Articles by Lynn Swayze

Articles by Lynn SwayzeCopywritingStorytelling

The Disney Secret to Better Sales

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The Disney Secret to Better Sales

Almost everyone loves Disney.

The stories…

The fun…

The magic….

Disney is hard to beat in terms of notoriety and success, wouldn’t you agree?

And of the three elements mentioned above, I believe their most important piece of the puzzle has to be the magic.

The magic is what makes people buy.

They want to believe you have a magic wand who can solve all their problems.

And they want to believe it’s as easy as pulling those crisp greenbacks out of an ATM.

Yet as entrepreneurs, we forget about the magic.

We’re so entrenched in our own systems and processes and industry knowledge that it’s become stale.

What is mesmerizing to others is just sleight of hand to us.

And we forget to include the magic, the curiosity, the wonder.

Instead, we get all boring with our marketing. We leave out the magic in our process. We forget to let the buyer believe there’s magic.

They know magic isn’t real.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to believe anyway.

So let’s feed their desire to believe, even for a little bit, that you have the magic solution.

Give your process a sexy name – a unique mechanism – and make it your magic spell.

Give the problem a unique name, too – the villain you must heroically help them defeat.

And then like Ursula painting cauldron pictures, paint their ideal life in the copy.

But remind them of the barely adequate doldrum of a life they have now, too…

… so they’ll want to get back to the land of magic as soon as possible…

… preferably, with credit card in tow.

That’s what needs to happen in your marketing, especially if you’re a consultant.

And if it’s not, let’s talk.

 

 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeMarketing Funnels

You Wrote a Book. Now What?

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So, I’ve been reaching out to consultants with books this past week to test some new cold outreach training I have.

And I’m surprised (not in a good way) at the number of books I’ve found on Amazon where authors:

  1. Don’t use their book to grow a list
  2. Don’t have a website listed ANYWHERE in their book
  3. Have no post-book offer (e.g., bonus resources, free videos, etc)
  4. If they have a website, they don’t have FUNNELS, e.g., book funnel, lead magnets, webinars, etc.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they’re probably not using their book in a shock and awe package to prospects, to book podcasts, or to get a foot in the door on TV.

If your book ISN’T making you money, the reason is the above. Books are ideal for consultants, and to go to the trouble of writing one and then NOT take advantage is kind of silly.

If you’re a consultant who HASN’T written a book but are thinking about it, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Write the damn book. If you need help, contact Rob at http://anspachmedia.com/ or check out Bob Bly’s “Write and Sell Kindle Ebooks for Fun and Profit”
  2.  When you write it, include a BONUS OFFER in the front area, back area, and back cover. See Dan S. Kennedy’s “No B.S.” books as an example.
  3. Use that bonus offer to grow your list of qualified leads, because anyone who’s going to spend a few hours with you on your book topic is going to have the problem you solve.
  4. Sell products and offers to that list. Email daily.
  5. Use your newly published book to get in front of other people’s traffic, such as on podcasts, guest posts, speaking engagements, and YouTube.
  6. Use the book in “shock and awe” packages to prospects you really want to work with. Think $10K+ accounts. What’s $15-$100 to mail a package when you get $10K back? No brainer!
  7. Give an extra copy of your book to clients to give to a friend as a “gift”. Include a free consultation call with you inside the book.

That’s really it. If you’d like help designing a strategy around books, or to write the funnel copy, you know where to find me. Simply email hello@lynnswayze.com to start the conversation.

Here’s to your health, wealth, and abundance,

Lynn Swayze

P.S. There’s a way to do this with fiction too. 🙂

P.P.S. Bob Bly has a lot of resources, including a course on becoming a six figure consultant. Get them all here.

 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeCopywriting

Viagra for Copywriters

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Every once in a while, I come across copywriters who can’t “get it up” for clients.

That is, they can woo the client into working with them.

And they can promise the moon and come up with a big idea.

But actually writing the copy?

That’s when they wilt faster than a stalk of lettuce on a hot summer day.

I’ve seen copywriters spend weeks… even months… trying to hammer out copy that should only take a week or two with the right process.

Heck, it used to be me. 🙈

I’d beat myself up because I believed I was a *terrible* copywriter.

(Despite loads of praise, DATA, gobs of training, etc… )

And then I’d never get anything done because I was AFRAID of failing (because obviously, terrible copywriters fail. Ugh).

And while now that belief is gone thanks to Erin Pheil at #Mindfix, I want to share a workaround that helped me get through the self-doubt obstacle course.

It’s like viagra for your copywriting.

What the workaround does is basically trick your mind by giving you RITUAL. And by going through the ritual, you let your subconscious take over and before you know it, copy starts flowing out of your brain like water out of a rock.

To pull this Moses magic, here’s what I did:

  1. Found/created systems that helped me gather all the puzzle pieces.
  2. Found/created systems that ORGANIZED the puzzle pieces.
  3. Built the damn puzzle.

