What is brand personality? It’s what makes your business human in the eyes of your customers. Communicated through tone of voice, visuals, and even customer service policies, brand personality can be expressed in anything you do that lets people know what the experience is like to be your customer.

Here’s why it matters in a nutshell:

If your brand doesn’t have personality characteristics, people are going to have a much harder time figuring out that you’re the one for them.

Think about the last time you became friends with someone new. No doubt you were drawn to certain personality traits: maybe they were funny, intelligent, kind, or something else. We like certain characteristics in other people, and we all have different preferences for qualities we find attractive in others.

It’s no different with brands! People purchase things from brands they like and relate to, it’s really just that simple.

If they don’t have a clear sense of you and what you’re like, they may just keep on scrolling. Inconsistent and generic brand messages with no real strategy or intention behind them aren’t going to get you anywhere, there’s just too much noise competing for your dream customers’ attention. But…

When you define your brand personality and communicate it consistently, you’re sending out signals that will attract your ideal customers and giving them a reason to choose you.

This is one of the most FUN aspects of branding and it’s quite simple too. Even if you don’t feel 100% clear about what it is yet, we’re going to break it down in this post. Let’s start by defining what brand personality is and then dive into the frameworks you can use to help you define yours.



Brand Personality Definition

Brand personality refers to human characteristics associated with a brand. They’re usually expressed as adjectives that convey how you want people to perceive you.

For example: cheerful, youthful, dependable, friendly, responsible, sophisticated, and so on.

We can also think about brand personality in terms of demographic characteristics like gender, age, and social class.

For example:

  • If Harley Davidson were a person? It would be a man. Victoria’s Secret? A woman.
  • Apple would be a young, hip, creative and Microsoft would be a mature professional.
  • Chanel would live in a mansion and TJ Maxx would live in an apartment.

Once you begin to think about your brand as a person with unique personality traits, you’ll be better able to connect with your humans — the customers you want to attract — on a more emotional and personal level.

And that’s important because emotion is what drives decision-making, and that includes purchasing decisions.

Think about Apple customers…

You know there’s no point in arguing the merits and benefits of purchasing a PC. For them, there is no substitute. Buying an Apple product says something about them. 

Apple’s brand personality enables its customers to express themselves–the ideal version of themselves–through the use of their brand.

So think about who your dream customer aspires to be and then consider how your brand helps them become that.

Why Brand Personality is Important

  1. Brand Personality Helps You Break Through the Noise to Capture Attention

Always remember that your dream customers have an infinite number of options for things to pay attention to every single day.

Even just scrolling through social media and checking their email, they’re bombarded with hundreds and thousands of messages. Then they’ve got a to-do list a mile long that they can never seem to get to the bottom of: they have to run to the grocery store, drop the kids off at soccer, schedule an appointment for Lasik surgery, fix the squeaky door hinge and on and on.

Busy, overwhelmed, and distracted… they simply can’t pay attention to every little thing that crosses their field of vision. Emails have to go unopened, social media posts quickly scrolled past, videos get assigned to the “(will never) watch later” list…

With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why a differentiation strategy is so crucial. You need to break through all that noise and get their attention, and one of the best ways to do it is by expressing your unique brand personality.

That is, if they like you… they’ll be exponentially more likely to pay attention.

When you have a clear and consistent brand style and voice (which starts by defining your brand’s personality traits), you shorten the time it takes for people to recognize, remember, and pay attention to you.

2. Brand Personality Helps DIfferentiate You & Drives Consumer Preference

Your dream customers are also comparing you to what your competitors have to offer, and if they can’t tell the difference, they’ll probably choose the one with the lowest price.

Humanizing your brand is one way for you to distinguish yourself from your competitors as something more special and valuable than what others are offering.

We humans like to think we're logical, but never forget that it's emotions that drive your customers' decision to choose you.Click To Tweet

3. Brand Personality Helps You Tell Your Brand Story

At the core of your brand story are the reasons why your customers should care about you.

  • What do you stand for?
  • What are you here to contribute to your tiny corner of the world and the people in it?
  • How do you do business differently than your competition?
  • What is the experience like to work with you?

The personality characteristics you choose to focus on must be rooted in your larger brand strategy.

Humans (and brands) all have underlying beliefs, values, core principles that guide them.

Personality traits — the things we perceive on the surface — give us insight into who people are deep down.

Brand personality is really about personifying your brand in a way that has meaning to the people you wish to attract

How to Define Your Brand Personality – 3 Frameworks

There are two main approaches to defining your brand personality, and a third method combines the first two. There is no right answer — choose the one that makes the most sense for you.

Personally, we use the first method but many of our branding colleagues use the second.

The important thing to remember is your goal: to create a consistent tone of voice in your messages and to create a visual identity that’s in alignment with your personality. If you can do that, how you approach it doesn’t really matter.

Framework #1: Aaker’s Brand Personality Dimension Framework

We always find it’s helpful to use a framework and luckily, a Stanford researcher named Jennifer Aaker in her paper Dimensions of Brand Personality created one for us and it’s a great starting point.

Brand Personality Framework
Brand Personality Framework

Aakers’ model groups brand personalities into five broad categories:

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement
  • Competence
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness

You want to pick 3-5 adjectives (personality traits) you want to “own” when somebody thinks about your brand.

The adjectives (traits) you choose will fall under one of these five personality dimensions. For example, daring or adventurous go under excitement. Charming and feminine fall under sophistication and so on.

This simple framework can help you distinguish your brand from your competitors.

For example, if you’re a virtual assistant, your main competitors may focus on competence — they’re all about reliability, hard work, and responsibility.

You might position yourself as the one who’s sincere – cheerful, casual, and relatable.

Yes, of course, you’re also reliable, hard-working and responsible… it’s about choosing specific traits you’ll put forward and lead with.

Choosing specific qualities to focus on (rather than every trait you possess, the complex human creature that you are), allows you to create a powerful value proposition:

“I’m the one that’s __________.”

Being able to fill in that blank means you’ve provided your potential customers with a clear and easy-to-understand differentiator and they’ll be able to base their choice on the qualities they feel more attracted to and aligned with.

Brand Personality Quiz

Want to have a little fun? I’ve created a free quiz to help you determine which of Aaker’s Brand Personality Dimenions you belong in: Take the brand personality quiz here.

Once You’ve Chosen Your Brand Personality Traits… Then What?

From here on out, rather than calling them “brand personality traits,” let’s use a metaphor that can be really helpful for remembering “how to be” in your communications. We like to call these helpful adjectives “brand anchors.” We’re visual people and this helps us burn it into our subconscious that we’re supposed to actually do something with these words:

Everything you do, say, write, share and even how you present yourself (your brand visuals) should be “anchored by” these adjectives.

The graphic below represents the way we approach branding and how we anchor these characteristics to everything we say, create, and do. This little metaphor helps us to be consistent.

Brand Personality Anchors

Brand Anchor Example

Using Aakar’s framework, we clearly fall under the “sincerity” category. We’re not wild and zany, or tough and rugged, and unfortunately, we’re not glamorous or fancy. And while we like to think of ourselves as intelligent and hard-working, we don’t quite qualify for the “competent” category — which doesn’t mean we’re not competent, it’s that we don’t lead with that quality.

Because a lot of our customers have described the process of working with us as approachable, we wanted to convey friendliness in our visual brand. For example, rather than corporate blue (always appropriate for a ‘competent’ brand) we use bright, warm, and fun colors in our brand visuals. Cheerful, but not so over-the-top as to spill over into the “excitement” category.

Framework #2: Brand Archetypes Framework

Another way to personify your brand is to choose an archetype. This is a model based on Carl Jung’s theory that people tend to use symbolism to understand concepts. He defined 12 archetypes that represent different groupings of characteristics, aspirations, values, and attitudes.

The question to ask yourself is, which one of these identities will YOUR dream customers relate to most?

