Product Development :: Discretionary Versus Strategic

Product Development :: Discretionary Versus Strategic

When you are doing product development, creating things like digital books, courses or even “real life” products, you need to know the motivation of your buyer to decide things like price, quality and the like.

I am creating a couple of products right now myself so I watched a really cool webinar last night by Chris Brogan and he put it in a way that immediately made a light bulb go off in my head, but maybe not the way that he thought it would!

Here are my versions of discretionary and strategic:

Discretionary is something that is not vital to your business or life. It is something that could fulfill some aspect, but you will not lose anything if you don’t have it.

Strategic is something that could help you achieve a goal like making more money or finding a mate and if you don’t have it then you really could be in danger of losing whatever it is. You might have to close your business or die a lonely death without anyone to love.

Discretionary Versus Strategic – Worldview

Chris BroganSo Chris’ thinking goes that in his world an ebook about Spartan Races in general would be worth less in price than something which was made to teach him something and which would have a measurable outcome like a menu plan or a training guide.

Note: Spartan racing is where a bunch of whacked out exercisey people run obstacle courses in the mud.

While his idea is great and what started this whole process in my mind, I think that we have to take a step back even further and ask what is discretionary and what is strategic to anyone in the first place.

I do not find anything about Spartan racing interesting so every bit of purchasing that would have to fall on the discretionary side of the equation, just because it has no value to me. So if you said that an ebook was $1 I would have the same reaction as if you said it was $100 or $1,000…no thanks!

So we have firmly established that Spartan racing is not a valuable use of money…HA!

Erin Condren Planner PageTrue confession time, I have a little planner problem. I have a online calendar that is neat and organized so that I don’t miss any appointments and which my assistant can see to schedule things that come up. But I also have an Erin Condren Planner that allows me to be creative, use washi tape and post picture of my little children in. That is a spread from my calendar.

To date I have bought the planner ($50), washi tape, stickers, a really super cute planner cover ($54), a bag that I didn’t like so abandoned ($30), and a travel case ($79) that would be good for lugging around all the stuff that makes my planner cool. I am probably bumping up on $200 in planner related spending. Don’t judge me…there are ladies who have spent THOUSANDS of dollars on their planner, they REALLY like them a lot!

While I would like to say it is not, this is TOTALLY a discretionary spend. I do not need my planner to run my life, I have a perfectly good (free) online planner that does the same thing, just more effectively.

So Chris’ worldview is that there are varying degrees of value to Spartan race stuff and mine is that calendars can be more than just a way of keeping track of time.

I think that is important and something to consider when you are building your products or services.

Chasing Rabbits

There is a saying: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian proverb

Hearing Chris talk about discretionary versus strategic made me think of WHO would find my ebook or course to be strategic or at least unbearably needed discretionary.

I am developing this latest round of products for listing agent Realtors. Because I know the industry, I know what type of people listing agents are and the hot buttons that will make the want to buy…but I have to go one step further.

Listing agents WILL lose their business if they don’t have listings, but they could figure out how to get listings on their own. So as I think about writing an ebook or develop a class, I don’t just need to think about how to market the product after it is done, I need to make sure that it contains things that I can use in the product description which will make it either strategic or discretionarily desireable.

This may not be revolutionary to you, but to me it really struck a chord and made me look at the things that I have purchased in the past and why I felt spending my money was vital.

It has shown me that making a book or course that will appeal to the masses will only result in chasing a bunch of rabbits around. Instead I need to think about the few agents who are so committed to getting more listings that they are willing to buy all my products.

It feels like niche marketing but at an even more specific level.

Find out more

While I love product development and marketing, teaching you how to make courses is not my thing, it is Chris’ thing so if you want to find out more, please check out his course on making courses!

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

Website design is one of the things that I accidentally know how to do. Back in 2001 when I officially started my marketing company (it was called 4D Marketing back then) I needed to get work and making websites seemed like it would be a great idea. I had a working knowledge of how to make them and a little bit of creativity and so BAM…I made HTML websites. Fast forward to 2008 and I started making blogs until today…the pinnacle of my website design happiness, I revised the look and feel of my website for the last time!

The Back Story

Okay, I am an entrepreneur and so I like to mess with my “stuff”. That said, I had made the last change to my website in haste, listening to a bunch of different people who said I had to be more “corporate” and “business-like” in my presentation. Because I was going through colossal sized changes at the time and didn’t have an idea for myself what I wanted, I went with the boilerplate, stuffy, stock photo extravaganza you see on the left. I sorta hated it…not just because it wasn’t pretty or fun, but because all that corporate-ness made it hard for my peeps to find anything they needed to use.

