This is how business went WAY back in 2008 when I opened my holistic nutrition doors:
- rent an expensive office space that didn't send me any referrals back (because I thought it wasn't professional to have a beautiful home office).
- spend hundreds of dollars buying furniture and office supplies to fill said office space.
- open up a business bank account.
- get a logo designed.
- buy a website domain.
- build a website that described how important I was and why people should pay me hundreds of dollars at a time, even though they had no idea who I was and what I could help them with (other than the phrase "holistic nutrition").
- get 500 business cards printed with said logo and website domain.
- set office hours because, hey! I have a life, too.
- open doors and wait for the clients to flood in.
- make tons of cash doing only what I was passionate about.
This pretty much covered my first 2 years of business, other than the making tons of cash part. I don't see any marketing at all in that list.
Since then, I've taken many courses from copywriting to online launching to branding. And do you know what the #1 thing they all have in common for recommending how you grow your business and have successful launches?
Blogging, and sending newsletters from those blogs.
Earlier this year, I decided to mostly step away from my main holistic nutrition practice into business coaching, because I couldn't stifle my passion for it any longer. Since I had the chance to start this new business from scratch with 7 years of business experience and course knowledge behind me, what did I do that was totally different from my health biz?
1. I've been blogging and sending newsletters FROM THE START (instead of 3 years later)
2. Offering regular webinars with my one-on-one services pitched at the end
To be fair, back in 2008, practically no one in the holistic health niche were doing online businesses or webinars. Oh, how the world has changed!
So what does blogging really have to do with having a successful business?
When I have a Biz Strategy Session with a new health practitioner or holistic business owner who isn't making enough money, I click through to their website and check out how often they publish blog posts. Guess what? There hasn't been one person who has been consistently blogging.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.
We all see those people online who seem like they burst spontaneously onto the scene and are making fantastic money. Those people who went from welfare to $1 million in generated revenue in their first year. But there's always a back story. Chances are high that those people had multiple failed businesses, or they have been working on developing themselves and learning marketing skills for the last 5 years.
Just like you never come across someone who does absolutely nothing and has glowing, vibrant health (unless they're some sort of genetic mutant ... or lying), you won't have a successful business without actually picking at least one habit to be consistent with.
I see blogging as the #1 non-negotiable biz building activity that you need to be doing, and here's why:
1. You own their contact information
2. You're showing them you're the expert before they invest in you
In the case of someone giving you their e-mail address, they already somewhat trust you. Since every store and website now asks for your e-mail, people are wise enough not to give it out at every chance. If they opted-in to your newsletter list, they WANT to hear from you, but only if you show them that you're there to provide value and you know what you're talking about. You need to send helpful, valuable information to them 80-90% of the time, and only 10-20% of the time ask for the sale. If you've provided enough value by sending helpful tips and resources that your ideal client wants to know about, they won't mind it when you ask them to buy something. It's like they're able to try it before they buy it, and people love a low-risk purchase.
Remember that there are always people who will unsubscribe the second you ask them to buy something, but guess what? They were never going to buy anything, anyways! Don't worry about them, worry about the remaining people who ARE still on your list, and serve them to the best of your abilities.
3. You're reminding them about you
Everyone is busy now. EVERYONE. Chances are that if they opted-in to your newsletter that yes, they do need your help. The problem is that they just forgot about you because they have a to-do list a mile long. When you send a jam-packed newsletter to someone that will actually make their life easier, they'll notice. They won't feel pressure that your services are another thing they have to buy when their bank account is already overdrawn. They'll feel more like you're a good friend, popping into their inbox to say hi. Chances are super small that you'll ever organically pop into their head, triggering them to say to themselves "hmm, I wonder if Ashley has services or products that I can buy from her that will help me out?". However, if they clicked from your newsletter to your blog post to finish reading an article or to get a delicious recipe, and then they see a picture on your sidebar that you have a new meal plan or one-on-one services, chances are higher that she WILL click to the sales page and check it out.
I know that everything I'm sharing with you about blogging and sending newsletters probably isn't brand new information for you. So why aren't you already doing it?
Well, probably because you have a million other things to do for your business.
Just like whatever you're offering in your business isn't a priority to your ideal clients because, you know, LIFE, and they still feel like crap because they're not implementing your expertly recommended program. If you've been working with clients, you probably know exactly what it feels like to have to listen to a client complain that nothing is getting better, right after they confessed that they had every intention of following your plan, but work/stress/Christmas/wine/sick kids/something inevitable happened, while you sit there and silently scream to yourself "then WTF are you paying me for?!?!".
So, I'm challenging you to step up your game and commit to an entire year of blogging. That's right, an entire year.
Don't start freaking out, I don't mean every day of the year, but at least twice a month.
During 2014, aka my glorious year of list building and program making, I realized that there is one HUGE hurdle to regularly blogging, and that is coming up with the subject. How many times have you sat down to write a blog post, not been able to come up with a subject, and moved onto other "important" things to do in your business, only to realize 3 weeks later that you still haven't written a post or done anything productive? Uh, if you're like me, too many to count. I estimate that having a blog editorial calendar reduces 50% of my stress when I sit down to write.
That's why I'm providing you a one-year blog editorial planner! This planner includes:
- an empty calendar so you can start planning anytime during the year
- recommendations for how often you should be blogging (hint: it's not daily!)
- instructions on how to fill the calendar in for twice monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly blogging
- how to take your blog post and turn it into your newsletter (kill 2 birds with one stone)
- my step-by-step plan on how to schedule a 1-year editorial calendar in 30 minutes or less
- how to change your editorial calendar when you're launching a new product or service
- the free online tool I use to test the effectiveness of my blog post titles and newsletter subject lines (it rates it from 0 to 100)
- PLUS an entire year's worth of blog post ideas for nutritionists, yoga teachers, and essential oil advocates!
Ready to wipe out 50% of your blogging stress? Enter your info for your one year blog editorial planner.
I've been meaning to get my editorial calendar organized for months now, so I'm going to have a taste of my own medicine and complete this challenge WITH YOU. I fully expect for someone to call me out if I haven't posted my completed calendar by January 1st.
When you're done your editorial calendar, share it on social media and tag me on it (Instagram: @ashleysrokosz, Facebook: Ashley Srokosz), and get your ideal clients excited about all their going to learn for free in the coming year!
Just like I tell my clients: if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Set yourself up for a fantastic, make-more-money-than-you-ever-have year by committing to regularly marketing yourself through blogging.
I wanna know: who's committed to completing the yearly blog editorial planner? Let me know in the comments below, and I'll check back with you in the new year!