Why You Need to Specialize (or why I'm not a copywriter, SEO strategist, or brand designer)

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Today I’m talking about why you need to specialize – or why I’m not a copywriter, SEO strategist, or brand designer. I’ve been learning over the past 3 years in business that it is important to specialize when you decide what it is that you want to offer in your business and who you want to work with. It doesn’t work to offer every service to everyone out there because then you can’t be known as an expert in any one thing.

Over the past three years, I have spent my time trying to figure out exactly what I could specialize in and how I could best serve the clients that I really wanted to work with. It took time and a lot of iterations of my services and website and what I wanted to offer, but as I have learned that I need to narrow down on what it is that I want to do and who I want to work with, I have also seen that my ability to serve my clients well has increased.

Today I’m going to talk through that journey with you and encourage you that if you aren’t sure if you should be specializing in one area, I really recommend that you do.

Topics Discussed:

  • How I went from offering every type of design service to focusing on website design
  • My fears as I chose an area to specialize in
  • Why I can’t offer every kind of service
  • What you should look at as you consider specializing
  • Honing in on your specific service, process, and dream client

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Figure out your why
  2. Narrow in on your dream client
  3. Remove any services from your website  that you don’t want to specialize in

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Money Mindset and Being the CEO of Your Business with Sarah Walton

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Today I’m talking with Sarah Walton about money mindset and being the CEO of your business. We cover a lot of topics in this week’s episode and Sarah has great insight to share. We talk a little bit about why entrepreneurs are afraid of looking at the money side of their business and how we can get better at that. We talk about loving what you do and changing the perception of your friends and family, as well as your own perception, of seeing this as a real business. We also discuss creating new products to serve your clients, planning your marketing, and a little about Facebook ads and how Sarah is using those in her own business.

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Connect with Sarah:

Sarah Walton a business mentor and is the founder of Sarah’s Business Accelerator for women who want to start and build their businesses, and The Money Mindset Course, and interactive online course for women.

In a quest to make sure women are empowered with every tool needed to fulfill on the Dalai Lama’s promise, Sarah founded her companies and started creating events, workshops and courses. Through her companies, and her Redefining Success Events, she now speaks around the nation, offering her courses, products and workshops, all designed to inspire, inform, ignite passion and bring the power of femininity forward. Her focus is on taking better care of ourselves, developing a healthy relationship to money, creating challenging goals and learning how to lean back just as often as we lean in. Her companies have become known and trusted brands around the world and one of her businesses was recently featured on The Today Show. She is mother of two and a wife to one. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why many entrepreneurs are afraid of looking at the money side of their business

  • Using profit and loss statements to give us information about our business and plan for the future

  • Changing your mindset in your business to see your value

  • Helping your friends and family see your business as more than just a hobby

  • What you should focus on when creating new products and services

  • Why you need to know your dream client inside and out

  • The important of planning your marketing in advance and knowing the seasons of your business

  • Why Sarah decided to invest in Facebook ads and how she’s preparing her business

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Know your numbers (debt, profit, expenses, cash)

  2. Understand your value

  3. Actively work on your confidence  by challenging yourself

Launching Your Website

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Today I’m talking about launching your website. If you’ve been tuning in over the past size weeks, I’ve talked about designing a strategic website including your navigation, home page, about page, portfolio, sales page, and contact page to cover everything you need to build a website that helps your business to thrive. Now it’s time to talk about launching that website you’ve built. This is the way that I help my clients prepare for a launch and get their website into the world. This episode will be helpful if you’re working with a designer or designing a website yourself and you’re ready to launch in a way that helps your business to grow.

Topics Discussed:

  • Building excitement for your website launch
  • Finding cheerleaders to help promote your new design
  • Finalizing the design of your website
  • Why you need to test your website before launch and what to look at
  • Preparing for your website launch
  • What you should do after your website launches

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make a list of potential cheerleaders
  2. Create graphics to share when you launch your website
  3. Collect information about your current domain and host, including username and password, so it’s in one place.