 

It’s that simple. ☝️☝️☝️☝️☝️

 

🔥 Systems that help you gather the puzzle pieces (research):

– My “11 Marketing Factors” template (lynnswayze.com/11factorsfree)

Todd Brown‘s E5 System

– Pre-Copy Checklists (Clayton Makepeace has a good one in his speedwriting course)

Kevin Rogers (CopyChief) notecard method

– Robert Planks’ Speed Copy Program

 

🔥 Systems that help you organize the puzzle pieces (structure):

Todd Brown E5 System

CopyHour Training

– Joe Schriefer’s “Copyboarding” training

John Carlton Simple Writing System

– Robert Planks’ Speed Copy Program

Colin Theriot ‘s copy templates

 

🔥 Systems that help you build the puzzle (write/edit):

– John Carlton’s Simple Writing System

– Copy Hour Training

– Clayton Makepeace’s programs (Quickstart, etc)

Bond Halbert “Copywriting Method Part III” book on editing

Kevin Rogers – Copy Chief– get advice on your copy after it’s been written

– Copy mentorship, like with Trevor ToeCracker Crook or Pete Godfrey

 

To organize it all for myself, I made a “copywriting grimoire” I can go through… like my own personal textbook of all the things I’ve learned and want to remember when I research, structure, write, and edit copy.

It helped me tell myself, “OK, I went through all the steps. This is going to be good copy.”

Which let me:

  1. Write better copy.
  2. Write faster copy.
  3. Have more confidence in my copy.
  4. Get better results for clients

Of course, nothing beats eliminating your 🐒 mindset monkeys 🐒 with the help of Erin Pheil #Mindfix , but if you can’t do that now, then try this.

Let me know how it goes.

Here’s to your health, wealth, and abundance,

Lynn

Articles by Lynn SwayzeMarketing Funnels

The Death of Marketing

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I have a secret to share about marketers.

In truth, you’ve probably noticed it yourself, because you’re smart.

You caffeinated enough for this?

So, marketers do this thing which is meant to FLIP your current beliefs and PERSUADE you to buy.

I call it the “Option Narrowing” approach, but I’m sure there’s a name for it.

Here’s how it looks:

“X IS DEAD!”

(Insert: emails, direct mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, social media, blah blah blah…)

When you see that, you know that the marketer is getting ready to pitch some niche service using a specific formula… probably at a high ticket cost to you.

Almost always at a high ticket cost.

It annoys me because it’s not true.

I mean, it’s effective, don’t get me wrong. But it’s falser than the eyelashes on Dita Von Teese.

The truth is that marketing is like MATH.

I’ve said this a million times to clients, and I’ll say it again:

Like tumblers in a lock, everything opens up for you in marketing when all the elements are in alignment.

If it’s not working, there’s a piece missing. Keep going. Keep tweaking.

Marketing works when you are…

🔥 Reaching your buyers where they are now…

🔥 Attracting them with messages they want to hear…

🔥 Validating their concerns…

🔥 Presenting them with a solution…

That’s when they’ll buy.

The “Marketing Trifecta” works no matter the medium. Attract, Indoctrinate, Convert.

So attract with a Facebook ad…

Indoctrinate with a VSL or webinar…

Convert with the sales page…

Boom.

Or attract with the blog post…

Indoctrinate through the opt-in and emails…

Convert with the sales page…

Up to you. Again, you’ll want to use whatever is in alignment with WHO YOU ARE (your persona) and who you’re attracting (your person).

It all works IF you’re doing it right.

If you want a resource for building an even better marketing campaign with all the right “elements”, head to LynnSwayze.com/11FactorsFree.

 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeClientsPersona

The 7 Clients You Attract When Your Mindset Monkeys are Running the Show

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Confession time:  People tell me I have a ton of confidence and that I’m nice and empathetic.

The truth is, a lot of that comes from having a sucky life and learning everything the hard way.

Like, scarred for life kind of life. Molested, raped, neglected, broke, homeless, family law drama … been there, done that, got the tee shirt. 🙈

And what happens when you’ve had that kind of life is that until you get your 🐒 mental monkeys 🐒 in order, you’ll attract all kinds of narcissists, energy vampires, and abusers into your life.

While I DEFINITELY saw this in my love life…

I ALSO saw this in client relationships too…

And the experiences cost me hundreds of thousands in lost work and a whole boatload of misery and self-doubt. 😭😭😭😭

Over the years, I attracted just plain terrible clients who took advantage of me.

Or on the flipside, I attracted good clients but created bad working relationships because I wasn’t doing authentic work and living authentically. 🙁

Either way, the whole point of consulting – great results – didn’t happen as often as I would have liked.

Which is why, I think, almost every expert and “guru” you talk to will recommend books and mentoring on MINDSET before they recommend ninja tactics, strategies, or tools.

Tools are useless until you can actually USE them.

I’ll share my own mindset resource recommendations in a moment.

But first, let’s talk about the 7 types of clients you attract when you aren’t your authentic, powerful self (and the 4 you attract when you get your ducks in a row):

👉Actually Broke Brenda
This type of client is actually broke, and expects free work. They will give you the biggest sob story about how bad off they are, but when you give them advice, they don’t implement. Or if they pay you, they’ll nickel and dime you for every ounce of work you give them. This person is likely to not launch or launch waaayyyy later than originally planned.

👉Fake Broke Billy
This client insists they’re broke, but they actually aren’t. So they’ll give you the same sob story and how broke they are, and often negotiate percentage deals. However, they aren’t broke… or at least not as broke as you. (For example, I once had a client give me a sob story about how they were broke… and then they put $20,000 on a credit card, including paying other venders four figures to do less work than I was doing.) This person is likely to not launch or launch waaayyyy later than originally planned.

👉Narcissist Nancy
This client makes everything about them. They expect you to respond to every call and email within minutes, drop every other client, and devote yourself exclusively to them and their project.

👉Boundary Pushing Pete
This is the type of client who’ll hire you for one thing, and before you know it, you’re running everything and working waaaaaay past scope.