The rest of this post is about how I made the site of my dreams come true…:)

Updating Your WordPress Website

#1 Thing – Figure out the looks and feel

Big Stock Photo ExampleOne of the reasons that I can say that I am done changing my site, at least for a while, is that I took a fair amount of time to figure out exactly what I wanted my site to look like. I decided on the fun colors of pink, blue, yellow and green used in a “Garanimals” way. For those of you too young to remember, Garanimals were clothes that all matched if you put the blue bears together or the yellow lions.

The way that I did that was to pick a color palette already done by an artist onBig Stock Photo. I did not have to design the color scheme or banners that I used, I could just pull them down and pop them in. If you are working with a web designer, they will probably be happy if you can be specific about things like this that give them clues to what you like.

Photography. I also know for a fact that more women come to my site, watch my webinars and read my books than men. With that in mind I really just wanted to make sure that the majority of the pictures would appeal to women.

WordPress. I picked a Genesis theme that was close enough to what I wanted and then spent ALL my time developing graphics that would make the theme pop. The slider at the top has just 4 pictures but it is beautiful and eye catching. The sidebar has LOTS of color and I use the 8 little dots in a row to divide things all over the site.

#2 Thing – Stop Worrying About Looks And Start Worrying About Functionality

Having worked with lots of clients in the the past on their websites, I can tell you that they spend WAY too much time worrying about what goes where and how the search bar looks. Stop worrying about looks and figure out what you want your website to do!

While I was focused on making the site pretty, mostly I wanted to make sure that people could find what they were looking for. With that in mind I started the navigation buttons with the 4 types of people I work with, Entrepreneurs, Realtors, Startups and Authors, Speakers and Coaches. Niching down always feels funny and it did to me too! I like working with Manufacturers (a group that does need the “corporate” looking website to feel okay about working with me), but at the end of the day something has to go and they got axed.

Next comes quick links to my products. I had to cut some things there too so I axed all my services. No more setting up websites or doing social media, I am moving to a coaching, my products and affiliate based model (this was necessitated by adopting 3 kids so it was a happy change, but a change none-the-less).

There is also a link to my blog posts with categories. Now, I am pretty well represented in Google, but it doesn’t hurt to let people know how they can read your “stuff”.

Another thing I did was to take a page out of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income’s website and make a “Start Here” page. With all the blog posts and content I have on the site, it has to be crazy hard to understand without some sort of roadmap. Hopefully adding this page will reduce my bounce rate and keep people on my website longer!

#3 Set Up Consistency

I have built consistency right into my site. I have the little dots that separate the sections and am using just three different fonts predominantly (Times New Roman, Impact and Kabel).

Having this kind of locked down “style guide” structure means that I don’t have to worry that all the bits will start to look cluttered.

Additionally I did the “Garanimals” color scheme meaning that Pink is for Entrepreneurs, Blue is for Realtors, Yellow is for Startups and Green is for Authors, Speakers and Coaches (you can see this in the top banner). The nice thing about this is that I can use this in the handouts I give and the digital products I develop.

#4 Sell Something

Jennifer McGuire WebsiteOne of the BIG reasons I wanted to change the look and feel was that I need to be able to sell more effectively on my website. With the corporate look there wasn’t a way to elegantly add sales banners or calls to action at the bottom of the posts. With this in mind, I added two types of sales functionality that I “borrowed” from the world of scrapbooking ladies (I KNOW, weird right? But these gals are nothing if not dedicated to making their hobbies a money making machine!)

I used a gal named Jennifer McGuire’s site as a template for how I was going to structure my sales pieces. There would be a a bunch of sales items on the right sidebar (which sometimes people don’t see because of “banner blindness”) and also links at the bottom listing the resources that I used in each post.

Now, from a BUSINESS standpoint, I am sure some of you think that this is excessive. It really is just not done that blatantly usually. But that said, I don’t think of the scrapbooking girls “selling” so much as showing me how to do something cool and then giving me a handy-dandy way to order the products right from that post.

I feel that same way about the links I share. I NEVER talk about something that I haven’t used or bought and I just have to tell you when I find something cool, so why not make it easier for you to find it right away?

Conclusion and Question

So there you have it, the redo what’s and why’s. So I have a question for you! What do you think about providing resources this way? Tacky or helpful? Please let me know in the comments below!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Becoming An Expert – How To Pick A Niche Market

Becoming An Expert - How To Pick A Niche MarketBecoming an expert is easy. Simply know more than the people who you are talking to. The big question is how to pick a niche market to become an expert in…that is the rub!

I follow a gal who is simply amazing. She has been a hip-hop singer, waitress, coach, author, speaker, and many other things in her life and has somehow found a way to bring them all together in one magic bottle. Good on her! The problem for me is that she is telling other people that they can do the same.

Having worked with hundreds of small business owners over the years, I can tell you that most small business owners are not super clear about having products or services for one niche market, let alone trying to encompass two or even three markets. Entrepreneurs (like me) love the idea that we can do anything, be anything and accomplish it all at the same time, so this idea of multi-channel efforts sounds great.

