Are you ready to supercharge your business’s digital presence in 2024? As an entrepreneur passionate about growth, I’ve been exploring the crucial elements of a successful digital marketing strategy. Join me in this journey, where I delve into the intricate world of digital marketing funnels, content creation, and the art of engagement.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- Crafting an effective digital marketing funnel
- Strategies for creating engaging and evergreen content
- Utilizing freebies to attract and nurture leads
- The importance of email marketing in nurturing leads
- Advanced digital marketing techniques: Personalization and automation
- Adapting to emerging trends in digital marketing for 2024
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Listen to episode 193, follow along so you never miss an episode, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!
Creating Content That Resonates
In the digital space, content is king. But it’s not just about producing content—it’s about crafting messages that resonate with your audience. I’ve discovered that the secret lies in focusing on evergreen topics and delivering them in a manner native to your chosen platform. Whether it’s blogging, podcasting, or YouTube videos, the goal is to create content that not only attracts but also retains attention.
The Magic of Effective Freebies
One of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal is the ‘freebie’. But how do you create a freebie that doesn’t just attract leads, but the right leads? The answer is alignment—aligning your freebies with your products and the interests of your ideal clients. I’ve learned that the right freebie can warm up your audience and set the stage for a successful sales journey.
Email Marketing: The Unsung Hero
Often underrated, email marketing remains a cornerstone of effective digital marketing. A well-planned email sequence can nurture your leads, build trust, and lead them toward a well-deserved offer. It’s about striking the perfect balance between value and promotion, guiding potential customers to make informed decisions.
Advanced Techniques: Personalization and Automation
As we delve deeper into the digital age, personalization and automation have emerged as game-changers. Personalizing your messages to meet the unique needs of your audience can significantly boost engagement. Meanwhile, automation streamlines your marketing process, making it more efficient and impactful.
Embracing Change and Innovation
Lastly, staying adaptable and open to new trends and technologies is key. The digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is crucial for business growth.
Those are my insights and strategies that can transform the way you approach digital marketing in 2024. Whether you’re just starting or looking to refine your tactics, these tips are designed to help you build a more robust, responsive, and successful digital presence.
Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey, and welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. And this is part four of the Kickstart Your Business Series in 2024. This means that this is the final part of this four-part series, which honestly makes me really sad because I’ve been having so much fun recording this series. And it sounds like you guys have all been having a lot of fun listening to it.
I would love for you to tell me whether or not you’ve liked this series. This is the first time I’ve ever done a series on the podcast before. And my hope and my goal was to do one series per quarter in 2024. So the first thing I need you to do is reach out to me on Instagram at @SamVanderWielen or respond to my email that you get from me and you have to let me know, do you like the series or do you like having a series in general? Has this been helpful? And if you have an idea for a topic that you want me to cover in another series, I would love to hear that from you too. I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve, but I always like hearing from you, and I want to make these as helpful to you as possible. So let me know, okay. Deal between me and you in exchange for this free series. Just reach out to me real quick and let me know.
The other thing you have to do is if you haven’t yet, or if you’re new to the series is go down into the show notes or go onto Instagram and you can DM me the word workbook, or you can click the link in the show notes. Like I said, if you’re listening on a podcast platform. And you can get the free Kickstart Your Business Series guide that I created for you. It follows along with this series. It has supplemental information. It has checklists for you. I have additional resources in there. So I created this as a free guide for you to follow along to this series. So if you haven’t yet, get that Kickstart Your Business guide down in the show notes, or of course, like I said, you can reach out to me on Instagram for it too.
Before I jump into recapping how the series, what we’ve gone over in this series so far, and then jumping into part four, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to our On Your Terminator listener, Christine. Christine told me on Instagram that she listens to the show while she food preps, which just made me really happy to think of somebody cooking while they’re listening, since that’s my absolute favorite thing to do too. So thank you, Christine, for reaching out. Thanks for letting me know that you listened to On Your Terms, and I hope that your food prepping is going well today.
All right. So a quick recap of the kickstart Your Business series so far. In part one, we talked all about setting our business foundation, something really, really strong that’s going to give us not only the confidence, but also the legitimacy that we need to move forward in our businesses and launch all the stuff that we’ve talked about in parts two, three, and now four.
In part two, we talked about really getting to know our customer, really truly understanding them and learning how to speak their language, really speaking to them without judging them or shaming them. And at the same time, learning our unique differentiators, both what makes us unique as creators and what makes our products so unique or our service and our approach to our services as well.
In part three, we talked all about designing a great product and optimizing that product for the long term, how to get repeated sales, creating something that’s scalable, collecting enough data from your customers, doing beta testing, all of that kind of stuff. So part three was all about creating a product that’s going to sell very well.
And now in part four, we’re kind of bringing it all together where I’m really laying out a digital marketing strategy for you, pulling in all the things we’ve talked about in parts one, two, and three. So now we’re going to talk about driving traffic to that product that we just talked about creating in part three. We’ll talk about how you create that product and sell that product by speaking directly to your ideal customer, which is what we covered in part two. We’ll learn how to do that in our own unique way and using our unique voice, which is what it’s going to help you to stand out, which is also what we learned in part two. And we’ll do all of that because we feel so legally confident to do so, which is what we talked about in part one.
