. In determining what form your end-goal will take and how to best present it, you should create a positioning statement or proposal. A good proposal takes a client’s need and merges it with the skills or services that you provide. The proposal will be a positioned statement of work/opt in, or service offering. Of course, you’ll want to front-load all of the steps that lead your customer to your proposal into your funnel and automate for something more systematically scalable than a one-off proposal, but starting with this concept will help you build backwards. Eventually, you will create a funnel leads the client to the sales offering from moment one. Brennan encourages you to ask yourself what “unfair advantage” you have over your competition based on your previous experience, your talents and skills, or your familiarity with your clients’ pain points. This edge, combined with your work history can help you create a positioning statement that will anchor your business. Your statement should answer the questions, “who?” “what?” and “why?” You should identify who your target audience is, what their common problem is, and why you are uniquely capable of solving it. Once you have this statement, you will be able to anchor your business within a reasonable scope and avoid tempting tangents that might be mistaken for growth opportunities. Brennan warns that the funnel should not be the summation of your business but rather just one channel through which you acquire leads. From here, Brennan’s process involves creating an internal manifesto. This takes the two or so sentence positioning statement and develops it into a set of guidelines. The manifesto will include information about target clients like who they are, how they describe themselves, their language and terms, where can they be found, what are the implications if their problem can’t be solved, what are their business risks, and what is the upside for them if it is fixed? Brennan points out that you shouldn’t speculate on the answers to these questions. He references Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers who says the best content should be curated not created. She encourages consultants to listen to their target audience, dig deep, make calls and find out what they actually need in their own words. Brennan says your internal manifesto should be a living document that develops as you add new information made up of the actual language and pains that your customers have. Brennan concludes that while the positioning statement is looking outward (“looking at my backstory, I think I can do _____ for you”), the manifesto is a more inclusive expansion of that that features actual production data (language, themes etc). The next step Brennan recommends is creating a “marketable document” from your manifesto findings. This is document could simply be a google doc, but it will help you normalize the data you’ve come up with to make your service or product marketable. Questions we seek to address in this document include: What beliefs, values and worldview do these clients have? What are their goals? What is the monetizable pain of they’re facing? What common objections do they have? What are they fighting against? What insenses them? By reducing this information into what are essentially the components of a sales letter (identify problem, create the solution and then make the offer) you can create a product that is derived from the customers’ actual need and surround it with the information your customers need to hear to dispel their objections. This document alone could lead to your first sales as you shop it around for feedback, but its main purpose is just to validate your product. You’ll want to get feedback from the people you’ve already talked to who fit the profile you’re targeting. Let them know you’ve been developing the product based on what you learned from them and from other conversations you’ve had and ask what they think about it and if what you have created addresses their pain points in the best way possible. If so, then you’re ready to build your sales offering. The “sales offering” will become the destination at the end of your funnel --the goal that you are leading your customers to where they either buy or don’t buy your product. Unlike the marketable document you created, your sales offering needs to be shareable (i.e. a webpage rather than a document). Brennan encourages you to avoid the common pitfall of selling and educating simultaneously. Instead, he wants you to think about how you can make your customer problem-aware before they even get to your services page. Customers who are problem-aware may not know you have a service that can help them but they will know what they need help with and that should make your service offering much more appealing. The job of the services page is to get clients to book a consultation, buy your product or hire you and of course these transactions all require that they trust you. As you build your funnel backwards, each step is about preparing the client for the next stage of the funnel. In this case, your next step will be to establish trust so the stage before the offering page might be a “freebie offer.” (The stage before that one will be about ensuring the customer is eager to opt in to the free content). A freebie offer is a product you’re selling in exchange for an email address and the customer’s time. Some freebie offerings we’ve seen in our Season 1 podcast episodes are Kev Kaye’s webinars and Josh Doody’s email templates. In both of these examples, the freebies are exchanged for contact information and time --which can be the foundation of a relationship between client and service provider. They also ensure that the customer is problem aware. Freebie offers take a lot of different forms including webinars and workshops, email courses, content upgrades, assessments, quizzes etc. (for Brennan they were initially free live seminars in his office). The marketable document you created should tell you what your customer’s needs are, and your freebie should tell them the solution. Though it may seem counterintuitive to “give away the answer,” the target client will be someone who is not a do it yourselfer. Good clients will recognize they have a problem and will trust your authority and experience to fix it. Not only does every stage of the funnel have a job, it should also have a call to action. This should focus on giving the client the shortcut to a solution. With the freebie, the offer is: you’re now fluent in the problem, here is the solution or you can hire me to take care of it for you. So we’ve started with conceptualization and created a product that our target clients want to buy. We’ve given them the means to do it, and the incentive to trust us. How then, do we get the attention of those target customers? Our episodes featuring Matt Inglot and Benji Hyam provide some excellent ideas for getting in front of your target audience. Matt spoke to podcasts (both guesting on them and hosting one) as a method for broader visibility. Benji meanwhile, talked about blogging as one method of establishing authority. Brennan points out that this is also the model for Double Your Freelancing. He first provides free content that his audience finds through SEO, referrals and other channels. The content proves that he can help his target client by offering solutions to their problems so they then opt into his freebie offers. These further establish the trust between DYF and the customer so that hopefully, they’ll follow the call to action and purchase a product. Brennan, like Matt Olpinski, offers products in addition to consulting services. Both of them have needed to bridge the gap between freebie opt-ins and high value services which can be a vast expanse when someone first hears of them. Brennan says the key to this is first getting in front of the customer through a guest post, podcast appearance, seminar or other means (Facebook ads in Kev Kaye’s case, brilliant SEO in Matt Olpinski’s case) and inviting the customer to “go more in depth” by offering a freebie that amplifies whatever has just been discussed. Since this freebie comes at just the price of contact information, Brennan says leads will be much more comfortable with that point of entry than they are with