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Geoff Young

Author Archives: Geoff Young

January 28, 2016

Why I Am Leaving Aweber and the Problem With Most Email Providers

problem with most email providers

First off, let me say that I LOVE Aweber.  They were a pioneer in the world of affordable email marketing platforms for startup entrepreneurs such as myself and using their email marketing platform is probably one of the top 3 things I can point to for my current success.

Having said that, there have been lots of changes to email marketing and marketing automation over the past couple of years and now I think there is problem with most email providers and better tools out there for some people.  In this article I will share my current favorite in the space and why.

I previously wrote about why you need to think beyond just a “newsletter” when it comes to emailing HERE!  In that article I talked about segmenting your email list according to their interests or behaviors.  For example if you have 2 separate target markets you should send them different messaging.  Also, you should have buyers list for every program so you don’t try to keep pitching the same stuff to the same people.  When I wrote this article the only way to do this in lower tier email systems like Aweber, Get Response and Mail Chimp was to set up separate lists for each segment.

This poses several problems, the main one being cost.  In a system such as Aweber, if you have 1 person on 3 different lists, they count as 3 subscribers for billing purposes.  This starts to become a major issue as your email list grows.  There are also a couple of other major problems.  This setup does not allow you to link an email address to a person, like a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) would, which makes it nearly impossible to track what any individual person has done from within your email analytics and this leads to often sending the same or repeat emails to the same subscriber, which is annoying from their end.

There have been a couple of higher end solutions that some of my friends use that are not list based and can be used much more like a CRM would and allow for much more automation and tags to be applied to contacts instead of “lists”.  The two big players in this space are Infusionsoft and Ontraport.  These systems also have their problems (nothing is perfect), but I will stick to the problems as related to our discussion and not dive down too many rabbit holes.

I know quite a few people that use both these systems and they are pretty good if you need to run affiliate programs and need an all in one solution to manage that, along with your email, shopping cart and CRM.  The first major problem is price.  Unless you are generating significant income, committing to $300 or more per month is not a smart move for most health coaches I talk to.  A couple of the other problems stem from the additional complexity of these systems since they do allow for so much automation. 

Infusionsoft has an amazing visual campaign builder and allows for all sorts of crazy automation rules, but unless you are very tech savvy, you will likely have to hire someone to help you get this all setup.  Even once it is all setup, it is still quite cumbersome to go in and change email sequences and move things around on the fly.  It is affectionately called “confusionsoft” by many users.

Ontraport has similar issues with complexity and difficulty in getting setup.  I usually don’t recommend these systems until you are really ready  for them and the commitment.  It is not that easy to switch from platform to platform, but lots of people do outgrow the entry level solutions.

In the past couple of years there have been some new systems to come online that are built with marketing automation in mind without the high end functionality of an Infusionsoft like program.  These have a leg up on Aweber et al, since any automation features that have been added to older systems have been placed “on top of” current systems, and typically have not been a very easy thing to navigate.

For example, I am a long time Aweber user.  For years, I have been using a tool called AW Pro Tools, which is yet another tool whose purpose is to help do some of the Aweber automation, moving from list to list and tagging.  Aweber is now rolling out some of these features, but I find them pretty clunky and hard to use, and I am a very technical person.

So before this article drags out to 2,000 words, let me tell you about my current favorite tool.  It is called Drip, and I think it is the perfect solution for anyone that does not need things like affiliate tracking inside of their email system, which in my experience is 99+% of the people I talk to on a regular basis.  I have been testing this tool out for about 3 months and I thought it was great, but they just totally upped the game with a visual campaign builder, which they are calling workflows.

This takes marketing automation to a whole new level if you are used to using a system like Aweber of Mail Chimp.  With Drip you can do things like apply a tag, send an email or an entire campaign, wait for 2 days until the following Tuesday at 11am, branch with if-then logic, and do about 30 other things…all defined visually using the power of Drip’s automation engine.

Some examples of this this might be you have an introductory email sequence that you send everyone that signs up for your free optin offer.  When they click a link in email 3 to go look at your low priced cleanse that is coming up, you can tag them as interested, then when they sign up for the cleanse you can tag them as a cleanse customer.  This can remove them from the email sequence that they had been on for your free offer and then when they finish your cleanse sequence you can automatically put them into a new sequence that starts talking about your higher tier offerings, like individual coaching or whatever you offer.  Really, the sky is the limit with automation but everyone should do at least a little basic automation.

Another great example is when someone clicks a link to schedule a call with you, you can tag them and then send a few follow up emails to make sure they follow through.

These different actions allow you almost unlimited marketing automation and now with their visual interface it makes the whole process much more intuitive.

Another thing I love that they did with this was they left the email campaign in table format.  This, in my opinion is one of the clunkiest things about the Infusionsoft visual campaign builder, there is no simple way to just reorder or remove emails.  This is much more easily done in table format.

Here are a few more highlights from the Drip website.

Hyper-intuitive
Exits — a Drip original
Vertical scrolling
Built-in reporting
New and existing Drip users who have tried Workflows get up to speed in a few minutes, rather than the days of training and thousands of dollars required by other automation tools.Want to exit a Workflow when certain conditions are met? For this, we invented Exits. They are surprisingly powerful and make it much easier to build simple, clean, and readable diagrams.Unlike a few of the tools we tried, we believe scrolling works best when it’s top-to-bottom (rather than left-to-right), the way the web intended.See how many subscribers are in the current step, and how many have passed through it. A single click shows the list of subscribers.