Brand Personality Archetypes
Brand Personality Archetypes

The Social Types
want to connect with others

THE REGULAR GUY/GAL
Goal: To fit in
Wants their customers to feel a sense of belonging
Traits: Casual, down-to-earth, folksy, guy/gal next door, supportive, solid virtues, real, democratic, equality, community, lack of pretense
Famous examples: IKEA, Visa, Levi’s

THE LOVER
Goal: Intimacy
Wants their customer to find love and connectionTraits: Romantic, sensual, passionate, warm, intimate, giving
Famous examples: Chanel, Victoria’s Secret

THE JESTER
Goal: to enjoy life
Wants their customers to have more joy and laughter in their daily lives
Traits: Fun, light-hearted, quirky, zany, irreverent, humorous, enjoyment, never boring
Famous examples: M&Ms, Skittles

The Order Types
want to give the world structure

THE CREATOR
Goal: To innovate
Wants their customers to believe in what’s possible
Traits: Imaginative, creative, artistic, entrepreneurial, inventive, non-conformist, visionary, innovative, non-conforming
Famous examples: Adobe, Crayola Lego

THE RULER
Goal: Control (in order to lead)
Wants their customers to feel more organized, stable, secureTraits: Organized, leader, role model, responsible, controls the chaos, boss
Famous examples: Microsoft, Mercedez-Benz, Rolex

THE CAREGIVER
Goal: To serve others
Wants their customers to feel understood and protected
Traits: Maternal, generous, compassionate, caring, nurturing, parental, empathy, selfless
Famous examples: UNICEF, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz

The Ego Types
want to change the world

THE MAGICIAN
Goal: Power (to make magical things happen)
Wants to make their customers’ dreams come true
Traits: Inspirational, idealistic, charismatic, visionary, imaginative, spiritual
Famous examples: Apple, Disney

THE HERO
Goal: Mastery (in order to make the world a better place)
Wants to help their customers: by rescuing them from their troublesTraits: Bold, honorable, confident, strong, courageous, inspirational
Famous examples: Nike, FedEx

THE REBEL
Goal: Liberation
Wants to help their customers break free from the status quo, overturn what’s not working Traits: Wild, change-maker, rebellious, rule-breaker, revolution, edgy, misfit, outrageous, radical, free, disruptor, shocking
Famous examples: Harley Davidson, Virgin

The Freedom Types
want to find paradise

THE INNOCENT
Goal: Happiness Wants to help their customers feel great on the inside
Traits: Positive, kind, good, pure, simple, young, loyal, optimistic, trustworthy, moral, reliable, honest, good virtues, nostalgic, sees the good in everything, faith, does the right thing
Famous examples: Coca-cola, Dove

THE EXPLORER
Goal: Freedom
Wants to help their customers have new experiences, adventures, discoveriesTraits: Adventurous, independent, pioneering, individualism, wanderlust
Famous examples: REI, Corona, The North Face

THE SAGE
Goal: To understandWants to help their customers by sharing knowledge
Traits: Wise, visionary, knowledgeable, intelligent, trusted source of information, thoughtful, mentoring, advisor, guru
Famous examples: Oprah, Google, NPR, Quora

Framework #3: Combo of Personality Dimensions & Archetypes Frameworks

By now you’re probably wondering if you can combine these two methods. It just so happens that some researchers set out to do just that! In Advertising between Archetype and Brand Personality, the authors combined Aaker and Jung’s work and the result turned out like this:

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Bechter, Clemens & Farinelli, Giorgio & Daniel, Rolf-Dieter & Frey, Michael. (2016). Advertising between Archetype and Brand Personality. 

The personality traits and dimensions they chose were subjective, so this means if you want to use an archetype and combine it with some brand anchors, you can create your own framework to follow. Just use your best judgment when choosing the traits that fit your archetype.

Embracing Your Brand Personality

An important thing to remember is that these exercises intend to help you create a consistent voice and style so people can understand what you’re about and connect with you on a deeper level.

But it’s not about strategizing ways to trick people into believing something about you that’s just not true and that’s not necessary anyway. Your greatest competitive advantage is there’s only one YOU. It’s just that people tend to see their personality traits as “flaws” and they downplay them.

Want a winning brand personality? Be who you actually are.

What do they do instead? They look around at what everyone else is doing and copy it. This tendency is called social compliance and you must resist following what everyone else is doing if you want to stand out.

Maybe you’re…

  • Adventurous and spirited but you’re a financial planner, so you think you need be corporate, responsible, dependable.
  • Sophisticated and feminine but you work in tech so you think you need to be tough and masculine.
  • Down-to-earth, warm, and laid-back but you’re in fashion so you think you need to be glamorous and refined.

Branding is not trickery. It’s about showing up as authentically as you can so people know what to expect.

Now let me ask you this:

  • Who do you think adventurous and spirited people would rather work with when they need a financial planner?
  • Who do you think sophisticated women will want to work with when they need technical expertise?
  • Who do you think laid-back people will choose when they need fashion advice?

The beautiful silver lining about having so much competition these days is that you have a huge opportunity to get narrow and worry only about finding your people. They notice us when we’re showing them exactly who we are.

People like to work with people they like and relate to. Your people will get you, so don’t try to be something you’re not -- that’s only going to backfire and attract the wrong people to you.Click To Tweet

How To Communicate Your Brand Personality

Now that you’ve chosen your personality traits, you need a strategy to communicate that personality with consistency. You’ll do that in three ways:

  1. Visual Identity: This is your logo, your fonts, your color palette, and the image and design style used in your marketing materials.
  2. Brand Voice: This is your tone of the language you use–how you say things; the words you use and the ones you don’t.
  3. Actions: Basically, everything you do contributes to your customers perceiving you in one way or another, make sure your actions are intentional and in alignment with the personality you define.

Visual Identity

Once you have your brand anchors, you can make choices about your visuals–your graphics, brand colors, and so on—so they’re in alignment with the traits you want to become known for. They include…

  • Your Logo
  • Color Palette
  • Fonts
  • Visual Style Rules
  • Image Style Rules
  • Design guidelines

Brand Voice

Your brand anchors can also help you create a consistent tone of voice in your brand copy and marketing messages, including…

  • Naming strategy
  • Tagline
  • Tone of Voice
  • The words you’ll use and the ones you won’t
  • Editorial guidelines

Actions

This is where people fall off when it comes to branding–thinking that their brand visuals and voice are all that’s required. But keep in mind that people’s perceptions of you are largely based on experience. Your actions are brand promises fulfilled. How will you walk the walk in your…

  • Customer service policies
  • Product and service offerings
  • Processes — onboarding, offboarding, etc.

Your brand personality is the promise, but you must live up to it in everything you do. The idea is that when your work together is through, people will automatically describe you with the same personality characteristics you defined in your brand strategy.

Brand Personality Examples

Let’s take a look at the Aker’s Brand Personality Dimension exercise to see some famous brand personalities in action.

SINCERITY

When you fall under the sincerity dimension, you’re down-to-earth, honest, cheerful and genuine. People appreciate your generous, helpful, and caring nature.

This happens to be our brand personality dimension. We wish we had fallen under “excitement” (ha!) but the reality is, the way we are with customers is more in alignment with qualities like empowering, friendly, unpretentious and “no bs” — that’s based on feedback they’ve given us, not just some adjectives we pulled out of a hat.

That’s why this exercise can be so helpful… sometimes we don’t always recognize our own strengths and qualities and how others perceive us the frameworks give us a starting point.

Oh, and another famous brand that falls under this category is APPLE. You may think they belong in the “excitement” category with the visionaries and change-makers, but they’re actually all about empowering their customers to unleash their creativity. HELPFULNESS is the more dominant characteristic.

EXCITEMENT

If you’re a change-maker and a visionary, chances are you fall under the EXCITEMENT category. Excitement brands are daring, charismatic, spirited, imaginative, passionate and creative.

When you. think of creative vision and imagination, you can’t help but think of DISNEY!

Or how about TESLA? Tesla is a brand that’s out to disrupt the car industry to be the “world’s first genuine green car brand.”

COMPETENCE

When your brand dimension is COMPETENCE, you’re the one people depend on. You get things one and you’re reliable. We want our doctors, lawyers, plumbers and car mechanics to be competent and dependable above all else.

One of the most famous brands that falls under this category is Microsoft.

SOPHISTICATION

Sophisticated brands inspire a sense of luxury, prestige, femininity and high class. Many personal brands fall under “sophistication” — think lifestyle bloggers, beauty gurus, and even graphic designers who have an elegant aesthetic. Think Audrey Hepburn

The famous brand that first springs to mind in the sophistication category is Chanel.