booking an appointment on your calendar or immediately filling in an application etc. Since most people aren’t going to opt-in to your service offering or even necessarily your freebie offering, Brennan says you need to have some long-term nurturing elements in your funnel. He calls this “nudging the 98%” since far more people are likely to ignore your offering on sight than will opt in. Like Josh Doody, Brennan’s approach is using great content to keep his business at the forefront of the customer’s mind, building the trust needed to ensure they’ll opt in once they feel comfortable, have the appropriate need, or have the financial means to do so. One example of great content, as discussed in Episode 2, is developing case studies into blog posts. Potential clients will be able to see themselves in the examples of people you’ve helped, and get a glimpse of the action you’ll be able to take on their behalf, plus results you’ve proven you can achieve. Another example of relevant content is a summary of new strategies you might have heard about at a conference you’ve attended. Since all of this content should include a call to action, each of these articles serves as its own entry point into your funnel. Reinforcing your value this way also nurtures those leads that are in your funnel (maybe via an email list opt-in or other method) but haven’t opted into a product yet. More information about nudging and nurturing will be at the forefront of Season 2 which will cover automation, but the main takeaway Brennan wants to emphasize here is that content should be working for you. When talking about lead generation, Brennan challenges listeners to think about the job/purpose of each page on their website and how well it is being executed. Matt Olpinski’s website, for example, is expertly optimized for local traffic. Since most first time visitors to his site will have found him through a blind Google search (vs a referral or an otherwise established presence), his landing page and supporting content are tailored appropriately. By exploring the purpose of the page and what you want your leads to get out of it, you can maximize the effectiveness of each page, email and other supporting content. Lastly, Brennan invites you to take a look at the view from 10,000 feet which means stepping back and looking at the funnel as a whole. Essentially, you will be promoting your free content (via SEO, giving talks, blog posts, Facebook ads or numerous other methods), in order to get the lead to opt in to the freebie offering. The freebie offering, or lead magnet, points to the service offering by which point, the client should already be problem aware and have some level of trust in you. At this point, you will highlight the problem again and make a case for how you can bridge the gap. From there, you’ll ask the customer to fill in an application, book a consultation or even pay for a roadmapping session. For the 98% who don’t buy into the service offering, you will continue to nurture them by feeding actionable content into your list, redirecting them back to the freebie offering and staying front of mind for them. Though you can’t control when your leads may need your services, when they’ll be able to opt in, or who they’ll recommend you to, you can “increase your luck’s surface area,” as Brennan calls it, by being present and ready with what they need when they need it. For Brennan, one of the most fascinating parts of the process (and the reason he got into automation) is putting a value on each type of lead. He recommends that you work out the dollar (or your currency of choice) amount that each lead represents. If 10% of people who book a consultation actually become a client, and if an average client project is $10,000, then each consultation, has a value of about $1000 to you. From there, you can work backwards and figure out how much each opt in is worth (if 20% of people who land on your services page book a consultation, then each unique visitor to your service offering page is worth $200 to you). As you continue working backwards with the numbers, you get an idea of how many people you’ll need to get to your service offering page in order to hit your financial goals. You’ll be able to spot opportunities in your funnel (e.g. if you have lots of people opting in to your freebie but very few consultations being booked, you’ll know that’s a leaky spot in your funnel that you can plug with trust-building elements, better sales copy etc.). If you’re using paid acquisition (see Episode 4), pricing out your types of leads is essential since you’ll know exactly what to spend vs what ROI you’ll see. All of the lead generation and sales funnel strategies Brennan discusses in this episode are explored much more extensively in DYF’s lead generation course, The Blueprint, and in the previous episodes of the DYF podcast Season 1. Though it is helpful knowing what strategies our guests used to get in front of their customers and close the deals that made them successful, Brennan encourages listeners to dig into the details and learn the whys and hows of each tactic. You can do this by listening to the previous 5 Episodes, or you can download the free Season 1 e-book which covers each episode-in depth. Building your familiarity with different lead generation techniques can help you expand your reach and create a more effective sales funnel. [Joanna Wiebe's site, CopyHackers][1] [Matt Inglot: Lead Generation via Podcasts][2] [Benji Hyam: Lead Generation via Content Marketing][3] [Josh Doody: Optimizing for Opt-ins and Conversions][4] [Kev Kaye: Lead Generation via Paid Acquisition][5] [Matt Olpinski: How to Master SEO with Basic Changes][6] [1]: https://copyhackers.com/ [2]: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/season-1-matt-inglot/ [3]: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/season-1-benji-hyam/ [4]: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/season1-josh-doody/ [5]: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/season-1-kev-kaye/ [6]: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/season-1-matt-olpinski/
March 20, 2018
Matt Olpinski is a full-time independent design consultant based in Rochester, NY. He has been designing user interfaces and websites for almost a decade, many of them leading to rapid user growth, large increases in sales, and millions in startup funding. Matt has designed native apps, responsive web apps, e-commerce websites, and marketing websites for clients in many industries including: fitness, shopping, video, food & beverage, industrial, law, education, automotive, music, social, SaaS, enterprise, non-profits, and more. Matt Olpinski is a UI and UX designer who had over 200 viable project leads in 2017. Through casual, but precise SEO, he’s become an expert in giving clients what they want. Matt’s site ranks extremely well on Google searches in his niche and with minor site tweaks, he’s ensured these leads go from “shopping around” to conversion. He shared some of his techniques with Brennan in this week’s DYF podcast on Lead Generation through SEO. Takeaways: How to create a useful message What simple changes can you make for better SEO How to use case studies to build trust How to boost traffic with social media How to close the deal over the competition Independent UI designer, Matt Olpinski never intended to freelance full time. After college he was looking for a comfortable job to make a comfortable life, and he was just freelancing on the side. Despite this side-hustle approach, Matt’s designer instincts always had him aiming for a “pixel perfect” portfolio and site. Through his refining, he stumbled on some strategies that made too big an impact to ignore, and he shared some of these tactics with Brennan on this episode of the DYF podcast. The first big change that drove Matt’s shift towards great SEO was seeing an early edition of Double Your Freelancing’s The Blueprint. The course changed Matt’s outlook as he realized there was more potential to grow his freelancing business if he began to focus on his clients rather than himself. Just by changing his focus and positioning, Matt increased his leads, rate, and ranking, but at first he didn’t really understanding why. After some investigation, Matt realized that simply providing what