Author: Christina Giordano

All about the CTA

The CTA: Don’t Miss Another Sale

Here we’re going to talk about a timeless marketing tactic that can really change how you convert leads to sales. It’s called the Call to Action, or CTA.

The Marketing Tool You Need

Every piece of marketing that you put out there needs to have at least one CTA. Most of us make the mistake of assuming that our customers know what we want them to do next. We forget to put a call to action in every piece of marketing that we create.

Including a CTA is referred to as direct response marketing. You want your prospective customers to see your message and take direct action, like a click or a call or a purchase, in response to your marketing message

Here are some sample CTAs:

  • Click to play the video
  • Reply to this email
  • Leave a comment
  • Click here
  • Buy now
  • Register now
  • Order now

These are the kind of action steps that we want people to take. If your goal is to make sales, you must tell your prospects exactly what to do to take action. However, you don’t want to give them a bunch of different CTAs in one piece of marketing. The general rule of thumb is to have one clear call to action and repeat it several times. Stay focused in each marketing piece in order to make it easy for people to listen to your message and take the desired action. 

So, let’s make sure you’re using clear CTAs with this CTA self-check exercise. 

Step 1: Review all of your marketing materials, from your website to your blog to your email marketing to your social media. Does every piece of marketing out there have one clear, direct CTA? 

Step 2: If not, make a plan to update your copy now, especially on your sales offerings. Moving forward, make sure you always include one CTA for all marketing and promotional assets you create. 

Step 3: When reviewing any marketing or sales material moving forward, ask yourself, “Is it crystal clear the one action I’m asking someone to take?” If not, rework that marketing piece so that there is one clear CTA.

Need help with your CTA placement? Reach out!

CGC - Business Models 101

Business Models 101

This month, I’m talking all about business models, particularly what they are and why you need them!

Basically, your business model (or revenue model) is a roadmap for how your business will make money. In other words, what are people buying from you? Your customers have to pay you for something. Without paying customers, you don’t have a business; you have a hobby.

This sounds incredibly basic! But all too often, I will hear: “I want to start a community to empower women,” or, “I want to curate creative material online.”  When I ask them how they plan to make money from these ideas, they’re not sure. Yes, you can absolutely create a blog or community or a movement, but it wouldn’t be a business until you have people paying for it. A business sells things (like a product or service) to customers in exchange for money.

If you want to build a profitable, sustainable business that you can rely on for income, you must be absolutely clear on what people are buying from you.

Here are some simple and straightforward explanations of what can be purchased from you.

Most businesses sell products or services, or a combination of both.

For example, if you sell jewelry or oils or clothing or wine, you’ve got a product-based business. You deliver a physical product and your customer pays you. Conversely, if you are a coach, yoga teacher, hair stylist, or photographer, you’ve got a service-based business. You deliver a service and your client pays you.

But let’s say you make money offering training or advice, you may have a mix of service and product offerings, such as one-on-one consulting (service) and digital programs (product).

Or perhaps you fall under other categories. Maybe you’re a blogger, and you make money through advertising for companies. Or maybe you’ve created a software, and companies pay you monthly for technology use and support.

So, how will your business make you money?

 

Money Isn't the End Game - Starting a Business for the Right Reasons

Money Isn’t the End Game: Starting a Business for the Right Reasons

In rounding up our entrepreneurship theme for the month of May, let’s talk about why it’s important to start a business for the right reasons.

We’ll begin with a quote: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

The gist of this quote is this: Don’t go into business to make money. Success comes when you enthusiastically follow your passion.

Could that be the secret to success?

How many times have you heard people say, “I’m going to start this side business so I can make enough money to quit my day job and do what I really want to do.” Or, “I’m starting this side business so that I can make some passive income while I focus on my real passion.”

And were they successful? Unlikely. Why? Because if your heart isn’t truly in your business, people will feel it. It will be nearly impossible to sustain your business because it doesn’t have heart, passion and purpose.

In today’s hyper-competitive markets, people not only want to feel seen and heard and understood, they want to know that the companies they are supporting care. They want to know that these companies are dedicated to something real and true. These are the companies that have a definitive and inspiring reason for being in the world that goes beyond just financial profit.

