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048 – You Have To Be Willing To Do ENOUGH Selling (plus, Mini Office Tour), The Uncertain Times – Ep 8

May 14, 2020


Listen to the audio version


Episode Summary

We’re getting really close to the 2-week launch of our un-boring coaching program (final enrollment of 2020!). In this week’s episode of The Uncertain Times, we share what last-minute tasks and to-dos we’re working on.

But, more important than the tasks and the to-dos, we talk a bit about selling in general. Most people undersell their offerings because they don’t want to feel “sleazy” 😤or like they’re 😬overselling. We’ve sold enough stuff in our 10+ years of entrepreneurship to know you HAVE to do ENOUGH selling to hit your revenue goals (and your goals *don’t* have to be 6-figure launches).

There’s also a bonus OFFICE TOUR! We recently moved Caroline’s office around and thought it would be fun to share a quick tour.

👉👩🏻‍🦰🛋 21:52 Office tour starts!

🗣 Leave a comment on YouTube: Do you struggle with selling? What is the part about selling that bothers you the most?

 


WANT TO SUPPORT US AND HELP GROW YOUR BIZ WITH INTENTION?

If you’re looking for (un-boring) business coaching to help you grow your business, gain more free time, and have more fun, join our 6-Month Group Coaching program. You can get your first month for 50% OFF if you use the code casper at checkout!

Joining Wandering Aimfully is the best way to help support us on our journey AND help yourself grow your business with intention and on your own terms.

13 Marketing Ideas For Online Business Owners Who Don’t Love Marketing

October 13, 2019

If you’re anything like us, when you hear the word “Marketing,” it feels vague and a bit overwhelming.

If you run an online business, sure, you know marketing is important, but how can you improve your marketing efforts unless you break down that big word into more actionable pieces?

In this article, we want to share with your how we break down the broad idea of marketing into more digestible parts, plus we want to give you our proven marketing strategies that you can experiment with to boost revenue for your business.

Before we go any further, we want to make sure this article can actually benefit you. These are three critical pieces of the puzzle you need to have in place right now:

  1. You have a product or service you sell and someone has purchased it before.
  2. You have some traffic coming to your website or some audience on social media.
  3. You are willing to have an experimenter’s mindset and you aren’t looking for silver bullets.

Did you say HELL YES! 💪🏼 to all three of those things? Awesome, then let’s keep going.

👉 Improving your marketing leads to more revenue

Before we dive into what marketing is and how we’re going to help you feel less overwhelmed by it, let’s start with what you WANT:

You want more MONEY, right?

We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, especially if you’re intentional about defining how much money is enough for you and why you want it in the first place. More money = more freedom. It means more breathing room, more time for the things you value, less stress, and hopefully whatever makes you money is also helping the person who is buying from you.

In order for your business to make more money, you need more clients or customers—it’s as simple as that. And you’re likely in one of these two categories:

#1: You have a service offering that has been validated (meaning someone has paid for it) but you DON’T have a steady stream of clients knocking on your door to hire you.

#2: You have a product that some people like, but sales aren’t as great as you expected and you’re not sure why.

This is the big mystery every business owner is trying to solve: why aren’t I getting more clients or customers?

This is where the all-powerful marketing comes in. We need to figure out the gaps in your marketing strategy to understand why you aren’t getting the number of clients or customers you want. And maybe you’re like hmmm, “I don’t think I have a market strategy,” in which case GOOD because this article will help you come up with one (or two, or three, etc!)

Okay, so let’s take our big term Marketing and break it down a bit…

Marketing is the blanket term to describe anything that connects your audience with your offering (product/service).

Let’s paint the scene for you. Cozy up for some storytime and metaphors!

Your online business is an island 🏝

On one side of this scene we’re painting, we have an island. This island is your business, your beautiful little slice of paradise that is all yours. Your island is on the internet and it lives at your website address.

Your offering is a castle on your island 🏰

What you sell is a glorious and beautiful castle sitting on your island. It’s your web design services. It’s your online course that helps people clarify their messaging and branding. It’s your 1-on-1 coaching to help people unlearn the bad habits they’ve picked up in their lives. Whatever you sell, that’s your castle.

Your potential customers are over on the “mainland” 🏜

Now imagine there’s another bigger piece of land wayyyyy across a body of metaphorical water (a river, an ocean, a sea, whatever body you like). This is the MAINLAND Internet. This is where ALL the people are (your potential customers). They’re hanging out in all kinds of hip neighborhoods like Instagram Alley and Podcast Peninsula and Facebook Group Gulf and Popular Blog Bluff.

Your goal as a business owner is to get some of these people—-the RIGHT people (that’s very key)–from the mainland all the way over to your castle.

Not only do these people have to be willing to leave the mainland and venture over to your island, but they also need to build enough trust with you that they’re willing to hand over their hard-earned mainland dollars to enter your castle.

How does someone move from the mainland to your island?

Your marketing strategy is the BRIDGE between the MAINLAND and your ISLAND 🌉

You need a GUIDED PATH for interested people to get from where they are in all those mainland neighborhoods, over to where your product lives (your island). Now, is it as easy as just dropping your website link everywhere you can think you’re ideal peeps are hanging out? Is that a marketing bridge? No ma’am. Because if it was that easy, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.

A great marketing bridge that gets people from the mainland to your island requires a step-by-step path, one that constantly invites your audience to deepen the connection with you aka go farther and farther across your bridge until they’re ready to enter your castle. We call these invitations throughout your marketing efforts “guideposts.”

But, just because the marketing bridge exists, doesn’t mean people KNOW it’s there. You need to point them in the right direction and guide them down a well-lit path from the mainland, across your bridge, and to your island and eventually into your wondrous castle. These guideposts represent things like your content marketing, maybe some paid marketing, or anything that can get in front of someone and say, Hey! This thing exists!

Let’s recap the marketing metaphors we’ve laid out for you:

  • 🏝 Your website is your island
  • 🏰 What you sell is the castle on your island
  • 🏜 Your potential customers are over on the “mainland” (this is where everyone’s hanging out on the internet (social media apps, popular sites, etc.)
  • 🌉 Your marketing efforts form the bridge between the mainland and your island
  • 🚏 The steps along the way in your marketing efforts (to build trust and make the sale) are guideposts to get people across the bridge from the mainland to your island and castle


The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make With Your Marketing

Now that we’ve broken this big vague idea of “Marketing” into its parts, we can more clearly see where people often fall short. In our experience, there are three mistakes people often make related to their marketing bridge.

Mistake #1: You go hard on SELLING in your social media content and content marketing.

This is the equivalent of putting up billboards over on the mainland saying “Pay $100 to come to my castle!” when people are just hearing about you for the first time. There’s no bridge there, no journey for them to go on to understand what your business is, how it can help them, and why they should pay you money.

Mistake #2: You have a marketing bridge, but you don’t put up any signs on the mainland so no one knows it exists.

Let’s say you’ve spent time and energy building out a robust, helpful free email course on branding as a lead in to sell your branding course (ps. this is one of our Bridge Blueprints below!) You know it works because a few people have converted to sales. The problem is that no one is finding it! Unless you’re creating helpful content in the form of things like social posts, videos, podcasts or articles, then people who could be your potential customers have no way to stumble across you. Your bridge might as well not exist because it’s not connecting with the wealth of people already hanging out over on mainland/the internet!

Mistake #3: You have a bridge, but you rush the journey.

It’s not enough to simply build the bridge; as we mentioned, you need guideposts throughout your bridge so that people can gradually get to know your business and build trust.

Imagine this: Someone stumbles across your podcast that’s all about how to plan and run big business events. They WERE listening to the latest true crime podcast, but they decided it’s time to up-level their business knowledge and they’re thinking of running an event in the future so they find you in their favorite podcast app. Woohoo! That’s like someone wandering around the mainland and seeing your billboard that says “Hello! I’m a business and I exist!” Great.

Now imagine if you encourage listeners at the end of your podcast to sign up for your email newsletter. Plus 12 points for you! That’s a guidepost—-and invitation for them to step foot on your marketing bridge. Things are looking good for you. But NOW imagine this ideal customer of yours hops on your newsletter and immediately gets pitched your $1,000 course on how to plan your own large-scale event. She’s like WHOA, I just started listening to your podcast. I’m not ready for this level of commitment!

People *most* often need multiple touchpoints to build trust with you before they buy. Instead of pitching up front, maybe you deliver info-packed, valuable newsletters every week to your customers. Maybe you invite the most engaged subscribers to live workshops or a targeted free video series so they can learn more from you first and really get to know you before they buy.

The same goes for a service-based business, instead of closing the deal on the first consultation call, maybe you want to send a proposal first with ideas about how you plan to help them. With each interaction, you want those peeps coming from the mainland to fall deeper and deeper in love with your brand and to move farther and farther down the bridge.

Now that you know the mistakes to avoid, let’s give you some ideas to help you up-level your marketing bridge.

We want to share with you 13 different ways to build a marketing bridge between your audience and your offering. One quick thing we should note though:

👉👉 We’re going to use the term “traffic” in these marketing bridges as a shorthand to say you have already created SOME ways for people on the mainland to see your “Hello, I exist!” signs up.

As we talked about at the very beginning of this section, we’re assuming you already have a traffic source or two for your business. Traffic sources can be, but are not limited to:

  1. Organic traffic (people finding your website, blog, articles, etc from Google search)
  2. Social media traffic (people who follow you on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc)
  3. Direct traffic (people who subscribe to your email newsletter, listen to your podcast, etc)

Okay, now that you understand how we think about marketing, we want to share 13 different marketing bridges and their blueprints that you can experiment with in your business. We’ve ordered the 13 blueprints from easiest to implement to more in-depth.

Important note: Just because a marketing bridge is harder to implement does not mean it will land more sales. In fact, we’ve found some of the simplest marketing bridges are the most effective! Remember to use an experimenter’s mindset as you plan your marketing calendar and try these marketing bridges on for size in your business. 

Want us to help you put your marketing bridge into action?

Hello, friend! 👋 This is a great moment to hit pause and let you know that we have a monthly coaching program that teaches you a concept and gives you actionable takeaways. We have an upcoming session dedicated to the topic of Building Your Marketing Bridges.

Why this matters to you is that in our group coaching program not only will we go over our marketing bridges more in-depth (and on a live call where you can work with us 1-on-1 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲) BUT we’ve also created checklists for EVERY marketing bridge/blueprint listed below. Along with the checklists, which will give you step-by-step tasks to implement a marketing bridge, our coaching program includes a 12-Month Marketing Calendar to help you keep track of your marketing bridge efforts. If that sounds awesome to you click here to learn more about our 6-Month Un-Boring Group Coaching!

 


Marketing Bridge #1

The “Newsletter” Blueprint

Email Newsletter Marketing Funnel

Our 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲 Favorite

The concept: The “Newsletter” Blueprint is the most basic marketing bridge for an online business owner but is also one of the most powerful. As amazing as social media platforms can be, they are always changing. However, people’s use of email has stayed steady and the experience of reading email is a lot more focused than quickly scrolling/swiping through posts in a social feed.

How the “Newsletter” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You add multiple email opt-in forms to your website →
  • (Your opt-in form copy should be compelling and enticing!)
  • You send consistent emails to folks who subscribe →
  • (Your emails should be helpful trust-building pieces of content)
  • Eventually, you send pitch emails to buy your product →
  • Your newsletter is the bridge and the consistent emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: We’ve successfully used the “Newsletter” blueprint to generate over $2,000,000 in business revenue over the past decade. Over 90% of our business revenue continues to come from our email newsletter and that’s why we are listing it as the first, and what we think should be, a foundational marketing bridge you have in place.

 


Marketing Bridge #2

The “Consultation” Blueprint

Consultation Call Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Consultation” Blueprint is the most direct and 1-on-1 marketing bridge we’ll talk about. This blueprint is almost a must-have if you are a freelancer and are trying to get more clients but we’ve even used this blueprint to sell higher-priced digital products. Speaking of which, it’s not a good idea to use this blueprint for lower-cost offerings (the time isn’t worth the money).

