ep015: Does Your Business Really Need to be on Instagram?

ep015

 

 

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The playing field has changed in online marketing. The days when you could reach people organically with quality content are gone. Today, you must be willing to pay to play if you want a solid source of leads.

Renia Carsillo has a wealth of experience in online marketing and has learned that a relationship development process must unfold to build trust, which is essential in the customer journey. It’s not just about having as many followers as possible, but it’s about having quality leads. You can have hundreds of thousands of followers but not make any money.

In this episode, I speak with Renia about the best ways to market online today. We discuss Renia’s Trinity Principle of how to identify where you need to be marketing to get leads and why one of those places needs to be an SEO-optimized website that will show up in Google searches. This episode is jam-packed with helpful information that every business owner needs to hear.

About Renia Carsillo:

Renia is the founder of Realigned Consulting, which offers values-based marketing strategy and search engine marketing for companies that want to make more money and contribute to a kinder and more liberated world.

In this episode of the Business (R)Evolution Podcast:

  • Does your business need to be on social media?
  • The Trinity Principle: Identify where you need to be marketing to get leads 
  • How to get your business found on Google
  • What you need in place before any marketing strategies will work
  • And more!

Resources and links Joanna mentions in this episode:

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

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Full episode transcript

[JOANNA SAPIR] (00:01):

In this episode, I’m talking to the founder of Realigned Consulting, Renia Carsillo. Realigned Consulting provides values-based marketing strategy and particularly Search Engine Marketing for companies that want to make more money and contribute to a kinder, more liberated world. In this episode, Renia and I talk about whether you need to be on Instagram or any social media platforms, really for your business. We discuss what she calls the Trinity Principle for your business to help you identify where you do need to be marketing to get leads for your business. She talks about how to get your business found on Google, by people who are searching for the services you provide, and we discuss what you need in place in your business before any marketing strategies will work. I’m excited to share our conversation with you. Let’s go.

(01:06):

Welcome to the Business Revolution Podcast, where practitioners and coaches that provide services in health, wellness, and education, come to learn the business side of things like marketing, pricing, hiring, finances, all the things you need to streamline and organize your business, create steady and predictable income, serve your clients even more deeply and reach your full potential as a business owner. If you are a skilled, experienced practitioner of your craft that has or wants to have a profitable and sustainable business doing the work you love, you’re in the right place. I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s get into this episode.

(01:06):

Hi Renia, welcome to the Business Revolution for Practitioners Podcast.

[RENIA CARSILLO] (01:52):

Happy to be here. Thank you for having me, Joanna.

[JOANNA] (01:55):

Why don’t you tell the audience and the people listening a little about yourself and your company and what you do?

[RENIA] (02:04):

Sure. I am the founder of Realigned Consulting, formerly Genevieve Digital. We just rebranded this year and we are a 12 year old, oh, I’m getting old, we are a 12 year old digital marketing company. We work with founders on getting found online. I can’t believe it’s been 12 years already, but yes, it has been. We primarily work with impact-based businesses who are really trying to change the world.

[JOANNA] (02:36):

Awesome. So for you listening, I want to share that Renia has been a guest expert in our programs, particularly the leadership cadre and has done some trainings in there and I am a client of Renia. So we’re friends, colleagues, and now you are my coach right now, so I think that we’ll have quite a bit to talk about today. In fact, whenever you and I talk, we have quite a bit to talk about, so let’s dive into this. We’re asking the question, does your business really need to be on Instagram? I know that my clients, and I know that practitioners I talk to either they are there and doing a bunch of stuff, posting a bunch of things, or many times people ask me, don’t I need to be on social media? What am I supposed to do? So let’s start with that and see where it takes us.

[RENIA] (03:36):

Yes, so can I tell on myself? I was one of those terrible marketing people. I’m going to, since I’m telling on myself, I can call myself a terrible marketing person who back in the day was telling people they had to be on social media, that if they were not, they were committing business malpractice, that it was the place they had to be. This was circa like 2008 and I was super into Facebook because I actually got the original traction for my business with a 2008 era Facebook Page. So I want to say if you have heard that from a marketing person before, I’m sorry and we don’t mean to pressure you. Sometimes we get, I’m going to say this in the most generous place possible, sometimes we get really excited about something that works really well, and we want to give it to every one because that’s what marketing people are about. We want to share with everybody this cool thing that we’ve figured out.

(04:36):

What was cool about a 2008 era Facebook Page, or like a 2016 era Instagram account is that they were very organic. You could connect with a lot of people. If you had something interesting or entertaining or a good story to tell you could connect with a lot of people really easily. We really hadn’t seen a tool that allowed us to do that at scale so efficiently and so quickly before and so it felt like something everybody just had to do. That moment has been over for about five years, maybe a little bit more, but the hangover from it is still there where we’re still seeing like influencers, for example, who built their primary followings during that time spending a lot of time there and telling everyone else they need to spend a lot of time there. But the playing field has just changed. The Instagram or almost all social media platforms at this time are not a place where you can just organically reach a bunch of people just because your content is good. So the rules have changed a little bit. I don’t want to hit the punchline in the first five minutes, but maybe you don’t need Instagram.

[JOANNA] (06:01):

Yes. It’s amazing just how much has changed. I talked about this a little bit in the last episode where I was talking about the people who made it big with online courses and that was like years ago and they continued to teach build your online course, but they were the first to get there and then have maintained that standing. But so much has changed. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, but I started my first business in 2008, Facebook was so new and it got so much organic reach that, this was a brick-and-mortar strength and conditioning gym, There was a business page, I would post on the business page, like an announcement for that afternoon for all the members and they would all get it. It was like, that was —

[RENIA] (06:51):

And they would come.