So it’s really coming together today. So I thought that the first thing that would be helpful in today’s episode would be a little quick definition time about what a funnel is. I feel like I’m funnel obsessed. I know like my friends and colleagues and all this kind of accused me of being like funnel obsessed. And I built out my own funnel years and years ago, and it’s pretty much the same one that’s running now that’s making seven figures a year.
And I know that a lot of times when you say the word funnel or some of the other things we’re going to talk about today, people’s eyes glaze over and they’re like, I don’t understand what that means. Or people think it’s this like hyper, hyper complicated thing. And I think one of the reasons I’m actually such a funnel nerd is because it’s actually very simple and it’s something you might even have already. You just might, maybe you’re missing like one piece, or you might just not be calling it a funnel. Right.
So I want to define what a funnel is because essentially you need some sort of marketing funnel to move your people, like your potential customers, through a path, down a path that nurtures them and warms them up enough that they are not only like ready to buy, but they understand why they know that you’re the person, they’re confident, they’re ready, they’re excited to buy or to work with you. Right.
So the funnel, I really just want you to think of it more like a pathway that somebody has to walk down that they have to collect all of these things to really understand to say like, oh, you see me. I see that you understand where I’m at. Oh, I discover you. I didn’t know you existed. Oh, now I understand that you also have this product. Oh, that product helps solve my problem. This is how, this is why I need it. This is why I need it now.
That’s really all you’re doing is like, you’re walking somebody down this path. You’re kind of laying it out for them. It’s essentially your marketing and your sales argument to them. Like, that’s how I think of it as a lawyer is like, I’m kind of laying out my best case for like, hey, I know what you’re going through. I know what you wish was like instead. I created this thing for you. Here’s why you need it. And that’s a funnel, right? There are just pieces of it that are more technical that we put in place.
So, let’s do a high-level walkthrough of really what a funnel is, and then I’m going to dive deep into every single piece of this funnel, okay? Because this is really your digital marketing strategy, and each piece of this has to be addressed in your business. And then we’ll pull it all together at the end.
So a funnel, to me, has technically five parts, but I numbered it zero through four, because you’ll see why. So, zero, to me, is your content, because really, when a lot of people talk about what’s called top of funnel, so top of funnel is like where people enter in, right? So it’s the starting point on your pathway. When people talk about top of funnel, a lot of times they talk just about freebies, but people have to discover those freebies somehow, and that comes through content. So that’s why I like to make content part zero.
Number one, then, is your freebie. That could be a PDF, a handout, a webinar, a challenge. It can be lots of different things. Number two is then a nurture and sales sequence, usually done through email, that the people go through after getting your freebie. Number three is that there’s then some sort of invitation to buy. And four is that then people come to a fork in the road. Either they become a customer, and they go down the customer path, or they become a future customer. That’s the way that I think of it.
So, that’s zero is content. One, freebie. Two is your nurture and sales sequence. Three is your purchase opportunity. And four is the path of, the fork in the road path and deciding whether to become a customer or whether that person says, this isn’t for me right now. Maybe it will be later. Maybe they decide it’s never, then they become a future customer. Okay.
So let’s go through each part of those, like each little stop along the way on that path. And you’ll see how, if you created content this way, if you focused your business in this way, this is what might be missing from you making more sales. Right?
So, okay, let’s dive into technically part zero content first. So I think in order for this like funnel to work this pathway, for people to go down this pathway, in order for it to work really from like a sales perspective, I like to create content that’s evergreen. It’s content that has a long-lasting existence. There are many different definitions of evergreen. They can be used in different contexts, right? What I’m talking about today is content that has a long-lasting existence. So not content that doesn’t go anywhere.
Like remember how when we were all doing like lip syncing reels and they would just be like dancing around pointing to things on screen and we were all spending our time doing all that, but you weren’t pointing them to the freebie to get onto your email list, to download the freebie, that then led them down this funnel, that led them down the sales sequence and invited them to buy from you, right? We instead, what you see a lot of in people’s content is just creating content that kind of goes nowhere. Right.
Now, creating content that’s nurturing in other ways is very important, right? It’s also important just to create stuff for fun. And like, I don’t think every single thing has to be strategic and like you have to do everything for your funnel and blah, blah, blah. But I think that if you have a business, the bulk of the content that you create has to point to the top of your funnel. So, the bulk of the content that you create should be evergreen, have an evergreen call to action that leads to the top of your funnel.
And if you do this long enough, and if you’re good at it, and then it becomes a success, you can create content that leads down that funnel for a very long time. So, for example, if I had a reel a year ago on Instagram that the call to action is to go watch my 5 Legal Steps webinar, that webinar, that funnel, it still exists. So if somebody watches that reel today, if they come upon it for some reason, if someone, a friend sends it to them, it will still send them down that funnel for me, right? That’s what I’m talking in terms of it being evergreen.
It makes it worth my while to create content like that for social media when things on social media are so risky in terms of like, how many people are going to see this? Or is it, you know, the algorithm going to show it to people? Is this reel going to perform well or not? It takes a little bit of the pressure off when I know that I’m creating content that’s going somewhere and then it can continue to go somewhere for a very long time. That consistency, that long term, that longevity for me makes it really worth it for me to create that kind of content.