Remember this not-so-inspiring fact: nearly half of all businesses fail in the first five years.

Unless you have a strong enough purpose for your company to exist – which means an emotional link between what you’re working to create and why you want it out in the world – you will most likely not follow through on the work that it takes to launch a business and the stamina that it takes to keep it going.

To be an entrepreneur takes a fierce commitment to the hard work day after day after day. The most successful entrepreneurs are not motivated by financial gain. They’re motivated by three things: a drive to make a difference, a deep love of the game, and a desire to use their talents to impact the lives of others.

While building anything from the ground up is incredibly challenging, if you have the right reasons, you’ll have the resilience and perseverance you need to become a success.

Bottom line: don’t start a business to make money, start a business to make a difference.

CGC - Entrepreneurship - Is it Right for You

Entrepreneurship: Is It Right for You?

The first question you have to ask yourself is this: Do you believe that it’s possible for you to run a satisfying, meaningful, and profitable business?

If you answered yes, then you’ve just tackled the first step to becoming an entrepreneur. You know that you want the freedom and satisfaction that comes from using your gifts to make an impact in the world, on your own terms.

But this realization is just the first step.

Now you have to create that business. This is where the problems begin. Many of us have so many ideas, so many dreams, that we are unclear about which business we want to start. Or perhaps we know the overall idea of the brand we want, but we don’t know how to fit all the pieces together.

I’ve seen countless people struggle with this. I’ve struggled with it too within my own business. I had so many ideas, but it was so difficult for me to strategize how they would all fit together. Being unsure about which business to start and how to start triggers feelings of frustration, stress, and self-doubt.

Here are typically the core issues that many entrepreneurs struggle with:

  1. You may lack good ideas.
  2. You may have too many ideas, but you’re afraid to choose the wrong one.
  3. You may have one idea, but you’re unsure if it will work.

Struggling with any of these? If so, you’re in the right place.

Here’s what I’ve learned about entrepreneurship over the years:

  1. Being an entrepreneur requires a tremendous amount of clarity. There is a really great exercise on clarity that I’ve published HERE.
  2. If you’re going to be successful in business, you’re signing up to work hard. It’s a 24/7 hustle over an extended period of time to get to where you want to be. You can find various blogs with tips for how to get started HERE.
  3. In the beginning, you’ll likely work much longer hours for way less pay. This period can last from months to years.
  4. You’ve got to be mentally prepared for rejection and disappointment, which can also be coupled with frustration and self-doubt.
  5. And finally? No matter how smart and passionate and prepared you are, there are no guarantees that it will actually work out.   

Now, I’m not saying any of this to depress or scare you! I’m saying this to empower you.

There’s a lot of risk to entrepreneurship. But the rewards (when they come) are worth it all. Business is exciting. It’s an adventure that involves research, strategy, extreme perseverance, gut instinct, creativity, lots of action, and course corrections. You have to stay vigilant and flexible. You have to continuously challenge yourself and extend yourself outside of your comfort zone. Both you and your business will evolve as you go – there’s no such thing as “coasting” in business. There are no shortcuts or silver bullets. It takes a lot of courage, but also a lot of love for what you do and who you serve.

In order to start the right business, you have to understand and accept the rules of the game. So, do you agree to them?

While there are no guarantees that your business will work, there are ways to set yourself up for the best chance of success. There are tons of business and marketing programs online, but the Empowered Marketing Program and Workshop Series enables you to learn how to market yourself at your own speed in a way that you’re comfortable with. Programs range from one-on-one consulting, to small groups, to material-only. It’s all dependent on what you need and how you prefer to work.

If entrepreneurship is right for you, surround yourself with those that will support you. Get clear about your business vision. Take the necessary, but small, steps you need to take to build momentum (and profits) over time. And above all, make sure that you love your business, your customers, and the work itself. Once you do that, you’ll be well on your way to owning and running a business you love.

CGC - How to Set Your Offerings at the Right Price

How to Set Your Services and Products at the Right Price (& Why I Don’t Like Discounts)

When it comes to pricing, you have to think about your big picture – your overall brand, the competitive landscape, and how you want to position yourself in the broader marketplace.