[JOANNA] (06:52):

Yes, that was actually how we communicated. I mean, it’s just worlds away because it’s not like that at all anymore. Instead, I think, particularly in the health and wellness space, what we see is, especially in something like yoga on Instagram, in particular, we just see lots of pretty stuff, lots of pretty poses and pretty pictures and pretty quotes. I mean, I know I have my opinion on what’s going on there. I will say that I have spoken with practitioners who have beautiful looking Instagram, I’m not an Instagram user actually. So what do they call the, when you look at it and you see all the tiles, there’s a name for that. Isn’t there when you go to somebody’s —

[RENIA] (07:41):

To the feed, yes. So the grid.

[JOANNA] (07:44):

Not to the feed, but the grid, right, these beautiful grids or whatever. It looks all nice. I’ve talked with practitioners who have those and have thousands and thousands of followers and produce all this pretty content and they’re coming to me because they have no clients. So I want to say to all of you listening that a lot of times things look really nice on the outside and you have no idea what’s going on behind that, but that’s what people see. So yes, you go ahead.

[RENIA] (08:14):

Can we unpack that a little bit because there’s some marketing things going on there and then there’s like a influencer is not a business model. That is a thing that I have learned. So we had particularly right before pandemic times, we had several of our biggest clients coming to us who were just that, they had hundreds of thousands, some of them Instagram followers, but hadn’t figured out how to make money in a consistent way from those followers. If they went more than a day without posting, they would start to see a decline that they had a very hard time keeping up with. So it was like being on a hamster wheel for very small amounts of revenue.

(09:00):

And so it’s important, I think, first of all, for business owners to understand that you are playing a different game than an influencer. An influencer is essentially, an Instagram influencer, the modern version of a model and their career is based off of their Instagram feed. That isn’t true for a business owner. If your business’ revenue is primarily based on Instagram, you’ve probably been playing a very difficult game for the past few years, as the algorithms have changed. Two, what you were saying about course creators, I’ve been as a marketer on the backside of some of those huge course launches, those eight and nine figure course launches by some of those course creators that will pressure people to use their strategies or their social strategies to do that.

(09:57):

The punchline that they often leave out about those big launches that they’re trying to tell you can do is that they’ve spent anywhere from half a million to sometimes over a million dollars on ads to make those launches happen. So yes, maybe you had an eight-figure launch, but you had a seven, gross, but you also had a seven figure, you had a seven-figure ad spin. That matters a lot to the ability to do the thing they are telling you to do in the modern social media space, where it is a pay to play, which means you are paying for the privilege of the people you worked to get to follow you, to see your things. Because on Instagram right now in the summer of 2022, about two and a half percent of your followers will see your content organically. That’s a sad, very sad state of affairs if you’re looking for the most efficient marketing possible. So what I tell people a lot about Instagram is if you are prepared to engage with an ad strategy, which means you’re prepared to pay, we can talk about Instagram as a part of your marketing, but if you are not prepared to play, to pay, first of all, that is a barrier to entry these days.

[JOANNA] (11:23):

For it to be like a solid important source of leads and lead generation is what we’re talking about?

[RENIA] (11:30):

Right, because if you think about just a couple percentage points of your audience seeing your stuff, you’d need to have hundreds of thousands of followers for one and a half to 2% of your audience to be enough to sustain your business. Even 20,000 followers, isn’t enough for most people.

[JOANNA] (11:49):

Great point. I also want to point out that a lot of folks don’t have some of the basics laid out, which I talk about over and over in this podcast and which my clients know very well, which is no matter what you’re doing for your marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to, who you’re ideal clients are and what their pains and problems are that you can help them with and what their goals and desires are that you can help them achieve. And you need a process for converting that attention, those leads into paying clients. I think in the influencer marketing approach or product-based marketing approach, where we see digital products being sold or digital courses, it’s all a funnel designed to send somebody to a sales page.

(12:42):

In our businesses that we’re talking to here on the Business Revolution, our sales approach is a consultation, a consultative relationship-based approach. So your invitation to any leads that you get is to a consultation and that’s where you convert any leads into clients. So there’s much more of a relationship to be built there, so just want to note that without those pieces, and also, you then of course, you need to have your services designed to actually get them results. So if you’re listening, if you’ve never listened to this podcast before I recommend you go back to season one, where I lay out really some foundational pieces you need in your business before, I think before you even start thinking about how to market effectively. You need these foundational pieces in place. Another one of those foundations is to design your services to get clients results. So there’s a episode called Stop Selling Sessions and Start Creating Programs. Go back and look at that. You want to say anything about that, Renia, the sort of digital funnel versus —?

[RENIA] (13:53):

Yes, so there’s two things I’d love to say about that, one is that persona work, which is what we call, I think you call them avatars usually —

[JOANNA] (14:03):

I call them your bullseye clients.

[RENIA] (14:05):

Bullseye Clients, okay, I like it. So we consider communities of personas the core of everything we do. That really is the foundational piece as in modern marketing all marketing is contextual, which means it’s personalized to that individual or they will not hear it because there’s too much noise. In order to contextualize, you have to deeply understand who you’re going to work with, or you’ll like to work with. That work, marketing well and selling well in a modern context is not possible without that work. I just want to like, so go back and listen to those early episodes. you all if you haven’t done that work yet.

