Optimal Morning Routine

Do you really have to get up before the sun to have a great morning routine? No! In today’s episode, I’ll tell you the real key. 

I asked my network which activities were critical to their morning routines, and wow, the response was overwhelming. Instead of trying to detail every activity, I noticed a few themes. Those themes are what I address in today’s podcast episode. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

Today, we’re going to talk about the optimal morning routine, which can be something different for everybody. So I asked my network on Linkedin and GirlBoss what a critical part of their morning routine is. 

It’s Not When, but How

This is important because, according to a video Mel Robbins posted on Instagram, it’s not when you get up, but how. So don’t worry, I’m not telling you to get up 4 o’clock in the morning, although that is what I do sometimes. 

She said it was how you woke up. That’s a critical distinction that’s really important, and it’s one that I’ve always held onto. Let’s say you work a swing shift and you don’t start working until 2. Well then, you don’t need to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. You’re in control of your morning, and you have the opportunity to do the activities that set you up for success. 

If you don’t have 4 children running around in the morning (like I do), and you can get up at 8 o’clock, and still be in control of your morning, then get up at 8. Do it if that’s what you need to feel rested and be at your best for the day. 

Common Themes in the Responses

Something I noticed was that there were some common themes in the flood of responses that I got. If you also answered any of those questions and you’re listening to this episode, I really appreciate it. Thank you. 

Mental Focusing

One of the first things I noticed was that people liked doing some sort of mental focusing activity. 

Meditation, Prayer, Reflection, and Journaling to Start the Day

For some, that was meditation, prayer, or reflection on things that made them grateful. One of the more actively mental things that came up a lot was journaling, which is something I wish I did. For a lot of people, it’s just 5-10 minutes of getting their thoughts out of their brains and onto the paper. That can really do a lot for you. 

Especially first thing in the morning, when you’re still in touch with your dream/creative side, and you just want to word vomit those things out. Journaling is also one of the things that all the most successful people in the world do. 

Planning Out Your Day

Another thing that’s really great for you to do is plan out your day. This is something I put a lot of emphasis on. 

I pick my top 3 priorities for the day. I need to get these 3 things done and if I do, then yay! I try not to beat myself up too much if I don’t get them done, but you’re supposed to identify the top 3 priorities that will move your business forward. 

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re listening to this, there’s never a day when you get everything on your to-do list done. It’s just not happening. You will reach a point where it’s good enough. Some days we feel like we’ve gotten a lot accomplished and we’ve checked off a lot of things on our to-do list, but that’s not what these 3 priorities are about. 

When you plan out your 3 priorities for the day, it’s supposed to be critical activities. If you have a virtual assistant or something, your top 3 activities should be ones you can’t delegate. They should be the things that you have to do. If you can delegate them, then you should do so, and then find a more critical activity that you have to do. 

Physical Activities to Jump Start Your Day

There Are Countless Ways to Exercise

The other trend that I noticed was doing something physical. A lot of people exercise, which can be done in various ways. I’m not going to unpack that one, but you could be outside, inside, doing yoga, weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, etc. 

Doing anything physical is good for you. I think this is important because, if you’re an entrepreneur or you work from home, you work remotely. It’s really easy to put those things off to the side. These days, what enables many of us to work from home is the computer. 

Right now, as I’m recording this, I’m sitting, and sitting is not the best thing for you. Some people have standing desks and things like that, but the inactivity that many of our jobs and businesses force us into isn’t good for our health. You didn’t start your business to be unhealthy or make your life worse. 

Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Exercise is also something the most successful people do in the morning. I used to be a personal trainer and a fitness competitor. Sometimes, I’d spend 2-3 hours, 6 days a week in the gym, depending on my training cycle. You could do as little as 10-20 minutes of exercise, maybe break it up throughout your day. It’s great for your brain and mood, so go accomplish something physical! 

A Glass of Cold Water

Another thing a lot of people mentioned is that they would drink a glass of cold water first thing in the morning. I have to imagine that’s a shock to the system, and it’s probably very effective! 

Drinking Coffee or Tea

Other people mentioned that they drink coffee or tea. I’m a tea person myself. I really like that cup of coffee or tea in the morning! I can kind of relax before my kids get up. So that’s a part of my routine. 

Immediately Wash Your Face

Something that came up a lot in the GirlBoss community was that some people wash their face immediately; their alarm goes off, they get out of bed and wash their face. I feel like this has a similar effect to drinking the cold glass of water. It kind of shocks your system wakes you up, and then your face is already washed! 

Do Not Check Your Phone

This was a common tip, which I’ve decided to be more firm with myself about as well. Do not check your phone before you’re done with your morning routine. Don’t check social media, don’t check any notifications. 

Apps That Limit Your Social Media Time

It would probably be better if you couldn’t even see the notifications. In my case, my Do Not Disturb is on, but there are also apps that will lock your other applications for you. 

I don’t want to make it sound like all of us are addicted, but sometimes you get on your phone, you’re looking through it, and you’re suddenly like, “What was I even doing?” And you’ve already clicked on a social media just out of habit. That’s what I’m saying! 

You can download an app to help you snap out of it, “Oh, that’s not what I actually meant to do. I wasn’t meaning to check Linkedin right now.” There are apps that lock your phone for a certain amount of time, as well as help remind you of your actual goals. 

So a big key to keeping your morning routine on track and keeping your mood high is not checking your notifications. Just last week, I checked my notifications when I woke up, I saw something that I wasn’t happy about, and it put me in a bad mood for a good portion of the morning. That was before I had gotten through my routine, and I wasn’t prepared to perceive that as soon as I woke up. Whatever it is, it can wait until you’re done with your morning routine. 

Customize According to Your Own Needs

Your morning routine might take 15 minutes or 1 hour, but just make sure you structure it so it sets you up for success. What this might mean for you is mapping out a few activities and doing them for a few days, seeing what fits, seeing what makes you feel, seeing what doesn’t. 

And if it doesn’t work, then you can always swap out the activities that you’re not pleased with, and try out your new routine for a few days. Everybody needs something different. There’s always going to be a lot of variety, and you’re always going to have something to recommend. 

However, an optimal morning routine puts you in the right mind frame, no matter what you’re doing. 

What Business Are You In?

What business are you in? What industry are you in? With all of the disruption and innovation going on in practically every industry, you can’t afford not to closely examine your answer to these questions. Marketing myopia is real, and here’s how it affects every business, no matter their size or industry. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

This morning, the question I want you to consider is: what business are you in? That might be a bit of an odd question, but I don’t mean what your business name is. Usually, this question can also be restructured as: what industry are you in? I promise that it’s not as easy of a question as it sounds. 

Marketing Myopia 

So today we’re going to be talking about marketing myopia. Myopia is the term for nearsightedness. Marketing nearsightedness or business myopia may also be a good term for this. 

The Railroad Industry’s Downfall 

The classic example is the railroad industry. Basically, they thought they were in the railroad industry or the industry of transporting people via trains. 

But one of those definitions was the key to their downfall. For the most part, the majority of those companies weren’t in the railroad or train industry. They were in the transportation industry. 

If they had positioned their businesses as such, they could have easily invested in other modes of transportation. This is because they wouldn’t have been a train company, but rather a transportation company. That wouldn’t have been odd at all. 