Unfortunately for most of us, unless we keep our eye on the prize for one specific goal, for a fixed period of time, we veer off in all kinds of interesting and exciting shiney new directions, waking in a couple of months with a joy hangover but having not moved our business forward in any kind of cohesive manner.

Hopefully this post will help you to figure out a topic that you can become an expert in, and then give you some clear, concise steps to take to get you there.

Choosing A Niche Market – Go Broad

There is one school of though that say you should pick a giant niche that you can slice into chunks. I am up in the air about this one because I follow this model (somewhat). I want to be know for “marketing”. I want right of first refusal anytime you have a question about marketing, whether it is for coaching, which training program you should buy or whether I want to write a blog post about it.

That said, there are hundreds of kinds of marketing that I don’t know about/provide support for like Facebook paid ads, mobile marketing, local SEO, viral videos, enterprise level marketing, the list goes on and on.

There is no one I know who is an expert in every kind of marketing, or sports or food or any other topic. That said, what does it hurt to go that high level? Well…

For me to try to rank for the search term “marketing” on Google, I would have to beat out 441,000,000 competing sites like Wikipedia, the American Marketing Association, and host of other huge names. While that term gets 60,000 searches a month, how many of those are for something that is a kind of marketing that I don’t do?

Niche Market – Go Narrow

So what if I go narrow for a niche marketing term like “Customer Demographics”. It only gets 70 searches a month according to Google, but I get almost 2,000 web hits per month to the two main pages that I rank for this term.

That is some powerful Google mojo, but I am not a demographics or numbers kind of gal except as it relates to SEO and searches (then I can geek out with the best of them!) That said, it is a great place to promote my Marketing Strategy Workbook and a Perfect Customer Profile Ebook I wrote with a marketing partner.

Writing about “thin slices” of marketing like “customer demographics” and “choosing a niche” allow me to rank highly for smaller pages on my website which in turn leads to ranking more highly for my top term of small business marketing. Although I may never get to page one for that term, I will have a site that overall ranks highly for many key marketing terms.

Same Expert, Different Target Market

All that said, does that mean you can’t combine passions? Absolutely not! Just recently I met with a gal who was having trouble getting her nutrition business off the ground. She was battling all the other people out there pitching cleanses and eating healthy and getting no where.

We spent some time figuring out what her passions were in addition to nutrition and found out that she is a complete geek about doing nutrition (making her own meade and trying to understand the chemistry behind how a sourdough starter begins). She is a also a HUGE outdoor gal who would spend all her days cooking over a campfire if she could….BINGO!

We rebranded her with “Nerdy Nutrition” and her target market for many of her custom products is going to be for people who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while camping and hiking.

The neat thing about this is that if all Chris got to do was spend all her time outdoors, cooking and talking food with other wilderness people, she would be in heaven. When you can find a realistic junction point between your passions, you can really make some magic!

Marketing Your Niche

Okay, here is where the rubber meets the road. Marketing online and offline are much different animals. My offline “Marketing” persona is rock solid. My business card reflects that I am a marketing speaker, author and consultant.

Tara Jacobsen - Marketing Speaker

I speak locally and nationally about all kinds of marketing topics and am super happy with how well branded I am as a “marketing expert”.

Becoming An Expert Online

Online marketing is where you have to be super sure that you are presenting your best “face” forward. Your website and social profiles all need to line up and show that you are something specific.


You need to know what you want to be an expert for so that you can make your website reflect that. There are a number of different ways this comes across, overtly and more subtly.

  • About Us Page – Make sure your about us page states clearly what you are an expert in. I am huge fan of searching for experts in other fields and then modeling their about us page for your industry.
  • Speaker or Other Page – The cool thing is you don’t have to limit yourself to just one page. I have an about us page and a marketing speaker page. It targets marketing speaking and LOCAL Denver marketing speaking. The cool thing is that I get invited to speak at national events that are held here in Denver since they don’t want to have to fly everyone in and put them up! I have my domain name pointed to this sub page.

Social Media

One thing that I think people get wrong is thinking that someone is going to be looking for an expert using Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook (they might using LinkedIn). Instead there is a slow insidious process behind the scenes where they notice you talk a lot about your topic, then start to realize you are pretty smart, THEN they look to you as an expert.

Another thing that happens is that you get put on lists that other people use. For example I have a list on Twitter of Marketing People I like that is public. Other people have subscribed to that list and now they can follow the cool marketing people I like too!

