Posts in entrepreneurship
Five email list builders that WORK

I love working with entrepreneurs who understand how important it is to build their email list and send emails on the regular. I often get asked how someone can entice a website visitor or social media follower to drop their email in exchange for something of value. There are a gajillion ways you can do this but here are a few that have worked well for me.

email list

Checklists

My audience devours these. I guess because when you’re slammed trying to parent, build a business, keep up with the chores, manage your time well and feel productive, a good checklist comes in handy.

I love to boil my advice down to actionable lists that are easy for someone else to apply to their life. If you’re familiar with Adobe Acrobat or Canva, these are pretty simple to make. If you want to make a big splash by promoting/advertising the list on social, you may want to hire a graphic designer to turn it into serious eye candy. If you’re looking for ideas, refer to your social posts or blog posts for inspiration on what you can break down into steps.

Free consultations

I’ve called these by different names before - a website audit, a strategy session, a content coaching session but essentially they’re all just a specific type of consultation. I’ve had a lot of interest when I offer these. Just be sure you can actually afford to give your time away with these types of opt-ins as they can really drain the clock. I like to put a limit on openings to prevent from over extending my time investment. These offers are probably the most effective for me in building my email list, and have often provided a no-pressure, soft introduction to a new client.

Referral incentives

I offer the deepest discounts to those who refer me. Referrals are gold so it’s worth it to put an attractive offer on them. I typically ask my current email list for referrals and a nice percentage off certain services in return. For these, you’ll want to make sure you give instructions on how the follower can get the referral incentive. For example, make sure you explain; forward this link to a friend and get 20% off such-and-such when they purchase. Just telling people to give you referrals without clear instructions will only make them wish they knew how.

Quizzes

I recently added a quiz to my site and it’s been very well received. Quizzes are kind of irresistible when they’re presented as a fun way to get great info, guidance or a silly, unexpected answer. Simply search Google for a quiz platform and you’ll find plenty to choose from that are created to help build your email list, many of which have free versions.

Access to free trainings

I give out a lot of free advice via social media, my emails and this blog but I am careful to save more in-depth training for those who give me their email or join my Facebook page. Want to get more instruction from me on a topic? You’re going to need to at least opt-in or join a page for that.

Sites like teachable.com are great for hosting educational videos, you can use a Facebook page for live videos (they save on the page so your followers can always view the content later) or upload to YouTube, make the link private and ask for email addresses in exchange for the private link. These are all ways you can become everyone’s favorite free advice giver.

Okay now your turn! I’d love to know what email opt-ins and list building ideas have worked best for you! Leave your comment below! Oh, and if you’d like to be on my email list to see what goodies my favorites get, email me to let me know.

A marketing checklist for your business launch
business launch marketing checklist

Launching your own business involves an endless amount of tasks. Between business planning, budgeting, developing out your product or services, licensing, supplies to purchase and on and on, you may struggle to catch your breath. Looking for a way to make it easier? Allow your fellow boss babe to lend a hand.

Here’s a quick checklist of the primary branding and marketing assets you’ll need for a successful business or product launch.

  • Name

  • Tagline

  • Business description (think elevator pitch)

  • Branding

    • Brand colors

    • Logos

    • Fonts

  • Website (a basic home page, about page and contact page is fine to start with!)

  • Marketing budget

  • Marketing plan

Do you need social content? Maybe. Emails ready to go? Maybe. A Facebook page? Possibly. Everything outside of the list above will be determined by your marketing plan. What you don’t want to do is throw time and energy into an extensive list of marketing must-haves before you map out goals, a budget, a strategy and a plan.

If you want pro guidance through the launch of your business or a new product or service, grab my 3-month marketing plan from The Marketing Plan Shop. It will help you go step-by-step through planning and even includes a nifty branding checklist so you can identify exactly what your business needs and keep track of all the marketing details.

When to hire a digital marketer or outsource your small business marketing

Should you hire a digital marketer? Should you hire a part-time digital marketer? Should you outsource to a marketing agency?

Is the investment into marketing worth the money? Is your business ready to support a full-time or part-time digital marketer? Or, could you outsource your digital marketing to a pro and save a ton in employee overhead?

As your business grows, you’ll go through alllllll kinds of growth pains and have to make alllllll kinds of decisions. Let me make the decision to hire for marketing a little clearer and easier for you.

