AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and this is a bonus episode. And holy heck, it is extra special.
So you've heard me talk about my Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook community, right? Well, let me tell you, there are so many great questions and conversations that happen in that group, so we decided to take some of the best-of-the-best questions and answer them here personally on this podcast. So the questions I'm going to answer are from real people with real struggles, building a real online business, and I'm going to give some laser-focused coaching for each of the questions. So not only will I call out the specific people in my community that I've chosen their questions, but also, hopefully, you listening in will get tons of value as well. So today's episode is all about my listeners in my community. Let’s jump into today’s episode, where I’ve got a bunch of As to your Qs. Let’s do this.
Okay, let’s jump into question number one, and this question is from April McLean, and here’s what April says: “I am now a VIP member of the ‘Struggle Bus,’ and I'm starting to get totally overwhelmed. I run a brick–and–mortar dance studio, and on that front, I feel great. We've been open for ten years, and I rarely get overwhelmed. However, I just launched a digital membership site on Kajabi that I opened to a beta group. I have thirty dancers in the membership site. I am worried daily about how well they are being served. I need to build a waiting list for a reopening, and I need to build a relationship with those on that list. I have a weekly podcast, a blog, and social-media channels. I can’t think of anything to say, but I know that’s just because my creative energy is tied up in worry. I have no system for what to say or when to say it or where to say it or how to say it. Any and all advice would mean a lot.”
Okay, so, April, the thing is, I'm going to give you a mindset shift. That is all you need, my friend. And you might say, “No, no, Amy. I want you to tell me what to do exactly, what strategies I need to do. How can I grow this membership experience? How can I take care of the people that are already in there?” You, my friend, do not need any of that. You are part of my community. You listen to my podcast. You have all the strategies and tips and tricks that you need. What you need the most, though, right now is a mindset shift.
So when I was reading this, it was actually really sweet because you talk about your dance studio. You’re like, “I’ve been doing that for ten years. I rarely get overwhelmed there. But this new thing, I'm overwhelmed. I should be doing this, and I should be doing that. I don't know how to do this, and I don't know how to do that.” That's okay. You are learning.
So first of all, I want you to remember how you felt when you first started the brick and mortar. I bet you would have said you were on the “Struggle Bus” with that as well, because it was new to you. I don't think we give ourselves enough space and time to learn.
And I'm passionate about this because I personally can relate. I just started my own membership experience. I’ve talked about it here on the podcast. It's called Momentum, and it's for course creators who are creating their course and who want to launch it over and over again to scale their business. So when we are creating Momentum, April, when we're launching it for the first time and the second time, I keep reminding my team, we actually don't know what we're doing. This is new to us. This is new territory. So we need to leave room for experimenting. We need to leave room for trying to figure it out. We need to try new things. And I don't let us say, “We should do that. We should do this. We should do that.” I really keep telling my team, “We are easing into this. This is something new.”
Now, you already have thirty people in a beta. That is a lot of people. You've already proven that there is a need for this. So here's the mindset shift: let yourself enjoy the journey. You've already proven it works. People really already want it. And so, sure, you can educate yourself. If you're not in TRIBE, Stu McLaren's program, TRIBE, when it opens up again in April and May, by all means, sign up. If you want to be a master at memberships, you join TRIBE. So there's things you can educate yourself on.
And quite honestly, if you sit down and you do a thirty-minute brain dump, here's all the things I should do. And remember—I know this is so crass. I wasn't going to say it, but I can't help myself—when you start thinking, “You should do this, you should do that, you should do this,” you’re “shoulding” all over yourself, and there is no need for that, because this is all—like, who says you should do all that? Who says? Yeah, maybe I say some of it, maybe another podcaster says some, maybe another mentor says that, but ultimately, at the end of the day, what do you want to do to grow this membership? Sit down and just write it all out.
And then, if you’re like me and you really like to get organized, put it in a simple project plan. Like, when I say “put it in a project plan,” I usually do categories like Content Creation; Marketing; Customer Support; Backend Design, such as a sales page or a webinar page or replay page or whatever. I just kind of start chunking things out a bit about what you think that you want to do in order to grow this membership.