No matter if you are just starting out, or looking to up your email marketing game, Drip is a great solution at a very competitive price.

drip

 

 

January 7, 2016

3 Easy Steps to Become More Productive, Lower Your Stress and Improve Your Sleep

become more productive

This is the time of year when you hear everyone talk about goal setting and resolutions.  I think those are both great, but what I want to talk about today has more to do with my digital lifestyle. 

Weren’t all these devices supposed to make our lives simpler and more efficient?  That has not been my experience.

First, let me say that I love technology and all that it helps me do.  There is no way I could run a business like I do today out of my home without these wonderful modern digital devices.

However, along with all the benefits they bring, there is a dark side to technology.  I have noticed for myself over the past 5 years or so that I keep feeling that I am moving faster and faster without necessarily being any more productive.  I took some a long, hard look at my habits over the holiday season and decided on three main things that I am doing in the new year that I am about 99% sure will make me more productive, lower my stress, and help me sleep better.

1.  Turn off all phone notifications.

Ever since getting a smart phone a couple of years ago, the little notifications on the screen have been taking up a larger and larger bandwidth in my mind and of my time.  When I switched to an iPhone last year, I did turn off a lot of the notifications.  Do I really need to get a message every time someone likes one of my Instagram pictures or starts following me on twitter? 

For the new year, I am getting a lot more drastic.  I turned off ALL the  notifications, badges, beeps, and buzzers from every app including Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Gmail.  These were definitely the big 3 time suckers for me.  The only ones I left on were for the phone, calendar and messaging.

I really love all the cool apps I can put on my iPhone.  My meditation timer that keeps track of how many minutes a day and how many days in a row I keep up with my practice.  I have become much more diligent about my daily meditation practice since using the Insight Timer app.  The banking app that lets me deposit checks without even leaving my desk and Scannable, that lets me scan my restaurant receipts straight into Evernote before I even pay the bill. 

I can tell you that I have noticed a big difference in my relationship with my phone since it no longer lights up every time I get an email or a Facebook message.  My goal is to get back to using it as the amazing tool it is rather than the relentless task master it was quickly becoming.

2.  Take Gmail off my pinned browser apps.

I use Google Chrome, which lets you “pin” open tabs to your browser that always open when you open up your computer browser.  I used to work with people that had a ding go over every time an email gets done.  I find it hard to believe that any focused work could ever get done like that.

Gmail used to be the first thing on this pinned tab but not anymore.  I did my yearly email inbox purge over the holidays as well which is always fun.  Someday I want to learn how to work out of inbox zero, but that is a topic for another post.

Much like my phone, email has slowly gone from useful tool to time sucking monster over the years.  To deal with this, my new way of dealing with email is to bulk process it a couple times a day.  My old habit was to open my phone before I meditated in the morning and check my email.  Now, I will not check my email until I have started work for the day and then I give myself a window of time to sort through all the email I have received, decide what is important and made a list of things that need to get done and then I close Gmail. 

I haven’t yet figured out if I will go through email 2 or 3 times per day, for now I am doing 3 and see how that goes, but the rest of the day my email is off.

3.  Only go on social media during schedule times.

The last major distraction and potential massive time waster is social media for me.  Yet again, this is a 2 edged sword.  I have built most of my business off of Facebook (and now to a lesser degree Instagram) so I still want to be active and nurture relationships.  However, when I find myself watching cat videos or reading endless trolling comment threads on Facebook maybe I could be doing something more productive.

My new rule with Social Media for myself is to schedule the time in my day.  If I give myself an hour for Facebook, I make sure to get all the things done that I need before scrolling through my newsfeed.  A large part of the communication I do with my team is on Facebook through groups, so I spend some time there and updating my posts and then close the damn browser.

This is where mobile devices come in handy.  There are lots of times throughout the week when I am just sitting around with nothing to do and as entertainment, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram feed  reading random posts can be a fine activity as long as you don’t confuse it with work or being productive.

This is a big sticking point for a lot of new entrepreneurs that are just starting to do this whole online business thing.  It is easy to spend 2, 3 or 8 hours a day listening to videos, attending webinars and chatting with folks on Facebook.  All of these things are fine, but if you are not spending any time doing income producing activities, your are not really in business.  What you have is a hobby.

This is the tough love piece.  Sure, we all need to learn new skills and to do that we need to take courses, read articles, and watch videos.  The trick is QUICKLY putting what you have learned into place and not perpetually jumping on to the next bright shiny object when you have not developed a business that is paying the bills.

Find a few people to follow that have the results you want and then do what they say.  The biggest determination of whether you will attain your goals or keep your resolutions is if you have a plan in place to track your progress and keep you accountable.

So how does this all help improve your sleep.  I forgot my last piece of the puzzle.  Around 10 PM now, I take my phone and put it in “Do Not Disturb” mode until after my morning meditation.  I can already feel my adrenal glands starting to recover and heal themselves.

I would love to hear what sort of tricks you have to keep yourself focused and on track.