How the “Consultation” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You have a contact form or calendar scheduler on your website →
  • (You have the 1-on-1 consultation call)
  • You send follow-up pitch emails →
  • Your consultation call is the bridge and the pitch emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: As we just mentioned, we’ve actually used consultation calls to sell digital products in the $1,000 – $2,000 range. When we used to offer client services, consultation calls were a critical part of the marketing process. The key with this blueprint is to have the consultation call sign-up process as efficient and straightforward as possible. And while the call itself is important, the follow-up pitch emails are where the final move across the marketing bridge and into your offering castle will happen!

 


Marketing Bridge #3

The “Lead Magnet” Blueprint

Lead Magnet Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Lead Magnet” Blueprint is like an upgrade to the Newsletter Blueprint. You offer a freebie or downloadable item (PDF, checklist, etc) that someone has to give their email address to receive. Lead magnets are a marketing win-win if the freebie/downloadable thing delivers extra value based on what your potential customer was already interested in.

How the “Lead Magnet” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • (Most often this is an article or a specific landing page)
  • You have a freebie or downloadable item that requires an email address →
  • Their email gets added to your email list/newsletter →
  • You send consistent emails and eventually pitch emails →
  • (Bonus step: You have a dedicated email sequence around the lead magnet)
  • Your lead magnet is the bridge and your emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: Over the years we’ve found that some of our most interested and qualified potential customers come from some sort of lead magnet. Because they are willing to enter their email to learn more about something and invest time doing so, they are usually more ready to purchase from (especially if the lead magnet delivers on its promise!)

 


Marketing Bridge #4

The “Email Course” Blueprint

Free Email Course Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Email Course” Blueprint is simple in concept but can take a good amount of experimentation (read: trial and a good amount of error) to get it converting people to paying customers. You send a series of emails around your offering topic and you soft sell in those emails, along with emails at the end of the sequence that are a sales pitch.

How the “Email Course” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You offer a free email course to teach someone how to solve a problem →
  • The email course gets sent out over a series of days →
  • (The individual email course emails can pitch your offering)
  • You pitch your offering at the end of the email course →
  • (Additionally: The potential customer gets added to your email newsletter)
  • Your email course is the bridge and your emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: We absolutely love free email courses and think they are a solid way to build a lot of trust with your potential customers (from the mainland!) Over a few days you can help your potential customer solve problems around your email course topic and then show them how your offering speeds that process up or does some/all of the work for them. Email courses are great because they tend to be a great way to generate passive income (once you’ve tested out different emails, pitches, sales pages, etc).

 


Marketing Bridge #5

The “Epic Post to E-Book” Blueprint

Epic Post to Ebook Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Epic Post to E-Book” Blueprint is not for everyone but it can be the BEST way to create consistent organic traffic and email signups. This article you’re reading right now could be considered an “epic post” with exception to the e-book part (which we’ll talk about in the experience section below). The goal is to create a piece of content that really nails a topic and then offer the reader an e-book version to download, which puts them in your “newsletter blueprint” (or “lead magnet/email course” blueprints).

How the “Epic Post to E-Book” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You have an “epic post” that is better than most on the topic →
  • (More on how to create an “epic post” below)
  • You offer an e-book version of the epic post that can be downloaded →
  • You have a dedicated email sequence around the epic post e-book with a sales pitch →
  • Their email gets added to your email list/newsletter →
  • You send consistent emails and eventually more pitch emails →
  • Your “epic post and e-book” are the bridges and your emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: We thoroughly enjoy writing in-depth “epic posts” based on what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced. We find that our “epic posts” are the ones that rank most often and end up on the first page of Google which brings us organic traffic over time. While writing these marketing bridges we realized we had YET to do the e-book portion of this bridge and we’d really only pitched our email newsletter as the guidepost to get someone to our castle.

Want a step-by-step action plan to create “epic posts”?

In our Un-Boring Group Coaching program we’re including step-by-step checklists for all of these marketing bridges. This “epic post” bridge takes a bit of work to put together, but our checklist included in our coaching program will make it muuuuuch easier for you.

If investing $100 per month for the next 6 months feels like the right move for your business’s marketing efforts, we’d love to invite you to join us and our amazing community of online business owners. You’ll get all our marketing bridge blueprints, our marketing calendar, join us for a 2-hour live coaching call around marketing, and we’ll have a 2-week action plan to help you get your marketing ducks in a row! Click here to learn more about our 6-Month Un-Boring Group Coaching!

 


Marketing Bridge #6

The “Fly On The Wall” Blueprint

Fly on the Wall Content Series Marketing Funnel

Our 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲 Favorite

The concept: The “Fly On The Wall” Blueprint let’s your potential customer watch you work on a project or experimenting with something. You could be building via blog post updates, video updates, or simply via emails. The idea is to share the behind the scenes of how the sausage gets made and let someone join you on the journey.

How the “Fly On The Wall” blueprint works:

  • You build something in public (with updates via blog, video, or email) →
  • You have traffic coming to your blog, videos, or email list →
  • You have a call to action to subscribe or get on your email list for project updates →
  • Their email gets added to your email list/newsletter →
  • You send consistent emails and eventually more pitch emails →
  • Your “fly on the wall” project is the bridge and your emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: This is one of our FAVORITE marketing bridges. Not only is it a great way to showcase how you work and your personality while you work, people simply love to watch how things get made. When we built this site (Wandering Aimfully) we used this exact marketing bridge tactic and it helped us get a bunch of new email subscribers which turned into customers when we were ready to sell our offering. We continue to use this marketing bridge over and over as we thoroughly enjoy sharing our processes and ALL the behind the scenes goodness.

 


Marketing Bridge #7

The “Quiz” Blueprint

Quiz Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Quiz” Blueprint is a way to figure out what your potential customer needs and identify ways to help them based on their answers. Quizzes are great at segmenting people and then sending them down paths to further solve their problems.

How the “Quiz” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to a quiz landing page →
  • At the end of the quiz you ask for their email to get results/etc →
  • You send them an email sequence about their quiz results and how you can help →
  • You send a more personalized sales pitch via email after the quiz results sequence →
  • (Bonus: You grow your email list with the quiz and can pitch these folks again later)
  • Your “quiz” is the bridge and your emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: This is actually the next marketing bridge we’re going to be exploring! We’ve never tried a quiz before but we finally feel like we have a good idea for one that will lead people through our helpful content and possibly become customers. We love this email provider quiz from the Growth Tools team.

 


Marketing Bridge #8

The “Partnership” Blueprint

Joint Venture Partnership Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Partnership” Blueprint is all about teamwork making the dream work! Ideally, you’re partnering with another person so you can attract some of their audience to you (and vice versa for the partner). Partnerships can include co-hosted video workshops, guest blog posts, limited edition product bundles, or simple co-branded experiences.

How the “Partnership” blueprint works:

  • Your PARTNER has traffic coming to a dedicated signup page, post, etc →
  • There is something to sign up for or register for where emails are collected →
  • You deliver the partnership offering (workshop, post, etc) →
  • (You may: Have a live sales pitch with your partner)
  • You send a sales pitch email sequence →
  • (Bonus: You grow your email list with qualified people from your partner’s audience)
  • Your “partnership” is the bridge and your live sales pitch and sales emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: Partnerships are such a great way to tap into audiences that have already been vetted and are hungry to learn and improve. We’ve done partner video workshops, partner “fly on the wall” project builds (whoa, marketing bridge crossover!), partner podcasts, partner guest posts, and they all are a great way to grow your email list, but more importantly, put up a new bridge and guideposts from someone else’s island/castle to your island/castle.

 


Marketing Bridge #9

The “Group Challenge” Blueprint

Group Challenge Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Group Challenge” Blueprint is a great way to harness the power of word of mouth marketing. The idea is to get a group of people excited about doing a challenge together and working closely with one another. Challenges are perfect for social media as people can quickly connect, stay in touch, and there’s built-in discoverability using hashtags (and leveraging the individual group member’s audience).

How the “Group Challenge” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You have a dedicated landing signup page for a group challenge →
  • Your group works together on a specific challenge →
  • You keep in contact with the group via email (and on social media) →
  • You send a sales pitch email sequence during or after the challenge →
  • (Bonus: Your group members help bring traffic to the challenge and grow the group)
  • Your “group challenge” is the bridge and your group members and your pitch emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: We’ve had great success with group challenges on Instagram, especially with Caroline’s Hand-Lettering Course which used to run monthly hand-lettering challenges. Giving people a list of to-do items and a common goal gets them excited to share and attract other people to the group. We’ve also enjoyed issuing small group challenges to our email list where they can share the challenge with their friends!

 


Marketing Bridge #10

The “Workshop” (aka Webinar) Blueprint

Live Webinar Marketing Funnel

Our 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲 Favorite

The concept: The “Workshop” Blueprint is something you’ve probably seen time and time again. There’s no denying that a live atmosphere is a great way to engage with an audience, help teach them something, and then sell your offering to them. The great thing about workshops (hosted live or recorded on-demand) is that not only do you have the opportunity to sell during the workshop, but the follow-up sales email series is also a natural fit.

How the “Workshop” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You have a dedicated landing signup page for a live workshop →
  • Your run the workshop and teach the attendees how to accomplish something →
  • You have a live pitch of your offering during the live workshop →
  • You send a follow-up sales pitch email sequence after the workshop →
  • (Bonus: Your workshops can help you grow your email list)
  • Your “workshop” is the bridge and follow-up sales emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: The idea of hosting a live workshop (or even recording one to be watched on-demand) can be daunting for some but it’s truly one of our favorite marketing bridges. Not only do we love to share knowledge and teach on a topic but it’s also a great way to genuinely connect with people. It’s never been easier to host a workshop (or webinar) and we run all of ours using Crowdcast (aff link) these days as they make much of this blueprint easy for you!

 


Marketing Bridge #11

The “Video Series” Blueprint

Video Series Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Video Series” Blueprint is extremely similar to the “Email Course” blueprint in that the videos are delivered via… well… email! The main difference with this blueprint is that video is a much more engaging media and you can share your personality and build a rapport with a potential customer faster. Plus, video can be a much better medium for teaching with all the extra bells and whistles you can add in the editing process.

How the “Video Series” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You offer a free video series that gets delivered via email →
  • The video series gets emailed out over a series of days →
  • (The individual videos in the series can pitch your offering)
  • You pitch your offering at the end of the video series with an email pitch sequence →
  • Your “video series” is the bridge and your videos and emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: We’ve used video to our advantage quite a bit over the years but only on a few occasions have we followed this blueprint. Mostly that’s because we’ve been spending time using other marketing bridges and we simply forget about the video series as a marketing bridge (yep, even we miss out on our own marketing opportunities!) If you have the chops to record and edit videos, a video series blueprint could work wonders for ya.

 


Marketing Bridge #12

The “Free Trial” Blueprint

Free Trial Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Free Trial” Blueprint is definitely one of the most complex marketing bridges to create but if you’re selling a recurring product (like a membership, coaching, or software) a free trial can be one of the highest converting marketing efforts. The idea with a free trial is to give your customers enough access to show them how your product or service can be useful enough for them to want to purchase from you.

How the “Free Trial” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your website →
  • You have a free trial of your offering →
  • (Immediately after joining the trial there’s an onboarding experience into your offering)
  • During the free trial period you send an email series about your offering →
  • (You’ll likely have a visual reminder of the trial while experiencing your product)
  • You pitch your offering heavily as the trial period comes to a close →
  • Your “free trial” is the bridge and your onboarding and emails are the guideposts!

Our experience with this bridge: Free trials are simply a no-brainer if you’re selling a software product. Our other business (an online course software called Teachery) has been built entirely on the free trial marketing bridge. Zero other bridges have been constructed and Teachery has generated over $500,000 in revenue as a side project. But, it’s not just software, Wandering Aimfully used to be sold as a membership community and we tested a 1-month and 7-day free trial with some success. Truthfully, we didn’t put a lot of effort into the free trial marketing bridge with Wandering Aimfully but it still worked!