And then, my friend, you take one thing at a time. And if your biggest frustration or worry right now is those that you serve, then all you need to do is ask yourself, do I have a plan to show up regularly in the way I want to show up to love on them and make sure they feel good? Do I have that in place? And if the answer is yes, then you move on to the next thing, and you let that go.
If they’re not happy, they’ll tell you. And then you can correct it. But until they tell you they’re not happy, let’s not put that worry on you.
So then, from there, look at your list and say, “Okay, what am I going to tackle first? Do I want to get that wait-list page up? Great. That’s the only thing I’m going to do. I’m going to put it in my calendar. I’m going to book time to do it. I’m going to get it done.” So, it’s baby steps, one thing at a time.
And there’s so much you can do to grow a membership, to love on the people that are in it, but that’s not your problem, April. You can figure all that out. The problem is you are not giving yourself the space and time to learn and to say, “This is new, and I’m going to ease into it, and I’m going to make mistakes along the way, and I’m going to figure it out just like I figured out my brick and mortar that I’ve had for ten years. That rarely overwhelms me, and I’ve got that down pretty good.” That took ten years in the making. You just started your membership. Be nice to yourself. Slow down. Give yourself the space to learn. Deal? I’m telling you, it changes the game.
Okay, moving on to question number two. This is from Magie Gelen. Here’s what Magie says: “For a living, I give private singing lessons.” Just side note, can I say I love all these creatives who are using digital marketing and online courses? I love it. Okay, so, Magie goes on to say, “I've been thinking of creating an online singing course as well. To start growing an audience, I was thinking of starting off with YouTube videos that explain different vocal techniques, or anything to do with singing and developing your sound as a singer. From there, I will see which content is more successful and then build a digital course according to that. My fear is, what if my real–life students discover that I have this YouTube channel and they don't see any value in our current lessons anymore? In your opinion, what is their belief of working in person with me instead of getting all the content for free on YouTube? I would love to hear your ideas about this topic.”
Okay, so I believe there are two different types of people. There's the one that wants to pay a premium price for singing lessons in person with you. They want that personal touch. They want to drive to you, show up, be in your proximity. They want that personal training with you. And then there are people that are not in your location, maybe do not have the funds to get to work with you privately one-on-one, and don't want to get into a car and show up. So there are different types of ideal-customer avatars for in-person training versus digital courses.
Now, this is the tricky part of marketing. Let's say you were to tell me, “Amy, I'm giving up all my in-person singing lessons. I'm only going to a digital course.” Well, then, your messaging becomes how convenient it is to learn through a digital course and all the benefits of doing so. So that's just all you have to think about, okay? What are all the benefits of my lessons going into a digital course? And that is who I'm going after, someone that's going to see all those benefits as a plus. But when you have both—this is such a good lesson—when you guys have both, you have in person and you have digital course, you're creating two different ICAs—the one ICA that really wants you, and they can have you one-on-one because you do offer that. So there are benefits there. Typically, I like that to be a premium price that you only take a certain amount of people, and you are very selective who you take, and there's a certain person that wants to do that. And you create that ICA. You write down who they are, what they're like, what they find valuable in their benefit of getting in the car, driving to you, and getting your personal attention. Then you write your ICA. Who is your ideal-customer avatar for a digital course? You focus on all the benefits of the fact that they don't have to pay a premium price. They don't have to drive to you. They don't have to be with you one-on-one, but still get the value. What you're missing here is that there are some people, Magie, that really want just you in person. And there are some people that do not want it in person, but they really want what you have to offer, and you have to build out both of those ICAs.
And like I said, if you went to just purely a digital course, you build out one ICA and you make your case around why this digital course is so valuable, and you take the one-on-one off the table because you're not offering it. When you do offer it, you have two different ICAs. Also, one thing might be that you only take five clients and you don't have any room for any more one-on-one, so they need to get your digital course.