Now, we’re going to talk about in a second though that social media is not the primary focus of my content. Right? So creating content somewhere else, which we’ll talk about in a sec really to me should be the primary focus. But then I do think that when you are on Instagram or you are on TikTok or some other platform, when you’re there, you can make it more worth your while by making more evergreen content that has calls to action to the top of your funnel. Right.
Now, remember the content that you create that I’m saying should be evergreen can really be evergreen in two different ways. So the content itself can be evergreen, meaning like it’s a core piece of content for you. For example, a content, piece of content for me that might be evergreen is like the three policies that your website needs, right? That doesn’t change for me. And so unless, I don’t know, unless some major new law comes around, but like in general, this doesn’t really change, right? You can probably think of many examples for what you do.
It’s a product I sell that gives you all three of the website policies. And that post could live on, on social media. If that was a podcast episode, for example, that I did, that’s like how to legally protect your website, that episode itself is evergreen. And then the call to action, in the podcast episode would be to go purchase those templates. And that’s evergreen as well, right?
I can also think about evergreen content from a second perspective. So the first perspective is that the content itself can be evergreen and the call to action can be evergreen. But the second perspective I can think about creating more evergreen content is that I can create content on a platform that’s more evergreen. For example, if you create a YouTube video or a blog post that’s optimized on your website for SEO purposes, meaning people can search for it and find it anytime, that piece of content can continue to live on.
When we post the primary or the bulk of our content on platforms that don’t have great searchability or that they’re not places that people go to search for things, we’re spending a lot of time creating what I call toilet content. It’s content that as soon as you create it, it essentially goes right down the toilet. If you would take that same concept or that same piece of content and shift your focus to being somewhere that’s more evergreen like an optimized blog post or a podcast episode or a YouTube video that’s optimized, right, so that people, whether they’re searching for this now, six months from now or a year from now, find you, find the content and get into your top of funnel. That’s going to be such a longer-term payoff for you than continuing to just invest in so much social media stuff where it falls to the bottom of the cutting room floor, essentially, right.
Now, I know that some of you might be thinking, yeah, but social media, like Instagram and Tik Tok, they have a search feature. Yes. And good luck. Like go try to find some of your content from somebody else’s account using that feature, right? It’s very, very hard. The platforms themselves aren’t as robust with searchability, right? Like Google is pulling things in like title and then the things in your blog post itself, right? Same with YouTube. It’s also something that begets more like success the more you do it.
So it’s, to me, the same kind of concept as like I see it like writing optimized content more like the concept of investment, right? So you’re making these investments, which might feel small over time. But with compounding interest and gains over time and time and time, there’s a snowball effect, right? Whereas what it feels like sometimes on social media is more like to me, like a whack-a-mole game, right? It just feels like you might hit one every once in a while.
Like maybe something you post is okay, but then they like mess with you and take it all away. I don’t know. I swear if I didn’t know better, I think there’s like a little guy behind the screen being like, oops, you did good yesterday and now I’m not showing anybody your stuff. Like, that’s how it feels. That’s really how it feels. But it’s still just not like, it doesn’t gain momentum there, other than that if something you do maybe goes viral. Even then, it’s like, that doesn’t have a long-term payoff that can fizzle out too. Right?
So, of course, lots of people spend lots of time on social media platforms growing a big, big audience and they do gain momentum. But what I’m talking about is true business momentum. I would love to see behind the scenes of those people’s businesses to see how big is their email list? How many sales are they actually making? How much of their programs are they actually selling? I’d be very curious, right? So to me, the longevity is like, even if you hit it big on Instagram or TikTok, I hope you’re capitalizing and optimizing by getting those people somewhere else off the platform so that you can reach them with more control and consistency, like email, for example.
So, I mentioned earlier that there are the big three in terms of content platforms. So, when I was talking about how your content can be evergreen both from the content itself perspective, but also because of where you post it, I’m talking about where you post it on one of the big three platforms. It was suggested to me years and years ago, actually by mentor Melissa Griffin back then who I believe is no longer running her business. But she had suggested that people should really pick one of the big three and dedicate themselves to it.
I think whichever one you pick between the big three, which are YouTube, SEO, like SEO optimized blog posts, otherwise known as blogging, and podcasting, whichever one you pick should be highly optimized, right? So if you’re posting YouTube videos, you should learn about keyword research and how to title your videos and how when you upload your videos, you have to upload like the name of the file has to be the keyword. Like there are all these tricks and things to do to try to help you to stand out, right? And to come up with content ideas and how to create better content there.
I also think you learn by doing, right? So just getting started being on these platforms. You’re not going to be great at it at first. That’s okay.
We’re all a beginner, right? We learn. When I started podcasting, I had never — I’d been on a lot of people’s podcasts, but I had obviously never had my own podcast before. Hopefully, I’ve gotten a little bit better over time and that’s still my goal, right? And two and a half years in, I still want to be getting better all the time at podcasting.
So whatever you do, I would say to maximize the potential of that platform. I would think about whatever platform you choose between YouTube, a podcast, and a blog, you want to create content from that medium, like from that perspective. So for example, if you’re creating, if you’re like, okay, I’m going to go all in on YouTube and I’m really going to focus on YouTube, you have to focus on creating really great video. If you’re going to do a podcast, you have to edit it well, and it has to sound good, and you have to have little intro music, and like, you want to focus on how to produce a podcast, and create great content, plan it out, have great episode ideas, be inspired to create for this medium, right?
