digital marketing

Free Download // 2016 Goal Planning Worksheet

If you've been a member of this community for a while then it will come as no surprise that I find joy in two things:

  • empowering others to market and grow their businesses with confidence
  • sharing my knowledge and experience freely and as often as possible.

Well today I'm happy to team up with Zoe Strawbridge from Gorjo Designs to help give you a little gift that comes from the heart and that might back one of the most important business topics a bit less taxing: goal setting.

Setting goals seems to fall into one of 2 camps: you either love it or you hate it. Personally I'm a huge fan of knowing where I'm going and settling milestones to help me get there but I also understand that for many creative minds this framework can seem intimidating or stifling - but it doesn't have to be.  On of my favourite quotes that always springs to mind when talking about goals is this:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” Yogi Berra

Goal setting doesn’t have to be a stressful process so don’t fear. When starting out keep it simple and when possible give this process the attention it deserves. Stop multitasking, answering emails, etc. Put your phone on silence, close the Pinterest tab (yes I'm guilty of this too!) and have a bit of fun with it!

To get you started on this process Zoe and I have created a FREE worksheet which you can grab today to help start your goal setting process get underway. Enjoy this beautiful download and I'd love to hear how your planning is going - so don't be shy!

Fall in love with marketing

By Ange Hammond

Love and Marketing. These two words so very rarely go together, so much so that I bet you’re even cringing at the very thought of it. So often marketing is seen as a chore for us, like doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. And yet, this activity is so vital for our business or our blog and believe it or not, we can love it, we can use it to connect with so many like-minded people and it can be enjoyable. 

For me, I never used to like marketing; in fact I dreaded the thought of it. Back when I studied my Bachelor of International Business many, many moons ago, there were some interesting, really engaging subjects that I signed up for, such as Modern History of South East Asia. I loved learning about the world and how countries have evolved and how they now engage in business. My degree was fascinating for the most part. And then there were the subjects that I was less enthusiastic about, the ones that were compulsory in first and second year… yep, those subjects were all based around marketing. 

I could say it was the lecturers; perhaps they could have made it more interesting for me, perhaps I didn’t give the subjects enough of a chance; whatever it was, I just wasn’t into it. All of those marketing theories and case studies about how big corporations took the world by storm with their well-placed and highly researched strategies… yep, still doesn’t do much for me. 

So what was it about marketing that really didn’t interest me? I can now see that it stemmed from a belief that marketing equaled a desire to make lots of money and a manipulation of consumers to achieve this desire. That’s what came across during those tedious university lectures. It just felt wrong to me back then… that it wasn’t coming from a good, wholesome place and because of that, it wasn’t something that was worth investing time into. 

Fast-forward seven years and in 2009 I took the trusting leap of faith and left behind the world of working for others and started up my own little business. 

And wouldn’t you know it, marketing stepped back into my life in full swing. All of a sudden I was putting my business plan together, needing to dive into the 4 P’s of marketing and I was overcome with dread. Marketing and I didn’t get along in those first few months of business. We were like acquaintances who kind of liked each other but not enough to invite around for dinner, and by no means were we anywhere close to becoming besties. 

That very same year I also trained to be a yoga teacher and it was during those days spent at the training that my teachers became my unknowing business mentors. A lot of the principles behind teaching yoga so easily translated into the world of marketing. We don’t teach yoga for the money; we teach it to assist our students to de-stress from their busy days, to calm their thoughts and help connect themselves with their body, breath and spirit. They’re the reasons why we teach yoga; they’re the ‘why’ behind doing what we do.

Be authentic, always have your students in mind when sequencing a class and always teach for the love of helping and supporting others. Money will come but it’s not the main focus. Yep, the same can be applied to marketing.

Our intentions behind doing what we do can make all the difference between loving an activity, or dreading it. With marketing, leave behind the intention of making money and focus on the ‘why’. Why do you offer the services that you do? 

I bet it’s ultimately because you want to help people in some way, improve their lives, on some level, whether it is related to health, lifestyle or relationships. Whatever the ‘why’, tap into that wholesome intention and let it shine through your marketing. 

Every time you post on Facebook, take a moment to check in with the intention behind it. Are you wanting to connect with your like-minded peers, clients and interested followers? Or are you hoping to sell more of your products or services? Ask yourself these same questions for all marketing activities you engage with: social media, your email newsletters, your website content, everything.

The more our intention shifts from money to connection, to helping our community, the more we can come to like and even LOVE marketing ourselves and our services. There’s no need to shy away from marketing; embrace it with confidence and do it with a genuine knowingness that it’s coming from a good place. Your community will see that too and before too long, you’ll notice that your followers will increase at a rate never seen before… but again, this isn’t the main intention, just the reward for being authentic.

