Why Coaching? + SNEAK PEEK at Holiday Branding Course!

 

ccbrandcoaching_fb_coverFed up with the daily grind, you’ve broken away from your full-time job to pursue your passion full-time. You have your portfolio online, and some contacts you can reach out to. Once those run out though, you know you’ll be unsure of how to communicate what you do to people you don’t know.

It’s daunting to go it solo. There are a ton of freelancers out there, and you want to stand out from the rest to get your business going. (Read to the end to see my NEW program that address this just in time for the holidays–competition is heating up and you don’t want to get left behind! The program starts 11/9, and you’ll get 20% off if you sign up by 11/2!).

What a Coach Shouldn’t Be: A Glorified Salesperson

You’ve looked at business coaches online, but they all sound the same: be awesome at your biz, personal transformation, blah blah blah. It sounds kind of intriguing, but sales-y and…kind of old-people-y.

Here’s the thing: There aren’t alot of business coaches out there for millennials. Millennial solopreneurs are a unique market that Creatively Courageous focuses on, because as one, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to feel totally disillusioned–that degree you paid for, that job you loved, all seemingly for naught in the wake of a ruthless economy.

What a Coach Should Be: A Facilitator

Having been there, a coach should be invested in your progress–your success is their success. Each program, no matter the structure, is a step-by-step journey of personal growth with the coach as your guide. Coaches are facilitators.

The way that CC facilitates is by helping you explore your unique personality traits and talents in a safe environment. You’re given meditation scripts and creative writing prompts that you complete on your own. These exercises help you get grounded in where you are now, what you have to offer, and how to forge ahead with what you’ve got. The work gives you the confidence to step forward and effortlessly define who you are, what you do, and how you are different, without the anxiety of “Am I good enough?”

Examples of Assignments You’ll Receive

  • Apply your situation to an archetype– Let’s take the Warrior. You want to be a strong person, fearless when it comes to defining your business and communicating with prospects and clients. You define your archetypes through your talent profile assessment that CC provides, which focuses on your personality and gifts. Each archetype comes with guided meditation scripts (don’t worry–if you’re new to meditation, there are instructions on how to begin!). By meditating on the archetype, you gain insight into that part of yourself. You might learn about specific areas in which you need to stand up for yourself and gain confidence.
  • Use insight from meditation to complete creative writing exercises– You’ll use this insight to answer questions about what you learned, as a way of grounding and focusing the insight. You’ll then apply it to branding questions–your mission statement, value proposition, look and feel of your brand, etc. The Warrior attitude would make its way into your branding as you learn to be comfortable with this quality of yourself and properly integrate it into your outer expression. The meditation and writing exercises are week-by-week, to give you sufficient time to develop your personal brand without feeling rushed.

Upcoming Programs

NEW! 1-month holiday kickstart course beginning 11/9- Get a head start before the competition heats up, and achieve holiday success in 1 month! Learn how to:

  • Differentiate yourself from other freelancers as your own unique brand
  • Find clients in need of holiday promotion
  • Deliver top-notch holiday content
  • Measure results in terms of holiday-specific KPIs
  • De-stress from crazy holiday deadlines

This is the perfect course for you if:

  • You’re just starting your new business and want to get a head start
  • You have an existing freelance business and want to add something new

This course consists of:

  • Weekly meditation and creative writing exercises as outlined above, PLUS
  • PDF guides on how to achieve the above-listed items, PLUS
  • Weekly Skype calls to check progress, guide through exercises if needed, and add resources
  • Email support for your questions! (Up to 3 questions/week)

Is This Program for You?

Let’s see! You can schedule a (free) 30-minute discovery call to determine if the program is a good fit for you.

Regular pricing for entire program (1 month): $1,500

SPECIAL OFFER: Before the holiday season starts, I’m offering a discount of 20% through 10/31! This means you get the entire program for only $1,200.

Fill out the form below to schedule your free 30-minute discovery call today, and be on your way to kickstarting your holiday success!