1. Build excitement

Let your audience in

Build excitement for your upcoming launch a month in advance by letting you audience know what's going on. Give them a behind-the-scenes look into what you’re doing including why you’re updating your website and what to expect before and after you launch. One fun way to do this is to create a countdown that you share on social media.

Find cheerleaders to help promote your launch

Email friends, business associates, collaborators to let them know what you’re working on and ask for their help in promoting your launch. Then, make it easy for them to share by providing images, copy, and important dates.

Share the process

Share sneak peeks of what the website will look like (a partial screen shot, color palette, mood board) to get them excited and build suspense. A great way to do this is to use social media to talk about what you’re learning and why you’re updating your website, focusing on the heart behind your brand and how you can better serve your clients.

Finalize Your Website

This step comes after the design of your website is finished, when you're just making sure that everything is ready to go.

SEO

Make sure your website is SEO ready by adding site and page descriptions, updating image metadata, and submiting your sitemap to google.

Test everything (twice)

This includes forms, links, and what your website looks like on mobile, tablet and desktop views across browers.

Get Ready

There are a few steps you'll need to take before your website can officially launch.

  1. Back-up your old website if you want to keep it
  2. Pay for your new platform is necessary
  3. Connect your domain If you are changing platforms, you will need to redirect your domain to point to the new website. For Squarespace, you can follow their tutorials. If you're using Showit, you need to submit everything to Showit and they will connect it for you.
  4. Set up your email. The email you are currently using will remain active as long as your hosting is active. If you choose to cancel your hosting, you will need to host your email elsewhere. If you are now hosting your website with Squarespace, you have the option of creating a G Suite account, which will allow you to send and receive email through Gmail. If you choose to move your email hosting to G Suite, you will need to redirect it to G Suite before canceling your current hosting.
  5. Do a soft launch. Test everything again once the website is live and allow enough time for everything to switch over (at least 3 days) before your official launch.
  6. If you are starting a new website, have a few blog posts ready to post the day you launch to give visitors something to engage with

LAUNCH!

Now it's time to share your new website and celebrate. I love sharing on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live.

After You Launch

You aren't done after your launch. Check your analytics after a month to see if you’re meeting your website goals and make tweaks based on visitor feedback and analytics data. Also, continue promoting your content and website design and keep a list of updates you want to make down the road.

Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Contact Page

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Getting people to contact you should be the ultimate goal of your website, so it’s important that your contact page sets you up for success.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why your contact page is so important
  • Different options you need to include
  • Tips for designing an effective contact page

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Include your email address
  2. List your office hours or when people can expect to hear from you
  3. Update the post-submit response to fit your brand

TIPS FOR DESIGNING STRATEGIC CONTACT PAGE

There are lots of people who don’t want to fill out your contact form or they’re interested in something else - like a partnership or collaboration. By not including an easy, direct way to contact you, you’ll likely never hear from them.

  • Use a form on your contact page that collects the information you need from most people.
  • Have a professional email address on your contact page.
  • Include office hours or expected response time.
  • Consider an autoresponder so people hear from you right away about what to expect.

DESIGN TIPS:

  • Include fun graphics
  • Keep it simple to encourage action
  • If you get a lot of emails asking the same question, include a link to your FAQ page
  • Use a call-to-action that makes sense like “submit” or “send”
  • Make sure the copy and images fit your brand
  • If possible, you can have your form change based on the type of inquiry or have them select an “inquiry type” option to make things easy for you
  • Focus on being helpful

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Marketing Personality Types with Brit Kolo

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Today I’m talking with Brit Kolo about marketing personality types. Brit and I have a great conversation about how you can figure out what personality you have and how you can find a marketing strategy that feels good. We talk about why this is so important and how you can really help yourself, your business, and your clients by marketing that aligns with your personality instead of feeling like you have to follow what everyone else is doing. Brit shares the story of how she pivoted in her business and in her life as she went from one career to another and started a business with the confidence that she would be able to make it work.

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Connect with Brit

Brit Kolo is a Marketing Coach who coaches boxed-in business owners to become independent, profitable leaders through self-awareness and #MarketingThatFeelsGood. She’s also the creator of the Marketing Personality Quiz and Host of the Marketing in Yoga Pants Podcast.