(14:55):

The second piece I’d like to say there is I consider this much more like in the marketing space, what we would think of as a B2B type thing, where relationship development over time is really necessary because the work that most of the people you are working with are doing is very high-risk to an individual psychologically. They are doing body work or healing work or mental health work, or like these types of things that feel very deeply emotional for people. So the trust level needs to be high, which means there’s a relationship development process that has to unfold. I think that’s what makes places like Instagram and social media so popular is that they can be really good for that relationship development process. But it’s actually easier to do that in an authentic way, other places like on your own website or with your email list.

[JOANNA] (16:00):

Great. Let’s start talking about that is, so we do, as businesses need to have lead, I call it lead generation strategies. We do need ways that feel good, that are somewhat easy, that are sustainable. We need ways to be meeting new people and what you just said, Renia. I totally think that social media, if that’s a place that you gather an audience, that it can be great as you’re saying for what I would call nurturing, that relationship building. So somebody already has met you and it’s where you can be nurturing. What I usually say is we don’t sell in our marketing. It’s not about buy my thing. That’s what many people do is, oh, I’m supposed to go market and I should go on social media and they go, here’s my class. Buy a session with me and it’s selling, I call that selling to strangers, but what can be much more effective before ever offering something for sale is building that nurturing relationship. I think you would agree.

[RENIA] (17:09):

Mmh

[JOANNA] (17:10):

But I do want to go back then to, if that’s not the easiest place and it sounds like it’s not to meet new people and attract new leads, where might we go?

[RENIA] (17:23):

This is where I’m going to sound a little bit more like your attorney than your friendly neighborhood marketer and say it depends. So we use a concept called the Trinity Principle to frame up how we see choosing where to go and how many places you should go. Because the other piece of this that we see a lot is people feeling like there’s so many options and so many places that they need to be, that they don’t do anything, or they fragment their attention, or they fragment their efforts across so many places that nowhere really has a chance to get traction. So what the Trinity Principle states, and I’ve developed this over my years of doing this work is that three platforms when chosen carefully and executed well, are all a business ever needs to have all the leads they ever need. Just three, not every social network and your website and six networking groups.

[JOANNA] (18:27):

Yes, love it. Tell us more.

[RENIA] (18:30):

What we do with the Trinity Principle is we distill down all these options to two platforms that are what we would consider sure things for your persona community. These are places where you can find pockets of your community, meaning groups of them gathering together. That might look like through search, it might look like a community-based organization, like a board or a nonprofit, or sometimes a networking group, although I don’t always love community networking. We look for two platforms where we know based on research, that there are gatherings of your bull bullseye customer, is that what you call them?

[JOANNA] (19:16):

Clients. Bullseye clients

[RENIA] (19:17):

Got it, bullseye clients. So, and then the third one is what we call a loon shot, which is like, this is a high risk, high reward platform. The reason I want to call that third one out is this is what to your last episode, to what we were talking about Instagram influencers. This is primarily what your big course creators and your influencers who really came on the scene, if it’s Instagram, between like 20 13 and 2016, where there was still a lot of organic to be had. They hit one of these loon shot platforms where they had the right message with the right content at the right time.

(20:04):

So those are always possible. We saw one of them take off a couple years ago with TikTok. We may see some other ones coming and there’s a new platform popping up every day, but we don’t know their assure thing yet. So we call that one a loon shot because we may have to get rid of it and pick another one. I say that because if you’re always having FOMO, if you’re in the FOMO camp of like, what about this new thing or what about this place where everyone’s telling me, I ought to be, that’s what we use that one for. So you don’t miss out on what could be big rewards. Like I think you referred to it last time as like hitting the gold rush.

[JOANNA] (20:43):

Yes.

[RENIA] (20:44):

But we once spend, oh, sorry —

[JOANNA] (20:47):

So the other two you were saying are the sure things that you want to have in place?

[RENIA] (20:52):

Right, and that’s where we want to spend most of our time and effort. Now I am biased because I’ve spent most of my career working in SEO, so you can blame me for this bias if you want to but I believe based on a lot of work with small and micro businesses, that one of those two platforms must be your own website with a focus on Search Engine Marketing which means not organic rankings, what we call rich snippets, which are showing up in those like FAQ searches or video searches or things like that. Possibly ADS depending on your business type so that you are showing up in a Google search.

(21:37):

The goal is to get them to your website and onto your email list so that you can connect with them over time. That is for most small companies, the most sustainable way to do their core marketing, is through Search Engine Marketing with their own website, because it is less volatile and you can also produce more with smaller amounts of effort that you don’t lose over time. Thinking about it this way, like on Instagram, you’re only as good as today’s post and then you got to figure out another one the next day, or a few hours later if it’s Twitter or —

[JOANNA] (22:21):

Yes, you got to keep producing, keep producing, keep producing. Yep, it’s a real hamster wheel.

[RENIA] (22:26):

Whereas in search, yes, there is a freshness component that can work for some things, like news pieces, but most search content actually builds in value as it gains age. So some of the most valuable content in search is actually years old because it produces a level of credibility that makes it rise higher in a search result.

[JOANNA] (22:51):

I just want to point out to you listening that that’s why it’s so important that you have your foundations laid already because even to produce a piece of content like that, you have to know exactly who your people are. I mean, you can produce content that gets all kinds of traction over the years that does not attract the right people. So you need to really know who your people are and what the right messaging is for them. If you’ve listened to other stuff other by podcast, I talk about, I see you. You want the content to say, I see you, I understand what you’re dealing with and to take them on a little bit of a journey in explaining what’s going on with them and what the possibilities are for them.