👉Multiple Personality Mary
This type of client doesn’t know what they want and can’t let their inner visionary chaos stop for a day. So they’ll change everything as soon as you’ve built it, including their business name, lead magnet, and core offer… only to leave you having to redo it all to keep up.

👉Sexual Harasser Harry
This client will start off slightly flirty, and then fall into sexual harassment at some point. You’ll get the nagging suspicion they hired you just to be able to fantasize about sleeping with you.

👉Forever Failing Frank
This client seems to figure out how to cause every business and marketing strategy to fail. Doesn’t matter, it doesn’t work for them. This person seem so fail at everything they do, and will gladly blame you for their latest failure while insisting if only you’d tried harder, you could have saved them.

And of course, here are the amazing clients you’ll come across when you are authentically YOU and build your marketing so you attract ideal fit clients consistently:

👉Inspirational Ingrid
This person is doing really amazing work… and their work is likely to change you in the process. This client is changing people’s lives and probably changes yours more than you change theirs, while insisting that isn’t the case. They pay well and respect your time.

👉Go-Getter Gary
This client is a BEAST. They have big dreams and they follow through, just as they said they would. They will implement what you say, move forward decisively, and launch on time.

👉Perfectly Reasonable Ron
This person is neither amazing nor terrible. They’re simply reasonable to work with. They pay well, show up, and respect what you have to say. They are, as the name suggests, reasonable people who get reasonable results.

👉Amazing Outcomes Oliver
Finally, there’s the knock-it-out-of-the-park client. This client gets BIG WINS and of course, provides an amazing testimonial/case study for future clients. They’re just great to work with.

And of course, YOU become a better consultant when you embrace your authentic expert status, because not only are you attracting great people who need help, you’re attracting those who’ll get GREAT results with you, which in turn makes you a better service provider because you’re only working with great people who’ll actually show up and get results.  (#Win-win for everyone!)

If you’d like some help figuring out the whole “how to be an authentic expert” part, don’t worry. I’m offering my free, uber concise guide to the 11 components you need to have in sync. It’s available now. 

P.S. If you’d like to upgrade your mindset so you can SHOW UP and GET RESULTS, here are a few resources:

  1. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
  2. Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey E. Young
  3. Anything by Dan S. Kennedy
  4. #Mindfix Consulting with Erin Pheil

 

Articles by Lynn SwayzePersona

Whose Rules do Experts Follow?

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“Don’t talk to me about rules, dear. Where I stay, I make the goddamn rules.” – Maria Callas

In Wild Women Talk Back : Audacious Advice for the Bedroom, Boardroom, and Beyond by Autumn Stephens, Maria Callas gave that quote in regards to her controversial personality and performance.

You see, Callas achieved fame at a time (in the early 20th century) when women were slim, slim, slim… yet she was overweight and audaciously confident in herself. Even when she slimmed down to meet public standards, she continued to act in defiance of cultural norms of the day.

(Such as being a “diva”, dating extravagantly rich men, and cultivating a persona worthy of the celebrity she was.)

Much like Mae West, Callas called the shots and won big in return.

She was called a “genius” and “magnificent” and “goddess” by her peers, even as she skirted the rules and failed as a singer by some people’s standards.

She had magnetic presence caused by living her life, her way.

What does this mean for us as consultants?

It means that in order to sell as effortlessly as possible, build your tribe, and enjoy the work you do, you need to be ruthlessly in congruence just like Mara Calla.

The persona you adopt as an expert should be in alignment with the person you’re trying to sell to and the package you’re selling.

And when you have ruthless authenticity and put all the pieces in alignment with your worldview (YOUR rules), you sell.

Not your clients rules. Not your peers rules. YOUR RULES.

Your business, your way.

And if people don’t like who you are and the world you’ve created? Well, they can find someone else.

People are attracted to leaders with the courage to be authentic.

Only insecure, commoditized non-experts try to water down who they are to fit the mold.

Experts do the opposite.

Will you have detractors? Oh yeah.

Will you push some people away? I hope so.

But will you be the PERFECT SOLUTION for others? YES! YES! YES!

That’s what you’re likely missing if you aren’t selling as much as you’d like as a consultant, you’re likely missing this type of ruthless authenticity and ultimate congruence.

If you’re not sure where to start, then, I have the solution for you.

I’m giving away my Concise Guide to the 11 Marketing Factors absolutely free.

In this short PDF guide, you’ll discover:

  • The 11 factors which must be in congruence if you want to build effective marketing campaigns for your consulting business
  • What each of those factors means and how to define them for yourself
  • How to put it all together into a concise statement to give to your marketing team

Claim your copy now. 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeScale Fast

How to Get Unstuck So You Can Scale Up – FAST

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One of the biggest obstacles faced by my prospects and clients is the inability to free up time to do important work necessary to scale. So often, the solopreneurs who’d most benefit from foundational scaling steps – documentation, delegation, and productization – simply don’t have the time to do it! So they’re stuck not because they have a bad business, or their clients or bad, but because they’ve put themselves in a no-win situation they can’t seem to break free from.

If this sounds like you, then what you’ll read today may quite literally transform your life. In this article, I want to share with you the gameplan for getting “unstuck” so you can finally move forward and SCALE UP.