I think a mistake that I’ve made over the years and that I’m still kind of trying to figure out how to navigate truthfully is like when you have a podcast, for example, and then you try to squeeze it into a YouTube channel because like I record all my podcast episodes on video, so why not just throw them up on YouTube? Well, that doesn’t tend to work well because it’s not how YouTube videos are consumed, right?
So we can stick it there just as like what I call a placeholder. I’ll say like, let’s just for right now, like socially when I’m really busy or like when I lost my parents and I just didn’t have any more capacity, I was like, okay, well you can put the podcast episodes on YouTube just for placeholders. Right. Just so that they’re there. If it catches one person, great. Right. But you just can’t be surprised then when that doesn’t work. Like when your YouTube channel’s not really growing or things aren’t like popping off over on YouTube, don’t be surprised, right? And I wouldn’t spend a lot of money and energy doing it if like if you don’t have it, right? That’s not how I would spend my time and energy and money.
I would spend it really focusing on delivering the content on the platform that I’m originally committed to. So if it’s podcast, like go in on the podcast, right? For me, podcast or YouTube is a little bit smarter of like having some sort of medium to build an audience. I think having this, I don’t know, having a podcast has taught me a lot about how much this has created a connection, a community, a conversation amongst my audience. I think the same can go for YouTube for people.
And then what I like to do as a natural next step is then take those episodes, so either if you were focusing on YouTube or a podcast episode and make those into optimized blog posts. I think that’s like the next natural step versus one or the other. Like trying to do YouTube and podcasting, it’s a lot. I tried for a while to do like one and then I think I even went up to two videos a week for a little while on YouTube and tried podcasting. That is a lot of content. It’s not a sustainable strategy, at least for me. If that’s something that you can handle right now, that would be amazing.
But I just don’t see how, especially to me, like as YouTube has grown, as podcasts have become more popular, I think that the quality standard has just gone up in terms of what, like the game has gone up. And so when I see YouTube videos now, I’m like, damn. Like it used to just be people like talking in their bedrooms, but now it’s like all this vlogging, like beautiful videography and music and all this stuff. And I’m just like, wow. I love that for them. And I don’t have the time and energy or desire, right? Like the truth is I could make the time, but I don’t want to do all that. And that’s okay. Right.
That kind of brings me to the next thing I want to chat with you about when it comes to picking a main content platform. I really suggest picking something that’s based on how you like to produce content. Like, do you love video? Are you like super charismatic? You love being on video. You’re super comfortable. It’s not going to hinder your progress or your consistency. Or do you like love audio, talking into a void? Like I, well, before I started recording these on video, I used to love the fact that I could just like wear pajamas, throw on my headphones and like record a podcast. And that was really fun to me. But for some reason, it also, the podcasts allow me to be more open and vulnerable and I felt a bit more comfortable. I don’t know why, right? But I think that’s one good thing to pick on.
I think another reason to pick something is how your customers consume content. So if you find out your customers hate watching videos or like what you do doesn’t lend itself to a podcast, like I always give the example, if you’re a cooking instructor, I mean, we could talk about food. I would certainly listen to that. But if your product ultimately is trying to teach me recipes or like a cooking class, I think YouTube would be a more natural fit for you, right? It’s a visual platform. Same with Instagram.
I would tell you, if I could take my marketing strategist hat on and just put my friend hat on for you for a moment, I would honestly tell you to pick whatever platform sounds the most fun. After seven years of building this business, being the Goldilocks of trying all different kinds of content to see what works, I honestly think that fun beats out all of the strategies that I could give you. I could sit here all day long and say TikTok’s the future of social media, YouTube’s doing this, and you got to do this. People are getting crazy traffic on LinkedIn. Fantastic. Right. That’s amazing for them. Love that for them.
I honestly, though, can tell you that if you don’t like whatever you’re doing, you will not show up. And if you do not show up, you will not be consistent. If you’re not consistent, this thing will never work. You will never build an audience. You will never gain traction. And when you don’t gain traction, you will want to quit. Right. So I honestly think that just having fun, like I love podcasting, right? I just really, really enjoy it.
When today, for example, is a snow day, I couldn’t go anywhere. I had planned to go to the library to write my book. I was like, ooh, I get to stay home and I’m going to record a bunch of podcast episodes today. I was really, really looking forward to it. And I miss it on the days that I don’t do it. I, especially before I got the book deal, I was really, really good about batching podcast episodes. And I would like go long stretches without having to record because I would record so many in one or two days. And then I would miss it so bad in between.
It doesn’t even feel like work to me. I really truly enjoy it. That really helps to ease up the tension or anxiety too when I see some numbers that I’m like, oh, like this isn’t growing as much as I thought it would, or oh, not as many people downloaded that episode as I thought that they would. People didn’t seem to reply to that email as much as I thought they would about the episode. Like I thought it was really good. It really helps because I don’t really care because I enjoy it. Right? So, I enjoy doing it. I know that other people like it, whether that number’s always growing and quadrupling, I don’t know, right? But that doesn’t have to be the centerpiece. It can also be how much fun you have.