(23:33):

So, Renia, I want to ask you about local businesses versus online businesses. I’m not sure about my audience, those of you listening, but my clients amazingly continually break down into exactly 50/50. So 50% of my clients are local in-person businesses with a local office and then 50% of them are online businesses. I do want to say that my most successful clients in the short run, I’ll say, the clients who work with me, that experience the most success in the short run are the ones who had already done some SEO work before they ever met me and started working with me. That’s because they get leads. They get leads coming and so when they come to me, we dial in to who their services are for, how to design those services strategically to really get their clients the best results, how to price and package them, and then how to enroll clients in them.

(24:38):

So they already had leads and well, for those of you listening, if you hear me say, you can double your income and get long term clients and steady predictable income without more marketing, this is the key here, is that if you have leads coming in already, you don’t have to do any more marketing when you just change some of these other pieces, which we do in the Business Revolution Academy. But Renia, I know that this is where my mind goes, but isn’t this a lot harder for an online business? You want to tell us about that

[RENIA] (25:11):

I do and I want to just say one quick thing about that before I tell you about that piece, it is much, much simpler. If you have leads coming in to get better at converting those leads than to get more leads. So I am a marketing person telling you this. Everybody, it’s not Joanna telling you about her thing. Sales almost always comes first, because if you have some leads coming in increasing that conversion rate will almost always yield you more than going out to get more leads, all things totally being equal. So marketing to me comes after you are sure that your sales process works.

[JOANNA] (26:03):

Oh my goodness. I have to applaud out loud, like audibly and everything because this is what I say over and over but I usually feel like I’m the lone voice, so yes, everybody hear that? Learn how —

[RENIA] (26:18):

I’m a marketing person saying this.

[JOANNA] (26:20):

Yes, learn how to do sales first. So what we mean by sales is how do you convert your leads into paying clients? Again, if you’re new to the podcast and haven’t heard, I have multiple episodes about sales process, got another one coming up this season where I dive even deeper and I’ll put a link to a free training I have that talks a bit about it as well in the show notes. So sales comes first; learn how to do sales first because yes, when you can convert, even if you only have a few leads, that’s what I tell people is like, in fact, I ask people in a discovery call, and it’s the ones who are already doing some SEO and they think it’s not many, they might say, oh, I get five to 10 leads a month. Well, these are folks that are offering one on one services, like five to 10 leads.

(27:11):

If they’re converting, if they’re able to convert 50% to 60% of those, they’re completely full. So it’s just that they don’t know how before they work with me to do that conversion. It’s hit or miss. You respond to somebody, I don’t know, they ghost you, they say, I’ll think about it. You never hear back from them again, it’s all hit or miss, but once you have a predictable repeatable sales process, you may not need to do any more marketing. If you have even just a handful of leads reaching out to you each month.

[RENIA] (27:43):

Yes, I think this is super important. I know you want me to speak to the local business so I just want to say one more thing about that. A lot of the people that you see talking to you about how to grow your business are looking at businesses that require volume. So that’s product-based businesses, that’s course businesses where they need lots of leads coming in because their conversions are really low and so they need mass levels of marketing. That is not most practitioners. In fact, almost all practitioners that is not them. Small amounts of leads if they are well, curated can produce huge results. I think that’s one of the reasons why SEO in particular works so well for practitioners is that it doesn’t take thousands. They need a few dozen maybe, maybe not even that many of the right ones.

[JOANNA] (28:41):

Yes. Oh, I mean, like I’m saying, I see this with five to 10 a month, when we put in place, these filters, we put in place the messaging on the website and so on so they land there, they schedule a consultation, they’re filtered outer in and become clients.

[RENIA] (29:00):

Yes, exactly. This is why search is particularly great for a local business because, I’m going to speak frankly, it’s a lot easier for a community-based business versus an online business. An online business is usually trying to go to large geographic areas and they have to look for context in different ways whereas a community-based business can throw essentially a location gate around everything that they do, which makes their competition base much smaller from a digital perspective, which makes it much easier. Plus, Google has a lot of tools that are completely free for local businesses that allow you to really get a lot of traction for not nearly as much effort as other things.

(29:55):

Now, this may not be true forever, but it has been true for the last seven years. I don’t see it not being true next year or in the next two or three years. As long as people are primarily using that phone to search for local solutions, local business is going to have a high level of ability to use that location-based search that happens when you’re using a mobile device to really create a lot of context around getting the people that are for them and then you take away a lot of what you might see as a competitor in other arenas, because you’re only getting people in your area.

[JOANNA] (30:40):

I really want to emphasize this, I really want to make sure everybody is hearing this because in my mind, and from what I’ve seen, a local business has a major advantage in this way. I mean, I was just speaking with a client the other day. In the Business Revolution Academy, we have two different sales systems. Whether you have an online business or a brick-and-mortar business, we have two different sets of automations we install in a way that the sales process happens. This client was saying that they wanted to do both because they want to have an online business. They don’t currently have an online business. They serve people in person and they said, but if I go online with my services, I’ll have a much bigger market.

(31:29):

This is where I want you to chime in Renia, because I actually don’t know what you’ll say to this. The funny thing is, I know I’ve asked you before, but it hasn’t stuck, which is to me, you have an advantage. This person has an advantage by being local. They’re not in a tiny little town either. I’m pretty sure it’s a fairly large city. So that’s an advantage for your marketing. Let me just back up and what I said to them was why do you want to go online and that was their reasoning. Which is different. Other people have reasoning that to me makes sense to go online but this person’s only reason for going online was they thought it would allow them a larger market. I would advise this person to stay local. That’s what they do and I asked them, how do you prefer to work with your clients and their answer was hands-on. So I said stay hands-on and local. That’s an advantage when it comes to search engine to search. Is that correct and what do we do for this, with online businesses?