What I do not see happening, Magie, if you build out these two ICAs and you speak to them directly in terms of whatever you're promoting at the time, you're not going to have somebody who says, “Wait a second, I could get this in a digital course, and it's way cheaper, and I don’t have to drive to you?” When you worked with them one-on-one, typically people don’t switch to the digital course. They’ve already had the magic of you. There's a huge, high value in in-person training. So that's why I say it's a leap. It's more expensive. It's premium. And you only take a certain amount. And then you offer this digital course for the others that that's not a right fit for them.
So I'm going to stop talking because I could just keep going on and on about this. But what I'll say is they're two different offers for two different kinds of people. Rarely, Magie, will you ever see that you start offering digital course and you lose all your one-on-one clients. I've never heard that happening. So take that worry out of your head. That's not how people's brains work. And let's just say there is one client that they're like, “I've been dying for you to create a digital course. I don't actually like one-on-one.” Great. Let them have that digital course. You find a new one-on-one client. There are plenty that want that premium experience for you. Define your ICAs, define the two different offers, so you can speak to them differently.
All right, moving on. Next question is from Kylie Chapman, and Kylie asks: “Content doesn't seem to be as much of a struggle for me as the visual aspect of my marketing. I just feel like I'm all over the place. I waste so much time scouring stock photos to go with my post. It just doesn‘t fit my business or my vibe, and I feel like I'm pretending to be someone else. What would be your best advice for a new small-budget business looking to create a cohesive look that stands out? How do you find your image among the millions on social media?”
First, you stop looking at the millions on social media. So that little compare game that you feel like you're just doing some research, you’re really just comparing, saying, “I can't do that because that's not right for me, or that's not right,” or “I love that one. But I don't want to copy that,” dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. It just doesn't work well.
So I've got some resources for you, Kylie, but before I give you my resources, I'm going to tell you that I want you to not overthink this. So I believe that it's important to have a really cohesive brand. And I think it's important to know the colors you use and the fonts you use and your look and feel. It's worth a little time there. But at the end of the day, when you said content doesn't seem to be as much of a struggle, lucky you, because I believe that is the most-important part. I believe that you don't have to have stellar branding that looks like some of the people we super admire, some of the brands that—I don’t even want to name names—but there’s some that we’re obsessed with out there in the Internet-marketing space. We don’t have to look that good in order to find our audience and get our message out there to the people who need it most.
But I also believe that when you have a brand that you feel good about, it boosts your confidence. So with that, I have three resources for you. One is Social Curator, which is Jasmine Star’s business, where every month you get thirty beautifully curated images that you can use on your website, in your slide decks for webinars and course creation, and on social media. But Social Curator is so much more than just the stock images. There's so much great training in her program as well. And so I do believe it's a place that—it allows you to get outside of the looking through thousands of stock photo online. I never do that anymore. I just go to my library of Social curator. I've been in it for over a year now, so I have tons of beautiful images I can go through. And they're on my Dropbox, and I just grab them whenever I need them. Super convenient.
Also, I have a student, her name is Sibila, and she created a really cool quiz. And the quiz allows you to find your personal brand style, the fonts you like, the colors you like, the feeling of your brand. And the reason why I think it’d be great for you to take this quiz is that it's a really great jumping-off point for somebody on a tight budget. So after you take the quiz—and the quiz is really well done—once you take the quiz, she will give you a color palette, a look and feel, and some images that probably will speak to you, fonts that will speak to you, based on the answers of the quiz. It's beautifully done. So I'm going to link to it in my show notes. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/298b—the “B” is for “bonus” because this is a bonus episode—so amyporterfield.com/298b, and it will take you to the show notes of this episode.
And I'm going to list Social Curator, I'm going to list Sibila’s quiz called What’s Your Visual Brand Style, and also, one more person worth checking out is Kristie Keever. And Kristie is a brand specialist, and I love that she puts brand boards together. And on her social-media site, you can see all the inspiration of the different brand boards, and I think that might inspire you as well. So I'm giving you three resources.