5 Tips to Get Your Etsy Shop Ready for Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, and your shop includes holiday-specific items, or items within a category that customers could put to use for this holiday. You’re a newer shop, and have tried several times already to get your shop out there on Etsy and social media. Those sites being the crowded communities they are, gaining shop visibility while differentiating your products can be an enormous challenge. A major holiday like Halloween can make this even more difficult.

You can check Etsy stat site CraftCount to see top sellers by month and year, or by category. What are top sellers doing to boost sales? How many listings do they have? (Keep in mind that it’s recommended you have between 20-100 listings to keep shoppers’ attention as they browse.)

Top Etsy sellers from October of last year, according to CraftCount.

Top Etsy sellers from October of last year, according to CraftCount.

How do you navigate all this while staying profitable? Marketing tasks can be a lot to juggle with your regular ones, such as customer communication and shipping. Here are a few quick tips that can put you on your way to gaining more visibility and differentiating your products:

  1. Do some research to find a sub-category that isn’t yet saturated. You can use CraftCount to help you determine this, showing the number of sellers in a given category.
  2. Include specific tags for all products. Don’t just focus on ‘Halloween’, ‘candles’, ‘jewelry’, ‘hats’, etc. Try to include tags about the material, color, intended place of use, target audience, etc. In doing this, you want to target users who know what they are looking for–something more specific within that category. These users are in the Research (second) stage, vs. the Awareness (first) phase of the Buyer’s Journey. They aren’t just window-shopping, and you have a better chance of hooking them.
  3. Determine which products you want to sell FIRST. Those with higher prices or that you feel are your finest work. Position those products with social ads--Facebook ads have greater reach and impressions, while Twitter Ads have been shown to have greater click-through rates. Instagram also recently opened up its ad platform; the multiple formats should be interesting to compare metrics on. Whichever platform you choose, be sure to include a product photo and tweet copy based on hashtag and topic research.
  4. Use social media to show how your products are different. Be as specific as possible. Make heavier use of Instagram and Pinterest vs. Twitter and Facebook, as these visual mediums receive higher engagement than the latter two. Pinterest also has a very high click-through rate from posts to the product link itself; in fact, 88% of Pinterest users buy the products they pin. As an example of post content, are you using local ingredients? Special methods of preparation? Note the benefits of each and every detail that makes your product different from others in its category. As noted before, the more unique they are, the more attention your products are likely to get from the right customers who are more likely to buy.
  5.  If you have a blog, posts there can be a long-form way to showcase product features and usage. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase product galleries. However, maintenance is key, as you’ll need to keep it current as you add products.

Obviously, this is all very time-consuming, and just a small example of what you can do. As noted, it’ll put you on your way to your goal, but it takes a lot more than that to achieve it. Frequency and consistency are important, and constitute an ongoing strategy.

That being the case, why not allow a marketer to take care of that strategy, saving you time and letting you focus on creating and listing your products? This is especially helpful for those who accept custom orders, as these can take time to create and ship. Outsourcing your branding ensures you can maintain a regular listing and shipping schedule as your customer base increases, keeping you profitable with more orders and less lag time in customer communication and shipping.

Through October 1st, ContentCandy is offering a specially-priced promotional package just for Etsy shop owners. At 30% off, you’ll get:

  • Social media and content strategy creation, execution and measurement (including social ads, plus original content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest). Based on review of shop analytics, such as where visitors are coming from and which products they’re viewing
  • Product listing optimization with keywords
  • Updating email newsletter with current offers
  • Blog post content for product promotion*

*Optional; blog can be set up if client wishes. There is no additional charge.

I would love to learn about your business needs and how I can help increase your profitability. Contact me today for your FREE 30-minute consult!

Elements of a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

With prospects being inundated with more content than ever, a complete and accurate content strategy is essential in order to reach the right customers on the right channels, at the right time. This is a challenge for small business owners, who are frequently responsible for all aspects of their organization, and lack sufficient time to determine their own marketing needs.