Why You’re Stuck and “Out of Time”

First, we need to be clear on why you’re stuck. If you’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed, it’s likely because you are what industry leaders call a “Visionary”, “Quickstart”, or “ADD Entrepreneur”. Simply put, you have entirely too many clear-as-day, full-color, rock solid business and project ideas than you can implement in any moment. For you, it’s probably hard to “give up” any one of these ideas and focus on one. Focusing on one means giving up the 2, 5, or 10 others which are perfect and ready for market. What if someone steals the idea? What if you pick the wrong path? What if you COULD do both? These are the ideas which pass through the mind of the visionary entrepreneur. Unfortunately, this is a no-win trap. Instead of guaranteeing you’ll bring one big idea to life, you hold on to two or three and successfully build none of them. Until you realize that one is better than zero, you’ll stay stuck in this no-win situation.

Step 1: Take Stock

For many of my clients, especially the “overpromisers”, their time crunch isn’t real. That is to say, the crunch is entirely in their mind or was created by their desire to please. Let’s say you’re a service provider who consistently has “everything due at once”. Do you think it’s truly possibly that everything is always due at once, or that you prefer that type of setup so you can consistently prove that you’re a failure? Let me repeat that: “Is it possible that you are consistently ‘too busy’ because you like being in no-win, guaranteed failure situations?” This is huuuuuuuuge.  If you continually set yourself up for failure, it’s possible that the deadlines really aren’t that severe… or if they are, there’s wiggle room. First, it’s going to be necessary for you to talk to the client and set a more reasonable deadline that doesn’t leave you rushed. If you speak to each of your clients, you’ll probably find that most are reasonable and happy to get a higher quality product even if it takes a little more time. The ones which aren’t are the ones you will need to prioritize and then not work with again. Once you’ve negotiated your deadlines with your existing clients, your next actions are multi-fold. First, rigorously remove any extra distractions and work keeping you from working on the most important items. Then, work on items one at a time until completed. Don’t worry about what isn’t due now, and don’t schedule 10 tasks for yourself in a day. Work on one or two in a day and be done… but make progress. Remember, one thing  done is better than NOTHING DONE. Then, moving forward, make sure that you always give yourself buffer room when taking on new projects. (Step 3 will help, so keep reading.) If you do these well, you should finally have some free time to work on growing your business.

Step 2: Focus

The next step is to focus on the one core business, offer, and avatar you’ll focus on. This supreme focus is the core idea behind my “11P Marketing Formula”, which says that you need to have all your pieces in alignment to sell the ONE PRODUCT to a SINGLE AVATAR. Because let’s face it, you’re likely out of time because you’re doing things like…
  • Working on too many projects of varying types and sizes, so nothing is standardized
  • Recreating the wheel every time to speak to a prospect, so you have to use up all your creative energy to deliver a product or service
  • Taking on too much “extra” in the form of training, “side projects”, creative work, etc which doesn’t relate to the building, selling, or delivery of your core offer
  • Over-promising what you can do while also engaging in the previous two activities
  • Under-charging for what you do, so you constantly feel the need to “sell more” to make up the gap
You will never be free until you focus your amazing creative talents into ONE CORE IDEA. No more doing 10 projects at once, running 3 businesses at once, or tailoring your product for each and every person. (Note that there is a way to have a custom product offering, but you have to sell a different way. We can talk about that on a call if you’re interested in learning more.) So right now, write down all your ideas and pick the one offer which has all of the following characteristics:
  • Is an offer which can be “productized”, scaled up, and has a portion of work which can be delegated to others
  • Is an offer which has a higher ticket price (e.g., over $1000 each sale)
  • Is an offer which fits with your valuespersona, and long-term vision for your life and career. Are you happy being known as the person who does this thing?
  • Is an offer which has had success in the past, or which people consistently ask from you or are particularly happy with
  • Is an offer the market actually wants and which can be sold relatively easily
The next step is to productize that one core offer.

Step 3: Productize

The third step, once you have time and have narrowed your work down to one core offer, is to productize that offer. “Productization” is when you take a complex service and standardize it into repeatable tasks, deliverables, and timeframes so that it’s as consistent as a product. This is important, because productizing your service is what will allow you to scale by documentation, delegation, and automation. If you’re a visionary-type solopreneur, expect to face a lot of internal resistance about this step just as you probably did with the previous step. I find that even when solopreneurs are able to focus on one business, they then try to complicate things by adding multiple product lines. DO NOT DO THIS. Stick to ONE BUSINESS and ONE CORE OFFER you can do well. It may take a bit of repositioning and playing with what you do until you can productize it, so give yourself a few weeks. For example, let’s say you’re a copywriter who writes lead magnets. You could say that you write lead magnets, but that’s not very sexy or productizable. Instead, you could productize on something like, “Guaranteed Lead Generator”, in which you perform a consistent set of steps to give the client a lead magnet funnel which grows their prospect database. Now, you have something which you can estimate more effectively, schedule appropriately, and delegate portions of without a lot of headache. Remember – you want to GET OUT OF THE CONSISTENT “BUSY-NESS” CYCLE YOU’RE IN. Productization solves that problem beautifully. One warning: It’s very, very easy to make this way too big. For example, the first time I launched my “Scale Fast System”, I had over 100 deliverables and was charging 1/10th the fee I should have. It was a no-win situation for myself and my clients. Now, I’ve cut it down to the most efficient and effective components necessary for my clients to see success. So it’ll be good for you to continually check yourself by asking, “Am I creating a no-win situation or guaranteeing failure?” Your natural inclination is to overwork yourself to please, which is why I suggest that when in doubt, reduce your offer deliverables and raise your price. 

