AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast Episode #100. I’m absolutely thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with you so thank you for being here.
To celebrate the 100th episode, I have a really fun contest I’m going to tell you about. It’s one that includes coming to San Diego and spending the day with me and talking all about your business. That’s just a little teaser because I first want to talk about a really important topic about your business before we get to the contest so stay with me here for sure.
Some of you might be wondering how I am only on my 100th episode. I have been doing this since 2013. If you’ve been following me since the beginning 100 seems kind of weird. I was thinking the same thing. But then I remembered in 2013 and 2014 I was not doing consistent podcast episodes. They weren’t coming out once a week like they do now. That didn’t start until 2015.
With 2013 and 2014 it was very random. It may have been two a month and maybe three a month but sometimes even one a month. Do I suggest that? No I do not. I think a weekly podcast, a weekly blog, a weekly video show or whatever it might be, weekly is the key word. Consistency beats out all of your competition.
I do want to encourage you, if you’re not creating consistent content every single week, to look at that inside your business. When my podcast finally went weekly and I was generating really good content week after week after week the loyalty with my audience increased, my list started to increase because I started to do a lot of giveaways inside my podcast, and I felt like I had found my groove.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do and what I wanted to talk about. It just felt more streamlined inside of me as well. There are a lot of perks that come to creating consistent content and I want to encourage you to do so.
Let’s talk about the topic at hand today. It’s a very serious mistake that I want to talk about because I see it happen over and over again. In fact, you might be making this big mistake in your business right now and not even know it. It’s such a common mistake with huge consequences but I rarely hear anybody talk about it.
The mistake I see so many entrepreneurs make, especially in their first two years of doing business, is taking their business vertical before they have optimized their horizontal opportunities. My goal for this episode is to help you decide if you should spend more time working horizontally or if you are ready to go vertical.
To make sure we are on the same page, here’s what I mean about horizontal versus vertical: Staying horizontal in your business means focusing on one core program, product, or service and optimizing it, making it better, expanding on it, driving more traffic to it, optimizing your sales with it, and getting really good at putting it out there as much as humanly possible to attract your ideal audience while using multiple strategies to do so.
Going vertical means adding another product, program, or service to the mix or changing focus to put more effort, time, and money into a new endeavor. Going vertical usually shows up like this: You have a successful product and you put it on automation so that you can work on a new product. Or you optimize that one product, you launch it live multiple times and then you still plan to launch it live again but you are ready to move onto something new and you’ll come back to that when it’s time to launch.
You are kind of putting it on the back burner and you will come back to it when the time is right. Or, you add another product to your product suite, one that compliments your initial offer or one that takes your customer to the next level; the next logical step after finishing your initial program.
For example, adding a mastermind component so that you can take a deeper dive into your customers’ businesses or lives, depending on your niche, would be going vertical. Adding a live event to the mix would also be vertical as would creating a membership site. This is after you’ve already done your initial program, product, or service.
You’ve got a lot of options here but the key is your business is ready for the next level. When you go vertical that does not mean you’re not supporting or maintaining what you’ve previously created. It means you’re doing both but the new project is getting your bigger focus.
Vertical is more difficult because now instead of having one plate in the air you have two or three or four plates in the air. That’s why it’s a little bit more tricky.
Both strategies, vertical and horizontal, are smart. Both are necessary to build a sustainable, profitable business. The secret is knowing when to stay horizontal versus when to go vertical. The truth is that most entrepreneurs get a bit restless and want to go vertical more quickly than they should. Am I speaking to you? You’ll know it. You’ll probably know it instantly once I get into a little more detail here.
This entire topic came up when I was a guest at my friend’s mastermind weekend retreat. My friend, James Wedmore, offered an in-person mastermind experience this year to his audience. He chose 12 really amazing entrepreneurs in his group. He asked me to be guest and present on scaling my business.
I did a really personalized training for this group and then James asked if I wanted to stay for the rest of the weekend to sit in on the hot seats. I thought, “That’s a big YES.” It was really fun. Many of them talked about whether they should go horizontal or vertical in their business.
Some of them didn’t necessarily think in terms of horizontal and vertical but that became the buzz word when people would get in their hot seats and talk about the opportunities in front of them. All of the examples they shared and challenges they faced about building their business really inspired me to talk about this topic here.