Through her intuitive, in-depth coaching process, she’s here to shake up your approach to marketing and inspire you to grow your business in a feel-good, meaningful way.

When she’s not hopping on a Zoom call with a coaching client, she’s chugging dark roast, podcasting in her yoga pants, and supporting her circle of fellow female entrepreneurs.

Meet Brit and get ready to go deep, find meaning, and grow that business you’ve always dreamt of at JAMMarketingGroup.co.

Topics Discussed:

  • Pivots in business
  • Why it’s important to find a marketing strategy that fits your personality
  • Brit’s free resource for making sure your marketing feels good to you
  • Designing a marketing plan that serves your clients
  • The Myers-Briggs Personality test and how it’s useful
  • Examples of personality types and marketing strategies

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Take the Myers-Briggs personality test
  2. Find your marketing personality
  3. Implement one strategy that fits your personality

Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Sales or Services Page

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Your services page is probably going to be your most content-heavy page because you want to share a lot of information, but you can improve the design by removing distractions (such as a call-to-action in your banner image), breaking up your content into smaller chunks, and making it easy to get in touch with you.

Topics Discussed:

  • The difference between a sales page and a services page
  • Laying out a strategic sales page
  • Designing an effective services page
  • Overall design tips

Action Steps:

  1. Add at least one image of you to the page if there isn’t one
  2. Update your calls-to-action to encourage action
  3. Add client testimonials that reflect the results they saw after working with you

Tips for designing strategic Sales page

The difference between a sales page and a services page

A sales page generally focuses on one product or service that is special. Usually you see these for online courses that need to communicate a lot of information before someone purchases.

Services page include much of the same information, but are about your general services, even if you have a specific process. You can use a similar layout, but need to include the main ways someone can work with.

Laying out a sales page

1. Powerful headline

  • Grabs attention, draws in dream clients, and encourages them to read on
  • Specific, direct, provoke curiosity
  • Use the language your dream client uses
  • Opening paragraph expands on promise of headline – “teaser”

2. Share the story behind the offer

  • Your transformation
  • How you’ve helped others (testimonials)

3. Headings that grab attention

  • Make it easy to skim
  • “why should anyone read this?”

4. Images

  • What the product looks like
  • Inside iPad, laptop, desktop (for digital product)
  • Images of you (for personal brands) + tell your story
  • Complement your copy and stay on brand (use icons that show up often in your brand)
  • Infographics to explain text-heavy  ideas

5. Testimonials

  • Call out reasons people may not buy and convince potential buyers – answer common fears
  • Gather from skype interviews, emails, Facebook groups, social media, etc.
  • From clients, students, influencers
  • Use numbers and be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Use testimonials throughout that focus on results – specific examples of how it worked
  • Have a portfolio of case studies

6. Features and Benefits

  • Features – what the person gets
  • Benefits – why they need it, state as facts
  • Benefits above features
  • List modules as title, what’s included, the results they will receive
  • Make it clear what they’re getting – value upon value

7. Guarantees (if you have one)

8. Buttons

  • After benefits, at bottom of page, under opening paragraph
  • Invite them to “join” or “get access”

9. FAQ

  • Address common questions and objections
  • Use accordion menus or pop-up blocks to shorten the overall page
  • Guarantee if you have one

10. Include a P.S. for lingering objections

Laying out a services page

1. Powerful headline

2. Share the story behind the offer

  • Your transformation
  • How you’ve helped others (testimonials)

3. Headings that grab attention

  • Make it easy to skim
  • “why should anyone read this?”