 


Marketing Bridge #13

The “Cool Microsite” Blueprint

Cool Microsite Marketing Funnel

The concept: The “Cool Microsite” Blueprint is last on our marketing bridge list because it typically takes the most effort to create. Putting together a cool microsite takes planning, technical know-how, great copywriting, and more often than not needs to leave the microsite visitor saying, “wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before!” The cool microsite marketing bridge is a great one if you can spin up unique share-worthy experiences that people will pass around and help generic buzz for your offering.

How the “Cool Microsite” blueprint works:

  • You have traffic coming to your cool microsite →
  • (You can also direct existing website traffic to a cool microsite)
  • You ask for the microsite visitor to enter their email for future similar experiences →
  • (If the microsite is good enough you can sell your offering directly on it!)
  • You could start an email series with a pitch here or simply add to your email newsletter →
  • Your “cool microsite” is the bridge and your emails are the guideposts!

The “Cool Microsite” Blueprint – Traffic → Microsite experience → Email signup to get notified → email pitch

Our experience with this bridge: This marketing bridge has eluded us because of our technical limitations but one we absolutely love is from Growth.Design (this one on Tesla is awesome). A microsite doesn’t have to be a huge technical undertaking but more often than not to make a big impact you do need to do more than just slap a page together with a standard website page builder.

 


Conclusion: What Are Your Next Marketing Steps?

Our hope is that the 13 marketing bridges we’ve shared with you in this article have given you a TON of ideas for your online business. We realize you may have tried a few of the marketing bridges already but we’re fairly certain you haven’t tried them all because we haven’t tried them all (and we do a lot of stuff!)

Do you have a marketing calendar in place?

It may sound like a very simple step for your business but are you actually planning out your marketing? Are you taking the time to set up a marketing bridge, gather the data from it, and review the entire experiment to see how things went?

Shameless plug: We’ve created a done-for-you marketing calendar that we’re giving to all our 6-Month Un-Boring Group Coaching customers. Not only will our calendar help you plan and prioritize your marketing for the next 12 months but we’re also including Marketing Bridge Review Sheets. These review sheets will help take the guesswork out of analyzing and reviewing each marketing bridge! You can sign up for our Un-Boring Group Coaching right here if your interest is piqued and you want us to help you streamline your marketing.

Are your marketing bridges in place but the sales don’t seem to be coming in?

As consumer behavior evolves, your marketing efforts need to evolve as well.

Anytime you feel like you’re not getting the number of sales or clients you want, it’s important to reevaluate the other parts of your sales picture.

  • Does your offering look professional and welcoming?
  • Is your sales page easy to find? Is the buy button easy to find?
  • Does your sales page clearly speak to who your ideal audience is, what their pain points are?
  • Does the price of your offering match with the kind of person you’re welcoming and the look of the castle?
  • Have you tested your own checkout process for your offering?
  • Have you gotten feedback from potential customers on your offering? Do they get it? Does it make sense?
  • Does your offering look professional and welcoming?
  • Does your offering look professional and welcoming?

Marketing Funnel Ideas for Online Business
Remember, as consumer behavior and business trends evolve, your marketing bridges and guideposts need to evolve as well. We reevaluate all our plans every 6 months or so, but it’s usually every 2-3 months where shaking up our marketing focus.

No amount of great marketing is going to cover up for a broken-down castle or an island that’s impossible to get to.

We’ve been guilty of focusing too much on a marketing strategy before and not enough on the core offering (the product or service). You definitely want to make sure your castle and your island are in tip-top shape before you start trying to get customers from the mainland to find you.

Don’t want to figure all this stuff out on your own?

As a reminder, we’ve created step-by-step checklists for each one of the 13 marketing blueprints we’ve shared here. You could absolutely figure these out on your own but if you’re the type of person who wants to save time and learn from folks who’ve done the hard work for you, our 6-Month Un-Boring Group Coaching will be perfect for you! We’ll help you with your marketing AND continue to teach a topic and give you actionable transformations in your business each month.

 

An In-Depth Guide on How To Sell More Products and Services Using Bumpsale

November 1, 2018

NOTE: As of March 2019, I’m no longer a part-owner of Bumpsale. If you need any help with Bumpsale check the website for contact info. I still love Bumpsale and use it myself – so don’t worry about that!

Do you want to sell more products or services, but felt like you’ve exhausted all previous sales efforts?

Maybe you have a brand new thing to sell, but you aren’t sure how much your audience will pay for it? Or, you simply want to make a few extra bucks and give your audience an exciting way to purchase what you already make?

Enter Bumpsale.

Bumpsale

This in-depth guide will walk you through these topics:

(Feel free to click any of them to jump to that section or simply keep scrolling.)


 


First Up, What The Heck Is Bumpsale?

Bumpsale is a unique way to sell something using a bump in price after every purchase is made. The idea was originally conceived by me (the person writing to you), Jason Zook, when I created the project IWearYourShirt in 2008. I used the Bumpsale concept back then to sell spots on a daily t-shirt wearing calendar, where each day would increase in price (Jan 1 was $1, Jan 2 was $2, etc). Truthfully, I wanted to create some marketing and momentum with my pricing, little did I know that idea would turn into the Bumpsale app you see today.

Bumpsale does NOT help you sell spots on a daily t-shirt wearing calendar. That’s a very niche business model and we’d have gone defunct many years ago had that been our customer focus. Instead, we took the concept of bumping the price after each purchase and made a much more flexible product.

Bumpsale DOES let you quickly create a buy button that will increase in price after a purchase is made. The increase happens right on the page as your customers look at the buy button.

Bumpsale pop up window

These are the things you set when creating a Bumpsale (more on the specific steps in the How To Bumpsale section):

  • Starting price (start as low as $1 or as high as your heart desires)
  • Bump price (how much the price increases after each purchase)
  • Currency (over 135+ currencies supported!)
  • Set the amount of time someone can lock in their price
  • Style your button (button color and text)
  • Post-purchase URL (where customers go after the purchase is made)

As people purchase via your Bumpsale button, the price will bump live on your site. There’s a small snippet of code you add to your sales page that takes care of all the wizardry and selling-magic behind the scenes.

Quite simply, Bumpsale is an incredibly fast and nimble way to sell your product with some fun added urgency.


 


Why Should You Use Bumpsale To Sell Your Stuff?

We know how it goes: You create an online course, a digital book, a photo-pack, a membership site, a consulting call, a package for your freelancing services, or maybe even a Zebra Training Certification program. Whatever it is, you go through the normal sales cycles and while those can work, you want to shake things up a bit.

That’s where Bumpsale comes in! We created Bumpsale to spice up your sales and to give your customers an exciting way to purchase whatever it is you create (especially if it’s Zebra Certifications!)

⚡️ Bumpsale is lightning quick to set up: It’s about 4 clicks of your mouse and your Bumpsale button can be ready to start collecting sales. There’s a step-by-step video walkthrough below if you want to jump to that.

👍 Bumpsale is super versatile: We give you some basic styling options, but if you know some CSS, you can make your Bumpsale button look like anything your heart desires.

👌🏻 Bumpsale will cost you almost nothing: There’s no monthly fee for Bumpsale. There’s no per button setup cost. We simply collect a small 3% fee on every sale made with Bumpsale. Example: If you sell $1,000 worth of online courses, you’d only pay us $30. Not. Too. Shabby!

💃🏻 Bumpsale is fun for your audience: As you’ll see in the Proof of Concept section below, customers actually LOVE buying through Bumpsale. Usually, they’re getting some kind of discount, so that tends to help, but the excitement and uniqueness of a Bumpsale stands out from other standard sales tactics.

Bumpsale Customers


 


When Should (And Shouldn’t) You Use Bumpsale?

Using Bumpsale isn’t reserved just for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or other holiday discounts. We DO recommend using Bumpsale around those times, but it’s also a very successful way to drum up sales whenever you need a little revenue bump!

You should use Bumpsale if you already have an audience of some kind.

Bumpsale does not bring an audience to your product (you handle that). We simply have a mechanism that helps make the sales process more fun. The most successful uses of Bumpsale occur when you give your audience a heads-up that you’re going to use Bumpsale, and have them waiting and ready for it (more on this in the How To Warm Up Your Audience section).

You should use Bumpsale for a short period of time.

It’s not that you can’t use Bumpsale for longer periods of time, we’ve simply seen the best results when a Bumpsale is run through a shortened time period. There’s no perfect amount of time, but 24 hours, 48 hours, 2-3 days, or a week tend to do really well.

NOTE: As a heads-up, there isn’t an expire feature within Bumpsale, you’ll just remove the button when your Bumpsale time period has ended – easy peasy!

You should use Bumpsale for pre-orders.

Pre-orders tend to work really well with Bumpsale because your audience is getting a discount and more people can get in at a lower price than they’d normally. Plus, the math can add up very quickly with Bumpsale over a standard discount. Here’s an example scenario:

  • Let’s say you have a $200 online course
  • If you start your Bumpsale at $20 and bump by $1
  • If you get 100 sales, you’ll make $6,950!
  • (The final bump price would end up at $119, which is still a 59% discount!)

Feel free to use the Bumpsale Calculator to get an idea of how much revenue you can generate with Bumpsale. Here’s a video of the calculator in action:

Bumpsale Calculator

 

You should NOT do tiny discounts with Bumpsale.

Looking at the example above, if you were to try to sell your $200 course, starting at $180 and bumping by $1, you probably wouldn’t see any traction at all. There’s simply no motivation for your customers. Plus, the urgency to purchase before the price increases doesn’t really matter. We aren’t advocating that every product has to have an enormous discount with Bumpsale, but the bigger the discount, the more traction and sales we’ve seen happen time and time again. If we look at the example scenario used a minute ago with a tiny discount, here’s how the math works out:

  • You have a $200 online course
  • You start your Bumpsale at $180 and bump by $1
  • If you get 20 sales (because people won’t pay OVER full price), you only make $3,790
  • (The final bump price would obviously end up at $200)

You should NOT drop a Bumpsale on your audience last minute:

Most likely, your audience has never heard of Bumpsale or seen it in action before. If you don’t clearly explain how it works, it can lead customers to be confused (never a good thing!). Give your audience at least a week’s notice, along with explaining how the Bumpsale will work and what they can expect. (Again, more on this in the How To Warm Up Your Audience section).

You should NOT run a Bumpsale without doing a real purchase of your own Bumpsale:

We hope this goes without saying, but some folks miss this critical step. Purchasing your own Bumpsale will give you the best experience to see what your customer will see. Did you notice anything weird? Did the redirect URL after a purchase go to the correct place? Did anything else happen that you expected/didn’t expect? Do a test purchase and refund yourself after!

Hopefully, that rest of this guide fills the gaps on the shoulds and shouldn’ts with Bumpsale. There’s an FAQ section at the bottom as well.


 


What Products Or Services Work Best With Bumpsale?

ALL OF THEM! Okay, if you’re selling sustainably raised goldfish, you probably won’t use Bumpsale to sell those. But, these things can be sold via Bumpsale and work really well:

  • Online courses
  • Digital books
  • Consulting spots
  • Freelance client spots
  • Coaching calls
  • Physical goods (you know, fidget spinners)
  • Music albums
  • Bundles*
  • Etc etc

*Bundles work especially well with Bumpsale because they are a grouping of products sold at a discounted price. The price is usually completely arbitrary, and potential customers of the bundle just want to snag a great deal on the total value of the bundle.

Anything you sell, that you are willing to make incremental revenue on, will work with Bumpsale.

An example of using Bumpsale to sell a bundle of products and services.

My wife and I put together a bundle of online courses, digital books, and a few downloadable goodies called The Vibrant Stuff Bundle (her site at the time was Made Vibrant and mine was JasonDoesStuff).