A big shout out to James’ special mastermind members. Thank you for having me. Thank you for the ideas and the inspiration.
While talking about horizontal versus vertical I heard someone in the mastermind say that some of the top marketers suggest you stay with one program or one product for a full 18 months before you move on. You heard me, a full 18 months. I agree with that 100%.
Moving on too soon can really derail your success because you end up stretching yourself too thin. In fact, I want to share with you five problems with going vertical before you’ve optimized your horizontal opportunities.
#1: Let’s start out with the first one that is really, really a biggie. You are leaving money on the table. When you launch something, and maybe it does so so; or, you launch something and it does really well, if you don’t do that again you will leave so much money on the table. Remember, people don’t always buy right out of the gate. Sometimes they need to see your promotion three, four, in fact five times.
If you are just putting it out there once or even twice I promise you, you are leaving money on the table. If you are just launching it to your list and then you are going to move on to something new, you are missing out on a whole world of opportunity with using Facebook advertising. Just know I can promise you if you’ve launched and moved on you have left a lot of money on the table.
#2: You aren’t ever going to see the full potential of the power of what you’ve created. In a minute I’m going to share my own personal experience of growing the Facebook Marketing Profit Lab and what it looked like over about a year and a half span, about 18 months.
One thing that helped me immensely was that I kept perfecting the program. Facebook Marketing Profit Lab used to be my signature program. Because I launched it for 18 months and then some, I was able to perfect the program and get really clear about what was working for my audience and what wasn’t working.
The power of what I created was really obvious to me as I started to perfect the program and listen to my audience more and dig into The Profit Lab and, honestly, just make it better every single time. If I had just launched it once or twice I would have never seen the potential that it actually had in terms of really good content.
#3: You are cutting off your creativity and opportunity to grow in your own business. What I mean by that, when you have a product, program, or service and you really focus on that one thing the ideas start to flow. You actually start filtering everything in your business based on this one product, program, or service. Because of that you start to come up with new ideas. You get more creative because you’re more centered. You are more grounded in what your business is all about.
If you’ve ever struggled with feeling pulled in a million directions or having a million different ideas, that changes a bit when you’re just focusing on one product. A million ideas for one product is a whole lot better than a million ideas for all of these different things you could be doing in your business right now. It’s a different kind of experience for sure and you get to be more laser focused when you filter everything through that one product.
#4: You will create more overwhelm and stress for yourself and your team if you don’t stay horizontal long enough. I think many of us have experienced this. We have added a live event to the mix or we decided to write a book too soon or we have added a whole other product or some kind of mastermind or whatever it might be. We have added it too soon and that one thing that was getting our attention is not getting our attention anymore but we still have to keep coming back to it because we know we haven’t really optimized it yet.
Now you are trying to juggle two different things and neither one of them is probably doing really well. Or there are some of you listening to this episode today that are juggling four or five different projects. That’s really difficult and you’re probably struggling to see consistent revenue across the board. That’s because you went vertical too soon.
That’s okay, this is a really common mistake. It is one that can be corrected so we’ll talk about that.
#5: You are doing a disservice to your customers. This one kind of comes back to the fact that when I focused on Facebook Marketing Profit Lab I was able to perfect the content. I could go back to it and say, “Okay, I want to change this to make it more easy to follow.”
Facebook would change so dramatically and I would make the program even better. I continued to tinker with it. In the mastermind group I kind of joked to everybody that I think I rerecorded Facebook Marketing Profit Lab ten times. That is not something I suggest to everybody. That was a little overkill. But I became obsessed with it and I do believe it allowed me to be a better content creator because I forced myself to find a better flow for how I teach.
I forced myself to create content in a way that my audience would be engaged and would stay with me the whole time and would actually do the exercises and get the work done. I became obsessed with getting people through the entire program. That was really important to me.
In the beginning when I first created Facebook Marketing Profit Lab the last thing I was thinking about was how to help my audience get through the entire program. I was so new at it I wondered how to create the program. I was in the early stages. For those of you who signed up for Facebook Marketing Profit Lab in those very early years, thank you so much for sticking with me until today.
I know it probably was a little bit rocky and I think for all of us that is going to happen. I still believe I added value. I know I have some great success stories out there from those first few years, but I do think my program got better and better over the years so a big shout out to my first students. Believe me, you have a special place in my heart for sure.