You will want to create and review a pricing model for each offering you have within your business, whether it’s a service, product or both. For each offering, from a revenue standpoint, keep two things in mind: 1) how your offering fits into your business suite (which is all the things you offer), and 2) how you want to position that particular offering in the broader marketplace.

You’ve got to ask yourself: How much revenue do you want to generate with this offering? And how much of each offering do you honestly think you can sell?

Then you have to know your costs. This includes upfront costs, variable costs, fixed costs, and anything that’s an ongoing cost. What do your profit margins look like when you factor these into your pricing model?

(Note: When you’re making your cost/expense estimates, I recommend making a list of everything you need and then contacting vendors and resources for pricing quotes. If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend you do as much as possible on your own. It’s always best to start as simply and as inexpensively as possible. )

After getting clear with your budgeting, it’s all about running the numbers and making some predictions. If this makes you feel a bit overwhelmed, just remember that we are all making guesstimates. We all have to start somewhere when it comes to pricing, and these projections get us going. My suggestion is to underestimate what you’re going to sell and overestimate what you’re going to spend.

Now, a quick note on discounts: I personally do not believe in discounting.

I believe in providing as much value as possible for the right price, but discounting that price at any point is not recommended, unless you’re beta testing something, or providing a specific service to a valued client base. An example of the former could be when you first launch a new service and you want your current client base to give it a try in exchange for some valuable feedback. In this case, you can discount for a testing phase of your service. An example of the latter could be if you decide to customize one of your services differently for a particular group of people, or a particular client. I often provide a discounted rate of a customized service to a local wellness community that I work with. I’ve been a loyal member of the community since it first started, and I continue to work with the owners regularly, so the discount feels good, and I’m able to provide services for those who may not be able to afford me under regular circumstances.

To some people, discounting makes sense from a marketing and sales perspective, especially when you’re desperate for cash.

However, and unfortunately, discounts are most often perceived as, and representative of, the following:

  • Lack of confidence: If you believe in what you do, you should sell it at the standard price.
  • Bad precedent: You’re setting the standard. As soon as you lower your prices, your customers will start to expect it going forward.
  • Lower perceived value: Most people value something based on its price. Throwing in a discount tarnishes the value you’re trying to provide.
  • Untrustworthiness: Let’s say you’re trying to make a sale, but it’s not going well. If you’re selling your service at its regular price at the start, and then you quickly provide a discount at the end to win the sale, your customer is going to question your honesty.
  • All about the price: The last thing you want to focus on during a sales conversation is the price, and that’s exactly what happens when you offer a discount. It’s hard to sell something based on price rather than value.
  • Profit cuts: What will the discount do to your revenue? You have revenue goals, and the only way to meet them is to stick to your planned pricing model.

So, unless you’re testing a launch of a new product or service, or you’re very comfortable packaging a service at a discounted rate for a particular group, then you shouldn’t discount your services. In the end though, it’s all up to you.

Just remember to do what feels good.

CGC - Clarity Exercise

Clarity Exercise: What You Want, Why You Want It, and How to Get It

If you want to create any result in your business, or even your life, you have to know two important things: what you want and why you want it.

When starting a business, we often jump in with as many service offerings as we can think of, and chase as many customers as we can – whether or not those services and customers are in line with our most authentic and true business vision.  

Strong businesses are built on strong foundations. To create this foundation, you need clarity, because clarity equals power. The more clear you are about what you want and why you want it, the faster and easier it will be to create results.

Below is an exercise in clarity. Take out a pen and paper and get started!

What do you want?

Whatever it is, you have to be crystal clear about the outcome. If you just started, maybe you want to get your first 10 paying clients within the next 6 months. If you’re already successful, maybe you’re looking to double or triple your profit. Or maybe you’ve been at this for awhile, and you want to take more time off and automate more of your business. Write it down.

Why do you want it?

Now that you know what you want, you have to have a really good reason for wanting it. Without a clear why, there’s no emotion or excitement. If you have enough good reasons to do something, you’ll do it. Write it down.

This is effective!