[RENIA] (32:31):

Yes. There’s two things I want to say there. First is because of what we’ve learned from the last couple of years, I do like very in-person centric businesses to have what I think of as a risk mitigation strategy, which is like if we had another global shutdown, for example, I could do this online and not entirely lose my revenue stream. So a lot of people had to figure this out over the last couple of years. If you have that systematized in a way that you can flip that switch, if you need to, in the worst-case scenario, that’ll keep you safe over there. But barring that most local businesses, especially if it’s a decent sized city or area that they’re working in, when I say decent size, I mean like what we would call a tier three or four size, so more than a hundred thousand people, maybe more than a few hundred thousand people, that is probably going to be a place where you could build a seven, eight figure business just in your local market, if you wanted to.

(33:37):

If being hands-on is what your work is about. You might actually make your work less desirable by taking it online. So sure you might get access to more people over time, but you won’t have the advantage of deep access in your community and you may lose the thing that makes you so special in the first place. I think businesses are often too fast to go online and it’s why you see some of the biggest online businesses actually coming offline. Companies like Warby Parker are opening stores because people want those in-person experiences. So if you already have that experience, there’s so much you can do to leverage it. I would, I very rarely come across a business that has tapped their market. So a local business that has totally tapped out their market, it’s very, very rare. So if I come across one, I’ll say fine, okay, it’s time to think about going to a new location or going online but I mean, I’ve been doing this for 12 years and maybe twice and I’ve seen that

[JOANNA] (34:52):

Yes, and you work with like seven and eight and nine figure businesses, so that’s the level we’re talking about, right?

[RENIA] (35:00):

Yes. So to give you an example, we have two sides of our business; businesses that we were are working in, like a retainer-based relationship where we’re doing a lot of their marketing production for them, they’re usually high seven to eight and nine figure businesses. Then we have the coaching side of our business where we help smaller companies like the work we do with you to implement our work. That type of thing is where I think most of your local-based practitioners are going to live and they are almost certainly not tapping that whole local market yet. They don’t need access to a bigger market. I’m pretty confident saying that.

[JOANNA] (35:40):

Yes, so am I, just looking for backup there? Okay, so what about though, 50% of my clients are online businesses, my business is online and I am working with you on this stuff? What does this mean because you talked about for a local business, the context and the gates around location, and that’s just a huge draw for those of you who are local, how about for the online folks?

[RENIA] (36:06):

The online folks need two things, one is going back to that concept of your community of personas and where they gather. You need to find where they gather online. That can look like sometimes things you don’t expect. For example, we’re working with one client who needs to hire a bunch of engineers, so we’re doing a bunch of stuff in discord forums and with Reddit Q&As, and stuff like that, where normally we are more out in the giant normal internet like Google. So you’ve got to find them where they are. Where do your people hang out in groups online so that you can find more than one of them at one time? Then the second is finding them in search, which is what is it that they are putting into a search bar?

(36:58):

So when they’re holding their phone, just like everybody else or sitting at their laptop, what are they searching for? It is usually the thing that is causing them pain, the thing that is stuck in their mind and they can’t get rid of, the thing that keeps them up at night, the thing that’s holding them, that they perceive as holding them back. They will search that in a lot of conversational ways but what practitioners often do instead is they set up their whole online space, particularly their websites, very service directed, like acupuncture, massage whatever the case may be. Nobody’s searching for that directly until the moment they’re ready to book an appointment. They’re searching for like questions around why they’re in pain in the first place, or what do they need to, and so we have to create content that speaks to those things they are looking for so that we can get the chance. You’re looking at me like, yes —

[JOANNA] (37:59):

I just love, I know I just love how much you’re saying things that I feel like I teach. I’m not sure everybody listening, whether it sounds the same or sounds different, or people realize how it’s the same. But what you’re speaking to right now is exactly what I talked about in episode one of this season, which was get more leads using the stages of awareness. It was saying, don’t put your modality up out front, don’t put the services out front. It’s what are the pains and problems and goals and desires of people and back up several stages. So just as an example, Renia of what you were saying I have a.

(38:34):

dear client who helps people with, and she’ll actually be featured in this season, but who works with people around disordered eating, so restriction, overeating, binging, et cetera. The way she does it is through nervous system work and somatic experiencing. But if she were to say that up-front, nervous system, trauma work, somatic experiencing most people who are struggling with their eating, they have not connected that. That’s a late stage of awareness. In fact, it’s a stage of awareness that many people never get to. People are looking for like diets or food trackers or right what are the, in that realm. So that’s that going back to where, when your people are first, even aware that they have something going on, how are they thinking about it and what might they be looking for as they’re researching, right?

[RENIA] (39:34):

Exactly. I’ll give you an example of this because it always makes me laugh in our own work. So marketing, everybody’s at least a little familiar with marketing, the term that we call what we do is values-driven marketing

[JOANNA] (39:51):

In your company?

[RENIA] (39:51):

Almost no one, in my company, almost no one knows that term. So if someone searches that term, they are almost certainly ready to buy from me and I definitely want to show up for that term, but it’s very small. Maybe I’ll get super lucky and like one person, every six months will search for that term. I’m being a little dramatic. What people are searching for is like, how do I do marketing that actually works? Or how do I do marketing that doesn’t feel gross? Or how come this cookie cutter system didn’t work for me or alternatives to Facebook? Or how do I, so those are the things that we have to show up for.

(40:36):

For example, we have a giant page on our website that’s almost 15,000 words long with all kinds of interactive elements. And it’s years old that’s why it’s so giant. We keep adding stuff to it but it’s how to DIY your marketing in 30 minutes, a day or less. That’s directly designed to bring people into our world who know not a lot yet about marketing the way that we do it. They just know that what they’re doing right now doesn’t work.