Amazon vs. Banks

Business myopia also keeps companies from being creative and innovative. Why? Because you’re focused on the way that you and your competitors do things. While you may iterate and make certain things better, you’re not necessarily looking for brand new ways to achieve your goals. 

The perfect example of this is banks and Amazon. Amazon has positioned itself to be able to provide loans to small businesses, further integrating themselves into these small business operations. 

Obviously, this is fantastic news for the small businesses who sell through Amazon. Not only does Amazon have the marketplace, but they also have the logistics to function as a 3PL for these businesses. And now, they want to be able to offer small business loans to these companies. 

Banks haven’t necessarily changed the way that they do things. Obviously there’s a reason why they do things the way they do, but they haven’t looked at it the same way Amazon does. 

The Blade and Razor Analogy

I was reading an article on HBR and they were talking about the blade and the razor. The blade is like your primary business mechanism, and the razor is anything that you do to add to the effectiveness of your blade. 

In this case, when banks give out loans, that’s the blades. For Amazon, it’s the razor. Amazon doesn’t even have to be perfect to make it successful. 

Amazon vs. Tech Companies

Another example would be tech companies and Amazon. I know; it always comes back to Amazon. The reason is that Amazon doesn’t appear to have myopia at all. 

Tech companies weren’t regarding Amazon as a serious competitor. However, now Amazon is competing for one of the biggest tech government contracts the United States has ever had! It’s a $10 billion contract for cloud-focused services and products. Amazon has just a couple of competitors left, at this point. 

Amazon vs. Logistics Companies

Another one is logistics companies and Amazon. Logistics companies keep saying the Amazon is not a competitor, and I guess that’s what they feel like pretending. But what we’re looking at is Amazon adding another razor to make the blade of their business more effective. 

What Is Amazon’s Industry?

Their industry is basically customer happiness and satisfaction. That’s what we’re seeing. You could see it in Amazon’s publishing, their ownership of Audible, eBooks, the Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Prime. On top of that, they also create all of their content. 

They’re basically in the industry of customer happiness, and the rest of these businesses need to catch up. You have to shift your focus to how you can best serve your customers. 

Web Design and Mobile App Design

When you look at web design, it’s huge. But mobile app design is also big. Now, businesses that wouldn’t have considered having a mobile app just a few years ago, feel like it’s critical to have a mobile app. 

So if you’re a web design company and you only do web design, that may work out for you in the way that being a specialist can work out for you. But if your business is creating portals through which customers and businesses can interact, then mobile app design would not be a reach at all. 

Through the Lens of Your Ideology and Values

You have to focus on how you can best serve your customer, and pair that with an examination of your ideology and values. 

We talked about discovering your ideology, values, and purpose midway through season 2. When you examine your business through the lens of your ideology and values, new opportunities become apparent and present themselves to you. As long as you have your business blinders off, it allows you to look outside your business and industry, and see what the possibilities are. 

So my business is structured around content, currently primarily written content, but we’re seeing the increase in podcasts and video. I intend on defying the status quo and keeping up. 

Amazon as a Source of Business Myopia

I just want to add a caveat to this entire episode just because I brought up Amazon. Oftentimes, Amazon causes business or marketing myopia in and of itself. This is because companies sometimes think, “Oh well, how can I ever compete with Amazon?” 

You’re not going to be able to compete with them if you’re a small business or even a decently-sized business. You’re probably not going to be able to compete with Amazon in terms of logistics or same-day shipping. You’re probably not going to be able to achieve that without great cost to yourself. 

It’s not always about that. I was speaking with a business owner about this particular issue: how do you compete with Amazon? Well, it’s not about competing with them, but rather how you can differentiate yourself from Amazon. 

How Arbor Teas Won Me over

I order my tea from Arbor Teas. They offer me organic and Fair Trade Certified tea.  I could probably find that on Amazon, but when I get the package in the mail, all of it is compostable and I always get a handwritten, signed note thanking me for my business. 

It makes me feel really good as an individual. I understand what their mission is and how their business functions, which lines up with my values as an individual and business. 

That’s something that Arbor Teas offers me that Amazon can’t. At least not at their size. Arbor Teas isn’t necessarily super scalable, but the fact that the handwritten note is not automated means something to me. It makes me feel valued as a customer. 

So how can you add value for your customers, or make them feel valued in ways that Amazon can’t? That is how you compete with Amazon. 

Types of People at Networking Events

People often bemoan networking events. There are coaches who’s entire premise is “never go to another networking event again!” So what makes me bring it up? We all know that in person interactions are more effective than interactions over the phone. Video comes closer, only because so much of communication is nonverbal. 

If you’ve had a bad experience at a networking event, it’s probably because that event wasn’t for you. It doesn’t mean that all events are bad. You can meet great people and develop long-time relationships. There’s a lot of value in networking events!

When you attend networking events, you need to go with a plan in mind, just like any other type of marketing. This means understanding the sorts of people you will meet at events. 

In this podcast episode, I’ve identified the four types of people you typically run into at events. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

I was with a group of fellow creatives and we were talking about pitching. I was actually able to add to the conversation by talking about something I address in the book I’m working on.

We were talking about networking events and how to determine which ones are good for you. I brought up the types of people at networking events. 

Now, most people think that there are 3 types of attendees that you watch out for, but I actually think that there’s a 4th that you should be paying attention to. So let’s talk about some of the typical 3 that most people expect. 

1. Prospective Clients 

Know Them Before You Go

When you go to an event, you’re hoping to meet prospective clients. That’s a given. I would advise you to make sure you know who your prospective clients are before you go. 

Need to develop your buyer personas? Check out this post here.

This is you building your buyer persona. This is the same person that you’d write your blog posts for, that you’d create your website for, that your emails are geared towards. It’s not that other types of people can’t become your customers, but you use this avatar to speak to what you would consider the perfect customer. 

Don’t Try to Make Your Services Fit Everyone

Know who that person is before you go. Why is this important? Because if you’re not selling a product, then you run into the issue of trying to make your services fit the person that you’re talking to. 

In my case, Defy The Status Quo doesn’t offer standalone social media services. If somebody asks me, “Hey Ruthie, do you guys do social media management?” Could we do it? Yes. Do I want us to do it? No. 

I’m clear on that now, but a while ago, I was trying to be too accommodating. I would say, “Oh yeah, we could totally do that!” This was before I got clear on myself and the sorts of clients I wanted. 

You want to make sure that these prospective clients are actually a good fit, instead of trying to make your services fit them. That’s not a good place for your business. It also creates multiple heads that you have to manage. If your still trying to figure out what services you should offer, work on discovering your company ideology and values.

2. People Who Are Not Your Clients

You’re expecting these to be the majority of the attendees; the people who just aren’t a good fit for you and your business. There’s a few different categories or subcategories that these people can fall into, but the one you really have to watch out for is the bad networker. 

The Bad Networker

There are some people who just attend to try and make a sale. Yes, I know it’s a networking event, but networking is about building relationships. I don’t want to sound corny, but the best business people I know go to build relationships. They’re not going to sell. 