It is vital that you take the time to figure out on each platform what constitutes being an expert. For example:

  • Twitter – You need to make sure that you have your industry hashtags in your description. Most people sifting through the sea of Twitter handles will look for a #marketing speaker, well before they will try to find a speaker in that mis-mash of humanity. Here is my Twitter description :: Taradactyl on Twitter.
  • Pinterest – You need to have your expert keyword terms at all levels from individual pins, to boards and onto your profile description.
  • Facebook – Facebook’s search capabilities are very limited so you will want to have a page with your expert status listed in the actual title if FB will one of your key marketing channels.
  • Google Plus - There is amazing search capabilities in Google+ so just make sure you have your expert keywords in your profile or page description.
  • LinkedIn - There are whole books written about how to have a great LinkedIn description. Here is a walkthrough of how I optimized my LinkedIn description “perfectly”.
  • Instagram – You may be surprised to see Instagram on the list, but this is hot up and coming network that is owned by Facebook. The key to Instagram search is hashtags so make sure to research those so you can rank well!

It is definitely worth taking the time to optimize your site and your social profiles when you are becoming an expert in a market niche! Each and every little thing you do adds up to help define you as your ideal profession so take the time to review all your profiles and make sure they are up to snuff!

The Benefits Of Writing A Book For Marketing and Sales

The Benefits of Writing A Book For Sales and MarketingWriting a book for marketing and sales purposes is one of the most impactful things that you can do for your business. I have written a number of marketing books that are currently generating money and opportunity for my business on a weekly if not daily basis.

An Instant Expert

Years ago to be an expert you had to have some kind of credentials. You had to attend a college or get a certification or be “knighted” an expert by someone in a position of authority or power. These days you just have to do the work to be an expert. You need to know and love your topic with a passion (and hopefully 10,000 hours of work towards mastery).

But just being knowledgable does nothing without sharing that knowledge with other people. When you write a book and put your name and reputation on the line. You are putting a stake in the ground and claiming your expert right.

The cool thing about this is that even writing is now about doing the work. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission, you can just start writing and then “voila” you will be a published author.

Easy Peasy Publishing

Getting published is no longer the un-overcomable challenge it once was. Back in the day you would have to write your book, print out a gagillion proofs, send it off to the big publishers and then wait for the rejection letters to start rolling in, possibly crushing your dreams of being a “real” author forever.

Today’s publishing landscape looks tremendously different.

Digital Books

First off you can publish in your own right using Amazon, iBooks or Kobo. Within 12 hours of hitting submit, you can have a digital version of your book online ready to start selling. This is how we have published all of our books and we have been super pleased with every one of them!

The ease of getting your words into the hands of readers using self publishing is an amazing gift that was never available before.

Small Publishing Houses

But what if you want a “book-book” to use as a business card or sales piece. I don’t know if there were always such helpful publishing houses in the past or if the competition from self publishing spurred the movement, but there are some really nice, helpful small publishing houses like Black Card Books who works with authors to help them publish and promote their books.

These smaller publishing houses are not going to be buying pages for their authors in the New York Times, but we do find that they are much more aggressive about actively promoting all their authors (not just the top 2 or 3 who make the bestseller list).


Writing books gives you authority and opportuntiies that are not available any other way. Just a few of the cool things that have happened because of our books include:

  • International exposure on webinars and hangouts from interviewers who found our books on Amazon
  • New clients who don’t have to ask if we know what we are talking about, we just send them the book and they understand that immediately
  • Speaking events because the organizer found our book online
  • An offer from a major publisher for a complimentary title to one of our books
  • So many more!

It is incredible what book writing can do for your sales and marketing efforts. If you are thinking about writing a book, stop thinking and just start it right now!

Denver Book Publishing & Marketing Seminar

Gerry Roberts Book Publishing and Marketing SeminarGerry Roberts, Best Selling Author and amazing speaker is coming to Denver, August 26th!

He will be here to talk about how to use a book as a marketing tool and income accelerator. Now, you know we are super strong believers in books and the ability of using a book to market different parts of our business.

Find out more >>

Authority, Branding and Niche Building, What Do They All Mean?

Authority Building, Niche Building and BrandingSo, we talk A LOT about Authority building (we even have a book out about it on Amazon!) That said, I think that there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about the difference between Authority building, niche building and branding!

Here is my take…


(the easiest so we will start there)

Branding is just “making your stuff look like your stuff”. The branding for Marketing Artfully tends to revolve around dark and gloomy with a hint of lime green. I have typewriter keys that have a dollar sign which I fell in love with a while ago and I use them in A LOT of my marketing. OH, I also use black and white photos more than color…just a personal preference!

Marketing Artfully AvatarHere is the avatar that I use for Marketing Artfully. It is the typewriter keys AND the logo, which is great for continuing that story!

Note: PLEASE do not make a picture your LOGO. A logo should be something that you could embroider onto a baseball cap. I have seen A BUNCH of people fall in love with something like the typewriter keys and never have a formal LOGO, LOGO for their business. Don’t make that mistake.