[JOANNA] (41:08):

Great example. Looking at where people are before they know what your solution is, what are they looking up? Okay, so you were telling us, that’s the thing that you want to, tell us, what do we do? We do something to our websites?

[RENIA] (41:26):

Yes. So I want to start with, I want to do a break point here of if you are, for your 50/50 audience, if you are a local business, so you have a brick and mortar or you serve a specific geographic area, the very first thing that you want to do is optimize for local search, which looks like the Google Business profile and there are a bunch of local listings for that. I know Joanna has some guest workshops for me in one of her programs, I think that can help you do that. If you are an online business, the very first thing that you want to do, and this may require some support, not everyone is technical enough to do this is to run a report, to see how mobile friendly your website is and whether it passes speed tests, because that’s a barrier to entry.

(42:20):

I know that sounds a little technical, but the reason you can do that for free on Google. So if you just Google like Google mobile test, and you can put your URL right in there, it’ll tell you if you pass or not and it’ll tell you if your website is slow or not. That is a barrier to entry. So for an online business who can’t use the Google Business profile, you need to pass that barrier before you’re going to be able to do very well with your content. Now, if you have a website that’s been built in the last three years, hopefully you pass that at least at like a 70% or higher level but if you don’t, that is the first thing that you will need to address. You will need some technical updates or a new website to make it possible for you to do this work.

(43:09):

Once you do that, it’s about, do you have that community persona work? So do you know who those core clients are that you want to serve and how to reach them? What we do for that is called a keyword topic cluster strategy. So we will actually do research, and again, this is a place where I recommend people get support. It’s not very expensive in the modern world to get some support for that. We recommend that you have the research done about what that community of personas is searching for and then you can start to incorporate that into your content. That looks like writing long form blog posts that have that information and old style. I’m talking about blogs again, like it’s 2008, again but putting words on your website, maybe making videos for YouTube. I know making videos for YouTube is not as popular as it used to be. Everyone’s putting their videos on Instagram, but Google and Meta, I always want to say Facebook, but it’s Meta now are in basically a death battle with each other. So Google does not rank things that you put on Instagram and Facebook like it ranks things you put on YouTube, which is a platform they own.

[JOANNA] (44:31):

It’s just so important that people hear that because when we were talking about how on social media things just disappear, I mean, they’re there. If somebody goes and finds you, your page or whatever, they can scroll and scroll and scroll and I’m sure that that happens sometimes, but otherwise it’s just there. The fact that Google’s not even combing that and getting that, whereas something on your website that is with a YouTube video embedded or in YouTube, is there, it is there and it’s being looked at by search engines.

[RENIA]

The reason, and I want to say this very clearly, sure, technically they can go to your Instagram feed if it’s not in stories or reals and they can scroll and scroll and scroll. Nobody ever does that. Maybe like a tiny minuscule amount of people do that. Where people binge consume content is in podcasts and on YouTube. Those are the two places and on medium, although medium is a smaller platform, those are places where people will consume a whole big lot of one person’s content. For example, I keep having these weird moments where I’m like, somebody just listened to all of my podcasts in the last three days. That’s like 24-hour podcast listening.

[JOANNA]

Oh yes.

[RENIA]

That’s a place where I’m doing it right now with Peter Tia’s podcast. I don’t know how people feel about Tia, but I’m listening to like all these nerdy scientific studies back months and months and months. That doesn’t happen in social the way it happens on YouTube and podcast feed. That’s what makes those platforms so powerful. It also will happen on your website. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience on a really well set up website where the customer journeys have been really intentionally done. You can spend way more time than you intended poking, around reading things. If you ever want to see someone who does this masterfully, I always recommend people look at Neil Patel’s website. If you have any interest in digital marketing, his website will keep, like I have feelings about him. I don’t recommend everything he does, but you’ll stay on his website forever.

That’s what you’re trying to create for those right clients is that, and maybe even doing things like bookmarking your content, because that makes them come back to you over and over. Going back to your original yoga practitioner’s example, like my yoga teacher who has an online version of her, so she’s an in-person teacher. She does private yoga and classes and then also has an online version where she posts classes. I will stay in her online little community that’s like her Wix website sometimes for hours that I didn’t intend to because I just like hearing her voice. I’ll listen to her meditations, I’ll listen to her talks and it calms me down during my workday. Whereas someone’s going to get, like the way that a Instagram feed is designed, they’re going to get pulled from your content to somebody else’s because that’s what makes money.

[JOANNA]

Yep, that’s what it is. So I just want to get really practical for people listening to understand we’re really talking about getting traffic to your website right now. Now what I do with my clients is we want the website to do it’s most important thing, which is capture prospects. So we call a prospect, somebody who schedules a consultation. How I teach my practitioners is that that’s the front and center call-to-action, is to schedule a consultation. Somebody who gets there, by the ways you’re talking about Renia with good content, they might have been searching, they see, this is what there is to do, is schedule a consultation. Like, ooh, if I want to take the next step that’s there. That button is there. It’s clear to me that’s there.

But then the secondary piece is capturing them as a lead. That’s my difference. That’s how I define lead in prospect. I think maybe with you, it’s the reverse, but we consider a lead somebody who opts into your email list for whatever reason, gives you their contact info. That’s where we might have some, opt-in some lead magnet, something where they’re giving you their email address to get more information or get on your news, on your email list in some way. So this isn’t just, I just want to know, it’s not just about bringing people to your website, to binge content. The content is there to build your authority, to show people that you see them so that hopefully they’ll take some next step and the most ideal next step is to schedule a consultation with you. The second choice is simply opt-in for more information from you. Then on your email list, we teach people to nurture those leads so that hopefully they’re eventually ready to take the next step, which is to work with you. That’s the entry into the sales pipeline.