To help simplify the concept of content marketing, here is a helpful checklist of documents you’ll see in a typical strategy, and how they contribute to your overall goal.

First, a holistic document is created that defines the goals that your business wants to focus on within the strategy, and identifies key performance indicators (KPIs) needed to measure progress towards each of those goals. Examples of KPIs include post-level views and engagements, content views and click-throughs, and link click-throughs. KPIs can also include existing actions and goals you have within your Google Analytics. For example, your strategy could focus on driving to your website, and then using social and Google Analytics to track how each post and piece of content contributes to page visits. Subsequent reports (typically weekly) focus on a strategy’s defined goals and KPIs from this document, how each goal is being met in terms of the KPIs, and what strategy changes are needed.

Content strategy business goals

An example of business goals within a strategy document. Here, we’re specifying messaging and content suggestions for each goal.

Drilling down into how your strategy will be successful, let’s look at which documents contribute at which level.

  • Right customers- Your strategy needs a personas document before anything, to define audiences and continually update as new data emerges on them. Who are you trying to reach? What is their role within their organization? What are their current challenges, and how can your business solve them?
CIO persona example

An example of a CTO persona, a target demographic for an IT supplier.

  • Right channels- Where does your audience search for information on your product or service? Some of this will be provided in the personas document; sentiment analysis using an analytics tool can also help, to see if user attitudes towards your industry and/or business on a particular channel are positive or negative.
  • Right time- This is where it’s crucial to separate out users by stage of the sales funnel. Do users on a particular channel exhibit different behavior, and therefore occupy a different stage? Once we know this, we can create the editorial calendar and customize copy and content by channel. Finally, posts need to be scheduled at times proven to be optimal on those channels- are audiences more likely to check their feeds in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Keep in mind time differences for global audiences.

Content marketing is a holistic process–each step is interdependent. It’s a lot to consider, and can be tough to grasp completely without a marketing background. Even if one step is missed, it could mean lost sales for your business. For your convenience, here is a breakdown of all the documents in an easy-to-reference infographic.

Elements of a winning content strategyThe point of having a cohesive strategy and all its corresponding documents is to have your goals achieved–tough to do when you have so many other things to worry about. However, someone who knows what they’re doing can create and track your strategy for you, saving you the time from having to figure it out yourself.

ContentCandy offers ALL of the services listed in this post–creating your strategy from the ground up, and executing and measuring for real results. A consultative process, you’ll be there each step of the way so you always know what’s going on, and how each piece of the strategy translates into progress toward your defined goals. Don’t let pieces of the puzzle go missing, and your potential customers drop off without purchasing–schedule a free 30-minute consult today to start mapping your strategy to success!

All content designed by ContentCandy.

Why Your Tweets aren’t Converting

Twitter logo

Your brand needs to have a strategy to engage effectively on Twitter.

If you’re like most small business owners, you wear quite a few hats. A typical day might consist of communicating with potential customers, supporting existing ones, overseeing new inventory or product versions, team meetings and phone calls…the list goes on.

Among all this, you’ve got to make sure you’re reaching potential customers within your market. You know that they’re on social media, but are unsure of which channels and what the best practices are to engage them.  However, you know you need to be pushing out content, so you take to Twitter and update with your latest product or service information. When you look at your Google Analytics to track visits from that channel, numbers are low or nonexistent. What gives?

With 316 million monthly active users tweeting 500 million times daily, Twitter needs to be approached tactfully and strategically. With so much content being pushed out every minute, it’s not enough to simply create an account and send a few Tweets. Now more than ever, you’ve got to find ways to stand out to potential customers. (This also goes for the other channels, which I’ll cover in subsequent posts.)