4. Images

  • Images of you (for personal brands) + tell your story
  • Examples of your work

5. Testimonials

6. How you Work with People

  • The service levels or options

7. Features and Benefits

  • Benefits – why they need it, state as facts
  • Make it clear what they’re getting – value upon value

8. Buttons

  • After benefits, at bottom of page, under opening paragraph
  • Invite them to “learn more” or “book now”

Design Tips:

  • Keep it simple – don’t have too many packages or ways to buy
  • Divide up the page into sections

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Interviewing Your Dream Clients

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Today I’m talking about interviewing your dream clients. If you have never heard of a dream client interview or you’ve never done one before, it may seem like a weird idea, but it is a great way to interview people who you want to work with and get an idea of what they are looking for in your service or product. Today we’re going to cover why interviewing your dream clients is good for your business, the basics of interviewing, writing questions that get to the point and give you what you need, getting ready for the interview, conducting it, and what you should do once it’s over.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why interviewing your dream clients is good for your business
  • The basics of interviewing
  • Writing questions that get to the point and give you what you need
  • How to prepare for the interview
  • Conducting dream client interviews to get the most out of them
  • What you should do after the interview is over

Resources Discussed:

 

Action Steps:

  1. Make a list of past clients and people you know that you would like to interview
  2. Create a list of questions to ask
  3. Send an email explaining what you’re doing and asking for their help

Why conduct dream client interviews

Conducting a dream client interview is a great way to get information that can help you as you make changes to your business, add new services or products, or update the copy on your website. The goal is to gather information about your dream client instead of assuming that you know what they want and need from your.

Dream client interviews are also great because they allow you to:

  1. Use their words in your copy
  2. Speak to their concerns
  3. Think of new services that are missing in your industry
  4. Get feedback on ideas before launching

The basics

Conducting the interview doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require some preparation. To get the best information possible, you want to interview 3-5 people. This allows you to see what answers are repeated and which you can throw out as one person's opinion.

You should keep each interview to around 20 minutes (8-10 questions) to be respectful of everyone's time.

To make it easy, use a scheduling software like Acuity Scheduling to find a time that works for btoh you and your interviewee. Conduct your call video video on something like Zoom that allows you to record so you don't have to take notes as you go.

Choosing the right people

It's easiest to reach out to people you know or have a connection with. And, of course, you need to interview dream clients – people you want to work with in the future or have loved working with in the past.

Preparing for the interview

As you prepare for the interview, ask your potential interviewees and have them schedule a time. You want to let them know why you need their help and what to expect.

This is the email I sent:

  1. Say Hi
  2. Include something personal
  3. Ask for their help (I know you’re busy, but I would love to have your help on something.)
  4. Explain what you’re doing (I’m currently transitioning my services from overall graphic design to just website design and I want to make sure that I’m creating a service and process that is really helpful for my ideal clients. I think you fit that mold and I know your insights would be really beneficial!)
  5. Explain what you need from them (I’d love to jump on a Zoom call with you for 20 minutes and ask you some questions about your business and the things you’re struggling with.)
  6. Give them a way to schedule (If you’re willing to chat with me and answer some questions, you can find a time that fits your schedule here.)
  7. Wrap-up (And if there is any way I can support you, just let me know and I’d love to help!)

Feel free to use this template or write your own.

Writing the questions

As you're writing questions to ask during the interview, use no more than 10 questions. You can ask the same thing in different ways to get more information. You goal here is to learn about their pain points/struggles and make sure you're clear on what they want (not just what you think they want).

These were the questions I asked:

  1. How do you feel about your website?
  2. Do you feel your website design is holding you back?
  3. What made you decide to work with a designer for your website?
  4. What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to your website?
  5. Do you feel like your website is doing its job?
  6. What type of website design service do you wish existed?
  7. What would you expect to be included in website design and strategy?
  8. How involved in the website design process do you want to be?
  9. What are your future goals and what type of support might you need?
  10. What would you want to see in a design portfolio to give you confidence in hiring someone?

Since I was asking about website design, these questions are tailored to that topic, but you can use the same types of questions for your own service or product.

Conducting the interview

This may be the most nerve-wracking part, but if you've chosen people who are willing to help, it won't be as scary as you think. Keep it simple - get on the call, remind them of what you’re doing, and ask for their permission to record so you don’t have to take notes.

Then ask your questions, adjusting as needed based on their answers and wrap-up and thank them for their time.

What to do After

Now that you've conducted your dream client interviews, it's time to actually use the information you've gathered.

You first step should be to send a thank you email and possibly send a small gift (I sent a $5 Starbucks giftcard).