August 27, 2015

The New Industrial Food Complex Strategy to make any questions of GMO Food safety anti-science

GMO Food safety anti-science

I typically keep my articles on Health Coach Weekly focused on business building tools and strategies but there has been something happening over the past couple of years that I think really needs to be addressed and isn’t talked about much in the GMO debate.

With yesterday’s publishing in The New England Journal of Medicine “GMO’s, Herbicides, and Public Health”, I am hoping we can reverse this trend of accepting this notion that GMO safety is “settled” science.  Just because someone questions the safety of GMO foods does not really make them anti-science, a point I hope to drive home in this rant, I mean article.

I have seen a shift in strategy in the media over how to frame the question of GMO safety.  This new strategy involves making it sound that the overwhelming majority of science points to the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms. 

This takes on several disguises.

  1. “We have been genetically modifying foods for millennia.”  Modern GMO technology cannot be compared to historical genetic crossbreeding where two somewhat similar plants were cross breeded.  Things like inserting fish genes into tomatoes and strawberries is a little different than crossing 2 apples to make them a little sweeter, or redder, or more drought resistant.  
  2. “The majority of scientists agree on the safety of GMO’s”.  I hate to say this, but just because a body like the American Medical Association says something is safe, I am not going to automatically take that as gospel.  Especially in the USA, many of the scientific institutions that our government relies on in setting policy are funded by and/or headed by industry insiders.  There is a well known “revolving door between industry and political appointments.  If there were true scientific consensus, why do around 64 other countries in the world require labeling of GM foods?
  3. “There may be some safety issues with herbicides, but this is not the same as GMO’s”.  This is in my opinion the crux of the problem right here.  This is both brilliant as a marketing strategy and ridiculous as a matter of practicality.

In this country at least, the vast majority of GM crops are genetically modified for basically 2 purposes, either to withstand the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, or to actually engineer a pesticide to be contained within the seed or plant itself, such as Bt corn.

In a very popular article on Slate.com last month, William Saletan basically took this approach.  I must say, I don’t entirely disagree with him.  Perhaps there are some compelling uses for GM crops, although I would say the science is still out on most of them.  The favorite of the pro GMO crowd is Golden Rice, which was promoted as a solution to Vitamin A deficiency in third world countries.  This has become a very hot button issue with some very questionable scientific ethics in the studies, like feeding this rice to children without disclosing the source. 

The reality is that in most of the developed world, the separation of GMO’s and pesticides is not a realistic argument.  The vast majority of GM crops grown and consumed in the USA are either designed to be herbicide resistant or to contain internal pesticides.

Yesterday’s article in NEJM raises some excellent points in this discussion.

The first of the two developments that raise fresh concerns about the safety of GM crops is a 2014 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve Enlist Duo, a new combination herbicide comprising glyphosate plus 2,4-D. Enlist Duo was formulated to combat herbicide resistance. It will be marketed in tandem with newly approved seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate, 2,4-D, and multiple other herbicides. The EPA anticipates that a 3-to-7-fold increase in 2,4-D use will result.

In our view, the science and the risk assessment supporting the Enlist Duo decision are flawed. The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published, not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation. These studies predated current knowledge of low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects and were not designed to detect them. The risk assessment gave little consideration to potential health effects in infants and children, thus contravening federal pesticide law. It failed to consider ecologic impact, such as effects on the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. It considered only pure glyphosate, despite studies showing that formulated glyphosate that contains surfactants and adjuvants is more toxic than the pure compound.

The second new development is the determination by the IARC in 2015 that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”1 and 2,4-D a “possible human carcinogen.”2 These classifications were based on comprehensive assessments of the toxicologic and epidemiologic literature that linked both herbicides to dose-related increases in malignant tumors at multiple anatomical sites in animals and linked glyphosate to an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.

These developments suggest that GM foods and the herbicides applied to them may pose hazards to human health that were not examined in previous assessments. We believe that the time has therefore come to thoroughly reconsider all aspects of the safety of plant biotechnology. The National Academy of Sciences has convened a new committee to reassess the social, economic, environmental, and human health effects of GM crops. This development is welcome, but the committee’s report is not expected until at least 2016.

In the meantime, we offer two recommendations. First, we believe the EPA should delay implementation of its decision to permit use of Enlist Duo. This decision was made in haste. It was based on poorly designed and outdated studies and on an incomplete assessment of human exposure and environmental effects. It would have benefited from deeper consideration of independently funded studies published in the peer-reviewed literature. And it preceded the recent IARC determinations on glyphosate and 2,4-D. Second, the National Toxicology Program should urgently assess the toxicology of pure glyphosate, formulated glyphosate, and mixtures of glyphosate and other herbicides.

Finally, we believe the time has come to revisit the United States’ reluctance to label GM foods.

“GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health.”
Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
N Engl J Med 2015; 373:693-695 August 20, 2015

My friends over at The Food Revolution Network did a great summary of the article HERE.

I think the next year or 2 will be the deciding factor of the future of GM foods in the US.  It has finally reached the mainstream and if we can all get well educated so we are not painted into an “anti-science” corner as the food industry would like, we have a real shot at getting GM labeling laws passed in the near future.  Of course, it could easily go the other way, similar to the vaccine debate, the choice is up to us.

 

 

The Problem With Trading Dollars for Hours

trading dollars for hours

When I first decided I wanted to start my own business and “work for myself” about 10 years ago, I really had no idea what that entailed.