Vibrant Stuff Bundle

The total value of the resources inside The Vibrant Stuff Bundle was well over $2,500 if we sold every item in it at full price. But instead of offering a flat discount on the bundle, we used Bumpsale and generated over $20,000 in sales by starting the bundle at $1 and bumping the price by $1 after every purchase. These are the steps we took to create and sell our bundle:

  1. We whipped together a website on Squarespace just for the Vibrant Stuff Bundle
  2. We figured out how to do the redemption of all the resources inside the bundle (which ended up being a password protected page on Squarespace with links to redeem each product or service)
  3. We created the Bumpsale button, styled it with simple CSS, and added it to our sales page on Squarespace
  4. We used the automation service Zapier to create a “Zap” that would send an email upon every successful purchase of our Bumpsale to the customer (the email had a link to the password protected page and the secret password)
  5. We warmed up our audience and sold the bundle for 5 days (more on this a minute!)
  6. At the end of 5 days, the price had increased from just $1 to just over $200, netting us over $20,000!

The great thing about doing a bundle is that you usually don’t need to create any new products at all! Sure, you need to create the sales page that explains and sells the bundle, but that’s way easier than building yet another product from start to finish. Plus, who doesn’t love finding ways to repackage existing products you’ve created (while also giving folks a fun opportunity to buy a suite of products from you).


 


How To Set Up Your First Bumpsale Button

As I’ve mentioned a few times, setting up a Bumpsale is a mere few clicks of your mouse. I’m going to walk through the setup step-by-step, but there’s one important thing to keep in mind:

Bumpsale is just the button people click to purchase your product.

You need to put a Bumpsale button on your existing website (whether your site is on WordPress, Squarespace, Leadpages, Wix, Weebly, Dreamweaver, Geocities, etc).

As long as you can inject our small piece of Bumpsale code into an area of your website, you can use Bumpsale! And if you aren’t code-friendly, we’re happy to help you figure things out.

Watch the step-by-step Bumpsale video walkthrough:

 

Step 1 to create a Bumpsale: Connect your Stripe account Bumpsale

This is how you create your Bumpsale account. There’s no need for you to make an actual login, password, etc with Bumpsale. We let your existing Stripe account handle that info. If you don’t currently have a Stripe account, it’s completely free to set up and Stripe is the way to process credit cards (your customers won’t know Stripe exists).

NOTE: Stripe will send a receipt after a successful purchase. If you want to customize the way your receipt looks, you’ll do this in your Stripe account settings.

We do NOT support PayPal with Bumpsale (yet).

Connecting your Stripe account to Bumpsale

Step 2: Create your first Bumpsale!

You’re rockin’ and rollin’! We told you this was easy. With one click of your mouse, you’re on your way to building your first Bumpsale.

Create a new Bumpsale

Step 3: Set your Bumpsale settings

Next up, you’re going to fill out a couple simple fields. You can ALWAYS edit this stuff later, even while a Bumpsale is active (so don’t worry about getting it perfect). These are the fields you’ll fill out:

  1. Bumpsale Name (this shows on the purchase box that pops up for your customer)
  2. Bumpsale URL (this is so we can help you later on in case you have any trouble)
  3. Currency (135+ to choose from, the default is USD $)
  4. Starting Price (whatever you want your Bumpsale to begin at)
  5. Bump Price (how much your Bumpsale price should increase after each purchase)
  6. Highlight Color (this is the button color and the purchase box accent color)
  7. Checkout Timer (how long you want someone to lock in their price when they click the button to buy)
  8. Redirect URL* (where should someone go after they complete their purchase)

Bumpsale button Settings

*Setting your post-purchase redirect URL: Where do you want your customer to go after they finish their purchase? You don’t want them to just land back on the sales page, that’s confusing. We recommend creating a Thank You page of some sort on your website and redirecting to that page. This gives your customer a great experience AND give you a chance to lead them to the next step in the process (if there is one).

Add URL Redirect to Bumpsale

Bonus Tip: Add a way for people to share after purchasing (aka: “social intent”)

Adding social intent on your thank you page is a great way to get someone to share your Bumpsale on Facebook or Twitter. You can use Share Link Generator to make the links, then just add those to friendly share icons on your thank you page.

Use Social Intent on Thank You Page

Step 4: Add the Bumpsale javascript and Bumpsale button code to your website

You’re almost done! Grab the little snippet of javascript code and add it wherever you add other custom scripts to your website (in WordPress this is probably in your header.php or footer.php, in Squarespace this is in your “Code Injection” area within Settings). Here’s a little example of adding it to WordPress.

Note on WordPress: You DO have to publish the WordPress page/post to see the Bumpsale code in action – it will NOT work in preview mode.

Add Bumpsale code to your website!

Step 5: Create any automations that need to happen post-purchase

Bumpsale is going to handle the purchase itself, but it’s on you to give your customer whatever they just bought from you. This could simply be having your redirection URL go to a page on your website with a promo code to use or a secret link to access your product/service.

We highly recommend using Zapier for digital products (redeeming courses, ebooks, etc): You will use your Stripe account as the first step in any Zapier Zaps.

There’s a section below with Bumpsale + Zapier Tips

Step 6: Do a test purchase of your Bumpsale!

We cannot recommend this step enough. Use an Incognito Window in Google Chrome, or simply use an entirely new browser. This will give you the complete experience of viewing your sales page and your Bumpsale as a potential customer. Go through the entire buying process yourself and make sure everything works properly.

  • When you click the Bumpsale button, did it open the buying modal window?
  • When you filled out the buying form did it work?
  • When you finished your purchase, did you get redirected to the right URL?
  • On the page you were redirected to, does everything look correct? Did you add social intent? (You should!)
  • Check your email inbox, did you get a payment receipt for the purchase? (Reminder: You customize this receipt in your Stripe account settings)
  • Was any advanced stuff with Zapier supposed to happen? Did that work?
  • Go back to the sales page, did the price of the button bump up by the Bump Amount you set?

Example purchase with Bumpsale

Step 7: Promote your sales page! You’re off to the races!

Huzzzzah! It’s time to get your Bumpsale out into the world and bringing money into your bank account. Feel free to check out our tips below on setting up a sales page and things that help land the sale.

Happy after Bumpsale

(How you should feel after people buy your Bumpsale.)

Step 8: How to get your customer email addresses after your Bumpsale is done?

This one is easy! All you need to do is log in to your Stripe account, navigate to the Payments area, and click the Export button. You’ll want to select the “Default” option and you’ll find all your customer emails in the resulting CSV.

Another option is to use Zapier to automatically send your customer emails from Stripe and add them wherever you want (more on this in the Zapier section below).

Example Stripe Export for Bumpsale customers


 


How To Warm Up Your Audience For Your Bumpsale

Warming up your audience for a Bumpsale is incredibly important. Did we mention that enough yet? It’s likely your audience has no clue what Bumpsale is, how it works, or why you’re even talking to them about it. That’s why you need to warm them up!

Feel free to copy, paste, and customize this text which helps explain how Bumpsale works (use this in emails and on your website near the Bumpsale button so it’s very clear how it works):

Hey there! On [INSERT DATE] I’m doing something fun that I’ve never done before. I’m going to be offering [INSERT BUMPSALE PRODUCT OFFER] at a super discounted price, but with a twist!

Starting on [INSERT DATE AGAIN] at [INSERT TIME] I’ll be using something called “Bumpsale” to sell [OFFER NAME] starting at just [INSERT BUMPSALE START PRICE] and with every purchase, the price will bump [INSERT BUMP PRICE]. The earlier you purchase, the lower the price you’ll pay.

The total value of [OFFER NAME] is [TOTAL VALUE] so you’ll have the chance at snagging a crazy discount. This “Bumpsale” will only be available for [TIME AVAILABLE] so make sure to get ready as I won’t be doing this again for quite some time.

Keep your eye on your inbox for my next email that will have the link to purchase the [OFFER NAME]!

 

Here’s an example of how we explained a Bumpsale right on the sales page:

Vibrant Stuff Bundle How It Works

One thing to think about as well is your Bumpsale promotion schedule.

From personal experience running multiple Bumpsales, I’ve found that this schedule works really well:

Email #1: Announce the Bumpsale is coming (using the text above) a few days ahead of time

Email #2: Share the link to buy, with a clear explanation of what’s being offered, how great the discount is, and a reminder of how Bumpsale works

Email #3 (24 hours left): Remind people that the time to purchase is running out and remind them how great of a deal the Bumpsale still is*

Social media promo? If you’re promoting your Bumpsale on social media, feel free to give updates on a similar schedule!

*Recommendation: Take the current price of the Bumpsale and divide by the total value of what you’re selling. For example, if your Bumpsale is at $75 and the total value is $400 your customers are getting an 82% discount on the total price!


 


Bumpsale + Zapier Tips

This section is for you if you want to have some sort of automated event happen AFTER someone purchases your Bumpsale.

Example Zapier automation events:

  1. You send a nice thank you email (or an email with a password to access resources)
  2. You add their email address to your email provider (Mailchimp, etc)
  3. You get a notification in Slack that someone purchased your Bumpsale
  4. You automatically add their email into an online course and they get access
  5. And so many other things!

Zapier

If you’ve never used Zapier before, it’s incredibly powerful and really easy to use. There is a free account level, but I would recommend opting for the Professional ($49/month) level DURING a Bumpsale (you can downgrade immediately after your Bumpsale finishes). Using the Zapier Professional Plan, you take advantage of the 5 minute Zap runtime, which will give your customers a good experience. You absolutely do not have to use the $49/month plan, we just find it’s best experience for a customer.

Setting up a Zapier Zap with Bumpsale (Stripe)

Bumpsale is NOT the first step in a Zapier Zap, that will be your Stripe account. After you follow the steps in the Zap creation process to connect your Stripe account to Zapier, you can choose from one of two triggers to use from Stripe:

  • New Charge (recommended!)
  • New Event
  • New Customer

NOTE: If you’re connecting a Stripe account to Bumpsale that has other purchases happening with it, you’ll need to use a Filter step in your Zapier Zap to look for the name of your Bumpsale in the purchase data. More on this in Zapier Tip #3.

Setup Stripe in Zapier for Bumpsale

Zapier Tip #1: Set your customer’s expectations (if using Zapier to trigger an action)

On the Thank You page, or wherever you redirect someone after a successful purchase of your Bumpsale, make sure you mention that it can take 5-15 minutes to receive whatever you’re triggering via Zapier (an email, etc).

Zapier Tip #2: Send a thank you email via Zapier (using Email By Zapier)

One of the simple triggers after a successful purchase of your Bumpsale is to send an email using the Email By Zapier action. In this email you can add your product redemption itself (maybe a link to a page or a password), or you can simply say thank you and let the customer know what to expect next now that they’ve purchased.

Reminder: Stripe will send a receipt after purchase, so you do NOT need Zapier to send a receipt of any kind via email.

Heads-up: The “Email by Zapier” can only send 10 emails per hour (yep, 10). If you know you’ll have more than 10 sales per hour, you’ll want to use a different way to send an email. Maybe it’s a 1-email sequence people get added to in your Zap?

Email By Zapier for Bumpsale

Zapier Tip #3: Use a filter if your Stripe account has other purchase activity going on

If you currently use your Stripe account to sell any other products at the same time you’ll be running your Bumpsale, you’ll need to use a Zapier Filter to make sure your Zaps only run when the Bumpsale is purchased (and not all products associated with your Stripe account).

After your Stripe account is connected, the Zapier Filter step will give you an option of Only continue if…

Only Continue If in Zapier for Bumpsale

In the first input field, look for the entry that has the name of your Bumpsale.

In the second input field, select (Text) Exactly Matches.

In the final input field, type your Bumpsale name exactly as it’s named in Bumpsale.

This will ensure that every Stripe purchase Zapier sees associated with your Stripe account, the Zap will ONLY run if it meets the Filter requirement.

Important: If you’re only using your Stripe account for your Bumpsale you DO NOT need a Zapier Filter.

Zapier Tip #4: Add whatever steps you like to make your automated tasks happen!

The additional steps in your Zapier Zap will be up to your choosing. Again, you could add your Bumpsale customer to your email list, or immediately add them to your online course, etc.