Next, get the interview transcribed. You want to get the exact words your interviewees used so that you can have them for reference. Then, make notes to keep everything organized. Here are the four documents I created:

  • Common answers - answers that I noticed were repeated for certain questions
  • Keywords - the words I could use for SEO based on what my dream clients would search for
  • Notes - notes for myself about changes I wanted to make or things I wanted to remember
  • Word bank -list of words and phrases my dream clients used that I could work into my website copy (especially around their pain points)

Once you have your notes, you need to put the information to use. You can use these interviews to update your services, packages, and process, write social media captions and brainstorm ideas for blog posts, rework your website copy to speak to your dream clients' concerns, and create on-boarding emails that remind your clients how you're going to serve them.


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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Portfolio

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Your portfolio is a great way to show off what you do and connect with your dream client. It’s important that you use this page to show the type of work you want to be known for - not every project needs to be included here. If you have a lot of items to share, consider creating sections based on style or event type so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

Topics Discussed:

  • What projects you should feature in your portfolio

  • Designing a portfolio that speaks to your dream clients

Action Steps:

  1. Remove any projects that don’t reflect your current services and style

  2. Add a testimonials to each project

  3. Organize your portfolio so it’s easy to navigate


Tips for designing strategic portfolio

Your portfolio is a great way to show off what you do and connect with your dream client. It’s important that you use this page to show the type of work you want to be known for - not every project needs to be included here. If you have a lot of items to share, consider creating sections based on style or event type so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

  • Showcase what you want to be known for.
  • Give potential clients a picture of what you can do for them by addressing their pain points and the transformation previous clients experienced.
  • Make sure to credit anyone who worked on the project with you. and
  • Include a testimonial from your client about their experience and results.

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Pitching Yourself to Podcasts and Other Outlets with Cher Hale

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Today I’m talking with Cher Hale and we are talking about pitching yourself. We cover topics like why it’s important for entrepreneurs to pitch themselves, what types of opportunities are available for you, and how you can create a pitching process of your own. Cher also talks about what makes a good pitch and how she does research ahead of time to make sure that whatever outlet you are pitching is a good fit and then we talk about following up. I give some examples of pitches I’ve received and follow-ups so that you can hear from a podcast host what that feels like.

We also talk about what happens if you get a no or a yes after you pitch and how you can continue that relationship in a positive way.

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Connect with Cher

Cher Hale is a publicist who helps authors, activists, and artists tug at more heartstrings + get more eyeballs on their work. She specializes in writing cold (but heartfelt!) pitches and has landed interviews on outlets like The Unmistakable Creative, goop, and NBC. When she’s not writing emails, you can find her re-watching Remember the Titans, playing with her cat Totoro, or hiking somewhere in the PNW.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • Why small business owners need to learn to pitch themselves
  • The types of opportunities that are available for entrepreneurs to share their expertise
  • Cher’s pitching process and how you can create your own
  • What makes a good pitch
  • Following up without going overboard
  • What happens if you hear a no after a pitch
  • The process if you get a yes

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Set a goal for pitching
  2. Make a wish list of podcasts
  3. Write a heartfelt pitch and follow up

Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic About Page

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Your about page isn’t really about you, it’s about your dream client. People are going to check you out before they decide to invest time or money into your business. They want to know what you can do for them right now. If you have an online business, whether you’re supporting it through a blog or not, your need a solid About Page that’s easy to find and targeted to your ideal client.

Topics Discussed:

  • Designing an about page that focuses on your dream clients
  • The basic layout of a successful about page
  • Examples of fun about pages you can use for inspiration

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make sure your about page includes at least one image of you

  2. Update your copy to focus on the benefits clients get from working with you

  3. Add 1-2 testimonials from dream clients


Tips for designing strategic About Page

Focus on your dream clients – what they’re struggling with, how you relate, how your service/product helps

Basic Layout

  1. Image of you
  2. Say Hi
  3. Share what you do, who you help (brief)
  4. Most days, what you love, your passion
  5. Your story
  6. Beliefs. Fun facts
  7. Team
  8. Testimonials / Features
  9. What you offer / Next step (opt-in)

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