My first foray into the world of owning my own business was an organic food delivery business.  I called it “Go Organics”, Organic food for people on the go.  I was a chef earlier in my life so this sounded like a great idea.

Well, not all ideas are as great as they first sound, as I’m sure you have learned.  I found out pretty quickly that this was going to cost me more money than it paid me and like lots of first businesses it was more of a hobby than a business.  This was early in my healing journey as well, though, so it was a great way to cook lots of great food as I got more interested in health and healing.

During this period of time I got really into juicing as well, and started selling this one manual wheatgrass juicer on Ebay.  A drop ship company contacted me and told me that they carried this product as well as hundreds of other “healthy” appliances as well if I was interested in offering them as well.

Long story short, my organic food business transitioned into an online store where I sold juicers, blenders, dehydrators and other healthy appliances.  I spent $5,000 designing a killer website (wish I had just used WordPress), and started selling lots of products on Amazon, Ebay and my own website.

As you might have guessed, this too wasn’t quite as I had originally envisioned.  I had to deal with all sorts of customer service issues, Ebay and Amazon fees, and other retailers on these platforms continually trying to offer the same product at a cheaper price.

Needless to say, someone made a lot of money from this business venture but it wasn’t me.  Like everything else in my life, I just treated this as an expensive learning experience.  I made Ebay, Amazon and my drop shipper quite a bit of money.  I never built an email list or tried to build an online following, but I did learn quite a bit about online marketing and web design / ecommerce.

Both of these early experiences were while I was in a corporate job so the fact that I wasn’t making much money was not really a big deal.

Fast forward to 2010 when I got laid off from my corporate job.  I decided to take my love of health, food and natural healing and become a health coach.  I took some of my severance pay from the pharmaceutical company that I had been laid off from and enrolled in The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

After graduating from IIN, I started seeing and building a client base, but I still was spending a ton of time learning all about online marketing, web design and lots of other business stuff.  A few of my fellow health coaches asked me to build websites for them.  Another friend who owned a marketing agency asked me to come work for her, and Health Coach Weekly was born.  This was a way for me to share some of the insights I had learned with other health coaches.

Everything I was doing was trading dollars for hours though, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that this new business I had created was actually taking up twice as much of my time as any corporate job ever had.  I loved my clients and helping people, but it felt like I was on a hamster wheel.

My big why was being there for my kids though, so the fact that I was now working at home instead of in an office was really worth a lot to me, especially when my kids were younger.  (They are 17 and 18 now)

Perhaps you can relate, but as soon as I reached what I called a good income of $5,000 per month the next month I think I earned $750 and figured out I would need to develop some alternate income streams if I wanted to ever escape the dollars for hours problem.

You read all of these online gurus who say all you need to do is write an ebook and have a group program, sell a bunch of these and you will make 6 figures.  I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that is so overly simplistic as to be almost criminal. 

Yes, people do build businesses around online programs, but it is A LOT OF HARD WORK…anyone who says different is either lying to you or even worse lying to themselves.  In fact, I think online programs are fantastic, but to build your entire business around just this is a hard thing to pull off.

During my early years writing for and publishing for Health Coach Weekly, I had a pretty strong aversion to Network Marketing companies.  I have since come to the realization that it isn’t the business model that bothers me, it is the way it is practiced by too many people that bothers me.

I have talked to and worked with enough coaches now to realize that this is one of the more stable ways to diversify your income stream and offer really awesome products to your clients.

The biggest problem I see in this field is the way the “Opportunity” is presented.  I wrote all about this myth HERE!

The real truth is that Network Marketing is not a magic bullet or an evil empire.  It is a business model and can be great or awful depending on lots of factors that have nothing to do with the fact that it is Network Marketing.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to argue the merits of Network Marketing, if you want to learn more about those, I suggest you check out a movie called “The Rise of The Entrepreneur”

What I suggest for people is to do their own research.  After you have done all your own research and come to the conclusion that I have, which is that the actual business model is genius, then you really need to drill down and answer at least 12 questions about any company before you even consider joining them or offering the products to your clients.

Then read my FREE REPORT on “The 12 Things You Need to Look For In Choosing A Network Marketing Company”.  This will arm you with the information you need to do your own research.

download-now-yellow

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

–HERBERT SPENCER

Feel free to reach out or schedule a time to chat if you would like more information on the company I have found that meets all 12 of these criteria (and more).

 

 

Why I never promote B-School

Why I Never Promote B-School

I woke up this morning to our first REAL snow of this winter.  All the schools are closed, it’s not almost 4 and it’s still snowing!

The first thought I had this morning was not “How much snow are we going to get?” or “Great, kids are off school another day.”

My first thought was “Thank God B-School is closed for another year.”

Disclaimer:  I know lots of people that have gone through B-School and have had amazing success following Marie’s program, so this post is not intended to diminish the value of the program, just to give you my opinion on this whole “guru” launch model and whether it will work for you.

I was looking back through my old emails to May of 2011, which is when I launched Health Coach Weekly.

I signed up for 2 online programs that month.  The first was “Total Product Blueprint” by Brendon Burchard.  The sales funnel was very well done and effective, I got super excited about the prospect of just creating all these different forms of online trainings and making 6 figures by the end of the year.  It sounded so simple, yet didn’t quite tell the whole story.  In order to sell all of these digital products, I really needed to have an audience of people who knew, liked, and trusted me.  At this point I had an email list of exactly ZERO, a website that I had gotten from my school and a website I had setup about Juice Detoxing that I had built while taking a WordPress course the year before.