RUGGEDNESS

These are the outdoorsy, adventurous, masculine and sporty brands. While usually reserved for B2C brands, you’ll also see personal trainers, life coaches and other consultants with a rugged personality. It’s definitely a great way to set yourself apart!

Think JEEP, Harley Davidson, or REI… we ADORE that one of their biggest campaigns is to promote the CLOSING of their business on Black Friday to encourage their customers to get outside.

In Summary

The real magic happens when you convey a consistent personality in your branding — your brand voice, visual identity, and even your actions. WIth consistency, people start to “get to know you,” which leads to trusting and choosing you.

Having a distinct personality means you’re not just some anonymous, generic company offering the same things a lot of other companies are offering. You become known and remembered as the one that’s ________[insert personality traits here].

Don’t forget to grab our Brand Personality Exercise below to discover yours or take this fun brand personality quiz!



Was this helpful? Have a question? Hit us up in the comments!

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Are you a coach, consultant, creative professional, or any type of freelancer? Then there’s no doubt you know this story…

One day you’re so swamped with client work you can’t even think about where you’re going to find your next client. Then when things slow down, you realize there’s no work lined up → PANIC! then finally, a bunch of work comes in again → PHEW! → and the cycle starts all over again.

This is known as the “feast or famine cycle” and it happens when you don’t have a system for attracting clients while you’re busy serving the ones you have. 

But just imagine being able to relax into your day-to-day work knowing that consistent interest in your work is always flowing toward you on autopilot.

In this post, we’re going to show you exactly how to get there! 👇

What is a Sales Funnel for a Service Business?

While we usually talk about “sales funnels” in the context of selling products, the income and work consistency all service providers crave is exactly why you need them too. For you…

A sales funnel for service businesses is simply a series of steps that guides people from becoming aware of you to booking your services.  

Even though we like to believe it’s a straight shot from discovering we exist to getting booked for a gig, you’ve probably already discovered first-hand that it just doesn’t work like that.  It all comes down to timing.

A sales funnel gives people the information and nurturing they need and when they need it until they’re ready to hire you. 

It keeps you top of mind, helps inspire trust, and can even position you as a go-to expert so when the time is right, it’s a no-brainer for them to take the next steps with you (there can be no substitute – it has to be YOU).  

And because a funnel is largely automated, it works in the background for you 24/7/365 to generate leads and line up future work — even when you’re booked, busy, burned out, or heck, just want to take a week off. #treatyourself

Not only that, you can use your funnel to create financial leverage with passive income! 

Offering a low-cost digital product to customers who are going through your funnel is a great way for service providers to offer a low-risk first step. It also provides an option for people who can’t afford your 1-1 services and gives you a source of revenue if you do experience a slow period.

Right then. Before we get into the steps and components you need to set up your funnel, let’s peek behind the curtains of your new “client attraction system” to see how it’s going to change the game for you. If you raise your hand to any of the following problems, you definitely need a funnel… 

3 Reasons Why Service Providers Need A Sales Funnel

#1. You’re attracting clients who don’t want to pay you what you’re worth, don’t respect your time and process, and blow up your phone with non-urgent requests on the weekends 😩

If you find yourself saying “yes” to projects and clients you’d really rather say “no” to, it’s probably due to “famine anxiety” — because you never know when the money might stop flowing, it’s hard to turn any work down.

Not only does this scarcity mindset zap the joy from your work, it puts all the power into your customers’ hands. In other words, if you don’t have the power to say, no, you’re at their mercy — and how your business is going to go for you depends entirely on them. 

But check this out…

A well-structured funnel allows you to attract and qualify higher-quality clients, focus on the work that’s most fulfilling and profitable for you, and even make passive income along the way. 

You can design your funnel to attract only the types of clients you want to work with doing the type of work you’re meant to be doing (rather than all that other stuff you say yes to only because you need the cash). It’s your funnel and you can use it to steer your business in the right direction. Now that’s what we call taking your power back! 💪

#2. You don’t have time to market your business strategically and consistently (you’ll get around to that once you get your client projects are under control?) 

Has it been a while since you’ve dusted off your Instagram account? Been a hot minute since you’ve emailed your list? When you have a free hour to work on marketing tasks, do you stare at your screen wondering where the heck to even start? 

When you’re busy serving clients It’s understandable that you need to put marketing on the backburner, we all have bills to pay and marketing takes time — time you just don’t have. We get it. 

But marketing is the only way to create leverage in your business and line up future work so you can feel in full control of what you do, for whom, and even how much you can charge. 

The truth is, there’s never going to be a convenient time for you to put your business in the #1 spot on your priorities list rather than your clients’, but that’s exactly what you need to do in order to break the feast or famine cycle. 

The good news is…

The more you can create and automate up-front by creating a sales funnel, the easier it will be for you to create a marketing routine that doesn’t take up much of your time to maintain. 

Once it’s set up, you’ll mostly just focus on getting new people into your funnel (e.g. via social media) and let your funnel take care of the rest. 

(Be sure to check out our Content Calendar System if you need help with what to post and what to say on social media in order to be consistent and get people into your funnel – it’s a huge, huge time-saver!) 

#3. Potential clients take their sweet time about their decision to move forward but you’ve got bills to pay today

Your potential client’s readiness to start work is rarely in sync with your financial needs. You can’t convince people who aren’t ready to buy something to buy it – just think of the last time you were “sold” something you didn’t want or need at that moment… it just doesn’t happen.

But if you understand what’s happening from their perspective, you can get head of timing frustrations…

Fortunately, the process your clients go through before they decide to hire you is predictable, and we can use that to our advantage when planning a funnel.  Your sales funnel educates, positions you as the best solution, and provides so much value along the way that when they are ready to buy, they choose you

In other words, you’re not really “selling” them something they’re not in the market for today, you’re giving them lots and lots of reasons to buy from you when they are.

So let’s look at this predictable process in more detail: 

  1. First, they need to be aware they have a problem and that you (the problem solver) even exist
  2. Then, they need time to research and compare their options
  3. Once they’ve done that, they start to consider whether you’re absolutely positively the best option
  4. When they’re satisfied your solution is the best choice for them, they decide to move ahead! 

Along your customer’s journey, you want to be sure you’re providing them options for ‘next steps’ that make sense for them today and depending on where they’re at. 

If you’ve got a website and you’re relying exclusively on that to book work, and if the only options they see are…

👉 “Hire me”
👉 “Let’s work together!”
👉 “Schedule a discovery call”

…if they’re in the early stages of this process, you’re asking them to take a HUGE step – one they’re just not ready for. It’s kind of like asking someone to marry you on the first date.  

At this point they’re not a “yes” or a “no”… they’re a “maybe” and you’re asking them to skip over several steps…

..

Your “maybe someday” audience is busy today. This isn’t a priority. They have time to explore their options. You’re in a rush to book them NOW but that’s not their problem.

When you ONLY give them a binary choice:
1. Hire you
2. Click away

… you’re missing the opportunity to nurture a relationship with people who’d love to hire you – just not today. That’s where your funnel really shines, so now let’s look at what you need to set it up: 

The Easiest Way to Plan A High-Converting Sales Funnel

The first thing you want to do is decide WHAT you’ll be offering (or what service you’ll “pitch”) in your funnel. 

Here you can really dream big and decide how you want your business to be – who is the ideal customer you want to target? What service offerings do you want to become known for?

We always start at the end and work backward. So think about… 

What’s the FINAL destination?

What’s your “bullseye” service? What problem are you solving for your dream customer and who are they? What does your service include, how much does it cost, and how long does it take?

Once you’ve figured out where you’re ultimately taking people, you’ll want to “break apart” that solution to solve it a percentage of the way at each step of your funnel. So now it looks something more like this… 

By providing free value and low-risk solutions that relate to your bullseye service, you’ll get the right people into your funnel and keep them hooked. 

If we rotate this funnel-shaped graphic, now it looks like a ladder – neat right? This is a value ladder. If you’ve ever wondered what that is, a value ladder is just a series of offerings that increase in price and value. 

.