clients were looking for (and presenting it that way) made him a better search result for Google to come up with, thereby increasing his SEO. From there, the growth compounded. So what actual changes lead to this turn around? The Little Things Matt’s original site was similar to many freelance web designer’s sites in that it said, “I'm a UX Designer. I built websites. Here's my work. Here’s how you contact me.” When he shifted focus, Matt’s site’s design, copy, and language changed. It now sounded more like “Hi, I’m Matt, I build websites that help businesses grow.” He started thinking like a client and his testimonials began highlighting metrics clients might find valuable and associate with project success. He found that clients don’t necessarily care about fancy transitions, they care about what Matt is going to do for their website. Matt also found that when they get to his site, leads have obstacles to overcome before hiring him, so he recognized that his site was an opportunity to address and allay those obstacles. Matt’s approach was a little more laid back than it could have been since he had a fulltime job and still viewed freelancing as his side project. However, small tactical changes made a big difference in traffic. He ensured his page titles were consistent, wrote unique page descriptions for each of his big pages (home page, service page, project page). He found that by making descriptions unique helped instead of having either nothing or a generic description that shows up on every page. He rewrote/shortened his page slug URLs and took out breaks and stop words. Matt approached the changes not as an expert, but just looking at the logic of creating desirable content. Although SEO has a slimy reputation, Matt points out that there are a lot of very simple changes others can do to increase the viability of their site. Plus, giving clients what they want (and making it easy to find) is a win-win strategy. What Clients Search For As Matt began consciously optimizing, he asked himself, “What are my clients searching for?” There are numerous tools and lists to help users find the best search terms, and as a designer, Matt turned to Dribble and Behance. As he reverse engineered popular searches, Matt realized that he learns three things about his clients through their search terms: What task his customers wanted to complete: (search terms might be UX Design, UI Design, or Web Development). His clients’ geographic location (if they're in New York, they might type in UI Designer in New York). What kind of person they wanted to hire (freelance, consultant, agency etc). Now Matt discovers what the customer wants in their own words, and because of this, he’s better able to provide and present it. For example, he could answer the above queries by titling his page: “Matt Olpinski, Freelance UI Designer, New York.” To prove his theory, Matt asked clients what they searched to find him. In addition to validating this theory, this data has informed further SEO. Brennan points out that tools like Google Search Console can also trace what terms people actually used to get to your site and where they landed etc. Information on adjacent searches can allow sites to pull in traffic that might have skipped them otherwise. For example, he says Matt could add content to draw in people looking for a UX Development Agency in NY. This content could actually be an argument convincing them of why they should use a freelancer instead. Of course with his current success, Matt isn’t looking to make any harder sells, but Brennan points out that there is always opportunity for further optimization. What Clients Find Content has made a big difference in Matt’s ability to project authority and and he has found case studies to be his preferred format. Initially, Matt’s site featured images with captions to let the work speak for itself. He has since flipped this model to show each project’s process and how his decisions impacted each business. Although he only presents 6-8 projects on his site, Matt writes extensively about each one. He writes not just what he did but also why he did it, and the thought process behind each action. This humanizes the work and Matt has taken this further by integrating the related testimonials directly onto the project page. Instead of just presenting a menu of services, Matt’s site explains what UI and UX design are and how they might be used in a project; “Instead of just listing what I can do, I tell people why that's important for them,” says Matt. Other ways that Matt shares his process and builds authority include his blog, his newsletter, and guest posts on freelancing websites. Not only does this content help SEO by keeping his site relevant, Matt says that when a client sees he’s written over 60 articles on a topic, they know that he is a good choice to hire. Brennan agrees that seeing inside a potential collaborator’s head is key to building trust. It can help clients feel justified in making a purchase. He suggests that if you’re struggling to find blog topics, write about a few ideas that came out of your latest sales meeting (without giving away too much specific project information). The details of brainstorming are helpful. As an example, Brennan mentions a client meeting with a realtor that he wrote about. The realtor wanted to follow up with clients after they’d bought a house from him so that they use him again when they sell it five years down the line and he could gain referrals. Brennan built software to remind the realtor a month after the purchaser is settled in, to check in and ask “How are the neighbors, what do you love about the house?” etc. While the specifics seem mundane to the developer who lived through it, their audience might actually find them useful/inspiring, and potential clients are energized by the success story. This is exactly what Brennan looks for when he hires people too. He says, backing convincing sales copy with “the Mind of Matt Olpinski” insights is a much stronger draw than the copy alone. To make things easier on his leads, Matt places most of these thought process insights into his case studies. That way a client doesn't have to look through a bunch of articles to piece together how he thinks. They see his work on the landing page and can click into the project to read about how it came to light. Matt tries to include the “before” version of the project before his changes so that he can show where it came from and where he took it. “Seeing that transition is really valuable,” he says. Blog posts drive traffic in conjunction with social media updates also. Matt finds that most of this traffic is from other freelancers, but he has had some project inquiries from these articles. For the most part, Matt’s audience is split in two. He has the clients on the consulting side of his business and the “level up you career by joining my newsletter,” peer side of his business. Although the sides are separate (color cues and other dividers make this clear to site visitors), Matt believes the freelancer side of his site probably helps reinforce the idea that a potential client should contact him. It builds his authority/credibility while not directly serving the needs of his consulting clients. It tells these clients about his professionalism. Outshining the Competition No matter how high the rankings, potential clients are probably shopping around for service providers and won’t stop at just one site. So how does Matt draw clients back to his? He feels the primary draw is his “what do clients want?” approach. Matt hopes his clients get to his site and say “Oh, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear!” instead of just seeing a portfolio and contact information. From simple changes in the copy, to thinking about what buttons clients want to have available, and eventually what details they need to see about his process, Matt works to give clients what they’re looking for and so far it sets him miles apart. Brennan acknowledges a necessary balance between speaking the language of business and speaking the language of design. Using the right search terms in the right places, proving his design skill and talking to the prospective clients about THEIR business allows Matt to stand out. Matt also argues depth of content is a huge