But at the end of the day, I don't want you to overthink this. I want you to use some of these resources that are really inexpensive to get together your look and your feel, and then allow yourself to experiment with it throughout the next year, because when you're just getting started out, when you have a small budget, this is something that evolves over time. And what I do is I have an inspiration folder on Dropbox. When I'm on the web and I see a look that I like, I see an image I like or a font I like, I just take a quick snapshot, save it as an image, put it on Dropbox in my personal Dropbox folder. And when I want to revisit some different design elements, let's say for a sales page or for a new program we're creating, I'll go into that inspiration folder and look at some things. But I'm always collecting inspiration, but I don't focus on it a lot throughout the day because it just kind of sucks you in. So be careful with this one. Get your colors, get your fonts, get your look, and then move on and pay more attention to the content than anything else, because I'm telling you, friend, that's where it's at.
Okay, let’s keep moving on. This next question is from Jill Davidian, and here’s what Jill says: “I have had a business idea that consists of the usual: building a Facebook group, courses, ebooks, webinars, masterclasses, a membership site, or any combination thereof. And people have been begging for me to do it for two years. I have people say they are willing to work under me in the field for free to get experience. The problem is I can't seem to get started. Part of it is a time issue, part an overwhelm issue. I can't figure out where to focus, what to do first, what will make the most impact, etc. And part is a fear of the unknown issue and worrying about leaving money on the table in my current business. I really have to get this thing off the ground. Is there anyone that helps with this kind of thing from the beginning? A coach would be great for clarity, but I really need someone who will dive in and really help me structure this thing, that has experience in online marketing, which is beyond a coach. I thought about an online business manager or a V.A., but I'm not organized enough to assign tasks. I need someone to help put an order to things that will work and assign me tasks and keep me accountable. I feel like plenty of people can help after I get my act together, but what about before then, because I may never get to that point. Maybe I need a whole team. Any suggestions?”
Okay, after I read this, I thought about a friend that I have, where she would say the exact same thing. She's got this business idea. She wants to get it off the ground, but she keeps thinking, “I need a business manager,” or “I need somebody to run the show for me. I'm not the right person to be delegating, and I need a business plan, and I need to know exactly just all the details.” And I look at that and think you don't need any of that. Right now, all you need to do is start creating content, to make sure that you can hone in on the message around this idea, to make sure that there's an audience that wants what you need, and also to get into motion, because clarity comes from getting into motion. Clarity does not come from building a team and hiring a business manager and getting a V.A. and working out the whole project plan from start to finish. Clarity is not going to come from that. It comes from getting into motion. And the best way to get into motion with any new business idea is to start to create content. Whether that be a weekly podcast or a weekly video show or a weekly Facebook Live, we've got to create the content to find the audience to learn more about how this is all going to come together.
So when you talked about a Facebook group, courses, ebooks, webinars, masterclass, membership site, I can't even imagine if when I started this business, I thought I needed to do all of that, I would literally be still in a fetal position underneath my desk. I would not be able to move forward. Of course you feel paralyzed, because that is way too much to look at at one time.
So, first of all, you say you want to do all this, but then you say, I really have to get this off the ground. And my question is why? Who says? If you want it really bad, then go for it. But if you think that you should do this because people are asking for it and people are saying they'll work for free and all of that, that's never going to get you out of bed in the morning.
So first, get clear on your why. Why do you want this? And two, cut out all that stuff you think you should do—the Facebook group, the webinars, the courses, the ebooks, the membership site. All of that comes off the table. You start with creating consistent content. You start by giving immense value, listening to your audience, seeing what they want, hearing what they need. You start there. And if you start there, it's not going to take money off the table from your current business, as you mentioned, because you're not going all in with everything right away. You are just easing into this with consistent content. You will learn so much when you do so.
You might be asking, “Well, how long do I do that, Amy?” Do it for three months, do it for six months, just to get your footing around your messaging and around what you want to create and learn who your ICA is inside and out.
What you have is a huge advantage, Jill, that you have money coming in from something else, that sounds like you don’t hate that something else. You’re not trying to run from something else. Use that to your advantage and ease into this new business venture by learning about your ideal-customer avatar, creating consistent content, and building your platform.