Let’s say they’re selling software. Instead of trying to convince me that I need that software, they would be the first to tell me, “Hey Ruthie, this software is actually not a good fit for you, but you could help me.” This is the sort of person I’m looking for. They’re honest with me and consequently, I trust them. Should my business reach a higher level, they’re going to be the first ones I think of. 

The best networkers are the ones that build a relationship and develop that trust. Those are the people you want to stay in contact with. 

The bad networkers just want to make the sale. This is the person who gives you their card multiple times and doesn’t even remember your name. They might interrupt you during your pitch, which I’ve had happen before. 

Just Not a Good Fit

Then, there are some people who just aren’t a good fit. There’s nothing wrong with them, but they’re just not a good fit. They may fall into the third category though.

3. Recommenders 

The thing about recommenders is that you typically don’t know that they are recommenders. They may have fallen into the first bucket of people who aren’t a good fit for your services, but they may contact you later and say, “Hey, I’ve got somebody who was asking about X service. I know that you do that. Should I introduce you?” 

So instead of becoming a person who’s not a good fit for your business, they become a recommender. That’s always great, but you can’t know who those people are. That’s why it’s nice to stay in touch, connect on social media, and do things like that. 

4. Connectors

The connectors are next to prospective clients. I think that connectors are the most valuable. Unlike recommenders, they are typically easy to identify when you know what you’re looking for, especially if you go to an event where people get introduced. 

The Event Organizers

Connectors are typically the event organizers. If they are organizing the event, then they probably know all of the regular attendees. They likely know other event organizers in a particular area, and they could connect you with them as well. 

The Event Sponsors

They also might be event sponsors. Companies who sponsor events typically don’t just sponsor one, so they’ve positioned themselves to know many different businesses in a given area. And of course, that area could be very large depending on the size of the business. So event sponsors could also be a type of connector that you’re looking for. 

Active Attendees 

You should also look at attendees who are at an event, organize other events, or head up organizations that hold a lot of events. 

The value here is more along the business development side of things. This isn’t necessarily relevant to your sales and your marketing. When you connect with a connector and you’ve got a good relationship with them, then they’re more likely to recommend you to the businesses that they know. 

But like I said, it’s hard to identify who’s going to refer you because you don’t know if they’re going to run into a connector. You typically have a good idea of which people they associate themselves with, which people attend their events, and which events the connector themselves attend. 

I feel like the connector is a better type of relationship to have because business development is about strategic partnerships. So it’s to your benefit to develop relationships with connectors when possible because they have more potential to refer businesses to you. 

Industry or Local Influencers 

I hate to use that word because it’s getting watered down. I don’t mean the Instagram influencer, especially when you consider B2B. Maybe they’re someone who writes for Forbes or they do a lot of interviews in your industry. That could be another type of connector to look out for.

Keep in mind the 4 types of people. When you’re looking at an event, you have to consider what type of person is going to attend, and then decide on what your goal is for that networking event. I promise you’re not going to leave with a pocket full of clients at most events, so build that relationship and keep up your social media presence.

Content Marketing For Your Business Events

You’ve posted on social media about your next business event, but no one is registering. Why isn’t your content working? Well you can’t do it haphazardly. You need a plan. Here, I list out some recommendations for content marketing before, during, and after your event. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

So you’ve added your latest event to your company’s calendar on your website. You’ve put it on Facebook, Eventbrite, and wherever else you can think of to list it. But why isn’t it working? Why aren’t people buying tickets? You need to know. I get it, I understand. 

Before, During, and After Your Event

Why isn’t your content working though? Like everything else with marketing, you can’t do it haphazardly. Your content marketing should support your event before, during, and after the event. Mull on that for a second. 

What have you done leading up to your event, in terms of content and other marketing efforts, that would urge your audience to attend your event? Maybe there isn’t a lot that you’ve done, but that’s okay. There’s always time to come back from that, and do it better next time. That’s the Kaizen principle, and the goal is always to do things a little bit better each time. That’s basically what we’re going to do for your content marketing. 

Content Marketing During The Pre-Event Phase 

Videos and Blog Posts

You can record videos, as well as write blog posts, about the event and the event topics. You could talk about the topics that your event will address. 

Let’s say it’s a small conference on digital marketing with the specific theme of virtual reality. You could create a series of blog posts/videos on virtual reality in marketing or where we think it’s going. 

You don’t want to make it sound like an ad though. Remember: this is content marketing, not traditional advertising. You don’t want to sit there and plug your event throughout the entire blog post. That gets irritating. 

Guest Posting and Podcast Interviews

At that point in time, it would also be a great time to do a guest podcast interview/video show/blog post talking about these topics and mentions. When you guest this way, the hosts typically allow for you to include a link back to your website. 

That’s valuable to you because you’re borrowing someone else’s audience and credibility, in order to get eyes on your content. Of course, you want to be worthy of that, but it’s a strategy you can use to bring in people who may not have normally heard of your event. 

Especially if you go on a podcast, where they’ll often ask you if there’s anything that you’d like to talk about or are excited for. 

And that’s when you say, “You know what? As a matter of fact, John, we are getting ready for an event at XYZ company. It’s a big business conference. We’re going to be talking about the future of digital marketing, things like augmented and virtual reality, and how those things may or may not play in our marketing space. And we’re just really excited about that.” 

John is probably going to respond with something like, “Oh yes, you know what? We’ll include a link to your event page in the show notes. Hey everyone, you definitely want to make sure you check that out and see if you can make it to XYZ company event.” See how this works? Now you’ve gotten some publicity and online PR. 

Content Marketing During The Intra-Event Phase 

Designate People for Different Tasks

How do you do content marketing for your event while it’s happening? This is typically a little faster.  It’s not going to be as polished, so you may want to designate some people ahead of time. 

If you’re the CEO of your company or if you’re the marketing events manager and you’re just running around taking care of everything anyway, maybe designate this task to someone else. That way, you don’t have to worry about it. 

You’re already doing enough as it is, but you want to plan ahead of time, so designate these people beforehand. 

Collect Video Testimonials

What you want to do is get short video testimonials. They should be recorded with somebody’s phone, so they can easily be uploaded to the company media repository. Video testimonials from people who have come for the first time, or who keep coming back are always fantastic. 

If it’s a recurring event, then you can share testimonials from before. You can schedule them, so it happens during the event. 

Encourage Attendees to Use a Hashtag

You also want to invite guests to use a hashtag. Oftentimes this is easily done by placing little cards or signs up on the tables. “Capturing a great moment at X event? Use this hashtag to share it with everyone!” Or whatever you want it to say. 

The hashtag is awesome because it’s user-generated content. And if social media users show that they’re having a great time learning a lot at your business event, that’s going to count for so much. 

User-generated content leads the pack in terms of what consumers see and what people trust. You want to cultivate and encourage it from your attendees after the event. 

Thank Your Attendees and Sponsors

You want to get on social media. Thank the attendees, and thank your sponsors for your event. One way to appeal to event sponsors is to guarantee that you’ll thank them and put their names out there. Don’t forget to thank your sponsors! 

You want to tag people: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Tag your sponsors, attendees, speakers,  and anybody who contributed. If you’re a photographer on-site, share those pictures and tag the people who will get the word out about your events. 

Want to read more about appealing to event sponsors so you can hold bigger and better events? Read our blog post or watch the video here.