In 2010 and 2011, I was deep into what I have heard described as the “bright shiny object” syndrome.  I have no idea how many courses I bought, went through, and then failed to implement.  I learned a lot along the way, and all of this knowledge became the foundation for the idea behind Health Coach Weekly, so I don’t consider it wasted, but I did learn a few things.

The big “guru” courses are not for everyone.

 

These are courses like Marie Forleo’s B-School, among MANY others.  The only reason I am singling out this course is I imagine you have gotten at least 100 emails over the past month from a variety of people telling you how great the course is and how they have the best bonus out there.

I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that.  If your business goal is to create a business like Marie’s, a high profile online business, then at some point you should probably take her course, or another one similar to it.

If, however, you are like a lot of health coaches I talk to, and are more interested in developing more of a “lifestyle” business where your primary focus is on building a nice, small business that centers around coaching a handful of clients, having a small online program or 2, and maybe a network marketing aspect of your business, then maybe you should look for someone more in line with these goals.

Personally, knowing what I now do, I have no desire to have a business like Brendon or Marie’s.  Doesn’t make their model wrong, just not right for me.  That is one of the things I love about having an online business.  There are a whole bunch of different ways it can look according to what your goals are.

Here is the key to my success.

 

I told you about the first course I took in May of 2011.  I didn’t really follow through on much of what was taught and obviously was not “successful” with that approach.

The next course I invested in way called “Inbox Empire” and I think at the time I invested  $197.  This was 1/10 the cost of the previous course I took (I was in the first class, it has since gone up to a higher cost), but I have gotten 1,000 times more value from it.  I followed along with every step of the course and did everything they suggested to do (almost).  I started to share valuable content and 4 years later I have a very nice business that I am proud of and is in alignment with the lifestyle I want to lead.

The moral of the story is not to say you shouldn’t be buying online courses.  There are definitely quite a few skills you will need to learn and master in order to have a successful business.  The key is to find programs that you trust will move you towards your goal and then 1 – pointedly focus on following the steps laid out.  I promote several different programs every year with business coaches that I personally know, like and trust to bring you the goods and move you towards your goals.  If I don’t think it’s worthy of your time, I will not share it with you.

Since I was in the “charter membership” class of Inbox Empire, there are still weekly calls that I can get on and have my questions answered.  I think with the other “Big Box Course”, there were 6 big group calls, but I never had any personal interaction for my $2 K.

Be sure to go “Bonus Shopping.”

 

Another reason I never promote B-School, besides the fact that I have never taken the course, is that I don’t feel like creating a $1000+ bonus package in order to entice you to buy it through my link.  So if I were to signup, I would search around to see who had the most valuable bonus package for me.  As a health coach, I imagine this would be something from Cathy Sykora from The Health Coach Group.  She is someone who has gone through the program, had amazing success, and knows what sort of bonuses would help a health coach.

There you have it.  If you are enrolled in B-School this year, my suggestion is to really focus 110% of your energy on it, so that you get all the value you can.

If not, and you are like me, you can be relieved that for at least 11 more months, you will not have to wade though a daily deluge to your inbox.

Are You Doing Webinars Yet?

health coach webinar

Are you using webinars yet to promote your health coaching programs and services yet?  If not, let me encourage you to jump in, the water is warm.

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the technical challenges, it doesn’t need to be all that hard.  What are some reasons why you should be doing webinars?

  • They are a great way to engage with your audience.
  • Webinars are the quickest way to build your email list.
  • You will get way more people signing up for your programs and services from a webinar than you ever will from a sales page or a social media post.
  • You can use webinars to create course content.

So let’s break down some of these benefits.

Engaging with your audience.

You have probably heard me talk about this before, if you want to be a success online, you need to pick a niche and then become seen as an authority figure to that group.  This doesn’t need to be as hard as it sounds.  Lots of coaches get overwhelmed when they see all the super successful coaches who have 7+ figure businesses and are the so-called “gurus” in their niche.  If you want to play on that stage, awesome, I applaud you.  However, just because you don’t want to be the next Oprah or Dr. Oz doesn’t mean you can’t be an “expert” in your field.

Webinars are the quickest way to build your email list.

You have probably heard that to build an email list you need to create an irresistible free offer, put up a squeeze page and then deliver the content to your subscribers.  Well, guess what one of the most effective free gifts is?  You guessed it, you will likely get way more people to sign up for a great informative free webinar than you will get to download an ebook or video from the homepage of your website.  This doesn’t mean those other things aren’t important, but webinars are a great way to kick start your email list building efforts.  This is the way I have built up Health Coach Weekly.

You will get way more people signing up for your programs and services.

Everyone tells you that you need to create a sales page to sell your programs and services, what they don’t tell you is that the conversion rate (how many people actually buy) of most sales pages is very low, in the 1-4% range.  What does this mean?  If you have a 1% conversion rate on your sales page, then for every 100 people that land on your sales page, 1 person will buy your product or service.  Of course these numbers can vary wildly and writing a good sales page is another skill entirely.  The best way to get someone to sign up for your coaching program is to have a 1-on-1 session with them, this is why IIN suggests that you do a health history with people.  This is fine when you are starting out, but eventually you want to do things to more effectively leverage your time.