Step 4: Know Your Why

The fourth step is to know your way. I previously wrote an article on this topic, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Basically, you need to figure out if you’re in business to experience freedom, have an impact, or grow a community. Which “type” you are will determine how much effort you put into each of the “5 areas” of business growth – documentation, delegation, automation, optimization, and conversion. You can read that article here.  Below, I’ll simply give you generic advice suitable for any of the types to help you get “unstuck”. These should only be undertaken once you’ve done the previous steps of taking stock, focusing, and productizing.

Step 5: Document

The next step to getting unstuck is to document what you do. That is, document the core activities and functions of this offer. What does the offer entail? Who is the best client? What does the client project look like from start to finish? What are all the deliverables? Only when you know these components can you document, delegate, automate, and optimize what you do so you SCALE UP.  So you’ll want to at least list… and then write or record… the following:
  • What are the components of the package you sell?
  • What are the deliverables?
  • What are the client journey steps from start to finish? (e.g., welcome call, research, writing, training, offboarding… etc)
  • What information is needed from the client?
  • What are all the tasks, both internally and for the client? (e.g., invoicing, adding the client to a project management tool, filling out a research document, etc.)
  • What do you find yourself teaching the client each and every time? For example, I teach my clients the 10/3/1/90/1 methodology each and every time. (This is one area you’ll automate, so you can spend your time on fostering the client relationship.)
Note: if you find that this is WAAAAY too much to document (we’re talking hundred+ docs), then your offer is likely too complex to start with. Scale it back and then revisit the list. Once you have the list, document it. Do it by text, video, whatever you can at first. I offer my clients a template for SOPs for this. I always suggest that you make the person filling the role responsible for maintaining their role’s documentation.

Step 6: Delegate & Automate

Finally, you’ll delegate the tasks you’ve documented and which are “low level”. For example, you could hire someone to invoice the client, send the welcome email, add them to the client portal, perform basic research, etc. You can also delegate other tasks, like checking and answering your emails, scheduling meetings, and sending clients basic information. You can even outsource the sales process. You’ll also automate what you can. I find that the best places to automate are things like:
  • Sales emails and lead magnets (templates)
  • Client-facing welcome emails and project messages
  • “Theory” trainings that used to be delivered one-on-one each time
  • Onboarding questionnaires
  • Invoicing and invoicing follow-ups
  • Prospect nurturing (e.g., email automation)
  • Content Marketing (e.g., my “Marketing for a Year” blog and social media process)
That’s it! From there, you’ll find that you’re able to have more time, earn more revenue, and get better results for your clients all at the same time.
Articles by Lynn SwayzeScale Fast

Know Your Why, Scale Your Business

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Houston, we have a problem. Joe (name changed to protect his privacy) was knee deep in client work. His schedule was more jam packed than a clown car and Joe was STRESSED. And even worse, he had to maintain this monumental pace in order to take home desired income of $20K a month. “I just can’t keep up!” he complained one day over coffee. I nodded sympathetically. I’d previously helped him find more money in his existing contracts, so I was acutely aware of the time crunch he’d put himself in… and knew this was the next obstacle to tackle. “What do you suggest, Lynn?” He asked. I’m sure he was hoping for a quick fix would solve all his problem. In truth, I had several rolling in my head. But in order to give him the right solution, I had to know something important. Truth is, it’s this “something important” that’s probably keeping YOU back, too, if you’re stuck at the $250K point in your business. The question I asked him is the same I’ll ask you now:

What kind of business do you want in 3 years?

It seems simple, right? Yet the answers could vary widely. For example, I had one client who wanted to stay a small team. He wanted to have flexibility and money without having to work more or manage a large team. His goal was closer to $300,000 a year, which he wanted to maintain without adding too many team members he had to manage. He wanted freedom. Another client of mine wanted to grow to a humungous organization with a headquarters, several business lines, and millions in revenue. He wanted the full CEO experience, complete with the layers of formality, job roles, and HR departments. He wanted to have an impact. And our pal Joe? He just wanted a team of 10-15 who formed a tight-knit group who could get work done. He wanted to grow past $1MM in annual revenue and he wanted everyone to be well compensated and involved in the company’s vision and direction. He wanted community.

Growing and scaling each of these businesses requires very different foundation steps.

For the first one, I’d keep process documentation to a minimum and instead focus heavily on focused productization and optimization, keeping his visionary chaos tendencies to a minimum, and increasing the value of the product so he could increase the price. For the second, I’d focus heavily on preparing to scale, including writing extensive SOPs and documentation, scaling team members by specialized role, and hiring with role growth in mind. For the third, I’d modify the second approach to help him build a business that could be profitable and feasible with a smaller team. One size does not fit all when it comes to scaling a business… and anyone who says otherwise is simply shoving their business model at you. If you’re stuck, it might be because you either don’t know where you want to be, or are using the wrong business model for your growth vision. Think about the three why motivations – community, impact, and freedom – and determine which you really want before you hire that next person or begin that next company overhaul. And if you’d like some help discovering where you’d like to be, contact me today. We can have a quick 15-minute deep dive into your vision and goals, and identify exactly what your next steps should be. Simply contact me to get started.
Articles by Lynn SwayzeScale Fast

3 Operations & Project Management Mistakes Solopreneurs Make

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I regularly work with “solopreneur” and small team entrepreneurs who are building laptop lifestyle, remote-team business, often in the consulting or coaching space. And what I find is that these entrepreneurs make the same three mistakes when it comes to project management for their businesses. Fortunately, they can be avoided with the right system and team, but only once you’re aware they exist. 

Mistake One: Confusing Operations with Project Management

The first mistake I see solopreneurs make is that they confuse operations with project management, and apply the same habits and planning (or lack thereof) to both. 

