Does Your Brand Live Up to Expectations?

When we talk about branding in a business sense, the first thing people think of are logos and color palettes. While these are important elements to a company’s brand – think Coca Cola or McDonald’s – branding is more about how you set up your company to stand out from the crowd. Branding incorporates your company’s message and mission, and when all these things line up correctly, you become memorable to your audience and solidify the foundation for a strong relationship.

For those in the coaching business, creating a personal brand is very important because that is part of what sells your products and coaching packages to your audience. YOU are the face of your brand. Does how you portray yourself online match up with the real-life you? Here are four ways to develop your personal brand to connect with more people:

  1. Identify what you do, your goals, and your objectives.

You’re not just a coach. You’re a business coach, a health coach, a life coach, a marriage coach. Add any adjective you want before the word “coach” that identifies YOU and don’t be afraid to tell people. Wear that title proudly and soon your tribe will associate your name with your chosen title. Your goals and objectives will form your mission, which in turn tells you who your target market is. If your mission and your market don’t match, you need to do more research.

  1. Determine your brand attributes.

What perception do you want your brand to portray? What image should appear in people’s minds when they hear your name? Do these adjectives match up with your objectives, logo, color palettes, and overall online image?

  1. Create a consistent online presence with your website, blog, and social media platforms.

Yes, color palettes, headshots, and logos are important and definitely play an important role in your online presence. Clear communication with your web designer and social media manager will go a long way to guarantee that your personal brand identity is consistent across all these platforms, and that your online image matches your offline image 100%.

  1. Bring your brand to life by using videos.

People want to know, like, and trust you. What better or quicker way to do that than to use video to reach the masses? Video brings you into their homes and allows you to share the provocative thoughts and daily tips and encouragement they are seeking. Video is proof positive that you are a real person, and they will know fairly early on if your personality/brand jives with their own. Videos should also incorporate some of your online elements so viewers will recognize your logo or color scheme when they visit your website or view a different video.

What Does Branding Have to Do with Networking?

Quite simply, if your online persona is quite different from your offline image, expect to have an awkward moment (or two). Even if your interaction is completely online, if you conduct yourself differently than you show in your videos, you’ll invite more unwanted questions and cause your prospects to be hesitant around you, wondering if you’re “faking it till you make it” or not being authentic. In either situation, your audience won’t trust you, they may not give you a second chance to prove yourself, and may start telling people what a fake you are via social media.

Business relationships should be built on honesty and integrity, and all of your branding elements should be in line. When people trust you are who you say you are, they will begin to trust you and a relationship has begun.

Are You Making These Productivity Mistakes?

Use Time Wisely

As a business owner, your most valuable asset is your time, since it’s a limited resource. That’s why if you’re like most folks, you’re always looking for ways to get more done in less time. But if you’re not careful, you could be making mistakes that actually cost you valuable time. Read on to see if you’re making these productivity mistakes…

Mistake 1: Multitasking

Many people are under the assumption that multitasking allows them to get more done in less time. In fact, researchers have found the opposite to be true. Every time you take your focus off the task at hand, you lose productivity. That’s why the experts say it’s much better to focus on ONE task and get it done before moving onto the next task.

Mistake 2: Getting Sidetracked

It’s easy to think that you’ll just quickly check Facebook before you begin working for the day, or that you’ll look at a few YouTube videos. Next thing you know, hours have gone by, you’ve been totally sidetracked, and you’ve gotten next to nothing done.

Don’t make this mistake. If you have a tendency to get sidetracked, then you’ll want to take steps to prevent it. For example, if checking Facebook is your downfall, then put your laptop into “airplane mode” so that you can’t mindlessly surf the internet when you’re supposed to be writing. Or if you need to use the internet for research, then install an app that blocks social media or other tempting sites.

Mistake 3: Improper Planning

There are two mistakes you can make here:

  • Failing to plan. If you don’t plan your days, then you’re going to find yourself going whichever way the wind blows – and that’s highly unproductive. So be sure you have a to-do list in front of you at the beginning of each day.
  • Planning too much. If you try to squeeze something into every minute, you’re going to end up stressed out and overwhelmed. That too isn’t very productive.

Mistake 4: Not Making Use of Your Best Hours

Most people have about two or three hours of the day that are their prime hours. This is the time of the day when you’re the most focused, energetic and creative. Problem is, most people fritter away this focused time by doing little tasks like answering emails.