Tara AvatarThe next thing to think about is the branding for you! I use the “TARAdactyl” Avatar on sites like Twitter, and have spent almost 10 years branding her and making her a memorable thing.

That said, I think people are moving away from liking a brand and more onto liking people. Unless you are a hideous mountain creature with horns, your picture, taken by a professional is probably more than good enough for marketing work.

The other thing is that YOU have to love it. There is one gal on my news feed who I cringe when I see her picture (it is over processed and strangely cropped) but she is ROCKING IT so I love it too!

MandM AvatarBringing on other projects…so I am not just Marketing Artfully now! I am involved with writing and doing marketing courses with my buddy the Colorado Connector! When we were branding our shared project, I made sure that it was similar enough to what I had that I would not have to reinvent the whole wheel. As you can tell, I DO like that lime green color quite a lot.

Overall, when you are starting a business or a new product, you need a logo, a couple of key photos that you can use across your marketing and a really strong color palette. Think about green and dark blue and you think financial, think pink you head right for the ladies. Some of this is so simple that you will go DOH and be on your way to an amazing branding campaign!

Niche Selection

This is just as much fun as picking out colors and developing a great brand! Niche selection is like picking your favorite thing to eat on a surf and turf smorgasbord.

So going back to my business, I like MARKETING. Not social media, not video marketing or anything else cool and hip, just plain old small business and entrepreneur marketing.

Right now, without thinking about it, write down the first thing that comes to you that you like. Could be the law, could be healthy eating, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as YOU like it!

Note: Some people will tell you to start with a “hot niche” and work backwards from there. I am here to tell you, that is incredibly hard and after about 6 months you are sick to death of it and want to commit suicide rather than hear-one-more-word about your niche.

So you have a 40,000 foot topic that you like. How are you going to sell stuff? Niche it down even further. I like Real Estate Entrepreneurs and also Speakers, Coaches and Trainers, oh and people who run non-profits. So my three top words are “small business marketing”, “entrepreneur marketing” and “realtor marketing”. They have served me well and I am not even close to running out of things to talk about 8 years of this blog later!

Authority Marketing

becoming-an-authority-bannerBecause we just wrote a book about this, building Authority is top of mind right now. To me, building Authority can come after Branding and Niche Selection. When I started my two-year real estate practice years ago, I had ZERO experience, ZERO clients, but what I did have was a great niche, branding and marketing. While I am not a proponent of lying, Authority building will probably start before you are an actual authority in anything.

The other half of this is that no one will crown you an authority. No one made me “queen of marketing”…I just started studying it years ago and have put almost 15 years of constant focus on getting better and better at it! THIS is how you get authority, you reach out and grab it, taking ownership and not waiting for anyone else to give you permission!

Not to be too rah, rah, but if you have read all the way down here, you sure as hell need to figure out what you are going to be an authority in and get started! Building Authority is not hard, it just takes time and the sooner you start the sooner you will get there!

Guest Post Blogging – I was rejected by Social Media Examiner and I am okay!

Guest Post Blogging – I was rejected by Social Media Examiner and I am okay!Guest post blogging is the new black. Finding authority sites that will publish your works is as old as the hills, but has turned into one of the only true-blue ways to get backlinks that Google likes.

First Off, What Is Guest Post Blogging?

This is where you find a site that would have comparable materials to yours and offer to write a post. Sites like the Social Media Examiner even have a submission form where they review your current work and then let you know whether or not you will be a good fit. I was super excited the day they let me know they would consider one of my articles!

Next you submit (or they tell you) a number of different titles that would be interesting to their readers and write a post for their review. I worked with an awesome editor, Cindy King who seemed a little hesitant about my titles but in the end said the one about contacting authorities in the marketplace might work. I wrote the article in my somewhat quirky style, trying to remember that it was not for my blog, but needed to fit into their process. I got quotes from Chris Brogan and Seth Godin and included them in the post (they were both VERY gracious about sending me over great info!)

Pitfalls When You Are Guest Post Blogging

Okay, I should have seen this coming a mile away. While I do read and enjoy Social Media Examiner almost every day, I didn’t really scope out that they are more of a technical “how to” site than suits my style of writing. Also, they have very high end techy people who are excited about sharing the details of what to do, where I am more of a how and why kind of gal. It was not a good fit so I stopped trying to make my round peg fit in their square hole.

There is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with them, just we were not a good fit!

So not only should you make sure they are in your industry, you should make sure that your writing style fits their publishing style. I am thankful for the opportunity they gave me to try, but my time is better served by finding sites that do fit how I write and approaching them instead of trying to make my whacky bits fit their serious bits.

A couple of things…first off, if you are techy and involved in social media, I would recommend you sign up to see if you could write for the Social Media Examiner. They have a high class operation that is a pleasure to work with.