benefit. Even if some of his content is not directly what a client is looking for, all of his content matters and drives visitors to the site which boosts his ranking --the freelancing side gets him the clicks so the consultant side can find him easily. Having an older domain helps too, but Matt says not to worry, it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t. In the end, providing what clients want, also answers what Google wants. To boost his SEO, Matt considered what page titles he had, what URLs he was submitting to google, and what each were saying once a human being finally saw them. With blog posts and articles, Matt provided more fodder for Google to reward while allowing potential clients to get into his head and feel confident about hiring him. Matt says anyone can make these changes too. He says to, “pay attention to the small stuff. Pay attention to goofy things like alt descriptions on your images, and the length of your URLs and the kind of order of pages on your site, [and also] the page titles.” He says to stay consistent on social media and just call yourself one thing. Overall, simple tactics and a clean up to refocus your site on customer needs can make a big difference in results and Matt is living proof. Matt Olpinski's website Matt's Ultimate Guide to Getting More Clients DYF's The Blueprint Behance.net Dribble.com
March 13, 2018
Kev Kaye, founder of GrowthBOKs.com got into paid advertising when Facebook ads were still new. He saw untapped potential and started applying old methods to new media. In the decade since, Kev’s methods and the industry have both changed. He has sharpened his skills and built a rock solid funnel using paid acquisition, on demand webinars, and his customers’ freedom of choice. He has helped countless other independent creatives optimize their ads and in this episode of DYF Podcast, he gives insight into why you need paid ads in your marketing mix. How to use paid ads to get new clients How to create on-demand webinars How Facebook’s algorithm can work for you How to break down the value of a lead How to know if paid ads are working Kev Kaye’s first exposure to a growth engine was in 2008 when his roommate’s dad came to visit them in Florida and described his business as a hair salon marketing consultant. With such a specific niche, he was able to make a killing and showed Kev, with mathematical precision, how he helped salons acquire three to four new clients a week using AdWords, paid advertising, direct response strategies and more. Kev was hooked! He left Florida and the golf business where he’d been working, and moved to Rochester to launch himself, full force, into a career as a freelance marketing consultant. A decade later Kev, has revolutionized the traditional techniques he learned from his roommate’s dad using modern tools. He has seen what paid ads can do, and he knows their limitations. As a result, Kev has developed strategies that he thinks are essential to just about every successful business and he shared some of them with Brennan here. In his first few years as a paid advertising consultant, Kev worked hard and saw moderate results. The big shift in his business came when he began to think about how to build trust online. He did some academic research and found that “computer mediated communication,” as it is called in the business, is a difficult platform for developing a customer’s trust. “Online, we’re all skeptical,” says Kev. So Kev studied the specific signals that someone needs to get in order to feel they can trust the source enough to transact. Kev thoughtfully integrated the understanding that a surplus of trust is required into his paid ad list and growth engine, which allowed him to drastically improve his conversions. From Ad to Sales Funnel With this focus on developing trust, one might wonder why Kev stuck with paid acquisition? Ads cost money and may not immediately foster a trust-rich relationship with customers. To be honest, it didn’t exactly work at first. Kev spotted an opportunity in his friend’s dad’s salon marketing business. Kev thought they should try using Facebook ads which were still new at the time. Kev convinced the man to cut him an affiliate deal on his program in exchange for a few Facebook ads. Luckily, it did work in that Kev made a sale and got him a client, but this initial success was not a recurring phenomenon. Kev knew paid ads could be profitable so he went back to work trying to discern the necessary components between the ad and the sale. Kev tried several new approaches and eventually landed on his current funnel. In his funnel, Kev’s clients click an ad taking them to a landing page featuring a webinar registration. The challenge is then to get leads to watch the webinar. This requires several behind the scenes systems to ensure they actually show up and consume the content. From there, the call to action is setting up a call to have a conversation about the next steps. In this model, the webinar serves two major purposes. It is a qualifying tool, that also builds trust. It sets the tone, allowing customers to hear and see him, and it helps them become familiar with his outlook on paid marketing. Kev calls the webinar a humanizing exercise since it features many stories explaining how the brand was built and showing who built it. Another way Kev’s webinars build trust is by delivering useful value to viewers. They introduce four or five ideas that the client can bring to their own marketing. Redirecting the customer’s thought sequence has a two-way bonus in that it also provides the dopamine rush of a new opportunity. That new opportunity is tied to Kev’s solution which inspires a huge amount of trust very quickly. As Brennan points out, this moment is a key point of qualification and filtration. He describes the post-webinar conversation: “if [paid advertising] is something that you're excited about, is this something that you really wanna implement in your business and you're committed to using these pieces we'd love to talk to you. If you're not, we're happy to have shared some really good information with you, but the next step isn't a good fit for you.” The lead leaves with some added knowledge and may come back to the idea at a later date. Kev’s webinars are not live per se, but by making them hourly, Kev has created the exclusivity and importance of a live event, but without him needing to be up at 9 PM on a Friday night to make it direct. “On demand is a strong part of our lives today,” Kev points out. With many ways to make a recorded webinar seem live, webinar hosts have a lot of options. Tools exist that can even aggregate existing chat data and populate responses with it -- almost like a ghost of previous webinars. Or some people staff a VA to answer questions live. Kev finds these methods pretty transparent and doesn’t like to use them. Conversely, starting with a live webinar has benefits that can’t be simulated including live energy (although if you’re starting out and only able to get one or two attendees, that can have an inverse effect on the energy and hurt the image you’re trying to project as an expert). Kev recommends starting with on demand because you can get amped up for the recording and control more of the content. Kev has found that viewers are also more likely to get the content if it is on demand. To solve the tired energy problem, Kev genuinely does jumping jacks and push ups before a webinar to charge himself and ensure he brings organic energy to the recording. Again, although, webinar hosts can add different buffer beginnings denoting the day of the week and make it seem live, Brennan says “just be honest.” Viewers just want the content and may lose some trust in you if you appear to be trying to hoodwink them. Let Facebook Work For You Currently, all of Kev’s webinar opt-ins come from various points he has set up on Facebook. Leads find the GrowthBOKs profile or group which will show them how to sign up for and pick a webinar. For targeting, Kev suggests “Let Facebook’s technology work for you.” If you can provide Facebook with some data, their algorithm will help you optimize the delivery of your ad. Facebook offers custom audiences where you can upload your own email database. Facebook will look at that database, and will create a