I want to talk to you about what the Facebook Marketing Profit Lab looked like in terms of revenue because I stayed vertical with it. This was a big a-ha moment for me because in 2012 I created Facebook Marketing Profit Lab. I was tinkering with a whole bunch of other things as well. I was doing a lot of speaking on stage live. I was thinking about a new program, a Facebook ads program. I had just launched Facebook Marketing Profit Lab and I had FB Influence which was another Facebook 101 type program.
In 2012 I had a lot going on. I launched Facebook Marketing Profit Lab and it did pretty well. But at the same time I was totally frazzled. In 2013 I decided to recorrect. I went back to the basics and got really streamlined on one major product. I still had a few things going on in the background but they had to take a backseat. They could not get the bulk of my focus.
I really needed to make Facebook Marketing Profit Lab the one thing I focused on all year. That’s exactly what I did. For some of you who feel you may have gone vertical too soon, there is a way to recorrect. But means you have to stop doing some things to give that one initial program, product, or service your full attention. I just kind of want to give you hope there.
Here’s what the Facebook Marketing Profit Lab looked like in terms of revenue: Remember, I launched it in 2012 and it did about $30,000 per launch, on average. Then in January 2013 we had a $35,000 launch. I did not increase it incredibly. I wasn’t there yet in terms of streamlining. So after the January 2013 launch I got way more strategic.
If you followed me during my B-School launch that just ended, I talk a lot about this because I used a lot of B-School strategies: List building, messaging, positioning, copy writing all became a huge focus for me in 2013. In April we went from a $35,000 launch to a $118,000 launch. Then in October we launched again and it was a $283,000 launch.
In April 2014 we did a $950,000 launch. It was the same program throughout. I made it better. I tinkered with it. I really challenged myself to make sure the messaging around the launch was right. I also got really strategic with how I launched it in terms of the marketing. That was a whole other layer of strategy that I added to this. It wasn’t just about the content, but how I marketed it.
I went from $35,000 in January 2013 to $950,000 in April 2014. I really do believe this happened because I got better and better and stayed horizontal. What I did not do is create a mastermind component in the middle of all of that even though I started getting a lot of requests for one-on-one coaching and masterminding. I had students that were diving in deep with me in The Profit Lab so they wanted more but I knew I couldn’t go there or I wouldn’t be able to stay the course.
I stopped speaking on stage because the travel was taking me away from focusing on the special opportunity I knew I had in front of me. I focused more on perfecting the program, making the offer stronger, making my marketing stronger, and things like understanding my audience more, talking to customers who went through the program to get specific about what they needed and wanted and where they might have been struggling.
I want to give a great shout out to one of my students, Michelle Evans. Michelle got on the phone with me right before my big 2014 launch. She had gone through the program and had some amazing success. She was a go getter for sure. I asked her to talk to me about where she thought others were getting stuck in my Profit Lab program because she was really vocal in the private Facebook group that I had created for the program.
She really drilled down. It’s really special when you find a student that cares enough to tell you everything they think and feel about your program, where they thought it was fantastic, where they thought it came up short. She told me everything. One of the things she shared with me is that people were getting so stuck on creating a lead magnet that they weren’t getting to the bigger strategies inside my program. She said I had to keep it more simple.
That’s when I started to focus more on the whole motto of “pursue simple, get fancy later.” A big shout out to Brad Martineau, Sixth Division, who kind of came up with that catch phrase. I had to call and tell him I needed to steal that for the program. But, “pursue simple, get fancy later” became a theme inside The Profit Lab because I realized my students were complicating things.
That whole theme really made a difference in terms of how I sold it. The social media sales funnel was derived from the whole conversation I had with Michelle. So much came up in those conversations so I want to encourage you, if you’ve launched something and you are thinking you really want to go back to it to make it better but you don’t know what to do, get on the phone with those who have gone through the program. It could make a huge difference. Michelle, thank you so very much for doing that. It was a really special opportunity for me.
Here’s a perk. I had mentioned this earlier but wanted to make sure I hit home with it. When you stay horizontal long enough you start to filter your business by a very specific lens. Everything you do, every decision you make, all of the big-picture strategies and the small moves get filtered through that one program that you’re focusing on. It makes it a whole lot easier to focus and get clarity. So, if you’re looking for focus and clarity, horizontal might be where you want to be right now.