Second off, if you would like to read the article they rejected (which is VERY good if I do say so myself) it is below!

Exact Strategies To Connect With Thought Leaders In Your Industry

We have all heard it before, the way to increase your SEO and Social Media efforts is to piggyback on the authority of thought leaders in your industry. That is great for you and can only serve to help your efforts, but what is in it for them?

Experts in industry have spent a lot of time or energy becoming experts. They have written best selling books or gotten super advanced degrees in their field. They have spent years building up an audience of rabid fans and the outward manifestation of their hard work is the fact that they now “important” and everyone wants their time or attention.

In my industry (marketing) it is easy to think, “if Chris Brogan would just write a blog post about me and how wonderful I am, all my lead generation problems will be solved!”

But what would cause Chris (or any other thought leader) to notice you?

I know, you could send them a long email about your product and how it would be great for his readers! In it, you could enumerate the ways that your product will benefit his audience and how much money he could make if he just told everyone about it.

Sigh. Even on my small scale of notoriety, I am astounded about how many people will approach me asking me to use my authority to help them.

When you go about it this way, not only does it make you look ridiculous, but you may have blown a real opportunity to make a meaningful connection!

So exactly how should you connect with thought leaders in your industry?

I was reading the editorial guidelines for writing a post on the Social Media Examiner and they said, “Try and quote people: Expert quotes always add to your work. You can source these from blogs via email or by phone.”

Brilliant! I want to write for SME and they say to get quotes….I should ask some experts. Hmmmm, let’s try some best selling authors in the marketing field. Who do I know? or more correctly, who knows me enough to take time away from their busy day to help me?

1. Read their “stuff”

The first person I thought of was Chris Brogan (of course), a New York Times Bestselling author of books like The Impact Equation and Trust Agents. Chris has a newsletter that I read weekly on Sundays and email him back when appropriate. I also share his blog posts on my social media when I think they will help my audience, using the @chrisbrogan method of letting him know I shared it.

So I sent him a quick email (short is better, they are busy) asking if he could give me a couple of words about how to approach someone for a favor, this is his response,

“Often, what happens when people approach me is they come from what they need, what they want, what they hope to get, and usually, with very little to offer me or my community in return. They want my time, my thoughts, and my effort, but without really giving me much of a reason to participate. 

The people who get my attention tend to have actually read the last handful of things I posted (not the most recent because that’s an easy fake), don’t bother lavishing me with praise, do give me really simple directions for what they need, and do make the project easy to do. 

It’s not that we’re prima donnas and that we have gentle sensibilities. It’s that our inbox is full to the top with people asking for something. But if I can answer easily, or can participate without a ton of effort, I’m usually game. 

Just like this reply. ;)”

What to do:

  • Read their writings – I know this seems simple, but many authorities are AUTHORS, the whole point of their being is to have people read their works.
  • Buy their books and review them on Amazon – bonus points if you write a blog post about the book and point it to their Amazon sales page without an affiliate link!
  • Sign up for their newsletters and reply when there is something that interests you.

2. Follow and share their events

Another one of my favorites is Gary Vaynerchuk of Crush It and The Thank You Economy fame. Gary has a HUGE social network and I know that he cannot possibly see everything that everyone is saying about him, but he tries.

I have met Gary in person twice, first at a small little event he gave before he was famous and then at a local book signing when his second book came out. Both times I introduced myself as Taradactyl (my twitter handle) and he graciously said he recognized me.

I did not get a response back from Gary for this article, but that is alright. I am sure that he is busy with writing books, appearing on television and running his social media marketing empire.

What he has done in the past is ask for my help (by pre-buying a number of his books) in return for the promise of something cool. Nothing more specific than that, just something cool. What I got was a box full of samples, coupons, marketing gizmos and special offers just for “friends of Gary”. It was an amazing surprise and one that cemented even further my liking of him.

What to do:

  • Watch for them to have national appearances – just recently @GaryVee (his twitter handle) shared that he was going to be on Piers Morgan. I Tivo-ed it and was able to reference that in my request to him!
  • If there are videos from their TV appearance, share them with your networks.
  • Go to their book signings – again with the Author thing, they need people to show up!
  • When they do have an event, share it with your social network – bonus points if you Instagram a picture of you with them from the event.
  • Set up a Twitter list or a Facebook list so you can check daily to see if they have a new offer or something of theirs that you can share.

3. Show your support

It is really easy to think that a personality has enough other people to help that you don’t need to jump in. Before his last series of books came out, Seth Godin did a campaign to raise money and to show his publisher there was support for a book that he intended to write. His goal was to raise $40,000 and ultimately what was raised was considerably more than that.