You do NOT need to make multiple Zaps if you want multiple actions to happen after a Bumpsale purchase. In one single Zap, you can:

  1. Send the Email by Zapier
  2. Add your customer’s email address to your email list (ex: Mailchimp)
  3. Add your customer to your online course
  4. Send yourself a Slack notification of a new purchase (this is just fun!)

All of those would be Actions within the one Zap you create. Yay, you!

Final Zapier Tip: Make sure your Zaps are turned ON!

You’ll want to double-check that your completed Zaps are turned on and ready to go. You can triple-check this by completing a real purchase of your Bumpsale and seeing if the Zap fires in your Zap History. Remember, it can take 5-15 minutes depending on whatever Zapier pricing plan you chose.


 


Last But Not Least, Frequently Asked Bumpsale Questions (FABQ)

👉 How come multiple people can pay the same price if it’s increasing after each purchase?

If you have a large audience, odds are you will get a handful of people who pay the exact same price for your Bumpsale. I’ve had this happen multiple times and it’s simply a byproduct of having a larger, engaged audience (that’s a great problem to have!)

Your Bumpsale button will automatically bump the price as insanely fast as possible after a purchase happens. But… if someone clicked the Bumpsale button and they’re looking at the purchase pop up window, that customer’s price is locked in until the Bumpsale timer expires.

Bumpsale Price

Even if you have multiple customers pay the same price, Bumpsale will keep track and update the button with EACH purchase (regardless if the same price was paid or not). Example: If your Bumpsale button is at $20 and 5 people click it at the exact same time before another purchase happens, each time one of those 5 customers completes their purchase the Bumpsale button on your sales page will increase based on your bump price setting.

We do NOT recommend setting the Bumpsale timer to anything less than 180 seconds. It can take a minute or two for people to fill out their payment information. You’d rather have happy paying customers, than angry customers who had a buying window close on them and they missed out on the price they were looking at.

👉 Does Bumpsale create my sales page for me?

Nope. Bumpsale is just the button and the purchasing mechanism. You’ll need to create your own sales page and add the Bumpsale javascript and Bumpsale button code to your own website.

👉 I’m not a CSS expert, do I have to use the CSS provided in the Bumpsale installation instructions?

We would highly recommend at the very least copying + pasting our Bumpsale CSS and adding it to your website. Otherwise, your Bumpsale button is going to look pretty crappy. Odds are you know someone who knows CSS and they’d be willing to help you for the price of a beer or cup of coffee.

👉 Does Bumpsale bring customers to my sales page?

We wish! You bring the customers to your Bumpsale. I’ve personally seen amazing results using the social intent on a thank you page after a Bumpsale purchase. Don’t be shy in asking someone who just bought from you to share that they purchased (because hey, how the heck often do you run a Bumpsale??)

👉 Can a Bumpsale button expire after a certain number of purchases or certain amount of time?

It cannot. While Bumpsale is smart, you’ll have to be the one to turn it off. And by turn it off, we simply recommend removing the button itself from your sales page. There is nothing that needs to be done in Bumpsale itself to “end” a Bumpsale.

👉 Why only Stripe? Why not PayPal?

Guh, PayPal just sucks. It’s an awful experience. For years we’ve tried to get PayPal added and it’s a huge thorn in our side. Eventually, we’ll support PayPal, but Stripe makes everything sooooo smooth and simple.

👉 How long should I run my Bumpsale for?

Again, we recommend a shorter time period for your Bumpsale. Anything over one week is pretty long and the urgency built into using Bumpsale kind of wears off. We recommend running a Bumpsale for a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 5 days. But hey, if you want to use it for longer than that, it’s completely up to you!

👉 If I have trouble with Bumpsale who should I contact?

Ghostbusters! No? Send an email to conrad (at) cdevtech.com. Conrad will happily answer any questions you have!

 

What It’s Like Selling a High-Value Product, A Two-Week Video Journal

September 25, 2017

I’d like to start this two-week video journal off with a huge disclaimer: These videos are meant to be a confessional of sorts. Very little editing or bells and whistles added. Why? Because it’s damn hard work selling a high-value product and that focus needed to be spent on all the things you’ll hear about in the daily videos.

The reason this journal exists is that it’s the exact type of thing we love to read/watch from other entrepreneurs. We hope you feel the same way!

For context, the high-value project we talked about is BuyOurFuture (BOF) and it was sold for $2,000. This two-week video journal was created in September of 2017.

When I say “I” and “We” that would be me (Jason Zook) and my awesome wife Caroline Zook. Hey look, we’re real people:

Jason Zook and Caroline Zook

Use these links to jump to a specific day or just keep scrolling:


The two-week video journal!

Day 1 – The introduction of this two-week video journal about selling a high-value product.

 
Here are the things I talked about in this video and tried to remember to link to (hehe):


Day 2 – Launch Day, Launch Day, Launch Day!

 
Here are the things mentioned in the video:


Day 3 – We launched, now what the heck do we do??

 
Here are the things mentioned in the video:


Day 4 – Why we hosted a live workshop during the launch and our Facebook Ads “strategy”

 
Here are the things mentioned in the video:


Day 5 – We attended a live Q&A and dealt with the self-doubt monster

 


Day 6 – Why we paused BuyOurFuture for a week and what happens next with our launch

 


Day 7 – We spent 8 hours doing something extremely high touch (let’s hope it pays off!)

 
You’ll notice we’re a bit brain-fried in this video! That’ll happen during a launch. We talk about a high touch experiment we wanted to try with video replies. We also answer a question about imposter syndrome or how you know if what you’re selling has value?


Day 8 – Our high touch experiment is paying off and so are our Facebook Ads (and only 3 days left)!

 
We’re also exhhhhhaaaaauuuusted after two long days of recording personalized video replies. We knew it would be a ton of extra work, and luckily that work has paid off in more ways than one!


Day 9 – Why we intentionally skipped yesterday’s video journal and the LAST DAY of our launch…

 
We’re at the end of our 2-week launch of BuyOurFuture (which turned into a 3-week launch with a pause in the middle). We chat about what happens on the last day as well as the live Q&A we hosted yesterday.


The final wrap up!

 
How many sales did BuyOurFuture do this launch? What percentage of people picked our $200 payment plan? What are we doing next? What big lessons did we learn? Answers to all those questions and more in the final video journal entry of this series.

Thanks for checking out our video journal and supporting our projects!

Write Better Sales Copy Today By Answering This One Question

June 5, 2017

Whether you’re writing email pitches, sales copy, newsletters, or any other form of writing that sells your product or service, sometimes it can feel like a painful slog.

One simple question that’s really helped me get better and more comfortable at writing sales copy:

Am I writing this sales email or sales copy to convince someone to buy or to help them?

I used to labor over the words I was typing and wonder why it felt so icky and uncomfortable. I realized I was trying to convince people to buy something, instead of simply sharing how my product or service could help them.

I know it’s not just me, either. I’ve heard from so many people over the years that a mental block appears when it comes to writing anything sales-related. These questions tend to pop up too:

  • How do you come off as a genuine human being?
  • How do you position your offering as something of value?
  • How do you avoid the selling tactics that feel disingenuous to you without limiting the success of your business in the process?

 


3 Ways To Challenge Mental Blocks When Writing Sales Copy

#1 – Invest in building up your writing confidence

It’s hard to sell as it is, but it’s even harder when you have a mental writing hurdle to overcome before you even get to the selling part. Creating a daily practice for writing is a great way to build writing confidence (just sit down for 30 minutes every day for two weeks and write at least 500 words). This will help you find your writing voice and have your writing come off as genuine and natural. (Yes, even for sales copy!)

#2 – Focus on how the thing you’re selling makes someone better

What is the outcome your customer can achieve with the thing you’re selling? If you’re creating an online course, your instinct will be to write about the lessons and bonus content included. Instead, you should be focused on the subject of the course and how your potential customer can improve in that area of their life or business.

Example (wrong): Buy my course on starting a podcast. You’ll learn what microphone to buy and what podcasting host to use.

Example (right): If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting a podcast, this course will break podcasting tasks into bite-sized pieces that you can knock out without any previous technical knowledge.

#3 – Write better sales emails by using a writing formula

If you’re anything like me you might not even know that writing formulas exist? Apparently, I was using a writing formula a few years ago and I had no clue. My editor Chantel surprised me one day and asked me if I knew I was using a formula (you can imagine her surprise when I said “nope!”). I stumbled into using a formula through tons of trial and error, you can avoid all the stumbling and learn about three writing formulas in this video:

 

(That video is a lesson within a course called The Imperfect Writer. If you like that lesson, and feel overwhelmed when it comes to writing sales copy, our course might help you!)

Use these “Headline Mad Libs” the next time you need to highlight important parts of your sales copy

These can be used if you need a boost of inspiration on what to write and how to position your sales copy for your potential customers.

<Insert your product or service> will help you feel more confident in your ability to <insert customer focus>
Example: The Photo MBA course will help you feel more confident in your ability to land photography clients.

<Insert your product or service> will help your <insert category or focus> stand out from the crowd
Example: Creative Class will help your web design company stand out from the crowd.

<Insert your product or service> will help you <insert desired outcome> with your <insert skill>
Example: The Imperfect Writer will help you make more money with your words.

 

When It Comes To Selling, We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

When we stay in the world of convincing, we will always feel a tinge of inauthenticity. It’s almost as if our words are trying to pry someone’s wallet out of their pocket or purse with a crowbar.

When we shift to the world of helping, it feels genuine (both to us and our potential customers). The crowbar is gone and the wallet emerges on its own terms.

Since 2008 I’ve sold thousands of things: Sponsorships, consulting calls, public speaking, books, courses, software, etc. I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning and often times my sales emails and sales copy fell flat. But after doing the exact (simple) things I’ve shared here, I’ve stopped being my own worst enemy and stopped letting my writing hinder my success.

Nowadays I’m very proud to hear comments from customers like: “I can tell you care about the people you are selling to and that’s why I bought” or “I appreciated that you weren’t selling the dream, you were telling me how your course could actually help me learn a skill.”

You can become better at writing sales copy and attracting people who resonate with the way you sell. Like anything else, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

Your words aren’t going to go out and write themselves. It’s time for you to take action.

My Rules For Selling Authentically (Even When You’re Terrified)

April 17, 2017

When Jason and I decided to combine forces and offer all of our courses and products under one big “BuyOurFuture” launch earlier in 2017, that sales process required me to do more “promoting” than I have ever done in my career as a business owner.

I’ll admit, even three years into my business, that process was not entirely comfortable to me. There were still plenty of moments before I hit send on a sales email or posted an announcement to social media when I thought to myself: Is this too much? Am I being too “salesy”? (Whatever that means.)

My guess is you’ve been there too with a product or service you’ve tried to sell. Maybe it felt weird. Maybe it STILL feels weird.

Well this week I wanted to share with you how I’ve learned to push past those fears and sell in a way that feels authentic to who I am and in a way that feels aligned with Made Vibrant as a brand.


A few reasons why selling feels icky sometimes.

1 | It requires vulnerability.

At its core, selling is an ASK. It’s going out on a limb. It’s putting yourself in a position of potential rejection, and the truth is that we’re hard-wired to avoid rejection. My bet is, if you’re afraid to sell something you’ve made or promote it more, the #1 thing holding you back is this feeling of vulnerability.

You’re worried someone will judge you for trying, or that someone will call you a “sellout,” or maybe you’re worried no one will buy so deep down you’d rather protect your ego by not really trying to promote at all.

I’m certainly not immune to this. I told Jason when he came to me with the idea of combining forces for BuyOurFuture that I didn’t think anyone from the Made Vibrant audience would buy. In fact, I told him I felt incredibly uncomfortable making a $2,000 ask to my audience, especially when my products normally range from $20 to $400.

Where was all this self-doubt coming from? The truth is, I was afraid. Afraid of putting myself out there and being rejected. Using the rules I outline in this article below, I was able to push past that fear, and boy am I glad I did because the Made Vibrant crew actually brought in 25% of our BOF sales (THANK YOU for that, by the way.) 35% of sales were attributed to Jason’s audience, 35% attributed to sources outside our audiences, and 5% were attributed to both of us. That outcome just goes to show you that challenging our assumptions about ourselves and risking that vulnerability can actually pay off.