I think that once you pick one of these places, like creating YouTube channel or a blog, I think it should really be your home base. You should make it your home base. You should commit to it and commit to building an audience there. If I had my ideal, I would say at least for six months, right, at least, if you were podcasting, I would say it would have to be at least once a week for six months. Or YouTube, I mean, it would be great if you could do one video a week for six months. That is a lot of videos. Maybe it’s just me. And maybe I’m like putting my own mindset buck on this, but I know to like do them really well, it’s a lot. It was a lot, but you could. I think blogging once a week is very doable. There are all kinds of things.
So for me, I would make this your home, whatever you choose, I would make that your home base. And I would make the content that you create there, content that’s evergreen, that drives opt ins for your email list using a freebie as bait, right? We’re going to discuss what kind of freebie and all that next. And then the more content you’re posting there and creating community, you’re just continuing to nurture them. Even if you’re inviting them to get the same freebie that they’ve already downloaded, you’re just continuing to nurture them, creating a relationship with them, getting to know them even better, letting them get to know you even better too.
Now, on social media, I think what, at least what I have learned and what is working better for me, both from a mental health perspective and as a digital marketing strategy is that then social media becomes more about using your snippets of content from your home base than creating lots and lots and lots of native content to that platform. So, it also works better when, instead of going on Instagram and saying, new YouTube video and then like trying to create a piece of that video and then saying, go watch my YouTube video.
To me, at least in my experience, that doesn’t work very well. I use it as like more of a method of awareness to like, I’ll mention it in my stories or I’ll include a link or I mention it somewhere or I mention it in the caption, like you can watch the full thing on YouTube or on my podcast or something like that. And you can invite people to DM you to get the link or anything you want to do. Right. But what I find that works better instead is actually to take snippets of the content from your home base and turn it into native content on social media.
So for example, if you chose YouTube as your platform and you created a YouTube video and you’ve optimized the heck out of that YouTube video so that it performs well on YouTube and through search on Google, then you can take a snippet, you can edit that video in a way that takes a snippet that you create a Reel for Instagram. And it’s just a Reel that like lives on its own. Maybe it’s like three tips or like the sassiest thing you said in that episode that will just stand out as a valuable piece of content on its own.
So that’s what I see working a little bit better over on social media when I’m using like clips from the podcast. I make sure that the clip and I’m always encouraging my team to say when you’re picking out a snippet, when you’re picking out an audiogram, when you pick out a video clip, the video clip or the audio that you pick has to be independently valuable. I have to say something in it that has some value, that gives somebody a tip, or inspires somebody, or gives, like, it has its own beginning and ending, right? Instead of trying to be just like, hey, I have this new podcast episode, go listen to it here. I didn’t see that that worked very well on social media, and I don’t really see any other people who are very successful at it doing it that way either.
All right. Now, let’s turn to technically step number one, which is all about your freebie. I think between the content and the freebie, these really are some of the most important pieces, especially because they’re probably a bit closer to what you’re dealing with right now in your own business. When it comes to freebies, what I first suggest is that you reverse engineer from your product. So we take a look at your product, the great product that you created, thanks to part three of this Kickstart Series, and we look at your product and we say, what kind of freebie would make sense for the product that I’m going to eventually ask them to purchase from me?
So if that’s like an outline or like a guide of some sort of video, then you make something that where the content that you’re using to attract somebody to the freebie would make sense that that same person would then need your product too, right? So for example, when I’m trying to sell the Ultimate Bundle, which gives people 10 legal templates, on demand video training, so on how to like form their business and get trademarks and things, support from me, all this kind of stuff, it makes sense to me to create maybe a checklist of how to legally start an online business or a guide on how to legally protect your business or better yet something that like, I don’t know, I think over 100,000 people maybe have taken at this point my webinar. So my webinar Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, which is literally like an outline of the Ultimate Bundle.
So I essentially, when I came up with the concept for this webinar, I just decided to back out and reverse engineer my product itself. If I looked at my product itself and who would need it and what it’s going to help them to do, then I just wanted to use that same logic to attract people to something that was free, thinking if those same people need it, like the freebie, then they’re going to need the Ultimate Bundle. And that’s exactly what happens, right?
We have to create a freebie that properly draws in your ideal client. It has to warm them up and it has to introduce them to your product, right? I think that it has to be particularly juicy these days, not to overuse the phrase, but I think it has to be particularly good. My copywriter, Caitlin, she always says like, you know, it has to be like a no brainer, right? I think about making like how people make no brainer decisions when they’re going to get one of my freebies, when they’re going to do like an order bump, for example, like adding something on at checkout or when they’re going to get a bonus. Like just to me, the more of like a no brainer you can make, why wouldn’t I want this freebie? This freebie sounds so good.
I think the mistake that a lot of people tend to make is making their freebies not that interesting. They just kind of copy what they see other people creating. And you don’t make it valuable enough because we’re so fearful that if we give out the information or the value, then people won’t want to purchase from us, right? And that is not the case. So it has to be good. It has to be a no brainer that somebody is going to hand over their email. People are exhausted by email and all that good stuff. So why should they give you their email address in exchange for this thing? Because it is going to be so good that they just can’t wait to get it. Right. A meal plan, a recipe guide, a calendar, a checklist. Like there are so many different ideas.