[RENIA]

Can I get super granule with that for one second?

[JOANNA]

Of course.

[RENIA]

Okay, so when it comes to the website, there’s a break point to me here. One is the homepage, which is where people typically think of the most importance. If your website is set up properly in getting the proper amount of search traffic, meaning you’ve done some baseline SEO and SEM work, the homepage should get 30% or less of your total traffic. Because the homepage is what we call a portal page that was meant to bring people into your world but from a Google perspective, it doesn’t really have very much authority on its own. That schedule console, for example, is probably the very first action that you’re offering people on the homepage but most of your traffic shouldn’t come there first. So what you will see, and now you all can go out and look at a bunch of websites and you’ll see this, if they’ve been highly optimized, look at a software as a service site, like a HubSpot or something like that, you’ll see it in the menu bar, usually in the top right corner that same call-to-action. It follows them all over the web. It follows you wherever you are.

[JOANNA]

Yes, absolutely

[RENIA]

Almost all of your other pages, except for maybe a consultation, like call-to-action page, their goal is to get people onto that email list in my mind, because the goal of getting them onto that email list is so that you can engage with them over time. Because most of the traffic you bring in from search is not going to be ready for that consultation yet. They’re going to be farther out in that cycle, in that customer journey and so the goal is to get them, because they came in for an informational reason to get them on your email list so that you can spend time educating them over time. An email, yes, in 2022, an email address on your list is worth more to your business than almost any other marketing asset. We can produce four to five times as much from a well curated email list than we can from almost anything else. And it doesn’t take a very big one. Some of my most successful clients have email lists of like 12 to 1500 people. That is not a very big email list in what —

[JOANNA]

In what you’re used to, yes. I’ll say, so I did actually talk about this in season one when I went over the marketing life cycle and I call this your lowest hanging fruit. So I know there are people, you listening, some of you have 200, 300, 500, 800, 1,000, 1200 people on an email list. These are former clients, current clients, anybody who’s ever contacted you in the past. It’s likely they’re probably sitting in MailChimp. That’s what I usually hear. They’re sitting in MailChimp and you never email them unless it’s some big announcement and it’s you send out some big email, that’s an announcement, that something’s going on or maybe to advertise an offer.

If you have people on an email list that you’re not regularly communicating with, I want to just point out again, I call that your lowest hanging fruit and start emailing them with nurturing content right now. If you don’t know what I mean by nurturing content, go back to episode one in this season, the get more leads using the stages of awareness. Start there as a reference point and start emailing those people. Because what Renia is saying is here’s this whole episode is talking about getting new leads. It is so much harder to get new leads that are going to eventually become clients than to get clients from people who already know you and like you and trust you, they already are connected to you. They’re already in your world. You already have their email address. You already have some relationship with them.

Just start nurturing that, just start talking to them and then offering invitations to them. Whether it’s to a free event you have, or whether it’s to a free consultation, whatever, start nurturing them, showing them that you see them, you understand what they’re going through and make invitations, give them invitations. That is a much quicker path to getting new clients right now than, what we’re talking about is really long game strategy for sustainable leads over the long run.

[RENIA]

Yes. I want to say to that point one, we already established, increase your conversion rate, work your existing leads first. Two, work your referral partners, some of those pointing back to those big influencers and course creators. Again, I’ve worked with more than a few of them at this point.

[JOANNA]

Yes, they use that affiliate model.

[RENIA]

Their primary driver is an affiliate model, but it doesn’t have to be a paid affiliate model. My business’s primary driver is referrals and I don’t pay anyone for referrals. So there’s this very powerful referrals, existing conversion rates. Those two things always should get attention before you go to mass market, which is social media, for example, because there’s so much more that you can get from those. I see people all the time that when they put those two things in place, they never make it to mass market because they don’t need it.

[JOANNA]

Oh totally. That’s so important. That actually like I think helps us, I want to land the plane and bring us home. I think a really important message I want to give and I am interested in what you have to say to this Renia is that we hear about these things. You may be listening and going, oh my goodness, I need to do this and I need to do this and I need to do this and I need to do this and thinking you need to do all these things. When we’re talking about really practically applying them in your business, I like to think of them in layers and adding one layer and getting that dialed in, getting that first, like everything you do is going to require some experimentation and figuring out what works and then optimizing that and then hopefully systematizing that and maybe automating some of it. Perhaps depends on what it is and then moving on to a next layer. So I’ve just started working with you Renia, but like this is on SEO strategy, but that’s not my first layer. I’m coming to you now as like a second or third layer in creating just in a really successful, ongoing, sustainable lead generation strategy. I don’t know if you have anything to say to that, but I really want to give the message. You don’t need to do all of this at once.

[RENIA]

Yes, exactly that. So the way that I would frame this is SEO, except for that Google Business, local optimization for a local business, SEO is a strategy for a more mature company. It is not a thing that you do at startup phase. It’s when you’re feeding yourself, then it’s time to think about sustainability and this is where SEO and SEM come into play. We run a program called Local Rockstar Alliance specifically for local businesses. What we call this in the Local Rockstar Alliance is stage building. So when you’re in startup phase, you’re building like a stage at the county fair where you’re probably put in the planks down using like some two by fours and whatever and as you grow that stage gets bigger and bigger and bigger, but you don’t perform at Madison Square Gardens, which is what the equivalent of like a big launch on Instagram could be.