If you have enough reasons to have your business, you’re going to follow through. When you’re clear on what you want and why you want it, you become unstoppable. Research proves it. Dr. Gail Matthews, a Psychology Professor at a University in California, did a study on goal setting with 267 participants. She found out that you are 42% more likely at achieving your goals just by writing them down.

How do you to get it?

Now, let’s talk about steps you can take right now to start getting the results you want. Here is a highly effective brainstorming exercise that you can use for literally anything that you want. First, take out a piece of paper. At the top of the page, select a goal from the list you came up with earlier, under “What do you want?” and write it down. Then, you will come up with a list of 20 ways you can bring this goal to life. What are 20 ideas you can think of to make this happen?

Let’s consider an example.

Say you’re a health coach, and one of your goals is to increase your profits enough to put aside money for an emergency savings account. You want this, because a savings account provides you with financial security. So, here are some ideas to bring this idea to life:

  1. You can launch a new service, like a bridal program, if that’s your market.
  2. You can create a new product. Perhaps you enjoy blending oils and can sell them.
  3. You can commit to attend 2 networking events per month to increase your contact list.
  4. You can raise your rates.
  5. You can create a referral program to increase client intake.
  6. You can put yourself on a strict budget.
  7. You can automate your business management to online platforms so that you spend less time on admin work and more time with clients.
  8. You can talk with your friends about your goal and see if they have ideas or opportunities for you.
  9. You can join a coaching association and market your services within their platform.
  10. You can host paying workshops or classes.
  11. You can be a guest host in someone else’s workshop or program.
  12. You can build a strategic partnership with a colleague and pass referrals or build a program together.
  13. You can collaborate with a yoga studio to provide a service or presentation for their members, if that’s your market.
  14. You can create an opt-in offer on your website to increase your leads and your client base.
  15. You can lead a regular meet up that supports other business owners and shares references.
  16. You can submit a guest blog or article to a relevant publication.
  17. You can work with influencers to help get the word out about your services.
  18. You can submit your business to directories.
  19. You can train yourself to optimize your website.
  20. You can attend the Empowered Marketing Workshop Series to get better at marketing and learn new ways to market yourself.

Hope this helps provide some clarity in your business. Good luck in making your business goals possible!

CGC - Empowered Marketing Workshop Series

New Workshop Series Starting Soon!

Many business owners out there never put “marketing” and “easy” in the same sentence.

After all, it can be complicated! How many times have you researched the latest marketing tactics only to feel confused, frustrated, overwhelmed and unsupported? How often do you find yourself spending time throwing marketing ideas at the wall to see what (if anything) sticks?

Good news: I can teach you how to market your business.

I can help you put an end to:

  • Hounding clients who aren’t in alignment with you or who don’t want to pay you what you’re worth,
  • Banking on discounts and deals,
  • Duct-taping your marketing strategy together, and
  • Expecting free marketing webinars and downloads to change your circumstances (there’s a reason they’re free).

How can I help you? I relish in developing plans and protocols. I enjoy being knowledgeable about all things marketing. I thrive on organization, and I love simplification. I use these skills to help my clients make marketing easy. And yes, I just used “marketing” and “easy” in the same sentence.

If you want to learn how to use smart, honest online marketing to reach more people, align with the right customers, and convert more visitors into buyers, this workshop series is for you.

Introducing: The Empowered Marketing Program Workshop Series

Through this series, you will finally be able to market your own business with confidence. You will gain the tools, skills, and insight to become a master of your own marketing. You will feel empowered to put your marketing in your own hands, ultimately fueling your profits, your purpose and your passion.  

Workshop Schedule:

Taking place every 2nd Wednesday from 12:00pm to 2:00pm for 7 months

Workshop Location:

Tribe – 1819 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657

Is this Workshop Series for You?

This series is for conscious, soulful, big-hearted entrepreneurs that want to either launch a business or change the way they market their current business online. Whether you are an action-oriented, ambitious beginner, or already successful but want to grow your audience and revenue online, this is the program for you. This program is perfect for service-based professionals, particularly in the wellness industry, such as coaches, therapists, trainers, and practitioners.