lookalike database which can give you two million other people on the network who fit the profile of those people on your email list. This is also the starting point for any new campaign that Kev’s agency creates. Just seeing information from people who have opted in, allows Facebook to look at what other things your audience members like and they can use that information to find crossover audiences and where to retarget. Facebook allows you to target pages, interests, income level, education level, marital status, and you can layer them on top of each other for maximum specificity. Another plus is that if someone clicks the ad but doesn’t opt in, there are additional retargeting options that you can bake in. Kev suggests you have as many different inputs and parameters as possible so this works best with bigger lists. He recommends making the switch to “custom audience” once you have about 100 email addresses. The Value of a Lead Brennan believes this long-term outlook is important. He says people focus too much on the hard sell and don’t give people choice when they click through to a services page or landing page. There have to be options for what visitors can do, and you must have strategies in place for making the sale down the line. The other mistake he sees is people not quantifying the value of each funnel and therefore not knowing what to spend for each. Brennan urges listeners to break down exactly how much each lead is worth, how many opt-ins are needed for a sale, how many sales are needed to hit your target etc). He then recommends that you price out each step of your funnel. Kev agrees but adds that the ability to make these calculations is WHY paid advertising should be in your mix. Of course, Kev says that rather than just throwing money at advertising, it is important to try to understand the thought process for people at each point in the funnel and optimize for the “thought sequence.” He says to start simple with appropriate, relevant topics and get more complex as you go on. He describes it as building a machine that can then give you leads, but also, insight into optimization opportunities that you might have missed before. Is it Working? Kev’s agency uses a method called SIPS. The acronym stands for: Simplicity, potential Impact, Probability, and Speed of implementation. They then score each idea they have for their next move in optimizing and go with whatever improvement scores the highest. Brennan points out this kind of funnel requires active management. A campaign might work great at first but a few weeks later, things may have shifted and adjustments might need to be made. Kev says he has to find the right cadence for follow up on each project. If a budget is smaller, he can let it go for longer without making adjustments since it may pay for itself more easily. For a larger budget, he’ll need to change tacks pretty quickly if there isn’t a difference in sales. However, Kev considers paid advertising a long term strategy. The ad gets an agency in the door with an audience, but it is then up to the marketer to nurture those leads. For Kev, every ad he runs, he’ll get about 7 to 14 days of webinar performance. During that window, he has an opportunity to nurture those leads, add value, and build the brand. Additionally, people may be finding his service now but may not have the budget or time to work on the project they need him for. Six months down the line, they might be back with $5000 to put towards consulting just because they clicked on that ad. Paid acquisition across types of business can vary a great deal due to different product costs, turnaround times and payment schedules. Targets and KPIs have to vary too and these are all elements you should have mapped out going in to a paid ad campaign. You then need to be willing to make adjustments once you see how people respond. Supporting Ads With Content Kev has created a funnel that works, but what would Kev do differently if starting over? “The path to getting the paid advertising has nothing to do with paid advertising at the start,” he says. Instead, it is all about building the content (in his case the webinar) that the ad directs traffic to, and it’s about building the call to action, sales call, landing page, and everything else along the funnel that the lead will see. Kev recognizes that Facebook, provides opportunity to reach people organically like never before. Starting over, he would validate the sales call with a Messenger conversation, prove his grown engine, and then move into paid ads. "Paid ads don't scale your business,” says Kev. “Paid ads leverage the scale you've already designed in your business." On its own, a paid ad is ineffective. Brennan says the ad requires the webinar or intermediary to build trust. Sharing your authority in this way, exchanges your time for an email address or whatever your opt-in looks like. Kev’s funnel starts with the ad, which leads to a webinar, then an application, and finally a free 45 minute consultation (not unlike a sales call). With automation to glue it all together, Kev is able to focus his energy on getting more leads to the top of the funnel. Having leads and sales flowing in, helps him think like a CEO or business owner and allows him to look at growing his team. Kev is passionate about paid ads because they force him to know the value of his leads, they can have an effect that lasts much longer than the initial ad, and they can reach very specific target audiences. Every step of the funnel allows for quantification that can help him determine what changes to make and when. Best of all, this quantifiability and control creates the comfort to grow. He discovered his formula through research, and applying newer tools to classic marketing techniques. Kev believes paid advertising done right can help just about every business, and he backs that up by having shown it time and time again. GrowthBOKs Easy Webinar -- The software Kev uses to create his webinars Facebook Ads
March 6, 2018
As a salary negotiation expert, Josh Doody faces a unique challenge -- how to convert a lead within the first hours of them visiting his site. Josh’s clients often find him within an hour or two of their salary discussions and are looking for help fast, cheap and with big results. His challenge has been to draw in clients sooner, address their needs right away, and to make sure they know he’s there for them long-term. He talks with Brennan about the tricks he’s learned for getting leads into his funnel, the best ways to experiment with your site, and what changes he’s had to make over the years. Takeaways: How to conduct useful SEO research and apply it to your content How to use content upgrades to optimize for opt-ins How to adjust your message for different clients Learning about clients by reading between the lines How to edit and refine your funnel Josh Doody, founder of FearlessSalaryNegotiation.com, teaches salaried employees how to make more money. His funnel starts with search engine optimization and excellent content marketing, then uses a variety of other tools, including research, reputation, and automation, to turn leads into conversions. Since many people find his site as they’re about to enter salary discussions with an employer, Josh works to get leads in earlier, show his value quickly, and convince potential clients to slow down their approach. Josh adjusts his message and sales approach depending on how quickly leads need his help. He has also found that drawing traffic to his site is a key variable that he’s able to control. So how does he do it? Getting Clicks Josh identifies himself first and foremost as a writer. Not only has he written several books about salary negotiation, but he says the long form, free, educational content on his site is his biggest draw for new visitors. Josh writes what he think will be valuable to his audience and then checks which of these topics are getting traffic and being shared. He’ll then double down on those pages by enhancing them or writing more along those lines. From this very basic, manual search engine optimization, Josh has been able to create organic traffic resulting in 55,000 unique visits per month. “Google is really good at finding what people are searching for,” Josh says, so he focuses less on getting the