Confused about the two? Here’s a handy way to tell them apart:

  1. Project Management is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product, service, or result
  2. Operations are ongoing activities you need to do every day to run the business (accounting, client management, product/service fulfillment, ongoing marketing)

For example, launching a new marketing campaign is a project. Regular social media updates are operations. Client work can be operations or project work depending on how your business and product/service are structured. The pace, skills, and requirements for these two areas can be vastly different. Yet most of the time, I see solopreneurs try to hire one person who can somehow magically:

  • Manage the internal operations and day-to-day functioning (reporting, meetings, keeping CEO on task, internal ops management)
  • Manage the internal projects (marketing campaign, building a new website, etc)
  • Managing the external client projects (touching base with clients, doing client work)

… all while somehow avoiding burnout on a $15/hour pay grade. 

It just doesn’t work. 

In my Scale Fast System, I always recommend entrepreneurs start by hiring specialists, even if it’s part-time at first. So, you hire an internal project manager whose only job is to manage the internal projects. Or an external-facing Client Engagement Manager, who can help clients move through their project with a single point of contact. Or a Marketing Manager, whose only job is marketing. Or an Accounting Consultant, whose only job is invoicing and end-of-month and taxes. And so on and so forth. 

You can have a business where new projects are rarely done, however you can’t have a business where there is no operations. 

The ability to have one but not the other further illustrates that operations and project management are not the same function in your business. Treating both as the same thing, and then assigning those tasks to the same person, is a recipe for disaster. Which brings me to mistake number two…

Mistake Two: Reactionary as Status Quo

The second operations and project management mistake I see is that entrepreneurs act as if being reactionary is the only way to function. They’ll run around like headless chickens trying to get it all done, as if someone’s pointing a gun to their head and demanding they move faster.

Yet often, they’re the ones who make the unreasonable deadlines to begin with. I can’t tell you how many solopreneurs I talk to who say they have no time, yet when you press them, you find out they promised an unreasonable project deadline to the client they knew they couldn’t fulfill. Or they said “yes” to a project they could have postponed. Or they gave themselves some other unreasonable constraint. 

#ProTip: There is no good reason to continually create no-win situations for yourself.

Instead, find time to STEP BACK and FOCUS.

For my clients, this means creating a quarterly “Deliberate Direction” plan with me and taking at least a day to plan projects in advance. It means taking time each day to work on the 3-5 tasks which are most impactful, and letting tomorrow worry about itself. (Something we achieve with my “One Page”.)

It means foreseeing problems and fixing ineffeciencies, rather than constantly fanning the flames.

Here’s the thing: eventually, this constant doing leads to profit loss (either front-end or back-end) or burnout. So it’s really, really important to find some way to get out of this rut ASAP.

There’s no reason to let things get that bad! By taking the time to step back, BREATHE, and plan for growth, you’ll finally be able to have the “work life balance” you deserve… and scale your business the way you desire. 

Mistake Three: Ineffective Project Management

The third mistake I see solopreneurs make is that if they do have project managers on board, they’re wholly ineffective. The CEOs do this by:

  1. Hiring for inexperience. I can’t tell you how many people I see thrust into project management roles with no training or experience in that role. Often, this is their “right hand”, often an assistant or intern turned into project manager. Let me be clear: what makes a good “administrative assistant” is a very different skill-set from what makes a good project manager. This tendency usually results in sloppy processes and haphazard project documentation. (Which means, nothing gets done.)
  2. Dual doer and manager. The second mistake? They have the person managing the work also do the work. DON’T DO THIS. Separate the roles when you can, as soon as you can, because these are two separate jobs. 
  3. Paying too little. See #1, and now add on that in many circles in the online “internet marketer” communities, these poor PMs are paid as little as $15 an hour. Expect to pay at least $25, if not $125, for a truly competent Project Manager. Paying $50 an hour is a good start. (Again, you shouldn’t need “full time” when you’re beginning to scale up.)
  4. Disregarding the Project Plan/Deliberate Direction. When I work with my clients, I have them create a Deliberate Direction document which plans out the quarter’s projects which are to be completed on top of operations and client fulfillment. The biggest problem I see is that CEOs decide last minute to add some new project… or stop another already started project… or even completely change the company vision … in the middle of a quarter. At its most benign, I see a lot of surprise changes. “Oh, we hired this person,” or “we just bought this tool”… any of which could completely change the requirements, scope, risks, and assets available. Instead, let the quarter run its course before you change plans, and let your project manager do their job. 

What other mistakes do you make or have you seen being made by solopreneurs? What advice would you give? Comment below to share. 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeMarketing Funnels

Lead Magnets 101: What they are, how they benefit you, and 18 different types to grow your business

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This is part 2 of an ongoing series called “Marketing 101”. In this series, we’ll discuss common direct response marketing lingo and break it down so it actually makes sense. In today’s article we’ll discuss “lead magnets”, or the basics of using a free “lead magnet” in your marketing funnel. 

What is a Lead Magnet

If you’re here, it’s likely you’ve heard of the term “lead magnet” and and to know more. You may know it’s needed, but what is it,  exactly? 

According to MarketingTerms.com, a lead magnet is: “A specific deliverable that is offered to prospects in return for contact information, typically to join an email list.” 

More specifically, they go on to say that: “To be a lead magnet, an offer must be specific and short-term in nature. A lead magnet can be though of as something that “sits on the other side of” an opt in form, just waiting to be triggered. This is the opposite of vague promises to join a newsletter and receive unspecified content at an unspecified time.” 