Start with building your platform. And the business starts to come together if you are consistent with that. You’ll start to see, “Oh, I think the first thing I want to do is create a Facebook group, and the Facebook group’s going to help me create engagement and build my email list. So if I want to build my email list, okay, the next thing is a lead magnet.” But notice that we’re just doing one thing at a time. Sometimes we jump to “I’m going to create a course,” before we even know who our audience is or before we even have our messaging figured out.
So you’re trying to tackle it all before you even kind of get your foundation set up, and that’s what I’d like to see for you. So we don’t hire an online business manager, you don’t hire a big team, you don’t hire someone to keep you accountable before you even know what this project is going to look like. We start by creating consistent content. That is my best advice that I have for you because I think you’re literally trying to take on more than is even possible. So let’s slow down and ease into it.
All right, moving on. This next question is from Carol Stroud, and Carol says: “Do you use a teleprompter to produce videos, or do you just use bullet points?”
I get this question so much, and the answer is yes, I use a teleprompter; and the answer is no, I do not use a teleprompter. So let me break that down.
When I am recording a sales video—so I’m going to record a video and put it on the sales page—I use a teleprompter. When I am recording direct-to-camera videos that are going to go inside of my digital course that I'm selling, I will use a teleprompter. When I am live on a webinar, I never use a teleprompter. That would be way too overwhelming. When I am live on Facebook Live, I never use a teleprompter. So when I'm off-the-cuff, doing Q&A or engaging with my audience or doing a training on Facebook Live or Instagram Live, no teleprompters.
But when it's something that's going to go into a paid program, that's the distinction. I usually pay for a video crew to come over, and they set up the teleprompter. They run it. And I invest in that because I know people are going to invest in my program. Do you have to do it that way? No. I haven't been using teleprompters a lot over the last eleven years. Like, over eleven years of building this business, I probably used a teleprompter eight times, max. So it's not like something I do a lot.
And here's the thing with a teleprompter: you have to, first, write all those scripts. That take a long time, for the record. And then my tip with the teleprompter is, you read through those scripts multiple times before you get out in front of the camera. If you don't know that script well, you're going to sound robotic. And believe me, I've used teleprompters where I've sounded very robotic. So they're not my favorite. But when I've got a very important message that I want to make sure I hit all the points because people are going to consider spending money with me, then it's worth using a teleprompter.
All right, moving on to our final question. This one happens to be from a gentleman, and it’s from Ghee Su Emmanuel Reyes, and he says: “I’ve been building my email list and was surprised to see it grow to twelve hundred emails in three weeks, with just fifty dollars in Instagram ads. I'm currently on the free plan of Mailchimp for the email list, and I'm getting close to their two-thousand limit on the free tier. Is it worth it to pay ten dollars a month to get the next tier, ten thousand emails? Or should I invest in a better platform? Should I start offering a paid course now with this email list? I'm a bit overwhelmed with the growth and don't know if I should start preparing for my launch or keep building my email list.”
Okay, so, we see a theme here, right? I'm pretty sure the word overwhelm was in everybody's question. So I think we are so hard on ourselves about, like, oh my gosh, it's too much. I don't know what I'm doing. What do I do next? I don't know where to turn. I'm overwhelmed. Instead of, I am learning. Imagine if we change that phrase I'm overwhelmed to I'm learning. Imagine. Wouldn’t that be the greatest? So I'm actually going to start doing that. You want to do it with me? So, first of all, take that with you. If you take nothing else in my Q&A today, take that with you. We’re changing I‘m overwhelmed to I'm learning.
Okay, so, back to this question. First of all, shout out to you. You grew your list to twelve hundred people in three weeks, with just fifty dollars in Instagram ads. You should be so proud of yourself. Keep that up. Keep doing what you did. Do that again. Spend fifty dollars again on Instagram ads. Spend a hundred dollars on Instagram ads, if you can. If that's working for you, keep doing it. That's the thing—my secret sauce in my business. When we find something that works, we do not switch to the next thing because it'd be fun to try something new. No. We are not all about variety here in this business. We stick to what works. If you look at me eleven years ago, you will see many similarities on how I marketed then and how I market now. Sure, we’ve evolved, we’ve come a long way, but webinars, Facebook ads, Facebook group—yeah, I was doing that many, many, many years ago. Why do I keep doing it now? Because it works for me. So keep doing what works for you guys. If something is, like, ooh, there's something here, I see some traction. Double down, double down on that. Don't switch to something new.