2 | We’ve experienced bad selling.

We’ve all had that awful feeling when someone is making a “hard sell” to us in a situation that feels unwelcomed. Maybe it’s a sleazy car salesman trying to “close the deal” when you’re only browsing or one of those mall kiosk people chasing you down to rub “life-changing” lotion on the back of your hand or even an internet marketer pulling the old bait and switch on a webinar that they’ve insisted is information only. Ew, right? Those feelings usually feel extremely dissonant to us and conjure up feelings of dishonesty and unease.

That’s why when it comes to selling ourselves, we’re acutely aware of NOT creating those feelings for other people. As sensitive humans interested in living authentically, we’ll do anything to avoid being lumped in with those kind of promoters in the world, the pushy ones, the chasers, the bait-and-switchers.

3 | Persuasion can feel inauthentic.

It would be fantastic if we all made our amazing products and the amazing-ness was enough for people to find them, buy them, and love them. But, unfortunately, in this attention-fragmented world, that’s just not the case.

There are SO many messages people are getting every day, and in order to make a purchasing decision, sometimes they need a bit of convincing.

When I said that word convincing just then, did it make your gut wince a bit?

My guess is it did because you don’t want to “convince anyone of anything.” Am I right? I know this because that’s exactly how I felt too. Until I realized that even the most eager customers want some level convincing.

Heck, even I, headed to Madewell to purchase a replacement pair of my FAVORITE black skinny jeans (because my other ones that I wear every single day wore a hole right in the crotch ), even I want a little convincing while I’m in that darn store. And I drove to the mall with the intention of buying! Even in that scenario, a sales associate telling me that those are her favorite pair too or that the wash looks great on me — those are sales messages I welcome because I want to WANT to buy those jeans. Know what I mean?

The point is: People want to feel good about the money they spend and the purchases they make. So persuasion doesn’t have to mean manipulation; it can simply mean offering up as much honest information as you can about your product/service and its benefits so that the person purchasing feels great about spending their hard-earned money on your stuff.


My 5 rules for selling authentically

So by now you might be thinking… yeah, yeah… I already KNOW why I hate the idea of selling, but what the heck do I do about it?! Great question.

Fresh off of the BuyOurFuture launch window, a time when I’ve done more “selling” than any other project in my life, I thought I’d offer up my personal five rules for selling authentically. These are the ways that I’ve developed over the years to overcome some of the hangups listed above, while still feeling true to who I am in the process.

1 | Give value before you make an ask.

This should be Online Business 101 stuff here, but it begs repeating. For any of you out there who haven’t come across this basic tenant of digital marketing, here’s the first foundational key of building an audience that trusts you enough to pay for your products or services (especially as an infopreneur or freelancer) — GIVE before you ask to take.

In business as it is in friendships, it’s about trust. Every time you deliver value to someone without asking them for anything in return, you’re making deposits in a trust bank. You’re showing them that your primary focus is not to squeeze every last cent out of them, it’s primarily to HELP and secondarily to earn your living.

Now, the downside of this giving model is that in a world where we have free YouTube tutorials and free blog posts and free email courses and free ebooks… the reality is that there will be an expectation among certain followers that they can get everything from you for free. These people might be especially enraged when, after weeks and weeks of, say, helpful Mondaymorning emails and free workshops, you release something with a price tag on it.

That’s okay. That’s the cost of doing business, and you can’t worry about a small faction of your audience that has no intention of helping you support yourself.

That group of people, however, is different from the group who may never buy from you but who love and appreciate every ounce of free value that you offer. In order to make this give-then-ask approach feel sincere and not like a transactional way to guilt people into buying from me, I’ve mentally made the decision that if someone stays on my email list for the entire life of my business, signs up for every free workshop and downloads every free worksheet, and never buys a single thing — the genuine truth is that I care about that person as a member of Made Vibrant too. I make that decision in my mind because then delivering value does not become about trying to create some sort of power dynamic where you expect something in return.

Finally, notice I said give before you ask, not “give before you take.” In order for selling to feel authentic, you have to remember that it’s an ask, not a demand. Framing it that way in your head will help you write language that separates you from the mall kiosk salesmen that you’re trying to so hard to distance yourself from.

2 | Think permission, not interruption.

Now let’s talk about the context under which you’re promoting yourself or selling a product.

In those examples I listed of times you and I have been sold to when it felt icky, it’s not necessarily because of the selling exclusively (hello, we humans like to BUY stuff in case you haven’t noticed.) It was likely the context under which you were being sold that made you feel uneasy. It was likely in a scenario where you were being interrupted. You never raised your hand or provided permission for that person to peddle their wares to you, so it probably felt especially abrupt to be pulled out of your current objective and state of mind to listen to a sales pitch.

Instead of providing an interruption for people, try providing an invitation for permission. Seth Godin talks about this a lot, but it goes back to what we discussed in the last point: trust.

Someone could offer you permission in the form of signing up for your newsletter, or making a previous purchase from you, or clicking through an email or even following you on social media. They have said, “Hey, I’m interested in what you have to say,” therefore you’re no longer interrupting them without prior context.

(This is why private Facebook messages from your college friends trying to sell you Rodan + Fields or [insert other product here] feel weird to you. You haven’t given permission to be sold to so it feels out of context.)

3 | Build an amazing product and price it fairly. (Note: this doesn’t necessarily mean “price it cheaply.”)

The first two points are helpful basics for selling authentically, but this point is the ultimate key to not feeling gross when you’re promoting: Make sure the thing you’re promoting is GREAT.

It becomes SO much easier to sell to your audience when you believe sincerely in the benefit that your product or service offers. When you focus on that and re-frame selling as a way to help improve the lives of people with your kick-ass product, then it becomes a HECK of a lot easier.

Think of it this way: someone, somewhere is desperately looking for the awesome thing you’re offering. (If they’re not, you may want to rethink your product or service concept.) How happy will they be if they’re able to find your product? But, that’s not going to happen if you don’t tell anyone it exists.

4 | Remember that the alternative to making money is NOT making money.

AKA it’s perfectly okay to not want to be broke. There’s no shame in the earning-a-living game.

Whenever I feel uneasy or scared about putting myself out there and promoting my projects, I remind myself WHY I’m doing it in the first place. Not only do I believe in the things I create and the value they offer, but I have no problem admitting the life I want for myself includes being my own boss. I can’t maintain that life if I don’t earn money, so when it comes time to launch something or promote it, I remind myself of the two choices I have: 1) avoid the fear of selling but risk not making any money OR 2) put myself out there so I can keep doing this work that I love.

We don’t get mad when the plumber sends us the bill for fixing the toilet. Not if it’s fairly priced and he did a good job. That’s because we understand he’s using his skills to support his lifestyle and his family. So, remember, you’re doing the same.

5 | Talk like a human.

Mostly I’ve found that what makes selling easier is by simply talking like a REAL person, a person who has a thing they sincerely believe can help another person.

It’s about being honest, and it’s about being earnest.

If I lead with transparency and sincerity, ultimately I feel  people can sense that. And if my product isn’t a match for what they need, at least they know I’m not trying to swindle them into something.


Bonus: Don’t define yourself by the numbers

Here’s the last caveat that I’ll add to all of this: Remember that you are MORE than your sales. Or your bank account. Or your social media followers.

Sometimes you’re going to create things that no one buys and you’re going to wonder WHY. You’re going to feel like you went out on a limb, you overcame all the fears I listed out above, and you tried to sell in a way that felt true to you. And YET — you’re still going to feel like you did something wrong.

Please don’t let that feeling stop you. Take a look at your plan and view it as an experiment. What can you change? Can you provide more value or context up front to earn trust before you make the ask? Can you tweak your product so it’s even more amazing and a no-brainer? Can you adjust the language in your sales pitch to be more honest and authentic to who you are?

Selling is not easy, but it does get more comfortable the more that you do it. You gain confidence every time you shimmy out on that limb and you make the ask.

People can’t buy what they don’t know about, and people WON’T buy what they don’t care about.

“People can’t buy what they don’t know about, and people WON’T buy what they don’t care about.”

Do it in a way that feels honest and contextually relevant. Lead with value. Communicate in a way that sounds like YOU.

THAT is how you earn a living while making the world a better place with your creative gifts. And there’s certainly no shame in that.

If You’ve Built Something Worth Saying Yes To, Stop Saying No For Other People

March 4, 2017

I see this trend a lot in the online business world. Well-intentioned folks will build a website and brand, set up social media accounts, have a goal or mission, and spend a ton of hours getting ready to sell.

But then, something happens. Self-doubt creeps in. The second-guessing police show up at the door. Defeated, these well-intentioned people shy away from promoting and selling the thing they’ve worked so hard on. They say “no” on their customers’ behalf…even before the customers can decide for themselves.

If you’re afraid of rejection, go work for someone else

Working for yourself isn’t easy. You have to wear all the hats (and most of them feel like ugly fedoras). You have to juggle all the balls (hehe). You have to be a salesman/saleswoman. People are going to say no to you, because what you are selling is not right for everyone.

THIS. IS. OKAY.

If you fear rejection so much that it holds you back from promoting and asking people (more than once) to buy your product, running your own business may not be right for you.

And besides, working for someone else is not a bad thing. Sure, you aren’t going to end up on the front page of Inc. magazine, but who really cares about that, anyway? If it crushes your soul to ask people to buy things, work for someone else who is already doing that asking. Take a paycheck for work you don’t loathe, and live your life in a way that makes you happy.

 


If You’ve Built Something Worth Saying YES To, Stop Saying No For Other People

You may not even realize it, but you’re saying no for people by staying quiet about your idea.

Silence is golden when you’re a 3rd grader and you need to learn simple math. Silence is NOT golden when you need to put food on your table and get people to purchase your product or service.

I’m not advocating that you start hammering people with marketing and sales messages left and right. But I am advocating that you give your idea a chance. Put in effort, aim for a yes, and actually let people say no on their own so you can learn from the experience.

Remove these things from your mind or vocabulary:

  • No one needs my product or service because other people are already doing what I’m doing.
  • I’m just getting started. I don’t have an audience or any traction to get people to buy.
  • I’m not sure what to ask for, so I’m just going to wait for opportunities to show up.
  • It didn’t work when my friend/colleague/lover tried to sell this thing, so why would it work for me?

All of those are self-defeating thoughts, and thoughts that put the word “no” in someone else’s mouth before they can even do it themselves.

Instead, muster up the courage to promote and sell whatever you’re working on and embrace the actual no instead of the imaginary one.

When you do hear “no,” don’t just hide away to lick your wounds. See if you can learn more:

  1. Why wasn’t it a good fit?
  2. What didn’t they like or understand?
  3. Was the timing bad?
  4. Was the pricing off?

These are questions you should ask the people who say no to you. Don’t look at it as punishment, either. Look at it as a learning experience, and tweak/hone your promotion and sales strategies. Because I’m here to tell you, whatever you’re trying to sell isn’t going to sell just because you have a website, brand, Instagram account, testimonials, etc.

Selling takes effort, so be proud of the fact you’re hearing no because it means you’re actually doing the work.

Stop saying no for someone before they have a chance to.

Related articles: You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For and How To Deal With Rejection And Hearing No.

Hearing No and Dealing With Rejection

January 22, 2017

Dealing with rejection is a necessary evil to achieving success.

I want you to imagine a number in your mind—a guess about how many times I’ve heard “no” to my ideas. Whether it was trying to convince companies to buy my t-shirt advertising space, place a bid to own my last name, sponsor a page in my first book, or buy one of the 20+ products I’ve released in the past few years.

Do you have your number?

If your number was under 100, you have a lot of faith in me and I love you for that, but oh no, I’m so sorry. You were way off.

If your number was lower than 4,000, you would still be wrong.