As a direct response marketer, one of the main tools in the toolbox is a lead magnet. It’s often one of the first marketing assets I build with clients or the first set of assets I recommend. That’s because lead magnets are so useful for identifying your ideal prospect, attracting him/her to your business, and nurturing them until they purchase from you. 

Benefits of a Lead Magnet

As mentioned, lead magnets are immensely valuable in growing your list of qualified prospects for your business. But that’s not the only benefit of going through the lead magnet building process. Here are a few more benefits of creating lead magnets for your business:

  • Helps you define the wants, needs, desires, and “psychographics” of your ideal prospect
  • Helps you identify where your ideal prospects “hangs out”, so you can reach them
  • Generates a value-first asset your sales people can use to generate interest (such as on LinkedIn)
  • Targets a specific portion of the population who has the problem you solve
  • Gives you an “open door” to nurture the prospect via email, mail, or phone, because the prospect as specifically requested to hear from you
  • “Proves” that you know what you’re doing as a consultant or information marketer by providing proof of your value up front
  • Grows your email or mailing list of highly qualified prospects
  • Contributes to you earning more revenue in your business
  • Serves as the start of your multi-step marketing funnel

With these benefits, it seems silly to avoid using lead magnets to grow your small business.

Lead Magnet Examples

Lead magnets are everywhere. To prove it, let’s look at a few examples so you can learn how to spot them “in the wild” for yourself. 

Ecommerce

Here’s an ecommerce example from a retailer selling a unique “gap-free” shirt for women:

A lead magnet example from the-shirt.com

The lead magnet here is the free coupon, which I can only claim when I exchange it for my email address. In ecommerce, lead magnets tend to come in the form of coupons, giveaways, and free samples. 

Note: Paid samples (such as miniature perfume sets for $10) are an example of a tripwire offer.

Lawyer / Legal Firm

Here’s another lead magnet, this time from a lawyer.

And another legal example of a lead magnet at play.

Executive Placement Firm

Lead magnets exist in all industries, especially B2B. I’ve written white papers for executive placement firms and have found that their preferred lead magnet is the white paper or special report. Here’s an example of a special report (“guide”) from Parker-Lynch.

Copywriter

Here ‘s an example of a copywriter using a lead magnet. (For some reason, finding copywriting lead magnet examples was difficult.) Here’s one from copywriter Abbey Woodcock.

Marketing Agency

Here are a few of the lead magnets we’re using as of the time of this writing. You’ll notice that each is designed to solve a specific problem or answer a specific question or provide a specific set of information. And each requires exchanging information (e.g., an email address) to get the resource.

Each of the lead magnets posted above lead to an opt-in form, which puts the prospect on an email list or into a prospect database. From there, prospects should be followed up with by email, if not also by mail and phone. Of course, reports, e-books, and white papers aren’t the only type of lead magnet. There are at least 18 different types to choose from.

18 Types of Lead Magnets

There are at least eighteen different types of lead magnets you as a business owner can test to grow your database of warm, qualified leads.

Ebook

An ebook is a digital version of a printed book, oftentimes created to be digital-only. Ebooks serve to make great front-end lead generators, because they offer significant value to prospects who want to learn more while also positioning the author as an “expert”. Make sure you follow up with prospects who download or purchase your ebook.

Print Book

Print books are another, more traditional type of lead magnet. Print books work well with the “free + shipping” funnel model. As with the ebook, make sure you follow up by mail and email with your prospects.

Special Report or Guide

A special report is a written lead magnet which is information yet sales-focused. For example, a copywriter might publish a lead magnet addressing the “5 Myths of Email Marketing”. This guide should reframe a prospect’s understanding of a situation, and then “sell” the prospect on the solution. Special reports are written in both the B2B and B2C space, however are not as respected in some circles as the white paper is.

White Paper

A white paper is a written lead magnet most often used in the B2B space. A white paper is generally 7 to 20 pages in length and features a set structure, such as executive summary, problem statement, solution statement, body, conclusion, and call to action. White papers are generally “information first”, rather than sales-focused. White papers should be as impartial as possible and cite references. White papers work well as front-end lead generation tools. 

Webinar

A webinar is a type of video-based sales presentation that generally lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. According to Digital Marketer, webinars are “middle of funnel” lead nurturing tools, rather than “top of funnel” front-end lead generation tools. Webinars are also often delivered automatically as an “evergreen” webinar.

Masterclass

A masterclass is a type of webinar, often longer in length, such as a “3 hour masterclass” that teaches a process more in-depth. Often, the masterclass has less sales elements than a traditional webinar. I’ve seen Masterclass funnels used effectively as part of LinkedIn prospecting. 

Shock and Awe Package

A “shock and awe package” is something I first learned about from Dan Kennedy of “GKIC” fame. A “shock and awe” package is a direct mail package you send to prospects when they requires more information from you – such a s a report plus a book, newsletter, and special report. Or some other group of gifts that pique their interest and encourage them to respond. 

Quiz or Survey

The survey/quiz is more popular than ever thanks to Ryan Levesque’s popular “Ask Method” program.  His method,

“[T]urns passive readers into active participants – and is a powerful way to get your prospective customers to provide information so you can:
1. Pre-qualify every user who takes your quiz as a lead based on how they answer.
2. Ask certain questions to find out key buying signals.
3. Put each lead into special buckets and receive custom messages.

https://www.riddle.com/blog/ryan-levesque-ask-method-quiz-creator/

Surveys are a great way to encourage engagement while also getting valuable information from your prospects you can use to group your prospects. That way, you can create targeted messaging and offers that will appeal specifically to the different segments.