This time of the day is different for everyone. It’s up to you to determine your peak productivity hours, and then schedule your most important and/or most difficult tasks during this time.

Mistake 5: Starting with Easy Tasks

If you want to get more done in a day, then get your most difficult tasks done first. These tend to require the most concentration, and so you may be “shot” after you finish them. And that’s okay, if you’ve scheduled the rest of the day with some of your easier tasks.

Conclusion

Did you catch yourself making any of these mistakes? If so, correct the mistake as soon as possible… and watch your productivity soar!

Pain Points: What You Must Know About Your Potential Clients

Potential Clients

How well do you know your potential clients?

Chances are you’ve developed at least a simple client avatar. You know her business, her age, her income and education levels. You know where she lives and how many kids she has and what her biggest dreams are.

But do you really know what drives her?

We’re not talking about just what she wants (we all want more money and free time) but more importantly, you need to know what her biggest pain points are. Figure this out, and you’ll not only be able to better create programs to help her, but your sales copy will dramatically improve as well.

Think about it—if you’re uncomfortable with technology, and once in a DIY mood you destroyed your website during a simple update, then website management becomes a huge pain point for you. Now imagine you find a VA who not only works with WordPress, but who calmly shares examples of how she’s rescued client websites after such disasters.

She’s clearly addressed your biggest pain point, and you’re sold!

The same is true for your potential clients. Show them you can help them avoid those pain points—or better yet, eliminate them completely—and you’ll forge an instant bond.

Now you may already have a good idea what causes your clients pain, but if not, you have plenty of ways to find out.

  • Talk to them. What do they most often ask or complain about?
  • Listen in on forums, on social media, and other places your audience hangs out. What are they struggling with?
  • Reader surveys. These can be a rich source of information in any market. Pay special attention to the words and phrases your readers use to describe their troubles.
  • Keep an eye on your competition. What pain points are they addressing?

Once you’ve uncovered your ideal clients’ biggest pain points, you’ll have a powerful tool that you can use not only in your sales copy, but it will also help define your programs and service offerings. If you can help your clients overcome the most painful issues they face—whether it’s a lack of self-confidence or a fear of public speaking—you’ll instantly become a more valuable resource in your niche.

And when you incorporate those same pain points in your sales copy, your conversions will dramatically increase as well.

The Art of the Soft Sell: How to Get the Click Without (Really) Asking for It

We’ve all seen those old-style sales pages filled with yellow highlights and screaming red text and lots of “BUY NOW” buttons, and when we think of copywriting, that’s often what comes to mind. While that style of sales page can be effective, it’s not the only way to make sales.

In fact, by taking a more subtle approach, you might even find that you generate more interest—and potentially more sales.

Stories Sell

One effective way to entice readers to click through to your sales page is with stories. These can be your stories or those of other people, with the goal of helping your readers to see themselves in the same situation.

Did you help a client turn her chaotic household into a calm oasis with better organizational skills? Her story on your sales page will get more clicks than all the yellow highlight you can buy.

What about that time you trashed your entire business plan and started over because you simply weren’t passionate about your work? Your potential business coaching clients will be anxious to learn more, and will click through without you even asking.

That’s the power of stories, and you can use them everywhere: in your blog posts, in your emails, on your sales pages, and even in videos and on social media.

Be Genuinely Helpful

Want to build a reputation as the go-to person in your niche? All it takes is to help people. Answer questions on social media, volunteer to speak to groups who need your advice, write blog posts that address the most common issues your readers face.

By volunteering your time and knowledge, you’ll attract a wide audience of potential customers who may need your services in the future. Who will they turn to? That very helpful person who went out of her way to offer assistance in the past.

Now we’re not saying you have to give away all your time, but if you really want to show off your expertise, you can’t do better than a little volunteer work. Not only will you make an impression with the person you help. But chances are good she’ll share with her friends as well, further expanding your audience.

Of course this doesn’t mean that there is no place in your business for a strong call to action. “Click here to buy” and “Learn more right now” are still useful (and even necessary) on sales and opt-in pages. The key is to know when to make a subtle offer, and when to offer a bit more hand holding.

 

Email Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

It’s one metric we consistently watch and try to improve: email open rates. There’s good reason for it, too. If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, then they can’t read about:

  • Your newest coaching program
  • Your latest must-have tool discovery
  • That epic blog post you just wrote

The trouble is, you only have about two seconds to entice a reader to open your email. Even worse, you have to do it in ten words or less.