Here’s a good idea for a starter webinar sales funnel for a health coach.  Pick a topic that you are an “expert” in and that your target market will be interested in learning about.  This can also be applied offline to talks you give at local events.

  1. Setup a simple squeeze page or signup form and put all the registrants on a new list in your email system.
  2. Send out a few reminder emails before the event starts, this is very important since people sign up for lots of things these days with the best of intentions but then forget all about it.
  3. Deliver the webinar and make sure it is at least 75% killer content, so if you are doing a 45 minute webinar make the first 45 minutes all about serving your audience.
  4. Have a good call to action at the end of the webinar.
  5. Send out a replay link to everyone that registered.
  6. Send out a few more emails about your call to action, but only to the people that signed up for the webinar.

So what is a good call to action?  When you are first starting out, this could be something as simple as getting people to an introductory consultation.  Make sure to give it a great name and build up the value.  Instead of just giving away a free health history, make sure your introductory sessions are high value and charge something for them.  The goal isn’t to make money here, but to qualify potential clients.  The problem with “free” is that lots of people will sign up with no intention of a further commitment.

If I come to a “Weight Loss Breakthrough Session” with you and actually give you some money, I will definitely show up engaged.  This actually makes it easier to then sell people into your paid programs since the freebie seekers will have never made it to the initial consultation stage with you.

Of course if you are just starting and really need clients, don’t charge for you initial sessions until you have a full calendar.

One bit of advice, if you are selling a high dollar service, go for the initial consultation, not the sale, until you get really good on webinars.  Most people will need to actually have some sort of relationship with you before they are willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars with you.

If you are doing something like a $67 winter detox, then a webinar is a perfect platform for this.  Pull out some of your best content, make it into a webinar and then sell your detox at the end.

I know lots of coaches get uncomfortable with the whole “selling” thing.  I get it, but if you are delivering great content and programs, how else are you planning on changing people’s lives and actually getting paid?

Next week we will talk more about webinars, what the best platforms are the best, and how to have a great event.

For now be sure to check out this amazing 10 Video Course from our friends over at Lead Pages on how to build a webinar funnel.  This applies no matter what tool you use for you webinar, but obviously they are biased.  I’ll have other tips for tools you can use in an upcoming article.

 

October 3, 2014

My Favorite Online Marketing Tool of All Time

Health Coach Marketing

I remember when I first started trying to build by list online.  I spent about a week learning how to make a custom aweber box to put on my website.  After studying online marketing for awhile, I learned that I really needed to be creating some dedicated squeeze pages if I really wanted to build my list.  For those of you new to the term, a squeeze page, also known as an opt-in page or a landing page is a page on your website that has the sole purpose of collecting email addresses from your subscribers in exchange for some sort of “free gift”.

I can’t even begin to count all the hours I wasted trying to create these kinds of pages on my own.  I tried different WordPress plugins, creating custom forms and every month there was a new “bright shiny object” that promised to make the job easier.  I bought them all.  Some of these products were OK, many of them were a waste of money, but they were all very lacking.

This all changed a couple of years ago when Lead Pages hit the market.  The first time I saw this tool, I was sold, and over the past 2 years it has only gotten better, with tons of new features added every year.

In this video, you can see a few of the latest upgrades that will make building your list that much easier.

buttonlp

This feature called LeadBoxes is revolutionary, especially if you have a non WordPress site, like an IIN site.  Before this, my recommendation was always for people to build custom html Email optin boxes in whatever email service they used and to create Squeeze pages off of their website.  When you watch the video, you can see 3 separate ways you can use these new Lead Boxes to start capturing email addresses on your website today.  For a quick demo on my test IIN site, go check out this LINK!  I have all 3 techniques setup on the home page.  You can use 1 or all of them.

1.  Leadbox set to popup when you land on site.  In actual practice, you would make the time before this appears longer and there is also an option to not show it for x number of days so you don’t annoy readers.

2.  Leadbox set to popup when you try to leave the site.  Again, you would not show this every time like I am doing.

3.  If you click on the image at the bottom of the page, you will also get the same leadbox, without having to send them to a separate page to collect their email address.

This is only one of the many features of this amazing tool, if you would like to learn more about some of the other features, CLICK HERE and sign up for the webinar.

August 20, 2014

The Detox Challenge

Detox Challenge

WHAT IS THE DETOX CHALLENGE?

The Detox Challenge (September 4-29) is an online Functional Medicine-based group detox experience. IFM encourages our practitioner partners to use the Challenge as a spring-board for your practice. Reach out to your clients, engage them in the Challenge, and then follow up with them at the completion of the Challenge to help them take what they’ve learned from their experience and share it with you to build a long term health plan.


Deanna Minich, PhD, explains how the Detox Challenge can
grow your practice and engage existing clients.