I’m sure the actual number of times I’ve been told “no” when asking someone to pay me money for something (since 2008) is higher than 4,000. Here’s how I can say that:

  • I wrote at least 1,000 tweets to people to buy spots on the IWearYourShirt calendar
  • I sent at least 500 emails in 2009 to companies to sponsor IWearYourShirt
  • I wrote over 2,500 emails to people I’d worked with previously (or had talked to previously) to sponsor my book
  • I had a spreadsheet of 250 companies I pitched to bid on my last name
  • I’ve sent over 50 emails to my various email lists (that range in size from 2,000 – 25,000 people) asking them to buy my products

And boy oh boy, have I racked up the “nos.”

 


Just Because Someone Says “No” Doesn’t Mean You Should Feel Rejection

People aren’t saying “no” because you’re a bad person.

Early on, I took a “no” to mean I was doing something wrong and that I should feel bad about it. What I started to realize though was not that I was a bad person, it was simply that my ask wasn’t a good fit for the person on the other end for a myriad of reasons.

Sometimes people don’t even have to say the word “no” to you. They simply don’t reply to your ask. They don’t buy your product. They don’t take an action you’d like them to take. Again, even these things don’t mean you’re a bad person.

Here are a few different examples of why people say “no” that have nothing to do with you (or me) as a person:

The timing is wrong

I see this all the time. In fact, I tend to see it every year during the months of June, July, August, and December. Those are the worst months, historically, for me, and the onslaught of “nos.” People are busy with other things. They’re trying to take time off. Or, it’s the end of the year and they can’t be bothered. I do not control the timing and schedules of other people, therefore, I am not a bad person.

It isn’t in the budget

You simply can’t do anything about other people’s budgets. You can’t. If I could, I would invent a magic wand that increases all budgets. I would have waved this wand more than Harry Potter (budgetus increasimus!).

It doesn’t fit with their marketing plan

Well, guess what? You and I didn’t create their marketing plan! Moving on.

They’ve tried this type of thing before and had a bad experience

I don’t get this one as often with my weird ideas, but I do get it with products I sell that have been similar to other products out there. We can’t change a person’s experience with another product. We can give them an opportunity to change their mind by explaining how our product or service is different (and how it specifically solves a problem for them).

They don’t see the value

This is the only example on this list that gets a bit tricky. It’s either a problem with how you and I are explaining our project and the value proposition behind it or the person we’re trying to get a “yes” from just doesn’t get it. I imagine you know I’ve dealt with this a time or two with my weird ideas.

I could go on and on with more examples but the point is…

You need to remove yourself, and the feeling of being personally attacked when someone says “no” to you.

Find gold in your “nos” (not nose) and use rejection to your advantage

This was a little trick I wish I’d stumbled upon way earlier in my time as an entrepreneur. Regardless of where you are in your journey, maybe this trick will help you going forward.

When I was pitching sponsors for my first book project, I had the company Gumroad on my list. (Gumroad is a company that can help you sell digital products.) I thought they’d be the perfect fit for the cover sponsor of my book (a $20,000 ask). Through some Internet sleuthing, I found a guy on Twitter who was doing marketing for Gumroad.

Side note, cool tip thing: In an article I co-wrote with my friend Matt, he found a way to use Google to try to find anyone’s email address at any company. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it’s better than picking your nose. Read the Google hack here.

I sent my pitch email about my $20,000 sponsorship request (ballsy, yes) and was happy to get a quick reply from the guy. Unfortunately, quick replies typically go one of two ways:

1. The person is on-board immediately and you’ve won! You can now swim through your money like Scrooge McDuck.

2. The person says “no” and you have to go back to the drawing board.

The quick response I received was a #2 type of response (and yes, I meant that as a poop euphemism). For some odd reason, I wasn’t ready to accept defeat in that moment. I fired back an email that went something like this:

“Hey ! Thanks for the quick reply. I totally understand this type of sponsorship isn’t a good fit for everyone. That being said, is there any chance you think of anyone off the top of your head that might be a good fit? If you have an email address or have the time to make a super quick intro, I would greatly appreciate it!”

I had no clue if that message would actually get a worthwhile response and any meaningful introductions. But hey, as the not-so-old-adage-you-just-learned goes, you don’t get what you don’t ask for!

I received a reply, and it was exactly what I’d hoped for (not always the case… budgetus increasimus againumys!) The guy had two companies he thought would be interested and he was willing to make a short email intro for me. BOOMSHAKALAKA! (NBA Jam ref, anyone?) Needless to say, I was stoked.

I didn’t know if these email intros would turn into anything, but for the first time in my life, I had taken an “no” email and turned it into a potential “yes.”

That email response lead to two introductions. One of which was the CEO of a company called Treehouse, an online education platform. I’d actually met the CEO, Ryan Carson, at one of Future of Web Apps (FOWA!) conferences many years prior. While the introduction was great, I still had to put in the work to convince Ryan that Treehouse would be a good fit for the $20,000 sponsorship I was asking for. And spoiler alert: Ryan and Treehouse said YES, which you can read more about in the SponsorMyBook story.

You won’t always find gold, but at least you’re trying

Now for some honesty, because that’s how I roll: Landing Treehouse for my book has, to date, still been my biggest victory in turning a “no” into a “yes.” Sure, I’ve had a handful of other victories over the years. However, I’ve had my fair share of additional “nos” as well. And the pile of additional “nos” is exponentially taller than the pile of converted “nos to yeses.” But I just keep trying.

Why?

I want to succeed more than I’m afraid to fail.

I want the dream more than I fear the rejection that comes from making an ask.

I want to succeed more than I’m afraid to fail.

I know from experience that every “no” is another opportunity to hear “yes” later on.

I’m willing to put myself out on the line, because I know that’s what it takes to have incredible things happen in life.

I hope you want those things for whatever it is you’re trying to get. Because if you don’t, then it’s time to figure out what you’re really looking for.

Ready to sniff out some nos of your own?

A challenge for you today: try to get a “no” on one of your ideas. Email a potential sponsor, press send on that podcast interview request, or just ask your local Krispy Kreme to make you some Olympic ring donuts (video below). “Sometimes, when you make a crazy request, you get an awesome answer.”

 

Selling What Is True To You Over Selling What is Easy

December 5, 2016

Last week I released the final Color Your Soul issue of the year, the Wonder Issue.

As I was putting together the finishing touches — formatting the magazine, finalizing graphics, creating the daily challenge booklet — I found myself reflecting back on the evolution of this strange idea I had over a year ago.

My vision was to create a monthly mindfulness experience, a kind of peaceful, soulful and heartfelt alternative to a lot of the overwhelming content I was starting to see geared toward creative entrepreneurs:

I was seeing so many articles about how to DO more; so few articles on how to BE more.

So many people teaching you their blueprints on how to make, sell, and promote; so few offering you a means of self-awareness to write your OWN blueprint from scratch.

This weird hybrid subscription idea was hard to communicate, mostly because I’d never seen anyone create something like it. Kind of a membership community; kind ofan art experiment; kind of a digital magazine; kind of an online course subscription.

The form felt a bit nebulous, but the mission was always clear: cut through the noise to deliver insightful and inspiring content that would help people feel closer to their core selves.

The only problem, I quickly learned, is that people are already convinced they NEED the “how to do more” stuff. They are willing to pay for something that feels like an easy step-by-step process to a guaranteed return on their investment. (By the way, I know this because I consider purchases in the exact same way. What am I going to get out of this? Will my money be well spent? It’s a natural part of purchasing psychology.)

As it turns out, that makes promoting something like Color Your Soul a bit of a challenge.

Our little community has reached more than 50 active subscribers now, all of whom I’m so grateful for. But let’s be completely transparent here — the revenue generated by those 50 subscribers to this unique product is far less than what I’d make if I created the 124th “How To Succeed on Instagram” e-course. That’s just the truth.

I want to share that fact honestly with you all because I KNOW so many of you creative entrepreneurs are faced with the same dilemma out there:

Do I make/sell what feels EASY or do I make/sell what feels TRUE?

Ie. Do I go with the sure bet or do I gamble on a vision that feels uncertain?

Well, only YOU can truly answer that question for yourself and your business, but here’s the real heart of the message I want to hit home with you today: the fact that it is more challenging to sell something with deeper, more intangible benefits does not mean that it is impossible, nor does it mean it’s a bad business move.

If you gave me the option of standing on a street corner and selling Big Macs or selling a delicious and healthful kale salad, I know which of those options is going to be the “winning” business venture. The Big Mac is scrumptiously artificial and instantly gratifying. The kale salad? It may also be delicious (let’s assume it is) but its real benefit is in the nourishing impact it has on your health and your body. That’s a selling feature with a payoff that’s hard to fully communicate.

But you know what? When given the option, I will choose to sell the kale salad every time.

With so many Big Mac products already for sale out there — delicious and gratifying, sure, but ultimately artificial — I will happily challenge myself to continue to create healthful kale salads in my business because I want to continue to create things that are nourishing, both to MY soul as the creator and to YOUR souls as the recipients.

If something is not wildly profitable, that does not mean it is not worth doing.

“If something is not wildly profitable, that does not mean it is not worth doing.”

You have to remember that there are all kinds of different value metrics to measure when it comes to evaluating your ideas. Money is just one of them.

There are also things like impact (does this project help a lot of people?); growth (does this project help me grow in a way I desire?); and, my all-time favorite, whole-hearted expression(does this project allow me to express my core self in a way that feels good to my soul?)

Color Your Soul definitely fits squarely into that last category. What it lacks in highly scalable profits, it more than makes up for in the immense joy I get putting it together and in seeing the real, lasting change it creates for subscribers. I get to use SO many of my gifts and learned skills in one single project, and the final outcome is something that feels uniquely ME through and through. I would never want to trade that experience for something that is “easier” to sell.

We as creative (and soulful) business owners must come to terms with this: Some things are just simply harder to sell. And that’s okay.

Oftentimes the things that are more pure of heart or enriching to the soul, they aren’t the things that people are convinced they need. But that doesn’t automatically mean they aren’t worth doing or that they can’t contribute positively to the overall economics of your business. That’s why it’s so important to establish your values as a business so you can see those more intangible benefits more clearly.

For myself and for Made Vibrant as a business, my central driving ethos remains to choose what is TRUE to my core over what is easy, every. single. time.

As we wrap up 2016 and you take a look at the projects you’re considering for the new year, my challenge this week is for you to take another look at that idea you have that you LOVE but that you’re afraid no one will want or buy.

It may not be easy to sell, but does it feel TRUE to your core? If so, could it be time to give yourself permission to go for it anyway? Will you look back and be glad that you went for the kale salad instead of the Big Mac? (If you hate kale salad, feel free to replace with the healthful treat of your choice.)

Running a values-based creative business is complicated stuff. It’s always a delicate puzzle determining which ideas are worth pursuing, which ones will bring you money (because there’s nothing wrong with earning a sustainable living), and which ones you want to tackle because it lights up your heart.

The fact is, the only person who can navigate that delicate puzzle is YOU. But I hope in pulling back the curtain just a tad and showing you that profits aren’t the only measuring stick for the projects I take on within Made Vibrant, that you feel empowered to see your creative business ideas perhaps in a new light.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

 

We’re All Selling Something, So Overcome The Fear of Selling

November 6, 2016

Selling is not reserved for “salespeople.” We are all salesmen and saleswomen. It’s time to overcome your fear of selling.

People who sell things come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. You’ve probably purchased something from one of them in the past hour/day/week (without thinking you were buying from a salesman/woman).

Every time you spend a dollar, it’s because someone convinced you that you needed to buy that thing.

Unless it’s food. Then you don’t need convincing because that’s just survival. Well, maybe not donuts? Actually, yes. Donuts = Survival.

 


What It Takes To Overcome The Fear Of Selling

The very first thing you need to do (and that I learned the hard way) is to stop letting your assumptions drive your decisions. Thinking these thoughts is not going to help you and most are completely fabricated by our brains:

“People are going to think I’m selling out.”

“What if someone doesn’t think I’m a good person once I start asking for money?”

“What if I put something up for sale and no one buys it and I look like a complete fraud??”

These are things we’ve all thought. They are also all assumptions until they actually happen. (Which means they’re usually false.)