First, there’s a difference in outsourcing your digital marketing and hiring a digital marketer to your company team. I believe in most cases, if your business is healthy and growing, you’ll eventually have to do both. Which is why I want to speak to both scenarios.

I have experience working as a full-time director of marketing in the corporate setting as a part of a team. I also know what it’s like to provide outsourced digital marketing to small/medium businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing team yet. Here’s a checklist to help you confirm when you should outsource your digital marketing and when you’re ready for a dedicated team member or two.

When to outsource to a digital marketer

  • Early on, when your business needs a few online marketing tasks managed but not necessarily the full-scale marketing treatment.

  • When you can no longer justify spending your time doing marketing and you need to turn it over so you can make more money focusing on what your business bottom lines are.

  • When your own marketing approach is simply.not.working - get some pro help!!

  • When you can afford to spend at least $250/month on marketing management of some sort. This could be email marketing, social media marketing, website management, social or Google ads management, etc. Disclaimer: $250 isn’t necessarily my rate or someone else’s rate for a marketing service. To me, $250 signifies about where your business profit needs to be to start thinking of regular monthly outsourcing. Honestly, this is the lower end of many digital marketing services and you’re not going to get “the works” for that amount (beware super cheap vendors!!) but it’s a good place to start as you’re considering whether or not your business can begin to support outsourcing something and taking a little off your plate.

  • When you can afford to spend $1,000+/month on marketing. Um, if you’re profiting enough each month to put some serious dough into your marketing - DO IT. DO IT YESTERDAY. That means your business can’t afford for you to keep spending time on its marketing. Outsourcing will free you up to keep doing what you’re doing - and even better - and get you some knowledgable, professional marketing help that will take you to new heights in no time. This is a no-brainer.

digital marketer

When to hire a digital marketer to your team

  • When you can afford a digital marketer salary - and it’s less or equal to what you’re spending to outsource. This number will depend on where you live (you can easily look up local salary comparisons online) or how much you want to spend if you search for a remote team member. If you’re unsure, it wouldn’t hurt to put some hiring ads out and do a few interviews to get some confirmation that’s the route you’re ready for.

  • When you’re ready to manage/lead a new team member. Remember that leadership also requires a time investment, so consider whether you’re ready to lead them, cultivate their career, bring them into the culture of the company and facilitate their interactions with you and other team members first.

  • When you’re ready to have an in-house marketing team. If you run a company that could truly benefit from dedicated, in-house marketing, a digital marketer is a must. There are many roles that can still be outsourced but someone to oversee your digital marketing plan and work with those outsourced vendors is a good foundation for building a full team upon.

I hope this was helpful! As always, put questions in the comments below or let me know if you benefitted from this blog. I love feedback and to know someone’s reading :) Best wishes as you invest in your business marketing!

What a digital marketer's 2019 digital marketing plan looks like

I am immersed in the world of digital marketing. Between my corporate job and side-hustle, I’m strategizing and creating online and offline content (print or networking collateral) on a daily basis. Not only am I constantly creating marketing for other entrepreneurs, I have to keep up with my own as well.

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So what does a digital marketer do for her own marketing? How do I manage to fit marketing my own business into a VERY full month of managing others’ marketing? My advantage is that I’ve done a lot of everything, so I know what it takes to create certain assets, how to see if they’re working and what combinations work within various time, budget and creative limits.

What I’ve learned is that the best approach is to formulate a marketing strategy or plan around the person or persons in charge and their business goals, not all the latest marketing trends or what’s traditionally worked for a certain industry.

Many times, business owners will have an idea of what they want based on watching others, but aren’t aware of how time consuming or costly it is, or that it’s actually not doing anything for the other entrepreneur at all - it just looks or seems flashy. Believe the metrics, not the visual appeal.

Here’s the thing, boss babes, your marketing secret sauce is what makes the most sense for YOU - your time, budget and creative capacity.

My 2019 marketing plan is wider and broader than what I was doing in 2018, but it’s based mostly on what I can handle in the time I have to create and test and tweak and improve within an allotted window each month. I am pushing for more but within realistic guidelines and being another year wiser about what will produce the best ROI for what I can invest - both in time and money.