GROW YOUR PRACTICE USING THE DETOX CHALLENGE

  • Reach out to your clients with customizable marketing materials.
  • Earn 50% revenue share on the $47 program cost when you sign up as an affiliate and promote the program to your community using your affiliate link.
  • Reconnect with participating clients post-Challenge to develop a long term health and vitality plan.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW

    • Step 1:  Locate your Detox Challenge affiliate link:
      1. If you were an affiliate for the Detox Summit, you do not need to register again. Check your email inbox for your new Detox Challenge affiliate link.
      2. Not an affiliate yet? Click here to become one!
    • Step 2: Register yourself for the Detox Challenge.
    • Step 3: Download the marketing support materials in the next section to jump-start your patient outreach program.

MARKETING TOOLS FOR YOUR PRACTICE

IFM has created customizable marketing materials to help you with patient outreach and involvement in the Detox Challenge. Follow the steps below to get started and be sure to add your affiliate link to the materials where applicable so your patients know where to go to register.

  1. Print out the Detox Challenge Patient One-Sheet and the Detox Challenge Calendar and distribute to your patients.
  2. Email your clients with information on how to sign up.
  3. Hold a group meeting using this PowerPoint presentation. Or, include a link to this pre-recorded webinar by Deanna Minich, PhD, in the email you send to your clients.
  4. Upload the Detox Challenge banner and button to your blog, website, and Facebook page.
  5. Post on social media and engage your patients in the discussion.
  6. Would you like to download all of the above materials at once? Click here to download the full package.

THE DETOX CHALLENGE EXPERIENCE

CalendarThe Detox Challenge takes place over 21 days with topic-oriented daily emails to walk you through the detoxification process and weekly calls to answer your questions and help you stay on track. Sample Guidebook

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For questions about how you can get involved contact Emily Carlyle at emilycarlyle@fxmed.com or call 1.800.228.0622

Technical questions should be directed to http://thedetoxsummit.com/contact-us/.

MISSED THE DETOX SUMMIT?

Purchase all the recordings for only $97.  Incluedes over 30 Audio and Video Presentations along with transcripts.

The Detox Summit

The Detox Summit

How Not To Market Your Business

Health Coach Marketing

I assume since you are reading this that you want to learn the most effective ways to market you health coaching or wellness business, right?  Once you start diving into the world of marketing, you realize that it is much like diet, there is no one size fits all approach.

There are however, some things that just don’t work and end up sabotaging your business instead of building it.  Much like in health and diet, we all can agree that eating lots of processed food and tons of sugar is going to harm your health no matter what kind of diet you eat.

What prompted me to write this post was all the ineffective and counterproductive ways I see all sorts of people trying to market themselves online.  This is another one of those tough love moments for some people.  If you are using one of these methods and it is working great for you, fantastic.  Just ignore everything I am saying.  If, on the other hand, you are trying these and not getting any results (as I would expect) please don’t beat yourself up, just stop and try something new.

As an online publisher in the Health Coaching arena, I probably get approached a little more than most people by many of these techniques.  When I am feeling gracious I simply respond with a very polite notice saying why I think the person should try another approach.  Normally, I just ignore the messages or emails and when I am feeling especially cranky, I hit the Spam button.  My guess is that for most people, the response to this type of marketing is probably in the reverse order of mine.

The Blind Email or Social Media Message

This is the modern equivalent of cold calling.  I’m sure it works for some people, but like cold calling it will be a very SMALL percentage of people that respond.  I routinely get emails and social media messages from people I have never heard of, never met and never asked them for any information.  It usually goes something like “I have this awesome product that you have to check out!” or “Are you interested in making more money?”  My favorite is when I get a follow up message to this initial spam asking me if I got a chance to look at whatever they are hawking.

Most of these types of messages come from Network Marketing reps which is one of the reasons why that industry has the reputation it does.  Network marketing businesses are like any other business, you need a solid marketing plan and sales funnel in place.  Just aiming your message blindly at the world will not lead to much success.

I hate to bash network marketing, it just seems that this is where some of the worst marketing practices show up.  I guess this is understandable since many times it is a case of someone who knows nothing about business coaching someone else on how to build their business.

Like My Page and I Will Like Yours

This is mainly on Facebook, but can be any social media account.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you are using Facebook for advertising (which you should be), having a ton of likes on your fan page is not going to really do much for you.  I understand the excitement, a new business and we want others to know about it.  I see this in the health coaching arena a lot, people go into groups of their peers and ask people to like their page or get on their list.  Unless these people are in your target market this one is another time waster.

The Buy My Stuff Post

While I am not a huge fan of selling in general on Facebook, this is specifically aimed at those who post their sales messages on pages and groups that are not theirs.  Other people create groups to serve their audience and sell their stuff, not yours.  This one can get a little tricky, but my basic rule is never to put up any kind of sales message on a property that you don’t own or control.  If your material will serve this audience and the owner of the page or the group is OK with it, post useful content or resources, but not sales messages.

The Join My Team Post

Here’s another one I see lots of starting network marketers do, once again this is an exaggeration.  The message usually looks something like

“I only have room for x more people on my team.  I haven’t tried the products yet and have no idea how to build a business, but my up line told me to do this.  Join me and you will be earning a residual income in no time”

OK, so maybe it’s not usually that bad, but you get the idea.  Network marketing is a very valid business model, but do yourself a favor and get educated before just blindly doing everything someone tells you is a good idea.

Enough of my rant, sorry if any of this came off as overly negative, but I think there are lots of people using techniques like this and wondering why they are not getting the results they hoped for.