exact wording right, and more on targeting his audience’s specific informational needs. Josh also likes to increase clicks by building his authority. By answering questions on forums like Quora, Josh is not only able to point to his site and increase his click rate, but also, to learn what information his audience is seeking and what responses resonate with them. Appearing on podcasts is another tactic he’s used to boost his numbers. Brennan points out that podcast guesting will generate some traffic in the first week or so of the episode going out (especially with the help of social media bumps). However, there is a long term benefit in the permanent backlink from that podcast’s host site. Josh agrees, between appearing as a podcast guest and writing articles for other recognizable sites, Google will see the backlinks and realize that your site is “worth paying attention to.” An advantage to having a large audience (like Josh’s 1500+ unique clicks per day) is being able to run occasional experiments. Though he sometimes runs two day a/v tests for special offers, Josh generally prefers to run 90 day experiments to learn what visitors will do for downloadable bonuses, which ones get the most traffic etc. Josh remembers starting these exercises too early in his site’s life and finding it only wasted time; with too small an audience, the changes are too insignificant to achieve measurable results. He says early on, a consultant’s focus should be pretty much entirely on getting more traffic, seeing what brought in that traffic and using that information to get more traffic. He adds, that barring some kind of algorithm change or massive platform change, Google Analytics information is also pretty helpful. Generating Opt-Ins Josh found his first opportunity to optimize his funnel when he noticed he’d been getting mediocre email opt ins from organic traffic --only about 1%. He evaluated his site and isolated the problem: he was giving too much away and his lead magnets were too generic. So Josh looked at which pages were bringing in the most traffic and thought about how to optimize them. With 20,000 visitors per month on some of these pages, even going from 1% to 2% opt ins would be a meaningful jump so he started there. He considered content upgrades he might be able to offer on those pages. On one article, he pulled the email templates that had been embedded in the text and created a linked PDF that customers could only access by opting in. Josh says this flipped the switch on this page and and his opt ins there are now around 4-5%. Since the 8000+ word article is still providing useful information on a topic his readers care about, Josh is still getting the traffic he wanted and building trust with his audience. Josh points out that this idea can be taken further in that the templates can become a product in and of themselves (e.g. he could provide 2 for free, and then charge a flat rate of $19 for the rest). Josh says that knowing which articles will do well before offering the content upgrade is key. He limits his focus to 4 or 5 pages that get a lot of traffic and thinks about what the lead magnet should be for each one, then builds it accordingly. He creates category specific baseline calls to action to help with each lead magnet. Creating Conversions Josh’s funnel is based on his statement “I can help you raise your salary,” and the first step is figuring out exactly how he can do that best. Josh starts by asking opt-ins, “When are you negotiating your salary?” This helps him profile his visitors, divide them into categories based on urgency, and respond to them appropriately. In his first response to them, Josh tries to describe the situation he thinks the client is in and what he can do to address their need. It is not uncommon for people to find Josh’s site moments or just a couple of hours before sending their salary negotiation email or before entering talks --they’ll download his email templates in a last ditch effort to prepare. For these opt-ins, Josh urges them to take their salary negotiation process a little bit slower and to hear what possibilities his services can facilitate. The email these clients will see says “don’t send that counter offer yet!” Since these clients are on an abbreviated timeline, Josh knows they are more suited to the product side of his business than coaching. However, if a lead is seeking a raise at an existing job, Josh knows his customer’s timeline will be a bit more laid back. In this case, he can pitch the coaching aspect of his work and phrase his welcome/thank you message differently. In both cases, he says, his goal is to have his first email be the “fulfillment email,” which says, “Here’s the material you requested, but also, here’s who I am and what I can do for you.” Multiple Markets Even though Josh has mastered giving customers what they want when they need it, he is always refining his tactics to better reach potential clients who are on the shorter timeline. Josh mentions Joshua Earl who presents two kinds of markets: “the stocked pond” and “the passing parade.” The stocked pond client checks you out, wants to know what you have to offer, is someone you build a relationship with over time, and eventually they’ll buy. For the passing parade customer, there’s a smaller window of time during which your product is relevant to them. For people starting out, this is exactly why knowing where your clients are coming from and who they are is a big deal. Just as you speak differently with clients who you know have an immediate need vs people who don’t currently have a project for you, so too, you should speak differently depending on a visitor’s urgency. Just knowing how a client enters your funnel can tell you a lot about which market they belong to. For example, Brennan mentions that “Starting A Freelance Business” is a frequently clicked DYF article. Just knowing that is what the customer is interested in, gives Brennan an idea of the customer’s experience level, specific need, and urgency. He also gets clues of their timeline, financial flexibility, and goals. He can tell for example, the reader probably has a day job right now. Josh says the earlier you know that information, the better you’ll be able to service your client’s need. For Josh’s stocked pond customers he steers them towards the coaching side of his funnel. Josh says this isn’t a hard sell, it’s just a matter of letting people know it exists and telling them more about it when they’re ready to hear it. In the past year, Josh has narrowed his focus further to address salary negotiation for software developers who want more job offers and a higher rate. He helps leads see themselves as clients by using pre-scripts, emails, and casual mentions, to say “my coaching clients get results using this technique.” Sometimes his customers come back a year after they first find him and say “hey, I regret not working with you before but I’m switching jobs again and I’d like to work with you now.” These leads require a softer sell because a software developer who has a job offer from Facebook knows Josh’s fee will seem trivial against their potential salary. Josh says keeping himself front and center is essential so he sends weekly emails to his audience. Once or twice a month he’ll focus on topics relevant to coaching and will include a link to the coaching page asking if readers are “expecting a job offer within the next four weeks?” Just by making people aware that he offers coaching, means they sometimes book within an hour of getting a job offer. Clients select themselves and all Josh has to do is follow up. Brennan and Josh agree that this is one of many examples showing that higher price point doesn’t necessarily mean a harder sell. Josh’s customers could buy one of his books for much cheaper and gain all of the knowledge they need, but when he mentions this, clients usually say, “I just want to be told what to do.” Josh’s clients tend to be looking for things that are inclusive, already done for them, and that provide quick answers. Refining the Funnel Fearless Salary Negotiation is doing fine with an evergreen funnel and a lot of happy customers, but Josh is always looking to the future. This year he plans to re-target his funnel to reach higher-value leads with segmentation. He sees