Content Marketing During The Post-Event Phase

Generate Buzz for Your Next Event

Now that we’re in the post-event phase, you want to get people excited for the next event. You want them to mark their calendars, so when you post about it, they’re like, “Oh yeah, let me add that to my calendar. I need to go to that. That was a great event.” Or even, “I missed out. I don’t want to miss out again.” That’s another thing that social media will do for you. 

You can send it out to your email list as well. There are people on your email list who did not attend your event. They missed out. Show them what they missed. Send an event recap. Create a great post with photos from the event if you can. Then share that article on social media and with your email list.

Did you have someone tasked with taking photos at your event? Create an album, and share that with your attendees via email. Those email’s are practically guaranteed to get high levels of engagement. People love photos of themselves.

That’s what your content can do. It can show everyone what they missed, and remind the attendees of the great time they had, how valuable it was to be there, and get those insights in person. 

You want to share those takeaways because it could be an inspiration for new podcasts, videos, images or art about the event. Share those takeaways, and please support your sponsors. 

Really, Don’t Forget to Thank Your Sponsors

Make sure you thank them, and that can’t just be the logo that you shared on the event page. Thanked them by email. Thank them personally. After the event, follow up and say thank you. Make sure that you deliver everything you said you were going to deliver. 

That’s a quick rundown of how you could use content to support your events and generate more buzz. Show your appreciation to the attendees, sponsors, and anyone who organized it. 

If you get any PR, make sure that you thank those media outlets for talking about your event. Don’t let that go unnoticed. You want to make sure that you thank everyone who supported you. 

Send Event Recaps, and Don’t Stop Your Content Marketing Yet

You want to use your content to support your goals at every stage: before, during, and after. Just because the event is over doesn’t mean that your content marketing for that event is over. 

I see that a lot, which is typically where it falls off. Event recaps are great things to send. You can also post them as blog articles. Go ahead and try that out! 

If you have an event coming up, and you want to sketch out a rough content marketing strategy, I’d love to check it out. I can’t create the whole content strategy for you (not for free anyway), but I’d love to check it out and give you a few pointers. 

Don’t Make the French Digital Tax Mistake in Your Biz

What does the French digital tax have to do with your business? Maybe nothing, but the thought process behind the decision is definitely a mental trap you need to avoid to be a healthy successful business. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

So the title of this episode is Don’t Make the French Digital Tax Mistake in your business. 

How on Earth does the new tax hike in France relate to your business at all? 

France Passed a Digital Tax on International Tech Companies

Let’s back up a bit and have some storytime. 

Recently, France decided to levy a 3% digital tax on international tech companies. This upset the United States, particularly because these big tech companies are headquartered in the US. 

Politics between the United States and France got a little heated. The European Union was also trying to figure out what France was doing, and why.  

So, companies had to decide how they were going to respond. Amazon responded by increasing the seller’s fees for e-commerce sellers in France. 

If you live in France and used Amazon to sell your products, you saw an increase in your seller’s fees. Amazon also sent out an email, directly blaming the French government. They didn’t even try to hide it at all! 

This was, of course, much to the dismay of these sellers. Most of them are small. They’re just trying to make a living off of their passions or have an income through Amazon. 

So these sellers have to make a choice: do they want to pass those costs onto the customer, or do they want to eat that profit loss? 

Why Was This Tax Passed?

Getting Their Fair Share from Tech Giants

I think there are a couple of motives behind France’s decision to do this. On the surface, it could be that France wanted to get their fair share from these companies, but all they did was pass on that tax to the French sellers. 

Instead of actually getting more money directly from Amazon, the French government would be getting more money from the French sellers who are already paying taxes and probably don’t want to pay anymore. 

The business problem here is applying an overly simplistic solution to a complex issue. We have the habit of doing that in our businesses. 

Setting Things in Motion

Another reason why I think France did this, is to get the ball rolling faster, in terms of addressing the digital tax and everything. 

On the surface, it looks like they were just trying to get their money, so that’s what we’re going to go with. 

The Gaps and Loopholes of International Laws

France is just trying to get their money, so they apply a simplistic solution. 

“We’ll tax the digital tech companies more, so we’ll get more money from them.” Instead, they should’ve just addressed the portions of their tax code that allow for this to happen. 

These companies are huge, with armies of lawyers. They’re not breaking the law, but there are gaps and loopholes around the world that allow any international-type company to pay fewer taxes than what the governments would like. 

Just Like How Amazon Paid $0 in US Federal Taxes

This is incredibly similar to how Amazon paid $0 in US federal taxes last year. Newsflash! I’m a business and I paid more in federal taxes than Amazon did, but I’m not mad at Amazon because it’s not illegal. Amazon can do that, so good for them. If the tax laws were set up in such a way that Amazon couldn’t do that, then they wouldn’t. 

If they did and they were breaking the law, it wouldn’t be splashed over headlines. They’d be trying to hide it. But it’s not against the law. They’re just doing what they’re allowed to do. 

Don’t Fall into the Trap of Simple Solutions

Again, tying this back to your business; when you have serious problems in your business, you cannot apply a super simplistic solution to a complex issue. 

There are No Magic Shortcuts

For example, you might not be getting enough business. Then don’t fall for those marketing funnels, which promise you hundreds of leads every month. 

It sounds incredibly simple, and that’s how they get business owners to pay for it. In all actuality, it probably isn’t simple or doesn’t work for your business. They’ve also likely got it set up so you can’t request a refund or something like that. 

They play on your FOMO (fear of missing out), and that’s what gets you to make the purchase. 

Determine If You Need Help

What if your content isn’t performing? There’s no easy fix for that, but you can start with a careful review. 

Is all of your content not performing or is it just some of it? Is there something wrong with your website? 

Maybe there are issues at play here that you’re not equipped to deal with. In that case, you’d typically bring on someone else. If your content is not performing, you’d bring in a content consultant. If there’s something wrong in your supply chain, you’d bring in a supply chain consultant. While you are equipped to handle your business, you can’t run everything yourself. 

Maybe if it’s a CBD supply chain and you know all about CBD, you know what to do. But do you know everything about the supply chain? No, probably not, because you know all the things about CBD. 

You can’t know everything about everything. That’s why you’d bring on a supply chain consultant to help you understand the complex issue within your supply chain. 

Don’t Uproot Entire Processes Abruptly

Let’s say you’re not getting enough profit. That doesn’t mean you cut all spending. That’s not the solution to not having profit. What you should do is check for excess spending, or money that’s “disappearing.”

As an example, let’s say you work with contractors and freelancers. Now you’re not going to do that anymore. The end. No more freelancers, no more consultants, no more outside stuff. “We’re doing everything in-house.” You say.

Can your business afford to take that hit? Any outsourced work that you’ve got built into your business processes would disappear. That’s not to say that you couldn’t move to an in-house solution, but you can’t just wake up one day and eliminate it without serious business consequences. 

Simple Answers Are Only Simple in Theory 

That’s not to say some problems don’t have simple answers, but even simple answers can be tough to execute in real life. 

So let’s take the answer of yes for the scenario I just described above. Let’s bring everything in-house. Let’s set up a timeline for 6 months, and migrate what we’re outsourcing, in-house to bring costs down. You’d have to take as much time as you need for that. 