Acknowledge your assumptions but don’t let them dictate your decisions.

Assumptions suck and can derail your future success if you let them. So guess what? Don’t let them! Acknowledge your assumptions, write them down if you want to get them out of your head, and then move on. Want to feel empowered over your assumptions? Write them down on paper and then burn that paper! (Just, you know, burn it in a safe place.)

We assume we know what it means to sell, and as a result, we never bother to learn what it actually means. What’s worse, we fail to differentiate it from selling out. The two are very different.

Selling out is getting paid for doing something you don’t enjoy.

If you work at a dead end 9-5 job and hate your boss, you’re a sellout. If you feel like you’re asking people to pay for a product you don’t believe in, you’re a sellout. If you get paid to smuggle rare Indonesian birds, you’re a sellout. (This one might not apply now that I think about it; however, still bad.)

But if you’re selling something you believe in? If you’re offering a product, service, or opportunity you’ve created and want others to be helped by? That’s not selling out. That’s just selling. And that’s your job.

So let’s talk about doing your job.

3 realistic selling schedules that can help you sell more with less stress

There are so many ways you can sell something, especially online. It’s incredibly helpful to pick a selling schedule that works for you. Here are some that have worked for me, currently and in the past.

1. Reduce your fear of selling by doing open-and-closed launches

Sell something for a certain amount of time (say, one week), and then “close the cart.” Assess how things went, especially if it’s a new product or your first time selling. Having an open-and-closed launch (annually or on any other schedule) can create urgency and scarcity for your customers while allowing you to maintain a nice work-life balance: busy during launch, and then off enjoying your life the rest of the time. Selling via open-and-closed launches is also great because it puts you in control of when you need to spend time being in the selling mindset. No one wants to be selling all the time (sorry Alec Baldwin).

(Related: This is how we sell our Wandering Aimfully Memberships!)

2. Have evergreen products that can sell year-round

Evergreen products are great in theory, but I caution you with this option. While the idea of a set-it-and-forget-it sales schedule is wonderful to think about, it 99% of the time requires ongoing attention and effort. If you want to have your product or service for sale all the time, that’s a perfectly fine option. Just know that you’ll most likely need to do quarterly promotions or mini-launches throughout the year to see a spike in sales. But hey, you get to control those spikes, so that’s a good thing!

3. Or… don’t follow a specific schedule of any kind

Ahh, the anti-schedule! Create a sales cycle on your calendar that gives you something to stick to and look forward to. I tend to loosely plan out my product launches 3-6 months in advance. These can be put on the calendar and moved around as you see fit. But doing the initial planning will help you have some semblance of an idea of what’s on your sales plate (which is obviously made of very expensive and ancient materials).

No matter what sales schedule you decide to use, you can always change it. You can always mix things up and learn from your experiences. The most important part is that you sell and give people the opportunity to put money in your bank account for the thing you are creating.

 


The Most Important Part Of Selling Anything Is The Pre-Marketing

No one, and I mean no one, just puts up a sales page and has money rain down upon them. We’ve all seen the Kickstarter campaigns that bring in millions of dollars, and it looks like they hit it big overnight. But those uber-successful campaigns? They had months and months of pre-marketing, I promise you. Many of them are brands that have built small niche audiences and have found a product that works and sells well in small doses first.

When I launched BuyMyFuture in 2015, it was an open-and-closed launch. It may have looked to people seeing it during the 2-week sales window like it just appeared out of nowhere, all ready to go, but that’s not the case at all. From the initial idea to official launch, I spent 4 months getting ready for a 14-day sale.

Here are the exact pre-marketing steps I took to generate $178,000 in sales in two weeks:

  • I spoke with 49 previous customers of mine on the phone* (yes, actual human interaction!)
  • I shared over 30 updates on social media that teased the project (photos, logos, short videos)
  • I created a specific pre-launch website that captured the emails of potential customers
  • I wrote 60 daily journal entries leading up to the launch date of the project (over 40,000 words written)
  • I coordinated 26 podcast interviews to go live at launch (all recorded before the launch date)
  • I reached out to 52 friends who I asked to be affiliates (14 of them ended up bringing in sales)
  • I hired a Facebook Ads specialist to create a retargeting campaign
  • I started a podcast for the project and recorded 21 episodes
  • I mentioned the project and the launch date in my weekly emails to this existing email list

I share this as an example to show you how many things you can do. There are so many more things I could have done, but this was plenty. And you, certainly, do not need to do this amount of pre-marketing work if you don’t want to. Just remember one thing:

If you put in part-time effort, expect part-time results.

*49 phone (or Skype) calls is A LOT. You don’t need to do this many. I’d recommend 5-10 calls, but be sure these folks are your ideal customers for what you are selling. (That means don’t have a call with your mom unless you’re selling a product targeted to people like your mom). Tell them about your product/service, and listen to how they repeat your project back to you and the words they use. Also, listen for what features or benefits stand out to them, and make sure to highlight those when you’re selling.

 


Why Email Marketing Is Still The Best Sales Strategy

I believe email marketing is the absolute best way to sell something right now. Don’t waste time on social media. Don’t waste time or money paying for ads*. Build a quality email list of highly interested people, and sell directly to those people.

*Paid advertising is great for products that are already selling, or if you know an expert in the paid marketing world. Sure, Facebook Ads seem attractive, but they can be a huge distraction and waste of money if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t have a product that people are willing to pay for.

What problem is your product or service going to solve for your potential customer?

Did it solve that problem for you? Share that story! People love to hear stories, especially ones they can relate to.

Example: I co-created an online course about starting a podcast and making money from it. The course was everything I’ve learned about podcasting and making real money with a podcast. In the course, my co-creators and I share our personal podcast experiences, lessons learned, biggest mistakes, and actionable tips and tricks. 

Does your product or service do something unique?

It better. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to stand out, no matter how many emails you send to people about it. Find the unique angle. Hint: It’s usually something your potential customers will point out to you (which you’ll find out on your customer calls). If you don’t have any customers to call, find some! You want to learn how to talk about your product during the pre-marketing stage before you start putting a ton of effort into selling.

Create real urgency.

Open-and-closed cart? A timed discount? Annual launch? A limited number of sales? These are things that create urgency and scarcity. These will motivate people to make a purchase. Do not, however, say something is “only available for the next week” if people will still be able to find it a week or two later. That’s bad business, and it will hurt your reputation.

Here’s a sample schedule* for sending sales emails to your list, based on a two-week launch window:

  • The day before: Launch is coming tomorrow! Feel free to share the details of the product/service and the cost, or you can save these for launch day.
  • Launch day: Your thing is available! (Get your mind out of the gutter.) Don’t just say “Buy Now!” but bring some story or problem-solving example into the email. Then make sure you have multiple Buy links throughout the email.
  • Day 3: Relatable stories or testimonials from people who’ve used your product and seen actual benefits from it (this could be your own story too).
  • Day 7: This is a great time for a mid-launch bonus. You can plan ahead to do this! Have something cool you can add for people who buy? Include it in this email. You can also include some buyer testimonials (or simple quotes). Also, you should give this bonus to all buyers who’ve already purchased or will purchase.
  • Day 13: The cart is closing tomorrow! Have another story to share about the uniqueness or awesomeness of your product or service? Share it. Remind people the cart is closing tomorrow.
  • Last day (morning): This is it! Urgency! Scarcity! AHHHH!
  • Last day (evening, people who clicked only): This is for the ConvertKit tag I’ll mention in a moment. It’s one final call to action to buy and it works.

*This schedule assumes that you’ve done lots of pre-marketing. Pre-marketing could include many mentions of your launch date leading up. You could mention it as early as 6 months ahead of time if you like, but do at least 1 month of lead-up mentions in your emails.

 


Advanced Email Marketing Tips

One thing that can create a lot of complications and consternation is trying to automate things too early. I’ve seen it time and time again. People shoot themselves in their email marketing feet because they try to overdo all the email automation stuff. Sure, if you know how to do this stuff, continue reading this section, but if you’re new to Email Marketing Land, it might be best to skip this.

I’m going to mention tactics for ConvertKit, since it’s an email marketing platform I used for years (I’m sure you can use similar tactics, like segmenting and tagging, with other email providers).

1. Create tags and know more about your subscribers

Setup a new Tag called “ProductName – Clicked.” Then, create a new Automation for a Link Trigger. The link should go to the sales page for your product/service, and when clicked, it should add the new tag you just created (ProductName – Clicked).

Setup a new Tag called “ProductName – Purchased.” If you’re using Gumroad to sell things, ConvertKit makes it super easy to create an automation that adds a tag. You can also use Zapier.com to create an automation to add the purchase tag if you sell using Stripe (and other payment processors). You can also manually add the tag as people purchase.

If this is blowing your mind, that’s okay. You don’t need to do any automation stuff when selling. It’s nice to have.

2. How to use your subscriber tags effectively

Any time you link to your sales page in your email broadcasts, make sure to use the Link Trigger you created. This will continue to collect clicks (potential buyers!) and add them to the “ProductName – Clicked” tag you created (more in the next step).

When you set up your sales emails, go ahead and send them to your full email list, but when you’re selecting your subscribers for a new broadcast, add the filter group “Matching none” and select your “ProductName – Purchased” tag. This will exclude people who’ve already purchased from getting the rest of your sales emails.

Here’s an example of these tags in action:

3. Sending the “Final call!” (evening) email

I like to send this final sales email broadcast only to the folks who’ve clicked the sales page link in previous emails. You’d be shocked at how many people just need a final nudge, and the ones who will become paying customers are the ones who’ve already shown interest (clicked!). In the final broadcast, select to send only to subscribers with the tag “ProductName – Clicked.” You can even mention that you know they clicked (which is Internet wizardry) and that this is their very final chance to buy the thing they showed some interest in.

The good thing about creating subscriber tags is that you can use them for future launches and future sales emails.

You survived the advanced email stuff! Congrats! Let’s keep going…

Speaking of email marketing, overcome your fear of selling by asking your audience to help you

You’d be shocked at how a simple sentence in an email or on social media can help to get your existing audience to assist you in sharing the thing you are selling. An important note to consider: Is what you are selling interesting? Because, be honest with yourself, you don’t share things that aren’t interesting, either.

Simple phrases like, “Want to help spread the word? Share this!” or “Would love if you guys could lend a hand and forward this email to a friend or share this with your friends on the social meeds!”

Don’t get crazy and write “pls RT” after every tweet. Don’t hit up all your friends on FB Chat and ask them to share your status. Just make a simple ask and let people help you out if they want to help you. Word of mouth is powerful, but organic word of mouth is the MOST powerful.

Sure, making the simple ask is okay, but it’s also okay to give people the benefit of the doubt that they’ll help you if they find what you’re selling interesting enough.

What about affiliates?

Truthfully, I don’t do a lot of affiliate marketing with my audience, so I wouldn’t be the best source of information for this. If people are asking you if they can help you sell your products/services as affiliates, then you may want to investigate this further.

 


Selling Doesn’t Have To Be Scary Or Overwhelming

Selling, I hope you can see now, is just the next step to take after you create something. It’s not a crazy scary mountain or a boogeyman in the closet.

Information is power against any fear.

But… you might be overwhelmed? That’s okay! And normal. The point here is to show you a bunch of options. To lay a handful of ideas (that work) out on the table for you. Information is power against any fear and the best part is that you don’t even have to do all this stuff.

You get to treat this article like a Sizzler Buffet and choose the items that make the most sense for you and the way you want to sell your product or service.

The last thing I want to mention is being okay with a smaller launch when you’re new to selling.

Learn from your experience. Don’t get too distracted by all the options and all the money-making potential. The money will come. Focus on getting your first sale. Then your second. Then your third. Treat your customers amazingly well, and go above and beyond for them. The rest of your sales will come with time.

If you’ve been selling things for awhile, maybe you now have some fresh ideas? Maybe you’ve gained a few nuggets of information that create more income for you? Great! Stop reading (conveniently, we’re at the end), and start working on implementing those ideas.