Don’t take all this as an indictment of network marketing.  I think network marketing can be very effective and done well, it’s just that so often it isn’t.  It’s pretty easy for me to dismiss 90+% of the companies out there simply by looking at the ingredient labels and another 8% by realizing that the prices are so expensive that nobody but sales reps will buy the products.  Here is a post I did awhile back about the Network Marketing Myth you might find valuable.

No matter what kind of business you are doing it still comes down to the same basics.  Developing relationships and providing value to your ideal client and THEN offering your products and services to them.  If someone hasn’t given you their email address yet or signed up for an event you are doing, they probably are not interested in buying anything from you.  Start generating valuable content and relationships first, worry about making money second, not the other way around.

April 24, 2014

Should You Be Using Advertising in Your Health Coaching Business?

Why is it that lots of holistic practitioners and health coaches I talk to think advertising is some big mystery or a dirty word? We have no qualms about spending half our day writing blog posts, facebook, twitter and google plus posts, putting pictures up on Pinterest and Instagram. Do you fall into what my friend Eric Walker calls “The Loop”? Let me know if this sounds familiar.

Are You Stuck In The Loop?
“The Loop” for entrepreneurs, is worse than a morning commute

I used to be stuck in The Loop. 

Here was my typical loop:

First thing I did was open my email

There were the new video uploads to YouTube that get sent to me automatically; there was Seth’s daily post; there were emails from clients, launch sequences and the content that goes with it, and at least 10 or more emails that I would open. 

Then onto Facebook 

First I’d go through my notifications, and respond where appropriate. Then my news feed where I might comment on anything and everything. 

Then over to Instagram, and a quick trip through Twitter

I’ve timed this, and usually it’s 20-30 minutes. That’s 20-30 minutes that I used to spend first thing every day consuming rather than creating. 

From Eric Walker on Google Plus

I am not saying that we shouldn’t be doing any of these things.  It is important to keep educating ourselves if we want to be seen as “the expert”.  Eric’s point in this post was to create before you consume.  It is easy to stay stuck in an endless loop of education and busywork and never really get down to the things that are going to actually propel you forward.

Depending on what your business model is, this may be different things, but when it comes to social media, at least a portion of what you are doing should be directly building your audience.  No matter what your business model, you need an audience to speak to.  

If you are overwhelmed by all the technology and just starting out, no worries, go book a talk at your local health food store, church, school, or anyplace that will have you.  This is really the fastest way to get in front of people if the technology piece is still beyond you.  Coaches are always asking me the fastest way to find clients and this is it.  Book a talk, get people to come and then get them to either sign up for a low ticket offer during the talk or a consultation.  It is much easier to “sell” your more expensive services 1-on-1, either after a consultation (please come up with a better name than a “health history”) or after someone has gone through a lower tier program of yours and gotten to know you and get results.  This is “sales funnel 101” and where most people start.

Once you are ready to start moving online one of the first things you need to work on is building an audience.  I have talked about a couple of different business models over the past couple of months, but they all have 1 thing in common, you need an audience.

My favorite way to quickly build an audience is by using Facebook ads.  SEO, social media, blogging, and all those activities are great, but they take lots of time, are not always consistent and can even stop working.  I remember at one point my blog went from getting 300 visitors per day down to 50 in just a few days due to some Google algorithm change.  If I had relied entirely on Google to build my business, I would have been up the creek without a paddle.  This is true of any single means you might use for building your audience.

The one thing that I have found to be fairly consistent is to use advertising to build your audience.  If you are new to the world of advertising Facebook is definitely the place to start.  It is easier to learn than many other platforms.  This is a screenshot of a couple of campaigns I currently have running and you can see that it can be a very cost effective way to get subscribers.

I will have to warn you, however, the numbers you see are not typical results.  I have been studying facebook advertising for years and have figured out what works for me and what doesn’t.  I have talked to lots of people that try Facebook ads for a couple of weeks with no training (maybe they read a blog post or listened to a podcast) and complain that they are getting terrible results.

Also, if you are going to invest money in advertising, you need to at the minimum have a nice looking lead capture page.  Paying for advertising and just sending people to your website’s home page is a waste of money.

You hear some people talks about penny clicks on facebook, let me tell you that for the most part that is a bunch of crap.  If you can consistently get new subscribers for $1 – $1.50 each you are doing very well.  The great thing about Facebook is that you can do some pretty interesting targeting, so that your ads only show up to the exact people you want to see your ads.  This is another reason why having a very targeted niche becomes even more important as you move your marketing online.  It is really easy to throw up a facebook ad and target a million people.  Of course your results will be terrible, the audiences that I target for the above illustration are fairly small, but they are very targeted to people that want to hear from me.  There’s a good chance that you found me this way.

I would love to invite you to a webinar with one of my Facebook advertising mentors, Amy Porterfield.

During this training webinar you will learn

  • Easy, proven techniques to turn a Facebook post into real profits.
  • How to make sure your ad targets your perfect, ideal customer.
  • Discover the #1 way to get instant results with your ads.
  • How to decide which ad type will deliver BIG conversions for your business
    (Hint: It depends on what you’re marketing!).
  • 3 little-known reasons why your ads aren’t making you money.
    everything you learn today into a proven strategy that really works!
  • PLUS! I’ll reveal some real-life examples of successful ads
    (ones running RIGHT NOW) to show you what really works.

 

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