I still think that webinars — well, I don’t think. I know, statistically, in my own business at least, webinars are performing great. Right. I see, I hear a lot of — like a lot of people say like, oh, webinars are dead, or I’ve heard over the years that they’re not performing as well. I think it’s different for everyone. Webinars are still performing really, really well for me. Both live and evergreen webinars are performing really well.
One of the reasons I think that they perform well for someone like me is that when you have a more expensive product or you’re asking somebody to join a program, or to do something more intimate with you, like be in a group program or a mastermind or something like this, I could see, or like even a membership, right, where you’re like you’re going to join this thing and have like a lot of personal interaction and my wanting to join your thing has a lot to do with whether or not I really trust you and feel connected to you. I think that a webinar is kind of the only way I can think of to do that, other than maybe a video series.
But I personally have not tested out how well people, like how well you can retain people’s attention and all that. But I think that a webinar is really the way because in a webinar, you really get to run through all of the pieces that you need to from a sales psychology perspective, from a marketing perspective, from a product perspective, to properly warm people up so that they understand like who you are, why they should trust you, decide for themselves if they like you, have the problem illuminated, see the solution illuminated, and then have an invitation to join. I don’t know how else you do that without a webinar. Right? So, for me at least, still working well.
We then create content. Kind of going back to like step zero, we then create content that pulls people into your freebie, right? So remember, you’re creating content that’s maybe evergreen, so meaning people can find it whenever, and it’s inviting them to download your freebie, and then your freebie is then going to trigger a series of events, like emails for example. So if you were creating a webinar, then people would get your freebie, like maybe the freebie itself is a webinar.
And so then you send out emails reminding people that they need to come to the webinar. Those are called show up emails. So we send emails being like, remember, your webinar’s tomorrow. It’s tomorrow. It’s today. It’s in two hours. It’s in 15 minutes, right? So we send these show up emails. People come to the webinar. They don’t come to the webinar. This is why, by the way, that I use ConvertKit. I’ll leave a link down below for like a discounted plan. I think they even have a free plan right now.
This is why I use ConvertKit because we can actually tag people in ConvertKit who didn’t show up to the funnel, or sorry, who didn’t show up to the webinar. And if they don’t show up to the webinar, we can send them different emails than people who came. We can send it to people who, like we can tag people who left early, all that kind of stuff. So it gives us a lot more control over time. I did not have this all built overnight. At first, I just had one straight set of emails and then over time we just kept building and building and building. So you can send them emails to the people who came to your freebie or who signed up for your freebie. And after the freebie, like after a webinar, for example, they’re going to get a series of emails.
And this is where we go into step number two, our nurture and our sales sequence. I kind of see them as the same, like a nurture and sales, because I try not to just do sales. I try to do nurture too. I think it’s both. So we go into number two with our sales and our nurture sequences. Your sequence is just a series of emails. So whether you send out a PDF, a guide, a checklist, some sort of downloadable thing or have a webinar, after they get that thing, they’re going to get a series of emails.
If your goal is not to sell them something at the end, then that’s called a nurture sequence. And then you’re just kind of like, maybe you’re getting some engagement from them, asking them to respond to emails. Maybe you’re segmenting them, so you understand who’s on your list and what their goals are. And you’re going to send those people different emails. Or what I did in the very beginning when I didn’t know any better and didn’t have the capacity was that those people got nurtured and then just kind of like got dumped onto my weekly email list, right, which is okay too.
If you’re asking them to purchase something from you at the end of the sequence, like what you do after a webinar, for example, that is a sales sequence. That’s like a traditional sales sequence. In that sales sequence, in which, like I said, I feel like I do a little bit of nurturing in mind, I kind of like combine it, but in my sales sequence, you’re basically going over all of the people’s objections. You’re going over urgency or you’re creating some urgency. You’re speaking to them emotionally. You’re giving them customer proof and you’re talking through features and how those features benefit them, like why that should matter to them.
In terms of objections, right, we go through everybody’s objections. So objections are exactly what they sound as a funnel. Like they’re just what people kind of come up with these reasons as to why this thing is not for them, doesn’t work for them, or they can’t make it happen. The typical objections that you address in this sales sequence are time, for example. The person usually thinks that they don’t have enough time, that they don’t have enough money, that there’s what we call a snowflake.
So meaning that you’re so unique or different that your situation is so unique or different that this product’s not going to work for you. You think that the timing might be off. Like I’m not ready for it quite yet. Or you don’t believe in yourself or that you’re somebody who can make this change, make this thing happen, implement it, see through to it, all that kind of stuff. Those are really the main objections. So sometimes these objections get their own email. Sometimes they’re integrated into different emails. Sometimes we combine and there’s multiple different ones. All of them are real. All of them make sense, right?
I think we just naturally we have a lot of these kinds of objections to things and some of them are legitimate. Like I don’t believe in like — and I try not to do this to the best of my ability in sales sequences, it’s like sometimes — well, obviously, first of all, the money piece is like the biggest to me where I’m like, sometimes people don’t have the money and I will not ask people to spend money on things that they can’t afford. Whether or not people end up spending money on things that they can’t afford on my products or on somebody else’s products, I cannot control and that is not my responsibility.