Of course, you’d have to determine if this was actually going to bring costs down with a thorough comparison of costs now versus other resource expenditures related to your proposed solution.

Do not apply overly simplistic solutions to complex issues in your business. 

Take a step back if it feels like it’s too much and assesses what’s going on. See if you need to bring on help and move from that point. Don’t just cut off things and throw things away haphazardly, or you’ll end up in the French Amazon position. 

“New Media and DIY PR” with Jennifer McGinley

You don’t want to miss this episode! Jennifer McGinley, CEO of JLM Strategic Communications, comes back one last time to talk to us about new media in public relations and how small businesses and startups can DIY their public relations. We want to take this opportunity to thank Jenn for being our very first guest. She really went above and beyond and set the standard for The Defiant Business Podcast’s guests! 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Here are the shownotes:

Ruth: So we’re talking about your 25 years of experience in the field, which is in and of itself impressive. But something I’ve come across is that people who have a copious amount of experience in a particular field can get stuck in the way that they learned how to do things or the way that they feel most comfortable.

Podcasting Will Be a Great Tool for Public Relations

But when you talk, I hear you talk about traditional media going on TV, print, but you’ve also mentioned podcasts, social media, and blogs. So I love that. You aren’t just incorporating new media, you’re embracing it. You’re blending it with all of your experience. I think that that is absolutely fantastic, and another unique thing that you bring to the table.

When you look at larger businesses, you can see that they tolerate social media, but they don’t take the time to understand its impact on the generations that they’re trying to sell to. That was also something that really stuck out for me just now.

Jennifer: Oh, thank you. I actually just went to a PR conference, which is our annual time when we spend an entire day together talking about what’s out there and what’s going on. Podcasting is hot. There are roughly 6000 new podcasts a day. 

It’s crazy because once your podcast is out, the hits to a website are crazy. It’s completely blowing things out of the water in terms of credibility, awareness, and connections. You should be on Instagram or Linkedin and do 1-minute videos, whether you’re the CEO of a company or if you’re a nonprofit, that is raw, authentic, and live. 

We’ve got a capital campaign coming up. We adore the people that have helped us along so far. Any CEO can get their phone out, do a little bit of prep, and podcast, do a quick video, get yourself out there. 

That’s why I say it’s traditional PR with an edge. I need to stay relevant in my experience. I need to be urban-minded so that I can help my clients in the best way possible, and give them that increased awareness as much as I can.

Jenn Has Some Exciting New Projects!

Ruth: Okay. So now let’s talk about your personal, professional projects. I know you’re working on a lot of content too, and I just wanted to know if you have a project that you’re working on right now that you’re excited about? Can you tell me a little bit about it? 

Jennifer: I think I’ve done 4-5 videos already, and I’ve got 4-5 more to go and it’s #courageoptional. This actually came about when my business coach had to retreat for 2 days. On the second day, Jodie Gonzales and two other colleagues told me, “Jennifer, why aren’t you doing more videos?” I tell my clients it’s so easy, but for me, it’s still awkward. 

Doing Your Own PR and Marketing Can Be Tough

PR people are behind the scenes. I love to push everybody out in the limelight and help them with whatever they need. I actually have an acting background, so I need to put myself in a different space to be more confident.  

My new goal, now that I’ve been an entrepreneur for a few years, is taking people through what public relations is, its value, what community outreach is, what media relations is, internal vs. external communication, etc. I have a whole list of what PR people do; content creation, corporate communications, crisis communications, executive communications, events, planning, marketing, fundraising, dealing with different constituents. 

There’s so much education that needs to be done. This is the startup as far as educating the public on the value of public relations. I think us public relations experts as a whole need to do our due diligence. I think it will really help organizations and individuals in businesses if they see it, understand it, and respect its values.

DIY PR: Tips from an Expert

Ruth: Alright, so our last question is another hypothetical one. So I’m turning the tables now. If my business isn’t big enough to partner with an esteemed PR professional or firm like yourself, are there actions I can take to prepare for the hopefully eventual possibility?

Jennifer: Absolutely. There are so many people that  I absolutely adore and value because they cannot afford a PR person. And they say, “When I can afford you, I will come back. But until then, I need to do it on my own.” 

I can do 1-hour strategy calls to brainstorm, and just to give them the who, what, where, when, and why of getting started, which I’ve done for a lot of our new startups. 

My first advice is to make sure your website is up to date. Make sure you have videos. Make sure you have a bio on a digital press kit so that if you’re in a particular field, you can have a drop-down list of statistics. 

Make sure you have a proper headshot. I’ve gone on so many websites where I don’t actually know who the CEO of that organization is, even for some people that are very successful. I still think you want to know who’s running the show. I think a beautiful headshot and a nice bio really gives you an increased credibility level. You can do press if you’ve received any press in the past. 

Moving forward, you need to have your, your mission, your values, your purpose, and your why really written out. Business coaches can help you do that, but PR consultants can as well. 

You may need to get a free account on helpareporter.com. It’s for PR experts and media monitoring. This is a great opportunity for you to be on a deadline. These free emails come three times a day, usually between 5.00 – 7.00 AM, then between 2.00 3.00 PM, and then 7.00 – 8.00 PM. 

I’m pretty much always aware of everything and I like to get everything done in 1-2 hours because I just think it increases the chances of being chosen. 

It’s important to get out online, but get out in person. I know Ruthie, you’ve done a lot of that too. Getting out in the public, meeting people, shaking hands, face-to-face interaction is all about building solid, authentic relationships, building your credibility as a business owner, and an organization. 

You want to be top-of-mind. I can’t say that enough. In fact, somebody tagged me as somebody they should connect with online, and I was the second name on that list. I was so honored. What this shows you is that the more you’re out there, being consistent and being yourself, people will start to recognize you. It’s like a spiderweb. You never know who you will meet. Clear, consistent content and communication builds a community.

You might not have the time to do your own PR, so you can hand it off. When you have a flood of PR needs, when you’re in reactive PR mode, you need someone just to handle it for you. I love doing that. 

I love saying, “This is who’s interviewing you. This is what they’ve done in the past. This is what your interview will be about, and this is our goal for your interview.” That way, they go in with a bottle of water, a deep breath, and they know they’ll be fine. I love taking my client by the hand, when possible, and getting them to the seat of their interview.

Ruth: Well, this has been amazing. Just talking to you, I added some extra questions in there, and I feel like I could definitely add more questions. I know that I will be inviting you to be a guest again, but thank you so much for taking the time. I know that the series of episodes on public relations and all the amazing, special powers that you have is going to be really valuable to our audience. Even if they’re not able to work with you, if they’re picking a PR professional, or maybe they’re like me and they have you in their sights and they’re going to go back to all the things you just said. You have so much value, so thank you so much. 

Jennifer:  So everybody, don’t give up hope, keep following along, push out your content, and just be you. 

Ruth: All right, so can you tell us your social media channels, your website. These things will all be in the show notes, but I just want to make sure you have an opportunity to say it for anybody listening. 

Jennifer:  Yes. I would say Linkedin, Jennifer McGinley, my website is jlmstrategiccommunications.com, my Twitter is @jenlmcginley16, and my Instagram is @jlmstrategiccommunication

Ruth: Okay. I’m following you in all the right places. 