Checklist

love checklists as lead magnets. They’re easy to consume, provide actionable value, and encourage implementation of information. They’re also very easy to create. Checklists are useful for consultants and best placed as a CTA to blog posts or as a giveaway in a webinar. Here’s an example from the Indiana Direct Response Marketing site and from LynnSwayze.com:

Cheat Sheet / Infographic

If you can’t figure out what to offer at the end of a blog post to transform it into a mini-funnel, you can always create cheat sheets and infographics of the content. This gives people an opportunity to download and save the information in a usable format. Obviously, make sure there’s a call to action to take the next step and follow up with prospects several times by email.  Here’s a great example from Pat Flynn:

Audio Interview

One of the less commonly used lead magnets (at least anymore) is an audio download. I’ve seen audio downloads (or CDs, or MP3s, or transcripts) most often in the form of an interview. So a consultant will interview another expert (ideally, one the prospect respects) and offers it as a lead magnet in exchange for opting in to an email list. 

Free Sample

Free samples are another example of a lead magnet. Free samples are most commonly used in ecommerce businesses to boost retail sales. For best results, follow up with prospects after they’ve tried the sample you send them. 

Free Trial 

Yes, the “free trial” IS an example of a lead magnet. Free trials are used to sell SAAS subscriptions, membership sites, magazine subscriptions, and membership programs to generate more sales and identify potential buyers. Trial lengths last anywhere from a certain number of sessions to weeks and often require registration or an exchange of information, including credit card information.   

Email Mini-Course

This lead magnet type combines the educational value of a course with emails, giving you a foot in the door in people’s inboxes. For best results, keep the course at less than 5 lessons and deliver them anywhere from once a day to once a week, and feature a call to action at the end which sells your core product or service. Here’s an example of a mini course based on email marketing from https://ariel-lim.com/ .

Example from https://ariel-lim.com/ 

Free Newsletter

An uncommon yet effective lead magnet is the free newsletter. This can be mailed to prospects for less than $10/year and work well to generate leads and referrals. Or you can offer a paid newsletter, as we have. To learn more about newsletters and how to write effective print newsletters, check out Shaun Buck’s “Newsletter Pro” book.

Catalog or Price Guide

Another type of lead magnet is the catalog or price guide. Catalogs can be printed or digital, however usually require the prospect to exchange their personal information in exchange for the catalog. B2B businesses would benefit from a price guide, especially if many prospects call asking for a quote. This allows you to build a database of qualified leads your sales team can then follow up on. When you build these, make sure you have special offers and a call to action built in. 

Coupon

As you saw above with the-shirt.com, a coupon is another great lead magnet idea, especially if you’re in the e-commerce and retail space. You can either offer a specific percentage off or a specific dollar amount. Some utilize an app that “randomizes” the special offer, which adds a touch of “gamification” to the whole process.

Case Study

The final type of lead magnet you can try is a downloadable case study. A “case study” is basically a long client testimonial written in a story-based format. To do it well, you’ll want to highlight your clients’ struggles before working with you, their experience working with you during their project, and then their after results. Use images, quotes, and quantifiable data when possible. Here’s an example of a downloadable case study from PAYJO.

How to Position a Lead Magnet

If you download my Lead Magnet Checklist, you’ll see a section which asks you about the positioning of our lead magnet. The positioning is simply how you approach the lead magnet and the qualities the lead magnet has. 

A great lead magnet, at least in my mind,  has the following characteristics: 

  • It solves a single, specific problem the prospect has
  • It provides a single, specific solution to the problem
  • It contains a benefit-driven title (obviously, indicating the problem previously mentioned)
  • It looks professionally produced, so as to be more trusted and respected by your ideal prospect
  • It has a built-in consumption mechanism, that lets prospects immediately implement what they’re learning from you
  • It has a call to action to the next step or upsell 
  • It logically correlates with your core offer

When I see lead magnets fail, they either miss one of these core components OR they lack fully optimized lead magnet marketing assets, which you’ll see in the next section.

Lead Magnet Marketing Assets

When I work with clients, they’re often surprised I can come in and rattle of 5, 10, or even 20 copywriting assets which need to be built for a marketing campaign. I want to reveal those assets right now, so you’ll never be surprised when a marketing consultant does this for you. 

A good lead magnet campaign contains all of the following marketing assets:

  • An Advertising Mechanism (FB Ads, email to your list, banner ad, etc)
  • An Ordering Mechanism (lead magnet opt-in page, squeeze page, form, etc)
  • A Delivery Mechanism (e.g., download page, download email)
  • Stick Letter to Frame the Delivery (lift note, download email)
  • Ongoing Marketing (follow-up emails, letters, messages)
  • Retargeting Mechanism for those who don’t opt in (retargeting ads, etc)
  • Follow-up Tripwire or Core Offer (upsell offer, call to action)
  • Ongoing Marketing for different offers (keep marketing!)

If you’re looking for a way to get more sales and grow your business, or if current marketing efforts are growing stale, then it’s probably time to try a new lead magnet. If you already have a written lead magnet, try a different modality (such as video or audio). Or if you have a video lead magnet, try adding in something written. And if you want help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lynn’s “Lead Magnet Checklist”

Checklist

I’ve created a FREE lead magnet checklist to help you make sure you have all the pieces required to create an irresistible lead magnet to grow your email list and provide value to prospects.

It’s yours FREE – simply sign up here to claim your copy.

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