These days I use my scheduled marketing time to contemplate, to think about what knowledge, insights and news would be of most benefit for my community. 

I am generous with my advice, knowing that it will help at least one of my followers. And I actually enjoy this time. The little gems of ideas that come to me for my blog posts and Instagram images excite me and I know that it’s time well spent. 

Yep, marketing and I now meet up on a regular basis, sometimes for a flat white, and other times we’ll sit on the couch and chat for hours. She’s pretty cool like that.

Ange Hammond is an inspired web designer at Resonant Imagery, creating beautifully vibrant and easy-to-navigate websites. She loves working with other conscious entrepreneurs who want to be positive influences in their community. She moonlights as a yoga teacher, specialising in gentle hatha flows. She is the author of Conscious Online Marketing, available on Amazon as an e-book and hard copy book. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

Blogging 101: How to monetise your blog - Part 2

By Rebecca Pitts

Part 2: Diversify your income streams by adding additional products or services

In the first post on this topic, we talked about leveraging your content to generate income with your blog. Today we're going to take a look at some of the ways bloggers can expand upon their business and brand by offering a service or a product to their readers.

You might be thinking: why should I add another project to my plate?

Offering a product or service is a great strategy for generating more income. Your blog and business and whatever you're selling can work in tandem--your community of readers is of course interested in you, your voice, and your brand. They trust you. You in turn, have listened to them and are offering a service or product they need. It's a win-win. 

Bloggers who are successful at making money know that it's smart (and more lucrative) to diversify--that is, they know it's important to not rely on just one method for getting paid. Depending on your unique skill set, interests, and brand, it won't be a huge stretch to figure out how to sell something you're already making or charging fees for something you're good at.

Let's take a look at some specific examples of products and services that are an organic extension to blogging:

Physical products

Maybe you're a blogger who has a knack for photography and sells limited-edition prints. Or a crafter who releases one-of-a-kind pieces as she makes them. Perhaps you run a lifestyle blog and sell a curated selection of goods that appeals to a niche audience. The possibilities here vary widely--and so does the amount of risk that entrepreneurs take on with their initial investments in running this type of business. (Think: the difference between selling a handmade scarf on Etsy and managing e-commerce for product lines you design and manufacture). Another thing to consider when going this route is the amount of time that you'll spend on things like shipping and customer service.

Examples:

Hudson + Daughter (my shop)

How We Montessori Shop

Writing a book

Ah, the dream of getting that book deal from a real actual publisher that prints real actual books. We're all writers, and we've all thought about it. The blog-to-book path may be trickier to navigate than, say, self-publishing an e-book, but it's often THE logical next step once you've had success with your blog.

Examples:

SFGirlByBay

Design Mom

Digital products

The idea of passive income is really appealing: you create a compelling digital product like an e-book, a digital printable, an e-course, or a sewing pattern, to name a few examples. You write it once, you design it once, you film it once and you sell it over and over again without any further action necessary, apart from paying transaction fees or other e-commerce overhead. It's like free money.

Examples:

Elise Joy

Braid Creative's email subscription series

Teaching

You are an expert in something (or more likely, many things). Why not share your knowledge base with your community and get paid for it? Perhaps it's the specialized thing that you're blogging about (origami tutorials, creating a capsule wardrobe, your life as an illustrator--you fill in the blank here.) Or, it's the technical skills like mastering the Adobe creative suite photo styling that make you a pro at your work. With so many fantastic online education portals now on the scene (such as Skillshare, Creative Live, Atly, and Craftsy, to name a few) I have a feeling that teaching will be a huge area of expansion, especially as it overlaps with digital products. Some courses are filmed once and released as a digital product (hello passive income again!), others may require your ongoing participation in a live chat as online "office hours". And of course, there's always the kind that requires chalk, face-to-face.

Examples: 

Design Love Fest's Blogshop 

Design Sponge Social Media Workshop

Mentoring & Coaching

Mentoring is a way to share your expertise on a one-on-one basis. You can offer real value to someone who isn't as far along in their career as you, as you're offering your dedicated time and complete focus on an individual client. If you're sought after as an expert, you can charge real money with your clients. If mentoring remains a side project for you, you may need to be very deliberate with the number of clients you take on as this sort of work can involve a huge time commitment. Think of it as the opposite of passive income. It's about as active as you can get.

Examples:

Tiffany Han

Braid Creative (again!)

Events & Conferences 

You are all about your community and dream up ways of getting everyone together. Can you imagine throwing a fabulous party that doubles as a conference or a networking event and getting paid for it? Bloggers who are successful at generating income from community events have a knack for design and styling, are outgoing and friendly (you want to make people feel welcome and valued) and of course must have some serious skills when it comes to project management. 