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. I’m thrilled and honored to be here, to really help and serve others. 

The Big Mistake You’re Making in Your Podcast Guest Pitches

Now that I have a podcast, I’ve received some pretty lackluster requests to be a guest. What makes them so lackluster? Well, what makes any marketing lackluster? This innate drive to talk about ourselves. That’s not what podcast hosts want to hear from you. They want to know why their audience would be interested in you. So that’s what you need to focus on in your podcast guest pitches. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

Today we’re going to talk about the big mistake you’re making in your podcast guest pitches. You’re thinking, “Wait! This is a podcast, but we’re talking about guesting on podcasts?” Yes, that’s what’s happening today. 

Not only do I have The Defiant Business Podcast, but I also make it a point to be a guest on other podcasts. This is a part of my marketing and relationship-building strategy. 

Guesting is actually something I did before I started this podcast, and my guest pitches have gotten way better as a result. This is very similar to what happened once I started hiring freelancers, contractors, and working with agencies; my proposals and pitches got much better. 

You’re Focusing Exclusively on Yourself

Part of it is learning through experience, but there’s a very common mistake we make in our proposals. 

When we want something from someone, we have to show what’s in it for them. Just based off of that sentence, I think you know where this is going. 

The reason I decided to make this into an episode is because plenty of pitches I’ve gotten, ever since The Defiant Business Podcast was born, suck. They’re just not interesting, and the last thing I want is to have an uninteresting guest on my podcast. 

What Can You Offer to the Host and Their Audience?

The pitches are very “Me! Me! Me! All about myself!” But your pitches should really focus on what you have to offer to the host. 

Even more importantly, their audience. What do you have to offer to their audience? That’s what they care about. How well-received is your story and personality going to be? Always frame it that way. No matter what. 

When you’re talking about your accolades, awards, experience, and credentials, you should always frame it as why those things matter to the host’s audience. 

Important note: this may change based on the podcast you’re pitching to. 

Get Yourself a Media Kit

You should get a media kit. It’s a wonderful thing to send, but try to keep it to 1 or 2 pages. Nobody wants to read a book about you, unless you’re super interesting. In that case, your book should be on Amazon. It should not be your media kit. 

In your media kit, you’d normally include: 

  • A short bio, some of the industries and topics that you know really well. 
  • Some information about your current audience. 
  • The podcast or media placements you’ve already had, if you’ve got them. That’s something you want to update, so I’d make it a running digital file that you can update regularly. You also want like clickable links, so a pdf would be great. 

Why Are You Interesting?

A lot of work goes into podcast creation, as any podcast host will tell you. It takes a lot. Even The Defiant Business Podcast with its 10-minute episodes is a lot of work, partly because it’s an everyday podcast. I kind of brought that on myself, and it’s still a lot of work. 

Even if it wasn’t every day, it would be a lot of work. It takes enough work to create it, but then you’ve got to promote and distribute it. 

I’m saying this to tell you: make your pitch worth reading. Make it valuable. 

I’ve gotten pitches just stating, “Hey, so I just want to inquire about being a guest on your next podcast episode.” Is it even worth my time responding to you? This first message was boring. That’s why I haven’t responded, so make it interesting. 

Why are you interesting? That should be within your first pitch. 

If You’re a Beginner…

If you’re new, there are lots of things you can offer. 

Let’s say you’re new and you’re trying to guest on podcasts.

Select the Right Podcasts

First things first, you should probably look at new-ish podcasts, or podcasts where you’re uniquely situated to offer the maximum value to an audience. 

This means you need to do some research, understand who that audience is, and what they’re looking for. Why do they listen to that podcast and how do you add value? 

Create New Content

You could also offer to create a unique piece of content. This is something that even experienced podcast guests do. 

Create something they can put on their landing page for the podcast episode. 

If you have any other unique services that make distribution a little bit easier or fancier, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with offering that either. 

Make Good on Your Promise of Interest

When you market that particular podcast episode, you’re marketing yourself. It’s not like you’re giving away a ton of work for free. In essence, you’re asking to borrow the podcast host’s audience. 

You’re asking to borrow their credibility. We’ve talked about building your credibility. One of the ways to do that is by borrowing the credibility of others, but when you do, you need to fulfill that promise. 

Read more about how to build your company’s credibility in this blog post.

In your pitch, you should allude to how you’re fulfilling the promise of interest. What’s your proof? For example, how do I know that you’ll be an excellent guest on The Defiant Business Podcast? 

Why Should You Be This Season’s Rock Star?

In terms of guesting on The Defiant Business Podcast, we have one guest per season. So our standards are very high. 

If you’re a guest on The Defiant Business Podcast, you’ll be the only guest we promote that entire season. My goal is to treat you like a rock star. 

Our Season 2 Guest, Jennifer McGinley!

I love our season 2 guest, Jennifer McGinley. Her interview is broken into 5 different segments that we’re featuring throughout the entire season. We’ve created social media assets around it, shared her points, created a blog posts about it and everything. 

Her name is out there! And she’s the only one person. I’m not promoting anybody else right now because she’s my only guest. 

We go through the effort of treating our guests like rock stars, which means that you have to show us you are a rock star. You need to defy the status quo, which is my company’s name. That’s where The Defiant Business Podcast comes from. 

So if you want to pitch to me, show me why your business is defiant and show me why my audience would care. Tell us that you know why you should be the rock star that we promote the entire season. 

Do Not Copy and Paste; Send Unique Podcast Guest Pitches

That’s basically it. I told you what to do right there. Still, every podcast is different, so don’t copy and paste everything. 

Do your research. Find out what that podcast host wants for their audience, what the audience wants from their podcast host, and do your best to showcase that in your podcast guest pitch. 

Be as interesting possible, and you’re way more likely to get a response. 

Under the Microscope: XM Phone Cleanse

All right, we’re taking another campaign Under the Microscope! Today, we’re looking at Xfinity Mobile’s Phone Cleanse campaign. As a relatively new mobile service provider, Xfinity Mobile needed to increase their brand awareness. They needed to get their name out there and get people interested. And boy, did they ever! Learn more about this interesting campaign and its results.

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

If you missed our first episode of Under The Microscope, we looked at IBM’s Content Cantina campaign. Today, we’re going to talk about Xfinity Mobile’s digital health awareness campaign. 

A New Contender in a Dominated Marketplace

Xfinity Mobile is a relatively new mobile carrier in an incredibly dominated marketplace. I don’t want to say that it’s a crowded marketplace per se, but we know who the big players are and they’re firmly entrenched. We’d be surprised to see one of them fail. 

But Xfinity Mobile is only available for Comcast subscribers. The advantage of using them is that you can bundle it with your other services. 

Comcast is the biggest cable and satellite provider in the United States, but Xfinity Mobile is new. They needed their Comcast customers to notice them. 

The bundling is very attractive for new subscribers as well. Not only do you get your internet, cable, and landline, you could also get your cell phone. On top of that, if you already have certain Comcast offerings, then it just makes sense for you to bundle and get Xfinity Mobile. 

But they needed people to know about them. 

Xfinity Mobile’s The Phone Cleanse

They called this digital health awareness campaign The Phone Cleanse. It was all about getting noticed, brand awareness, getting out there, and getting people to talk about them. 