Having a Strategy Helps You Stand Out

Primarily, getting conversions means starting with that goal and crafting a careful cross-channel strategy around pre-defined metrics to support it–something most business owners don’t have the skill or time to pull off themselves. Keep in mind that strategies can consist of multiple types of social posts, including paid and owned (owned being a regular, non-paid post; this blog post covers the latter). An audit of social channels and the construction of a strategy is where a marketing professional comes in handy, making sure your content converts so you aren’t losing sales.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you’re seeing low engagement with your Tweets, here are a few key things to ask yourself about your current efforts. You can prepare these for when you consult with a marketing professional:

  • Do I have a clear call-to-action with an engaging photo? Users need to clearly see what you want them to do, so they can choose to act or not. Additionally, visual content always tops text-only content in terms of engagement.
  • Does my post copy entice users to click on my call-to-action?  Users need to be led to take action. If your copy isn’t attention-grabbing, you can’t expect anyone to want to engage.
  • Am I addressing user pain points? Is your copy based on a customer-defined pain point? This helps grab attention. If not, you’ll have research done into the problems your customers are having, then give customers a link to your solution.
  • Am I using the correct hashtags and links? A common mistake driving engagement down is incorrect hashtags or @names, linked to the wrong or nonexistent topic or profile. Sometimes, hashtag clicks bring engagement with the wrong users if they’re focused on too broad of a topic, vs. being hyper-local and/or based on an industry niche. And even though you may get some link clicks within your tweets, your Google Analytics customer activity from social will be skewed with the presence of a broken link. Always test links before posting.

If this is all making your head spin, that’s why ContentCandy exists. Marketing expertise and time are things that typically run low for small businesses, especially when you’re doing so many things by yourself. It’s my goal to help you get noticed for the right reasons, driving up engagement and conversions so you can increase sales while focusing on your business! Affordable, practical services from a professional with a background in the SMB market.

Schedule your FREE 30-minute phone or Skype consult today!

Cutting Through the Coach Clutter: 3 Tips to Stand Out Online as a Coach

As a coach, you love using your gifts to help people. But the challenge for your industry is steep: The internet is brimming with coaches, all of whom are offering similar programs and possess seemingly unlimited funds to market themselves. How is a new coach supposed to cut through the clutter?

I’m going to give you three branding tips in a second, but first I want to be clear about something: Avoiding buzzwords is going to become more key as the industry continues to grow. The more you can brand yourself to stand out, the better. When you can clearly define what you do differently, and for whom, the quicker people will want to work with you.

Having said that, here are three ways you can differentiate yourself right now as an emerging coach.

1. Be super-clear and consistent across all your messaging.
Being a coach means establishing and maintaining trust in every capacity. People are looking to you to help them solve what is, deep down, a personal problem. Don’t ruin that trust by using misleading titles or credentials. Create a unique, clear and accurate title for yourself; you don’t even have to use the word ‘coach’. Find out what titles there are too many of in your area.
If you are an independent representative for a company in addition to providing coaching services, be up front about that. Try to emphasize the personalized packages as a whole, versus just the product line. This cuts down the competition from other local representatives who are selling the same brand.

2. Offer something unique, and design a landing page and email marketing campaign around it.
Give them a carrot and then start providing more content through multiple emails. The primary challenge here is in crafting a juicy enough initial offer that encourages them to opt in. Overall, it needs to be something that encapsulates your experience and explains the benefits, just enough to make them want more. It could take the form of an ebook, webinar or video.

3. Engage in conversations with your audience!
As a coach, it’s your job to get personal with people and figure out their needs and motivations. People will be curious about what you do and how you can help them. Publish conversational posts asking fun, easy-to-answer questions that your audience will want to respond to (e.g. a relevant book discussion). Be sure to reply to everyone who responds. This is especially important on Twitter, where the level of conversation is more frequent and response times are expected to be faster.

What have you tried so far with your branding? What worked and what didn’t? How are you looking to differentiate yourself?

Share your personal brand story in the comments, or Tweet me at @getcontentcandy.

Talk soon,

Niki