👇 Click the image below to grab our free Value Ladder Planner that goes into more detail about what to include.👇

Now let’s put all of these ideas together and see how your funnel will look: 

Sales Funnel for a Service Business

Traffic > Free offer > Intro Product > Lead Service > Bullseye! 

While this may feel like a lot of things, chances are you already have at least some of these components already and others really don’t take that long to set up! You’ve got this. 💪

Now let’s take a look at the components of your funnel….

9 Components Of An Ideal Service Business Sales Funnel

#1. Landing Pages

The standard service provider website usually consists of a home page, about page, services page, and contact. 

The problem is, these pages typically have lots and lots of options for your website visitors to choose from and that can lead to “analysis paralysis” and that binary choice we talked about – “yes or no!” when most of your site visitors are “maybes.”

Your site visitors need to know EXACTLY what to do next if you want them to take action and if they’re not ready to hire you, they need a SMALL, low-risk step.

[Note: We’re not saying you shouldn’t have these common website pages – they’re especially useful for people who are super close to making a purchase and just have a few remaining questions and they need to know how to take the next steps to hire you.]

For your funnel, you want to start thinking about your website as a series of “landing pages” that you can link to from any content you create and social media (at the top of your funnel) and in your emails (the middle of your funnel).

A landing page is one page with one goal, that’s it. It makes it crystal clear what the visitor is supposed to do next (sign up, book a call, buy now, etc.) 

#2. A Useful & Relevant “Lead Magnet” (Free Offer)

This should NOT be something that takes you a lot of time to create – it just needs to give your audience a “quick win” as it relates to your service offerings.

Think worksheet, 10 tips, a template, a cheat sheet, or a checklist.

(Check out Lead Magnet Mastery to learn how to create killer freebies that’ll get the right people into your funnel.) 


#3. A Social Media “Home Base”

Figure out where your dream clients are most likely to be and focus on building your audience there – you don’t need to be everywhere, consistency is what matters. As you get the hang of that, you can branch out and master other channels.

Important: you’ll want to spend a % of your time promoting your free opt-in and getting people into your funnel. Don’t worry about being spammy! If you’re mixing it up with value posts you’re good. Remember that most of your audience will miss most of your messages most of the time.

#4. A Strategy to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Pages

OPTION 1: Free traffic – If your audience is on Pinterest, that’s a GREAT place to promote your freebies and get people into your funnel. If you have a blog, a YouTube channel or a podcast – always add a “call to action” that invites people to get your freebie and onto your mailing list. Plaster links to your opt-in landing pages everywhere and every chance you get.

OPTION 2: Paid traffic – You can also run ads to your freebies on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. — this is a good option for you especially if you don’t have time to create content. 

(And of course, you can do both!)

⚠️ CAUTION: What you don’t want to do is just run ads to your website because as we’ve established, people won’t understand their next step and they’re likely to just click away without taking the action you want them to. But if you run ads to a landing page with a free offer or even a low cost digital product, you’ll be getting the right people into your funnels. Essentially, you’re paying for leads and if you have a low-cost product, that will help offset your advertising costs. And, you may even turn a profit! It took time, but we’ve transitioned completely from serving clients to just selling just digital products!

#5. An Email Service (Autoresponder)

You’ll need to set up automated nurturing email sequences you write in advance to deliver your freebie, introduce them to your digital product(s), and provide value so you can earn their trust. 

After your audience has a chance to get to know you a little bit (we call this a “warm audience” – they’re warming up to you and the idea of purchasing from you), you can do a hard pitch to get them on a sales call or purchase your service package or program.

If you’re new to email marketing, MailerLite is a great place to start and is free for up to 1,000 subscribers.

#6. Automated Email Sequence(s)

Your email engagement is going to be highest when people first sign up (their problem is top of mind) so over the next 5-7 days after they sign up, you want to send out valuable emails that relate to their problem and the services you offer.

Then, once you’ve established the know, like, and trust factor with your super helpful emails – you’re ready to make your pitch! 

This next step is a really powerful way to turn a member of your audience into a customer while they’re still in the research and consideration phases and that is to offer… 

#7. A Low-Cost Digital Product (Optional but Recommended) 

This is a GREAT way for you, as a service provider, to start creating passive income but it also helps you earn trust with people who are considering hiring you. 

What you want to do here is relate it to the service you’re leading them to and help them solve the problem they have part of the way (in order to go further, they need to take the next step and hire you!). 

If they find your product valuable, you’re establishing trust and staking your claim as a go-to expert. This step provides more value than your free offer but less than your done-for- or done-with-you services. 

#8. A “Conversion Tool” (Optional but Recommended) 

If you really want to create a banging funnel, you can add in a super valuable resource to really demonstrate your expertise and value. 

These take more time to create than your “quick win” freebies so it’s perfectly okay to circle back around to this when you have time. But the idea here is, you’re giving them so much value they won’t even think about hiring your competition.

Examples include webinars, a free course, or a series of training videos. 

❗IMPORTANT! When you’re just getting started, do NOT hold things up until you create a digital product or a conversion tool. Start with a simple funnel that includes a freebie and a series of emails. Then, add more to the funnel as you have time to work on these more robust components. 

#9. A Pitch

By now, your audience has warmed up to you because you’ve been delivering value and it’s time to call them to action. 

This could be to book a discovery call or to a purchase a lead service. (A lead service is essentially paid discovery but you’ll package it as a roadmap, success path, blueprint, etc. – a clear deliverable with standalone value.) 

Let’s see how all of these components work together now! 

Putting it All Together 

In Summary

When it’s all set up, your sales funnel will look like this:
>>> Traffic
>>> Opt-in landing page with a freebie
>>> Thank you page (you can offer your digital product here if you have one)
>>> Freebie delivery and nurturing email sequence
>>> Pitch
>>> Continue nurturing and optimizing your funnel as you have time

…that’s it! Set it and forget it!

Now you can focus on planning AHEAD rather than finding a client during a desperate famine phase. Whoo hoo! 🙌 

Of course, there are many ways to go about this, but this is a great foundation funnel to put lead generation on autopilot… but really, this is just the start and the sky’s the limit from here. You can continue to add to your funnel by testing different freebies, layer on additional email sequences, offer additional products, add more “conversion tools,” etc.

You can test different things in your funnel too to get it converting even higher – things like adding urgency (special pricing for a limited time), exclusive subscriber bonuses, and so on.

The important thing is that you get started and there’s no time like RIGHT NOW to break that dreaded feast or famine cycle for good!

We hope this was helpful! Will you be setting up a funnel for your service business? Let us know in the comments below! 

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So you’ve been hearing all the buzz about “value ladders” and wondering whether you need one? Or how to set one up? Well, you’re in the right place my friend, we’re going to walk you through all of that and more! But first, a definition:

What is a value ladder? A value ladder is a lineup of offers that increase in price and value in order to meet people where they are on their journey to become a customer: from initial awareness to their final decision to buy your premium offerings. It’s an effective way for you to build trust and maximize the lifetime value of each customer.

The way it works in a nutshell: you start off by offering something of value for free and then increase the price and value with your subsequent offers.

They’re usually discussed in the context of sales funnels and it can sometimes sound like: “get as much money out of ’em as possible for as long as you can!”

But a business’s first imperative is to get and keep customers, and when you do that, the revenue will follow. So when you’re planning your value, be sure to make your customer’s experience the primary focus.

A value ladder, when executed correctly, is actually interlinked with your brand strategy.  Your lineup of offers is used to build trust and ultimately, inspire brand loyalty. In other words…

You use a value ladder to get and keep customers

Before we get into the details about how to create a value ladder, let’s first take a look at how this all works from the perspective of your customer.

Why You Need A Value Ladder

It’s easy to forget that most of your customers who see your marketing messages aren’t going to sign up instantly. There’s no magical formula that can persuade someone to whip out their credit card and purchase a premium offering if they’re just not ready.

Enter… the value ladder.

It’s a way to meet people where they are in their decision-making process and readiness to commit to a purchase. So let’s talk about what that looks like…

Your customer’s decision-making process to make a purchase

The goal of your brand strategy should be to communicate the reasons why customers should choose you instead of all their other options.