Wow, did they ever succeed! It was amazing. They zigged when everybody else was zagging. They did something different than everyone else. 

What Xfinity Mobile Did Differently

Addressing Problematic Challenges Head-On

Yes, there are digital health apps out there, but they mostly just quietly stay on your phone. There isn’t a big fanfare about it or anything. 

This is similar to when tobacco companies were just standing idle and being quiet when scientists were beginning to prove the detriments of smoking and what it can cause. Yes, they slapped warning labels on their products, but did that do anything? 

On the contrary, Xfinity Mobile’s campaign reminds me of when alcoholic beverages companies do commercials that talk about safe driving or emphasize moderation. So they’re addressing the fact that their product does have some pitfalls, but if you want it anyway, be smart. 

The Creation of a Physical Book

Xfinity Mobile actually made an actual, real, physical book called The Phone Cleanse. It has a space in the center for your phone. You just put your phone in there and follow the instructions. 

It’s a 7-day phone cleanse, and you follow the instructions in the book every day. The reason why they did this instead of designing a digital app, is so people don’t have to flick back and forth between their phone settings, instructions, app settings, etc. They could just put the phone in the book. 

What Is the Purpose of This Campaign?

The focus is on cleansing someone’s life of clutter, notifications, bloatware, and all the unnecessary content lingering on their phone. 

All those notifications can cause anxiety. They put a little bit of pressure on your mind. You’re immediately thinking, “Oh, here are more things I have to deal with!” 

That’s why they created a campaign that helps people have a healthier relationship with their phones. 

Employing Various Influencers

They started it with influencers, which was perfect because they were talking about their experience to their audience. 

Then, the audience was saying, “Hey, what about me? Can I start doing The Phone Cleanse as well? I definitely need to do it.” 

And that’s when Xfinity Mobile made it available to everybody. Once again, they did something unexpected. 

The Results of The Xfinity Mobile Phone Cleanse

Not only were they talking about digital health, but they actually created a book vs. putting out a digital app as many would do. It takes us back to simpler times. 

This doesn’t just have the advantage of being convenient in the sense that you don’t have to fiddle with their phone settings and instructions, but it’s also something you can physically touch. 

It’s like an anchor here, in the real world, compared to everything you’re doing on your phone. I think they took some very interesting turns, and having an actual book was an excellent plan. 

The general public agreed, Xfinity Mobile got some great coverage, and there were some serious increases in awareness. Actually, I’ve got some specific numbers here: 

  • They saw an 11-point lift in top of mind awareness. In our very dominated market, their top of mind awareness is around 400% over the tech benchmark, which is very impressive. 
  • They also saw an 81% increase in social conversation about Xfinity Mobile, which is incredibly important because they’re a new mobile carrier and they need to get their name out there. Xfinity Mobile need people talking about them, whether they’re Comcast subscribers or not. 
  • They got earned placements in Fox Business News and the Washington Post, among other media outlets. That’s huge! What they did got them some earned media public relations, which is something we’ve been talking about a lot this season. What they did was interesting enough to get them into these big media publications. That’s not something you can pay for, and it adds to the legitimacy of the brand. It gets it out to people who may not have otherwise heard about the brand. 

Something Anybody Would Be Improved by

So that’s what I really liked about the Xfinity Mobile Cleanse. I think we should all cultivate healthy relationships with our technology, especially as it becomes more prevalent. We’re talking Google glasses, virtual reality, augmented reality, and everything else. 

Xfinity Mobile brought to light a topic that could have easily been shuffled to the side as their larger competitors did. They made it a point of interest and improving wellbeing. 

No matter who you are, whether or not you took part, whether or not you’re a Comcast or an Xfinity Mobile customer, you could take part in this campaign and you would be improved by it. I think that’s the sort of positivity that we want to see in marketing in the world. 

And that’s why I decided to bring the Xfinity Mobile phone cleanse to Under The Microscope. I hope you enjoyed this quick analysis of the mobile content campaign. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Did you take part in The Phone Cleanse? What did you think of it? Do you still have your book? Take some pictures of it, I’d love to see it. Otherwise, I’ll see you next time!  

Where Have All of the Great Clients Gone?

Where have all of the great clients gone? It’s a question we ask ourselves at various points in our business growth. Business naturally cycles up and down. But sometimes it’s not natural. Sometimes, we’ve done it to ourselves. I know that isn’t what you want to hear. But it’s what you need to hear. Listen up, and learn the value of marketing and selling consistently. I also give you my top tip for making sure this happens every day. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

We’re going to talk about the eternal question of consultants and agencies everywhere. Where have all the great clients gone? Where are all the great clients? I see this question everywhere online. People have asked me this in person too. They feel like the well has run dry, or like everyone else is getting great clients and they’re not. The revenue is low, things are not looking great. Do I need to get a job? Where are all the great clients?

Maintain a Healthy Sales Pipeline

If every single person in your company works on client work, who is working on the business? If you have people who work on client work and the business, you can run into issues. 

This is because many business owners fail to consistently market, work, and follow up on their leads. This causes bottlenecks in your sales pipeline.

Imagine an actual pipeline made out of rubber. It can flex as intake builds up. 

So you have portions of your pipeline that are bulky and clogged up. You have so many people at a particular spot because you don’t help them move to the next step: buying from you or not. (Yes, not buying from you is a step in the process!)

People who aren’t actually going to buy from you clog up your pipeline. You need to get them out, in order to make room and make things move smoothly. If you can do that, that’s great. 

But it’s important to know that failing to follow up is a serious reason why hot leads go warm, warm leads go cold, and then it just doesn’t make sense to follow up anymore. So you have to do it consistently. It’s something you have to build into your routine. 

Devote Some Time to Marketing and Sales Duties

If you’re one of those people with a dual hat, where you work in the business and on the business, then you likely have marketing or sales duties. Cut out the first hour of your day to do something related to that every single day. 

If you say, “I’ll do it after I take care of client work,” you’ll turn around and it’ll be 4 PM, then 5 PM, then 6 PM… Then it’s time to leave, and you haven’t done any of that. 

The point is that you need a healthy pipeline for a healthy business. A pipeline cultivates an interest in your business, whether that’s referrals, content marketing, paid advertising, etc. You’re consistently doing it to get people to come into your company and work with you. 

Manage Your Feast and Famine Cycles

A healthy pipeline will also help keep your feast and famine cycles manageable. 

The feast is great. You want your feast cycle to be as big as possible, but you don’t want to ever have a time where you’re earning $0. 

That’s what happens to some small companies, freelancers, solopreneurs, etc. There are times when they don’t know where the next dollar is coming from. 

You don’t want your business built that way, and having that healthy sales pipeline is what prevents that. You will have months that are lower than others, but it shouldn’t be 0. Nobody can live on 0. 

You May Have Too Many Clients

Sometimes it seems like all the great clients are gone, but it could be that you’ve relaxed your marketing and sales because you’ve got a lot of client work. 

You’re in a feast cycle, but don’t let that distract you from the necessary sales and marketing that you need to get done. 

Make Some Uncomfortable Changes

It could also be that you need to do something differently. 

You’re thinking, “Wait, Ruthie, no! This is working so well for me!” And my response would be, “No, it did work well for you, but now you may need to do something different.” 