Yikes! That’s a pretty tall order, even for seasoned copywriters. But there are some tricks you can use.

Be Ambiguous

If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’ve no doubt seen those “click bait” headlines that say things like, “She adds this to a box of Wheat Thins and I’m drooling!” The reason headlines like that work is because we can’t help but want to know what “this” is that she’s adding to her Wheat Thins. Is it sugar? Salt? Peanut butter? We imagine the possibilities, but in the end we have to find out, so we click.

You can employ the same technique in your email subject lines. Just substitute the word “this” for the actual thing you’re writing about, and you’ve got instant enticement.

Use Numbers

Here’s another strategy for creating must-read content: numbers.

“7 Hidden Benefits of Waking Up at 5am”

“3 Unlikely Ways to Close the Sale”

“5 Social Media Platforms You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring”

The reason numbers work so well in subject lines is because we are ego-centric and curious. We simply must know if we already use those three ways to close the sale. We will either walk away feeling good for being a marketing maven, or we will have learned something. Both are compelling reasons to open an email.

Use Power Words

Just as with all writing, choosing power words is far more effective than setting for their weaker counterparts. Imagine these two subject lines appear in your inbox. Which are you more likely to open:

“WordPress Makes Better Looking Websites for Non-Designers”

or

“Create a Gorgeous Website—Even if You’re Not a Designer”

While both subjects offer the same information, the first is weak, while the second is far more compelling.

When it comes to email subjects, there are a few more tips to keep in mind if you want to up your open rates:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10 words at the very most, and fewer if you can.
  • Test everything. Use your autoresponder’s split-testing functionality to see which subject line styles perform best in your market.
  • Use personalization, but sparingly. Occasional use of your reader’s first name can be a powerful technique.

Here’s the bottom line: If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, they’re not buying. Paying closer attention to your subject lines is the single most important thing you can do for your email marketing campaigns.

Copywriting 101

Copywriting 101

If there’s one thing that confuses and frustrates new (and even seasoned) copywriters it’s the not-always-obvious features and benefits.

How to Know the Difference Features vs. Benefits

We want to share all the great things about our new coaching program, so we say things like:

  • 6-week self-study course
  • Includes workbooks and live training
  • Members’ only discounts

While these are all good points, they’re pretty bland. That’s because they’re features, not benefits. They tell us about the program, but not why we should buy it.

Benefits, on the other hand, tell us the “so what” of features.

“6-week self-study course.” So what? Why should your reader care?

  • Because she’s busy and needs to work on her own schedule, not yours.
  • Because she’s already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and needs more in-depth information.
  • Because she prefers to learn on her own, not in a group.

“Includes workbooks and live training.” So what? What are the benefits of workbooks and live training?

  • Your student can put what she learns into action with workbooks.
  • She can get her specific questions answered during live training.
  • She can work through complex issues with the help of the group.

As you can see, benefits go much further than simple attributes, such as length and format. They show your prospective client not only what’s in the program, but why the product is exactly right for her, at this specific moment in her life and career.

Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement, like this:

6-week self-study course so you can learn at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you.

In fact, this powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and the format of them makes them easy to write, too.

Simply list all the features of your product, then for each one, ask yourself “Why?” Why should the reader care? But don’t stop there. Dig deeper to uncover “the why behind the why” and you’ll soon be crafting truly irresistible sales pages that convert far better than you expect.

In the above example, the why behind the why might be, “so you don’t have to spend family time on webinars that have been scheduled to benefit someone else.”

Now not only is your prospective client working at her own pace, but she’s also freeing up time to spend with her family. That’s a great benefit she won’t find with most courses.

It’s easy to list all the features of your product or coaching program, but far more difficult to uncover the benefits that will drive sales. When you truly understand the difference though, it will become easier, and your sales will reflect the change in your copy.

You Probably Don’t Realize these 7 Surprising Places You Are Using Copywriting

Using Copywriting

When you hear the word “copywriting” do you immediately think of long sales pages, squeeze pages, and unwanted bulk mail?

You’re not alone in that thinking, but the fact is, copywriting is more than just sales messages. In fact, as an online business owner, most of the content you produce could be called copywriting at least in some sense. After all, if you’re creating content with the ultimate goal of selling something, that is by definition copywriting.