Along the way, your job is to provide value and earn their trust in order to help them make that decision.

(Also known as marketing.)

From your customer’s perspective, the journey looks like this…

When businesses forget that potential clients are going through this process, they do things like drop a bulleted list of capabilities on their services page with a “get a quote” button and call it good.

Which, for all of the people who are just beginning to become aware that they maybe-possibly need help, sounds like this:

“MAKE A DECISION NOW! DO YOU WANT TO HIRE ME? YES OR NO!!!”

Kind of awkward on a first encounter, right?

A value ladder, in contrast, takes prospective clients by the hand from the very first interaction and walks side by side with them as they grow to trust you.

A value ladder guides your clients toward purchasing your premium offers by providing them with smaller offers along the way

Visually, then, it looks something like this…

Customer decision-making process & offers that meet them where they are.

Now, their journey and your offers aren’t always going to line up perfectly like this. For example, people in the consideration phase may sign up for a free offer. But here’s the key takeaway:

Having different offers at various price points means there’s something for everyone.

A little sneak preview for ya here (I’ll get into more detail when we talk about how to create a value ladder), but what we’re essentially going to do now is take the idea of creating different offers as part of the customer journey, and then rotate the customer journey funnel onto its side. And voila! Now it looks like a ladder.

Neat, right? 🙂

A Basic Value Ladder

The ladder is a great metaphor because as you can see, now we can visualize how we’re going to create offers that will increase in price and value and naturally lead from offer one to the next.

The Benefits of a Value Ladder

A value ladder focuses on solving a problem your client is grappling with and gives them options to solve that problem based on their readiness to commit and their budget.

Because you’re the expert, you’ll design service offerings that give them the outcome they desire.

This approach is very different than reacting to a potential client who rolls up and tells you what they think they need and asks you for a quote. They’re not steering the ship here, you are, which is why figuring out what to include in your offers takes a bit of upfront work.

But the advantage is that for you, there’s no recreating the wheel figuring out what each and every potential client wants and preparing time-costly proposals–instead, you’ll be identifying the problem(s) in advance and have solutions to offer them all ready-to-go.

Because it’s your process, and because you’re presenting it like a product (you’re selling whatever is needed for them to get that outcome), you’ll be perceived as the go-to expert rather than an order-taker. And when you do that, it’s easier for people to understand. They’ll come to you to follow your process because you’re offering the outcome they want. Make sense?

Have The Flexibility to Upsell and Downsell Your Offerings

Once you have the steps of your ladder in place, you’ll upsell along the way.

For example, when people buy your low-priced INTRO offer (also known as a tripwire), you can pitch your LEAD offer as a next step. Then, you can present your BULLSEYE premium offer and so on.

You can also experiment with the order!

For example, you might offer something for free — let’s say a webinar — and then pitch them on your highest-ticket offering.

For those customers who don’t buy your high-ticket offer, you can “downsell” by offering them an INTRO or LEAD offer instead. (Which can be set on autopilot with automated follow-up email sequences.)

By having different offerings at varying degrees of value, you’ll have something to offer people based on what they need and how much they’re willing to spend.

Earn The Trust of Hesitant Customers

A tripwire or low-cost offer helped me win clients who were interested in my premium 1-1 services.

I found that 10% of the people who purchased a low-price offer (a $30 eBook) went on to sign up for thousands of dollars in services. In those cases, they were interested in hiring me (closer to the “decision” phase), but they wanted some final reassurance that if they trusted me with their dollars, I’d deliver value.

So they grabbed one of my low-priced offers to “vet” me. Interesting, right?

Here’s where it gets even more interesting…

The price of that product was $30.

When I calculate the lifetime value of a customer who does 1-1 work with me, it works out to about $3,600 per customer. (Some are a few hundred bucks one-and-done and some are tens of thousands over years.)

So for a small investment in my time to create a simple eBook, I’m able to shortcut the time and effort it normally takes to earn the trust of a complete internet stranger and potentially for life. Which is far more than $30, it’s more than 100 times that! (Results will vary of course, but I did want you to see the big picture.)

Not only that…

A Value Ladder Extends The Lifetime Value of a Customer

Because you’re incorporating different offerings into your lineup, you have the potential to extend that lifetime value.

An introductory or low-price offer (which should be a digital product of some kind) can actually be quite profitable and generate an evergreen passive income stream.

A lead service (which I’ll get to in a sec) can help you recapture all the time that slips through the cracks pitching your services to people who are just kicking tires and are never going to get there.

The way I like to think of these initial steps in your ladder is they’re a way to monetize your sales and marketing and leverage your time (so you have more of it to fine-tune your processes and make passive income products!)

You can also extend your premium services by creating “loyalty” offers!

Hopefully, by now you’re chomping at the bit to get started, so let’s get into it…

The Value Ladder

How to Create a Value Ladder

There are many ways to go about it, but here’s a formula you can use to create a basic value ladder. Some value ladders have three steps and some have eight, it really all depends on what you’re offering.

If you offer more than one service line–for example, say you offer web design services and social media management, you would create a separate value ladder for each.

The Value Ladder

Step #1 Free Offer

Definition: The purpose of the free offer is to generate sales leads. Once you’ve identified your ideal client’s problems, you’ll demonstrate your expertise (you’re the one to solve it) by helping them solve their problem (5-10% of the way) with a free offer.

Ground rules: It has to be valuable. Your free offer is going to take the place of you getting on a sales call with them to demonstrate you’re trustworthy and an expert at solving this problem. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be valuable, quite the opposite.

Examples: Blog posts, a free e-book, checklists, swipe files, worksheets, how-to videos, audio exercises, a free introductory course, a webinar, etc.

This is how you’re going to get people to your website, but keep in mind that as people are going through their decision-making process and figuring out whether you’re the one to trust, it may take interacting with your brand 10-15 times or more before they’re ready to commit.

Having free content as an incentive to interact with you isn’t a magic sales bullet, it’s used to build trust. Make it valuable and focus on solving their problems, and when they’re ready to commit with dollars, you’ll be the one they turn to…

This is called reciprocity.

The idea is that when you’re providing value for free, your audience will begin to feel grateful for your help and even indebted to you. When deciding who to choose, they’ll be much more likely to go with you because you’ve already helped them solve their problem part of the way for free.

Step #2 Intro Offer

Definition: An intro offer is a low-priced offering that solves the problem a little bit more than your free offering

Ground rules: Again, it must be valuable. You’re still nurturing trust and establishing yourself as the go-to expert. Make sure it solves a specific problem and you’ve clearly articulated the outcome they can expect when they purchase it. The price should be set somewhere between $7-$49. Important: it should not require your time working 1-1 with clients.

Examples: eBook, paid workshop/webinar, an email challenge, a mini-course

Your intro offer isn’t designed to make a profit, but rather, to offset the costs of creating it and promoting it. The goal is to create a customer as quickly as possible so you can lead them to the next step, which is…

To learn more, we have an entire blog post devoted to setting up an intro offer (or tripwire) right here.

Step #3 Lead Offer

Definition: Your lead offer requires a larger financial commitment but it includes a much greater value. Here, you can begin offering 1-1 services that require your time, or, if you’re selling digital products, it will be a higher-priced offering than your tripwire but still less than your high-ticket offerings. This offer should be designed to be profitable.

Ground rules: Focus your lead offer on a specific outcome or “quick win” you can give your clients.

It must solve a problem and not create one. For example, if you’re designing a 1-1 service, an “audit” creates problems (“here are all the things you need to fix, have fun!”) whereas a road mapping or strategy session solves one (“here are your biggest opportunities and next steps”).

You should strive to create a service that allows you to replicate the process you’ll guide your clients through (no re-creating the wheel). This way, you can become better (more expert at solving this problem) and more efficient (and more profitable) the more you do it.

Things to consider:

  • What aspects of your process are you currently doing for free that you can monetize instead?
  • Is there an aspect of your larger high-ticket services you can “break apart” as a first step?

Examples: Road-mapping session, a done-for-you playbook or strategy, an introductory course, 1-1 coaching/consulting to achieve a specific result

Step #4 Bullseye Offer

Definition: A bullseye offer (or a “core offer”) is something we go into more detail about in The Bullseye Offer Formula, but basically this is where you pull out all the stops and do whatever you need to do to solve your customer’s biggest problem.