Here are some ways to know if you should stay horizontal or if you are ready to go vertical. Believe me, everyone needs to go vertical at one time or another. But I’m going to guess that mostly those who I attract to my podcast and my blog and all of my programs probably need to stay horizontal a little bit longer.
But here are some ways to know: You want to stay horizontal if you have a product you sold and it did pretty well but you’ve only sold it once or just a few times. If you would like to see stronger sales with that product stay horizontal.
If you’ve launched a product and it did not do well you might be thinking you need to create something different. That might be the case. You’re going to need to do the research to know whether you just didn’t market it right, whether you missed the mark just a little bit, or whether you re completely off.
Either you totally get rid of your first offer and start new or you decide to go back and tweak that first offer. That’s something you need to decide. But, if you totally start something new that means you cannot go back and tinker with the other thing. This is something that blurs the lines.
If you launched something, it didn’t do well, and you are thinking you missed the mark, stop working on that and start working on something brand new and stay horizontal. Or go back to it and figure out what you did wrong and make it better. Either/or. You can’t do both. That means you are going vertical by just adding something else to the mix. That part’s really important. It’s a good distinction to consider.
You might be thinking you are never going to make enough money if you only sell one thing. I’m not saying to only sell one thing in your business forever. If you look at my product suite I definitely have multiple online training programs. But I want to challenge you with the fact that you can be making a whole lot more money with something you’ve already created, have moved on from it, and will never see the full potential of that program, product, or service.
I want you to think in terms of strategy and adding more strategic marketing to that one thing. Let’s talk about it. You could do more webinars. You could create more list- building opportunities around that one program. You could start using Facebook ads more consistently. There are social media opportunities. You could do a video launch. You could add affiliates to the mix. That takes things to an entirely new level.
There are special media opportunities. You can get interviewed more about that one program, product, or service and you could do podcast interviews, guest blog posting, get on major media. I have seen it done in a million different ways.
Then when you stay horizontal you will find out why everyone talks about loving funnels. For those of you out there that wonder why people talk about funnels all the time for who feel that funnels freak you out because of technology and who don’t have a funnel in your business, when you stay horizontal with one big thing you will start thinking about a funnel.
Creating a funnel is how people get into your business, how you start building a relationship with them, and how you eventually move them to want to buy your program, product, or service. You should never move vertical unless you have a really solid funnel around that one first thing you have created.
That’s another telltale sign, if you have moved vertically with a new idea or opportunity but look back on the first one that’s kind of doing well and you don’t really have a solid funnel for it, you’re not using Facebook ads to filter into a list-building opportunity and then taking that new subscriber and moving them through a relationship opportunity with you getting to know you more and then eventually selling to them; if you don’t have something like that, you probably want to come back to horizontal and work on that before you add any new opportunity to your business.
Here’s the thing, I know it is normal to want to create something new in your business. I’m talking to a lot of creatives right now with a lot of amazing ideas. This is a little bit about self constraint. You have to hold back just a little bit to see the magic happen. I know that’s hard and a lot of us are impatient so I get it.
But I am suggesting you focus that creative energy and all of those ideas that are built up inside right now on one thing. Make it better. Enhance it and make sure you are delivering a stellar product. That’s where you’re going to see the magic inside your business.
When you’ve got your business dialed in and the launches become easier (let’s not get crazy, launching is never easy but it does get easier) and you are able to start to implement automation in your business more and more, that is usually a telltale sign that you’re ready to go vertical.
If you were looking for the answer to “When do I know it’s time to go vertical,” when you’ve got things dialed in more. You either put that program, product, or service on automation so you don’t have to focus on it anymore or you are going to put it on hold because you do live launches and you know you aren’t going to do another live launch for six months so you are freeing up your time to focus on something new. That’s when you start to think about the vertical.
I would love for you to have an honest conversation with yourself, a little bit of tough love might be needed just about now. Or, if you have a team, have the conversation about horizontal versus vertical with your team. Ask yourself whether you stayed horizontal long enough in your business or, if you’re there now, whether you have been there long enough or have you wanted to move into vertical a bit too fast and maybe you’ve actually moved there already and you are thinking that it doesn’t feel so great.