You don’t do that right out the gate. You have to prepare for that and there are a lot of steps along the way. You build that brick by brick one, one step at a time, one step at a time. In my old manufacturing days, we call this 1% improvement every day. So if you do 1% every day, you add one little piece of content, you optimize one thing, you find out one more thing about your ideal client. One little bit every day over time that has a compounding effect that is much more powerful than any marketing hack, viral video, et cetera, that we are trying.

[JOANNA]

We are trying to do a million things, yes, trying to do all kinds of things and not actually completing anything. I like to think of these in terms of projects, even though so many things are ongoing, but it’s a project to first do the experimentation needed. I mean, I’ll just give the example of, so podcast guesting is a really successful lead generation strategy for me but it took a while to figure out how to do it successfully and now it’s fully systematized in my business. So that takes time. Cool, that layer is built. Now I move on to the next layer.

I think what I’m hearing you say, I’m so glad you brought up Local Rockstar, because I want you to talk about that, but I think I heard you say yes for an online business the SEO part is more advanced. But for you all who are local practitioners, in-person, brick and mortar have an office, you work in a specific city or region or area, working on local listing through Google is going to be a hugely important and I believe not even that difficult thing to do that will really, really, really help your business. I’ve seen it in my client’s businesses. Like I’m saying my most successful clients are ones that had already done this work before they came to me and then when they came to me, their business is just shot forward without them doing anything else on marketing, no social media needed, nothing. So tell us about this for you all who are local businesses, in-person businesses.

[RENIA]

Yes. This is how important this is to me. In Local Rockstar Alliance the very first thing that we do is make sure that they have their community of personas nailed down. As soon as they do that the next step is that Google Business profile. I have seen companies within three weeks have so many leads they don’t know what to do with them just by properly optimizing their local search. It’s so easy to do. Particularly for wellness practitioners where there’s just not a lot of people who are doing that work. They’re just not, I mean like they’re a lot of practitioners doing that work on their profiles. You can so quickly get traction if that is done properly, unless you’re a chiropractor. Chiropractors are really good at this, for whatever reason, they have like a marketing machine behind this thing.

And it’s very simple to do. It will take you less than an hour to set up your profile. There is a little bit of copywriting to do it well. So if you are not a great writer, I do recommend hiring someone to help for the writing if you can. But even if you wanted to outsource this entirely, you could outsource having this set up properly entirely for a couple thousand dollars and it would work so much better than most of what people are doing right now. It’s so powerful. It’s not going to stay this way forever, but right now for local business that Google profile is everything.

[JOANNA]

Awesome. You said something important, which was, you said brings them so many leads they don’t know what to do with them. I want to say that if you’re listening and you have no sales process, which is like 99% of people, practitioners who have not worked with me, you might want to come talk to me first. If you are a BRE graduate and listening to this right now and a local business, I’m going to say, get on this. Renia, tell us about Local Rockstar because I just really want to recommend it. If you do know who your ideal clients are and you have already your program developed that gets them the results they’re after, takes them on that journey and you have a predictable repeatable sales process and you know exactly how many of your leads turn into clients, that’s, what’s so brilliant about having a predictable sales system is you just back out the numbers. If you know that 50% of your prospects become long-term clients, that shows you exactly how many leads you need to get exactly how many clients you want and here’s a way to do that. So tell us about it what is it.

[RENIA]

Local rockstar used to be a course I ran for several years for local businesses and it is relaunching in what, six weeks, four weeks as a, basically a membership program for local businesses to learn how to apply to do better digital strategies inside of their companies. It’s entirely designed to get you all of the leads you ever need in a local business with 30 minutes a day or less of work on your marketing, which is sustainable for most companies. So we teach you how to use the Google My Business, or the Google Business profile and do your local optimization. We teach you how to properly write website content so you’re going to show up in other types of local search. We teach you how to optimize customer journeys and integrate what we call tradigital, so traditional tactics, like being involved with the offline world and being out in your community and even yes, for some businesses, things like mailers and event sponsorship and things like that, which we do in the local business space, how to pair that with your digital content to get much better results.

Then probably my favorite thing that we do in the program is we teach them how to anchor that in a referral process that helps them really strengthen their relationship with other colleagues and practitioners around them, other small businesses around them so they’re all helping each other. Because I believe that community business is the root of what’s going to save us. So if they learn to, if we learn to work together as community businesses to grow our client bases, I think we create really powerful communities. It’s very exciting to me to bring this back in the world. It was one of the anchors that I built my business on, and it has been in bed for a couple of years as I was doing some other things and so we’re really excited for this to come back to the world here in a few weeks.

[JOANNA]

We’ll put the links in the show notes so you can follow your way to that. I’m really excited about that Renia. You said you believe that community-based businesses will save the world. I believe that these wellness practitioners doing this deep healing work with folks is absolutely a key piece to saving our world. Good stuff. Thank you so much for being here. I imagine that you’ll be back because we always have good stuff to talk about.

[RENIA]

Yes. Thank you so much for having me, Joanna.

[JOANNA]

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast and you want to apply what you’re learning here in your business, did you know that you can meet directly with me and ask me questions and get my help when you come to the Practitioner’s Business Round Table? The Practitioner’s Business Round Table is a free gathering for innovative practitioners that I host each month. We meet live via Zoom and when you sign up for a spot, you have the chance to submit your questions beforehand, to get them answered by me at the round table discussion. You can grab a seat for the next Practitioner’s Business Round Table by going to joannasapir.com/roundtable. Let’s go deeper. Come learn more about how to build a fulfilling and profitable practice with long-term clients and stable income. I hope to see your face there.