Ground rules: It should be priced based on the value of the outcome and really, the sky’s the limit. It’s your process and ideally, should utilize your zone of genius, the expertise you want to become known for. It must also be something your dream clients already know they need.

Examples: This is a high-priced offer–either a more comprehensive course or done-for-you 1-1 services.

Guiding people to a bullseye offer is where most people call it good, but to maximize the lifetime value of a customer, you can also create a…

BONUS (Step #5): Loyalty Offer

Definition: A loyalty offer extends the value of your signature offer by offering ongoing or ancillary services and digital products that continue to help them solve their problems.

Ground rules: Your loyalty offer provides you with ongoing revenue and allows you to create an ongoing relationship with your customers. These may be priced lower than your signature offer, but extends value over time.

Examples: Ongoing done-for-you services, a mastermind group, weekly group coaching calls, private paid Facebook group or slack channel, a membership site, subscription-based content, additional digital products, and courses to help them continue on their problem-solving journey, annual workshops or retreats.

Variations to Your Value Ladder

Again, the above is just an example to get you thinking about offering value along your customer’s journey. Every business is different and you may find that creating three steps is enough: maybe a freebie offer, an introductory offer, and a premium or signature service offering.

Maybe you’ll want six or seven steps in your ladder. You might decide to create two or three signature offers and a value ladder for each. Maybe you won’t have a signature service at all, maybe it makes more sense for you to create multiple introductory offers and then get people right into a loyalty offer.

Inside our course, we walk our students through the four key steps of the value ladder as a starting point, starting with the Bullseye Offer. Once you know where you’re leading people to, it becomes a “no-brainer” to create a logical, related line-up of offers that lead people to your premium 1-1 services.

Value Ladder
Create a bullseye offer first, then your lineup of offers

In summary

A value ladder helps make marketing your services easier. It allows you to earn trust, scale your business by increasing the lifetime value of a customer, and move away from selling your services like a commodity.

A commodity has no differentiated qualities; a brand is the opposite of a commodity and focuses on the value you can provide your customer. So in a way, the value ladder is just a framework for you to build your brand.

By creating different degrees of value-based offers corresponding where your customers are at in the decision-making process, you’re not only better positioned to get and keep clients but to maximize profit and lifetime customer value as well.

If you have any questions, hit us up in the comments and be sure to grab our FREE value ladder planner below!

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7 easy ways to avoid shiny object syndrome and increase productivityGood ol’ shiny object syndrome…

That thing that keeps us hunting for the perfect idea that’s going to change the world and help us make the impact we KNOW we were born to make…

(Hit me with a “right on” if you know what I’m talking about)

Problem is, all those perfect ideas can trick us into thinking:

This one’s gonna be easy.

It usually happens when we’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just plain tired. That’s when you want to turn around and head back to the daydream.

It’s easy to binge-dream on ideas, too. We can come up 25 new ones right in our head…anytime, anywhere. Just like Netflix.

Still, ideas are why we’re entrepreneurs in the first place.

We’re over here solving problems and creating new opportunities!

The question is:

How can we distinguish good ideas from downright bad ones and great ideas from “meh.” Most importantly, how do we know which ideas merit attention right now so we can steer clear of bright shiny objects?

That’s what I want to figure out in this post.

Wish me luck, I’m goin’ in…

First, here’s why we get distracted.

1) Things get murky in the middle

The beginning and the end of anything is easy. It’s the long stretch in the middle that gets fuzzy.

When you can’t see the finish line and things don’t come together as planned, your goals start to fade away.

See:

We’re human beings. We want things to be easy. We’re always going to be drawn to the path of least resistance. It doesn’t matter what the other idea is, we’ll glam it up and make it seem sexy.

(Thoughts on this?)

2) We have competing goals

You know that feeling…

Like, the train left the station and you’ll never catch up?

WITH EVERYTHING?

It can make you feel depressed and overwhelmed, and you won’t even know why.

I think I figured it out:

When you have too many goals competing for your attention, you can’t focus.

There’s something calming about putting your blinders on, keeping your head down, and giving yourself the freedom to  pay 100% attention to what’s in front of you. You can only do that when you focus on one goal one at a time.

That’s why it’s super important to identify specific milestones, commit to them, and follow through.

3) We look for distractions

I’m just gonna say it: Sometimes we like shiny object syndrome.

You sit down to create a webinar outline and don’t know what to write…

So you catch up on the news real quick…

Then you log in to Instagram…

Then you check your junk email…

Sometimes finding your focus to work is harder than actually doing it, and you can almost feel your brain shutting down.

Deciding if you want milk in your coffee is like, What’s milk?

When that happens, take a break or go for a walk.

Try to be aware of trivial distractions that steer you off course. If you start Googling stuff you KNOW you don’t care about, shut it down! You’ll be amazed at much you can achieve when you cut out daily actions that don’t align with your end goals.

Here’s how to avoid shiny object syndrome.

Shiny object syndrome is the tendency to chase new ideas, and it affects entrepreneurs because we’re highly motivated and love to try new things.

Those qualities can backfire on us, though. Here’s how to beat it:

1) Create an idea library

It’s a buzz-kill to slay every idea that pops in your head. You need that spark that comes from big-picture dreaming and brainstorming to keep your momentum going. At the same time, it’s important to manage your ideas.

Here’s what I do:

I sprint into action for a month or two. Then I stop to review what I’ve accomplished and plan my next steps. There’s no action happening during the review period, and it usually lasts for two days.

I also use this period to reconnect with my mission and why I’m an entrepreneur, and to mull over any new ideas and opportunities on my plate.

Then on day #3, I edit the ideas (the bad ones get tossed and the good ones go into an idea library).

An idea library is simply a place to stick all your great ideas so you can refer back to them when they better align with your vision. It can be a Google Doc, Evernote file, or a physical notebook that you carry around with you. Whatever works best for you.

You can add to your idea library when you feel inspired. And you’ll have confidence in knowing that your ideas are right there at your fingertips, ready and waiting for you.

2) Pick three goal themes to focus on

Ever notice how successful people are crystal clear on their essential priorities? And how incredibly masterful they are at ignoring everything else?

They stay intensely focused and don’t let anyone, or anything, steer them off course.

That’s what we need to do.

One of the best ways to develop habits that support your creativity is to pick three big “goal themes” and say No to anything else that comes up.

Don’t be afraid to let go here!

When you give 100% of your resources, time and energy to your biggest goals, you will achieve them. Just make sure you start with the right goals.

See:

There’s this sneaky disease called “the planning fallacy” (it’s contagious, and we all have it!). We tend to be overly optimistic and trick ourselves into thinking that we achieve a lot more than we can in a day, a week, a year.

According to Wikipedia:

The planning fallacy is a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.

Think long and hard about your goal themes and what it will take to achieve them before you commit:

  • Do you have enough time?
  • Do you have the right resources?
  • Will you need to build a team to help?
  • Does the time frame seem accurate, or too ambitious?
  • Most importantly, is this really what you need to focus on right now? 

When it comes right down to it, there are four primary phases of building an online business, and each phase has specific milestones. I drill down on the four phases in this post.

Once you’ve decided, it’s Go time. Slap posts-it notes everywhere, baby! On your laptop, computer, refrigerator, iPad, phone, and any place else where you can see them, front and center.

Trust me, you’ll stay focused!

3) Stick to a three-month plan

Remember that sprint I mentioned in step #1, above? It only lasts for three months.

The reason is that when it comes to planning, a year can be deceptively long (and short). The planning fallacy thing kicks in, and you think, In a whole year? I can bang out five courses, create a YouTube channel, host a podcast, be killin’ it with webinars and Facebook ads, have tons of traffic rolling in, and make six figures.

Ha! If only…

More likely, you’ll lack a plan to reach your goals.

The other reason I like to keep the time frame short is, your business will likely shift as you learn more about it, and you’ll need to set new goals accordingly.

With three months, you can get very specific, right down to the daily and weekly activities you need to be doing.

Bonus: If you want, you can use the 90-Day Planner I created for you. Use this to identify your goal themes for the next three months and create a weekly plan. Click on the image below to access.