But what I can control is pressuring them, is telling them that they should take out a loan or open a credit card or all that kind of stuff, right? I’ve tried to be pretty honest about like, hey, this is who it’s for, this is what I recommend, this is not who it’s for, right? And I’ve also tried to be honest about the fact that it takes money to start a business. You’re going to need some funds to start it up. So maybe you not being able to afford certain things right now are just a matter of budgeting and planning to start a business. And this might be something you can do down the line, right?
The other stuff in terms of like amount of time, a lot of times that — I mean, sometimes that can be addressed with just telling people what your product actually looks like inside, how easy it is, right? A lot of people build things up in their head. I know this is very true with my legal stuff where people think it’s going to take hours and hours and hours to do stuff. And then when I tell them, actually, it takes 15 minutes to fill out a contract, they’re like, oh, I didn’t know that. That’s way easier, right? So sometimes we can just calm that down with some factual information, right?
In terms of the timing, I mean, this might be more of like a sales psychology thing that you might never feel like you’re ready. That might be an excuse from holding yourself back, or it might actually be true that the timing is not great for you. Right? So, again, you can follow — I feel like you can turn up the dial as much as you want to, because you’re a free human, you can turn up the dial as much as you want to on pressure and manipulation. I have my own limit on what I’m willing to do and where I’m willing to go and not go. But I’m just generally talking about some of the strategies that are used in these kinds of funnels.
Now, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve probably gotten a lot of these email sequences yourself from me or other people, and you know that there’s always urgency baked into these. Now, I know some of you might get annoyed about urgency, but I feel like once you own your own business, you understand why it’s so necessary. If we don’t give people a reason to come to some sort of conclusion, then things are just always going to be hanging there. And we’re out in the open like we never know, and no one’s ever going to come to a decision one way or the other, right? So we do create some sort of sense of urgency as a sale.
I always think it’s very funny when I get mean emails about this. Like it’s very rare, but every once in a while, we get an email from people who will be like so angry that they’ve had a week to decide or five days to decide or something like this before a sale goes away. And I think it’s so funny because I’m like when you go to Target, something’s on sale for a weekend, like a long weekend or something, or you wait in line all night to buy something for Black Friday that the very next day the price goes up.
So you see urgency everywhere. This is not exclusive to online business owners. Like yeah, I don’t know. I just think it’s so funny in general. This is a total sidebar, but I just think it’s so funny in general how people who want to start their own online business will send me nasty emails about these strategies that are very normal business strategies and I’m like, well, good luck building a business with no urgency. It’s very tough, right, which is why you see every kind of business do it. And if you choose not to do it, that’s great, but it is a normal part of, or at least typical, I guess, in the online business industry, just like every other industry and every other sale that you’ve probably purchased under duress.
Any good sales sequence is also going to be very emotionally driven or have a couple of emails that are dedicated to really, really dropping into seeing people for where they are and how they feel and where they want to go and how they want to feel instead, right? So we speak to people’s emotions. We also share a lot of customer proof so that there’s a lot of examples of like people seeing themselves in other people because I can sit here all day long and yell at you about you need to have these three things in your business to be legally legitimate and all this kind of stuff. Or you can see one of your peers who felt probably the same way as you, like intimidated and I don’t have time for this, and I don’t know how I’m going to make the money work. And you can go watch them and see their implementation, their experience and how much they were able to grow their business once they felt safe enough to do so, right? So customer proof is endlessly helpful.
And I mean, these kinds of emails always speak to me, but the features and the benefits, I mean, I love a good features email. Sometimes, there are different kinds of buyers. And so you can read all about the sales psychology of like the different kinds of buyers and the different kinds of information different buyers need to make a decision to move forward. One of the kinds of buyers needs features. So I am somebody who I’m like send me the email that has a bulleted list of what’s included. Like I literally just want to know what’s included.
And I always think it’s so funny because you’ll hear sometimes copywriters or people who give tips online about don’t include features or don’t just say features. I think two things I would say. One is that features do speak to some people. So I do think A, email is helpful about that in your sales sequence. The other thing is that I think it’s all about how you position them so that people understand why that feature is beneficial to them.
So instead of me just saying, for example, that in the Ultimate Bundle, you get 10 legal templates, and you get video tutorials. I always explain that my video tutorials are customized to each and every legal contract that I sell so that you basically have me in your back pocket as you’re filling out the contract and I’m on video right there with you holding your hand, helping you to fill that contract out so that you can easily complete it in 15 minutes or less. Right.
So I just came up with that off the top of my head just as an example to show you how you can position, that’s a feature, right? It’s a benefit of getting the bundle, of getting my legal templates that they come with video tutorials. So you’re not just left with any old contract, but why is a video tutorial helpful to you? You might not understand if you’ve never seen a legal template or a video tutorial for a template before, which you probably haven’t. So just explaining that to people.
I know my little copywriting trick is that whenever you say something like that, so if you say includes 10 videos or 10 tutorials or 50 recipes, I always add so that at the end of it and sometimes I end up deleting so that because you don’t even need it, sometimes that actually makes sense. But yeah, saying like each video or each legal template comes with a video tutorial so that you have me in your back pocket to help you fill it out step by step easily and you won’t get stuck, and I could explain, right, why is that helpful? So just add so that to the end of it, makes it very helpful.