Seth Godin - Kickstarter Campaign

One of the best parts was the opportunity to support Seth and get a HUGE book of over a quarter million words of his blog posts printed out. From the Kickstarter site, it looks like just over 2,000 people took advantage of getting the “big book”.

Now that it is here and popular, more and more people are wanting to get one. This is the key, support them before it is cool to, not after everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon!

I emailed Seth to ask him “about the best way to approach a best selling author without being a jerk about it?” and this is his reply,

“The best way to approach someone in demand is to not approach them! In general, this feels like a shortcut, but it’s not. The opportunity is to create your own sphere of influence, curate your own content, lead your own tribe… it might take longer, but it doesn’t put you at the mercy of the delete key.”

What to do:

  • Show excitement about their work – this is a great video done by a fan about opening Seth’s book (Rex Williams, the man who made the video has almost 5,000 views on this video and personal links from Seth from his Squidoo lens).
  • Buy what you can afford – someone without the means to purchase one of the big Kickstarter campaigns, could have accomplished a similar level of enthusiasm by buying the smaller book, doing a YouTube, reviewing it on Amazon, posting about it on their blog and generally blanketing the airwaves with it.
  • Pay it forward before you attend one of their events. We are attending a conference that Jay Baer will be speaking at. We have contacted him and asked his best social media links to include in an unofficial guidebook we are making and he was happy to share the best ones with us. – update since I wrote this, we also wrote a post The Trouble With Email Marketing – A Shoutout To Jay Baer and Chris Brogan after seeing his keynote and he commented! YAY!!

Isn’t This A Little Mercenary?

With all the setting up Twitter lists, subscribing on Facebook, sharing on the Google+, doesn’t it ever feel a little icky stalking your target influencers?

Two things to think about here, 1) if you are working in an industry you love, they are probably on your radar anyways and 2) this is not about figuring out what they can do for you, it is about supporting them! Yes, there is a point when you might ask them for something, but I have found more often than not, they ask me for something.

Gary Vaynerchuk tweet

Of course I answered Gary and said I would buy some books to share and would be happy to evangelize what he is doing. Did that cause an equation to happen [answers a mass call on Facebook] + [requests a quote for article] = [gets the quote].

Do these tactics always work?

Nope, this time GaryVee was too busy to help. But next time he might not be, or he might have an opportunity that is too small that he could recommend me or my company for or any number of other good things that could happen because I am being nice.

If you think more about helping others than what they can do for you, oftentimes they will come through in the end!

What is your best tip for getting thought leaders in your industry to notice you?

Authority Marketing – Branding and Launching Authors, Speakers and Coaches

Authority Marketing - Branding and Launching Authors, Speakers and CoachesAuthority marketing is my absolute favorite kind of marketing. This is where we take a person and help shine a light on their business, brand and products. Sometimes this takes the form of information marketing (like online classes courses or ebooks), but mostly we are working with authors, speakers and coaches trainers to leverage their interesting-ness to grow their networks and database so they can sell their stuff, get rumps in chairs for events and generally get amazing opportunities because of who they are.

So how does one go about conducting Authority Marketing?

Step 1 – A clear message

First off, you need to have a clear sense of your areas of skill and expertise. Many of you may be working with a business or success coach and we LOVE that because it means you have taken the time to plan out your message, developing a clear sense of your strengths and have put together information about your business.

For speakers – while I would love to tell you that you can make a great living by speaking alone, today’s world demands that you have a following BEFORE someone will have you in to do a keynote AND that you have a back end of products or services that you can sell as a followup income stream (more about that later).

For coaches – coaches come in all shapes and sizes and may not have to be AS visible to the general public. For coaches the key is to be very high profile for your target audience, whether they be on social media, at trade shows or in other venues where you customers go, which leads us to…

For authors – having a published book (or two) is a powerful driving force and this is your sweet spot. Having put pen to paper and written a volume of work, you know your message and are ready to sell it and yourself to the marketplace.

Step 2 – Knowing EXACTLY who your target customer is

Too often I find that authors, speakers and coaches want to be everything to everyone. They have a message that they think will translate well across a multitude of industries and they want the world to know what they are doing. Hmmmm, that rarely works. There are very few people who are universally loved and hired. It is best to have a group in mind so that you can do a targeted, cross platform campaign to reach decision makers in your chosen field.

For speakers – This one can seem weird to speakers. Say you talk about time management, well that could apply to business as well as consumers like Moms who need to organize their homes. What you need to think about is who has the money to pay for a $5,000 keynote address or $1,000 a day business speaker. It is better to target organizations and channels that have the money and inclination to hire speakers.

For coaches – This is a hard one because it is about positioning and making sure you are giving great guidance for your clients. In my industry (marketing), coaching is less about hand holding them through a new brochure and more about helping them craft a message and develop products. That said, most of them think they need branding help or to do a new media kit. You need to make sure your message is about what they want to buy and then your coaching is filled with that but also what they NEED.