Use the 90-Day Planner to create goal themes and weekly activities to achieve them.

4) Block schedule your time

If you’re serious about developing habits that support your big vision, you can’t “find” the time to reach your goals. You have to MAKE the time. Structure your days and weeks around key activities and tasks.

(you know I’m about to drill down on time blocking!)

Time blocking is a method of planning your week by turning your to-do list into a visual calendar. Every day has specific times blocked off for specific tasks – right down to the hour and minute.

It’s the fastest approach to achieving your big goals, in my book.

Most of us have amazing ideas we’d like to pursue, but months and years go by without actually bringing that idea to life. This is a way to make them happen! You start seeing what you can really get done in a week (spoiler: it’s less than you think).

Back in the day, I was trapped in this loop of revolving goals.

Every month I wanted to:

  • Host a webinar
  • Create a course
  • Win my first $30K client

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t achieve them. Then I started time blocking and everything changed!

I was able to see my progress as I worked toward my goals each week. I knew where to place my focus so I didn’t get distracted. And I knew exactly what I was going to work on every single day.

Want to grab my Time Blocking Template? Just click the image below.

Download my Time Block Template to help you increase productivity and get even more stuff done each week!

Super simple. Super effective.✌️

5) Switch to just-in-time learning

Who doesn’t love reading posts from your favorite bloggers, or signing up for exciting new courses and trainings?

The truth is, most of us spend more time than we should learning about the latest tips we find on Instagram. And it can lead to overwhelm and shiny object syndrome, fast.

We get caught in a trap of just-in-case learning, hoping THIS tactic or THAT strategy might work for our business. So we buy ebooks and courses that sound amazing. But we never get past the first lesson.

It happens when you lack a clear strategy and purpose for your business. And when your daily activities are based on tips you find instead of a bigger vision.

If you really want to increase your productivity, there are two things you can do:

First, limit just-in-case learning to 5% of your time.

There are gems to be discovered out there, for sure! Just don’t go down a rabbit hole with Google. Instead, set aside 5% of your time to poke around and check out the latest and greatest strategies and techniques..

Save just-in-case learning for your least productive time blocks. For me, that’s right before I go to sleep (I’m out in 15 min, haha).

Next, focus on just-in-time learning.

Just-in-time learning is the opposite of just-in-case learning. You only learn what you need to know right now to achieve a specific goal in your business.

For example:

I spent the better part of six months learning sales funnels because that was my focus. I spoke to everyone I knew, consulted with experts, and researched the heck out of simple, complex, two-step, sideways…every kind of funnel you can imagine. Then I kept my head down and created funnels for my products.

What I didn’t do is…write blog posts, run Facebook ads, create a new course, or even post to my Facebook group.

Listen:

There are only 24 hours in a day. We have to set priorities for what we consume each day, the same way we prioritize our goals.

Just-in-time learning works best when you have clear milestones in place. Use my DIY Your Biz Blueprint if you need help here!

6) You can do anything for a day

Raise your hand if you think about all the things you’re not doing while you’re working. I know I do! ?

It can mess with your head faster than you can say FOMO. As if…some time machine is going to whisk us away from everything and we’ll something really BIG. It’s crazy!

Here’s what helps me get past it:

I remind myself that it’s not a month, a year, or the rest of my life. Just like when I hit mile 7 on my runs (and I really, really want to quit), and I think…

You can do anything for five more minutes.

You can do anything for a day.

No matter what you’re working on, Instagram and Facebook and emails and texts and Google will all be there tomorrow, *sigh. ?

7) Review your progress daily

Projects that take too looong can throw you off track faster than anything else.

Sundays you get we’re super pumped thinking about everything you’re going to get done. Then it’s Monday at 2:00pm and you haven’t touched ANYTHING on your list. By Tuesday, you’re already flustered and wondering what the heck you should be working on.

So what’s the solve?

Bake *forgiveness* into your schedule. Keep it lean and flexible.

Here’s how:

Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day to review what you accomplished and reschedule things you didn’t get to. Then update Tuesday’s schedule based on Monday’s progress so that you feel refreshed and focused instead of all over the place.

Rinse and repeat for the rest of the week.

Real quick, before I forget…

You’ll start to notice that certain tasks take a back seat every week.

Those are ones that probably still need to get done, just not by you. Try to find someone who can help.

And whatever you do, don’t stress when your week comes undone and everything gets rescheduled (oh yeah, been there!).

Productivity is one big game of shuffle board, if you ask me!

It’s NOT about getting everything done…

It’s about prioritizing your time, getting clear on what YOU need to do to move your business forward, and learning to delegate other tasks.

Now, I’d like to turn it over to you. What helps you avoid shiny object syndrome?

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email marketing tips and tricks for entrepreneurs
email marketing plan

5 Ways to Turn Subscribers into Customers | Want an effective email marketing strategy to make sales from your list? You're in luck! This post includes email marketing tips and tricks to convert subscribers into customers. Click through to see all the tips!You already know that email marketing is powerful. And you know that you can generate more sales from your email list than social media.

The question is:

Do you have an email marketing plan to turn subscribers into customers? 

If you’re building an online business, you need a system to follow up with subscribers and get them excited to buy your products and services.

Follow these steps to create an email marketing strategy that makes sales:

1) Choose the right email marketing provider.

If you want to elevate your personalization efforts, choosing the right email marketing service is crucial. Think about the features you want in your email marketing software, including:

  • Integrations. Some email marketing providers give you the ability to export and use important customer data. Having easy access to your subscriber’s name, purchase history, and location will simplify your email marketing plan.
  • Ready-made templates. Choose an email provider that has a wide range of mobile-responsive and customizable templates. Building an email should be quick and efficient, and templates are the first step to this end.
  • List segmentation. An email provider with intuitive segmentation enables you to quickly create different campaigns based on subscriber data you’ve collected. This will allow you to send relevant emails to your subscribers.

When deciding which email marketing service to use for your brand, keep in mind there is no perfect choice. It all depends on your budget, the different functionalities you are looking for, and the number of emails you want to send.

2) Optimize your signup forms.

Try to gather as much information as you can about your subscribers when they opt-in. This way, when you segment your list (step #3 below), you can tailor your content and offers.

Here are a few tips to help you create effective signup forms:

  • Use double opt-in. Send emails to new subscribers to confirm their subscription. Double opt-in forms prevent invalid email addresses from appearing on your list.
  • Keep it simple. Simple forms are easier for people to complete and sign up. Only ask for name, email, and any other information you really need.
  • Include a call to action (CTA). Use persuasive call to action buttons instead of inline links. Make sure your button copy focuses on the benefits and avoids selling. For instance, say “Get the Templates” instead of “Buy the Templates”.
  • Multiple signup forms and free offers. Give website visitors plenty of opportunities to subscribe. Place signup forms on several pages of your website, including the Home page, About page, and Blog page. Create multiple lead magnets and place them in your blog posts as content upgrades.

Bonus: If you want, you can use this Lead Magnet Checklist to create high-converting opt-ins. Click the image below to download.

Create Lead Magnets that Convert

Download the Lead Magnet Checklist

3) Segment your list.

Through a combination of time, hard work, and sheer force of will, you’ve been able to build a sizable email list. Now it’s time to create segments based on what your subscribers opted in for.

All effective email marketing plans use segmentation. You’ll be able to send personalized content, offers, and updates to help subscribers take the next step and close the sale.

You can also create segments based on:

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Age
  • Past engagement
  • Purchase history

Depending on your type of business and the products or services you offer, you can also segment based on a subscriber’s job title. The important thing is that you leverage the data you captured during signup.

Related: A Killer Facebook Ads Strategy for Your Email List and Products

4) Personalize your emails.

Did you know that personalized emails are six times more effective than generic emails. Once you’ve segmented your list, it’s time to start getting personal. Here are a few ways to add personalization to your email marketing strategy:

  • Email copy

In an age when technology rules, customers look for more and more personal communications. From the subject line to your core message, make sure you speak to your subscribers in a friendly, conversational tone.

Including their first name in the body of your email can improve your open rates by 26%.

  • Your offers

To encourage subscribers to make purchases, personalize your offers. If you sell sporting goods and a male customer purchased a tennis racket from you, send him a personalized offer for men’s tennis shoes.