Maybe what worked to get these types of clients doesn’t work as well now that you’re seeking a different kind of client. Maybe you’ve exhausted all the easiest leads that you could possibly get with this type of client. 

Utilize a CRM

How many people have you added to your CRM recently? If you’re experiencing a famine cycle, you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from. 

CRM is a customer relationship management tool. I use Agile CRM [<— that’s my affiliate link, but if you choose to buy with Agile, the price doesn’t change for you!], and I think they’re great. They’re within the budget for a lot of businesses and they have many capabilities. 

Anyway, if you’re asking what a CRM is, you need to go get one. This is how you keep up with everyone you’ve spoken to. You should be speaking with a lot of people, whether they’re referrals, you meet them at events, or on social media. 

You need to keep track of these people, and you can’t just keep them all in your head. That’s where businesses fail. Something important dies off in somebody’s mind. They forget, they don’t attend to it. You have to get it documented in order to delegate it. 

Add New Linkedin Connections

How many LinkedIn connections have you added lately? You may be saying, “I don’t know. I haven’t really been adding people on Linkedin.” You should be. 

Linkedin is a great place to connect with people, make that initial outreach, and help them get to know you. 

Need to update your LinkedIn profile? Check out our Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Business infographic!

Attend Events and Conferences

When was the last time you attended a conference or an event? And if you do regularly attend events in your local area, when was the last time you went to a new one? 

New events typically mean new people. You may be going to events and seeing the same faces all the time. Not that this isn’t great for cultivating and growing relationships. 

You’re seeing people consistently, they get used to seeing you. They trust you, they like you. But you also need to make new relationships and meet new people. 

When was the last time you went to a new event that you typically don’t have on your calendar? I try to do that at least once a month. I can meet new people and make new connections, or see current connections in a new environment. 

If that current connection meets people at the same event, they could introduce me to people that I don’t know yet. This is a great opportunity. New events, new people. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. 

Strategies Your Ideal Client Would Be Attracted by

If you’ve been doing the same types of marketing and sales, and you’re not getting the results you used to, you need to change it up. This even includes email marketing. 

You’re thinking, “Ruthie, I email new people all the time.” This ties back to my earlier point. Maybe the sorts of clients you’re looking for now have changed. 

Let’s say I need to get a new client. I decide to offer a deal on blog posts. If you commit to 10 blog posts and pay 50% upfront, I’ll give you 2 free. 

That only works with a certain type of customer. If you’ve switched the type of customer that you’re looking more of, then that won’t work for a good majority of them. 

Some clients are not concerned with numbers; they’re concerned with results. So instead of leading with something like that, you need to lead with results. 

Do you see how that would change? I’d say continue doing your email marketing, but you may need to change your email. 

Alright, that’s been an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast, and that’s where all your great clients went. They went somewhere you’re not looking. 

It’s really hard to be in that position where you’re thinking, “No, you’re wrong, Ruthie. The clients are just gone.” They’re not. 

You’re going to have to do something different, and it’s probably going to be outside of your comfort zone. If it doesn’t scare you at least a little bit, you’re not doing enough. 

So get out there, get a little scared, and do enough.

Attention Spans Decreasing or Something Else?

We’ve all heard it before “the human attention span is only 8 seconds long.” That’s why you have to snag their interest with a great headline, blah, blah, blah. But what if it isn’t our attention spans? What if it’s something else, and it ties more directly to your content quality? 

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

Attention spans; are they going down or is it something else? You can probably judge by the title that I think it’s something else.

Less Than the Attention Span of a Goldfish

Humans went from having a 12-second attention span to an 8-second attention span. That’s less than a goldfish. 

We’ve been playing around with these numbers for a while. They first appeared in Microsoft Canada research, and everybody took it as a fact. But did you know that this number did not come from Microsoft’s actual research? 

It was cited in their research report, and the number actually came from an organization called Statistic Brain, who also cited some vague sources. I read a very interesting article by Simon Maybin, in which he went  through tracking down these sources. He couldn’t get a response from Statistic Brain. He couldn’t get a response from the sources that they cited. 

That’s not to say that somebody didn’t assess that human attention spans are 8 seconds, but it’s been a bit of a rough journey actually figuring out where that number came from. 

If It’s Not Attention Spans, Then What?

I think it’s something else. I think it’s the tolerance level that’s gone down. We have a low tolerance level for content that doesn’t serve us. 

Low Tolerance for the Subpar

With all of the options for content that are possible online, why would you waste any time on something that doesn’t serve you at all? On something that’s subpar, doesn’t make sense to you, or that’s low quality? Why would you do that when you know you could find better elsewhere? Why would you waste your time? 

I know we don’t. That’s what high bounce rates and low website traffic indicates. That’s why your website is ranked lower on search engines. It’s because your content isn’t where it needs to be. 

This comes from a variety of things. It comes from not investing properly in content as part of your marketing strategy, but it also comes from doing content just to do content. It doesn’t have a real purpose within your organization, and it’s just out there floating around. 

Binge-Watching as It Relates to Your Audience’s Attention Spans

Couldn’t you go watch a 2-hour movie right now if you wanted to? I’m sure that you’ve watched at least one within the last month. As a matter of fact, you might’ve watched the Avengers: Endgame movie, which was nearly 4 hours. So you can’t tell me that people can sit through things like that, and then tell me that attention spans are low. That just doesn’t make sense. 

Netflix Introduced Us to Binge-Watching

Netflix ushered in the era of binge-watching shows. Instead of waiting for it to come out week by week, I pick one season of a show and watch the entire thing. Netflix often releases shows that way; season by season, or even the entire thing all at once. 

We binge-watch them because they’re interesting. We don’t want to wait. There are people who will sit and watch several hours of TV over the course of 3 days. That’s not because their attention span is low. 

Is Your Content Binge-Worthy?

So you have to ask yourself; is your content binge-worthy? Is it even worth paying any attention to? Go look at it with an objective eye, and then try to answer that question honestly for yourself. 

Is your content binge-worthy? Is it worth reading when you compare it to your nearest competitors? When you look at their content, how does your content compare? Is it worthy of the attention that you want it to have?

People are not generally numb that we’d continue to read something that doesn’t do anything for us. So as a global society, with all of our options, we’ve developed a low tolerance for subpar content in any form. This could be text, videos, images, and any other sort of content that’s going to be more relevant in the future, like virtual and augmented reality. 

It’s going to include all of those things. They’re already here. It can’t be subpar. I always say it; quality over quantity. A stellar blog post will outperform 16 crappy blog posts over time. 

Reevaluate and Update Content

We have to reevaluate and look at content. Even right now, I’m rewriting and adding to a blog article that’s been on my site for several months, because I’ve learned new things. I’ve got more to add to it. My understanding of certain concepts has become more refined. 

This blog post gets traffic from search engines to my site, so I want to make it better. The data tells me that people are interested in this topic, and I know I can make it better. So now we’re going to move up. 

At the time, that was the best I could do. That was my level of “stellar”. Now, my level of “stellar” is up, and I have to fix it. 

Are you catering to your audience’s intolerance for subpar content? Are you delivering what they expect from you? It’s not their attention spans. It is the quality of your content.