other opportunities also. Josh’s automation allows him to follow up with customers who have clicked through but not purchased and he knows there’s potential for him to sell more books and courses with just a few adjustments. He also offers career coaching if clients are having difficulty getting job offers in the first place. While this service isn’t promoted as heavily, Josh looks forward to developing it more in the future. Currently, Josh’s funnel starts with excellent, optimized content that ensures customers have already benefited from him before they even see the sales page. The page is available after an email opt in, and it invites leads to apply to schedule a free 15 min call. Josh’s optimized funnel means sales are easy to make and he has control. Although he can’t demand 10 new clients and have them appear, Josh CAN send out a flash discount to his email list and “make money happen,” to quote Amy Hoy. Josh’s hustle is about convincing people to enter his list rather than convincing people to hire him. He focuses on guest posting, guesting on podcasts etc. and building his audience while his funnel takes care of the rest. Doubling visitors may not automatically double revenue, but it is an essential component. Josh says the question is what to do with the traffic, and how to optimize for client needs. He says it is easy to become obsessed with the stats as you look at value per customer, value per subscriber, and value per coaching client vs. product client. He recommends taking a variety of approaches like looking for interesting ways to get a $5 per visitor value, finding higher-value leads with segmentation, and evaluating the effectiveness of each stage of the funnel. Not wanting to become obsessed is one reason Josh doesn’t look at the numbers until an experiment has run for 30-90 days. He revises by looking at each section of the funnel and working on it for a while. He works his way down, optimizing to the fullest, and then starts at the top to edit again. He sees what modifications work and gets to learn about his audience’s motivations. Josh knows to let the numbers speak. Where there is successful content, there is opportunity for lead generation. From there, it is his job to determine how to strategically offer the content upgrades that become his opt-ins. How Josh communicates with opt-ins is dependent on their specific needs and can be the difference between a conversion and a missed sale. Josh’s constant research allows for excellent optimization and his meticulous process editing has made him a true authority on funnel management. Josh has become a master of his niche, and by following his example, you can master yours. https://fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/ https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/start-a-freelancing-business/ https://joshuaearl.com/ http://www.microconf.com/ Amy Hoy -- https://stackingthebricks.com/be-your-own-angel-how-to-make-money-happen/
March 6, 2018
As a salary negotiation expert, Josh Doody faces a unique challenge -- how to convert a lead within the first hours of them visiting his site. Josh’s clients often find him within an hour or two of their salary discussions and are looking for help fast, cheap and with big results. His challenge has been to draw in clients sooner, address their needs right away, and to make sure they know he’s there for them long-term. He talks with Brennan about the tricks he’s learned for getting leads into his funnel, the best ways to experiment with your site, and what changes he’s had to make over the years. Takeaways: How to conduct useful SEO research and apply it to your content How to use content upgrades to optimize for opt-ins How to adjust your message for different clients Learning about clients by reading between the lines How to edit and refine your funnel Josh Doody, founder of FearlessSalaryNegotiation.com, teaches salaried employees how to make more money. His funnel starts with search engine optimization and excellent content marketing, then uses a variety of other tools, including research, reputation, and automation, to turn leads into conversions. Since many people find his site as they’re about to enter salary discussions with an employer, Josh works to get leads in earlier, show his value quickly, and convince potential clients to slow down their approach. Josh adjusts his message and sales approach depending on how quickly leads need his help. He has also found that drawing traffic to his site is a key variable that he’s able to control. So how does he do it? Getting Clicks Josh identifies himself first and foremost as a writer. Not only has he written several books about salary negotiation, but he says the long form, free, educational content on his site is his biggest draw for new visitors. Josh writes what he think will be valuable to his audience and then checks which of these topics are getting traffic and being shared. He’ll then double down on those pages by enhancing them or writing more along those lines. From this very basic, manual search engine optimization, Josh has been able to create organic traffic resulting in 55,000 unique visits per month. “Google is really good at finding what people are searching for,” Josh says, so he focuses less on getting the exact wording right, and more on targeting his audience’s specific informational needs. Josh also likes to increase clicks by building his authority. By answering questions on forums like Quora, Josh is not only able to point to his site and increase his click rate, but also, to learn what information his audience is seeking and what responses resonate with them. Appearing on podcasts is another tactic he’s used to boost his numbers. Brennan points out that podcast guesting will generate some traffic in the first week or so of the episode going out (especially with the help of social media bumps). However, there is a long term benefit in the permanent backlink from that podcast’s host site. Josh agrees, between appearing as a podcast guest and writing articles for other recognizable sites, Google will see the backlinks and realize that your site is “worth paying attention to.” An advantage to having a large audience (like Josh’s 1500+ unique clicks per day) is being able to run occasional experiments. Though he sometimes runs two day a/v tests for special offers, Josh generally prefers to run 90 day experiments to learn what visitors will do for downloadable bonuses, which ones get the most traffic etc. Josh remembers starting these exercises too early in his site’s life and finding it only wasted time; with too small an audience, the changes are too insignificant to achieve measurable results. He says early on, a consultant’s focus should be pretty much entirely on getting more traffic, seeing what brought in that traffic and using that information to get more traffic. He adds, that barring some kind of algorithm change or massive platform change, Google Analytics information is also pretty helpful. Generating Opt-Ins Josh found his first opportunity to optimize his funnel when he noticed he’d been getting mediocre email opt ins from organic traffic --only about 1%. He evaluated his site and isolated the problem: he was giving too much away and his lead magnets were too generic. So Josh looked at which pages were bringing in the most traffic and thought about how to optimize them. With 20,000 visitors per month on some of these pages, even going from 1% to 2% opt ins would be a meaningful jump so he started there. He considered content upgrades he might be able to offer on those pages. On one article, he pulled the email templates that had been embedded in the text and created a linked PDF that customers could only access by opting in. Josh says this flipped the switch on this page and and his opt ins there are now around 4-5%. Since the 8000+ word article is still providing useful information on a topic his readers care about, Josh is still getting the traffic he wanted and building trust with his audience. Josh points out that this idea can be taken further in that the templates can become a product in and of themselves (e.g. he could provide 2 for free, and then charge a flat rate of $19 for the rest). Josh says that knowing which articles will do well before offering the content