  • Sender name and email address

Make your customers feel like a real person sent the email by using the name of an actual person within your business (e.g. kate@mybusiness.com). Avoid using email addresses like sender@mybusiness.com or email@mybusiness.com. Email addresses like these not only make your messages seem impersonal, they also trigger spam filters.

email marketing plan

Personalizing your messages is one of the best ways to make customers feel like you care, maintain the relevancy of your campaigns, foster customer loyalty, and increase conversion rates.

5) Automate your email campaigns.

Your email list is made up of hundreds or thousands of subscribers divided into a wide variety of segments. This makes it impossible for you to craft and personalize individual messages for each subscriber.

This is what email marketing automation was made for.

Simplify your email marketing strategies by taking advantage of automated sequences that send emails to subscribers based on their behavior.

For example, when a website visitor subscribes to your list, send an automated welcome email that contains an exclusive personalized offer.

Here’s another example:

A customer makes a purchase on your website. This action can trigger an email with a personalized product recommendation email to be sent after a certain amount of time has passed, say 60 days.

To automatically send these emails, you just have to craft them in advance and set up the specific workflows through your email provider. Whenever customers meet the triggers you define, your provider will automatically send them the email according to their action.

Once you’ve created all the possible automated journeys for your subscribers, you no longer have to worry about spending a significant portion of your day just sending emails. You can focus on other, more important tasks, like growing your audience and creating new programs.

Wrapping it up

When you put in the hard work of building an email list, you want maximum results. Email marketing tools will help you automate campaigns so you can free up your time to focus on other things, knowing that you are generating sales on autopilot.

Just choose the right email marketing service and follow the steps above, and you will see a huge increase in your engagement and conversion rates.

Ready to build your email list? Click the image below to download the free Lead Magnet Template Pack.

Download the Lead Magnet Template Pack

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When it comes to email marketing, there are so-so subject lines and then there are killer subject lines. Ya know, the ones that have people clicking like crazy to get to your message. Here are 4 ways to turn “meh” email subject lines (that people glaze over) into irresistible ones that get noticed and clicked. Ever been to a speed-networking event where you had 30 seconds to make your pitch? How’d you do?

It’s hard, I know. Taking an involved topic and turning it into a tiny bite-sized chunk is a challenge. And it’s one that marketers face every day with email subject lines.

Email subject lines are like pitches on steroids. Only you don’t have 30 seconds and you can’t use facial expressions and hand gestures to get your point across. Instead, you’ve got 10 words on a screen – and more like 3 seconds – to get the click.

Subject lines have a lot of power to make or break your entire campaign. If you can’t convince people to click, they won’t read your email. So how can we understand what constitutes a good subject line to get better conversions?

Here are four common email subject line mistakes that are hindering your email open rates and simple ways to turn them around and get more people to read your email.

Mistake 1: Asking a Yes or No Question

Everyone scans their inbox the same. We all want to know who is emailing us, what they want and how much time it will require.

The problem here isn’t really with the question. Asking questions can be a good thing, if you can get people thinking about something in a way they hadn’t before.

But a question with a simple Yes or No answer is dangerous. Chances are pretty good that your email is headed for the trash. Why? Because Yes or No emails don’t add any value. Readers already have the answer: either yes or no. Why should they click to read more?

Let’s take this example subject line: “Missing Too Many Project Deadlines?”

First off, my immediate response is “No”. Even if I say “Yes”, there’s no incentive to go for the click. Yes, I’m missing deadlines, and reading this email will make me miss another one. Delete.

The Solve:
Turn the subject line into something that makes readers ask a question instead of answer one. It’s much better to create a question in their minds than to make them answer yours.

For instance, try replacing the subject line above with “Idea to nail every project deadline”.

There’s no question with this subject line. Instead it raises a question: What idea? How can I nail my deadlines? Even using the word “idea” will get readers thinking about the possibilities.

It also identifies that a problem exists, and then hints at a solution. All it takes is one click to find out.

Let’s take a look at some other subject lines that create knowledge gaps:

  • Now that you’re settled in…
  • An Amazing Opportunity!
  • Quick request

What’s this amazing opportunity? Now that I’m settled in, what’s going to happen? Quick request for what?

I want to know, and so will your readers. All you have to do is follow these examples and use subject lines that raise a question, rather than ask one.

Mistake #2. Giving it all away

Did you ever watch the game show “The Price is Right”?

Contestants try to guess the price of some household item so they can win a prize that’s hidden behind a door. What makes this show work is that nobody knows what’s back there. It could be a big prize or it could something small. The magic is in having to guess prices in order to find out.

Like the game show, the inherent role of subject lines is to act as a teaser. You want to keep readers guessing about the longer message that lies inside.

If you tell them everything right up front, you leave no more surprises. What incentive do they have to click through if you’ve already told them everything they need to know?

The solve:
Tell readers just enough so that they know what to expect when they open your email, without saying everything right up front. Be careful not to over-promise. Your email should clearly follow through and deliver on the subject line so that it doesn’t backfire on you.

Take these examples:

  • “The Guide to Staying Fit This Summer”
  • “How Healthcare Companies Can Stay Ahead of the Competition”
  • “At a stand still? Here’s how to get started with Canva”

All of these subject lines work well because they create anticipation. If you create subject lines like this readers will know what to expect, and want to click through to find out more.

Mistake #3. Making it too long and formal

Subject lines that capture peoples’ attention are ones that are short, friendly, and informal.

What happens with subject lines that are too long is that they start sounding like a newsletter title or some technical mumbo jumbo. Long subject lines, especially ones that ‘Capitalize The First Letter‘, tend to sound formal and distant.

People want to feel special and important. Nobody wants to be another number on your list of contacts. Using long subject lines that are formal and impersonal can encourage this impression. Remember that you’re speaking to a real person at the other end of the email.

Long subject lines also put the onus on the reader. By their very nature they make readers work harder to uncover the value. After about the 10th word, “Increase Your Qualified Leads” becomes “blah, blah, blah”. With the hundreds of emails people receive, it’s easy for people to glaze over messages, and the harder you make them work for it upfront, the harder they’ll think they have to work if they accept your click.

The Solve:
The trick here is to make your subject lines long enough, without being too long. Try to write in a tone that’s warm and inviting, as if you were a friend or family member.

Consider these two examples:

  • “How To Use Canva To Create an Infographic That Goes Viral”
  • “Make your first infographic”

The first example does a good job of communicating the value that’s inside, but the use of the initial capital letters, the mention of Canva early on, and the promise of contagious content make it sound stiff and self-promotional. It also sounds too good to be real. This subject line is about Canva first, and the recipient second.

The second subject line makes a personal connection. It comes across casually and puts all the attention on you, the reader. It reads like you’re quietly jabbing a good friend: “Come along with me and let’s have some fun” It gently urges the reader to open it.

Mistake #4. No follow-through

Even though this point has to do with the body of your email, it’s worth mentioning that the content of your email and your subject line should fit together like a hand in a glove. In other words, deliver on your subject line’s promise.

The need to be unique can have marketers really stretching to push the envelope. I mean, we all want the perfect subject line that gets the click, right? The problem is you’ll have a hard time keeping readers engaged if you set the wrong expectations for what comes next.

Just remember that if you promise people an apple, they’re expecting an apple and not an orange. Even the smallest mismatch will create confusion and cause people to unsubscribe.

The Solve:
Subject lines and email messages are like landing pages and ads. If you want to make them work, they have to work together.

For instance, if your subject line is “Best color trends for fall”, people are expecting an email that talks about new fall colors, not “the latest color trends” or “how to work make color work for fall”.

Even the smallest details make a big difference. If you use the word “tips” in your subject line, make sure you use that same word in your email, rather than “guide”, “pointers”, or “ideas”.

Once you’ve written a handful of intriguing, click-worthy subject lines, give your email another read to see which one sets the right expectations for readers once they accept your click.

(NOTE: Being clear on who you’re selling to is the fastest way to boost email conversions. Get my 3-step Customer Avatar Worksheet to make sure you’re saying what people need to hear.)

Download the Customer Avatar Worksheet to get clear on who you're selling to.

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