For authors – Now this is where it gets a little trickier for authors. On the internet, oftentimes people are not looking for what your title or genre is, they are looking for help. So you need to talk about and be found for the SYMPTOMS of what ails them. In my world, I talk about writing a good email subject line, and then segue them over to using our email services if they are overwhelmed.

Spreading your message

So now we get down to the meat of it. Authority marketing is about growing big networks, growing your database, creating raving fans and generating sales leads and prospects. So how do you do that? Here are but a few ways that you can start to build your internet city…

Speakers and Coaches - Internet Marketing HubA blog – if you are still on the fence about having a blog, as a speaker or coach you have to get off right now. Sending out regular bits of information into the interwebs is the only way to generate the kind of linking potentials that you need to make a dent in the vast amount of data out there. We recommend posting at least twice a week with keyword targeted posts.

Facebook – Some of our speakers and coaches think that they can “do the Facebook” and leave it at that. Mostly that doesn’t work for a myriad of reasons, foremost being that Facebook changes the rules frequently and makes it impossible to put together a cohesive and long term strategy. What works today may change tomorrow. That said, as a speaker or coach, you need to be out there as a profile (person) as well as a business page (also of your person, but with the functionalities of having a bigger following).

Twitter – Twitter is my absolute favorite for lead generating speaking events. I have been hired more from Twitter than from anywhere else! That said, it is just a part of my overall online persona and believe me, once they see my 140 character tweet, they then do a search for all my other internet real estate to get details.

Google+ – Oh the apathy that humanity has for poor little Google’s network. To the general population, Google looks like it is a loser, to marketers who understand universal search, it is a gold mine for sharing content and generating page one links.

LinkedIn – In some instances LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for generating speaking leads and clients. The blessing and curse of LinkedIn is the time that has to be spent talking one-on-one with people either in messages or groups. The leads you get are great, the reach you achieve can be very small.

YouTube – You must have video. Within a couple of years initial contact with your brand is either going to be through a video or a picture. I joke that if someone finds my blog first I am toast because my 1,500 word articles will drive them away. That is why I have videos that show some of the info and then drive them back here for more information. Now, I have recently started being in the videos more, but if you have a face for radio and want to do videos, it will be okay too!

Pinterest – Darling of the social media world now, Pinterest is great for presenting your pictures, sharing quotes, socializing and is a MUST DO so that you can take advantage of what is still an early adopter advantage. Growing a following on Pinterest is still relatively easy as people are looking to make friends, in a couple of years that will not be the case!

Blog commenting – Attracting the attention of decision makers becomes easier if you are actively commenting on their information. In addition, blog commenting is a great way to generate some traffic to your blog.

Guest posting – If you are going to be an authority, one of the most effective ways is to offer to guest post great content for an already recognized industry leader. You should have a plan in place to contact and follow up with guest posting opportunities.

Minor Sites – Gone are the days when you could have a one site internet empire. It is important to have diversification of your message across multiple internet properties. One that comes to mind in this category is is Seth Godin’s Squidoo which does not have the SEO love that it once did, but which is great for promoting books, courses and digital products. Another, for our speakers, is SpeakerWiki where you can post your speaking credentials.

Database – all of this spreading the word is nothing if you don’t have a marketing database to capture you leads with. You need one that will allow forms for multiple product sales funnels, some sort of payment processing system, and the ability to send digital deliveries and autoresponders. You need to write followup messages that sell and inform and set up a bi-weekly email newsletter to stay top of mind for your followers.

Authority Marketing Wrap-up

So now you are set to start taking over you social media empire, here are a few final tips:

  1. Don’t try to be perfect, just be you. There are going to be a lot of people telling you how many times you have typos or bad videos. There are going to be people who disagree and who are disagreeable. Just maintain your grace and your personality and you will be fine.
  2. Don’t try to make it happen all at once. You cannot grow a stable internet city by throwing man-hours at it. You can’t buy likes or followers, well you can but now there are tools to see that you did and it makes you look like a schmoe. Google, Facebook and the rest can tell if you are growing slowly and consistently over time or if you have just dumped a ton of content and money in. Starting a new blog, could be a few months before you will get any Google traffic (no matter what those make money online guys say!)
  3. Get help. Seriously, this is a full time job in and of itself. While I am a HUGE proponent of you doing your writing and videos yourself, the day to day following, liking and friending is better done by someone who knows what they are doing. We spend about $10,000 a year in training and attending conferences just to keep up with the latest techniques.

Thank you for reading! If you are a personality (author, speaker or coach) who wants to make a name for themselves, please give request a Free quote and we will get back with you lickety split! If you are a coach or trainer with clients who need to build these kinds of cities, please give us a call to find out about our partner programs! (727) 505-5384