  1. Facebook: Sure we all like to hang out on Facebook and chat with friends, catch up on the latest funny videos, and enjoy a mindless “quiz” or two. But for coaches, Facebook is much more than that. It’s a place to connect with potential clients, and that means that when you’re sharing your latest blog post or program with your business friends, you have to keep good copywriting in mind.
  2. LinkedIn Profile: What makes you stand out from the other coaches in your niche? Your LinkedIn profile is where you share what makes you the best person to solve your ideal client’s problems. It’s where you shout about your credentials and let your ego run the show. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a resume, and be sure to list your most impressive credentials.
  3. About Page: Here’s your chance to have some fun while blowing your own horn. It’s important to know that the about page is often the most visited page on a website, so it’s a critical piece of your overall brand and message. The purpose of your about page is to entice people to want to learn more about your services, so be sure to include a call to action on the page.
  4. Blog Posts: All blog posts have a job to do. Maybe they’re meant to lead your reader to a sales page. Perhaps you’re asking for readers to subscribe to your mailing list. Maybe your blog post is designed to start a conversation. Or maybe it’s just sharing great content and inviting readers to learn more by clicking on related posts. Whatever the job, it’s copywriting that entices your reader to take that next action.
  5. Twitter: One hundred and forty characters is precious little space for creating compelling content, yet that’s exactly what you must do if you hope to use Twitter as part of your overall marketing strategy. Think of tweets like email subject lines, and craft them to convey as much information as possible while still enticing readers to take action.
  6. Email: Whether you’re sending an email about a new product or service or simply letting readers know you have a new blog post up, your email definitely qualifies as copywriting. In fact, even the personal emails you send to prospective clients contain what we would call copywriting.

The fact is, copywriting is everywhere in your business, from your sales pages to your invoices. Whenever you ask a reader to take some action, you’re writing copy, and the more comfortable with the idea of it, the better (and more natural) you’ll become.

3 Time Savers Software That Will Make You More Productive

Minimise Time Wasting

The Best Time Savers Software App For You

Below is a list of tools that help you save your time.

Feedly

A single place to organize, read, and share all the content that matters to you and your team.

Pocket

Put articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket on your phone, tablet or computer. Save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. You can read these saved content at later even without an Internet connection.

Habit List

Keep track of your habits and set attainable goals. Habit List includes everything you need to reach your goals, wrapped in a beautiful and intuitive interface. It motivates you, helps you stay focused, and keeps you on track.

 

What time TIME SAVERS software do you use and recommend?

5 To Do List Software To Plan Your Task Effectively

Do It Now

There are plenty of tools to help you keep up with your to-dos and stay organized. Below is a list of software that help you to keep track of all your ever-growing list of tasks and to-do thingy.

Task Management App At Your Fingertips & On The Web

1. Any.do

Millions use Any.do to realize their true potential. Any.do helps you achieve anything by syncing your personal tasks, work projects, and shared lists so you have a clear path moving forward.

2. Do It Tomorrow

A Todo App for procrastinators. You can easily create your list, prioritize it, and procrastinate when apt, in under 5 minutes.

3. WorkFlowy

Organize Your Brain – WorkFlowy is a notebook for lists. Use it to be more creative and productive.

4. Remember The Milk

Managing tasks is generally not a fun way to spend your time. Remember The Milk is created so that you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand.

5. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.

 

4 Personal Time Tracking Software That Will Make You More Productive

Use Time Wisely

The Best Time Tracking App For You

Below is a list of tools that help you monitor aspects of your personal time.

Rescue Time

RescueTime gives you an accurate picture of how you spend your time to help you become more productive every day.

Remember The Milk

Managing tasks is generally not a fun way to spend your time. Remember The Milk is created so that you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand.

Timely App

Scheduling and time tracking, simultaneously. The time tracking app to end time tracking.

Focus Booster App

Simple and effective pomodoro technique time tracking. Use focus booster to apply the pomodoro technique, over come distractions, maintain focus, stay fresh and still finish work on time.

My Minutes

Set goals for your time with a personal time tracker.

Toggl

With Toggl you track time in real time. You never lose a minute of your billable time. If you forget to switch it on, then enter time later on. Organize your time by projects or tags, and mark it as “billable.”

What time tracking software do you use and recommend?