Examples:

And North 

Blog Society

Brand collaborations

Collaborating with a huge, well known brand to design a product or collection--sign me up, right? Working on a project like this might seem out of reach but keep in mind: most bloggers who have caught the eye of a major brand aren't overnight successes, but have instead consistently created high quality content with a unique and singular voice. Oh, and they probably have a ton of followers. If you're not there yet, consider alternative ways of partnering with smaller brands you can stand behind. 

Examples:

Oh Joy

Babyccino Kids

Have you tried any of these strategies or side projects, or would you? What's worked well? Anything we've missed?

This post is the second of two that discusses blog monetisation. If you missed the last one, you can check it out here.

Rebecca Pitts is the founder and owner of Hudson + Daughter, an online shop that sells commissioned, handmade family treasures made of eco-friendly bamboo. She writes about running a creative business, making art for and with her daughter, and living in the Hudson Valley on her blog.

Photo credits: Unsplash

3 Ways to Use Facebook Groups to Connect to Your Audience

By Shannon Davis

Participating in Facebook groups specifically for entrepreneurs is one of the most successful marketing strategies I use for my business. I've signed on new clients, made friends with women doing amazing things and connected with affiliate partners through Facebook groups. But you can’t just spend time browsing around these groups and call it “marketing”. Here are my top 3 tips for utilizing Facebook groups successfully:

1. Be Genuinely Helpful

Don’t just read everyone else’s advice, weigh in! If someone wants a review of their new sales page, give it a look over and give your honest feedback. If someone asks a question about a particular software that you happen to be a wiz at, answer it and offer some tips. Please note, this does not mean that you should plug your products or services every time someone asks for help or a suggestion. In fact, never plug your own stuff unless it’s on a promo day. Offer helpful, valuable information and make real connections. People are naturally curious and will likely check out your page without any prompting. 

2. Be Easily Found

Since you've offered such super helpful advice, people will click through to your profile in order to check out your biz and what you’re all about. Make it easy for them to find! For the best chance of actually making a connection, either have your biz listed as your job with a link to your website in the description OR have a Facebook page for your biz and tag it as your job in your about section. Make sure they can find out more about what you do as soon as they land on your page. Don’t make people search for you or they will give up! I speak from experience here.

3. Participate

Most biz-related Facebook groups have specific days for you to share blog posts, promos, or even Twitter handles to connect on multiple platforms. Participate regularly in those days - and that doesn't mean just drop your link and hope someone clicks on it. Read through and comment on other people’s blogs. Tweet out for other biz owners (and be sure to tag them) to help get the word out about their biz. Most of the time, they’ll return the favor.

Your time is valuable, so make sure that you’re using your time in biz-related Facebook groups effectively! I guarantee that you’ll notice a big difference.

Shannon Davis is the online business manager extraordinaire behind The Empire Strategist. She began offering virtual support for entrepreneurs in early 2013, and rapidly grew from zero to fully booked in under 6 months, allowing her to leave her corporate job behind for good! Shannon uses her systems savvy and administrative expertise to take the behind-the-scenes operations of online business from shaken-up to supremely seamless. 

Shannon also enjoys exploring new cultures, putting her History degree to use by volunteering on archaeological excavations (where she met her fiancé) and diving into the chaos that is planning her destination wedding. You can connect with Shannon on Facebook or on Twitter.

Digital Bravery E-Course is LIVE!

The journey from taking a burning idea to a blazing reality is an incredible one. You're up, you're down, you question everything and then all of sudden the moment arrives and BOOM - you're ready to share that idea with the rest of the world.

So that's where I'm at today. For months I've been working behind the scenes to create a platform that would help empower others, that would take away the confusion, stress and fear that was holding them back from the confident, clever selves that I knew they where.  Talking about it here feels SO good and I'm sharing with you my worst kept secret - Digital Bravery is LIVE! 

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2014, many of us (myself included!) tend to look forward to the beauty of a fresh start next year. A time to make amends, start fresh, be bold and be brave. That's what Digital Bravery is all about. I want today to be the last time you feel lost, confused or frustrated when it comes to building your business or career using social media and digital marketing. I speak from personal experience when I say that looking toward the future with clarity and confidence is the best feeling in the world - and I want to help get you there.

So I encourage you to have a look and if you're wondering what to put on your holiday wish list maybe a little investment in yourself is just what the doctor ordered? It feels great to be able to talk about the course here so thanks for all the support that has come flooding in - I also didn't want you beautiful souls to miss out on the LIMITED time Early Bird offer.  Grab your space in class for a great discount - but it ends Sunday so don't delay. 

Ready for a fresh start? Then click here!