What You Get at Each Workshop:

  • Lecture followed by exercises, along with in-class feedback from Christina,
  • Bonus take-home items from each workshop, including resource lists & tutorials, and
  • A special discount offer on one-hour, one-to-one marketing clinics, which can be used at any point during the series, as often as you’d like.

What It Costs:

$50 per workshop or $270 for the entire series (a 10% discount!)

Click here to sign up!

Workshop Dates & Learning Objectives:

March 13: Defining Your Marketing Goals (Free Session!)

Take this free workshop to learn more about the program and to begin the process of building a strong, profitable business. This workshop will provide you with clarity about what you want and why you want it. You’ll outline your purpose, the people you’re serving, and the product (or service) that you’re selling. This workshop is also an opportunity for Christina to learn more about your business goals and become more acquainted with you as a person and entrepreneur.

April 10: Workshop 1: Planning Your Strategy to Stand Out to Your Ideal Customers

  • Discover your exact ideal customer and learn to think like them.
  • Position yourself by selling outcomes, rather than services.
  • Find out your strengths and what makes you unique.
  • Create your unique selling proposition.
  • Map out how your services and/or products will revolutionize the industry.
  • Outshine the competition by simply making them irrelevant.

May 8: Workshop 2: Enhancing Your Website, AKA Your Digital Storefront

  • Learn which website platform is right for you.
  • Find out exactly what your technical capabilities are when it comes to website design and development.
  • Uncover your website objectives and how they will convert leads to sales.
  • Tap into what your ideal customer wants to see, read and experience on your website.
  • Understand everything you need to make your website successful.
  • Analyze your website’s effectiveness with a simple yet comprehensive checklist.

June 12: Workshop 3: Positioning Your Offerings to Maximize Profits

  • Enhance your service offerings in a way that makes your customers’ lives easier, more convenient and more joyful.
  • Come up with “outside of the box” solutions that will sell your services at rapid-fire speed.
  • Create a Before/During/After strategy to promote customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Learn how to position, price and deliver your services in a way that builds loyal and raving fans.
  • Understand why discounts are unnecessary and potentially damaging (except under a few circumstances).
  • Set your prices at numbers that feel great and make financial sense.

July 10: Workshop 4: Communicating Your Message to Go Viral

  • Get familiar with the pros of content marketing and how you can integrate it into your business.
  • Develop a strategic plan to stay connected with your audience.
  • Generate content ideas and develop a 3-month content calendar.
  • Understand the value of SEO in content marketing and how to integrate it into your plan.
  • Write irresistible headlines that gather clicks, conversions and could even go viral.
  • Offer value and insight directly related to what you are selling through content.

August 14: Workshop 5: Reaching Your Customers to Generate Leads Right Now

  • Find out why opt-ins on your website optimize and expedite success.
  • Create a smart, effective and winning opt-in offer for your website.
  • Learn why email marketing is the most essential and profitable strategy for your marketing plan.
  • Develop an email marketing plan with specific methods to promote your business.
  • Generate leads immediately and at no cost to you.
  • Explore 25 free list building strategies.

September 11: Workshop 6: Marketing Your Business with Proven Strategies

  • Become more comfortable with marketing and find out why and how you can become a phenomenal (and ethical!) marketer.
  • Consider 20 additional and effective marketing strategies that you can try right now.
  • Learn 4 research-driven pricing strategies to add to your marketing toolbox.
  • Create or enhance your current pricing strategies to sell better.
  • Get the best formatting formula that can be used for a PR pitch or a sales letter.
  • Write headlines and copy that makes traffic click.

Click here to sign up!

About Christina:

All too often, confident, capable entrepreneurs have business dreams that can help others and change the world, but they lack the marketing knowledge and skills required to make it a reality. That’s where I come in. I will arm you with the tools, strategies and resources required for you to do it all yourself – in a way that not only saves you time, but makes you more money.

I have a deep commitment to those that want to consciously and authentically make a difference through their businesses, and I want to help you get the word out. My passion is to help you build the business you desire and deserve through honest and authentic marketing practices.

Click here to sign up!

CGC - Transforming Your Unique Selling Proposition

Transforming Your Unique Selling Proposition

In a previous blog, we talked about your unique selling proposition and how it impacts your overall business message. It is essentially what makes your brand different. It’s what makes it uniquely yours. It’s absolutely essential to identify this if you want to market your business effectively.