upgrade is key. He limits his focus to 4 or 5 pages that get a lot of traffic and thinks about what the lead magnet should be for each one, then builds it accordingly. He creates category specific baseline calls to action to help with each lead magnet. Creating Conversions Josh’s funnel is based on his statement “I can help you raise your salary,” and the first step is figuring out exactly how he can do that best. Josh starts by asking opt-ins, “When are you negotiating your salary?” This helps him profile his visitors, divide them into categories based on urgency, and respond to them appropriately. In his first response to them, Josh tries to describe the situation he thinks the client is in and what he can do to address their need. It is not uncommon for people to find Josh’s site moments or just a couple of hours before sending their salary negotiation email or before entering talks --they’ll download his email templates in a last ditch effort to prepare. For these opt-ins, Josh urges them to take their salary negotiation process a little bit slower and to hear what possibilities his services can facilitate. The email these clients will see says “don’t send that counter offer yet!” Since these clients are on an abbreviated timeline, Josh knows they are more suited to the product side of his business than coaching. However, if a lead is seeking a raise at an existing job, Josh knows his customer’s timeline will be a bit more laid back. In this case, he can pitch the coaching aspect of his work and phrase his welcome/thank you message differently. In both cases, he says, his goal is to have his first email be the “fulfillment email,” which says, “Here’s the material you requested, but also, here’s who I am and what I can do for you.” Multiple Markets Even though Josh has mastered giving customers what they want when they need it, he is always refining his tactics to better reach potential clients who are on the shorter timeline. Josh mentions Joshua Earl who presents two kinds of markets: “the stocked pond” and “the passing parade.” The stocked pond client checks you out, wants to know what you have to offer, is someone you build a relationship with over time, and eventually they’ll buy. For the passing parade customer, there’s a smaller window of time during which your product is relevant to them. For people starting out, this is exactly why knowing where your clients are coming from and who they are is a big deal. Just as you speak differently with clients who you know have an immediate need vs people who don’t currently have a project for you, so too, you should speak differently depending on a visitor’s urgency. Just knowing how a client enters your funnel can tell you a lot about which market they belong to. For example, Brennan mentions that “Starting A Freelance Business” is a frequently clicked DYF article. Just knowing that is what the customer is interested in, gives Brennan an idea of the customer’s experience level, specific need, and urgency. He also gets clues of their timeline, financial flexibility, and goals. He can tell for example, the reader probably has a day job right now. Josh says the earlier you know that information, the better you’ll be able to service your client’s need. For Josh’s stocked pond customers he steers them towards the coaching side of his funnel. Josh says this isn’t a hard sell, it’s just a matter of letting people know it exists and telling them more about it when they’re ready to hear it. In the past year, Josh has narrowed his focus further to address salary negotiation for software developers who want more job offers and a higher rate. He helps leads see themselves as clients by using pre-scripts, emails, and casual mentions, to say “my coaching clients get results using this technique.” Sometimes his customers come back a year after they first find him and say “hey, I regret not working with you before but I’m switching jobs again and I’d like to work with you now.” These leads require a softer sell because a software developer who has a job offer from Facebook knows Josh’s fee will seem trivial against their potential salary. Josh says keeping himself front and center is essential so he sends weekly emails to his audience. Once or twice a month he’ll focus on topics relevant to coaching and will include a link to the coaching page asking if readers are “expecting a job offer within the next four weeks?” Just by making people aware that he offers coaching, means they sometimes book within an hour of getting a job offer. Clients select themselves and all Josh has to do is follow up. Brennan and Josh agree that this is one of many examples showing that higher price point doesn’t necessarily mean a harder sell. Josh’s customers could buy one of his books for much cheaper and gain all of the knowledge they need, but when he mentions this, clients usually say, “I just want to be told what to do.” Josh’s clients tend to be looking for things that are inclusive, already done for them, and that provide quick answers. Refining the Funnel Fearless Salary Negotiation is doing fine with an evergreen funnel and a lot of happy customers, but Josh is always looking to the future. This year he plans to re-target his funnel to reach higher-value leads with segmentation. He sees other opportunities also. Josh’s automation allows him to follow up with customers who have clicked through but not purchased and he knows there’s potential for him to sell more books and courses with just a few adjustments. He also offers career coaching if clients are having difficulty getting job offers in the first place. While this service isn’t promoted as heavily, Josh looks forward to developing it more in the future. Currently, Josh’s funnel starts with excellent, optimized content that ensures customers have already benefited from him before they even see the sales page. The page is available after an email opt in, and it invites leads to apply to schedule a free 15 min call. Josh’s optimized funnel means sales are easy to make and he has control. Although he can’t demand 10 new clients and have them appear, Josh CAN send out a flash discount to his email list and “make money happen,” to quote Amy Hoy. Josh’s hustle is about convincing people to enter his list rather than convincing people to hire him. He focuses on guest posting, guesting on podcasts etc. and building his audience while his funnel takes care of the rest. Doubling visitors may not automatically double revenue, but it is an essential component. Josh says the question is what to do with the traffic, and how to optimize for client needs. He says it is easy to become obsessed with the stats as you look at value per customer, value per subscriber, and value per coaching client vs. product client. He recommends taking a variety of approaches like looking for interesting ways to get a $5 per visitor value, finding higher-value leads with segmentation, and evaluating the effectiveness of each stage of the funnel. Not wanting to become obsessed is one reason Josh doesn’t look at the numbers until an experiment has run for 30-90 days. He revises by looking at each section of the funnel and working on it for a while. He works his way down, optimizing to the fullest, and then starts at the top to edit again. He sees what modifications work and gets to learn about his audience’s motivations. Josh knows to let the numbers speak. Where there is successful content, there is opportunity for lead generation. From there, it is his job to determine how to strategically offer the content upgrades that become his opt-ins. How Josh communicates with opt-ins is dependent on their specific needs and can be the difference between a conversion and a missed sale. Josh’s constant research allows for excellent optimization and his meticulous process editing has made him a true authority on funnel management. Josh has become a master of his niche, and by following his example, you can master yours. https://fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/ https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/start-a-freelancing-business/ https://joshuaearl.com/ http://www.microconf.com/ Amy Hoy -- https://stackingthebricks.com/be-your-own-angel-how-to-make-money-happen/

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