All right. Now, step number three is that after going through this sales sequence and having some urgency, like they have to make a decision by a certain date or something like that, we then come to the point where they might buy, right? And so, in this section, I would just encourage you to go back and listen to part three if you haven’t yet or revisit your notes from it to learn how you can create more of those sales based on the people who buy, because now we can capture the customer’s feedback and customer proof and social shares and all this kind of stuff to create more sales. So that’s the buy phase.
The last part of our funnel sequence essentially, is this person either becoming a customer or becoming a future customer? They become to this fork in the road, they get to the end of your funnel and now they have a decision to make. I always think though, like if this person, if it wasn’t right for them or right for them right now, or they don’t have the budget for it right now, that’s not the end of the road for me. I’m not giving up yet, right? I’m not giving up yet. I’m not going to hammer them about sales or anything like that right now, but I’m not giving up on them as a future customer.
So on the one side in the fork in the road, if they became a customer, we’re going to deliver the product, we’re going to give them a great product, right? We’re going to nurture them in that program. We’re going to treat them like the Olive Garden treats their family. I have a whole podcast episode on this. We’re going to get them a result through our product, hopefully, right?
And of course, you can take on the responsibility. Just as a side note, you’re not responsible for whether or not people really get the results because they have to implement and there are a lot of factors outside of your control, but you can create a product that you know works and could create a good result for them. So you’re working towards that. And if that means you can improve the product or the process or add a training that would be helpful, do that, right?
You want to engage with your customers. You want to get to know them. This all goes back to part two of this Kickstart Series where we were talking about using this like very circuitous data, right? You’re getting to know your customers, you’re learning their language, you’re capturing their words and their wins. And then you’re using that to attract more people like them, like honey, right?
Now, on the other side of the fork in the road, we have the people who are not yet a customer, future customers, and we’re going to do something very similar with them. We’re going to nurture them. We’re going to keep them on our email list. We’re going to email them, hopefully weekly. And we’re going to continue to engage with them, ask them to reply to your emails, get them involved, get some buy in, right? Get them to be part of your community. Get them listening to one of those big three. Get them into your podcast or your YouTube channel or get them reading your blogs. Get them to follow you on social media so they get to know you better and see parts of your personality.
They might buy from you in the future. They might not. They might refer a friend. They might not. It’s all okay with me honestly. The approach or the mindset that I take to this is like if it happens it happens, that’s great. I have faith and I and I believe that if I’m right for them and it’s right for them when you know, they’re ready, they’ll do it, I’ll be their person because I continue to show up, I continue to be myself, I continue to provide value. And I stayed top of mind for this person so that when they are ready, I’ll be their person and I’ll be there, right?
All of what we’ve talked about throughout this entire series is like so wrapped up in all of the things that we talked about today. It all goes together and it all feeds into one another, right? This whole process has allowed me a sort of confidence, a relaxed, calm, a relaxed confidence that people will buy from me who need it. People will not buy from me who don’t. People who don’t buy from me today might buy from me later. They might not. Either way, I will be okay, right? Things will be great. Things will continue to grow. Things will get better in the future.
So I think that’s a great place to wrap up this part four, this final episode of the Kickstart Your Business Series in 2024. I hope that you’ve loved this series and I really, really hope you’ll do me a favor and be an active and engaged listener here of On Your Terms. I hope you’ll reply to my email or reach out to me on Instagram at @SamVanderWielen. Let me know if you liked this series. What’s been helpful for you about it? What’s one thing, what’s like one action item that you’re going to go act on after listening to the series? I would love to know even, like, what’s the most aha moment that you’ve had?
I know when I’ve listened to series in the past, and I have to give a shout out to my friend Natasha Samuel, she’s at Shine with Natasha. Her podcast, The Shine Online Podcast is a great, great podcast and she does epic series. I love Natasha’s series. And I feel like a lot of times, some of the series are more like about things that I feel more comfortable with, and then some things are really eye opening for me. But either way, there’s always like one thing that she says, that’s just like the thing that clicks and makes other things click.
So I would really love to know, like, what’s one thing that really clicked for you. Maybe it’s something you’ve heard before, but you just needed to hear it again or in a different way. Or maybe it’s something that was brand new. I would really love to know. Thank you so much for listening to this series. My first ever series on On Your Terms. I can’t wait to do the next one in quarter two. I can’t wait to hear if you’ve liked this one. Thanks so much for listening. And before you go, make sure you grab that Kickstart Your Series guide down in the show notes, the workbook that I created for you that goes along with all four parts of this awesome series. See you later.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram at @SamVanderWielen and send me a DM to say hi.
Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services, but I think I offer some pretty good information.
- Try ConverKit today (affiliate link)
- Episode 187. Kickstart Series Part 1: How to Start a Business Online (Setting the Foundation)
- Episode 189. Kickstart Series Part 2: Carve Out Your Spot & Claim Your Expertise
- 190. How to Create Loyal Customers, Repeat Buyers, and Referrals (without spending a dime)
- Episode 191. Kickstart Series Part 3: Create a Product that Sells Itself (+ How to Make it Last)
- Listen to the Shine Online Podcast
- Kickstart your business in 2024 with my free Kickstart Guide!
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