The secret to finding what makes you unique is not only obvious but easy as well – it’s all about you. You have to quite literally build YOU into your business. By you, I mean your personality, your style, your quirks, your unique stories and your values. Remember, there is only one of you on the planet, and nobody can ever compete with something that is purely you. The way to bring this idea to life is through your unique selling proposition, or USP.

The USP, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, is: “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” I like to take this one step further and say that the USP is: “the unique set of strengths, stories, values, and the style of a seller that sets them apart from the rest.”

You can figure this out through several ways, and my signature program includes all of them. However, for now, make a list of 20 things you love, things you’re passionate about – even those little quirks that you may find silly! Some of the things you come up with (particularly through the list of 20 things you love) may seem insignificant, but these details actually have the potential to enhance the customer experience, or help you build your culture, or even help your brand become more memorable.  

For instance, if you love the color pink, perhaps there are ways you can infuse pink into more of your color scheme and throughout your business’ brand. All of a sudden, your business is even more uniquely you. Another example could be related to a charitable cause you love, for instance, dogs. Say you love dogs and one of your services includes an option for customers to donate a portion of your sales to a local dog shelter in your community.

The opportunities are endless! The bottom line is that these special aspects of your business that are uniquely you will inevitably help you connect more with your prospects and allow them to spread word about you.

The Importance ofYour Ideal Customer

The Importance of Your Ideal Customer

Finding your ideal customer is one of the most important steps in developing a marketing plan for your business. In fact, aside from fine-tuning the passion behind your business and understanding its purpose, finding your “people” is what will drive your marketing messages.

What is an ideal customer?

Your ideal customer is someone you speak to in every piece of communication coming from your business. Whether you’re promoting a product or a program or even a blog, your ideal customer is at the core of your creation. I find it easier to think of this “someone” as a character or an avatar, so that you can really visualize and picture them. This character could be based on an actual customer that you have, or someone that you’ve worked with, but it’s generally someone that you would love to have as a customer, and someone that makes you think: “If all of my customers were like this person, I would have my dream business.”

So why do you need an ideal customer?

First, without an ideal customer, you’re really not going to sell much of anything. How can you sell something to someone without considering what he or she truly wants? In order to ethically and honestly sell to someone, you have to understand them, and they have to feel like you do. How do you expect to engage with and persuade others to buy from you if you do not understand their fears and their desires?

Second, if you don’t have an ideal customer, it’s very likely that you will attract less-than-ideal customers. And we’ve all had a few of those experiences before! These are the customers that don’t value what you do, your pricing, or your time, and it’s all because they weren’t meant to be your customers in the first place.

Third and lastly, if you’re not clear about who you are targeting, then your marketing, your sales efforts, and your content creation will likely be too general and too generic – all ending up as a complete waste of time.

A Few Things to Consider…

Now, many entrepreneurs are afraid to get too specific with their ideal customer. Either they feel like they’re missing out on possible leads, or they’re afraid that they are labeling themselves as a provider for only one particular group. I cannot reiterate this enough – one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make is trying to sell to everybody. Expert after expert will tell you: if you’re trying to sell to everybody, you will sell to nobody. Your messaging will be bland, basic, forgettable, and lost, and any type of promotion will be entirely ineffective. The truth is, there is no product or service that is right for everyone. There are always subsets and subgroups in every market. Furthermore, having an ideal customer doesn’t limit who you reach. If you end up having a wide range of customers of different genders, ages, and income levels, that’s absolutely possible. However, you can still achieve that by starting with one character in mind.

I promise you – the clarity that you will feel when you recognize your ideal customer is so refreshing. The subsequent writing of content, messaging, branding, and marketing you will do for your business will come to you quickly and easily. You will save a tremendous amount of time and energy marketing to a specific group rather than get overwhelmed marketing to everyone. You are going to serve people that are genuinely a good fit for your business and in turn, running your business will be a lot more fun and more profitable!

So, take this advice and go find your ideal customer. They are waiting to be discovered! Need help? Contact me for a worksheet that will jumpstart the process for you.