In summary, my 2019 marketing plan consists of most of the same things I was doing in 2018 - keeping my website fresh, monthly blogs, weekly social posts and weekly emails. I’ve added paid social ads because I think I’m ready to manage them (doing it right is more expensive and high maintenance than most people realize).

As you create your 2019 marketing plan, please don’t get wrapped up in what “everyone else” is doing. If you’re in the early years of your business or need help keeping up consistent marketing that isn’t time consuming, I’ve got exactly what you need here. My post on driving website traffic is basically a fundamental marketing strategy with a great, simple tool to help with consistency.

What else are you curious about when it comes to a 2019 marketing plan? Let me know and I’ll do a blog post or maybe a Facebook Live on it. Make sure you’re following my social accounts! I’m constantly giving away marketing GOLD on them. Enjoy your new year planning, girlfriend!

The five best things I did for my business in 2018
boss babe

This has been a big year for Lindsey Wagnon | Brand Writer. The business went from concept to concrete with four new clients and considerable traction on following. I’m still navigating so much, but I can pinpoint a few specific things that helped a lot! If you’re a girl boss in the early days of launching a business or side-hustle, I highly recommend doing the following.

I created and kept a strict calendar

In addition to this side-hustle, I work full-time as a marketing manager, am on the church worship team, run plus do a HIIT workout most days and am mom, wife and friend as best as I can be. I also require a 9:30 bedtime on weeknights (much to Philip’s dismay.)

Consistency comes after so much trial and error, and that’s okay.

Pretty early on I realized this side biz won’t fit in if there isn’t time allocated on the calendar. So I went to work finding the time. I currently have 9 hours a week blocked out - and that’s on weeks I’m not leading worship. I’m motivated to keep lists and stay focused during those few hours a week and you know what? It’s been enough! All those time management gurus are right about the fact that you really can squeeze a lot of productivity out of a short amount of time if you do it right. I also learned how to get most of my monthly marketing content written and ready to go in 4 hours, which I explain in detail on a Facebook Live over on my Facebook page.

I got brand headshots

This was THE BEST investment EVVVVAAAAARRRRRRRR. I had been thinking about brand headshots for months before I finally asked my friend Sarah if she had an opening in her photography calendar. In about an hour, she captured the absolute perfect combo of business photographs. I now have a fully stocked library for my website, emails and social graphics. It’s an amazing difference from the poor, fuzzy and badly cropped iPhone pictures I was defaulting to. Good photography is so underrated and can change your brand look and feel instantaneously.

lindsey wagnon branding

I kept a posture of learning

I’ve been devouring podcasts. Building a StoryBrand, Often Ambitious, Rachel Hollis’ Rise Podcast and EntreLeadership are a few of my top picks. I love hearing how others are building their businesses, marketing advice and the great storytelling that comes out of these. They keep me inspired when I’m tapped out or clueless about next steps.

I’ve also been listening/observing my audience. I may have a general plan or direction but I can’t be inflexible to change when I’m repeatedly asked for help with something or recognize a gap in my communication. Your own fans have earned the right to inform your business by being loyal and providing feedback.

True progress comes with specific greatness, not general mediocrity.

I stayed minimal when I wanted to go maximum

I have a hard time being patient. When I have a new idea or hear of something that works great for someone else, I can get laser-focused on that thing. But true progress comes with specific greatness, not general mediocrity. I’ve had to rein in my impulsiveness with the business to focus on making a few things great and waiting for the right time and opportunity to expand into more.

This applies to many aspects of business, but with marketing specifically, you want your primary hub - a website, a Facebook group, a blog, an Insta account to be the absolute best it can be before you start using other platforms to send people there. If they’re disappointed or confused at the ultimate landing place, you’re going to lose them. Many of my marketing plans start with “your website needs work/updating/attention” because this is exactly what’s happening to that ladyboss’s audience.

I nailed down a consistent look and voice

This one was tricky for me because it was truly a development over time. I didn’t know if I liked a certain social template until I’d used it a few times. I didn’t nail down brand colors until I recognized what stock photos I kept gravitating toward. I didn’t understand how much writing a blog on social anxiety would resonate with my audience until I put it out there - and then kept putting it out there.

Consistency comes after so much trial and error, and that’s okay.

What have you done for your business or side-hustle that has been a game-changer?? Comment below :)