Now, getting back to your question. I got really passionate there. Getting back to your question. I love ConvertKit. I feel like if you’re on Mailchimp, Mailchimp can support you, and you can pay more to expand. I don’t know a lot about Mailchimp. I do know that ConvertKit is a really great place for you to be as you continue to grow this email list because it does so much more than just be your email-service provider. So you can look into it—I won’t get into all the details—but I’m a huge fan for my students who have started to grow your email list. You’re at a number that you are perfect for ConvertKit, especially because you're going to keep growing. So amyporterfield.com/convertkit. I am a proud partner with them. I absolutely love everything they do, and I highly recommend them. So if you're looking to make a change because you plan on expanding, you plan on doing digital courses, ConvertKit really supports a business model where you are creating digital courses, you are doing webinars, you're building your email list with lead magnets. ConvertKit’s a great fit for that.
All right. So your next question is, should I start offering a paid course now with this email list? And I want you to continue growing that email list, but the great thing is you can grow your email list while creating a course. You can grow your email list while starting a group coaching program, or whatever you want to do. So we are always list building while we are building different offers in our business.
My answer is yeah. If you are ready to start building out a paid course, then by all means go for it. You've got an email list that is going to be ready for you to launch when your course is ready. So that's great. But before you start that digital course—obviously, I think you should join Digital Course Academy®️ when we open the doors to it again in 2020. But even before that, spend a little time making sure you understand your ideal-customer avatar. You definitely want to understand who they are, what they're about, what they need, their pain points. I have a podcast episode all about your ICA, so you can go check out that episode. I’ll link to it in the show notes of this episode. But you want to make sure you know who your ideal-customer avatar is. And you want to make sure that you are continually engaging with your audience, listening to them, learning from them. And then you decide, okay, what do I want to offer?
And I love the idea—I'm fully biased here—I love the idea of you creating a digital course. And I have so many podcast episodes about how to get started with a digital course. I even have an episode of how to outline your digital course with Post-it Notes. It's all on the podcast. So if you go to amyporterfield.com, you click the link in the navigation bar at the top for Podcast, you can search for digital courses—you can use that term digital courses—and you'll find tons of ways to get started with your digital course for free before you even buy my program, Digital Course Academy. So by all means, I love this idea, but there's no need to get overwhelmed by the growth.
You said, “I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the growth.” No need. The only way that this can get derailed—if you try to do a paid course, a membership, and a physical product all at once. Let's choose one thing at a time, one offer at a time, and build it out. Get to the finish line. Launch it. Launch it again. And then think about maybe adding something.
I believe in a very simple, streamlined business. You don't have to have a ton of offers. You just need to identify a few different offers and continue to offer them over and over again. If you keep your business streamlined, you will love it so much more because it allows for freedom so you’re not always in the business. Let’s keep it simple. Congrats to you for building your email list. That is such great news.
All right, guys. Let’s wrap this up.
So that was so much fun. I hope that you got value from this and you enjoyed hearing what other people are struggling with, because I bet you could identify with some of these questions. And if you have questions of your own, I'd love to hear them. So come on over to the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook community. It's totally free. Join us and get into the conversations, and maybe one of your questions is going to end up in one of these bonus episodes where I give you a little tough love or amazing value or specific strategies. Whatever your question calls for, I'm here to give you the answers that you need.
All right. Before I forget, have you subscribed to this podcast? I know, I know. If you're an avid listener, you've heard me say this a million times, and you're like, “Amy, I've got you covered. I subscribed.” But there's so many people that listen but don't subscribe, and then they miss these bonus episodes. So if you love this bonus episode and you want to hear more of them, the only way you'll get notified that I've dropped a new one is if you subscribe to the podcast. Head on over to iTunes; hit that Subscribe button; you, my friend, are good to go.
Okay, I can't wait to talk to you again soon. Have an amazing week. Bye for now.