If you’ve been struggling in your business to make sales and you feel stretched too thin most of the time you likely need to tweak your business model a bit and get back to the basics. Get back to focusing on your horizontal opportunities. It is just something to think about.
If you want me to help you figure out where you should be focusing your time and if you should be spending more time in horizontal or it’s time for you to go vertical, I have a special contest opportunity to share with you in honor of my 100th anniversary.
Here’s the deal, I no longer offer one-on-one coaching and I don’t currently offer any opportunity to mastermind. However, it’s one of the requests I get asked about all the time. So, in honor of my 100th episode I wanted to create something extra special. I am giving one person the opportunity to get laser coaching from me in person in San Diego.
I’m going to fly one lucky winner to San Diego for a full day’s one-on-one coaching session with me. We’ll take a look at your entire business, your avatar, your messaging, your positioning, your products, programs, offers, list-building funnel, all of it. I will give you my insights, my feedback, and advice to help you take your business to the next level whether it be horizontal or vertical.
My offer of coaching is good for someone with an established business that wants to up level but it’s also good for someone that’s just starting out. So, as long as you’ve been in business for at least a year, you know what you want to offer, you’ve started to build out your foundation such as creating consistent content or you’ve got a blog or podcast, then you too are a good candidate for this contest. You don’t need to be well established in your business for me to choose you for this special opportunity.
The fun part is that I will put you up for a night at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa right near my home where we’ll meet about your business all day and then I’ll take you to a fun dinner since your brain will probably be pretty fried and frazzled and you’ll need a good night out. We’re going to make it an entire day.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, here’s what you need to know. All of the details about this contest are on my show notes so if you go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/100 you could see all of the details. But I’m going to run through them here with you now as well.
- First of all, you need to make a short video under three minutes. In the video I want you to tell me what you do, why you would be a good candidate for our deep dive, and tell me what you hope to get out of spending the day with me here in San Diego. My team and I will select one winner based on your initiative, your willingness to put yourself out there, your enthusiasm, and your ability to communicate clearly what you do and what you want to get out of this time together. I want you to show me your personality. Express yourself in any way you feel most comfortable and show me what you’re all about.
- Post you’re your video on YouTube and enter the following in the description: Amyporterfield.com Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast Contest.
- Post the link to your video in the comments below this blog post. That part’s really important because that is where we are going to see your entry. You need to post a link to your YouTube video in the comments below in the show notes.
- Share your video on social media with the link to our contest page: http:// www.amyporterfield.com/100thepisode and use #amyscoachinggiveaway.
You do not have to do #4 if you feel posting it on social media is a little much. If you aren’t sure you want to put yourself out there that much just yet you don’t have to do #4 but I would appreciate it just to get the word out there about this special contest. I know it’s a big deal just to do the video itself and post it on YouTube and post a link in the comments so I get it, I totally understand.
Let’s talk about the submission deadline. All video entries must be posted in the comments of the show notes at http://www.amyporterfield.com/100 by Sunday, March 6 at 11:59 p.m. PST. You have until Sunday March 6 to post your video.
We will announce the winner on Monday, March 13. You don’t have to wait very long once you submit your video. On Monday, March 13, we will announce the winner. We will put it on the show notes and we will contact the winner and I will probably be talking about it all around social media.
We cannot wait to see your videos so don’t be shy. I know it’s a big step to put yourself out there but I really want to encourage you to do so because this opportunity to meet with me where I put a laser focus on you and your business could be business changing and life changing. It’s definitely worth putting yourself out there.
I want to take a minute to thank you immensely for following me on my journey of creating this podcast. It truly is one of the most favorite things I do inside my business.
It has probably made the biggest impact in my ability to reach bigger audience and connect with you and grow my business overall.
Thank you so very much for letting me do what I love. I cannot wait to continue this podcast with more and more episodes about building your business and list building and webinars and all the cool stuff I get to talk about. And I cannot wait to see what you create in your own business.
Let’s continue the journey. Thanks again. I hope to see your videos soon. Go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/100 for all of the contest rules and to submit your video. Have a wonderful morning, noon, day, or night wherever you are in this world. I cannot wait to connect with you again soon. Bye for now.